AN: For some reason McGonagall's scream was just the most heart-wrenching moment during the final battle for me. She's an incredible character who gave everything for the good of the students but we never hear much about her own life or feelings. So here goes…
It is easy to forget that this is hardly the first war that many witches and wizards have fought in, but it is a sad fact. Minerva McGonagall remembers not only the first war with Voldemort but the dark years of Grindlewald's ascension as well and she has seen, in her time, too many young lives cut short to count.
She watched as an entire class of her Gryffindors disappeared from the world in 1981, but she has also stood in battle and seen children cut down in front of their parents, torture inflicted on the innocent for no reason other than sadistic pleasure.
Throughout all of this Minerva has maintained, however, that in the end light will truly triumph over darkness for in her heart, despite her austerity and strict appearance, Minerva is a true Gryffindor. And when all else has failed, she has put her faith in one man who she knows will always fight on the right side and will always make sure that everything will be all right in the end.
The first time Minerva truly felt a fear of Voldemort was the night Dumbledore was killed. Standing amongst her students she knew she needed to take action, needed to do something for God's sake other than stare dumbly at the body of the man many – she included – had considered a savior. In that moment she suddenly knew with a flash of awareness that there really was a chance that they might lose.
But she never gave up. Not when Albus' murderer was made headmaster, not when she was forced to stand back and watch the torture of twelve year olds at the hands of their fellow students for no crime other than kindness, and not even when she came down to breakfast one morning in March and realized that over half of her students were gone – and not coming back.
So when she stood on the steps of Hogwarts early one May morning and knew the end was coming, she tried not to give up hope. She rallied her students and prayed that a single seventeen year old boy could save their entire way of life.
The moment Minerva McGonagall saw the limp body of Harry Potter in the arms of Hagrid she knew. She didn't need to see the blood dripping down his face, or the way his arm dangled lifelessly at his side to know that it was over. For the first time in her life Minerva gave up hope and there was nothing she could do.
Nothing she could do but scream through the silence of the sunrise, and as she did she had a sudden revelation.
None of them would survive to see the sunset.