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Headmistress McGonagall

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Headmistress McGonagall

Minerva had always enjoyed the summers in Scotland—warm, but not too warm, sunny, but not too sunny. And as headmistress, those summers were full of quiet stillness that would be gone the moment it was September 1 and the castle would be full of students once again.

 

She took a sip of tea as she admired the view from the second floor of the headmasters’ tower. She didn’t mind the school year—far from it, she thrived in the chaotic energy of it, and she always had. Molding the young minds of witches and wizards had been her life’s work. 

 

But the meeting with the aurors had weighed heavily on her mind. She couldn’t piece together why Harry would send representatives to the school instead of coming himself—unless of course, the investigation was so important and on-going that he was heavily involved in it himself. 

 

And that thought, perhaps more than all the others she’d had about the investigation, actually scared her. 

 

She had to put the thought out of her mind, at least for the moment. Stuart was coming to visit, finally moving back to Scotland, and she’d been looking forward to seeing him for months. She’d even asked the house elves to set out extra tea and biscuits. 

 

As his arrival drew closer, she began to wonder if she should have asked for more food to be brought up. She was just about to summon a house elf to discuss a menu when she heard someone approaching the door of her office. 

 

“It’s been too long, Stuart,” she said, smiling as she embraced him. “Come come, you must tell me how you’re getting settled in.”

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Professor McGonagall

"Aunt Minerva, it's so good to see you," Stuart greeted his great aunt, voice warm with sincere affection, and stooped to accept her embrace. He held her tightly for a moment, then pressed a kiss to her cheek and straightened back up. Shrugging off his coat, he turned to hang it by the door. "Too long by far," he agreed.

 

He took a deep breath and a moment to admire the office of the headmistress of Hogwarts. He'd read so many accounts of events that took place in this room during the struggles against Voldemort. How surreal that he should find himself here now, soon to be a professor, after wishing so fervently he could attend Hogwarts as a child. Unfortunately, it had still been in ruins when it was time for him to begin his magical education.

 

"Slow going," he answered. "I only arrived yesterday morning. Spent the whole day clearing the cottage of dust and spiderwebs only to find the beginnings of a bundimun infestation! Disgusting. Had to deal with that immediately, of course."  He grimaced and followed her to her desk, taking a seat across from her and snatching a biscuit from the tray. 

 

"David's coming to visit at the weekend. He's going to help plan some renovations to make the cottage more suitable for year round habitation. Will you join us for tea? I know he'd love to see you."

 

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Headmistress McGonagall

She eased herself down into her desk chair as Stuart took a moment to take in the surroundings of the headmasters' office. "There's still a good deal of Albus's book collection on the second floor," she added with a smile. She'd spent a great deal of time going through her old friend's books and notes. It was nice to feel close to him after he'd been gone for so many years. "If you wait long enough, you might be able to catch a glimpse of him in his portrait, but he never seems to stay very long." 

 

Not a lot had changed, apparently.

 

She poured herself a cup of tea as Stuart mentioned the infestations that had been waiting for him in the cottage. "That sounds dreadful," she shook her head at the idea. "But I imagine it will be lovely once everything has been dusted off. I always liked that cottage, and I imagine that it will feel more like home than the professors' quarters here." If she hadn't spent most of her adult life at the school, she might have considered living in the village as well. 

 

She took a sip of tea before setting the cup back down on its saucer at the mention of David. "Of course, I would love to. It's been a while since I've been able to see David." Coming out of retirement had definitely put a damper on her efforts to visit with family, and it had kept her at the castle when, on more than one occasion, she'd wanted nothing more than to decamp to Paris to visit her grand-nephew. "Is he going to be staying long?"

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Professor McGonagall

"Only a few days," said Stuart. He poured himself a cup of tea and added a splash of milk. "Long enough to help me out and then pop over to Edinburgh to check in on Claire before he goes back."

 

He took a sip of tea and sent a furtive glance at Dumbledore's empty frame before continuing. "Honestly, I think the both of them are just worried about me living alone, as if I'm not a perfectly capable adult! Just because... well," he trailed off, not really wanting to get into sensitive territory. "David knows I don't really need an architect for this. If Claire wasn't eight months pregnant, I expect she'd already be at the cottage fussing." He sighed, but his expression was soft. "They're good kids. The last few years have been hard on the three of us."

 

"Anyway, if I didn't need the space for them to visit, I'd be chuffed to bits to live in the castle, Auntie. You know I am so thrilled that you thought of me for this position. It would never have occurred to me to consider teaching, but as soon as you brought it up, it felt like exactly the right thing to do."

 

He paused and really looked at her. Yes, she'd aged, but she looked incredibly well and sharp for a centenarian. She was twice his age and he wasn't remotely worried about her running Hogwarts. And she was clearly capable of asking for help when she needed it, wasn't she? He hesitated for a moment longer, then decided to be direct.

 

"Would you like to talk about what's been going on? The French Ministry has been buzzing with rumors about the UK's being communities." He took another sip of tea, before setting down his teacup and settling back in the chair. "It did occur to me that you may have reasons other than familial affection for reaching out to me," he said with a wry smile.  

 

 

 

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Headmistress McGonagall

She frowned. "Of course," she said softly, reaching out to place a hand comfortingly on Stuart's forearm for a brief moment. "Well, I hope they will be able to visit often. Running Hogwarts keeps me here most of the year and it would be wonderful to see them. I can't believe Claire is due in a month." She shook her head--time seemed to have sped up immeasurably since she passed her 80s. It was as if each year was nothing more than a momentary blip. 

 

She smiled when Stuart mentioned the professorship. "You will be a wonderful teacher Stuart," she said warmly. She'd followed his work and his career, of course, and knew he would be a perfect fit for the job. "We need good professors, especially good professors in Defence Against the Dark Arts."

 

After all, she hadn't forgotten the stretch of years where no professor had been able to last in that position for more than a year. Every year, she'd hope it would be different, and then at the end of every year, there would be some reason--it never seemed to be the same one--why they would either leave or be forced out of the position. 

 

"And teaching, after all, runs in the family," she teased. 

 

Minerva paused when Stuart mentioned the rumors he'd heard at the French Ministry. She frowned as she shifted in her chair. "At the end of the last year, I was visited by two aurors. They wanted to warn me about a threat that's been on the radar of the auror office...The fact that Harry did not come himself troubles me." There weren't very many reasons she could think of for why Harry wouldn't pay her a visit if he had something important to discuss, except for the very obvious one.

 

He was too busy with the investigation.

 

Which would only mean that the unspecified danger that the two aurors mentioned was in fact very, very real. 

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Professor McGonagall

Stuart's expression grew serious. It was clear she was unsettled by whatever the aurors told her. Or failed to tell her. He was confused for a moment when she mentioned someone named Harry, but then quickly realized she meant Potter. Harry Potter. Because Aunt Minerva was someone who could just casually mention Harry Potter. This was, naturally, one reason among many why he'd held his great aunt in such high esteem as a young boy.

 

He shook his head slightly and refocused on the issue at hand. "I can see why that would that would concern you. Could it not be that...Harry-" noooo that did not feel right. He cleared his throat and re-started his thought. "Could it be that Potter did not visit you himself because the threat was not very serious? Can you share anything about what they told you?"

Edited by Professor McGonagall

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Headmistress McGonagall

"There's been a pen pal program in the papers for the last few weeks," Minerva said, folding her hands carefully. "Have you heard of it? It's called SNARLL, and it apparently is meant to link up werewolves who live in this Reserve with students at Hogwarts." She'd followed the matter closely since the aurors had told her about it, and it was beginning to increasingly worry her. 

 

"Of course, such a pen pal program obviously has a very laudable goal," Minerva sighed, thinking for a brief moment of the way that Remus was treated when he was a professor at the school. "Remus was one of our most capable Defence Against the Dark Arts professors, and we were unable to keep him on staff after his condition was revealed and parents complained. It would be good for students to learn a little more about people who are different from them."

 

Regardless, she was getting off track, and she took another breath. "They wanted me to discourage students from participating in the pen pal program. Said that it was dangerous, and they didn't elaborate much further than that."

 

She paused a moment to take a sip of tea, before she added, "You must have seen the papers, Stuart. That anonymous op-ed...if there's any truth to it, it would mean that this pen pal program is associated with the black market." Even though she'd had a very long life and seen many things, the link between this program and the black market was still shocking, unsavory, and troubling. 

 

"Potter," she said with a small smile, "is a very busy man. It's often difficult to get ahold of him, as you can imagine. It is possible that he didn't come because he didn't view it as serious enough, but it definitely troubles me all the same." She frowned at the thought.

 

"The Prophet was nothing more than a propaganda rag for so many years," she said with a sigh. "It's hard to take some of it seriously, but I suppose it would be difficult to know for sure without more information."

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