Whoops, missed the Wednesday update. :) Here we go!


9 October 1992

"Hello, Hagrid," said Minerva in a tone of mild surprise. She had nearly run into the gamekeeper as she rounded a corner near Albus's office.

"Oh," he said, sounding equally surprised. "Hello, Professor. How are yeh?"

"Fine, thank you," she smiled. "How are you?"

"Fine, fine," he replied cheerfully, waving an enormous hand and nearly knocking a torch from its bracket on the wall. "Bin dealin' with a fox, though," he told her. "Bin sneakin' inter the chicken coop. Killed a rooster this mornin'."

"I'm sorry to hear it," Minerva said.

"Ah, well," Hagrid shrugged. "I'll come up with summat to keep 'im away." He gave her a grin. "Bin a while since I seen yeh, Professor. Yeh look good!"

Minerva chuckled. "You're very kind, thank you. It's not nearly as stressful this year, is it?" she asked. "Without worrying about your Cerberus or—"

"Fluffy," Hagrid interjected.

"Yes, Fluffy," Minerva smiled. "I trust he's found a suitable home?"

"Mate o' mine in Greece agreed ter take 'im on," he replied. "I miss 'im, though. Reckon I'll go an' have a visit with 'im next summer. Oh, now, wait a mo'," he added, frowning suddenly. "There was somethin' I wanted ter tell yeh…tha's right—yeh know Ginny Weasley, don'cha? She's a Gryffindor, righ'?"

"Of course," Minerva said. "What about her?"

"Well, she's bin comin' ter see me a fair bit since September," Hagrid told her. "But I was thinkin', I don' reckon I've seen 'er makin' any friends her own age, yeh know? Maybe I'm jes' used ter her brothers, an' all, but I…" Hagrid trailed off suddenly, looking rather embarrassed. "Well, it was jes' somethin' I noticed. I dunno if yeh noticed anythin'…"

Minerva regarded Hagrid for a moment; occasionally, she forgot just how attached Hagrid was to the students—certainly as much as any teacher was, and nearly as much as he was to his vicious magical beasts. She was genuinely touched by the affection and concern in his voice, even if she thought that it wasn't entirely warranted.

"I can't say I have noticed, in particular—but that certainly doesn't mean that you're wrong. I'm sure you know that there are children who have a harder time adjusting to being away from home than others. I appreciate your telling me, Hagrid, I shall keep an eye on Miss Weasley. Please do tell me if you notice anything else, won't you?"

Hagrid grinned. "O' course, Professor," he said brightly.

"And don't hesitate to let me know if I can help you with the chicken coop, Hagrid," Minerva added, just as the end of lunch bell rang throughout the castle. "I must get to my lesson, but I shall see you later, I expect."

"See yeh, Professor!" he replied cheerily, before turning and stumping off down the corridor. Minerva, her mood brightened considerably on this rather gloomy, rainy afternoon, set off in the opposite direction and found a small knot of first years standing outside her classroom door. Seven or eight of them were all half-hugging, half-wrestling with each other as a fair-haired boy stood before them, a camera raised in front of his face.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Creevey," Minerva said loudly, coming up behind the boy who held the camera. "Have we or have we not spoken about your taking photographs in front of the portraits?" she asked, gesturing to a painting on the wall, the occupants of which were all crowding to one side of their frame, looking irritable as they tried to avoid being in the snapshot.

Colin lowered his camera and looked up at Minerva, his head tilted almost all the way backwards, he was so small, and gave her a very sheepish smile. "Sorry, Professor. Sorry," he added to the painting of a group of witches in nuns' clothing.

Minerva nodded and swept her arm towards her classroom door. "In you go, all of you. Miss Weasley," she said, frowning as Ginny Weasley rounded a corner at top speed and skidded to a halt at the end of the queue. "You're very nearly late," Minerva warned her.

"Sorry, Professor," Ginny replied, rather breathlessly, her eyes wide as she clutched her small black diary and a quill against her chest. "I was working and lost track of the time, I didn't hear the bell."

"Very well, in you go," Minerva said, shooing her in after the others.