A/N: Sorry for the delay. Life is hectic! The prompt for this was "There Is No Need To Shout" from the If You Dare Challenge.
Thanks, as always, to everyone reading and reviewing.
In front of Serena, where the cat had been sitting a moment before, stood a tall witch, with now grey hair – though it had been black when they had first met – emerald green robes and square rimmed spectacles. She seemed to have thought better of wearing her usual pointed hat in the presence of Muggles, though. It was just as well; Serena feared Hanssen might have died at the sight of Professor Minerva McGonagall had she not abandoned her hat.
Minerva drew her wand and waved it at the door, and Serena heard the lock click shut. "Serena McKinnie," Minerva addressed her.
"C-Campbell," stammered Serena. She was actually quite nervous; seeing the cat had been one thing, but to see the woman who taught her Transfiguration standing in the staff room of her workplace was another matter entirely. "I got married. To Edward Campbell. And divorced," she added as an afterthought. She did not wish Minerva, who was so disdainful of stupidity, to be led to believe Serena remained married to Edward. However, she thought better of telling her about their brief reconciliation.
Minerva looked much older than Serena remembered her; she had to be in her eighties by now. But she still held that demeanour that warned Serena against infuriating her. "I don't mean to be rude, Professor," Serena said, her voice stronger and more sure now, "but what in Merlin's name are you doing on my ward?"
"Your ward, Serena?" Minerva raised an eyebrow at her.
"Yes, my ward."
"I see," the Professor said. "Are all surgeons so territorial?"
"They are when they deal with the crap I deal with every day," Serena answered. "Now, why are you here?"
Minerva sat down on the bench in the middle of the room, and gestured for Serena to do the same. Serena, distrustful of Minerva's intentions due to her unannounced and chaotic appearance here, remained on her feet, wish desperately that she had not left her wand locked in a box in her wardrobe for the past thirty years. Not that she would have a hope in hell of winning a duel with Minerva, but she would have a better chance if she was actually armed.
Minerva, clearly impatient with Serena's mistrust, sighed and rolled her eyes to the ceiling and back down. "I'm retiring at the end of this school year, Serena," she informed her. "But there is a branch of Muggle Studies I would like to introduce to the school before the end of my tenure."
"I am not moving up to Scotland and living at Hogwarts," Serena instantly dismissed the idea.
Minerva raised her eyebrows again, and remarked, "Did I say anything about living at Hogwarts?" Serena allowed her that one, grudgingly. "Though we do need a new head of Slytherin House too. Horace Slughorn is getting so old that the students are running rings around him every day."
"You're still letting him teach?!" Serena exclaimed. "He has to be kicking a hundred by now! And I thought Severus was the head of Slytherin, anyway."
"Hence why he shall be retiring at the end of the school year." Minerva's eyes were unusually bright as she surveyed the doctor in front of her. "Serena, how much do you know about the Second War?"
"Just that Voldemort was defeated," Serena said simply. Unlike many others Serena had never had an issue with uttering the Dark Lord's name. He was a bit of a psychopath, granted, and he was dangerous, but his name was just a name. How much more could there be to the matter? "I was eight months pregnant when rumours started flying after the Triwizard Tournament. Naturally I took my husband and my baby and took them away from it all. I'd lived outside the magical world since I left school. I wasn't about to go headlong back into that world only to get stuck in the middle of a war, while I had a baby to look after."
Minerva's gaze dug into her again, before she finally gave her reply. "Severus is dead, Serena. So are Albus Dumbledore, Peter Pettigrew, Remus Lupin, Sirius and Regulus Black, Mad-Eye Moody, Bellatrix Lestrange…all dead."
"I already knew about Pettigrew. Black killed him," Serena reminded Minerva, who instantly shook her head.
"No," she answered firmly. "Sirius Black didn't betray the Potters either. It was Pettigrew. It was Pettigrew who killed all those Muggles, and cut off his finger and fled, to make everyone conclude he had been killed in the explosion."
Serena stood there with her mouth open for a moment; when she eventually regained the power of speech, she said, "So the war got a bit out of hand, I gather?"
Though she was determined to hide it, the news that the people she had gone to school with, or whose family members she had gone to school with, were all dead shook her. "What about Oliver? Oliver Le Marquand?"
Minerva hesitated, causing Serena's heart to thump horrifically. He had been her best friend for years; only when she had left the wizarding world for good, at the start of the second war, had she completely left him behind. She had suffered one war and it had almost got her killed. She had been in medical school and in the magical world, working tirelessly in two worlds at the same time. It was a wonder she ever managed to qualify as a doctor, the number of Unforgivable Curses Bellatrix Lestrange and her husband and brother-in-law had fired at her, in the summer holidays, when she was under age and shouldn't have been duelling in the first place. The only reason she got away with it was because the Death Eaters almost killed her every time it happened, and it always happened well away from any Muggles anyway. There was something about her double life in the Muggle world that enraged Bellatrix. From the time she was fourteen, Bellatrix had sought her out every summer, and duelled her almost to death.
"Oliver Le Marquand is in St. Mungo's. Funnily enough, he was taken here to this very ward by Muggles who didn't know any better. Remus Lupin came and got him back to our world," Minerva explained. Serena narrowed her eyes, silently demanding an explanation. Minerva sighed. "In 1997, when He Who Must Not Be Named's Death Eaters came into the open, they attempted to recruit Oliver on the basis that he was a through and through Slytherin."
"Oliver would never join the Death Eaters," snarled Serena; the very thought boiled her blood. "He always said they were lunatics."
Minerva glared at Serena for her interruption, before continuing, "He refused them. Repeatedly. He was close to the Order of the Phoenix, though not a member; he wanted to keep his family safe. But when Bellatrix Lestrange and Antonin Dolohov deduced as much, they hunted Oliver down. They tortured and murdered his wife and daughters before his very eyes, and then they tortured him. He fought them when they first attempted to harm his family, so they bound him. He was found two days later."
Serena's hand found the railing over the bench in the centre of the room; she had never doubted that Oliver would come through that second war unscathed. She knew he was charming and sly, a Slytherin to the core, though he passionately despised the Dark Arts. He was more than capable of eluding Voldemort and his lunatic following – or so she had believed. "Why has he been kept in St. Mungo's?"
Minerva sighed yet again. "He has what, in Muggle medicine, would be described as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as severe depression. He cannot live alone without being a danger to himself, and there is nobody in his family left to take care of him."
Serena's first instinct was to say she would take him. That she would be Oliver's keeper. But she couldn't; hadn't she learned that lesson already, with her mother? It didn't work that way, as much as Serena might want it to. Life was harder than that. Drawing people close didn't work if they were already where they needed to be. But that did not mean she could not visit him, rebuild their friendship.
The Professor seemed to realise the effect she was having on her former student, and so diverted the topic of conversation back to the original one. "Serena, I would like it very much if you would teach at Hogwarts for one day per week. I want students to study certain branches of Muggle medicine – for instance, how to clear a person's airway without magic. There is a certain point that I find we rely too much on magic, and it was made all too clear to me during the second war. Of course, I would also like you to teach magical medicine, too. A mixture of both is what they need to know."
Serena, stunned, could only say, "I have a job here. I can't abandon it one day a week."
But even as she said it, she marvelled at the idea of teaching Muggle medical techniques at Hogwarts. She relished in the idea of instructing them on how they could survive a crisis without magic. On the other hand, Serena hadn't touched her wand since 1995. She and Edward had given that life up when news broke of Voldemort's return to power; the Ministry of Magic might have tried to tell the world that Lily and James' son was a liar, but even Edward wasn't stupid enough to believe that.
"What about a Time-Tur-"
"I am not messing around with time," interrupted Serena. "I have a daughter and a nephew to consider here as well."
Somehow, she knew she wanted to return. It was time. It was safe, and Ellie and Jason would be safe if she ventured into the wizarding world now. She wasn't endangering her family if she accepted this offer. However, she could not simply ask Henrik Hanssen for a day a week off.
How did Minerva expect this to work? Seriously? She had left the wizarding world for a reason, and it wasn't just be drawn back in twenty years later. "You come in here," Serena said, finding her temper and voice were rising, "after years and years, to ask me to go back to Hogwarts to teach? To disrupt my life, my colleagues' lives, my daughter and nephew's lives, to teach teenage brats how to do the bloody Heimlich manoeuvre?!" she yelled, finally losing her rag. "Do you realise I've not done any magic whatsoever since 1995?! I barely even remember how to Stun someone, never mind save their life!"
"That is not why you are upset," Minerva sternly told her. "And there is no need whatsoever for you to shout."
How could Serena have forgotten the infuriatingly strict calm about this woman? It had, after all, driven her mad for seven years straight. All the same, though, as Serena took a breath and calmed her wildly loose temper, she realised Minerva was right. The proposition – for that was all this was – did not cause that outburst. The fact that Oliver Le Marquand, a boy with whom she had grown up, with whom she had become best friends, who warned her against marrying Edward but did not force the issue, who stood by her side in every fight he could, was lying alone in St. Mungo's...that was what bothered her.
There was a knock at the door, and she heard the familiar voice of Henrik Hanssen from the other side. "Is everything alright, Ms. Campbell?" he called through to her.
"We heard shouting!" added Bernie Wolfe.
"Unlock the door, please," Henrik asked of her.
Serena turned and raised an eyebrow at Minerva, who was the only person in the vicinity capable of unlocking the door she had charmed to seal, since Serena was wandless. "I'd do as he says, if I were you," she advised.
Minerva silently took out her wand and waved it, wordlessly unlocking the door, the lock clicking open. The door opened, and there stood Henrik Hanssen and Bernie Wolfe, who, when their eyes fell upon Minerva McGonagall, wore dumbfounded expressions. "But Cara said there was cat," Bernie protested. "The door's been locked...how on Earth..."
Serena met Henrik's eyes and knew she had to come clean. He was the last person who was likely to lose his head when faced with the impossible, after all, and silence was his speciality. With a step into the staff room, he gently but firmly said, "I think we ought to move this conversation to my office."
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