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she bleeds red and gold

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The halls of the Ministry of Magic were dark and silent, with the exception of light leaking from under an unassuming door. Behind that door stood the slim form of Minerva McGonagall.

Her shoulders tense, she leant over the desk in her tiny cupboard of an office and surveyed the things packed in boxes on the floor. She closed her eyes and pressed her fists to her face as she exhaled. Deeply conflicted, she couldn’t help but wonder if she was doing the right thing. Leaving the Department of Magical Law Enforcement just after receiving a much-sought after promotion was no doubt an absurd idea – and yet Minerva just couldn’t conceive the idea of doing anything else.

At twenty years old, she was more directionless than she thought she would ever be. London hadn’t filled the void that Dougal’s presence had left. No amount of diligent work or late nights could make her forget what she’d given up when she’d ended things.

She was a witch, and he was a muggle. And sometimes, love just wasn’t enough.

She knew it well enough from watching her own parents. Seeing her mother isolated from her family – from her world. Seeing her father’s impossible attempt to reconcile the wife he knew with the witch he found out she was. Minerva refused to repeat history, but in doing so had consigned herself to two years of loneliness. Two years of remembering Dougal’s laugh, their heated debates, and the ring that had glinted on her finger for such a short period of time.

London was bustling and full of possibilities, but not any that she wanted. She missed Scotland.

She shifted slightly, lowering her hands as she heard the door open behind her. Callused palms met her shoulders, resting warm and firm atop her robes and Minerva couldn’t help but sigh softly.

“Alastor. I wondered if you’d come.”

He chuckled behind her as his grip tightened. “Did you, now? And here I was just hoping that you’d come to your senses and stay.”

Minerva closed her eyes briefly, before turning to look at him, dislodging his hands.

“I have come to my senses.”

They stood in silence for a moment, his brown eyes examining her seriously. She lowered her lashes slightly before bringing her hand up to his face. Skimming the livid red scar upon his left cheek with her fingertips, she spoke softly once more.

“I’ve accepted a teaching position and I intend to see it through.”

Alastor sighed, running a hand through his long brown hair.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t have something. We had something! We could –“

“It was one night, Alastor,” she responded softly. “I was lonely. I wanted company and you gave it.”

“It was more than that and you know it! We fit, you and me.”

She shook her head, her dark hair glinting in the low light, as he continued.

“You’re quick and clever, and you don’t tolerate fools. Leave, go back to Hogwarts and find what you need there. But I’ll wait for you, Minerva.”

She stepped around him deftly as he reached for her once again. She stood for a moment in the doorway, her back to him.

“Don’t wait.”