#25405
Location: St Mungo's • Date: June 17th 1996
Time of Day: Nighttime • Weather: Clear Skies


The hospital room was devoid of color as was she. Its walls were eggshell, not peeling or smeared, just eggshell. There were no decorations save for listless curtains barely shielding the room from the street lamp’s assault. A box of Honeydukes’ sweetest chocolates had been left untouched at her bedside. She had a feverish recollection of Albus dropping them in the middle of the night but caught in a misty slumber since her admission, the professor had yet to reach out to the box and look for clues from its giver.

Her body felt heavy and limp, while her articulations seemed recalcitrant and vindictive; sending sharp pains whenever she dared moved. She had been attacked on Hogwarts grounds, attacked at her home by Ministry employees, old students nonetheless. The notion of what had happened was taunting her as if trying to pull her out of her haze by way of anger.

Fingers twitching, seemingly using the strength residing in her entire body, she finally opened her eyes. Realizing the resistance in her fingers came from a palm covering them, the witch frowned. “Make it harder for me to move, why don’t you?” She quipped, feeling as though speaking through a mouth full of wool.

Of course, Amelia was at her bedside. It was foolish to risk such open loyalty, but Minerva did not have the strength to argue her perspective.
#25427
The floo had come in the early morning, and at first Amelia had been delirious with sleep, unable to process why Nymphadora Tonk was floating in her fireplace, but the department head had immediately realized how serious this visit was by the completely petrified look on the young auror's face. It had taken Amelia a lot longer than she was willing to admit to react to the information Nymphadora had provided, but when the purple haired girl had cleared her throat and mumbled, "Dumbledore...," Amelia was up and waving her hand across the flames, ridding her fireplace of her most promising aurors face. Minerva was hurt and Amelia needed to go to her, but she couldn't cross more lines than she already had. Not even for her dearest friend. She would have to talk to Nymphadora privately about where she was getting her information these days.

Minerva hadn't move once since she had arrived, and that had been three hours ago. Amelia had spent her time pacing back and forth at the foot of the woman's bed, and sitting next to her, clutching her hand tightly. When the nurses had come and gone four times, the stern woman had made the decision to go back into work. She sat in her office, distracted beyond belief, waiting for a call that her friend had woken up after having made a nurse promise to alert her, a call that never came. At six o'clock Amelia left her office and headed back to St. Mungos, taking up her place next to her friend.

It was ten to ten and Amelia was just beginning to doze off, her head bumping against her chest, when she felt the hand beneath her own twitch, rough voice breaking the silence Amelia had been drowning in for the past few hours.

"Oh," She breathed tightly, though instead of dropping Minerva's hand, she squeezed it even tighter instead, "Hush you stupid old bat. You should be thankful you're even alive after the amount of stunners you took to the chest."
#25451
One stupefying charm to the chest would have been enough to render the powerful witch unconscious without causing lasting damage, but four of them seemed to have caused considerable impairment. "I may have to concede regarding the second insult," she winced suddenly feeling every single ailment that could be attributed to her age.

"Glasses?" Minerva requested, groggily looking at the fuzzy outline of her dear friend. Intending to get up once her glasses had been pushed up her nose, the stubborn Gryffindor pushed against the stiff mattress in an attempt to sit up. Resistant muscles contesting her decision, she quickly felt herself falling back against the uncomfortable bed.
#25473
Moving across the room so she could grab Minerva’s glasses from the table there, she turned just in time to see the daft woman trying to push herself into a sitting position. Amelia made a tsking noise and hurried to help her friend up, gently holding her until her back was resting against the raised hospital bed.

“Merlin Minerva, stop just—“ Amelia let out an exasperated sigh, her hand coming up to cup the woman’s cheek. “You need to lie still,” She whispered, emotion suddenly building in the back of her throat. “You just need to—“ A sob escaped her and she immediately backed away, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. Minerva’s glasses still in her other one.
#25481
Though the black spots obstructing her vision, the heaviness pressing on her chest and the beads of sweat pearling on her temple might be her body's way to communicate its agreement with Amelia's appeal Minerva was far less inclined to admit defeat. With a trembling hand, she reached towards the glasses she had requested. Finding that she couldn't quite reach her friend, her arm fell heavily on the bed. Silently, the stubborn professor pleaded for help.

The hand on her cheek, a gesture that transgressed the usual boundaries of their intimate friendship, had been a prelude to the extent of her friend's worries. Yet Minerva was shocked to see just how affected Amelia was by her state. Through blurry edges, Minerva could see Amelia's slumped posture and the lines on her face betraying more than negligible concern. She saw the reflection of a sentiment she had never communicated, one that haunted her and often turned her nightmares into intolerable truths. She saw a fear of loss.

"Don't," Minerva beseeched as her breath caught in her throat. Realizing she had been the source of her friend's apprehension was like receiving a fifth stunning charm to the chest. "I am fine," she breathed though her face contorted into a grimace. "I can't let her govern the school," she added, finally voicing her greatest concern. Albus had left knowing he could trust her to look out for their students, in her absence Umbridge was free to reign.
#25560
Sucking in a deep, shuddering breath, Amelia reigned in the emotions that had escaped in a moment of weakness and turned back to her friend, handing her the glasses she was holding hostage.

"I'm sorry," She murmured, taking a seat on the edge of Minerva's bed and resting a hand on the woman's forearm. "It's been a...tiring day." It was a lame excuse, but Amelia wasn't sure she could admit out loud to what it did to her seeing Minerva laid up in a hospital bed.

Her thumb stroking the pointed ridge of the professors wrist, Amelia looked her friend up and down, "Of course not, but Minerva, what on earth where you thinking? I realize Rubeus is more than just a colleague but coming to his aid has done more harm than good." She raised a hand to stop Minerva from protesting to her seemingly coldheartedness. "I do not wish any harm to come to the giant, but you cannot keep Hogwarts safe if you're putting yourself at risk, Minerva."
#25586
With her weakened state widening the filters she had so carefully crafted, Minerva struggled to hold reign over her emotions. Sadness, anger, and fear writhed the professor's soul, turning what should have acted as her armor into a volatile wand. "I did not put myself at risk," she defended through gritted teeth. "I came to a colleague's defense, while he was wrongfully terminated. In no way should that intervention expose me to the risk of being attacked by ministry employees." Minerva was getting winded and her head was starting to feel rather heavy. Nevertheless, she pursued. "Those ministry officials, were some of them not under your purview? Are you doing nothing to help us?" She accused.

The fault was not theirs, but perhaps they needed to blame each other to relent the fear that clutched to their pores.
#25774
Refusing to rise to the bait, though every molecule in her body screamed at her to fight back, Amelia simply stared at her friend, mouth set in a stern line. Minerva was right of course, every single Auror who had stepped a foot in Hogwarts was under her employee and two of them had been trained directly by her before she was promoted. Amelia might not have had a direct hand in the attack against her friend, but she was just as much to blame, if not more. Amelia hadn't casted a single stunning spell, but she also hadn't prevented it.

"I don't not mean to offend Minerva," Amelia murmured quietly as she attempted to smooth her features into a more understanding look rather than one of displeasure. "Truly. I just...I worry that by going directly against Dolores, you are putting yourself in danger, and what use are you to your students, to Hogwarts if you're confined to a hospital bed."
#25790
Clutching to her last shred of energy the witch braced herself for an abrasive retort. Not anticipating her friend's change of tone, Minerva struggled to let her walls fall. Corner of her mouth twitching with the itch to let out another incisive observation, Minerva closed her eyes a took a deep breath.

What use was she confined to a hospital bed? She was of no use at all. The derelict professor's chin fell towards her chest and her shoulders slumped under the weight of guilt. She had failed. Failed Albus, failed the school, but most of all she had failed her students.

Though she remained silent, a tear slid down her cheek and the ghost of a pain induced scream remained trapped behind pinched lips. Clasping the thin sheets covering her, Minerva felt consumed by a wave of traitorous sorrows.
#26509
Unable to witness her friend falling apart in front of her, Amelia reached for one of the hands twisting in the sheet beneath them and gave it a squeeze, “Minerva,” She whispered, “Everything’s going to be okay.”
#26721
Minerva had already suffered enough losses in the First War to know better than to let platitudes soothe her. Years of preparation and trepidation regarding His inevitable return and yet she found herself feeling similarly unprepared for the coming war. This time around she had known that she had to keep a greater distance between herself and the children she called her students. She had known, she had diligently tried and she had so blatantly failed.

Potter, Weasley, Granger, Lovegood... And so many others had managed to insinuate themselves through her cautiously built walls.

She furiously brushed off her tears and looked at her friend. "We both know that it will not," she predicted with immutable realism.
#27405
Stilling at Minerva's words, Amelia had to swallow down bile that suddenly formed in her esophagus. Hearing her friend admit such a thing out loud made her want to be sick. Minvera McGonagall had never been a quitter. She was a Gryffindor for Merlin sakes, she courage coming out her ears! Her friend was obviously feeling very sorry for herself if this was her frame of mind.

"Stop," She snapped at the older woman, "I won't listen to you wallow in self pity." Amelia dug her finger nails into the soft flesh of Minerva's palm, "We did it once before, so we'll do it again. And again, and again if we have to. Do you hear me?" Suddenly switching from the Amelia Minerva shared her deepest and darkest secrets to into the one who commanded a whole justice department, she stared at her friend intensely. "You're a Gryffindor, so start acting like it."
#27407
"And you are a Ravenclaw, therefore you should stop deluding yourself into thinking it will be okay," Minerva retorted with fury. "I am not cowering in a corner or wallowing in my pain," she clutched at her chest for an instant, her hand pressing against her sternum as if it was a dam threatening to crack under pressure.

"I am preparing for what is coming and so should you," she warned clutching her friend's hand a little tighter.
#27558
Stunned by Minerva's words, Amelia could only stare at her friend as she tried to put words to how she felt, to what Minerva had just told her. If there was another war coming, Amelia would be prepared, she would make sure of that, but that didn't mean she would go into it feeling already defeated and neither would Minvera. She wouldn't let her.

Rubbing her thumb over the smooth skin on the back of Minerva's skin, she sucked in a breath and shook her head slightly, only slightly. A minute movement that seemed to bring her back into the moment, "You should sleep," She murmured, her gaze softening as she looked at her friend, "Your students are waiting for you."
#27602
"I-," she swallowed thickly thus extinguishing the puerile defiance she had intended to express. She was exhausted. Minerva had never been one to kneel before a fight, but the daunting idea of resisting fatigue was a battle in which she would not partake.

"You should go home, Amelia," she assured though she did not move her hand from her friend's. "I will owl you tomorrow," if her limbs had started to comply by then.