Disclaimer: None of the characters or places portrayed in this story are mine. All belong to J.K. Rowling. Not copyright infringement intended.
A/N: I've only written the one so far but I have ideas for the rest. I realised I've written very few light-hearted tales, so I thought I'd give this a go. It's a nice break from Tempest anyway.
The wonderful thing about the library at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was that it basically had any book you wanted. The bad thing about it was that some of the books in the Restricted Section were so stubborn that working in the library was your only choice if you wanted to use them.
That was why, on a swelteringly hot Saturday in April, Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall were sitting at a table in the enormous room that was filled to the ceiling with books of all shapes, sizes and smells. It was also why they were on the receiving end of several rather bewildered expressions from their students.
The headmaster and his deputy had been asked by the school board to put together a book about modern Transfiguration which, if approved, will be added to the school curriculum for transfiguration students studying at NEWT Level.
The library, it had turned out, was the only place where one vital transfiguration book (Transfiguration for the Limited Gifted) would open. If you stepped outside of the library doors with this book in your hands it would start howling at you and would remain firmly shut. So this large dusty volume with mouldy, spotted pages and a rather unpleasant looking red leather cover was propped open and lying silent on the table before Dumbledore and Minerva on this cheerful Saturday afternoon.
A group of fifth year Gryffindor students studying this year for their OWLS walked into the busy but remarkably quiet library and sat around the only available table – the one adjacent to the two professors. One of the girls in the group nudged her friend and nodded towards the Headmaster and their Transfiguration professor. Their teachers' heads were barely an inch apart as they leant over a very large, very musty, old book, talking with each other in whispers.
The appearance of their professors in the library was curious, but what was more unusual was the relaxed manner in which they both appeared whilst in such close proximity. It was, of course, the female students who noticed this, and wild ideas exploded in their minds about the private lives of Dumbledore and McGonagall.
"I'm telling you, Albus," Minerva whispered fervently as she and Dumbledore leant over the large book, both peering through the glasses that were perched on the ends of their noses and scanning the miniscule characters that were inscribed on the yellowing pages. "It's derived from the Old French transfigurer."
"I am sure it has Latin origins, Minerva," Dumbledore whispered, quite as ardently.
For the last five minutes Dumbledore and Minerva had been arguing about the origin of the verb to transfigure. Dumbledore turned one of the enormous discoloured pages.
"Ah, here it is," he said.
He was pointing to the small square of text that he and Minerva had been looking for. Minerva looked to where he was pointing and started to read the microscopic writing.
"Hmm, it would appear that we are both correct, Albus," Minerva said, with the tiniest of smiles, as she squinted at the minute letters which suggested that the verb in question had not one, but two origins.
However, only a few seconds had gone by when, all of a sudden, the ink on the page of their enormous volume faded, leaving a blank page staring back at them.
"What?" Minerva said crossly, staring bewilderingly at the disappearing text. "Where are the words going?" She turned to Dumbledore for an answer.
"It appears that this book has had enough of our scrutiny for the moment," Dumbledore told her calmly. "I'm afraid nothing can be done, Minerva. We just have to wait until it is feeling more sociable."
Minerva sighed impatiently. "Well when will that be?" she asked with irritation. "We haven't got all day."
Dumbledore was glancing at her with an amused expression. "You have read this book many times, Minerva," he said, gesturing to the volume that now housed neither words nor pictures on any of its pages. "We can fetch another book until this one is ready to be read."
"That is not the point, Albus," she said. "It's rude to have your words vanish when someone is reading them. It's never done it before," she added.
Dumbledore was silent.
"Albus?" Minerva said, with a definite tone of warning in her voice. Dumbledore looked at her with a smile. "What did you do to this book?" she asked.
The Gryffindors on the nearby table had been listening to their professors' squabble over the trivial matter that was the origin of a word, and now they glanced at each other and attempted to stifle their giggles as they saw their transfiguration professor's lips reduce to the smallest line and heard the threatening tone of her voice.
"Albus?" Minerva repeated.
"I may have transfigured it into a lemon once," he said nonchalantly.
"Oh for Heaven's sake. Why?" Minerva asked, baffled and snappy.
"I wanted to take it out of the library," he told her. "Incidentally, it still wails when it passes through the doors even as a piece of fruit."
"Well you'll just have to apologise," she said. "Then it might do as we ask and give us the words back."
The students across the room continued to listen, holding their breath for fear of laughing out loud whilst subtly watching their Headmaster be reprimanded by his Deputy. They saw Dumbledore lean, once again, over the large book in front of him and McGonagall. His long nose was almost touching the page as he stroked it smoothly. They saw McGonagall trying unsuccessfully to refrain from smiling at him as she held in her laughter.
"There," Dumbledore said, sitting back in his chair and beaming at the newly visible ink, then at the woman beside him. Minerva's smile grew.
"I wouldn't look too smug, if I were you," she said, a note of laughter surfacing in her voice.
"Why not?" Dumbledore asked, curious.
Minerva pressed her lips tightly together, trying even harder to hold in her smile, before saying, "You have ink on the end of your nose."
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose in amused alarm.
"The book must have spat it at you," Minerva declared, her cheeks now colouring faintly in laughter as she looked at the spot of black ink sitting on the very tip of Dumbledore's long, crooked nose.
Dumbledore's eyebrows fell. He turned back to the book and frowned at it.
"Now that is rather unpleasant of you, don't you think?" he said to the book, which simply lay on the table, inert and silent.
"You did turn it into a lemon, Albus." Minerva reminded Dumbledore promptly. "Here." She took her wand from the pocket inside her robes and attempted a simple spell to clear the ink – the ink, however, remained stubbornly present at the end of Dumbledore's nose.
"Hmm," she said, frowning. She tried a different spell. That didn't work either. Still frowning at the long nose, Minerva attempted a third spell. She sighed, defeated and looked up at Dumbledore.
"Well, you'll just have to cope with it until you can scrub it off," she told him plainly and turned back to the massive volume, a new smile lighting her eyes.
The Gryffindors were turning numerous shades of red from holding their giggles in. They had barely started any of the work they had traipsed to the library for because, nosy as it was, they were enjoying the private moment their teachers were spending together. It was refreshing to see the strict Professor McGonagall break into laughter, even if she was trying to hold it back; and it was wonderful to see the greatest wizard of all time struggling to magic a blob of ink off of the end of his nose.
"I've tried that already, Albus," Minerva said, now scribbling with her quill on an unrolled piece of parchment as Dumbledore sat next to her and repeated the spells Minerva had attempted to cast.
"Is it still there?" Dumbledore asked. Minerva exhaled loudly and turned back to the man beside her. Once again, her smile shone through.
"No, Albus," she lied. "It's gone. Can we get on with our work now?"
"Lying, my dear," Dumbledore said, "is the one thing you cannot do well."
Minerva coloured at his rather flattering statement. Ignoring it as best she could, she gave another characteristic sharp sigh and flicked her wand out just in front of her.
Out of thin air a small light blue sponge appeared. She turned to Dumbledore with it in her hand, knowing full well that he could not see the splodge of ink on the end of his nose.
"Look at me," she ordered.
Dumbledore turned his face to her.
The faces of the Gryffindors were now turned unashamedly in the direction of their professors and their eager eyes watched them expectantly. McGonagall raised a hand to Dumbledore and her fingers curled around the back of his neck. In her other hand she held the blue sponge that the students had seen her conjure out of thin air.
She raised the sponge to her lips and they heard her whisper a gentle spell into it. The shade of blue darkened as water, or something like it, seeped into it from nowhere. McGonagall's hand moved and the sponge was guided over to the tip of Dumbledore's nose.
The girls in the group of students smiled giddily as they watched McGonagall use a tenderness they had never thought she possessed. They silently decided amongst themselves that it was a tenderness she only used when she was with Dumbledore, and they sighed airily.
"There, that's done it," Minerva said in a low voice. The blob was still very present but Dumbledore wasn't to know that. It was true, she could not usually lie, but her voice had become very serious as she looked up from Dumbledore's nose to his overwhelmingly blue eyes.
He said nothing in reply and Minerva swallowed silently.
"So, where were we?" she said in a voice louder than was usually permitted in the library and turned quickly back to the musty book that lay before them.