Disclaimer: I own little to nothing of what it is named/referred to and am making even less from it.
Albus Dumbledore looked up as Severus crashed back through the door to his office, which he had only left around an hour ago.
"I thought you were going to be going to bed?" He said, taking off his glasses and folding his hands on the top of his desk.
"When was the last time you saw Minerva?" He asked, his breathing suggesting that he had been hasty on his journey.
"Severus it's," he checked his watch "almost four in the morning. I haven't seen her in quite some time."
"But when did you see her last?"
"At dinner I suppose, is there something you want to tell me?"
"Did she mention anything about an accident?" He asked.
"She did mention she'd had a bit of a problem with young Mr Malfoy but…"
"And you didn't think to ask if she'd been checked over by Poppy?!"
"Why would she need to…?" Albus really wasn't quite sure what it was that Severus was suggesting until he pulled the logbook out from behind his back.
The book had been in existence for a long time, though it's accuracy and reliability had been improved dramatically of late. Its function was basically to log any misadventures that occurred in the Potions classroom, no matter who was teaching at the time.
The latest inscription provided a rough list of ingredients that had been involved and showed a map of who had been where in the classroom when the liquid had, well…in this case, exploded out of the cauldron. It was fairly plain to see that when the deputy Headmistress had been covering this particular class, she had been the one who had caught the liquid in the face so to speak.
"Oh." Was all he could bring himself to say. "Do you know what it was that…" He continued a moment later as he perused the contents of what it was that Minerva had been doused in.
"That depends entirely on what order and to what proportion they went in." Came the terse reply.
"She seemed fine this evening."
"Well she's not answering her door now." This grabbed his attention. He of all people knew how lightly Minerva slept, especially when she was on her own.
"And you think this…"
"I really don't know but I spoke to Poppy and she certainly hasn't seen hide nor hair of her since it happened." Albus was on his way towards the door already. "I would have unlocked the door myself but I wanted to make certain she wasn't with you…" The other man continued as they both strode down the halls.
They reached the familiar tapestry quickly and he didn't even think before he pulled it back and muttered the password, 'fàilte'. As the door swung open he stepped apprehensively into the living room before him.
The room was bathed in moonlight, the curtains not having been drawn, and it didn't take long for Albus to establish nothing major was out of place.
"Minerva?" He called, as he made for the bedroom door aware almost subconsciously that Severus was fallowing. The drapes had been drawn in this room, but even in the dark he could see the bed was empty.
"Minerva?" He tried again a little louder. "Can you hear me Min?" His anxiety was rising as he searched the bathroom. He knew that unknown potions were an unknown danger.
She could have been anywhere, there could be something seriously wrong and he hadn't a clue where he ought to look for her next.
"And I always thought that she was more of the negligee type." Severus said with a smirk as he held up the bottom half of Minerva's maroon silk pyjama set. Albus frowned even though he realised that the other man was only trying to lighten the mood.
In a flash of inspiration he cast a simple departure spell designed to let the caster know when the last person had left the area. Specifying the whole of her quarters with the flick of a hand, he stood and waited a moment for the result to appear. The wispy clock that materialised in the air quickly ran backwards an entire rotation and kept going before it came to a halt at a little after seven-thirty.
"I don't understand…" Albus said quietly. "If she hasn't left since yesterday morning then…"
"She hasn't left at all." The other man inserted. "Minerva!" He sounded more irritated than anything but something moving over by the window caught his attention before he could say anything. A head was peaking out from the floor length drapes, but this head was only two or three feet from the ground.
"Athair!?" She called glancing towards the door and then back at Severus. Albus sat down heavily on the bed.
"Come out of there." Severus said, doing an impressive job of covering any surprise he felt at finding a child at least seven or eight years too young to be Hogwarts. The girl however made no move to follow his instructions. "Come Out!" Severus repeated a lightly more forcefully.
"If that is Minerva, Severus, she probably doesn't understand you." He said, stalling the other man.
"What do you mean she doesn't understand me? She certainly looks old enough to…"
"She doesn't understand English, Severus." He closed his eyes and thought for a minute before actually speaking.
"Cad is ainm duit?" She looked at him curiously but didn't seem to understand. Well he hadn't really expected her to understand the Irish, but it had given him a chance to mull over his even rustier Scottish Gaelic. "Dè an t-aimn a th' oirbh?" At this, her face lit up momentarily before the serious mask fell back in place.
"Is mise Minerva Anna McGonagall." The singsong accent that had toned down over the years and that Minerva typically suppressed impressively was in presence in its fullest form.
"Is mise Albus. Agus seo Severus." He said pointing at himself and then at the other man as he started panicking a little about how little of the Scottish form of the language he actually knew.
"Would you care to explain to me exactly what's going on Albus?"
"Her mother died in childbirth, her father became something of a recluse, and only spoke Gaelic after that so until she went to the local muggle primary school I suspect she didn't ever hear anything else."
"Càite a bheil m'athair?" She asked finally coming out from behind the velvet curtain. Severus ran a hand through his hair.
"So what you're saying is that not only do we have a three year old transfigurations professor, but that she doesn't even speak the language?!" Severus drawled sarcastically. He let his hand fall and was obviously about to say something else but before he could, the girl latched onto his arm.
Severus looked down to see that the little girl that they were assuming was Minerva was now holding onto his hand. Why she had chosen to attach herself to him he didn't know, but had no time to ponder on it as Albus seemed to feel the need to object to his last statement.
"Neither of those are her fault are they?!" The older man's anger had flared spectacularly in a fashion that the Potion's Master knew was unlike him. But then again he also knew that the other man was probably deeply upset and worried by what it was that appeared to happen. He felt the little hand tighten around his fingers at the outburst but there was no other recognisable signs of fright visible.
"Perhaps." He conceded. "But now is neither the time nor the place for that discussion. I think we had better let Poppy take a look at this little lady though. No?" Albus nodded and stood up.
Looking down Severus saw that this little girl, drowning in the pyjama top that matched the bottoms he had found earlier, was chewing on the end of her braid. It was a habit that Severus was particularly disapproving of, and so it was second nature for him to say so.
"Don't do that." She looked up at him and frowned. Crouching down he looked her in the eye and pulled the hair forcefully from her mouth.
"No." He said adamantly, shaking his head from side to side hoping that she would get the jist. She looked at him again and then back at her hair but made no move to return it to her mouth. She did however wrap her arms around his neck. Not sure quite what he ought to do, he tried to straighten back up and out of her reach but all this achieved was to allow her to attach herself to him with her legs as well.
Albus was chuckling now. Severus was not impressed though; if the child was old enough to walk, which it seemed clear she was, she should be doing just that.
"Come on Severus, it's late and this is bound to be a frightening experience for her. In any case the Hospital wing is a long way away for such little legs." He got the feeling that this was the start of a long and slippery slope but in all honesty, at the moment it seemed likely to be more hassle trying to pry her away than to just carry her there himself.
A/N: These are just rough translations of the Gaelic, I kinda intend it so that most of what's said will be fairly obvious as the story continues but in the mean time….
Athair – father
Dè an t-aimn a th' oirbh? – What is your name?
Is mise Albus. Agus seo Severus – My name is Albus. And this is Severus
Càite a bheil m'athair? - Where is my father?
Oh and huge big hugs to M and laQ for their help grin