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Bathing Habits

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Bathing Habits

A/N: I am a country girl living in the Australian suburbs with a penchant for writing fanfiction based on other people’s imaginings. It has been a long time since I finished any piece of writing! I do not own Harry Potter or any affiliation.

Minerva rubbed her temples under her glasses as she placed the last piece of parchment on the pile of first year essays she had been marking.

Noting the time was well past midnight and delighting it was now Saturday, Minerva pushed her chair back from the desk in her chambers and stretched out her aching limbs.

“Lumos,” She mumbled and her wand lit up the room.

Minerva quickly ensured the candles littered around her room were alight before she fetched her nightdress, tartan dressing gown and matching slippers before she moved into the small bathroom attached.

Setting her belongings on the bench next to the sink Minerva ran the taps to the tub nestled in the corner. As the tub filled Minerva placed her wand in the water and uttered, “Flagration!”

Steam was now sitting on the surface of the water as it filled to completion and Minerva hexed the taps to spin off. She quickly undressed, folding her robes and undergarments next to her night things and groaned with relief as she sunk under the water.

“Accio candle” Minerva murmured and a lone wax candle came into hover above the bath.

As she washed Minerva couldn’t help but reflect on the years that had passed without notice. One of her earliest memories was her mother, Isobel, taking her behind a hedge and using her wand to douse her in water after she had trekked in mud through the small Scottish rectory. Minerva certainly never did that again and somehow any dirt on her shoes magically disappeared before she came into the house to avoid a disapproving glare.

As the family grew and her father realised their genetic abilities Isobel found a simple metal tub that would have been freezing in winter and boiling in summer if any of the three McGonagall children were to bathe in it.

However, when her father wasn’t home and there weren’t any visitors, Isobel would simply heat or cool the water with a flick of her wand and the children would wash happily in perfect conditions. Poor Robert McGonagall had never known the secret of Isobel’s perfect baths but marvelled that his children enjoyed the time for bathing when he knew of so many in the parish who didn’t!

Once she had arrived at Hogwarts, Minerva had the choice between a waterfall type shower or a tub and felt inclined to ensure her bathing times were as quick as possible out of respect for her dorm mates.

A quick wash under the shower stream, a dousing of shampoo onto her thick, black hair and she warmed herself dry before she dressed. Minerva was an impeccable house mate. However, the evening of her sorting eleven-year-old Minerva stayed in the stall for a full half hour, feeling the tension fall off her shoulders as she emerged and found herself in a familiar red and gold dormitory.

As a prefect and then head girl Minerva relished in the pool sized tubs available for her use. At her designated time, Minerva would set off with her matching night set, tartan nightgown along with dressing gown, cap and slippers. Following her soak she would braid her hair to keep it off her back as she slept.

Back at the Manse and everything had changed, yet nothing was out of place. She swept around the village as a modest young woman full of achievements and knowledge she knew she would never be able to demonstrate.

That didn’t stop her falling in love with Dougal McGregor. Minerva had let her guard fall and had become the love-struck girl she couldn’t be at Hogwarts. Every evening Minerva drew herself a bath in her room, now being able to practice magic freely despite being behind a locked door. Minerva’s thoughts swept around her head. What would the next day bring for this love-sick couple? Did she have no concern for the future?

It was apparent, Minerva thought later, that no she hadn’t any concern for her future when she accepted Dougal’s marriage proposal in that field. She sobbed in her tub for a good hour, hexing the water to remain warm while she came to a decision.

She would do this for a further week, even in her new apartment in London (a bed-sit close to the Ministry) before pulling herself together. Minerva placed her guard firmly up once more, affixed a forced smile upon her face and went off to work for the first time.

It was only a matter of time before she ended back at Hogwarts with her own quarters and a similar waterfall shower and tub option once more. The waterfall shower was removed, overseen by an amused Albus Dumbledore.

Throughout the 1970s Minerva spent many an evening soaking in a special bath mixture Poppy Pomfrey had created. It alleviated aches and groaning bones even after the most exhausting shift in her tabby cat disguise. She used the time to let her mind wander back to the cherished days, to a time without violence and disarray where she didn’t worry that pupils would be missing from her classroom.

The night that Lily and James were murdered was the night she spent in the slowly cooling water sobbing into a washcloth. She sobbed for brother, Robert, who had lost his life in an attack and she sobbed heavily for Dougal who she might have been able to protect. She emerged hours later, freezing, and sobbed the remainder of the night into her pillow before gathering herself and facing the duties as a lead staff member. She announced the truths at breakfast, flanked by a tearful Pomona Sprout and then went about her classroom business the following Monday.

Minerva was once again pursued.

Elphinstone Urquart was the most annoying piece of wizardry that Minerva had ever come across. He was her mentor, yes, and perhaps something akin to a friend but she could not love him until the surprise realisation that she did in 1982.

Phin, as she affectionately called him, remained at their little Hogsmeade cottage and finished the restorations while Minerva taught. Her life was shining brightly and every evening she had a loving husband, a warm meal and a steaming soak in their tartan bathroom (thank you Elphinstone).

A favourite recurring memory for Minerva was the visiting of Robert’s widowed family and Malcolm with his family, usually on a Sunday. There was the time when the nieces and nephews stayed over one night and squished into warm sleeping bags in front of the fire listening to their aunt and uncle’s stories.

Minerva felt that as soon as her married life began it had ended. She was now a widow and found herself back in her stone bathroom in the very same tub. She wondered whether it would be here that she took her last bath.

But then, she’d think, she wouldn’t really mind if it was.

Hogwarts would always be her home, as a young girl and now in her ageing life.