Disclaimer: All people, places, and magical items belonging to the realm of Harry Potter do not belong to me. They are owned by the fabulous J.K. Rowling. I am not making money off this story.
Disclaimer 2: Individuals included in this story such as Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, etc., may be considered out of character.
Disclaimer 3: No persons or magical creatures were harmed during the production of this fan fiction.
Summary: The Hogwarts staff is exhausted from their efforts to teach, protect their students, and, for some, help in the war efforts against Voldemort. A staff meeting is called, but the fatigue of Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Remus Lupin, and Severus Snape begins to catch up to them. A one-shot that takes place during the first term of HBP. Contains no slash.
This story is kinda random; it popped into my mind long ago when I first started writing fan fiction, but I didn't really have a story for it. I promised this story before chapter 23 of The Easter Holiday, and I've finally finished it. As of today, July 5th, I am not sure who the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor will be for Harry's sixth year, so I've brought back everyone's favorite werewolf, Remus Lupin!
This story is longer than my usual chapters (Yay!), and I hope you will all have fun reading it.
Enjoy, and please review!
Albus Dumbledore stifled a yawn as he walked into the Hogwarts staff room. "Good afternoon, Headmaster," said Filius Flitwick as he pulled out a few mugs from a cabinet. "How are you?"
"Exhausted," he said, sitting down on an unoccupied sofa.
"Welcome to the club, Albus," said Minerva McGonagall, raising her head from the arm of the chintz chair she was sitting in.
"I don't suppose you were able to get any sleep, Headmaster?" asked Pomona Sprout. She was practically lying on the table near the window, which showed the heavy rains and dark grey storm clouds that were outside.
"I'd say I've gotten four hours this week, at most."
"Wow, that make my eight hours look like pure bliss," said the Transfigurations teacher.
"Still, that's not saying much," said Remus Lupin, who was in danger of nodding off and falling out of his chair.
"And how many hours of sleep did you get?" asked the headmaster, laying down on the couch and resting his head in his arms.
"Oh, that's a whole lot better than me!"
"Every minute counts, Minerva," he said, leaning back in his chair.
"Coffee's done," said Flitwick, pouring himself some. "Would anyone else like a cup?"
"Me please," said Sprout.
"If you could spare some," said Lupin, raising his hand.
"Us too, please," said Sinistra, who was sitting at a table with Vector and Hooch.
"I usually don't," said McGonagall, standing up, "but desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose."
"Albus," said the Charms teacher, "would you care for a cup?"
"No thank you, Filius. I've never liked coffee. Not sweet enough."
The werewolf laughed. "That's what sugar's for."
"Remus, the kitchens would run out of sugar if I started drinking coffee," mumbled Dumbledore.
"Such a sweet tooth, Albus," smiled the Transfigurations teacher, sipping her coffee.
"So, what's this meeting about, Albus?" asked Lupin.
"The next Hogsmeade trip, but I'm not starting until we're all here."
"Who are we missing?" asked Vector.
"He knows he's supposed to be here, right?" said Hooch.
"I reminded him yesterday," said Flitwick.
Suddenly, the staff room door burst open, and in flew Severus Snape, looking worn and haggard. "My, Severus, you look terrible!" said the Transfigurations teacher, noticing the deep circles around his eyes and the sheer exhaustion that ran throughout his thin frame.
"Thank you for noticing, Minerva."
"Can we get you anything?" asked the Defense teacher.
"Yeah," he mumbled sarcastically as he plopped down onto an unoccupied couch, "a dose Migraine Potion and a massage." BANG! The crash was no doubt a sign that Peeves was throwing something around. "Make that two doses," said the Potions Master, rubbing his temples and groaning.
"Here," said Dumbledore, sitting up momentarily. He reached into his robes, pulling out two potion vials, and threw them to the Potions Master. "From the batch you brewed for me last week."
Snape stared at the vials before looking up at the headmaster. "Thanks, Albus."
"Of course," he said, lying back down.
The Potions Master removed the corks and downed the two doses as if they were much-needed water on a hot day. He put the vials in his pocket and rested his head in his hand. McGonagall put down her coffee cup and walked around the couch Snape was sitting on. She put her hands on his tense shoulders and gently rubbed circles into them. "What are you doing?" asked the wizard when he realized what she was doing.
"You said you wanted a massage."
"I was only kidding."
"Slytherins don't make jokes."
"We usually don't when we're in the presence of Gryffindors."
"Well, I don't think this would be an exception. You're as hard as a rock! How did you accumulate such tension?"
He sighed. "I don't know. Stress, insomnia, the usual."
"This can't be the usual. You really should take better care of yourself."
"Don't start that, Minerva. You aren't my mother."
"She's right, Severus," said Dumbledore. "You should take better care of yourself."
"Look who's talking," he said, glancing at the headmaster lying on the couch.
"I'm just tired, as are the rest of you."
"Right. You're just the most exhausted. I assume that role comes with being a headmaster?"
"I suppose it does," he mumbled.
"Are we all here now?" asked Hooch.
"I think so, now that Severus is here," said Flitwick.
"So, what's this all about, Albus?" asked Lupin.
Dumbledore sat up slowly. He removed his glasses, rubbed his eyes, and put them back on his long nose. "Well – "
The staff room door creaked open slowly, and in walk the last person any of them expected to see. "Hello, everyone. I hope I'm not too late."
"Sibyll?" said the Transfigurations teacher.
"To what do we owe this pleasure?" asked Dumbledore.
"Well, Headmaster, I was gazing into the depths of the Orb, and I saw myself down here in the staff room – "
"Kill me, now," groaned the Potions Master.
" – So I arose, and I came down – "
"That's very nice, Sibyll," said Dumbledore in a tone that told her she was done speaking. "But we should return to the matter at hand."
"Of course," said Trelawney, looking slightly put-out.
"As I'm sure you all know, the first Hogsmeade visit of the year is scheduled for tomorrow," said the headmaster. "It is rather dangerous for the students to go unattended. Voldemort could see this as an opportunity to attack." A few of the teachers jumped at the mention of the Dark Lord's name. "I will speak to the students tomorrow about this, but we as a staff are going to have to chaperone the trip."
"Just my luck," muttered Snape. "An entire afternoon with immature adolescence."
"I know you are all very busy, but I'm afraid I cannot let the students go by themselves."
"Quite understandable," said McGonagall. "What will we have to do?"
"Nothing extravagant. At least one of us will need to be in each shop that the students usually go to, so we will also need to set a boundary for them."
"So one of us each in Zonko's, Honeydukes, Quality Quidditch Supplies, Florish and Blotts, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear, and the Three Broomsticks," said Lupin, ticking each off on his hand.
"Yes. The rest of us will patrol the streets. And, of course, the area around the Shrieking Shack will be off limits to all."
"So who goes where?" asked Sprout.
"I suppose I can take volunteers," said the headmaster. "Does anyone have a preference?"
"I'll watch Dervish and Banges," mumbled Snape.
"I'll take Florish and Blotts," said McGonagall.
"I guess I'll have the Three Broomsticks," said Lupin, yawning.
"I'll patrol Gladrags," squeaked Flitwick.
"Quality Quidditch Supplies sounds fine," said Hooch.
"Honeydukes," said Sprout, raising her hand.
"Looks like I'm stuck with Zonko's," said Dumbledore. "The rest of you," he said, looking at Vector, Sinistra, and Trelawney, "will need to patrol the streets and make sure that the students do not wander where they shouldn't."
"You're coming, too, Headmaster?" asked Sinistra. "Wouldn't you be needed at the ministry?"
"As headmaster, it is my duty to ensure the safety of my students. Any ministry business that would require assistance from me can wait. I am obligated to the school."
"Anything else?" asked the Herbology teacher.
"No, I believe that's all. Unless anyone has something to add?" He looked around the room, but his question was met by silence. "Very well. I know you are all very busy, so you are all free to return to your quarters." The headmaster then proceeded to lie back down on the couch and close his eyes.
"Well, it was a pleasure seeing you all again," said the Divination teacher, "but I really must be getting back to my quarters. I wouldn't want the vibrations from this room to cloud my Inner Eye. Good day to you all," she said, making her usual dramatic exit.
"I'll cloud your Inner Eye," grumbled the Potions Master, wincing as one of McGonagall's fingers prodded a knot at the base of his neck.
"Sorry," said the Transfigurations teacher.
"I've got to be heading back," said Vector, standing up.
"Me, too," said Sprout. "I've no hope of grading anything tonight if I don't start soon."
All the teachers groaned. "I've got to start grading, too," said Sinistra, following the witches.
"I may as well leave with you," said Hooch. "I don't think I'll be able to stay awake much longer. It must be late."
"It's only eight-thirty, Rolanda," said Lupin, glancing at his watch.
"Really? Well, I guess I'm turning in early."
"That sounds like a good idea," said Flitwick. "Merlin knows how much sleep we'll be able to get this year." He hopped of the armchair he was sitting in and walked out of the staff room, shutting the door behind him with a snap. Only Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, and Lupin were left now.
"That is a good idea," said the werewolf, coming over to the other three and sitting down on the couch next to the prostrate headmaster. "Turning in early, I mean."
"Perhaps, Lupin, but I don't think it will be happening anytime this year," said the Potions Master, tilting his head down so the Transfigurations teacher could have better access to massage his neck.
"Besides, who wants to walk all the way up to their rooms anyway?" mumbled Dumbledore.
"Or down to," said Snape.
"Point taken," said McGonagall.
"Don't tell me that means you'll be sleeping here tonight?" asked Lupin, raising his eyebrows at the headmaster.
"I might as well," he mumbled. "Don't think I'll be getting much sleep tonight, anyway. Cornelius will probably request my presence at the ministry."
"Tell him to shove it," said the Potions Master. "It's only a matter of time before he's replaced. You shouldn't have to do his job for him; that's what the department heads are supposed to help him with."
"Severus is right, Albus," said the Transfigurations teacher. "Cornelius has no right to run your schedule."
"You really need to get some sleep," said the Defense teacher, placing his hand lightly on the headmaster's shoulder. "You don't need to get sick at a time like this."
"I'm not sick. Well, not yet, anyway."
"Not yet is right, especially if you need a dose of Migraine Potion daily," said Snape.
"If Cornelius tries to contact you tonight, we'll tell him you aren't available," said McGonagall.
The headmaster sighed. "Thanks."
"In fact, I don't feel like going down to my rooms, either," said the Potions Master. "Sleeping here doesn't seem that bad. And I can protect you from Fudge."
"That sounds like a good idea," said the Defense teacher thoughtfully.
"What do you think, Remus, shall we join them?" asked McGonagall.
"I think we should. Merlin knows that Albus will need a whole lot of protection from the ministry."
"Are you saying that I am incapable of protecting the headmaster?" asked Snape, a mock glare playing across his face.
"Of course not, Severus!" said Lupin. "I merely thought that you would be able to get more sleep if we took the job of guarding Albus in shifts."
"I see," said the Potions Master. "I suppose that could work."
"And I suppose that, as headmaster, I get absolutely no say in this matter?" mumbled Dumbledore.
"You suppose correctly, Albus," said the Transfigurations teacher.
"If you did get a say in the matter, you'd probably tell us that we're being stupid," said Remus Lupin, standing up and peeling off his robes. He walked over to the teachers' wardrobe and threw his robes in. "You'd tell us that we shouldn't be worrying about you, and you'd send us back to our rooms. We're not students anymore, Albus."
"True, but I am you boss."
"True," said the McGonagall, "but I think that we can overlook that fact just a bit when your health is in concern."
"You make it sound like I am deathly ill."
"That will be the next step if you aren't careful," said Snape, flinching as the Transfigurations teacher began to loosen another tight knot.
"As will be yours," said the headmaster, opening his eyes.
"I doubt that, Headmaster."
"He's right, Albus," said McGonagall. "He won't become deathly ill, but he'll probably be bedridden because his back is so terrible."
"And this is the part where you two tell me to take better care of myself, isn't it?"
"Yes," said the witch and wizard together.
"And then I tell you two that you're not my parents."
"Is it just me, or does this conversation feel like déja vu?" asked the Defense teacher, throwing the pillows and blankets that were stored in the teachers' wardrobe over his head. All of them conveniently landed on Dumbledore.
"Now really, Remus," said the headmaster, his voice muffled due to the mountain of bedding he was under, "was such an attack really necessary?"
"What?" asked Lupin, turning around. "Oh, sorry, Albus," he said when he saw Dumbledore's feet sticking out from under the pillows and blankets.
The headmaster sat up, pulling a blanket off his head. "Quite all right." He pointed his wand at two armchairs and transfigured them into two couches. Another wave of his wand brought the sofas closer to the other two so that they formed a semicircle in front of the fireplace. The Defense teacher picked up the bedding and distributed it equally between to four couches.
"Thanks, Minerva," mumbled Snape, stretching and yawning. He pulled off his robes, draped them over the back of the sofa, and crawled under the blanket.
"Of course, Severus," said the Transfigurations teacher, sitting down on the couch next to the headmaster's.
"I feel like I'm at a sleepover," said Lupin, lying down and putting his hands behind his head. "Anyone got any ghost stories?"
"Aren't ghost stories reserved for camping?" asked McGonagall.
"I see," said the Transfigurations teacher. "Well, I don't have any."
"Me neither," mumbled Dumbledore into his pillow.
"I am a ghost story," said the Potions Master.
"What?" said the other three in unison. Even the headmaster opened his eyes to stare at the wizard.
"Or so I've been told," he said. "It was brought to my attention that many of the first and second years believe that I am the walking dead. Or a vampire. They've been skirting the corridors whenever I pass by, so I decided to ask one of them what in the name of Merlin they were doing. I had the unfortunate pleasure of stopping a Hufflepuff first year. The poor dear nearly fainted. Barely got the story out of her before she bolted."
McGonagall laughed. "Taken to terrorizing the students now, have you, Severus?"
"I wouldn't call it terrorizing, Minerva. It's more like payback for ever cauldron that has exploded in my class."
"I'm sure they don't mean to blow up their cauldrons, Severus," mumbled Dumbledore, stifling a yawn.
"Albus, ninety-nine percent of cauldron explosions in my classes are caused by at least one of three things: ignorance, stupidity, and the urge to anger me. Usually the older students go for the latter. Only the first years can plead the former. And then there are certain…special…students who pledge themselves to the second."
"Haven't you ever thought that you're a bit harsh on your students, Severus?" asked the Defense teacher.
"Not at all, Lupin."
"You should reconsider," said the Transfigurations teacher, a small smile playing across her face.
"You wouldn't have the same attitude if you had to scrape frog bits off the dungeon ceiling every other week."
"How delightful," said McGonagall.
"What time will the carriages leave for Hogsmeade tomorrow?" asked the Defense teacher.
"Why?" mumbled Snape, snuggling into his pillow.
"I want to know when I should wake up. It wouldn't do to oversleep and miss the visit."
"Two o'clock," mumbled Dumbledore, his voice thick with exhaustion. "After lunch."
"Thanks," said Lupin, pressing a few buttons on his watch. After a questioning look from the Transfigurations teacher, he said, "I set it to go off at one in case we don't get up."
"Oh," said McGonagall, curling up under her blanket. "Hopefully that won't happen."
"On the contrary, Minerva," mumbled the Potions Master. "Right, Albus?"
"But why, Severus?" asked the Transfigurations teacher.
"We're all going to be deprived of sleep this year, if we haven't been already, especially Albus. Sleeping in is perhaps our only hope of functioning tomorrow."
As if to try and ruin the night, the fireplace suddenly flashed brightly, and Cornelius Fudge's head appeared with a small pop. "Professor McGonagall!" exclaimed the minister loudly. "Where's Dumbledore? I tried his office, but he wasn't there – "
The loud shout jerked the headmaster out of his light doze and caused his head to throb. The wizard groaned and sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "Cornelius?"
"Dumbledore!" he cried, causing the headmaster to flinch as the pounding in his head grew. "Thank Merlin I found you! I need you to – "
"Shove it, Fudge," said Snape, sitting up to look at the Minister of Magic. "He won't be coming down."
Fudge blinked. "What?"
"The headmaster is rather ill," said Lupin, also sitting up.
The minister looked at Dumbledore and saw the dark circles under his eyes that stood out brilliantly against his pale skin. "What – "
"He needs to rest, Cornelius," said the Transfigurations teacher.
"Why is he here, then?" asked Fudge's head. "Why isn't he in his office? And why are you three here?"
"We had a staff meeting, and he was too exhausted to go back to his rooms," said the Potions Master. "We are making sure that he gets some sleep. There is a Hogsmeade visit this weekend, and we as a staff will be accompanying the students to ensure their safety."
"I see. His condition is unfortunate, but the ministry needs him – "
"Any ministry business that requires his assistance will have to wait until Monday," said McGonagall sternly. "Albus is in no condition to be going anywhere at the moment."
"Professor McGonagall," said Fudge, glaring at the Transfigurations teacher, "the last time I checked, Dumbledore was headmaster of Hogwarts – "
"I am fully aware of that, Minister," said McGonagall, returning the glare. "I don't pretend to be the head of this school, but I am the Deputy Headmistress, and it is my duty to oversee things when Albus is unable to."
Fudge looked like he was going to say something nasty, but a glare from Snape shut him up. "Very well," he said through clenched teeth. "I will see you on Monday, Dumbledore." He nodded to the headmaster before his head popped out of the fireplace.
"Well, that went well," mumbled Dumbledore, rubbing his temples.
"I'm sorry I sounded like I was undermining your authority, Albus, but you really need to rest," said the Transfigurations teacher quickly.
"Don't worry, my dear; I quite understand. In fact, I'm very grateful to you three. I don't know if I could stand a conversation with Cornelius at the moment," said the headmaster hoarsely. He grabbed his robes and looked through the pockets, pulling out a vial of Migraine Potion. "Last one," he sighed, uncorking the vial and downing the potion in one gulp.
"I'll brew you some more this weekend," said the Potions Master. "Merlin knows you'll need it."
"Thank you, Severus," mumbled Dumbledore, taking his glasses off and lying back down. "Your efforts are most appreciated."
"It's nine-thirty," said the Defense teacher, checking his watch. "I don't know about you three, but I'm exhausted."
"I second that motion, Lupin," yawned Snape, flopping down onto his pillow.
"Mmmhmm," mumbled the headmaster.
"It's been a very taxing week," sighed McGonagall. She waved her wand, causing the fire to burn lower, but not so low that it would not give off enough heat to warm the room. The Transfigurations teacher removed her glasses and slipped under her blanket. "Good night, you three."
"Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite."
"Shut up, Lupin."
"Right back at you, Severus."
"How very clever."
"Why thank you."
"Could you two insult each other a bit more quietly?" groaned Dumbledore.
The other three chuckled. "Of course they can," said McGonagall, "but they should really go to sleep."
"Of course," said the Potions Master. "Good night."
Within a few short minutes, the Hogwarts staff room was filled with the calm breathing of the three wizards and the witch as the four drifted off into a much-deserved blissful sleep, on couches in the Hogwarts staff room.
So, how was it? Is this story good, bad, weird, stupid, or all of the above? Please let me know; you can do so by pressing the pretty purple button below!