Written for Ralinde's Bingo Card Drabble Competition — Minerva McGonagall, "Somewhere in the misty mountains"
Somewhere in the misty mountains, a free bird sings.
The rain falls.
And Minerva McGonagall weeps.
Head in her hands, back pressed against the damp castle wall, robes soaked by the rain, she weeps.
She weeps for the school that she has devoted her life to, which has now become something unrecognisable. She weeps for the students it contains, and for what she cannot do to protect them. She weeps because their world is fracturing, and Albus is not here to hold it together, Harry is not here to glue it back together, and some days she feels like Atlas, the weight of their entire civilisation on her shoulders.
She has spent her whole life being the strong one, but even she cannot hold up the sky.
She weeps because she feels helpless. She weeps for all of the pain she has seen, all of the pain she cannot stop. She cries, because she can do nothing else for them.
She cries until the light is gone, and then she stands, dries her robes and then her eyes, and walks crisply back into the castle, appearance perfectly unruffled.
She holds her head high and pretends that she believes everything will be all right again. She pretends to believe it will end, someday, soon. She tends to what she can, prevents what she can, and pretends that she is not breaking inside.
But she is.
Human souls were not made to bear the brunt of prolonged tragedy. The sadness and the pain are sometimes utterly overwhelming.
But she cannot collapse under the weight of it all, because to do so would be to leave the school, the students, with no structural support to lean on, and that is… incomprehensible.
So no matter how much it hurts, no matter how hard it is, she bears it. They have left her alone to bear up the sky and so she will, until she can no longer.
And if that time comes before the end of the war does, then she can only hope that someone else will be there to catch it.