Minerva McGonagall leaned back in her armchair and took a sip of tea. This was her favorite spot to relax—a comfortable chair and a wonderful view of an old tree on the grounds. There was a light frost outside, and it felt good to sit and relax here in the warmth. It had been a long day—the first years were misbehaving, Black had slipped something illegal into her classroom again, and the Head Girl and Head Boy had gotten into a screaming fight over supper. All Minnie wanted to do was rest. Lord…only forty-two and she already felt old. But who wouldn't? There was a war going on outside the secure and comfortable walls of Hogwarts. A deadly one.
As she sat in the chair, sipping tea and feeling mildly sorry for herself, Minerva caught sight of a pair of students walking towards the tree, talking—almost yelling. They seemed vehement, but she couldn't quite place who they were—a red-head, and one with dark hair that seemed… it was Lily Evans and James Potter. Hmmph. Continuing their little tiff from earlier, it seemed. Well, if the Head Boy and Girl wished to wander about at—she glanced at her watch—half past eight at night, arguing, that was no business of the Transfiguration Professor. Minerva shrugged and took another gulp her tea, slightly cooler now. She waved a wand to restore it to piping warmth. After a day like this, she deserved—Minnie blinked, unable to really believe what she was seeing. Evans and Potter had been fighting only moments before, she was sure of it—now they were kissing? Definitely kissing, and rather… passionately. Feeling suddenly rather like a voyeur, Minerva waved her wand again and the drapes shut with a snap. Well, well, well… will wonders never cease? Breakfast should be very interesting, indeed…
Minerva sat back in her favorite chair and allowed herself a brief moment of pure triumph. Even with Potter out of the game, they had managed to win! Four-hundred fifty to one-hundred forty. Not only won—won by a clear three-hundred ten points. The match had finished nearly an hour before, and she was still celebrating. Ha. Sixty-two just last month and I'm acting like a giddy school-girl. Ah, but it did feel good to beat Ravenclaw. It always felt good to win—that was her failing, she acknowledged with a rueful smile. She was far to concerned with accomplishments. It was why she had pushed herself so hard to become an Animagus—that desperate drive to win. To be the best. However… it had worked, after all. She was the best, and surely that had to count for something.
Minnie glanced out at the grounds, and smiled. There were Potter and the Weasley girl—both Seekers. And if she was not mistaken, they were… holding hands? Goodness. And for a moment, a brief flash of painful memory, Minerva saw another pair of heads, red and dark, meeting out on the grounds… another couple, so young and happy. And then the dark head bent down to kiss the one with flowing red waves, and just for a split second, the distance and the faint moisture in her eyes made it impossible for Minnie to distinguish between this scene and another she remembered. Gods… really twenty years… Minerva McGonagall sighed slightly, and allowed a wistful smile to cross her lips. They grow up so fast…
The Headmistress's office had several windows, but one of them—the one next to which a very old, very comfortable chair had been placed—was enchanted so that it could show any view from any window of Hogwarts. Almost the moment she inhabited the office, Minerva had Charmed it to show the exact view of her old window—that familiar tree and slice of the grounds, that familiar curve of the forest and the edge of the lake that she knew so well. The Headmistress was sitting there, one late spring evening, unwinding from yet another hard day and staring out at nothing in particular. Her back hurt slightly, but at ninety-eight (Good Lord, ninety-eight already!), that was par for the course. It was nothing she couldn't handle, and if the pain grew severe enough to interfere with her work, Professor Longbottom could easily lend her some lavender, chamomile, or comfrey from his garden for some relaxing tea. It was amusing, now, to think of him as the gangly, awkward child he had been. And it was so jarring to realize that his daughter (his and Hannah Abbott's) was currently in Second Year. A real aptitude, little Ginny showed. So strange, she thought absently, to be meeting the children of the children of those she still thought of, sometimes, as children. She had taught Frank and Alice (the poor souls) as well, and Priscilla Abbott. She remembered them so clearly—more clearly, at times, than she remembered things more recent. So many years… so much water under so many bridges.
The Headmistress glanced casually out of the window, and sat up ramrod straight. Her back complained, but that was ignored along with everything else as she stared out onto the grounds in shock. Pure, unadulterated shock. A pair of children—Sixth Years—sat under the old (ancient, by now) tree, their heads close together. Two heads, one messy and dark, the other crowned with reddish waves. Impossible. It was… she squinted. It was Albus Potter, alright, and Fiona Ferguson, his friend. The two had been inseparable since first year, but… this was almost like looking into a Pensieve. The same scene, the same heads, the same tree… the same kiss. You could barely tell the difference, not this late at night, not with her eyesight what it was. It could have been two other sets of Gryffindors, kissing tenderly beneath a tree.
Over and over and over again, what strange tricks fate plays on us… Oh, what fools we mortals be. My god, what are the odds? How… extraordinary. How… magical…