Title: Dumbledore's Office
Summary/Subject matter: Sybill Trelawney has an unappreciated infatuation.
Pairing(s): Minerva/Sybill (Sort of.)
Rating: Pretty safe.
Notes: Written for the hptradeoff community on LJ.
"Honestly, Albus, why do you allow that woman to stay on here? It is obvious to everyone – she is an utter hoax, and a bad stain upon the Hogwarts name of education besides!"
Albus Dumbledore calmly looked down his long nose, over his glasses, at a ranting Minerva Mcgonagall. "And, what exactly, my dear Minerva, would you have me do? Dismiss her on the basis of a fellow professor's petty complaints?"
Minerva seized up fiercely at the word 'petty'. "I most certainly am not being petty, Albus. As the Deputy Headmistress, I am merely trying to maintain this school's reputation as one of the best wizarding schools in the free world!"
He closed his eyes briefly, and when he reopened them, they regarded her coolly. "Yes, a reputation that she has been part of creating, Minerva. I cannot simply sack her because of her penchant for dramatics."
"Every year, she tells a student they are going to die! That's more than dramatics, Albus, it scares the children! Not to mention that they were not in any mood to appreciate my Animagi transformation after that." She sniffed haughtily. Albus' eyes twinkled knowingly at her, which she pointedly ignored.
"Well, certainly it should not be encouraged, but scaring the children is still not quite grounds for dismissal. Or else Severus certainly would not have lasted this long."
In spite of themselves, they exchanged smirks.
Dumbledore shook his head. "I'm sorry, Minerva, but unless there is a more concrete reason presented to me, there is scarce little I can do."
Her eyes narrowed calculatingly. "Very well, Albus. If you need a reason, I'll find a reason." With that, she swept out of his office, the headmaster watching her departure with amusement and resignation.
"What reason have you to present me with now, Minerva?" Albus sighed, opening his door to allow the irate woman through. She was practically spitting mad this time.
"What reason indeed! You saw her at dinner, Albus! She was positively provocative!"
"If you'll forgive me for saying so, you appeared to be the -" Albus paused in the wake of the wrathful glare he was receiving, apparently considering his life. "Well, in any case, I still cannot fire her for simply being, uh, provocative." His lips twisted in a wry smile. "Again, if that were the case, Severus would have left the very day I hired him."
"Yes, don't think I don't have a problem with that, too," she muttered under her breath.
He ignored this. "Don't you think that perhaps, your obsession with trying to get Sybill Trelawney dismissed from the staff is getting a bit out of hand?" He pretended not to see the acidic look on her face. "You are coming in here every other day, Minerva. It is bordering on the ridiculous."
"This, from a man in purple nightclothes," she said dryly.
He sighed, choosing not to hear this as well. "But as always, Minerva, you may feel free to approach me when you feel you have something, er, more solid. Although I would appreciate if you learnt to distinguish such a matter."
She threw him a furious, thin-lipped glare, then stalked out of his office, a sight that was becoming increasingly familiar.
"What is the meaning of this, Albus!" Minerva stormed into the headmaster's office for the umpteenth time, wielding a bouquet of flowers, which she promptly flung onto his desk.
Albus looked at her in surprise, but smiling pleasantly. "Why, Minerva, I'm flattered. And pleased that you appreciate me and my work here. However," - and here, he let out a hearty sneeze – "I must inform you that I am allergic to roses."
"This is not for you, you barmy old bat!" she snapped. "I received this – this anomaly, and naturally I assumed you had something to do with it." Her stance wavered slightly. "Don't you?"
His eyes twinkled. "Alas, no, I have no clue. Perhaps you have a secret admirer, my dear! How delightful!"
"Don't make me hurt you," she snarled, grabbing the bouquet and brandishing it at him like a weapon, making him sneeze again. "A secret admirer, indeed! At my age! You make it sound as if I were still a blushing schoolgirl!"
"Oh, I could never do such a thing, Minerva," Albus said brightly. "You were never a blushing schoolgirl."
He sneezed yet once more when she shook the bouquet in his face angrily.
When she had left in another fit of anger, he gingerly picked up the bouquet, holding it with outstretched arms. "It's a pity to have to do this, I really do like how pink roses brighten up the room," he shook his head, before snapping his fingers and making the flowers disappear.
"Yes, do come in, Minerva," Albus said resignedly. Except that the head that poked past his doors did not belong to the Transfiguration professor. It belonged to – "Why, hello, Sybill! It's good to see you down from the attic."
She smiled nervously, nothing at all like her usual flighty self and approached his desk. "Good day, Headmaster. Um, were you expecting Minerva?" she looked expectantly at him with large eyes, magnified even further by those wide, thick glasses.
He managed to smother his surprise at the look of hope in her eyes. "Why, yes, I rather was. She's been coming to see me quite regularly as of late."
"Everything is, of course, all right, Headmaster?" She fidgeted slightly.
"Yes, yes, Sybill, and please, call me Albus." At her waiting look, he elaborated slightly. "Minerva is only seeking my assistance in some matters."
"I see. Would she perhaps like my help?" There was a curious pause, and Sybill immediately spoke to cover it. "I mean, she could have use for my Inner Eye and ability to See." Her voice had regained some of its smoky, vague quality.
Albus hid a smile. "I rather think Minerva does not know how to appreciate a good Inner Eye."
She muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "We'll see," then stood up abruptly. "Well, then, Headmaster, I shan't take up more of your time. And the Fates will have things to say, I'm sure…"
"On your merry way, then, Sybill." As she reached his door, he called out. "Oh, Sybill?"
She turned. "Yes, Headmaster?"
"I understand you cultivate certain flowers for your readings. May I enquire as to the breeds?"
She looked surprised. "Some jasmine, honeysuckle, and roses."
He smiled widely. "I see. Thank you, Sybill."
"Excuse me, Headmaster."
Albus looked up to see Sybill looming over him, eyes looking even more bug-like at that angle. It would have startled him, but it had become quite a frequent phenomenon in his office lately, and now he took it in stride. "Good day, Sybill. How may I be of assistance today?"
"I was wondering if you had given any consideration to my latest idea," she said, looking at him hopefully.
"I'm afraid most of the other teachers whom I spoke to weren't too keen on adjoining chambers, Sybill," Albus told her kindly. "Severus especially was most adamant."
"I see," Sybill paused. She shifted on her feet, then in an attempt to be casual, examined Albus' tea cup as she asked, "And…Minerva?"
"Minerva was quite in agreement with Severus," he said, watching her carefully.
She tried not to frown. "I see," she repeated. "Well, I had foreseen such an event occurring. Which is why I have come prepared with another suggestion."
"Pray tell." Albus raised his white fluffy eyebrows.
"What would you think about all of the staff going for a joint vacation?" she asked, and paused. "Or, if that might be inconvenient, perhaps a pair at a time…"
He twinkled. "I'd certainly like to see everyone's reactions to that. I'll bring it up at the next meeting."
"Albus!" Minerva stormed into his office. "You indulge that woman too much! Honestly, joint rooms, now joint vacations? What's next, twin beds or -" She stopped short. "You're not Albus," she said stiffly.
Sybill, sitting in a large armchair, smiled genially at her. "Good day, Minerva. I must say, you are looking fetching today."
Minerva eyed her suspiciously, ignoring her comment. "Where is the Headmaster?"
"He said he had a quick errand to run," Sybill explained. "He told me to make myself comfortable. Would you like some tea?"
Minerva pursed her lips tightly. "No, thank you. I think I'll return later, when Albus is around." She turned sharply on her heel to leave.
"No!" Sybill said suddenly. "You should wait. I certainly don't mind the company."
"Well, I'm afraid I do," Minerva sniffed. "I'll be taking my leave now, thank you Sybill."
Sybill looked on forlornly as the door slammed shut.
"She can be difficult," Albus said, appearing suddenly. "It requires great patience and strength of will to break down her convictions. Perhaps, Sybill, you might think to look into other pastures?"
"No," she said, narrowing her eyes determinedly. "I'm going to get what I want."
"What on earth is that witch up to?"
"Excuse me?" Albus blinked at Minerva, who scowled.
"Don't act innocent, Albus. You must see it – that woman is plotting something. Has been for weeks. What is it?" When Albus remained silent, she fumed. "What is it, Albus? I have the right to know. I know it has something to do with me!"
"And what gives you that idea, my dear?"
"Besides the regular bouquet of flowers I'm finding in my office every morning? Or how she now goes to the Great Hall for all meals, and constantly tells me what an attractive woman I am?" Minerva spat out the words. "I don't know, Albus, I had a hunch!"
"Are you saying you can See things, Minerva?" Albus asked solemnly, although his eyes gleamed with suppressed humour.
She snarled at him. "I will hex you, old man, don't think I wont."
"Do you really find Sybill so repugnant, Minerva?" Albus sighed, peering at her intently.
She shuddered dramatically. "That woman is naught but a charlatan and someone fit for St Mungo's! The only person I know more inane than she is, is Gilderoy Lockhart!"
"Come now, my dear. I doubt Gilderoy would have paid you – or anyone but himself – as much attention as Sybill is doing now."
Minerva gaped. "Are you suggesting that that woman has – some sort of interest in me?"
Albus smiled. "It would appear to be so, Minerva." The smile wavered, then disappeared completely. "Er- Minerva? Minerva!"
"She did," Albus nodded at a horrified Sybill.
"I did not foresee that," she muttered. Then she glanced up at the Headmaster. "Are you sure it wasn't out of joy, perhaps?"
"Considering her first words upon consciousness were 'I'll be damned before I let that woman touch me', I don't suppose there's much ambiguity," he said patiently. "Sybill, are you sure you don't want to try a different avenue? I fear that your heart – or Minerva's, for that matter, she's not that young anymore – mightn't handle it well."
"The Fates have assured me of my path, Headmaster," Sybill said firmly. "I cannot deny their wishes."
Albus sighed. "But the Fates can rewrite themselves, can they not?"
"If so the time should come, very well. Until then, this is what I have to do." Her jaw hardened with determination.
"And what exactly would that be?" he asked, with no small amount of trepidation. Sybill looked up at him in surprise, as if she'd thought it was obvious to everyone. Which, Albus reasoned, she might just have.
"Why – I must seduce Minerva McGonagall, of course."
"You are joking, Albus," Minerva said flatly. "She is really going to continue to pursue this – this vapid, futile infatuation?"
"I'm afraid so, Minerva. I tried to persuade her otherwise, but she -" Albus winced. "She believes it has been Fated for you both."
"If I stayed in my feline form, would that be enough to discourage her?" she mused aloud. "I could scratch her, many times -"
"You cannot abandon your duties simply to avoid her, my dear." Albus reprimanded, not unkindly.
She deflated visibly. "Then I am stuck, then? To live my life with the barnacle that is Sybill Trelawney constantly attached to me?"
"I'm sorry, my dear." Albus tried not to smile. "And I think, perhaps, you might have been spending too much time around Severus."
She ignored him. "Dismiss her for harassing a colleague!" she demanded despairingly. "It's true, after all – I live in fear of every hint of pink floral arrangements, now."
"As I have for many years now," he nodded gravely. "It can be debilitating. However," he stopped himself from reminiscing aloud at Minerva's look. "It is not quite yet grounds for harassment. The Board will not take 'excessive amounts of flowers' as a valid grounds for harassment or dismissal."
She hissed. "If I die from an overexposure to unsightly pink roses, Albus, I will. Haunt. You. To. Your. Grave."
"This has gone on far too long," Minerva snapped. "For three months – three months! That woman has plagued me. I will take it no more."
"And what, my dear, do you plan to do about it? You have already told her no, avoided dinners and staff meetings, and hexed her – which I still feel was uncalled for -"
"She tried to call me her sweet little kitty!" Minerva snarled.
"Nonetheless, you might have waited until the students were gone -" Albus sighed as she glared at him balefully.
"And let them think it was alright for that charlatan to call me that? No, Albus, you know how word would spread. I would have had no more dignity if I had not done what I did."
"You sent her to the Hospital Wing for three weeks," he reminded her.
She smiled wistfully. "It was so peaceful. And all the students were so grateful. Did you know they made me a plaque? Even Severus was impressed," Minerva recalled fondly. "We were discussing the possibility of making her condition permanent."
Albus focused his attention on a lemon drop. "I did not hear that, of course. And I do so hate to interrupt you when you are so happy, my dear, but I believe you are still facing a dilemma regarding your persistent pursuer?"
She sobered up. "I am. But I have devised a plan."
"And what do you plan to do, dare I ask?" Albus tried not to look too anxious.
"Why, I'm going to give her what she wants."
"Ah, Sybill, I'm so glad you could make it." Albus smiled and waved at a chair. "Please, sit."
She blinked at him expectantly. "The Fates did not tell me to expect a meeting today."
"Er – yes, well, Minerva should be here any minute -"
"Minerva?" Sybill brightened. "Well, the Fates did tell me to expect an encounter with Love today."
"Did they? How very insightful of them."
"Albus, is she here yet – oh, you are. Good day, Sybill," Minerva greeted brusquely as she entered the office.
"Minerva! Such a pleasant day it is, and you look absolutely fetching -"
"Yes, yes, do be quiet," Minerva waved her off. "I'm just here to get this over with."
"Get what over with?" Sybill asked, confused. She glanced at Albus, who had his eyes averted to the ceiling. Then she looked at Minerva, who stepped forward and grabbed Sybill's chin roughly, pulling it close to herself and then planting a firm, business-like kiss to the other woman's lips.
When they parted, Minerva wiped at her mouth indiscreetly. "Well then, that's done with. Kindly cease your futile attempts to garner my affection, as I assure you that I have none for you." With that, she nodded her goodbye to Albus, and swept out of the room as quickly as she had entered.
There was a long silence, and then Albus asked hesitantly, "Are you alright, Sybill my dear?"
She smiled brilliantly at him. "Simply wonderful, Headmaster. Love has prevailed. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find my sweet kitten, we have our future to gaze into." And she floated out of his office in a mist of cloyingly sweet scented smoke.