Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Merlin!
Of Portraits and Birds
It was the summer of 1956, and Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was just sitting down behind his new headmaster's desk, when he heard a knock.
"Hello? Come in!" he called, thinking it was from the door, but there was no response. He frowned, looking around to see if it came perhaps from the portraits chattering on the walls. Knock knock knock. Shushing the portraits, he spun around and discovered a bird carrying a letter, tapping a window gently with its beak. Odd, he thought to himself. It's not an owl...
He hurried over to open the small tower window. The bird was in fact a small falcon with a light brown speckled underbelly and claws that were not very comfortable when latched on to his arm. After the bird had invited itself in to bruise his appendages, it promptly stuck out its leg, to which the note was tied. Somehow managing to extract the letter with only one arm, then convincing the bird to perch next to Fawkes, the headmaster was finally able to open the letter.
Professor Albus Dumbledore,
I was very pleased to hear that you have been chosen to be the new Hogwarts headmaster. I always thought you would be a good man for the job.
You don't know me yet, but I would love to meet you personally. Could I come by for tea, tomorrow perhaps? You can send your reply with the bird, he'll know where to find me. And if you're not sure if you can trust me, just ask the portraits. They know who I am.
After reading the note over several times and finally deciding that no more insight could be gleaned from it, he turned to the portraits that had started chattering once more.
"Do you think it's from him?... and on his first day too!... It's got to be him, see the bird?... he must really like Dumbledore... it was a few months before I got my letter..." Previous headmasters whispered excitedly from around the room, all except for one Phineas Nigellus, who wore an irritated frown. Before Dumbledore could ask it himself, Phineas shouted the question that was foremost in the headmasters mind. "What on earth are you all going on about?"
The whispers died down at once.
"Ohh that's right, he never came when you were in, did he..." came a sympathetic murmur from Dilys Derwent's portrait.
"And you weren't in your portrait when he visited me," added Armando Dippet.
"Would anybody mind telling me what is going on?" Dumbledore interrupted.
"Oh, I'm afraid he'll have to tell you himself when he comes. Better invite him sooner rather than later, too." said Eupraxia Mole.
"He's quite trustworthy. You're very lucky that he sent you a letter so soon..." said Vindictus Viridian, who had been Headmaster a whole year before receiving his mysterious letter.
The portraits continued to gossip, but Dumbledore ignored them as he stared at the note, then turned it over and wrote on the back,
From what they say, I would be honored. Tea at 3pm tomorrow, my office?
After reattaching the note (with some pain and difficulty) to the bird and sending it out the window, he returned to his desk. Life as headmaster was turning out to be quite interesting.
Life as headmaster was exhausting. The portraits and their incessant gossip was beginning to drive him mad. At five minutes to three o'clock in the afternoon, on his second day as headmaster, Albus Dumbledore sat at his desk once more, tea pot full and glasses set out neatly, and tried in vain to tune out the infuriating paintings. Before yesterday, the talking paintings of his world had seemed quite charming, as they lined the walls and staircases of his lovely home at Hogwarts. But that was before he had an office full of them. And they wouldn't. Stop. Talking.
Four minutes to three.
Dumbledore looked outside to see if perhaps his guest was coming up the main path to Hogwarts. Nothing.
Three minutes to three.
"You all will at least be quiet when I have guests, right?" he said to the nearest painting that would listen, Fytherley Undercliffe.
"Hmm? Oh yes, of course," Fytherly muttered, promptly turning back to his conversation with Edessa Sakndenberg.
Dumbledore tapped the teapot with his wand to warm it back up.
He should be here by now, right?
At exactly three o'clock, when the professor's clock had sounded its third chime, there was a loud pop, and all of a sudden, a tallish, dark haired, young man had appeared before the startled professor. True to their word, the portraits were actually silent.
"Ah, you must be Professor Dumbledore!" the man, no, boy, said with a wide smile, holding out a hand to shake. Dumbledore just stared dumbfounded at the person before him. And it is rather hard to make Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore speechless.
"B- but... what ... how...?" he stuttered, staring at his grinning guest.
"It's very nice to meet you, sir. And I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Merlin... you might have heard of me."
Something clicked in Dumbledore's head, and he smiled.
"Ah, yes, well, that would explain the bird."
A/N: I did this for the bbcmerlinfest on tumblr. (I hope it was enough Merlin and not too much about portraits. :/ ) For now, just a one shot, but i do have one more chapter in mind, if people want me to continue... And yay, my first (posted) fanfic!