Sometime during Year Three…
The group of parents stood apprehensively just outside the main gate. Every once in a while, one of them would cast a glance at the looming bulk of the magnificent castle. Mostly, they just stared in awe at the looming bulk of Rubeus Hagrid, who had met them at the nearest Muggle train station to bring them here.
There had been a noticeable lack of response this year to the letters of notification sent to Muggle-born children. From follow-up visits, it had become clear that quite a few of the parents were understandably unsure about sending their children to an unknown boarding school, sight-unseen.
And so it was that Professor McGonagall, in her infinite wisdom, had arranged for a tour of the school. It stood to reason that once parents knew the magnificence of this venerated institution, they would have no further hesitation to entrust their children to its wonderful staff.
The gate opened and out bustled Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher.
"Well, hello everyone, and welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!" she said cheerfully. "We're so pleased to have you. My name is Professor Sprout, and the Deputy Headmistress asked me to be your tour guide today."
As Hagrid hastily disappeared around the back of the castle, Sprout led the parents up to the main entrance.
"Well, I hope to be able to give you a taste of what it will be like for your children here at Hogwarts. I will introduce you to some of the teachers, we will look in on some of the classes, and I hope that by the end of the day, you will leave with a good impression of our wonderful school."
She opened the door and led the parents into the Great Hall. 'Oohs' and 'aahs' echoed throughout the vast expanse of the hall as the parents took in the charmed ceiling and magical decorations.
"As you see, there are four student tables, one for each House. When your child arrives, he or she will be sorted into one of the Houses. Each of the Houses represents certain characteristics. Slytherins are mean and evil, Gryffindors are reckless and foolhardy, Ravenclaws are eggheaded geeks, and Hufflepuffs - well, who cares about the Hufflepuffs? The reason we have Houses is so that everyone has someone to hate. What would a school be without rivalries, right? Most everyone hates the Slytherins, who in turn hate the Gryffindors. It keeps things lively. Moving right along…"
Briskly, she shooed everyone down the stairs towards the dungeons.
"Your children will be instructed in every aspect of the magical arts. Core subjects include Charms, Transfiguration, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Potions. We will be taking a look into the Potions classroom in a minute, where a lesson is in progress. Our Potions master is Professor Snape. As I don't want to interrupt, I'll employ a Transducio Charm so we can observe without their notice. Transducio!"
The thick oaken door that shielded the entrance to the dungeon became transparent, and at the same time, parents started noticing sounds coming from within.
"…how many times do I have to tell you dunderheads to pay attention?" they heard a tall, bony man with greasy black hair hiss at a young boy whose lower lip was growing at an amazing rate. "Idiot child, could you not follow simple instructions? It clearly says here to stir three times counterclockwise, not clockwise." The boy looked frightened to death, and his by now foot-long lower lip was trembling alarmingly. "Take yourself off to the hospital wing," Snape snarled. "You will make up for your incompetence by handing in three feet of parchment on the properties of Night-Blooming Cereus by tomorrow, do I make myself clear?"
With a quick Finite, the door became opaque once more, and Professor Sprout motioned for the parents to follow her. "Better be going, wouldn't want him catching us eaves-dropping now, would we?" she said cheerfully.
"Is he always like that?" one of the parents asked with a shocked expression.
"Oh no, you should see him when he is in a bad mood," chuckled Sprout. "He really is an excellent teacher; those of his students who don't have nervous breakdowns pass their exams at an exceedingly high rate."
Climbing back up the stair, she pointed at a closed door on her right. "That is the office of our Defense Against the Dark Arts master. I would introduce you, but the poor dear is still sleeping after last night. The full moon is SO hard on werewolves." She tut-tutted as the murmuring parents followed her.
"Here we have the hospital wing. Since your children will spend such a large part of their Hogwarts experience here, we have tried to make it as comfortable as possible. Notice the lovely draperies. Madam Pomfrey, our matron, is most capable, and almost everyone leaves her right as rain." At that moment, the boy they had observed earlier arrived, his lip now trailing on the ground. "Well, we better be getting out of the way. Looks like Madam Pomfrey will be busy for a while."
As they rounded the corner of the corridor, the group almost ran smack into an old, white-haired wizard clad in a bright purple robe.
"Well, look who we have here, the Headmaster himself!" Professor Sprout exclaimed. "Professor Dumbledore, these are the parents of the Muggle-born children who were invited to Hogwarts for next term. Would you like to say a few words?"
The Headmaster's eyes lit up at that cue. "Oh, yes, of course. Bulbous bouffant. Mukluks. Plethora. Macadamia." He nodded magnanimously and twinkled as he swept past the parents.
"The most powerful wizard in Britain," Sprout said with a sigh of admiration as the parents, who had drawn together into a tight group, watched the retreating back of the Headmaster.
Walking down the corridor, she pointed to some doors on the left. "Those bathrooms are still out of service, I'm afraid. You wouldn't believe the plumbing problems we had last year! We first thought some girls were not properly disposing of their feminine hygiene products, but it turned out to be a basilisk. Hm? A basilisk? You know, one of those large serpent-like things that kill you if you make eye contact? It was a bit scary. Some of the students were petrified!" Sprout chortled at her own little pun. "Anyways, that's all taken care of, but the last girl the thing killed still haunts the toilet in there, so we tend to avoid it."
"Well, up you go, everyone." She opened the door to a tower staircase. "All the way to the top, please." Once there, they climbed up through a trapdoor into a hot, stuffy room. "This is Professor Sibyll Trelawney. She teaches Divination. Since this is her preparation period, I figured I could introduce you without interrupting anything."
The thin, glittering figure uncoiled itself from a poufy pink stool. "Welcome," she whispered in a mysterious voice. "The Fates have told me that you are the parents of magical children."
"Sibyll, didn't I send you a memo yesterday?" asked Sprout in surprise.
"Well, yes, yes," snapped Trelawney. Turning back to the parents, her voice took on the mysterious quality again, "I see… I see… " Her eyes widened. "I see death. You!" She dramatically pointed at a small, balding Muggle man at the center of the group. "Danger is lurking around the corner… the Grim Reaper is calling to you…"
"Oh really, Sibyll, this will not do at all." Sprout clucked disapprovingly as she herded the parents back down the stairs.
"Don't listen to her," she explained as they reached the bottom. "The poor dear is quite barmy. I would be surprised if she ever got a single prediction right in her life. If she predicted frost in Greenland in December, it would be bound to be a balmy 65 degrees that day." She shook her head.
"Why is she teaching Divination, then?" muttered one of the parents under her breath.
Professor Sprout stopped dead in her tracks and put her hands on her hips. "You know what? I don't have the faintest idea," she said in puzzlement.
"Well, never mind, let's run along. I would show you the Gryffindor common room, which is right around the corner, but the entrance is still being repaired after it got shredded by a murdering maniac last week. At least nothing was seriously damaged other than the Fat Lady's feelings. If you would follow me…"
One of the wide-eyed parents raised his hand cautiously. "Erm, I think we have seen quite enough, really. I think we are all ready to go."
"But we haven't…
"No, really, we must insist. We have taken up quite enough of your valuable time."
When it was clear that they were not changing their minds, Professor Sprout sent for Hagrid, and bid them farewell. Looking on disappointedly as they disappeared into the distance, she muttered sadly, "We didn't even make it out to the greenhouse. And I have such a wonderful crop of Venomous Tentacula growing…"
A/N : This started out as notes for a more serious piece, but it just didn't want to co-operate, LOL! So it ended up as a spoof. Dumbledore's "words" are from "Bulbous Bouffant" by the Vestibules.
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