I Own Nothing!
Mothering Sunday. To date the most annoying holiday Minerva McGonagall had ever known. It was a constant reminder of the fact that the elder woman at this late stage in her life, was without a child. For it was far too late for her, she had realised one year. And from that year onwards Mothering Sunday had been the most loathsome day of her year for her. It was even worse than Christmas, or the summer holidays, because for one day and one day only Minerva would be left completely alone whilst the children visited their maternal figures. Most of her colleagues would go off to be with their families; even Albus went to visit his. It was a sad and pitiful thing that she alone on that day every year would spend her time in the ancient castle, unaccompanied.
Usually she would spend the day with a glass of scotch, in her office getting ahead on her paper work, sometimes even Albus's. But this year, her office had to coincidentally be renovated. Albus's words had been clear. "You're not to spend all day in your office Minerva; else one might think you were brooding. It's most unbecoming, and Severus is tired of you being compared to him. I think he finds it insulting." She had in response muttered a few things about rude old men who stuck their noses in other people's business and went off to plan what she had to do that day.
She had come up rather short, and in her boredom went to go and check on any of the straggling Gryffindors who were taking too long to leave. What she did not expect to find was a studying student immersed in a book.
"Miss Granger?" She asked, startling the girl out of her book.
"Oh, hello Professor." The girl smiled cheerily. She waited for her Professor to reply.
"Forgive me for seeming rude Miss Granger, but aren't you going to visit your family?" At her questions, the little girl shifted, a guilty look flitting across her face.
"I wasn't aware that this counted as a holiday, so I didn't tell my parents I would be coming. They were on holiday. So I sent my card and present with an owl yesterday." She bit her lip, and Minerva felt sorry for the child. She didn't want her to spend the day on her own.
"Where are Misters Potter and Weasley? Surely you aren't alone?" Hermione smiled uncomfortably.
"Ron's with his mother and Mrs Weasley knew Harry wouldn't have anywhere to go. She wrote to Ron telling him he was welcome." The older woman didn't miss the sad look that enveloped the poor girls face as she spoke of Harry's invitation. 'She's probably sad she didn't receive one.' Her heart went out to the poor girl as she continued. "No one else forgot, I'm the only one from Gryffindor still here. The ones who didn't have families are out playing Quidditch with Madame Hooch but I didn't really feel like it…"
Minerva wracked her mind for something she could give the girl to do. Then as she looked at the girl's book she had an idea. Abandoning her plans for the day, she sat down next to the girl. "I don't think you should be on your own, especially when practicing spells, so would you like to come with me to my office and practice a few of the things I have lined up for your next lesson?" Minerva knew she had said the right thing as the girl's face lit up.
"Oh yes please Professor!" She paused, and drew back. "That's if it wouldn't be too much of a problem?"
"I wouldn't have asked if I had been Miss Granger. Come along now."
As she walked to her classroom Minerva noted with some amusement that Hermione was almost skipping. The small first year practically ran to her office. Taking out her sleek wand, Minerva laid it on the table.
"May I see you wand Miss Granger?" She was handed the vine wood wand with no hesitation, and Minerva cut the girl off before she could ask her inevitable question. "To see how far we may progress today, a wand can give you much information about the owner. What were Ollivander's words?"
Hermione's answer was immediate, and Minerva recognised the note of pride in her voice as one she herself used often. "A Vine wand for those with unwavering loyalty, and dragon heartstring for the brave of heart. A tough wand, quite inflexible, but can reasoned with. Excellent for all-around spell work, but particularly suited to charms or transfiguration." Minerva bit back a chuckle, as the girl had even got Ollivander's strange accent right. She returned it, and gave the girl a tight smile.
"Well I think we are in for quite a bit of fun today Miss Granger." The girl smiled back and they set to work. It soon became clear that Hermione already knew the theories off by heart, and they progressed easily to casting. Minerva was very impressed whenever Hermione got the spell right first time around, and soon they were working on second year spells. She resolved to work harder on Hermione, not letting her continue until a spell was perfect. This only made the girl more determined, and before she knew it, it was time for lunch.
Watching as Hermione successfully transfigured a mouse into a rose and back, the elder woman stood up. "Well, I think that it's time for lunch Miss Granger, care to accompany me?" Hermione looked slightly disappointed and after some reassurance that they would continue after lunch, followed her teacher happily.
Minerva led her into her private office, aware that lunch would be half over by now. She summoned an elf and asked them to bring her some sandwiches and drinks. Sitting down, she looked around for Hermione and was startled to see her lingering by the door. "You may sit down if you wish. I am not liable to attack." She said, aware of the girl's increasing nervousness.
If Hermione was shocked she didn't show it, and the girl nervously joined her on the settee. Aware of the tense atmosphere, Minerva began to make light conversation. "So how are you finding your classes?" This instantly set the girl off and Minerva had to remind her to eat several times when the food came.
"And Professor Flitwick is going to teach us to get inanimate object to tap dance across a desk…" Minerva couldn't help but chuckle as she remembered her own excitement at the charm.
"How are the rest of the students? Have you made any other friends?" Hermione immediately fell silent.
"Aside from Harry and Ron? I sometimes talk to Neville but he prefers the Hufflepuffs, and the other girls in my dorm only talk about boys." She made a face at this and Minerva full-out laughed.
"I'll wager you'll be singing a different tune in years to come, perhaps about Misters Potter or Weasley?" Her voice was laced with mirth.
Hermione made another face. "No! Harry's like my big brother, and Ron….is Ron." She pulled another face and Minerva smiled knowingly.
"Eat your salad and we can carry on with those spells." Hermione frowned at the lettuce on her plate, but munched on it anyway. Minerva diligently watched her take her last bite, and then took her outside. "I thought you might like to enjoy the sunshine too." They spent a few hours practicing outdoors, and Minerva even aught her a few simple charms and hexes. Hermione insisted on spending enough time on the full body bind, and after a long lecture on how to put her right, and a few demonstrations, Minerva consented to being her target. She changed into her tabby cat form and ran around the grounds, trying not to get stunned, and almost getting hit a few times too. Eventually a stray spell hit the deputy and a rather worried Hermione revived her.
"Are you alright? I said it right didn't I? Because I think I may have emphasised the 'T' a bit too much, and if I hurt you I'm-"
"-Miss Granger I am quite alright. You performed the spell perfectly." The rare compliment put a beaming smile on the girl's lips.
"Thank you Professor." Despite herself, the elder woman smiled tightly back.
"Now, where were we? Ah yes, I was just about to teach you the transfiguration technique for transforming people into animals…" She looked in her rob for her book, and drew it out. "Now the technique is different in several different ways, and it requires lots more concentration so if…"
"Professor?" The young cub looked quite apprehensive.
"Yes Miss Granger?"
"Would you teach me to become an animagus? I know the theory…." Minerva was shell shocked. A first year, asking to attempt NEWT level magic?
"I'm afraid we don't teach that until at least your fifth year. The dangers of it going wrong are far too great." She watched the girl deflate. "However, I would be more than willing to consider teaching you then, perhaps even a small time beforehand to work on the theory." The younger girl nodded slowly. "Hermione, I want you to look at me." Her cub did as she asked, shocked by the use of her first name. "I want you to promise me that you will never attempt to perform magic three years or more above your year. Understood? The danger is far too much, and you could be hurt." Her eyebrows high, Hermione nodded in understanding.
"I promise." The elder witch stood up, satisfied.
"Good, now why don't we take a look at the quidditch pitch? You could join in if you like." Hermione frowned again, and Minerva wondered why.
"No thanks, I'd rather stay with you if that's alright." Her heart felt warmer at the sentence.
"Why?" Hermione fidgeted, and Minerva leaned down to eye level with her, asking her what the matter was.
"Nothing, it's just the other ids don't really like me, and I don't like flying. It's hard." Her head of house softened imperceptibly, remembering her own school days.
"Well then, perhaps I can teach you. Would that be preferable?" Hermione nodded, somewhat reluctant. The elder witch summoned a pair of matching brooms from her office. She climbed on her broom with surprising grace, and watched mildly amused as Hermione clambered on hers. "First we'll start with steering, and control. Now if you…."
It took from then up until dinner for Hermione to gain proper control of her broom, and Minerva thanked her Nimbus 2000 that she was fast enough to catch her, or place a cushioning charm on the floor. That girl nearly gave her fourteen heart attacks! Especially when she tried to copy a few of the older children's manoeuvres.
"I believe that it is time for dinner!" Minerva announced, when Hermione came up from a hanging off of her broom like a bar.
"This is just like Gymnastics at home!" She giggled. Minerva summoned the broom to the ground.
"As 'fun' as this is, you will not be skipping dinner." And they walked up to the great hall. Hermione went to sit along the table which was now placed in the middle and Minerva along the staff. She was joined by a rather frazzled looking Albus.
"Hello my dear, and how has your day been?" He smiled.
"Quite pleasant actually, I've spent most of it with Miss Granger, who stayed today. She wasn't aware of the holiday." At this Minerva looked quite sad, she was thinking about how next year she'd be alone again.
"Oh, and what did you do?" At this Minerva launched into an elaborate tale of what the first year cub had achieved that day, and by the end of it even Albus had raised his eyebrows. "That certainly sounds amusing my dear, I myself had quite a row with my brother. He was adamant that I had stolen his last pear drop, when he knows I detest the things…"
At the end of dinner Minerva again met Hermione, and they spent the rest of the night talking in her quarter's. At some point Hermione began to yawn, an as Minerva left to get some more Ginger newts, she fell asleep. Upon seeing her student, Minerva glanced at the clock. It was one in the morning! She quickly levitated the girl back to her dorms, and just as she set her down, Hermione stirred.
"Go to sleep, it's late and you're in your dormitory."
"M'kay…"Was all that Hermione managed, she turned and burrowed back under the covers. "Professor? I had loadsa fun t'day, thanks…" Hermione's sleep filled voice filtered out from under her pillow.
"I had fun too, thank you Hermione, sleep well." When Minerva returned back to her quarters, she was almost in bed when she noticed the letter. Opening it, she read in Hermione's neat scrawl.
Dear Professor McGonagall,
Happy Mothers Day! I know you're not my mother, but you always take care of me, when my mother can't. I think the same goes for the boys, though they won't admit it. Thank you for today, it was brilliant! I hope you like the card, I transfigured it myself!
Love Hermione xxx
Minerva went to sleep with a smile on her face, the card on her nightstand with the red and gold sparkles charmed to shimmer.
From that year onwards, Minerva would receive a card every mothering Sunday from Hermione and 'her boys', thanking her for all she'd done that year. Every first Sunday of the summer holidays, Hermione would pop up to spend more time with Minerva.
Real maternal figures are stuck in your life, because you love them. You share bad times, and good. Minerva stayed with Hermione throughout hers. And Hermione shared her sadness when her parent's memories were wiped, and her happiness at Ronald proposal. But the happiest moment in Minerva's long and joyful life was when little Rose Minerva Weasley first called her 'Grandma!'
Too sappy? Too emotionless? Or juuust right?