Hiya! This idea struck me out of the blue and I was like – heyy, no one thought of this, so why shouldn't I go ahead with it? Yeah, it might be a little crazy … and I'm warning you … humour is seriously not my forte … but read, anyway. And this chapter is just an intro, no humour here … just to explain how Albus got himself into the situation in the first place.
Of course, I'm meddling with JK's stuff. If only it was mine.
Summary – Albus Dumbledore was probably the greatest wizard alive. So, after his famed defeat of Gellert Grindelwald, baby sitting should be a piece of cake, huh? Not so, as Dumbledore discovers when he volunteers to baby sit seven year old Minerva McGonagall …
Idiocy assured … but not in this chapter.
By Nymph of the Night
Chapter 1 – In which Albus visits Milan McGonagall and maybe, for the first time, suggests something very foolish
'Mr. Dumbledore … could I get you some more?'
'Please, Mileva dear, call me Albus … and thank you very much; the waffles are very delicious indeed, but perhaps it would be a tad unbecoming if I stuff myself too much. I do appreciate the offer, all the same.'
Mileva McGonagall smiled inwardly at the response – it was certainly very frank coming from so accomplished and distinguished a wizard - before reacting to the compliment.
'Your always welcome, Mr. Dumbl- I mean, Albus. I'm glad you could make it; Milan will be most pleased … ah, and here he comes now.'
A tall, handsome man with midnight black hair marched briskly into the room. Though he was clad in nothing but a simple, blue gown and a pair of bedroom slippers, his poise and speech revealed a great deal about his persona.
'Ah! Albus,' he said, smiling authentically as Albus Dumbledore stood up and the two shook hands amicably. Albus perceived that the man appeared to pale and slightly weary; there were dark circles under his eyes as though he had not had enough sleep lately albeit he could make out that his pleasure at seeing Dumbledore was genuine.
He shook himself out of contemplation as the man continued, 'So Ditsy wasn't pulling my leg, after all,' he chuckled as he sat down at the breakfast table and Albus resumed his seat. 'And I gave the poor house elf such a telling off for waking me up so early … she was startled out of her pillowcase (AN: House elves wear pillow cases) but if you look at it that way, it seems rather implausible that you should be here so early in the morn.'
'I apologize for having disrupted your sleep, dear fellow,' Albus replied apologetically, chuckling back as he realised his conjecture had been quite accurate; the man had, indeed, been cutting off on his sleep. 'Especially since you were out late last night at the Ministry. But I just happened to be passing by and thought I might drop in for a visit.'
'Well, you're always welcome at McGonagall Manor,' Milan McGonagall said readily, helping himself to the waffles that Mileva had left on the table and spreading them with a generous helping of honey. 'Particularly, when Mileva makes waffles … and believe me when I say there's nothing that can match them!'
'Indeed, I couldn't agree more,' Albus approved, nodding at the brown and gold-tinted architecture heaped on Milan's plate. 'Your wife's culinary skill are really unmatched.'
'Thank you, I shall be sure to let her know,' Milan replied sincerely. 'Where is she, anyway?'
'I'm here, darling,' Mileva called out, stepping into the room, fully dressed in long, billowing white robes. Milan looked at her, evidently surprised to see her dressed for work. She frowned at his astonished expression. 'Oh, for god's sake, Milan … don't look so clueless! I do remember telling you last night that I was wanted today at St. Mungo's, today … some spell gone awry and now the man's yelling his head off about hallucinations of Dark Wizards digging his great-aunt's grave to uncover some lost family treasure … I'll go nuts one day for sure … working with lunatics … hmm, best go and check it out …' She sighed and kissed Milan on the cheek. '…and being Head Healer, I'm sure to have a few more deluded nutcases up … so, I doubt I'll make it back before nightfall … and in view of that, it'll be up to you to look after Min.'
'Yes, of course,' Milan said, as though he had seen this coming. He glanced at the wooden staircase that led to the bedrooms. 'Isn't she up yet?'
'Yes, she is … but she's reading in bed … you'd better get her out…' Mileva returned resignedly, exasperated at having to work on a weekend, when she'd rather be spending time with her daughter, husband and his rather charming colleague. 'Well, thanks for coming, Albus … sorry about this, but I really have to go … you're always welcome any time!'
'Not at all, I ought to be thanking you,' Albus said appreciatively. Mileva smiled ruefully and made her way to the door. A few minutes later, the two men heard the door being shut and footsteps down the walkway that led to the main gates of the huge manor.
'Ah, well,' Milan sighed at length. He seemed to be regretting the fact that he had finished the waffles so quickly, now that Mileva wasn't there to make some more. 'Even Ditsy can't make them like she does … so might as well clean up.' He slipped his hand into his gown and withdrew his wand, then flicking it at the sticky, honey-covered, crumb-encrusted dishes so that they cleaned themselves in a zippy. Having directed the good-as-new plates back to a neatly arranged cabinet in the kitchen, he turned back to Albus.
'Well, Albus, shall we?' he finally asked his patiently-waiting guest.
'Certainly, Milan,' Albus replied, and followed as the man led him into a tastefully designed lounge and beckoned him to seat himself on one of the low-backed, comfy settees. Albus sat down and Milan took a seat opposite him, picking up a sheaf of very officially looking parchment. He flipped through the papers, his brows arched in a frown, eyeing them with the dread of an over-worked man and then, decided against reading the cases that day. He replaced them back on the side table.
'Wizengamot cases, I presume,' Albus said cheerfully as opposed to Milan's look of dread.
Milan breathed deeply and looked up at Albus; the exhaustion seemed to linger around his face once more. 'Yes, the Ministry's been piling with them since … Grindelwald's defeat,' – he looked significantly at Albus who suddenly seemed absorbed and fascinated by the sculpture of a water nymph by the fire place – 'there seems to be no end to the list of suspects who were supporting him … no end to the paperwork … not meaning too seem to pretentious … but I've been up for nights together trying to finish it off once and for all and yet …' He sighed and Albus felt truly sorry for him; the air of exhaustion around him was almost palpable. ' … and on top of that, the Auror departments is, no doubt, going downhill.'
Dumbledore tore his eyes off the sculpture and turned his attention back to his fatigued host. 'Well, there is a lot of truth in what you say …' he said musingly, resting his head in his hands, as though considering the matter. 'But the Auror department suffered the most when Grindelwald's campaign was active, so I assume they're now "taking a break" as I heard someone say the other day at the Ministry.'
'Yes, of course … but that is no reason to shun work completely,' Milan countered irritably, running his hands absently through his black hair. 'Anyway, the Law Enforcement Department is up to the neck in work …'
'I cannot say I disagree,' Albus said solemnly – being the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, he knew just how tedious and energy sapping Ministry cases could be, specially when there were too many of them; hence, he quite sympathized with Milan, who happened to be the Head of Magical Law Enforcement and a close friend of his. He was about to continue on the dreariness of law cases when the appearance of a certain tawny feathered bird near the window-sill attracted his attention and he remarked instead, 'Why, Milan I do believe you have mail!'
Milan McGonagall jerked his head up in surprise, a trace of weariness still perceptible in his almond-shaped, emerald green eyes. 'No, the mail has already been delivered,' he said, frowning. 'Ditsy left it by my bed, earlier this morning. There were quite a few really; couple of them from the Ministry, few for Mileva and nearly dozens for Minerva from her two best friends, Poppy and Rolanda.'
Albus said nothing, but inclined his head slightly towards the large, tawny owl with rather wind-ruffled feather which had been patiently waiting at the window sill, with the letter-bearing leg stuck out. Milan took one look at the nocturnal creature and then, breathed in deeply as though willing himself not to yell in frustration.
'Ministry Owl,' he said, through gritted teeth and glared at the owl as though it was the cause of all his weariness and exhaustion. He would have very much liked to hex the owl into the next century except that he recognized it as the Minister's personal owl.
'And Arnold's personal owl, if I am not mistaken,' Albus remarked coolly as Milan untied the letter and read through it quickly, his eyes growing dimmer and dimmer with each line. Finally, he folded the long piece of parchment and slipped it into his robes wordlessly.
He walked back to Albus.
'Well,' he pronounced finally, slumping back into the couch. 'It appears that the Minister has called a meeting of all Heads of Departments at exactly 7 'o' clock. And the time now, happens to be quarter to seven-' he gritted his teeth in aggravation – ' … but no, I ought to be glad Mr. Forgetful at least had the grace to inform me fifteen minutes prior … there was a time, when he just barged into my office to notify me of the Oliver Decks trial!'
Albus laughed merrily; Arnold Andrews' habit of informing Ministry officials about anything and everything just a few minutes prior to the deadline was infamous amongst all Ministry-connected persons. This practice of his, particularly aggravated Milan, who was a very laconic and orderly person and did nothing without prior planning. Albus well remembered the Oliver Decks trial only too well, which had been delayed by a full one hour due to this unconventional trait of the Minister, who had in the end, ran out of the Wizengamot and dragged back with him a very unprepared, harried and bewildered Milan McGonagall to hear the case.
'I suppose you'll be going,' Albus said at last, when he had finally managed to stop laughing.
'Of course,' Milan said wryly, making to walk out of the lounge to change into something more fitting for a Ministry convention. 'Don't have much choice do I?' He was almost out of sight, when something seemed to strike him and he winced. 'Minerva!'
'I beg your pardon?' Albus asked, taken aback.
'Minerva …' he repeated, ignoring Albus for once. 'Oh Merlin! I completely forget! And Anna Maria isn't home today!'
'Minerva?' Albus said blankly, suddenly recollecting that this certain person in reference happened to be Milan's seven year old daughter. 'What about her?'
'I can't leave her alone at home,' Milan breathed, annoyed at not having thought of this before. 'Though she wouldn't mind …'
'Then, why not leave her?' Albus wondered aloud, making no effort to contain his thoughts for he knew Milan would not mind.
'Ah, it'll be the house I'll have to worry about then,' Milan returned sarcastically, smirking as Albus looked at him, more confused and puzzled than ever.
'I assume you mean … but just how much damage can a seven year old girl- capable of magic as she may be - inflict on a house?' Albus questioned quizzically.
'Ah, now you say that,' Milan countered pointedly. 'Don't you ever make the mistake of saying that in front of her; she'll have the house down to prove it … and believe me, it'll be the last thing on your mind after you've seen her.'
Then, it suddenly seemed to strike him that he was running late for a Ministry conference.
'Oh, Albus!' Milan yelped, slightly hysterical. 'You're the greatest wizard in the world … now tell me … my sister-in-law, Anna Maria normally comes to look after her … but she isn't in today … where do I leave her?'
Albus smiled serenely as Milan grabbed the nearest set of black robes and put them on hurriedly, dusting it frantically to make it look presentable enough for a Ministry head. 'Might I suggest that I look after her?'
Milan stopped dusting the robes immediately, made as if he was about to choke and stared at Albus for one incredulous minute, then he burst out laughing, 'If that was a joke, Albus, it was a very poor one!'
'My dear Milan,' Albus returned evenly. 'Even I, with my limited sense of humour, can evolve a better joke than that. I assure you … I'm quite serious.'
Milan threw his hands up in defeat. 'Well, I guess you'd better be … I'm running out of time … and there seems to be no other choice … umm, are you quite sure?' he queried, looking at Albus peculiarly.
'Dear fellow, why do you keep asking me if I'm serious?' Albus posed the question that had been troubling him for quite a while. 'Is she very dangerous?'
It seemed rather preposterous that the greatest wizard of all time should be asking this of a seven year old girl.
Milan, however, in his obligation to make it on time to the Ministry, had already ascended the long, winding staircase and he beckoned Albus to do the same before replying to his ludicrously posed query. 'No, she isn't dangerous. But she's rather … how do you put it … older? … rational? … maybe, yes … she's rather rational for a seven year old. She also happens to have an inflammable temperament and does not take very kindly to being left alone with strangers.'
'What-' Albus began, but Milan had already swerved left and now was holding a large oaken door ajar for Albus to enter.
Albus straightened his robes and breathed deeply, not knowing for once, what he was getting himself into.
Ooookay, that's all for this chappie! Next up, will Minerva let Albus babysit her … Mmm, I'm thinking not … loads of yelling up … And please, please, please hit the button below and review!