I woke up feeling like crap. I had hoped that after everything had been done bad things would stop happening to me, but here it was again. A deep down voice, the part that had been slowly growing used to the daily pain of the year before, was in a way relieved by it. It's alright, it said. It's normal by now, it said. I ignored that part, delving instead to understanding and the suggestion that urged me to go where I hoped my friends were. I jumped into the fireplace and over to The Burrow.
Bless them, they didn't ask me why I was there. Everyone was aware of what had happened, and by some miracle, Mrs. Weasley had beaten me here, with a homemade Easter breakfast ready for me. I ate it wordlessly. It was almost difficult to do, with the usual bustle about the house, and George coming in and out with loads of test pranks for his shop. Almost difficult, because though there was opportunity to just enjoy the food I couldn't seem to ignore what had happened.
It felt so unfair.
Slowly, though, I did eat, and with the kind smiles from people who didn't press, and Ginny and Harry taking turns holding my hand and suggesting curses if I wanted some revenge, I began to feel better. And, a little ashamed. Not for what had almost happened; I was strong enough to not blame myself. More because... I should be able to handle this. I'd handled far worse. But somehow, even though my spirits were lifted, and my mind began to wrap itself with understanding around the problem, the hole in my chest didn't fill.
The day dragged on. Noon came, and I was lying on the couch in clothes I had borrowed from Ginny. They didn't exactly fit, but I knew they didn't really fit her either, so I didn't complain. I wouldn't have anyway. The ceiling looked so... peaceful. I felt like I could just lay here and let yesterday have been a dream, going back on the morrow like nothing had happened. Except I couldn't. I knew I couldn't. But I didn't know how what to do instead of that, either.
There was a knock at the door. I didn't get up; I didn't feel much like I should. I heard Mrs. Weasley answer it, speaking softly. Footsteps came into the house, and I sat up as I heard a strange third sound with every other step. I managed to look up in time to see Minerva McGonagall walk into the room, hat on her head and full staff robes on. I rose.
"Please, sit down Granger. I would like to talk to you, and it's best if we do this with as little stress as possible." She stepped slowly across the floor to rest on a large chair next to me, a little slower than she would have normally but otherwise fine. I waited, expectant.
"I understand there was a bit of a problem last night between yourself and Professor Snape." I opened my mouth to explain, only to have her hold up a hand. "I'm not asking for an explanation. I think I understand what is going on, anyway."
"You do, Professor?"
She nodded. "I do. However, that is not why I am here today. I am here because, I feel, given the reaction from both yourself and Severus, that I should return to Hogwarts as acting Headmistress until the end of school year."
"Can you... can you do that Professor?"
She gave me a stern look. "I can do whatever I will, Granger."
I looked down, color rising in my cheeks. "I meant no disrespect, Professor McGonagall. I just meant... Are you well enough?"
She rubbed the top of her cane purposefully. "I believe I am. I also believe it would be worse for the school if I didn't. We've had too many Headmasters recently step down for odd reasons, and I'd like to stay at the school for the rest of the year."
Molly Weasley poked her head in. "Would you care for some tea, Minerva?"
She shook her head, though she smiled. "No Molly. I wasn't staying long. I only came to deliver the news to the young woman I felt should hear it personally."
She rose to leave, and I with her. For a few minutes, she studied me.
"You have been a favorite student of mine, Granger. I'm not sure if you know that. You are exceptionally bright, and as I said before, remind me not a little of how I was when I was a girl. Which is why I was rather stunned to hear you had been so overwrought about what happened. I had a few words with Potter before coming here, and I think I understand this situation better than most people; certainly better than Mark Turner did. I am interested, and pleased in my own way, to see a situation such as this unfolding, on both parties' behalf. Perhaps, tomorrow, you can see Professor Snape face to face, and work a little of this out. I'm sure, given his past, he'll want to wait until after you've graduated to come to terms with this predicament, and is probably having his own reservations about the whole thing that he's not admitting to anyone including himself. However, if anyone can be patient with him, it's you."
"Thank you Professor." I replied, feeling very confused. She nodded to me, then walked out the door.
Ginny came into the room after she'd left and sat down on the couch. "What's up?"
I sat down beside her. "I'm... not sure. She says she's going to be Headmistress until the end of the year, and she knows about me and Snape fighting."
"That... might have something to do with me." Ginny admitted.
I looked at her. "What do you mean?"
She twisted her fingers. "After you fell asleep, I went to the Headmaster's office, and yelled at Snape until I was blue in the face."
I gasped, but quickly turned into a laugh. "You did? What... why?"
She unclasped her hands. "Well obviously because he was acting like a prat, and I wanted to call him on it."
"But he's a teacher!"
"So? He's not my teacher." She shrugged her shoulders to my look. "I know about all that stuff that happened, with Harry's mom, with You-Know-Who killing her and Snape feeling bad, and all those years of being a double agent. I get it. I do. And it is a huge amount of stuff to deal with. But, he's had time. More time than we've had to deal with what happened to us. I had to go to school while he was Headmaster and watch my classmates get tortured by their friends in detention. My dad had to force himself to go to work knowing each day he had to choose between keeping us safe or sentencing innocent people. And I'm pretty sure I was the youngest person fighting in the war at Hogwarts who made it out alive. I hate that Snape acts like he has to stay away from everyone, like he had stuff he has to make up for, or like we won't get what he's been through. Sure, there are people who won't, and sure, there are people who probably never wanna see him again, even considering all the good he did. But, you and me, and Harry too, we are not those people. And he's got to stop treating us, you especially, like we are."
"When you put it like that, you make me wanna yell at him, too." I said, smiling at last.
She grinned. "Don't. Because I think I managed to talk some sense into him, and I wouldn't want you going off and yelling at him, making him think that all girls are crazy people who scream at him all the time."
"I don't think he'd think that but... yeah... I don't really want to yell at him. I think. I just... I really want him back, Ginny."
I looked at her strangely. "Of course as friends. What else could I mean?"
She looked past me. "Nothing. Pretend I didn't mention it." She got up and walked out of the room to go outside.
I watched her go, my mouth open and shaking my head. Finally I got up and started walking out of the room. "When did everybody go crazy?"