A/N: Basically a fic from McGonagall's POV about the end of the war and the lead-up to it. It's my first fic so sorry if it's not very good! Please review and if there's stuff you don't like, tell me about it so I can make the next chapter better :D Rated T just to be safe for when the battle starts.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and I'm glad I don't. It wouldn't be as magical if I saw it as a business.
Minerva McGonagall was troubled. She could not explain exactly why she felt more anxious this evening than every other (general worry was omnipresent these days; with Snape as Headmaster and the Carrows as his deputies, she spent most of her time trying to make sure her students remained well, or at least alive), but there was something other than that. A kind of ominous feeling. Giving up on the essays she was marking and sighing, she got up from her desk and moved to the window. It was a beautiful view; the Hogwarts grounds stretched far ahead of her and the lake glistened in the sunset. She opened it and breathed in the balmy air of early summer, taking consolation from the fact that soon it would be the summer holidays and she would be able to throw herself fully into the activities of the order. It was very frustrating, not being able to resist – she had considered it many a time during hasty, whispered discussions with Filius and her other loyal colleagues, and during seemingly endless sleepless nights. But resistance would be stupid – the rest of the Order who didn't have responsibilities at Hogwarts were still doing that; her job was to try to ensure the safety of the school. She knew very well that if she rebelled she would risk being killed – she was a very powerful witch, and quite high up on Voldemort's extensive hit list. As her eyes fell upon Dumbledore's tomb, she thought back to the end of the previous academic year, and the events since.
Albus' death had hit her hard, she had to admit. Minerva prided herself upon her composure and ability to mask her emotions, mostly pushing problems to the back of her mind when they arose. But losing Albus had left her devastated, and she had spent many hours crying for her best friend. They had never been lovers, as had been rumoured, nor had ever wanted to be – but their shared love of teaching and transfiguration and their shared qualities of loyalty, stubbornness and wisdom, had made them very close friends. However there had not been too much time for grieving – she had had to organise his funeral, send the students all safely back home and, with the rest of the staff, begin to prepare the school for the next academic year, whilst still remaining an active member of the Order, attending meetings and contributing to plans. She thought vaguely about the Headship… She had been outraged to be shunted aside for the man who had killed the greatest Headmaster Hogwarts had ever had, the greatest man she had ever known. Snape and the Carrows had ruined Hogwarts. An unexpected lump appeared in her throat as she recalled with a shudder the screams of children being tortured… She remembered once, early on in the year, going with Poppy into the Gryffindor common room, healing wounds and providing potions to those who had been put in detention. She also remembered the staff meeting the next week, when Snape had told them in no uncertain terms that as long as students were not in danger of dying, they must not be helped, as a part of their punishment. It broke her heart to see their cuts and bruises, to see the bags under their eyes, see them walking around with hunched shoulders, trying not to do anything to incur the wrath of the Carrows. The whole year had been spent by her and teachers such as Filius and Pomona trying to maintain a level of normality in their lessons, taking each day as it came and struggling on despite the increasing weight of the burdens upon their shoulders. One group of students had kept their hopes up, as well as their anxiety levels, by standing up to the Carrows and re-enforcing the message of fighting for good, but they were no longer active. Luna Lovegood had been taken away, which had worried Minerva, although she had not known her, being head of a different house. Ginny Weasley had gone into hiding with her family, Minerva assumed. She was sure Molly would keep her brood safe, and was actually quite pleased that Ginny was now with them instead of risking her safety at Hogwarts. Neville Longbottom had disappeared off the face of the earth – 'idiot boy, suddenly becoming so bold when times were most dangerous,' she thought with a hint of sadness, but mainly pride. And there were three others, who had not been there at all this year, whom she had not seen since the end of their sixth year. Ron and Hermione had, of course, gone with Harry to accomplish whatever it was Dumbledore had left him to do... As usual, when she thought of Harry, Minerva's stomach did a somersault and her eyes filled with tears – she had been very close to his mother and father and had a great deal of affection for the boy. She could not think of him without a surge of near-panic.
But no, it would not do to think too much about these things. Hogwarts had never been so out of sorts; it was almost as though the castle itself were hurting as she tried to protect her values and inhabitants. For now, Minerva would focus her attention on this feeling she had. She thought it felt a bit like a sixth sense, and wondered if it could be something to do with the fact she was an animagus – after all, they say animals can sense the threat of danger. Instinct was telling her that something was coming, something would happen soon. Uneasily she thought that she could see the end of the tunnel, but did not know whether there was light there. If there was a fight, she would of course throw herself into battle with all her talents and vigour, but she had to admit that she was not exactly young anymore. 'Well, they do say that cats have nine lives,' she tried to reassure herself, but then realised that she'd probably already used far more than 9 and resolved to ignore that expression in the future. In the meantime, however, she would re-arrange her face into a mask, scrape her hair tighter back into its bun, and go down to dinner, the embodiment of austere calm and dignity.