Dumblebee or The Headmaster's Day

Dumbledore laid down the ballpoint quill that he was so fond of, and set aside the thick ream of parchment he had been attending to. The role of a headmaster was full of thankless administrative tasks, he thought. The thing that made it all bearable was watching over his castle full of students and teachers.

Albus Dumbledore was a lover of people, with all their quirks and idiosyncrasies. He found that, almost everything important to know in life could be learned by watching people. So, as he did every day at this time, (unless pressed by other matters) Albus Dumbledore pushed back his chair, crossed the room, locked his door, and then transfigured himself into a bumblebee.

The Ministry of Magic had carefully recorded and logged all known Animagi for the past 100 years. There were precious few wizards able to make a transformation into another species. The Ministry was hampered in its registration efforts because some of those who were able to transform, were also reluctant to report it. What good, after all, was such a disguise if everyone would know and recognize you? 'Bureaucratic drivel,' thought Dumbledore. He himself was unregistered because he had discovered this talent at age 15, more than 135 years ago. 'Ah well,' he thought, 'let's see what's happening today at Hogwarts'.

Flying was a great joy, and Dumbledore had become quite good at it over the many years since his first transformation. He had learned to stay completely out of the reach of humans to avoid becoming a nasty splat on the bottom of someone's shoe. He found that his hearing was very acute while in his Animagi form. It helped him keep his distance from would be attackers. He turned several great, buzzing loops in midair to loosen up his wings and then, zoomed off through a convenient crack in the wall, to check up on his charges.

Flying down the hall, over the heads of the students who were passing between classes, was always a good way to find out if mischief was afoot. Although Dumbledore was quite a fan of a good practical joke, or even very silly pranks, there were limits.

Rounding a corner, he spotted two small Ravenclaw boys, first years, obviously laying in wait for someone. Dumbledore spotted Uriah Nott, a third year Slytherin and a know bully, coming down the hall. The firsties had their wands out, and an open spell book lay behind them on the floor. Dumbledore dipped low enough to see the potential spell. 'Yes, the Jelly Legs Jinx, always a favorite,' he mused. He had seen many such dramas play out in his years as headmaster. It was his experience that letting the students try, whether they succeeded or failed, was often more instructive for them than if he intervened and stopped the prank. Madam Pomfrey was quite adept at sorting out these rudimentary spells and charms.

Uriah Nott passed by, but the firsties had lost their nerve. They looked dismally at each other.

"You didn't curse him," said the first.

"Well neither did you" said the second. "We'll have to try again later, ok? I mean he shouldn't be able to just ruin my books on purpose, like he did."

Last year, Dumbledore had let the Weasley twins get away with an extraordinary number of pranks designed to infuriate Delores Umbridge. Dumbledore had to snigger each time he thought of the third floor swamp and the Filibuster fireworks. He certainly could have prevented all that, but Umbridge had to be removed, and those distractions hastened the process. It had also kept Dumbledore from having to reveal all of his talents to the Ministry. 'The Weasley twins, now they were amazing' he thought.

Dumbledore flew off, away from the first years, and their difficulties. He buzzed into Professor Flitwick's classroom. Flitwick was a marvel. He was easily one of the best teachers at Hogwarts. The students universally liked him. Dumbledore thought it was because Flitwick really cared that they succeed, and looked past everything else. He was also fair. Right now he was struggling with a large box of padlocks. Susan Bones had just entered the classroom and immediately went to Flitwick's aid with a 'can I help you, Professor?' As other students filed in Susan passed out the locks, while Flitwick levitated the keys at the front of the room.

"Welcome class" said Flitwick, "today we will be working locks, that is to say, locking and unlocking them with magic..."

Flitwick did not need any help from Dumbledore and he again zoomed off. Down the corridor and around the corner, there was the sound of sobbing coming from the girls' bathroom. Dumbledore slipped in around the doorframe and sat there so as to avoid seeing anything he should not. He observed Elsa Bell, a Hufflepuff, crying in the corner. He had observed this same girl crying in the bathroom yesterday. Time for some action, he thought. Out through the doorframe, and into Professor McGonagall's classroom next door, he zoomed. He flew across the ceiling and dived down near Minerva's ear. He could still use his Legilmens skill in his transfigured form, and he was capable to putting a small thought into someone's head if he needed to.

Minerva looked up suddenly and walked toward the door. "I'll be back in a moment class, please continue with your reading," said McGonagall. "No funny business while I'm gone," she said sharply.

'Very efficient woman,' thought Dumbledore as he watched her go out the door and into the bathroom. Soon she emerged with her arm around Elsa and was patting her in a comforting way. 'Situation under control,' he thought, and he was off again.

Now Dumbledore whizzed down the stairs toward the dungeon, taking a brief turn through the kitchen. The elves were happily rushing about, preparing the dinner. Winky was still obviously depressed. He didn't know what to do to cheer her up. He would have to give it some thought.

Then he zipped down to Professor Snape's classroom. When Snape's door was shut, he could not gain entry, so he flew along the hall and around a corner to the rear entrance of Snape's office. There was a crack in the door, near the lock that would let him through. Snape's office always smelled of some noxious potion or other. Dumbledore circled the desk. An owl message about a shipment of wormwood lay open on top. Underneath was the start of a letter to Mr. Borkin, who ran a small curiosity shop in Knockturn Alley. Dumbledore could not make out much as the other letter covered it. 'Best check into this some more, later' he thought.

He flew up the sill of the door to the classroom, and squeezed through. He crawled to the corner of the frame and watched. Severus was such a talented potions maker. Too bad he was in his normal, caustic mood. Clearly the students were afraid of him but he turned out consistently high marks in his NEWT level students. He was in the process of berating Neville Longbottom at this moment. Neville's potion did not look nearly as bad as Snape was making out. At that moment, however, Pansy Parkinson's cauldron erupted sending a messy sludge into the air, which hit Snape in the back of the head. During the yelling and cleanup that followed, Snape forgot about Neville.

Dumbledore crept back out and looped through Snape's office and out the door. As he flew back toward the stairs, he caught site of two sixth years snogging in a dark corner. He zoomed around their heads causing them to break apart and swat at the air. He continued to tease them until they finally left off and started walking back toward the main hallway. Dumbledore shook his bee head, "young love" he sighed.

All seemed to be well around the castle. He decided to whiz over to Herbology and then back to his office. Out the front door and across the grassy lawn he flitted. A hole in the green house roof was his entry point. Harry Potter was in this class along with Ron Weasley. The class was nosily trimming some leggy chamomile plants. Dumbledore landed upside down on the ceiling above Harry and Ron.

"...so I tried that flip turn thing on my Firebolt, but I can't see how it would help me during a match," Harry was saying.

"I saw it in Quidditch weekly..."began Ron.

Dumbledore rose and set off up through the hole of the roof and into the crisp fall air. Up he floated on an air current until he was near his office window. He wiggled in through a small opening and transformed back into himself. He unlocked the door and took his seat. Twenty minutes later, there was a knock. "Come in," said Dumbledore.

Professor McGonagall stepped in holding the two first years Dumbledore had seen in the hallway. She had each one by the scruff of their collar. "These two idiots tried to jinx Uriah Nott in the hallway between classes," stated McGonagall with her usual flair.

He gave them a hard searching look. They were quite frightened. "I think, Professor, you will find that Uriah Nott was equally as much a culprit as these two young fellows here. One night of detention for our young Ravenclaws would be sufficient punishment, don't you think?" he smiled. "Then, please bring Mr. Nott to me as I think a sterner punishment will be required for him." McGonagall got that quizzical look that said, 'how do you know these things?' But, she said nothing, as she steered the relieved firsties from the office. As she reached the door, Dumbledore called her back. He leaned across his desk and in a lowered voice said, "By the way, I think Miss Bell, I believe they call her Elsa, is a tad homesick. I think we might send her to her parents, by floo network for a weekend visit. I'm sure that will set her right." Minerva McGonagall just smiled and nodded in appreciation.