and the Professor's Perils
Spoilers:Order of the Phoenix, Sacrifices to be Made
Rating:PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
This story contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 13 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in, and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 13 read this story unattended. This story contains one or more of the following: intense violence, intense sexual situations, strong coarse language, or intensely suggestive dialogue.
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Without news from anything but the Muggle world for the last month, Harry breathed in a sigh of relief when they both Apparated outside the gates of Hogwarts. According to a letter addressed to him by Albus Dumbledore, Harry was to arrive no later than July 21, for a proper introduction and orientation to the role of full Professor by the Deputy Headmaster.
Harry brought with him his old school trunk with the Gryffindor emblem displayed proudly on the side, which was currently following him, floating only a few feet behind. He was surprised at how quiet the entire area was compared to the hustle and bustle of a normal school day.
He approached the front steps of the castle and noticed the large doors, that were normally closed, stood wide, letting the cool breeze of the mild summer day into the main halls. He stepped in and didn't find anyone mulling around. Although he wasn't expecting anybody to greet him, it was still kind of disappointing nonetheless.
Harry set up the marble staircase, turned down a corridor to Professor McGonagall's office and was pleasantly surprised to find her behind the desk with a vast amount of paperwork to keep her busy.
She looked up at the first sign of movement into her office. "Harry," she smiled, which in and of itself was somewhat strange. Minerva McGonagall was nothing if she wasn't prim and proper. "Wonderful to see you. How was your holiday?"
He motioned his trunk down by the outside of the door. "It was wonderful, Professor. Thank you."
She held a hand out to the seat in front of her desk. "Sit down, Harry, and we are past the student/teacher relationship. Please call me Minerva while we are not in front of the students."
Harry nodded, although he didn't think that would be possible, at least not so soon. "Yes, Ma'am."
Once he had taken a seat she handed over a heavy satchel; it was old leather and cracked in various places from use. "Inside you'll find all of the answers to any questions that you might have regarding your position as Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. Please give it a look over before asking any questions at the monthly staff meetings, you'll save yourself a lot of embarrassing situations."
She smiled at his address. "Minerva, Harry."
She shook her head in defeat. "I will show you your rooms presently. I assume that you and Hermione are still married?"
Harry laughed at that. "Yes, Ma'am."
She nodded. "Very good. This leads to my next question. Before quarters are assigned I would like to make a request of you."
He leaned forward in his chair, attentively, and McGonagall continued. "With my duties as Deputy Headmistress, Transfiguration teacher and Head of Gryffindor House ... well, the problem is ..."
Harry could see she was becoming quite uncomfortable. "Is something wrong Professor?"
She closed her eyes and sighed. "The night ... that woman sought to sack Hagrid, I was attacked with four stunners."
Harry remembered the night very well. His fifth year, during his Astronomy O.W.L. Delores Umbridge thought she would force the Half-Giant off the school grounds, possibly to Azkaban, and McGonagall had come to his rescue, much to her regret as the Inquisitorial Squad, consisting of Malfoy and his goons had attacked her without warning, resulting with her admittance to St. Mungo's for treatment and recuperation. She wasn't a spring chicken anymore and Hermione was even surprised that the attack hadn't killed her outright.
She nodded. "Needless to say, at my age, that is a little more than I was apparently prepared to take." She paused again. "It wasn't apparent to the student body, last year, but I have suffered some ill effects from that night, and as a result, have decided, with the headmaster's permission, to lighten my work load to relieve the amount of stress that has been accumulating."
Harry's eyes showed his concern.
"Oh, don't look at me that way, Potter. I'm in perfect health ... well for my age. But I will ask a favor of you."
He smiled at the use of his last name, it was almost like old times. "Yes, Ma'am."
"I want you to take over as Head of Gryffindor House."
Harry blinked. "Um ..."
"Your duties will be increased, of course. Your quarters will be near the entrance to the Gryffindor common room and you will have to be available to the students round the clock, writing letters to parents, counseling, and so forth."
He was still shocked and his face showed it.
"Well? Will you accept the position?"
"Um ... yes, Ma'am."
McGonagall visibly relaxed. "Thank you, Harry. It will make my job so much easier."
She stood up abruptly and smothed out her robes. "Grab a hold of your trunk, and I'll show you your new rooms."
They walked to the base of Gryffindor tower at the portrait of Nemore the Nog.
All of the towers have a much quicker access and are all keyed to the same password." She faced the portrait, "Blowing gum Poppers."
The portrait swung open revealing a set of stairs very similar to the headmaster's. They stepped on and were lifted in a spiraling pattern up to the seventh floor and exited from behind a large suit of armor that stepped back after they cleared. Harry noticed he was only a few steps away from the portrait of the Fat Lady, and across from the newly moved portrait of the Thin Lady.
"She's requested to guard your rooms, specifically, Harry."
"Hello," he greeted the Thin Lady.
"Good day, Professor Potter. I hope your holiday was satisfactory?"
"Yes it was, Thank you," he replied.
She nodded, "Would you care to change your password for the new session?"
Harry thought on it for the moment. "Um ... no thank you. I think last term's password is good."
"Very well, password, please."
He looked to McGonagall and smiled, "Snape's a git."
The Thin Lady grinned back. "Of course he is," and swung open to reveal his and Hermione's new rooms."
What greeted him was much like the rooms he had before as Assistant Professor, but much larger. The study clearly was twice it's size, but also contained a number of file cabinets labeled with: Years one through seven, Forms, Disciplines, Quidditch, Confiscated Items, and a sundry other miscellaneous titles.
"You will find detailed files on all of the Gryffindor's including the newest arrivals for Autumn term, as well as the necessary forms for different actions you are required to take as Head of House. Detailed record must be kept, Harry."
"In this drawer is information regarding past Quidditch playbooks, members, and assigned positions. You will be picking the new Captain so choose wisely. I may not be Head anymore, but that does not mean I will not be paying close attention to the goings on of my house."
Harry never realized how much responsibility McGonagall had until it was given to him.
"You will also need to peruse the library or Flourish & Blotts for the required textbooks to be assigned to your students. I expect a list on my desk no later than this Wednesday."
Again, he nodded.
"The Headmaster wishes your recommendation for Prefects and Head Girl and Boy as soon as possible."
His brow wrinkled. "I thought that he made those type of decisions?"
She nodded. "He does, but not without recommendations from each Head of House. I've never known him to ever go against our wishes for prefect assignments, and he always chooses from the list of recommended Head Boys and Girls. Keep in mind their duties and whether or not you think he or she will be able to handle the additional workload."
Harry had already knew who he was going to recommend and hoped that they were the proper choices.
"Let's see the rest of the rooms, shall we?"
There was one addition to their rooms that wasn't in his last set ... a living area furnished with an elegant couch, and two squashy armchairs sitting in front of a large fireplace which was currently not in use.
"Your fireplace is connected to the Floo Network for calls and transportation."
He noticed an empty bookshelf that he knew would be very full, very soon. Hermione had already began to accumulate a number of books with her access to their family vault.
"And in here are your bedrooms and private bath."
"Private?" asked Harry. "Hermione will love that."
McGonagall smiled. "I'm sure she will."
Harry marveled at just how nice everything was and counted it off as compensation for living at school during term.
"Any questions so far?"
He shook his head. "No, Ma'am. Thank you for showing me around."
"You are welcome, Harry. If you do require anything further, please call upon me." She headed out through the study and pushed open the portrait. "Oh, I've nearly forgotten. The Headmaster will want a meeting with you sometime today. The password is 'Whizbang' and please pay attention to the 'Important Details' parchment in your class satchel."
Harry looked down at his hand still clutching the heavy satchel and walked over to set it on his desk and looked over to his trunk. He pulled out his wand and said, "Locomotor Trunk!"
Steering it toward the bedroom he set it down and unpacked his, now vast, wardrobe to store away. He had, long ago, enchanted the trunk to hold much more than its dimensions and it took him most of the morning to place everything in it's proper room.
Once that was out of the way he stored the trunk and proceeded to his study to see exactly what McGonagall had left him in the mysterious weathered satchel. The clasp holding it closed was simple and non-magical, but the insides were anything but.
He removed stacks of parchment which contained sample and intricate lesson plans, schedules for meetings, classes, holidays, special events, etc. a number of very nice quills and blank parchment as well as spare bottles of ink.
He tacked the schedules on the corkboard behind the desk and separated the incidentals into their various places in and on the desk. He found the 'Important Details' list that McGonagall spoke of and noticed listings of his course books as well as the Prefect, Head Boy and Head Girl, recommendations at the top.
Hermione had already given him a list of the latest books as a recommendation, so he was already ahead of the game in that respect, and his course lessons were revised and prepared from last year. He would use those to submit for his classes, and after only a few minutes with a quill and blank piece of parchment he noted his recommendations for the positions he was required to make.
"That wasn't so hard," he noted.
He heard a tapping at his bedroom window and got up to find Hedwig sitting patiently on the sill. After letting her in and untying the letter from her leg he stepped aside.
"Hello, girl," said Harry as he smoothed back the feathers on her head. "is Hermione bored already?"
Hedwig nipped at his hand affectionately.
"I've set up your perch over there. Your treats are in the tray."
Hedwig noted where he pointed and blinked lovingly at him before swooping off to partake of some water and food.
It is extremely boring, here in France, without you and I have decided to take Dumbledore up on his offer and begin my research at Hogwarts. I should arrive by lunchtime instead of the end of the week as we had previously arranged. My shopping is mostly complete and anything else I need can be arranged through Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade.
I know it's only been a few hours, but I miss your body next to mine and cannot think of a reason not to be beside you at this exact moment.
With all my love,
He looked at his watch and noted the time. "She should be here in about an hour, Hedwig."
The snowy white owl blinked at him and then settled her head under her wing for some sleep.
"Well I guess I can get the meeting with Dumbledore over with."
He left the window to the bedroom open to freshen up the room and set off to the headmaster's office.