A/N You all think I'm going to kill off Minerva?! Reviews like those are the reason I love cliffhangers!
This is quite possibly the best review I have ever received! Ann Jinn - "That is a cliffie to end all cliffies. I do trust you are going to post again,." This made me chuckle for a good ten minutes whilst I was making cake. I could almost see the reaction on your face!
I won't keep you in suspense much longer, I just want to let you know that this is the final chapter. Poppy Evans was the first fanfic I ever wrote and its sequel has, at the time of this chapter, nearly 17,000 views and 85 reviews! I didn't know if any one would like the first Poppy Evans, let alone beg for a sequel, but I do hope the ending is acceptable.
On that note, to everyone that has read, reviewed, followed or favourited this story - THANKYOU. You've made me a very happy little lady! :)
People say that as you face death, your life flashes before your eyes. Minerva McGonagall felt none of that. She watched the green beam head towards her as if in slow motion and braced herself for the impact. Closing her eyes she waited for death to claim her. It didn't.
When she opened her eyes she caught sight of a glowing green phoenix standing on the head of her attacker. It sang one note and then exploded, taking the evil wizard with it. Minerva did the only feasible thing in that situation - she fainted.
Harry had had a bad feeling ever since dinner that evening. His scar had started hurting mid way through dessert and he had looked everywhere for Professor Quirrel but couldn't see him. As time went on the pain got worse and he groaned and clasped a hand over it. The pain seemed to encompass his entire head! He got up very slowly and managed to take two steps before he realised his vision was going. He gave a fearful look to his Auntie, sat on the head table, before collapsing onto the floor.
Waking up some minutes later in a bed in the Hospital Wing he found Poppy next to him, clutching his hand in a death grip.
"What happened Harry?" she asked quietly.
"Dunno. Scar hurt and it just got worse and worse."
As he finished speaking, he jerked violently backwards on the bed, before sitting bolt upright with a huge grin on his face. As quickly as that had happened, it stopped and he was lying in the same position as before.
"He's got Auntie Minnie" Harry whispered "I've got to help!"
He threw off his bedcovers and was halfway to the door before Poppy had even registered his words. He pulled on the door handle but it wouldn't budge, so he changed his course towards the office, intending to use the floo. That door was locked too.
"Harry! Harry! HARRY!" The words finally punctured his brain. He turned to where he had heard them. "Sit. Now." There was no arguing when Auntie Poppy used that voice.
"What was all that about?" she asked.
"He's got Auntie Minnie! He's going to kill her! We have got to help!" A flask was pushed into his hands.
"Drink that. I will be right back."
Harry just stared stupidly at it. Why didn't she understand? People were going to die, someone he would almost say he loved. She told him that adults could sort things, so why weren't they? Why was she keeping him here? He could help, he needed to help!
Harry's magic reacted to his frustration and the glass flask he was holding shattered in his hands. Reflexes honed from years at the Dursleys' meant that his hands and arms took most of the battering but there were still some shards that had found their way into his face, neck and head as well as his torso.
Harry heard footsteps, and then a gasp. The anger and the magic had taken their toll on him and he couldn't distinguish who these people were, except that there was a man and a woman. When he saw the woman raise her arm he instinctively curled into a small ball, ignoring the pain that came from embedding glass shards further into his body.
"Please, please" he whimpered. "Please no more."
All of a sudden he felt as light as a feather. He had no cares. The cuts on his body didn't matter, his relatives didn't matter, the situation didn't matter. He was free. With a slight sigh he uncurled and fell asleep.
"Thankyou Fawkes." Nicolas said, softly stroking the bird's plumage. "Ah, Hogwarts wants to talk."
He put his hand on the castle wall and his expression changed to one of deep concern.
"Fawkes," he said urgently to the bird on his shoulder "I need you to help Minerva. None of the rest of us could get there in time." Nicolas got what could only be classed as an enquiring yet understanding look from the phoenix. He held the gaze for a brief second before Fawkes flashed out.
"Poppy," he continued "you will need to set up a bed in the staff quarters to deal with some severe injuries. I do not know what condition Minerva will be in, but it will not be pretty."
Poppy paled but nodded. She turned back to Harry and finished removing all the shards of glass from his body, before spelling blood replenishing, pain relieving and dreamless sleep potions into his system. They were in for a long night.
Minerva woke to find herself, unsurprisingly, in the Hospital Wing. Unaware of all the alarms her waking had set off, she sat up and rubbed her eyes. She felt more tired than she ever had before and there was a sharp stabbing pain every time she moved her right hand, but apart from that she felt absolutely fine.
Inspecting her right hand, she found something stuck into it, but the end covered with tape so it was difficult to remove.
"Minerva lie down this instant" came Poppy's sharp command from the doorway.
Obeying instinctively, Minerva asked "what happened?"
"You were brought in by Nicolas and Albus barely alive, with not a single part of your body uninjured. I had prior warning to be prepared which is the only reason you are still amongst the land of the living." Poppy sat down by the side of Minerva's bed.
"Oh. What day is it?"
"Today is 11th of July Minerva. The year ends tomorrow."
"So I've been here for six weeks?"
"Your rational mind has not been damaged then. Thank Merlin for small mercies. Yes you have been in a coma for six weeks."
"Can you remove this thing out of my hand please?"
"That 'thing' as you call it is an IV drip and it is the only way for you to get some of the potions into your system you require. So no, I will not remove it."
"I feel fine Poppy. This is the only thing that hurts. I need to see my lions."
"You will do no such thing. Really you're almost as bad as Severus. You are dosed up on high strength pain relief. If you remove that drip you will pass out in under five seconds." Seeing the look on her colleague's face she added "no that was not a challenge! Sleep is the best healer Minerva, I would recommend it." Just before she reached the door she turned and spoke again. "You know how seriously I take my patients' wellbeing. You are on absolute bed rest until I say so. You can cooperate or take the consequences. I will bring Harry to see you tomorrow. Sleep well Minerva."
Minerva knew that underneath the businesslike exterior, Poppy had actually been very worried about her. To anyone that didn't know her well, she would have appeared entirely professional, but the two had been close friends for years and Minerva could sense the concern that laced that conversation. She would see Harry tomorrow and in time she would be well again. For now, she had probably better heed her Healer's advice.
Harry, Ron and Hermione had all received the same note at dinner: Please come to the Hospital Wing tonight after dinner in the Great Hall has finished. PP
Now here they were in the Healer's Office. She pointed to a piece of parchment on her desk covered in writing.
"Do you know what this is?" she asked.
The three shook their heads.
"It is a list of the potions that Professor McGonagall is currently on." She pulled out a longer sheet from underneath. "This is a copy of one of the first diagnostics I performed. Professor McGonagall was injured in every place on her body. There are some injuries that may never heal completely and it is only thanks to the Headmaster and Nicolas Flamel that none of those injuries was fatal." She took a deep breath and continued "Professor McGonagall is a very skilled witch and a talented dueller. I have seen her teach Professor Flitwick a trick or two and she can hold her own against Professor Dumbledore himself. How would you compare to that Mr Weasley?"
Ron's face turned as red as his hair. "I can't Madam Pomfrey" he mumbled.
"Exactly. If you had gone down that trapdoor, you wouldn't have come out. You would have got yourself, and your friends, killed. Think how your mother would have taken that, especially if she knew you had been killed by Voldemort. She lost several people to Death Eaters in the last war." Poppy's voice softened slightly as she turned to Hermione. "Miss Granger, whilst I commend you that you listened to Harry, you still placed yourself in danger. The reasons for you going wouldn't have mattered, you would have been killed anyway. You're a bright witch Miss Granger and you should have known better. I know Harry told you everything and I know that you knew the Stone was safe and you tried to stop Mr Weasley from going after it. Next time Nicolas Flamel is unlikely to be there to stop you. If you think something is wrong, but you can't stop it, then please tell someone. If you think no-one will listen, come to me."
"Thankyou Madam Pomfrey" Hermione replied. "I'm sorry for disappointing you." There were tears in the girl's eyes.
Poppy smiled. "Apology accepted Hermione. The person you need to think about most is yourself. If you think something too dangerous to do, don't do it. Stick to your principles, go with your instincts and you won't go far wrong in life. If you truly believe something, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. No-one knows everything so take advice when you need it, but ultimately make all decisions your own. Then you will be true to yourself."
"Thankyou Madam Pomfrey. I will remember that."
Poppy gave a warm smile to Hermione before turning to the last child in her office.
"Harry" she said "come here." Harry bounded into here arms. "You see what telling people does? You see how we could help? Anyone other than Minerva down there and there could have been a very different ending. You have come so far in this last year Harry, I am so proud of you." Harry smiled as his two friends looked on. Hermione looked pleased, Ron thoughtful.
"As am I Harry. Lily and James would be too." All four spun round to look where the voice came from. Minerva was stood in the doorway, leaning on it for support.
"Thanks Auntie Minnie" Harry said quietly.
"Minerva McGonagall, you will get back to bed. Now!" Poppy glared at Minerva. "You three, go and enjoy your last evening of term. Harry, you can come back tomorrow before the Express leaves if you want."
"Ok goodnight then, I'll see you tomorrow! Good luck with Auntie Poppy, Auntie Min!" Harry said cheekily.
"You said five seconds Poppy. It has been at least three minutes now and I'm still here. Surely that means you can lower it?"
Harry rolled his eyes when he heard that from behind him and Hermione giggled. Some things would never change. Constantly trying to lower your potion count was definitely one. His two aunties being in his life he hoped was another, along with his best friends and Hogwarts.
That evening as he repeated the words "I'm proud of you" in his head, Harry remembered the times he had prayed for someone to take him away from Little Whinging. He couldn't have asked for better. He had a home, he had a family and he had a life. Smiling, he checked he had everything packed for the next day and soon fell asleep, the smile still on his face.