Disclaimer: Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are all mine – uh, I mean, JKR's!

Author's notes: Aichmophobia is the fear of needles or pointy objects (in this case, just needles).



Several sweets spilled out of Dumbledore's hands as he attempted to cram another in. Making an indistinct noise of frustration, he began to stuff them into his pockets, unaware of the crowd of students watching him in fascination.

"He's never going to carry all of them," Ron whispered in amusement. "Where did he get them anyway?"

Harry pointed. There was a trail of sherbet lemons leading through the Entrance Hall, up the grand staircase and out of sight.

"Think we ought to tell him he's walking into a trap?"

After a pause, Ron said, "Nah."

Once Dumbledore had slowly made his way up the staircase after the sweets and out of sight, the students dispersed and the Trio settled down in the library and picked up their textbooks. Studying, however, came to an abrupt half a few minutes later as Dumbledore came skidding into the library and ducked under their table.

"Don't tell her I'm here!" he whispered frantically.

'Her' turned out to be Professor McGonagall. She looked tired and had her hands on her hips, an empty sherbet lemon bag coming out of her pocket.

"Have you three seen the headmaster?"

Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at each other. Harry said "Er," just as Hermione said "Yes" and Ron said "No". Professor McGonagall raised an eyebrow.

They were saved deciding which teacher to side with. A hand crept out from under the table, reaching for the sweet bag in the apparent hope there would be another left. In a quick movement, Professor McGonagall seized Dumbledore's wrist and he cried "Ouch!" as his head connected with the underside of the table.

"That's not fair," he said sulkily as she dragged him out. "You know I can never resist sherbet lemons."

"I know, Albus, and that is precisely why I used them. I'll let you have them back once Poppy's finished with you."

Dumbledore, to the students' amusement, looked rather sulky, but reluctantly nodded. Professor McGonagall pulled his to his feet and, with one arm holding his shoulder, steered him out of the library. Harry grinned as he suddenly pulled away as they reached the Entrance Hall and tried to make a run for it.

"Leg it, Professor!" Ron yelled after him, earning himself a sharp shushing from Madam Pince. "Oops. C'mon, let's watch."

Professor McGonagall caught Dumbledore with an Impediment Jinx and he fell flat on his face. Hermione winced. With another flick of her wand his hands were tied behind his back.

"Shoo, there's nothing to see here," Professor McGonagall snapped at the crowd before turning back to Dumbledore. "You chose the hard way, Albus," she reprimanded at his glare. "Don't look at me like that, it's for your own good."

"Please Minerva, don't drag me back to that torture chamber." Dumbledore stopped glaring and instead adopted a begging-puppy look with baleful blue eyes. "Please."

"That look stopped working on me a long time ago and you know it. Stop it, you're making a fool out of yourself in front of the students. Shoo!" She repeated, flapping her hands for effect.

"Aw, poor Dumbledore. I know how he feels."

"Of course you do, Harry, it looks like we've finally found someone who hates the Hospital Wing as much as you do."

Hermione looked thoughtful. "Professor McGonagall, do you want a hand?"

"Traitor," Harry muttered.

"That won't be necessary, thank you Miss Granger." Professor McGonagall looked down at the begging Dumbledore, apparently trying to decide on the best way to get him to the Hospital Wing. Hermione surveyed the situation before kneeling down next to Dumbledore.

"Why is Professor McGonagall trying to get you to the Hospital Wing?" she asked kindly, in the sort of tone one might address a shy child with.

"I've got to have …" Dumbledore shuddered. "jabs."

"Oh, I see." Hermione paused. "Would you go willingly with Professor McGonagall if …" She leaned in and whispered in his ear.

Dumbledore stared at her for a moment. "Do you think she would?" he finally said in a small voice.

"I'm sure she would if you asked her nicely and went with her to Madam Pomfrey without any more fuss."

Harry and Ron looked at each other, baffled. Dumbledore hesitated, before nodding. Hermione untied him and helped him to his feet, and he moved towards Professor McGonagall and stood in front of her, shuffling his feet.

"Minerva …" he mumbled.

"Yes, Albus?"

"Will you hold my hand?"

Professor McGonagall caught Hermione's eye, who gave her a thumbs-up behind Dumbledore's back. Professor McGonagall smiled.

"Of course I will, Albus. You only had to ask."

She held out her hand then and there, and Dumbledore took it, letting her lead him up the Grand Staircase and out of sight, half the student body watching them go with their mouths open.