Minerva McGonagall was not a person you could easily shock. The reason behind the truth is that she has seen and gone through so many hardships in her life. The shock wore off years ago. That doesn't mean that she feels nothing. She still cries at the losses of so many around her. She still gets angry when she thinks about the monster that caused it. And she still wishes she could have killed Tom Riddle herself. But it wasn't meant to be. That fate had belonged to young Mr. Potter. Nonetheless, she wasn't shocked easily.
The following week and a half after the Great Battle consisted of mass funerals. First three days for the fallen at Hogwarts, whose bodies were laid to rest at the empty field by the lake. Then the next three in Hogsmeade and all the small neighboring wizard communities. The two days after that were for the Ministry of Magic and Diagon Alley. The last two days were for people everywhere in the magical world. People of all countries came together to celebrate the great victory and mourn over the massive losses.
Now that Voldemort was gone, the goal of the remaining staff and students of Hogwarts was to repair the ancient grounds. Students from both past and present seemed to find their way back to the beloved castle to help. An announcement was made in the Quibbler and the Daily Prophet that volunteers were welcome. Two weeks after the battle had taken place, and two days after the advertisements were shown, five thousand people took up occupation on the school grounds. The outcome shocked even Minerva McGonagall, who was convinced that only a thousand at best would come.
The professor had been watching the crowd from the Astronomy tower. She saw them set up tents and camps. She had seen tearful reunions of students and their families who were separated from war. She had even seen people with only the clothes on their backs invited to stay in strangers' tents. Yes, Minerva McGonagall was shocked at the sudden compassion of humanity, but extremely pleased as well.
"I wish you could see it Albus," Minerva said one morning, "It is certainly a sight to behold." Minerva had just rushed from the astronomy tower to the headmaster's office. She had been eager to tell him everything that had been going on in vivid detail. Dumbledore had been quite happy to hear that things were beginning to turn around in the wizarding world, and his sense of hope was renewed.
"Alas my dear Minerva, you know that is impossible." Albus said. "We both know that not even magic can raise the dead." His portrait sighed. He missed his Tabby terribly, but his death was part of the plan to help Harry. She had recently come to terms with this fact, or so he thought.
"I know Albus, but I just can't help but long for one last chance. Just to be with you one last time, you know? Then I could begin to go back to living." By now the usually stern woman was in tears. Albus was the last family member she had left. Now she was a widow, and felt utterly alone. As if his piercing blue eyes had read her thoughts he said,
"You are not alone Tabby. You still have Harry. He is quite fond of you, as is Ms. Granger. You do remember what happened to her parents don't you?" His voice was tender and re-assuring, only to become sad at the reminder of Hermione's heartbreak.
"How could I forget? She wrote me a letter as soon as she found out. I can only hope she's taking the news better than I did when my parents died in war." Minerva quietly replied. She received the letter the day after the trio had apparated from the gates.
Hermione had left for Australia with Harry and Ron the day after the mass funeral at Hogwarts. But before they had left, the trio had visited Minerva's quarters to say goodbye. She had been pleasantly surprised to see them, after all, she didn't expect them to come back to Hogwarts now that Voldemort was dead.
"That's absolute rubbish Professor!" Hermione had argued, "We wouldn't leave you by yourself to repair the castle. Besides, we love it here. Hogwarts has been our home for years now." The young woman stared at her once-teacher as if it was obvious.
"I figure if we round up the surviving members of Dumbledore's Army, we can have the castle restored and better than ever before the new school year would start," piped in Ron, "then we can all start the school year over again." The end of his remark sounded questioning. The professor smiled at his sudden insecurity.
"I do think," Minerva said slowly, "That with enough help we can definitely have this place up and ready again." She smiled at the now excited faces of her students. "But, as to whether we can re-open the school, it depends on if we can get new staff members. I couldn't possibly guess if anyone thinks Hogwarts is safe enough." She reasoned. "What do you think Mr. Potter?" Minerva had realized that Harry hadn't said a word since he entered her room. She looked to see him by the window. He had a faraway expression and she realized that he was looking at the newly created cemetery near the lake. It took her a moment to realize that he began speaking to her.
"I think that the Ministry will give us permission. After all, we were strong enough to battle Riddle, all of the Death Eaters, and the other creatures in his army. If we can do that, than we can protect ourselves from any other threats that arise in the next few years. There aren't many more of Tom's followers left out there. I talked to Kingsley- he says that there are only a hundred at best. The rest were either captured or killed already." Harry's face was serious. It struck Minerva how much mature he'd become in the last seven years. Hell, Harry had practically aged twenty years in the last eight months alone. But as impressive as his attitude and plan seemed to be, she still heard some flaws.
"I'm glad to hear that you've began thinking this out," Minerva started, "But I can't possibly lead this on my own. There is about two and a half thousand people already on the grounds! How could I possibly convince the house elves to try feeding that many? Organizing all the tasks to people would be just as difficult! And then the matter of decorating the cemetery…." by now the Transfiguration professor was speaking quickly and seemed on the verge of tears.
Realizing the immense stress that his soon-to-be-teacher has been under lately, Harry diffused her meltdown saying, "Don't worry about it Professor. I promise we have it all taken care of. I held a meeting with the remaining members of Dumbedore's Army and they will help you lead the construction. Neville is in charge of the plantlife around te grounds. The forest, grass, the Whomping Willow, the various patches of flowers, and the quidditch pitch. He and a team of people who have talent for herbology will begin today. Luna and another team of people are in charge of repairing the various paintings and decorations that line that were blown up during the fight." Harry paused for a moment and looked at Hermione. He figured she would want her own two cents on what she was assigned.
Taking Harry's cue she said, "I will be with a team of people assigned to restoring the walls and staircases. We will also be returning stored books in the Room of Requirement back to their proper places in the Library. Ginny will be taking over my tasks until we return mid-day tomorrow." Hermione then smiled at Ron to continue where she left off.
"When we come back," Ron said, "Ginny will then have her own team to help her sort out Gryffindor Tower. Its basically lying in a pile of rubble at the foot of the school. They also are in charge of mending the hourglasses for house points. My mum and some of the cooking-oriented people will be helping the house elves feed everyone. Because there are so many of us, the plan is to have a big breakfast and a light dinner. Hermione's aunt and uncle own chain of successful farms, so they will be donating food and water to help us stay healthy. Her cousin Alexa should be arriving from America tomorrow after we get back."
Minerva stood there speechless. Her lions had certainly been thinking about her. "I don't know what to say. You three seemed to have thought of everything haven't you? You have no idea how much it means to me to have some of this mess taken care of." Minerva's eyes were welled up with tears of gratitude. She would sleep better knowing that she didn't have to do as much explaining to all of the volunteers.
"You're welcome Professor," Harry said with sincerity, "We got almost all of it covered. The rest of the people were assigned to do odd jobs. That way no group is understaffed. We also have a special group of people who have asked to do a memorial down in Hogsmeade. We got permission from all of the shopkeepers and the Minister. The last two groups are in charge of water and food deliveries. All you will need to do is make some rounds and oversee the progress. That way you can focus on writing up the Hogwarts letters and other tasks for the upcoming school year." He finished his speech with a huge smile, proud at the thought of how much he was able to help the woman he considered family.
"Wonderful," Minerva beamed, "I will get everyone started right away! Breakfast was nearly an hour ago, so I figure the work day will be from nine until four. That seems reasonable, wouldn't you agree?" She walked over to her desk and enchanted a quill to write down everything she needed to remember in her new notebook. The older witch then turned around to say goodbye to her soon-to-be-students.
"You lot better promise me that you won't go looking for trouble. I don't want anything to happen to you in such an unfamiliar place! Command one of your Patronuses to apparate back here when you arrive. That is an order, am I clear?" Minerva's used her traditional stern voice with them. She would be devastated of they let down their guard somewhere so far away. As well-connected as the professor was, she didn't have any contacts in Australia that she could use to keep an eye out for them.
"We promise professor," Said the trio in unison. They each gave her a warm hug and left her office. She watched through her window as they walked across the grounds and passed through all of the makeshift camps. She noticed how they said a brief hello to everyone that was near them as they headed for the gates. They closed the metal doors and turned to face her window. Hermione grabbed each of her companions' hands. All three of the teenagers' gazes landed on their professor's window before they apparated to an foreign destination.