In a shadowed corner of the spacious office sat a young man with the weight of his world on his mind. Harry sat on a high back burgundy leather chair, gazing down at his worn trainers, waiting patiently for his former Professor to enter the room. He knew it should be any moment now since carefully vague questioning of the house elves revealed that every evening after supper McGonagall retired to her office for an hour to tend to personal correspondence and relax with a glass of Scotch….or three.
Suddenly the heavy oak doors opened and the former Transfigurations professor strode into the office, a bouncy house elf trailing behind her. “Will Professor Whiskers be having some strong smelly drink and nibbles tonight?”
“Yes, just bring it to the desk here, Pokey. And thank you,” Minerva said with a wave of her hand.
Pokey popped out to the kitchens, and then popped right back in, carrying a tray with a large tumbler full of Scotch and a plate with several ginger newts. She sat down heavily and reached for the heavy lead crystal glass, taking a long drink. Minerva sat in the silence until she noticed heavy shadows in the corner.
"What brings you here Harry?"
"The stench of death clings to some, much like a cheap suit that's several sizes too small. I've reeked of it for so long I no longer remember what fresh air is.
"Death is my gift, and it's a gift that keeps on giving. Instead of fighting back whenever I was attacked, I tried disarming my opponents so often that I could have changed my name to Expelliarmus.
"Death is indeed a mighty gift, and it's one I never would have had were it not for you. You see, it was here at Hogwarts that I first killed someone"
"Mr. Potter...Harry. Fighting in battle is different than murder. We all did things during the wars that we aren't proud of, but we have no choice but to move on from it lest we forget how to live."
"This happened before the battle. Several years before actually, at the end of my first year."
Minerva had a queer look on her face at that. "Harry, I'm sure you must be mistaken-"
"Not at all. See, Professor, I came to you during the Philosopher's Stone debacle. I told you that something wasn't right. And you blew me off. So I went down there, and I ended up killing Quirrel. Maybe he had to die, I don't know. What I do know is that I didn't need to be the one to kill him at the tender age of eleven. So his death, and that first dark mark on my soul, are your crosses to bear for the rest of your days and beyond"
"Are you here to kill me then?" She shakily asked.
Harry inhaled deeply. "No. Your death isn't what I want. You'll live, for the rest of your days and beyond, and I hope you think about how you turned an 11 year old into a killer, all because you wouldn't listen."
Minerva exhaled slowly. "Why are you sparing my life?"
The man smiled a sad, sharp smile. "Like I said. Death is my gift. And it's one that I don't feel like keeping to myself any longer." Harry stood abruptly and walked to the floo.
Minerva sat for the rest of the evening staring into the fireplace, tears occasionally crawling down her cheeks, thinking about a young Harry and wondering what other catastrophic blunders she made in her career.