The next days passed rather quietly. They all needed their time to heal and get some new energy for the tasks ahead. Minerva dreaded the moment when she would have to leave Harry again to return to Hogwarts. Sleepless nights were waiting for her – she was filled with terror when Harry told her about their plan to break into Gringotts.
They had a heated argument first but even Minerva had to give in at some point – after all it seemed the only way to get the next horcrux. And they had agreed that this should still be their goal.
Finally, the goblin as well as Mr Ollivander were healthy enough to move again. Although they all dreaded this moment it was time to say good-bye when they did not want to raise any suspicion.
'Please take good care of Harry – as you always did!' Minerva whispered into Ron's and Hermione's ears while hugging them one last time.
Then she pulled Harry into her arms and felt the urge to never let him go again. Tears were streaming down her face. Harry pulled away a little and traced their tracks.
'I will be fine, Minerva. I have you and the best friends one could wish for. Therefore, I will always have a good reason to survive. I think Dumbledore was somehow right when he said that love will always matter. Please take good care of Hogwarts and our friends there!'
Minerva smiled through her tears and just nodded – unable to trust her voice yet.
One last time they hugged each other fiercely and then Minerva was the first one to leave the group. Once more she disappeared with Taran to get a few items from McGonagall Manor before going back to the school.
Harry, Hermione and Ron were saying their good-byes to Fleur and Bill as well – even the goblin was gracious enough to be polite to his saviours.
'Please tell Mom and Dad I am fine' Ron asked his brother on departure.
Minerva was finally sitting in the office in her private quarters. The whole day she had had trouble to suppress a content grin. Now she once more enjoyed the main news in the Daily Prophet – Gringotts had been robbed and partly destroyed while the thieves were on the run with a dragon. The Prophet did not mention any names or state the items which were lost but Minerva knew it anyway. They had made it! What an incredible and almost impossible achievement.
She poured herself a Whiskey and made a silent toast to the trio. Everything seemed possible in such moments. If only she had a clue how to find the lost diadem of Rowena Ravenclaw! They had discussed the horcruxes in length – especially the days they spent at Bill and Fleur at Shell Cottage – and Harry and Minerva agreed on the chosen items. Tom Riddle simply would not have chosen anything less.
Unfortunately, she had her hands full protecting her students especially from the Carrows. She spent extra hours with her 6th and 7th years' students from Gryffindor to teach them more spells which could be useful if they had to defend themselves one day. All these hours were carefully hidden from the other staff members – mostly it meant that she was unusually strict to her cubs and asked them to spend hours of detention with her. Nobody seemed to have doubts though – all their nerves were tested these days and they just suspected that this was Minerva's reaction to the current situation at school.
She decided to grant herself a second Whiskey – there were very few occasions to celebrate anything these days. Sighing she leant back in her chair and looked out of the window. Just in time to see a bright flash of a spell and some shadows moving around in Ravenclaw Tower.
Minerva was on her feet immediately – even though Ravenclaw was not her responsibility. Something nagged in the back of her mind though which made her move quickly. She briefly wondered whether her constant thoughts about the diadem caused this.
'Alecto!' she could hear bloody Amycus from the far end of the corridor.
'May I ask what you are doing, Professor Carrow?' she asked when she was close enough to be heard through is shouting and banging at the door.
This filthy idiot did not even know how to get around in Hogwarts. Fortunately, not everything could be gained with torture in this building.
Minerva was eager to go inside herself though and opened the door for them.
Inside, they were greeted by some nervous students and a stunned Alecto lying on the ground. Inwardly, Minerva praised the person who had done the marvellous job but kept her outward strict composure.
Amycus was furious and ready to torture some students for more information. He was looking around like a mad man spitting out his anger towards the students.
'Who was it? And where is Potter?'
'What do you mean – where is Potter?' Minerva asked incredulously.
'She has called the Dark Lord. He is on his way now. He said Potter might want to break into Ravenclaw Tower and we should expect him here.'
Minerva paled – they were on the right track then but had no time left now as it seemed.
Amycus approached the student next to him – his wand already up to cast a curse. Minerva just stopped him in time and they started a heated argument in front of the students.
'Minerva, your time is up – just face it! You'll do what I say or the Dark Lord might not have mercy with stupid witches like you.'
When he spat her in the face Harry could not contain himself anymore and threw away his Cloak.
Minerva let out a small cry. 'Harry, we have to move fast now.' They both turned around to Amycus who was about to attack Harry 'Crucio!'
In front of the shocked Ravenclaws they bound the two shocked Carrows together and made sure they were not a source of danger anymore.
'I have not found it yet, Harry' Minerva whispered while attending to the Carrows. 'You will have to continue the search with Ron and Hermione. I will see that we can protect Hogwarts to the maximum and give you a bit more time. Let's move.'
Harry pulled Luna under the Cloak again and they left the tower with Professor McGonagall.
Half way to Gryffindor Tower they were stopped by Professor Snape.
'Minerva. Why is it you patrol these corridors? I thought it was another teacher's turn? The Carrows if I remember right.' Snape inquired quietly.
'I thought I heard noises.'
'Really? All seems quiet to me. I wonder though whether you have seen Harry Potter recently?
Minerva was extremely quick despite her age. She whirled around and fired spells at Snape. Unfortunately, Professor Snape could also move very fast and was ready to protect himself. Just when Harry aimed his wand at Snape the much hated teacher vanished.
Minerva was fuming. 'This bloody coward! Too bad I could not finish him off.'
Other teachers were approaching them by now. Minerva instructed her colleagues to begin to put up more protection spells around the castle immediately.
'Harry, you go! We will proceed with our work.' With this they departed.
Preparations were well on its way – the teachers had seen to the evacuation of the younger students and the Slytherins. All of the Gryffindors who were old enough had stayed to attend the battle and all of the Order members had arrived as well. Minerva and her colleagues were busy setting up the protection of Hogwarts when the attack began.
It was dreadful to hear Voldemort again after so many years. His voice was high and cold and sent down shivers on Minerva's back. She had to concentrate really hard to ban her worries about Harry from her head. With a distracted mind she would not be able to defend herself properly.
The next hour was madness – the walls of Hogwarts were shaking under the constant attack and the first Death Eaters had made it into the castle.
'McGonagall! Nice to see you again – I was hoping to meet you here. It came to my ears that you are very fond of Mr Potter. Well, you will see how this ends. I finished off Sirius and now I will blow you away. Should be a lesson to everybody!' Bellatrix was approaching Minerva with an evil grin – her wand pointing to Minerva's chest.
'Bellatix, you were always on the wrong side. Such a shame to waste your talent. And Tom Riddle never really liked you – he was just using you – back then and now.'
At this, Bellatrix exploded with anger and shot at Minerva 'Avada Kedavra!' Minerva's protection spell was fast enough and a huge power blast sent them both of their feet.
'How dare you try to kill my Head of House!' Fred Weasley was helping up Professor McGonagall in a second and they were both duelling now with Bellatrix and a second Death Eater who had appeared on the scene. They were practically dancing around each other trying to get an advantage. The air was loaded with energy since they all sent spells around. It was a balanced fight though which could have gone on forever.
And maybe it would have if not several things had happened at the same time.
A huge blast destroyed one of the castle walls and sent stones flying in their direction. Minerva briefly thought that Fred was too close to the wall when Bellatrix' curse hit her in a moment of distraction 'Crucio!'
And there was Voldemort's voice again…
Minerva was engulfed in pain and could not breath anymore. She was helplessly on the floor and could not really make out what Voldemort was saying. She could hear Bellatrix laughing and closed her eyes thinking of Harry in her last moment of consciousness.
She was felt the soft glow of a healing spell go through her body and was carefully lifted up by helping hands. She opened her eyes to find Poppy, Tonks and Lupin staring at her. 'What happened?' she murmured confused.
'We came just in time to save at least one of you' came Tonks' sad reply.
'Save one of us?' Minerva still could not make any sense of it but realised they were people crying desperately behind her.
'Fred' she thought with terror and moved around. 'Oh No!' Minerva watched with horror the scene in front of her. George was clinging to his dead brother's body – Arthur, Molly and Percy standing next to them crying desperately.
Tears were streaming down her face and she was pulled away by Madame Pomfrey.
'There is nothing you could have done to save him Minerva. He was hit by a huge piece of the wall which killed him on the spot. Let's grant the family some time to grieve.'
'Why is it so quiet?' Minerva finally realised that the battle seemed to have stopped.
'We have been granted one hour to surrender and hand over Harry.' Lupin was disgusted just by the thought.
'Just over my dead body!' Minerva exclaimed finding her strength back. 'Let's collect the dead and the wounded and prepare for the next steps.'
Harry was lying on the ground coming to his senses again. He could hear the Death Eaters talking and briefly thought about everything Dumbledore had just told him in Kings Cross. He knew what to do and he knew he wanted to live.
Before leaving to the forest to face Voldemort he had seen Minerva from under his cloak taking care of some students. She had survived so far and he was determined to see her again.
He was concentrating on Minerva, Ron and Hermione while he felt his body abused by the Death Eaters. He expected his body to be violated and stayed limp.
He just felt sorry for all the pain his 'death' would cause to the people who loved him and believed in him. Hagrid was sobbing hard and picked up Harry's limp form from the ground to make his way to the castle – the cheering Death Eaters accompanying them.
'NO!' he never thought a sound like this would be possible and his heart went to his godmother achingly.
They had stopped in front of the castle and Minerva had been the first to see him. He could feel and hear her desperation in this one cry. Harry wished to be able to just ran to her and take her pain away with one tight embrace. He could not and silently apologized to Minerva for causing her so much pain.
He had to wait for the right moment which presented itself shortly after. All hell broke lose again when Neville killed the snake. The last horcrux was destroyed!
Harry used the distraction to grab his cloak and disappear from the battle scene. Nobody seemed to realize since they were all busy fighting once more.
His heart stopped for a moment when he first saw Bellatrix fighting with Hermione and Ginny. Luckily Mrs Weasley came for help and Harry was surprised what a powerful witch she was.
Then he saw him. Voldemort was slowly encircling Minerva whose face showed pure pain and hatred. She had her wand up trying to find the right moment for her attack.
'Tom Riddle, how dare you kill my godson? This was one death too many. I will make you pay no matter at what cost' she spat out under gritted teeth.
Voldemort only laughed at her. 'Your godson? How ridiculous, Professor McGonagall. You are as weak and stupid as Dumbledore and see where he ended up! This is where all his rambling about love and trust has brought him.'
In this moment they heard the shrill last laugh of Bellatrix when she was killed by Mrs Weasley. Voldemort was exploding in fury – his anger sent Minerva as well as Slughorn and Kingsley flying.
He aimed his wand at Mrs Weasley.
At this moment, Harry took off his cloak. Minerva went white as a sheet and fainted. She was cautiously been woken up by Molly Weasley who had her arms around Minerva and helped her up again.
Harry and Lord Voldemort had their wands ready for one last spell.
There was an enormous bang and flames everywhere. The spells met and were sent back to Voldemort who hit the floor – killed by his own spell.
After a brief moment of silence the cheering was enormous. Minerva ran to Harry and hugged him with all her strength. She seemed to never want to let him go again and did not care about the students staring at her. She was sobbing into Harry's hair and enjoying the feel of her godson being close to her again.
Ron and Hermione ran to them and hugged them both. This seemed to be the signal for everybody else running towards them and Harry was almost knocked down. Everybody tried to hug him or pat him on the shoulder.
It was finally all over and they had won! The Death Eaters disappeared from the school grounds once they were still able to flee. The others remained to celebrate and burry the dead.
The last days had been rough. Despite all the joy there was still to be mourned for the dead. They all had lost either family members or dear friends.
Minerva had arranged for a beautiful memorial in the remains of the Great Hall. Afterwards there was a huge party on the grounds of Hogwarts which ended with great fireworks in memory of Fred Weasley.
Finally, the school was almost empty. Minerva was sitting in the Deputy's Office again with a long list of to do's in front of her. It was decided to restore the school during the holidays and life would hopefully return to normal again.
Harry was standing outside saying good-bye to his friends.
'Alright mate, see you after the holidays! I cannot believe I am going back to school voluntarily for one more year.' Ron made a grimace.
'Come on, Ron. We missed a whole year after all! And most of our friends have decided to repeat the year since they also missed a lot because they went into hiding. It will be fun!'
Hermione was really happy.
Harry just laughed at the two. Always the same! And he was glad about it – for the first time in ages he felt relieved and truly happy again. He would spend the holidays with Minerva and come back for his 7th year. This was almost too good to be true. Life was good.
'I will see you soon! Maybe you can visit us at McGonagall Manor or we come to the Burrows for a few days. We have a lot of catching up to do.' Harry grinned at them.
Ron and Hermione left waving at their friend.
Harry went back to the castle and wandered the now empty corridors. He was sad about the amount of destruction. Hogwarts was his first real home after all. Minerva had promised him though that most of it would be the same as before.
A smile crept to his face and he made his way to her office.
Minerva was looking up from her papers when he entered the room. She smiled at him and got up.
'Let's go home, Harry. This work can wait. I finally want to spend time with you and spoil you!' She pulled him into a warm embrace and placed a kiss on his head.
Arm in arm they left the office and were ready to go.
Harry looked back at the ruins and smiled. Life was so good – and he would never be alone again!
Please review. Guess it will end here. Maybe there will be enough ideas coming up to create another chapter about the 7th year. Not sure yet. Input welcome!