The Journey
By Minervathefeline

PLEASE READ: Alright, here is my newest story. It'll be a long one, I think, and ADMM. It has some of my own characters, but will focus largely on Minerva McGonagall. It is post-DH, and AU, because Dumbledore is alive. Everyone else who died in DH is still dead, however. This story is basically a non-serious, drama fic that will detail the time period after Voldemort is killed by Harry Potter. It is mostly about Dumbledore and Minerva and their relationship, but will include some others as well, such as Poppy Pomfrey and Pomona Sprout. Hope you enjoy! Don't forget to review! :)

Summary: The wizarding world can finally get back to living now that Voldemort is dead-but can they do so without driving each other insane?
Disclaimer: Don't own this, obviously.

And, here we go!

Ch. 1 Fitting In

'Congratulations, Ms Crawford. Welcome to the Hogwarts staff.' Professor Dumbledore shook the plump, rosy woman's hand as he stood. He was very pleased with his choice of Muggle Studies teacher—the position had been terribly hard to fill this year, after all the horrors of the last. But he was confident that this woman, Trudy Crawford was her name, would suit the job perfectly. She was kind and understanding, but capable of being firm. In addition, she was a half-blood, a fact that Dumbledore hoped would help banish any lingering preconceptions that to be an expert on Muggles one had to be muggle-born. (The exception to this rule was Arthur Weasley, but for some reason people never seemed to count him.)

'Thank you, Professor Dumbledore. I look forward to working here,' Trudy said happily. She wasn't lying; in fact, Trudy was practically trembling with anticipation. She loved Hogwarts, she loved children, and she loved Muggles. She could hardly wait to join this most prestigious of wizarding schools, among the most powerful witches and wizards of the age. Albus Dumbledore, who'd tricked death; Minerva McGonagall, his second-in-command, still a formidable force despite her age; Filius Flitwick, the duelling champion; Pomona Sprout, one of the wizarding world's most prominent authorities on Herbology; and Horace Slughorn, who was connected to so many famous witches and wizards. Trudy didn't know who the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was this year—she'd meet them in late August.

'Now, Ms Crawford—my apologies, Professor Crawford—it is customary for my staff to return home for the summer, only Mr Filch stays during vacation. However, in light of, well, recent events, most of them have remained over the summer. I believe Minerva's presence here was actually mandatory, she wasn't pleased. That being said, I believe they are in the staffroom now. Would you like to meet them?' Professor Dumbledore twinkled kindly at her, watching her ill-disguised delight.

'Yes, thank you,' Trudy said finally, not trusting herself to say more than that. She could meet them all now; see them all, in the flesh! She couldn't speak, but Professor Dumbledore seemed to understand, for he smiled at her kindly and, sweeping around the desk, held open the office door for her. Trudy had to keep herself from bouncing as she walked past him and rode the spiral staircase to the bottom.

When she got her voice back, Trudy decided to ask a question. Just one, mind you, instead of the hundreds flying around her head. It was quite a dizzying sensation. 'Why was Professor McGonagall's presence here mandatory?' Trudy was utterly determined to treat every professor here with the highest level of respect.

'When Minerva first started working here, she did quite a bit of architectural work, strengthening Hogwarts' structure and so on. The castle was originally built using magic, so it's fairly sturdy, but of course it has been around for over a thousand years. When the Last Battle was held here, the school suffered quite a bit of damage.' Professor Dumbledore looked slightly pained, as if it hurt him to think of the castle falling apart. 'Obviously, Minerva is the best person to turn to when repairing the castle. She's been working with a team from Magical Maintenance for most of the summer.' Professor Dumbledore smiled cheerfully.

Trudy found herself, yet again, rendered speechless. Professor McGonagall seemed more and more remarkable with every passing minute.

The two of them made their way along the corridors to the staffroom, Professor Dumbledore pointing out various shortcuts and portraits as they went along. Finally, they stopped outside a door guarded by two very ugly stone gargoyles, who leered at Trudy as if she was fresh meat. She skittered around them nervously.

'Now,' Professor Dumbledore said, pausing. 'I feel I must warn you. My staff normally has the summer to, shall we say, recuperate. They haven't had that opportunity this year, so they may be irritable. Do try to take everything they say with a grain of salt, as the Muggles say.' Trudy nodded in recognition of the Muggle expression, but her stomach lurched unpleasantly. Did that they were going to be mean to her?

'Oh, they'll be perfectly courteous to you, Professor Crawford, do not worry,' said Professor Dumbledore reassuringly, as if he had read her mind. 'It's when they talk to each other that you have to worry. Most of them have worked together for decades, you see. A few knew each other during their school days. They are perhaps too comfortable with each other.' And with a wink and smile, Professor Dumbledore opened the staffroom door.

'Attention, everyone, please,' Professor Dumbledore called to the room. The staffroom was comfortably furnished with several squashy armchairs, a sofa, a fireplace, and a long table surrounded by chairs. It was full of people, all in light summer robes. They seemed to be arguing about something, but stopped when Professor Dumbledore called.

'May I present our new Muggle Studies teacher, Professor Trudy Crawford.' Professor Dumbledore gestured to the middle-aged woman as everyone applauded politely. Wondering if she ought to speak, Trudy stood there awkwardly and nervously rocked back on her heels. She was saved the dilemma of making a speech, however, by a woman who was undoubtedly Professor McGonagall.

She was tall and thin, her deep green summer robes billowing and sweeping the floor. She had sharp, arresting eyes and a very stern face. Despite all Trudy had heard about Professor McGonagall's jet-black hair and its infamous tight bun, it was currently in a fixed ponytail at the back of her head, and fell to the middle of her back. A pointed black witches' hat sat on her head at a no-nonsense angle, and her heels clicked as she walked forwards. Notwithstanding all of this, her expression was kind as she held out her hand.

'Pleasure to meet you, Ms Crawford,' Professor McGonagall said, and for the sake of introductions, added, 'Minerva McGonagall.' Trudy shook Professor McGonagall's firm hand, hard-put to contain her excitement. Minerva McGonagall was everything Trudy had thought she would be.

Professor Dumbledore checked his pocket watch. 'Minerva, I'm sorry to leave all of this on you, but I am expected at the ministry in a bit.' He looked apologetic as he spoke to the already extremely busy witch. Professor McGonagall nodded and waved her hand dismissively.

'Of course, Albus, that's fine. We'll be alright here. Only if you see Kingsley, give him my regards, won't you?' Professor McGonagall requested, even as Dumbledore made his way to the door, nodding at her request. With a quick farewell, he was gone.

'Come along, where are your manners?' Professor McGonagall said wryly, shooting a glance at everyone who remained. Immediately, there was a flurry or movement, and Trudy found herself shaking hands with a very small wizard with a very squeaky voice.

'Filius Flitwick, Charms teacher. Wonderful to meet you, Trudy,' the tiny old man squeaked cheerfully, shaking Trudy's hand with youthful enthusiasm. Then; 'Horace Slughorn, pleased to make you acquaintance,' shaking hands over an enormous belly; there was also 'Lovely to meet you, I'm Pomona Sprout, I'm over by the Greenhouses,' said by a dumpy witch with flyaway away hair, a patched hat, and a rather dirty cloak. Her hand was wrung also by a strict-looking witch who introduced herself as 'Poppy Pomfrey, I'm the school matron. It's very nice to meet you, I do hope you'll enjoy working here,' a phrase which seemed to draw several sniggers. Professor McGonagall gave them a dirty look and shooed them all away, for which Trudy was somewhat grateful. She did, after all, need to breathe.

'Don't crowd her, honestly, don't any of you have work to do?' the witch snapped, glaring at Slughorn, who had opened his mouth no doubt to begin a rather long-winded speech.

'Only you work during the summer, Minerva,' Slughorn retorted, but he was instantly shot down by a tirade of angry hisses from the rest of the staff, all of whom were shooting anxious looks the Deputy Headmistress.

'An excellent reminder, Horace, thank you,' Professor McGonagall replied stiffly. 'If you will excuse me…' and with a nod to Trudy, she left, the click of her heels fading into the distance.

As soon as the sound had died away, Professor Sprout turned to Slughorn, obviously angry. 'Well done, Horace,' she snapped sarcastically.

'What did I do?' Slughorn replied defensively. 'It's not my fault he's got her working all hours, is it?' The Potions master was evidently continuing an earlier conversation. The only question was who the he was that Slughorn had referred to.

'We'd just gotten her to take a break, Horace, you know how exhausted she is…' Madam Pomfrey said with a glance at the closed door. 'Well, never mind it now, it's too late to do anything.'

'Not a very pleasant start for Trudy, though, is it?' Professor Sprout said with a sigh and glance at the newest professor. 'Would you care for a tour of the grounds, Trudy?' Professor Sprout offered kindly.

Trudy had been standing stock still during this whole exchange, feeling quite out her element and suddenly rather scared. Could she possibly belong among these people? She'd been quite relieved by Professor Sprout's offer, and took her up on it quickly. Of all the teachers in the room, Professor Sprout looked by far the most friendly, followed perhaps by Professor Flitwick.

As the two exited the staffroom and made their way to the front doors, Professor Sprout—'Call me Pomona, dear,'—had apologised for the shameful display. 'Everyone's a bit tense right now, I'm dreadfully sorry. Minerva will probably come find us later and apologise, she'll be horrified we made such an awful first impression.' The thought of Professor Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration teacher and Deputy Headmistress, apologising to lowly little Trudy Crawford, just fifty-five last month and not even started teaching yet, had Trudy shaking her head frantically.

'Oh, no, it wasn't awful at all! It was quite intimidating, I'll admit, but Professor McGonagall was amazing, really, everyone was, I expect things do get a bit tense, what with everyone together for a whole year…' realising she was rambling, Trudy shut up. Pomona laughed kindly though, and Trudy instantly felt better.

When they returned to the castle a little while later for lunch, everyone was on their best behaviour, and things went off without a hitch. Trudy had a slight suspicion that Professor McGonagall, who had returned for lunch, and had, indeed, (rather formally) apologised to Trudy, had ordered everyone to behave.

The rest of the day passed without incident, and, although Trudy felt slightly worried that she wasn't quite the calibre of witch that Hogwarts required, she was quite looking forward to working here in the fall. She accepted with some surprise Professor McGonagall's offer to show Trudy to her rooms, and after tea, the two bade good-night to everyone else and set off.

It was a few minutes before Professor McGonagall spoke. 'I'll introduce you to Hagrid tomorrow, if you wish. He looks rather frightening, but he's quite gentle, I can assure you.' Trudy expressed her thanks and asked why Hagrid (odd name, she thought) looked frightening. In her usual, no-nonsense manner, Professor McGonagall said 'He's half-giant, and has been living on the school grounds since he was thirteen.' Trudy stifled her shock and they fell back into silence.

They finally reached Trudy's new rooms. Trudy hesitated at the door. 'If there's anything you need or wish to ask, feel free to ask me,' Professor McGonagall said as she prepared to leave.

Before she knew what she was doing, Trudy called out, 'Wait!' Professor McGonagall turned around, eyebrows slightly raised, but her expression was (sort of) welcoming.

Trudy didn't know why she was asking Professor McGonagall, this stern witch who looked as though she had never had a moment's self-doubt in her life, but Trudy felt strangely drawn to her. 'Do you think I'll fit in here?' she blurted before she could stop herself. 'I mean, everyone's just so talented and powerful, and all I can do is talk to Muggles…' Trudy trailed off, waiting nervously.

Professor McGonagall gave what Trudy knew to be a rare, gentle laugh. 'Professor,' she said, although the term was technically untrue, 'you won't fit in at Hogwarts. People will fit you in of their own accord.' Trudy felt the knot in her stomach lessen pleasantly. 'And any magic-raised witch or wizard who can hold a normal conversation with a Muggle is a talented witch or wizard to me. Welcome to Hogwarts, Trudy Crawford.' And with that, Minerva McGonagall disappeared into the dark.


A/N: The pace will definitely pick up after this chapter, which is, after all, usually the worst. Review, and the next update will be very quick! :)