Author: Alchemine PM
Minerva writes to Mrs. Longbottom about Neville's choice of subjects. Spoilers for HBP.Rated: Fiction K - English - Minerva M. - Words: 779 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 2 - Published: 10-29-05 - id: 2639551
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Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Based on the scene in HBP in which McGonagall tells Neville to take Charms in spite of his grandmother.
Dear Mrs Longbottom,
I am writing in regard to Neville's timetable for this term --
Minerva brandished her wand over the parchment to erase it. That wouldn't do at all. It was far too formal and polite. She wanted Augusta to feel the full force of her annoyance, as surely as if Minerva were standing in front of her.
You were an insufferable girl, and age has not improved you in the slightest. Kindly go and stick your wand up your --
Tempting, ah, very tempting, but no. Albus gave her a great deal of freedom, but even he would have something to say about that, especially now, with so many of the old pureblooded families on the verge of withdrawing their children from school. He would not want Neville taken away, not when the boy was just beginning to prove his worth.
She waved her wand again, watching regretfully as the curly green letters vanished, and regarded the empty parchment with a furrowed brow. Augusta was among the most difficult of all the parents and guardians with whom she had to deal each year; the woman was as inflexible as the steel-reinforced corsets she probably still wore. Minerva knew quite well why Augusta did not want Neville to take a N.E.W.T. in Charms: Augusta's ideas about appropriate education for boys and girls had been informed by those of her own grandmother, who had been a relic not of the nineteenth century but the one preceding it. She could still remember Augusta going on and on about how unladylike it was for a girl to study fighting techniques, or to go zooming around on a broomstick in an indelicate manner, swinging bats at balls - the latter speech always delivered with a pointed look at Minerva in her Quidditch robes.
Augusta had thought Charms the perfect occupation for a proper young woman, and it had therefore been perfectly, deliciously appropriate when she had failed her O.W.L. in the subject. Minerva, who had never been above a bit of schadenfreude, had delighted in needling her about it at the time. She intended to do the same now.
I wouldn't be surprised if she thinks Neville will start wearing hair-ribbons and frilly petticoats if he has one too many Charms lessons, she thought, and bit a Ginger Newt savagely in two.
That, of course, was the heart of the problem. Augusta believed Charms was good for girls, and for little half-men like Filius, but she wanted her grandson to excel at hard-edged pursuits like his Auror father, not at - what had Neville called them? - 'soft options.' Never mind that Neville was a fine young man, as brave and honest as Frank had been, as devoted a friend as Alice. Not that Augusta had ever approved of Alice. She never said anything against Neville's mother; had been the picture of tenderness and care throughout her endless illness; but Minerva was sure Augusta thought Alice ought to have stayed out of a man's field. Ought, in fact, to have devoted herself to Charms -- preferably the housekeeping sort.
Dear Augusta, she began again, and then stopped, quill upraised. How could she tell Augusta everything about Neville in a letter? What written words could express how earnest Neville was, how much he wanted to do the right thing, even when he failed over and over and over? Clumsy, awkward, infuriating in his lack of confidence -- all those things Neville might be, but he was unshakably good at heart, and Augusta would be the poorer if she did not realize it. Therefore it was Minerva's job to make her realize it, even if she had to drill a hole in Augusta's hard head and stuff the knowledge in.
Minerva tapped the quill on the parchment for a moment, thinking, then wrote firmly beneath the salutation, Are you available for a meeting this week? You need not worry about coming to Hogwarts; I will come to you. Please respond as soon as possible with convenient days and times. Sincerely, Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
P.S. Do not contact Neville regarding this matter. He has done nothing wrong.