A Paris Tradition

AN - thanks go to Nuala for providing information about the zoos of Paris.

Professor McGonagall was quiet for a long while as she mulled it over. It wasn't that she was against the idea at all - to the contrary, she thought it was excellent, and after all the Ministry had been after them for a decision for some time now. At any rate, even Dumbledore's third choice (a witch who had graduated six years ago, and who had been rubbish at Transfiguration, as she recalled) could hardly help being an improvement over the previous year's. His first choice, however, was a bit of a special case. Undeniably competent (after all, she'd had a hand in his education), a proven communicator, and certainly he was a pleasure to converse with. She couldn't help feeling, though, that this would be bound to cause trouble.

Finally, she spoke.

"Albus, you can't be serious."

"I assure you, Minerva, I am quite serious. Can you think of a single wizard who is better qualified?"

"The governors will have a collective aneurism." Privately, she wasn't at all opposed to the idea of half of the governing board of Hogwarts keeling over, but she felt she had to be the voice of reason. On the other hand, whenever Dumbledore's eyebrows tilted in quite that fashion, experience had taught her that reason was about to bend itself into entirely unreasonable chains of logic. Her suspicions were confirmed when Dumbledore reclined into his armchair and dismissed her protest with a wave of his hand.

"Nonsense. The 1912 adjustment to the Hogwarts Code very clearly states that 'any wizard who has demonstrated both practical competence and theoretical knowledge in the field to be taught is eligible to teach at Hogwarts'."

His deputy headmistress was perfectly aware of that, and (though she kept it to herself) was of the opinion that the eligibility requirements had already been stretched to admit a certain Divination professor. Not that Divination was a proper subject in any case. Still, though -

"Albus, you know perfectly well that that particular adjustment was made to allow Muggle-born wizards to teach at Hogwarts, not -"


"Well, yes."

"Hogwarts has never denied a job to anyone because of an illness, Minerva. I recall that when I was first Headmaster, the Herbology professor had a case of chronic Gastric Guffawing - kept breaking into belly laughs at the most inappropriate times. Terribly sad. Biscuit?"

"I somehow doubt," she said drily, accepting the most innocuous-looking item on the plate, "that the Board is going to view growing sharp teeth and claws once a month on the same footing as an occasional attack of the sillies."

"Lupin's disease is his own business. We already know he is quite capable of being discreet about it, and which precautions to take. We are fortunate to have an excellent Potions Master who is familiar with the recent advances in the relevant areas, and there is the," he chuckled, "Shrieking Shack. I really must find out which of the Hodsmeade residents gave it that name. I rather like it."

"Shrieking Shack aside, Albus, I shall assume I can take that to mean that the Board is not going to know."

"Precisely, my dear."

She reflected that Albus Dumbledore was possibly the only person in the world who could call her 'my dear' and not be immediately (if temporarily) transfigured into something unpleasant.

"There is one more thing, however. I don't know about you, but I personally have not seen the man since shortly after... since shortly after the Potters were killed. He could be anywhere."

The Headmaster did not answer this immediately, but rather rummaged through a pile of parchment on his desk and produced a Muggle newspaper, which he proffered to McGonagall with a flourish. She took it and turned it over once or twice before Dumbledore retrieved it and opened it to a page near the back. The article itself was tiny - one three-inch column - and tucked away next to a colourful advertisement for a Citroen sedan. She read it once, then again, and then reached for the most sugary-looking biscuit on the plate before speaking.

"This could be entirely unrelated. We have no way of knowing that he's in Paris. Besides... that article looks as if it could have been written by that ridiculous Skeeter woman. 'A Paris tradition', my foot. Werewolves are found everywhere. Any third year should know that. I wouldn't be surprised if Miss Granger already does!" She very much wanted to exclaim 'Muggles!' in exasperation, but refrained, choosing instead to take a sip of tea and reread the offending article a third time. She pursed her lips and spent some time tapping her fingers against the edge of her teacup, thinking. Finally she looked at him.

"Albus, are you sure?"

"Not a shadow of a doubt, Minerva. A little bird told me. And I have a feeling he possesses other qualities which could be useful this year."

Dumbledore had certainly never heard McGonagall use that particular word before. He wished her a quiet goodnight after agreeing to meet with her again the next day to discuss travel arrangements to Paris, and settled back into his armchair for a quick pre-bed snooze. The newspaper he left open on the desk, next to an empty cup of tea (thankfully free of any ominous omens) and some crumbs.

A Canadian Werewolf in Paris?

Paris - Zookeepers at the Zoo de Vincennes have noticed a marked change in behaviour among their collection of British Columbian Wolves, currently on a year-long loan from a breeding program in Vancouver, Canada.

The zoo staff has reported increased agitation and noise at the time of the full moon once a month, and cleaners have reported what seems to be blood spattered onto pen walls, with no apparent source. "We are currently analysing the substance... and our team of veterinarians are keeping a careful watch on the wolves," says Christophe Brodeur, the zoo's manager. "It's probably a result of the change in environment."

A change in environment? Perhaps. But this reporter remembers a classic movie... werewolves are a Paris tradition, after all!

The Zoo de Vincennes is open Mon-Sat from 10-6.