Title: War

Character: Minerva McGonagall

Summary: As she stands amongst dust and debris and bodies and blood, Minerva McGonagall reflects on the wars that brought them there. Drabble.

Notes: Why do I keep doing this to myself? Here I was, innocently writing my first ever Sherlock fic, feeling rather nervous and trying to work my way around the story when - bam! The plotbunnies strike again. Oh well. At least they're somewhat satisfied now and I can get back to my other thirty-seven, work-in-progress fics. Yeah, you heard right. Thirty-seven. *sobs* Anyway, on with the show!

Every war she fought, Minerva McGonagall wished with every inch of her battered heart that it would be her last.

She was so very young, in her first war. Too young and too naïve, they said, to be fighting. Not even at Hogwarts yet, but when her town was attacked, she used her mother's spare wand to fire weak Stupefies at whoever dared to cross her.

Even then, though, Minerva found war thrilling; it was vibrant and exciting and she was a fighter, a warrior.

The sacrifices she made were needed, because the scars were glorious and the battles were grand, and Minerva McGonagall was a Gryffindor, in the end, and war was beautiful.

She survived that war; she didn't expect to.

Minerva was not quite so young, or quite so naïve when the second war came around. They called it the First Wizarding War, but Minerva knew better.

She was tired, and older, and bitter, and she no longer thought that scars were glorious when they graced her back, and battles weren't so grand when those you love died in them.

The First Wizarding War was not so beautiful.

She thought, even Tom Riddle, that intelligent, handsome little boy with a flair for dramatics, couldn't come close to Gellert Grindelwald, who carved his symbol into the school that rejected him. No one could be worse than Grindelwald, who killed hundreds of thousands in the name of the greater good.

Minerva was wrong.

She fought then, too. She had a duty to her students, her children, as a Professor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, even if she had to protect them from one of their own. A lot of those children died.

On that morning of November, 1981, she awoke, unscathed and alive, to the end of the war. She thought it was rather anticlimactic.

Her last, and worst, war was not quite so anticlimactic, nor quite so thrilling.

It was in her last, and worst, war that Minerva healed the sick, and Minerva tended to the dying, and burnt the bodies of the dead. So many dead; colleagues, students, strangers, enemies, all dead at her bruised and bloodied feet.

And she burnt them all, left them to ashes, and prayed that they had found a place where war could not haunt them any longer.

That was the third time that she wished that that war would be her last.

But it was the first time that Minerva had stood amongst dust and debris and bodies and blood, wondering how the death of one man could somehow make the death of thousands worth it.