Author's Note: Er… I should perhaps make a few things clear before we begin. Firstly, just because a male (even a teenage male) doesn't act completely devoted to Minerva, it does not (necessarily) mean that they're gay. It just means that they are either extremely self-possessed or have other things on their mind. Statistically speaking, however, there simply must be a few homosexual males at Hogwarts whether they are aware of this fact or not. With one or two glaring exceptions, I'll leave it up to you to decide who is and isn't so-inclined. Secondly, none of Minerva's would-be love interests will hold her interest. This is to say, that she neither wants nor appreciates romance and is generally just annoyed by all of this, so no matter how compelling some offers may be, she will not be swayed.
As was more or less expected, Minerva woke up early on Sunday. Very early. Four o'clock in the morning, to be precise. She had a throbbing headache, which she chose to attribute to the Equinox despite the fact that she'd smashed her head against a wall the previous night. She was slightly unclear on what specifically had woken her up, but she suspected that it had to do with the fact that her body temperature had risen from the standard ninety-eight-point-six-degrees, and was now hovering at around five thousand.
In a convoluted sort of way, she supposed it was fortunate that she had woken up so early. She would be perfectly able to go downstairs, into the kitchens and get some food to see her through the rest of the weekend. She would also be able to go in past the library and get a few things to see her through till the end of the day. In her frustration at waiting for the blasted Equinox to occur, she had foolishly finished any and all marking that she had to do. She had also planned most of her lessons for the rest of the year. This left her in desperate need of a good book.
Her trip down to the kitchens was more or less uneventful, as House Elves were not affected by a sudden influx of magical hormones. Thankfully. Her trip to the library also passed without incident, as Madam Pince was not yet conscious.
Minerva selected a hefty tome from the history section which looked distinctly as though it had not been read in forty years. This was, coincidentally enough, exactly how long Professor Binns had been teaching History of Magic. This fact said a great deal about the degradation of the subject. The tome she had chosen was the war diary of Bladvak the Bloody from the 1612 Goblin Rebellion, detailing the three-hundred-and-forty-six confrontations, battles and attacks he was involved in during this time. It matched Minerva's mood perfectly. Or at least it would have if it were a bit more violent.
By the time she left the library, a faint green glow was beginning to appear on the horizon. She headed directly for her chambers and, with a gory, blood-soaked book and meals being delivered directly to her private chambers, Minerva assumed that she would be left alone for the remainder of the day. Usually the only person brave enough to interrupt her in her private chambers was the Headmaster himself, so she didn't expect anyone else to pester her. This disinclination to pester Minerva was a tendency she actively encouraged in students and staff members alike.
However there was one group which she'd never bothered to terrorise. She encountered a member of just such a group as she arrived back at the entrance to her chambers.
"You know, wandering around the school at all hours is discouraged Professor McGonagall. That goes for teachers too." drawled and infuriatingly smug voice from a portrait on Minerva's left. "You could be sending the wrong message to the students." he added.
Minerva turned slightly to glare at Phineas Nigellus Black. He looked quite odd, really. Minerva supposed it was because that picture was usually occupied by a portrait of Queen Maeve. Whatever else could be said for Phineas, he just couldn't pull off the benevolent look. And lilac wasn't his colour either.
"Phineas," Minerva said in the politest tone she could manage with a throbbing headache. "The only possible way for students to be aware of the fact that I am wandering the school, is if they too were wandering the school. If that were the case, one would assume the damage had already been done. Now what do you want?"
"Oh dear, we are feeling irritable, aren't we?" he commented in a condescending, yet oddly malicious, tone.
Minerva took her wand out. "Phineas I have had less than four hours sleep, my skull is about to shatter into a thousand pieces, and I intend to spend the day reading Bladvak the Bloody to unwind. Do you understand?" she said, in the same polite tone she'd used earlier. "Now tell me what you want or I shall set you on fire."
Phineas was smirking. "My dear Professor, I never knew you could be so alluring."
Sparks flew out from Minerva's wand.
Phineas rolled his eyes. "Oh very well. The Headmaster requested that I ask if you had reconsidered his offer last night." His eyes flashed in a manner that was oddly disconcerting, despite the fact that he was two-dimensional. "I'm unclear when precisely this meeting occurred last night, so I'm also unclear as to the nature of this offer." he said suggestively.
Minerva glared again. "Tell the Headmaster that I politely decline." she said, waving her wand at the entrance to her personal chambers.
"I wouldn't be so quick to refuse him if I were you." Phineas said contemplatively behind her. "After all, you know what they say about men with long beards-"
Minerva slammed the door shut before he could continue.
It was nearly four o'clock that afternoon before Minerva was bothered again.
In an odd sort of way, she'd actually been enjoying herself. After all, it wasn't very often she got to sit around in her private chambers reading a book for pleasure. She was able to lounge around without worrying that she should be out patrolling the corridors or marking homework, like she normally did on weekends. Her headache had even begun to fade slightly, though her body temperature was still causing her all manner of discomfort. She had the windows flung open, in hope that the weather would oblige her and drop below freezing. March in the Scottish highlands was not known for its temperance, after all. But whether the weather was being disagreeable or Minerva was simply refusing to cool down, she was no more comfortable with the windows open. She briefly debated changing into cotton trousers and a camisole, but decided against the idea. She had a reputation for pity's sake.
At quarter to four, however, her relaxation was interrupted by orotund ringing.
Minerva, who had been enjoying a fairly in depth description of Amadeus Alfrick's disembowelment, looked up sharply. It was her office bell. Students rang it when they wished to speak with her in her office. While it wasn't the first time Minerva considered removing the bloody thing, it was the first time in living memory that she considered ignoring it all together.
By the third ring, Minerva got grudgingly to her feet. "This better be good." she muttered, as she cast yet another cooling charm on herself and headed out the door.
She reached her office a few minutes later, and found Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet standing outside waiting for her. Both looked quite irritated. Angelina was pacing the hallway while Alicia leant against the doorframe scowling.
"May I help you?" Minerva asked sharply.
Both girls immediately stood up straight. The irritated look was wiped off their faces as well.
"Hi Professor." Angelina greeted.
Minerva just raised an eyebrow. She wasn't in the mood for teenagers.
"Um, hey Professor McGonagall." Alicia said nervously. "Um… you know that book you recommended for the homework you assigned on Friday?"
"Well, er, the Library doesn't have any copies left. Madam Pince said you might have some?" Angelina asked.
Minerva sighed. She had to give them background reading, didn't she? "Yes, certainly." she told them, indicating for Alicia to move out of the way.
She unlocked her office door with a simple spell and moved quickly inside. There were one or two protective measures which she was forced to disable before indicating that Alicia and Angelina could come in after her. She went straight for the shelves at the back of the room and began rummaging around testily. She knew those bloody books were there somewhere…
In spite of the fact that no evidence had been found to support the notion, Minerva strongly suspected that the sudden influx of Veela hormones to the human body had a severely detrimental effect on the ability to find things. It was also practically impossible to finish crossword puzzles, but that was neither here nor there.
By the time she laid her hands on the books (Which had been precisely four inches in front of her face for the majority of the time) the sixth year girls had slipped into casual conversation over in the corner. They appeared to be complaining about something or other, and doing so with quite a bit of venom by the looks of things. Minerva was somewhat reluctant to stop them, as it looked like the kind of conversation that would have cheered her up in her current mood. Still, one in Minerva's position could not afford to be a slave to their impulses. "Here are those books. I trust two will suffice?" she said loudly.
Both girls seemed startled, but quickly regained their composure. "Oh. Yeah. Um, yes. Thanks Professor." Alicia said gratefully. "Be didn't mean to bother you at all."
Rather than respond with a blatantly untrue 'no problem', Minerva said "Miss Spinnet, if my students require assistance then it is job to be bothered by them. Now is there anything else I can help you with?"
Alicia shook her head, but Angelina appeared contemplative.
Minerva waited patiently for a whole three seconds. "Miss Johnson?"
Angelina hesitantly began to speak. "Well, I was wondering…" she cleared her throat. "Is it true that there's a Veela at Hogwarts?"
Minerva had once spoken to a pair of muggle-born students. One had used the phrase 'Danger, Will Robinson!' in an oddly monotone voice. While Minerva didn't have the slightest idea where this phrase came from, it seemed to start repeating itself in her mind. Rather than answer, she asked "What makes you think that there is?"
Angelina shrugged. "It's just a rumour." she said. Adding bitterly, "It's practically all that the boys are talking about."
"I bet it's that French girl." Alicia commented, sounding vaguely annoyed. "The Champion. Whatsername. Flower something, isn't it?"
"Fleur Delacour." Angelina said in a hideously bad French accent, with a hair-toss thrown in for good measure. Minerva fought off a chuckle.
"That's the one." Alicia giggled.
"Ooh. Wouldn't it be funny if it were some little first year?" Angelina said. "And all the boys were drooling over her for the next week?"
Angelina and Alicia both started giggling.
Minerva cut them off. "Miss Johnson, I can assure you that would not be funny. In actual fact it would be quite horrific." she told them sternly, glowering at both of them. How they could ever think that inflicting such a thing on a young girl would be funny… Cretins.
Both girls looked confused at her small outburst.
"Sorry Professor." Angelina said contritely, though she obviously had no idea what had got Minerva annoyed. "It's just, well, all the boys are acting like Marilyn Monroe is about to turn up and start flashing them or something. It's ridiculous." she added, with just a hint of hurt behind her words. Minerva therefore assumed that 'all the boys' included one particular boy, and also assumed that this boy was of specific interest to Angelina.
"Well that certainly is ridiculous." Minerva stated in a motherly tone. "And if it makes you feel any better, I can personally assure you that no man in the history of mankind has been affected by Veela hormones and not lived to regret it." she added.
Angelina and Alicia perked up a bit at this.
"Why? What do they do?" Alicia asked.
At the same time, Angelina said "So does this mean there definitely is one here at Hogwarts?"
Minerva considered carefully how much to tell them. "Well-" she said slowly. Before she could get any further, a loud knock sounded on her door. "Come in!" she called. She and her two sixth years glared at the door, annoyed with whoever had interrupted them.
It was Lee Jordan.
He practically skipped into Minerva's office, seemingly oblivious to the death glares being directed at his person. "Hey Professor!" he greeted, without even looking at her. His gaze was focussed none-too-discreetly on Angelina. "I was wondering if you had a copy of-"
Lee cut off abruptly as he turned to face Minerva and froze quite suddenly. His eyes widened, his jaw dropped, and he looked for all the world as though he'd just encountered a Basilisk.
"Professor." he whispered, apparently in awe. "My God, you're… you've… Professor." he repeated.
"Yes, Jordan?" she demanded. Minerva was hoping that if she acted as though everything was normal then Lee would remember where he was and who he was talking to. No such luck, apparently.
"You're beautiful!" he exclaimed. "You're gorgeous, how did I not see it before?" he asked.
Rolling her eyes, Minerva strode back over to the bookcase. She snatched up a textbook and thrust it at Lee. "That's what you came here for, isn't it?"
"Darling, you can't expect me to read!" he told her. "School, books, pen, paper, they don't matter now!" he announced, flinging the book across the room and beaming at Minerva as though she were a goddess.
"Darling?" Alicia repeated with disgust.
Lee moved over to Minerva and, to her horror, dropped down on one knee. "Oh dear lord." she muttered.
"Excuse me." Alicia called. "Didn't you just call her 'darling'? Am I the only one who noticed that?"
Apparently she was. Angelina was obviously too dumbstruck at Lee's behaviour to respond. Since the last time Minerva had seen Lee Jordan down on one knee, he was a fourth year and he had been proposing to Angelina, she sort of understood the girl's befuddlement. Minerva herself was too preoccupied to really notice, and Lee… well, he was pretty far gone, truth be told. Minerva has seen more intelligence and common sense shining out of Gilderoy Lockhart's office wall. This was saying something.
"Come away with me Professor!" he demanded, gesticulating needlessly all the while. "We'll run away together! We'll travel the world! We'll rent a lot of hotel rooms!"
"Oh for the love of…" Minerva muttered. Teenage boys should be banned from making romantic proclamations, she decided. They always messed them up royally.
"Does nobody else care about the darling thing?" Alicia asked helplessly.
Angelina was still staring. While her face was a picture of incredulity, it was slowly slipping into one of amusement. This did not bode well for Minerva, as amusement implied understanding. Understanding implied knowledge, and knowledge in young people was usually followed by the insatiable urge to share said knowledge. If Minerva had not had three sixth years in her office at that particular moment, she would have certainly imprecated. Loudly and repeatedly.
"Uh, Alicia? I think we should, um, escort Lee out." Angelina said in an excessively polite tone. Her eyes were over-bright and Minerva could tell that she was shamelessly gleeful under her helpful façade. That's it, Minerva thought darkly, the sixth years were getting extra homework.
Angelina walked over and grabbed Lee's arms. "Come on, Lee, I think we should go."
Lee, who had been staring adoringly at Minerva, apparently waiting for a response to his oh-so-tempting offer, glared at Angelina. "I'm busy Johnson." he told her impatiently. "Go play with Fred or something." he added, a trace of bitterness in his voice.
Minerva raised an eyebrow.
"He's been weird ever since she went to the Yule Ball with Fred Weasley." Alicia explained quietly. "Er… well… not this weird. But, y'know." she shrugged.
"I do indeed." Minerva acknowledged. "Though I think Miss Johnson's right. You should perhaps escort him out."
"Professor! You don't understand! I adore you!"
"I worship you!"
It was such wearisome behaviour.
"You are a goddess!" Lee cried, enthusiastically fighting off Angelina.
"Maybe you're right." Alicia admitted, finally moving over to help Angelina.
They both began hauling him towards the exit, a course of action which Lee clearly did not approve of. "Let go of me!" he bellowed. "I won't let you come between us! PROFESSOR I NEED YOU! Gah! GET OFF ME YOU HAGS!"
"Hags?" Angelina repeated dangerously. "Did you just call me a hag, you hormonal idiot?"
The last thing Minerva heard before she slammed the door shut was Lee Jordan's face receiving a solid right hook. It cheered her up slightly, she had to admit.
Minerva had made it back up to her private chambers without encountering anymore teenage males. She had immediately immersed herself in the most horrific passage of Bladvak the Bloody's war diaries she could find, and had attempted to ignore any nagging concerns about the state her reputation would be in by the following day. It didn't work.
It wasn't that she couldn't recover her reputation, as she always could. It was just that when students came to her class expecting her to be, well, Veela-like, they were usually harder to control. This meant that she had to be downright tyrannical to keep them in line, which was an exhausting prospect at the best of times. With the male half of her classes acting like lascivious little twerps, however, it was nothing short of painful. Indeed, the thought alone was enough to bring her headache back full force.
And so, Minerva tried to ignore it. She could just burn down that bridge when she came to it, after all. She pored over her gory, violent book; right up until a House Elf appeared with her dinner. She ate with enthusiasm and had seconds of everything (it was a physically strenuous time) and then went back to her book. She tried to ignore the fact that, despite the dozen cooling charms she had set up around the room and on her clothing, she was still swelteringly hot. She tried to ignore the ever-present pressure on her skull. And she tried to ignore the fact that in one day she had fallen prey to more prurient thoughts than she had had in the previous year.
It was nearly eight o'clock at night before she had to actively acknowledge the fact that she didn't live in an impenetrable bubble.
"Guess what I heard through the grapevine?" Phineas's taunting voice asked slyly from a landscape painting on Minerva's wall.
She gritted her teeth, and looked up at him. "Do tell." she said, attempting to sound bored rather than annoyed.
"I heard, from a Hufflepuff student no-less, that you may very well be part Veela." he announced. "Isn't that interesting?"
Minerva glared. "Which Hufflepuff student?"
"Does it really matter?"
"I suppose not, but I'd like to know all the same."
"Well then I'm sorry to disappoint you. I don't reveal my sources." he said with a sanctimonious sneer. "Anyway, since the Headmaster seems to be suffering from the delusion that I am actually part owl, he sent me to request your presence in his office. The password is Canary Creams."
"What in God's name is a Canary Cream?" Minerva asked, momentarily forgetting to be annoyed.
Phineas shuddered dramatically. A little too dramatically. Minerva could only assume he hadn't had an audience in a while. "As I understand it, those red-haired little trouble-makers of yours came up with them." he told her, sounding utterly revolted. "Now, if we are quite finished, I do have other things to attend to."
Just because she was feeling petty and mean, Minerva said "Yes, of course. You probably have a pressing engagement with Sir Cadogan, don't you? An intellectual discussion on how best to irritate first years, perhaps?"
Phineas sent her a filthy look.
Whenever Minerva entered the Headmaster's office, her eyes immediately sought out Fawkes, the Phoenix. She didn't know if it was out of fondness for the bird, curiosity about which stage in his cycle he was currently in or just the fact that he was bright scarlet and her eyes were naturally drawn to him. She just always found herself searching for him, and also found herself faintly disappointed whenever he wasn't there.
The fact that he wasn't in Dumbledore's office on this particular occasion was especially upsetting, as he would have given her something pleasant to focus on that was completely unrelated, and indeed unaware of, anything connecting to the Vernal Equinox. The two people who were in Dumbledore's office were Dumbledore himself and Professor Moody.
Both men were on their feet as she entered and bowed slightly to acknowledge her presence. Moody's magical eye also gave her a once over which was not exactly chaste. She glared at him, causing him to avert his gaze.
"You wanted to see me, Headmaster?" Minerva asked, taking the seat that Dumbledore indicated.
"I did." he said. "But before we begin…" Dumbledore conjured up a single red rose and held it out to her.
Minerva narrowed her eyes dangerously, making no move towards the flower.
Dumbledore chuckled slightly and removed the rose before taking a seat. The Git. Moody also sat down next to Minerva. He was a little too close for comfort, but Minerva ignored this fact.
"What can I do for you Professor?" she asked shortly.
Dumbledore had tented his fingers and was watching her appraisingly. "The students are aware of your condition, Minerva." he said.
"So I've heard."
"Do you know how this may have occurred?"
Minerva shifted uncomfortably. The move immediately drew Moody's eye back to her. She scowled at him but he didn't shift his gaze this time. "Lee Jordan came to see me." she admitted, deciding to ignore Moody. "There were witnesses."
"Did the lad try anything improper?" Moody demanded in a low growl. These were the first words he spoke to her.
"The lad would have found himself unable to eat solid food for a month if he had, Professor, I assure you." Minerva informed him coolly.
"Though he was affected?" Dumbledore asked curiously.
Minerva laughed tersely. "Yes, one could certainly say that." she said.
Dumbledore nodded. "I take it that this incident has not impacted your decision to go on teaching your classes?" he asked. "In spite of the rumours circulating?"
Minerva bristled. "I am perfectly capable of teaching my classes, Dumbledore." she said firmly. She was actually becoming quite offended at his continued offers. She was one of, if not the, most capable teachers in the entire school. The fact that one of the people she respected most on the planet was so concerned about her abilities was quite insulting really. Did he doubt her so terribly?
As if reading her mind, Dumbledore shook his head. "I have absolute faith in your teaching ability, Minerva." he told her. "I was merely thinking of what is more comfortable for you."
Minerva was somewhat soothed.
Moody, too, was nodding. "Nobody doubts you." he said, patting her knee in a manner that was most unbefitting an ex-Auror. "It's those hellions in your classes that would be causing the bother." His hand was still there. "If there's anything at all Dumbledore or I can do to make things easier for you," His hand had not yet moved. "You just let us know." He was going to lose that hand in a minute, the impudent son of a- "I happened to be quite accomplished at Transfiguration back in the day," Minerva was beginning to have serious complaints with regards to that hand. "So if you want someone to cover a class or two," The hand was leading to a lot of possible scenarios with Minerva, most of them resulting in said hand losing its owner. "Then you just go ahead and ask me."
Minerva smacked the hand off her knee. "Don't you have classes of your own to teach, Professor Moody?" she asked pointedly.
Moody looked a little surprised. "Oh, well, yes. Yes I suppose I do. But not always." he said.
"You teach Defence Against the Dark Arts." Minerva stated. "Defence Against the Dark Arts, like Transfiguration, is required for all students between first and fifth year, and the subjects also have two of the largest N.E.W.T. level intakes in the school. I am curious as to when you would be fitting in these classes of mine. During dinner, perhaps?" she asked scathingly.
Moody didn't respond, but his eye was behaving badly once again.
Annoyed, Minerva got to her feet and pulled her robes more tightly around herself. "Well, if that's all Headmaster." she said. "I think I'll be going."
"Certainly Minerva." Albus acknowledged, with a faintly apologetic manner and a significant glance at Moody. "If you need anything at all, don't hesitate to contact me."
"I won't. Good evening."
Minerva turned sharply on her heel and stalked out. She stood on the descending staircase outside Dumbledore's office and seethed as it transported her downstairs.
Honestly, she expected teenagers to act like love-sick dogs, but fully-grown men should have a bit more decency. And to think, an ex-Auror, abusing a magical object in his position like Moody had that eye. It was outrageous. If he hadn't been an old friend of Dumbledore's she would've cursed him. Well, all right, if he hadn't been an old friend of Dumbledore's and a slightly better duellist than her, then she would've cursed him. It was only slightly better, mind. Why he was even present for that meeting was beyond her. He was far from an expert on the subject. Not to mention the fact that his offer to take her classes had been simply preposterous. Dirty old fool. She'd really expected more from Alastor Moody. He'd certainly never given any indication of such tendencies before.
Then again, that was one of the reasons that the Vernal Equinox (she so loathed the phrase 'mating season') was so damnably aggravating: it caused everyone affected to see every human male in a new, and usually unflattering, light. Minerva sighed. Perhaps she should have become a nun… true, all that peace and good will rubbish would've bored her to death within days, but at least behaviour like this would never be an issue.
As she reached the bottom of the staircase, Minerva pulled herself out of her reverie. It wasn't that internal diatribes against males weren't fun or anything; it was just that she thought it inadvisable to wander out into the school without a certain level of awareness. Particularly considering her current "condition".
She stepped off the staircase and waiting for the gargoyle to leap aside. As she did so, she became aware of a dull thudding behind her that was approaching quickly. Snapping her head round, she saw that Moody was already three-quarters of the way down the staircase. Cursing herself for not moving quickly down the stairs and sprinting back to her private chambers.
"Come on, come on, come on." she hissed, waiting for the gargoyles to open. They only ever took this long when they knew that it would inconvenience someone. Usually her. "Hurry up!" The gargoyles didn't move and Moody was nearly at the bottom of the stairs.
Surrendering to the inevitable meeting, Minerva slid her hand towards her wand and stared resolutely at the gargoyles, willing the contrary guardians to open.
"Hello there Professor McGonagall." Moody greeted, in the tone of slight surprise that one would use if they encountered an old school friend on Diagon Alley or something. Certainly not in the tone one would use if they'd just raced down a moving staircase to meet with someone. It was ridiculous.
To show her disapproval at such behaviour, Minerva sent him a cold look and then went back to her staring contest with the wall. The wall that was remaining stubbornly solid.
"I thought I'd see you here." Moody continued, apparently feeling no shame whatsoever.
"Well I can't imagine it being a great shock, seeing as how we were both in the same room less than two minutes ago." Minerva commented.
"Come now Professor, I think we both know why you're here." he said, in a confident, self-satisfied tone.
Minerva quirked an eyebrow at him. "Enlighten me."
Moody smirked. It was a singularly undesirable expression for a man with such extensive scarring to wear. "I know how nervous you are, Minnie, darling."
"Minnie, darling?" she quoted with disbelief. "Minnie?"
"All these strapping, young lads, after your flesh. I figure it's got to be a mite disconcerting. Especially for a woman of your age."
"I beg your pardon?" Minerva growled.
"Reflexes aren't as fast as they used to be. Perhaps the magic's getting a little shaky."
"You're older than me!"
"Am I?" he said condescendingly. "Am I really?"
"Yes!" Minerva cried.
"Oh. Er, right. What I mean to say, is that I understand your nervousness. Time like this, I've got to be figuring you wish you had yourself a husband. A significant other. Someone to help fend off any unwanted attention. Fortunately, I can help you in that area."
Minerva's wand hand was aching to fend off some unwanted attention right there and then. Regrettably, the gargoyles chose that moment to leap aside. Deciding that it wasn't worth getting into, Minerva swept out of the alcove and down the corridor without a backwards glance. He wasn't himself, she repeated firmly. He was acting strangely because of the pheromones, because of the Equinox, because of god-knew-what. He wasn't himself and therefore didn't deserve to be slaughtered.
"I can take care of you Minerva." he called out after her.
Minerva kept walking.
"And in exchange for just a few payments on your part, as well."
Moody apparently thought she was considering the offer, as he too stayed quiet. The only sound in the corridor was the faint creaking of a few suits of armour.
Minerva turned to face him.
"My goodness! What happened?" an alarmed Madam Pomfrey exclaimed ten minutes later, as Minerva entered the Hospital Wing with Moody's unconscious body floating behind her.
"I suppose he was involved in an altercation of some sort." she suggested without interest. Minerva flicked her wand at the nearest bed, causing Moody's prone form to lie on top of it.
Madam Pomfrey frowned. Then she sighed. "Oh Minerva, you promised this wouldn't happen again!" she hissed.
"I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about, Poppy." Minerva said serenely.
Madam Pomfrey rolled her eyes. "Mm-hmm. Sure. Do you remember thirty years ago? With Professor Slater? That Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?"
"I maintain that he cast that Castration Charm on himself, in an attempt to discredit me." Minerva replied, in a slightly practised manner.
"Yes. Right. Whatever you say Minerva." Madam Pomfrey sighed. "And what about Professor Moody, here? He beat himself up, I take it?"
"Don't be absurd, Poppy. A man can not beat himself into unconsciousness."
"Then who is responsible for his condition?"
"The suits of armour did it." Minerva replied promptly.
Perhaps the sentence itself was bizarre enough to merit a moment's pause, or perhaps it was just the fact that such a sentence had been emitted from the Deputy Headmistress, but Madam Pomfrey stopped tending to Professor Moody and simply stared at Minerva for a moment. "I'm sorry, could you repeat that?" she asked.
Minerva attempted to look innocent. "The suits of armour. You know how chivalrous they are. Do you recall that time Walden Macnair attempted to force himself on Narcissa Black and they attacked him? Well this is similar."
"Uh-huh. I see. So Professor Moody attempted to assault you?" Madam Pomfrey said sceptically.
"He…" Minerva thought about it for a moment. "Insulted my honour." she said at last.
Madam Pomfrey sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Just so I know: Do you expect many other people to be insulting your honour over the next few days? Only I'd like to prepare."
Minerva nodded slowly. "I'll, ah, attempt to avoid any situations where such behaviour is likely to occur." she assured the over-worked nurse as she headed towards the door.
"Well, just make sure you do that, Minerva." Madam Pomfrey called after her. "Because heaven knows, it's only going to worse!"
"Yes." Minerva muttered. "I know."