I do not own Harry Potter and all that is affiliated with it. Enjoy.
Albus Dumbledore walked rather slowly down the hall, prolonging the time he had left before he was a dead man. He knew his wife would be angry-but one cannot deny a man his sweets. It is simply not done. A fifty-nine galleon Honeyduke's Bill? It was just one small sacrifice to his happiness and well-being. He always offered his dear Minerva the sweets he had purchased; it's not like he was hoarding them all to himself!
He sighed heavily as he opened the door to his private chambers. As he expected, Minerva was laying on the couch in the parlor, overlooking some essays.
Wait-overlooking some essays? She wasn't teaching her class; that was Professor Gostapher's job! He went over to her and looked over her shoulder. She did not't even notice his presence. She was sighing to herself, as well as shaking her head. Whatever she was reading was bothering her.
"Minerva… what are you doing?"
She jumped in surprise and turned to face Albus. "Reading some of the essays that our beloved Harriet has assigned to the class. She made them write two feet on transfiguring a hair pin into a pen, Albus! Two feet!"
Albus put a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to comfort her. "I'm sure she had a good reason, Minerva." His tone was meant to be soothing, but Minerva jumped from the couch.
"She was punishing them for laughing! Not to mention that her rules are absolutely ridiculous, and that she gave poor Neville Longbottom detention for picking various parts of his body!"
Albus sighed. He should have thought something like this would happen. He knew how picky Minerva was about her own teaching, but he hadn't expected her to actually know much about the latest news in Hogwarts. He should have known, though. Even he, himself, had once said that anything kept secret in Hogwarts was, naturally, known by all other students.
"I cannot, in good conscience, allow this to continue, Albus. These students cannot just be fed some lousy piece of information and expect to ace the O.W.L.s! I have not once had a student pass below an A on their O.W.L.s. If one of my students fails, it is ALL your fault!" Minerva picked up another essay and skimmed it.
"These children wrote in ridiculously large scroll, and they still have more than half the sheet left. NO ONE can explain how to transfigure a hair pin into a pen in two feet of scroll! I can't even do that! One can, at most, expect two paragraphs. And that is so nitty-gritty and technical that is dreadfully droll to read. Albus, you must do something!"
She put the essay back down onto the table. "Better yet, let me. Just let me write out some lesson plans. I'll even make them so that Harriet can understand them, too. I am so bored here, anyway. It won't even take anything out of me; I'll just be writing. Please, Albus."
Albus caved in. His wife was just too upset; he had to let her. Worse, he knew she was right. Harriet was just not a good teacher. The whole school knew it, too, which was like rubbing salt into the wound.
"All right. But JUST lesson plans."
"And the homework, too, right? I can look over the homework as well, right?"
Albus did not reply. He didn't want his wife to over-exert herself. As if reading his thoughts, Minerva added, "I'll forget the Honeyduke's Bill if you let me do this, Albus."
He froze. He had rather hoped she had forgotten about that. In fact, he had been quite relieved to see that she was distracted by something else so he couldn't experience her wrath. He couldn't very well say no, could he? Not with that offer.
"I suppose that can be arranged."
Minerva jumped onto the couch-for Albus was behind it-and leapt into his arms. "Thank-you so much!"
"Ah, of course, my dear," Albus said, rather surprised. His wife was always full of surprises. He stroked her hair. "So…have you found a decent name for our baby?"
Minerva pulled back. "If it's a boy, I was thinking about Sirius. If it's a girl, I was thinking maybe Lilly."
Albus smiled and kissed her hair. "I think those are lovely names."
.:At The Quidditch Pitch:.
Xiomara Hooch paced the length of the locker room rather agitatedly. She couldn't go to her rooms, or the Great Hall, or anywhere, for that matter. She was at a loss. A complete loss. How could she have let herself do this? Falling in love with a staff member? How idiotic could she get before she was confused with that Harriet Gostapher?
She knew Minnie had done it. But that was different. Albus loved her back, and everyone knew it. Minnie had a good head on her shoulders. She could at least hide the fact. Well, at least she could hide it from Dumbledore. Xiomara didn't think she could hide it from Snape. Sure, she knew she had feelings for him. But love? No, she hadn't realized that until Little Miss Look-At-Me-I'm-So-Glamorous-And-Perfect came into the picture. That idiotic woman. Who did she think she was, anyway, parading around with her nose in the air and making idiotic rules like 'no nose-picking or butt-picking'? What game was she playing at? Xiomara didn't know, but boy was she planning on finding out!
She sighed and sat on a nearby bench. How could she even possibly act normal around Severus now? She would be too nervous. What if she did something wrong? Oh, Merlin, she was acting like an enamored schoolgirl! And for Snape, nonetheless. Not that there was anything very wrong with the man, but he wasn't exactly the most desired of men….
And with that point, what the heck did Harriet want with him, anyway? With her looks, she could get just about any man she wanted. Sure, the pickings were slim when it came to the staff, but she doesn't even know Snape! Not the way Xiomara did, anyway.
The blonde ran a hand through her prickly spikes and stood. No use hiding at the Quidditch Pitch. She took a look at her watch and grimaced. She had missed dinner. That was the second meal she had missed today. Definitely not healthy.
She'll just raid the kitchen later on tonight. She wasn't all that hungry, anyways. She went to her rooms and undressed out of her itchy robes. She put on something that revealed a bit of skin and proceeded to pick up her room.
She was in such a dour mood she was cleaning. Now that was sad. She was becoming more like Minerva every day….
A knock on her door startled Xiomara and she dropped the cleaning potion in her hand. "Shit," she mumbled, groping for her wand to clean the mess before it made any permanent damage.
When she completed that task, she came to the door.
She didn't even know why she bothered to be surprised. After all, he had come to her door once before that day. But when Snape appeared on the other side, Xiomara gasped. At least she was wearing something more decent than just her underwear. But not by much. She still didn't want any man-especially one she had feelings for-to see her in such a ridiculously Muggle-like outfit.
Snape raised his eyebrows way up. "I do believe I have told you the perils of answering the door in such apparel…."
Xiomara blushed. "Shush your mouth, Severus. I'll wear what I please when I'm in my own private living quarters. Are you coming in, or not?"
Snape looked her up and down once more and stepped in. His eyes widened at the state of her rooms. Her rooms were immaculate! This was not the Xiomara he knew. "Is everything… quite all right?"
Xiomara looked at him, surprised. "Of-of course. Why wouldn't it be?"
"Well, don't take this the wrong way, Mara, but your rooms are clean."
Xiomara gave a nervous laugh. "Oh, well, I got bored is all."
Snape eyed her carefully. "Would you please change out of those ridiculous robes?"
Xiomara crossed her arms. "Why? Do you think I'm going to do that just because you said so?"
"I am asking because they are distracting me," said Snape, simply.
Xiomara laughed nervously. "Why do they distract you?"
"I am not having this conversation." He put a plate on the table in front of him. "I brought you something to eat. You didn't show up for dinner, and you've only eaten one meal today, so I was worried about you. I see that you do not wish to entertain company, so I shall leave."
Xiomara looked at the plate, her arms at her sides. "Severus, I-"
"It's quite all right, Xiomara. I have plans with Harriet, anyway."
Xiomara lost all of her guilt. "HARRIET? You're going to spend time with that-that airhead instead of me?"
"Why do you sound hurt?"
Xiomara was caught off-guard. See? She was hopeless when it came to hiding her feelings. It would be such an awkward mess if she explained the truth! "I-I'm not! Why would I possibly be hurt?"
"Never mind," said Snape softly.
"I cannot even believe you would suggest such a thing! Thank you very much for bringing me something to eat, but it was unnecessary, I know how to get myself something to eat."
"Well excuse me for trying to care," said Snape, enraged.
"Trying to care? Oh, I see how it is. Just go! Dear Harriet is waiting, isn't she?"
"Yes, I shouldn't keep her waiting any longer. Good night!" Snape turned and walked out of the door, slamming it so hard he shook the windows.
Xiomara sank onto the couch. What had just happened? Who started that? Did she? Did he? She sighed. What a mess. Xiomara looked at the plate of food, and felt a rush of guilt. He had tried to do something nice. That counted for something, right?
She shook her head violently. No. She shouldn't get her hopes up. Her heart couldn't take that kind of rejection. She aimed her wand at it and muttered "Evanesco." Although the plate may have vanished, Xiomara's guilt had not.
She rose and changed back into her school robes, shaking her head at the whole cause of the argument. Why had she not changed? Then Severus would have stayed and he wouldn't have gone to see Harriet.
Ugh, even her name was horrible. At least, it was to her. Xiomara left her chambers and climbed the stairs towards Albus and Minerva's combined rooms. She needed to talk to Minnie again. Although this time, it wasn't simply about the downfall of her class curriculum.
The next-and final- chapter will be up tomorrow. That is a promise. Thank you for staying with me all this time. I appreciate it.
All weep with me: Dumbledore is gay! I know the whole Dumbledore/McGonagall thing is AU anyway, since Dumbledore's dead, but still. The concept could never have happened. I don't care. Dumbledore and McGonagall forever!