This story was written in response to the Fiction Alley 2007 fan-fiction challenge series - August Challenge. It was written by a team of writers called BeST; also known for their Betaing prowess. The team is made up of two writers and two grammarians – one American, the other British and PI accredited, who lives in Germany. The Authors are Zarathustra from America and Les Dowich from Australia. We ask that you read and enjoy!
Title: The Play is the thing…
Prompt: Professor McGonagall went to a Muggle movie with Sir Cadogan.
Minerva McGonagall hurried along the frozen streets of London during the Christmas break of 2001. Due to a scheduled downtime of the Ministry's floo system for recalibration, everyone was forced to use the visitor's entrance to get into the Ministry.
Pulling her Muggle overcoat closer around her and muttering a warming charm under her breath, she hurried to the red call box that disguised the entrance. Just as she was getting ready to dial the access number, a bright poster plastered on a nearby wall caught her eye and caused her to place the receiver back in its cradle. She stepped out to examine the poster further, a deep curiosity stirring in her breast.
Taking in the somewhat familiar visages of three children and the legend 'Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone,' Minerva nearly had a heart attack! The dark-haired child looked nearly identical to Harry when he had first been sorted nearly ten years earlier! What was going on? Had the Muggles made a movie? How? Why?What plot was this she had discovered?
Abandoning her errand, she whipped around and headed back to the Apparition point at the Leaky Cauldron to return to Hogwarts.
Minerva wandered the empty halls of the august school muttering to herself. The portraits could only catch partial phrases of "…violations of the Secrecy Act!" " How did they discover about the stone?" "Who could have done this…?"
She was brought to a halt by a voice from a portrait near her elbow calling to her. "Pray, dear lady, what causes thy spirit such distress? Is there naught this knight can do to assist thee?" Sir Cadogan brandished his sword, causing his armour to rattle ominously and his horse to shy away from him. "Show me the knave and I'll run him through for thy favour!"
Minerva sighed, rolled her eyes, and turned to face the medieval knight-errant. "Someone has leaked the story of Harry Potter's first year here at school, and the Muggles have made a 'movie' of the whole affair!" She scowled off into the distance. "Who could have done this, Sir Cadogan?"
"A Quest!" He jumped up and down with glee. "You must go on a quest to discover the knave who doth threaten our world!" He pointed his sword at the locket pinned to her throat. "Open thy locket and place it against this painting and I shall assist and protect thee, Fair Maiden, on this most noble of missions!"
Minerva snorted at the 'Fair Maiden' line, but did as Sir Cadogan bid and let him jump into her locket.
"Where to now, fair lady?"
"Back to London I think, Sir Cadogan!" Transforming her robes into Muggle clothes once more, she set off to the sound of Sir Cadogan's muffled "Onward!"
After perusing the movie poster again ("Odd, they don't move, my lady. Why do they not move when the Muggles call this a 'movie', was it?") Minerva read that the movie was based on a series of books. "A series? There's more than one? Merlin preserve us!"
"The next step in our quest, dear lady, we must seek out these nefarious publications."
"That is the eternal dilemma, read the books or see the movie first?" she mused. "There is a cinema around the corner, Sir Cadogan; I think we should see that first. Afterwards, we can go to a Muggle bookseller." Decision made, she marched away to the cinema and after passing over some Muggle money, she received a bit of pasteboard and entered the theatre.
Blinking in the bright midwinter sunlight, Minerva could barely hold in her exasperation. The movie had been uncannily accurate, although Sir Cadogan kept making comments such as "Professor Snape never looked that handsome!" "They've got that part of the castle all wrong!" "That does resemble Sir Nick a bit…" "The Fat Lady…" "Have at him, young Master Potter!" At that, Minerva had shut the locket giving it a stern tapping with a hissed suggestion to be quiet. The Muggles who had turned around to stare at her were surprised to see no one else there, but the stern glance she shot at them caused them to whip back around, and hunker down in their seats.
She knew this part of London fairly well and remembered there was a large Muggle bookseller nearby. Throwing her shoulders back, she strode with purpose to Waterstone's bookshop, prepared to search as long as it took to find the incriminating books.
McGonagall was amazed at what she found – a whole section of the children's area was devoted to these Harry Potter books! After a brief discussion with the store clerk, she discovered that children and adults loved the books and recently had waited in line for the fourth instalment to come out. "They're causing children to read and dream, and adults to recapture their youth!" she had said. Minerva bought a set of the four that were published.
"Sir Cadogan," she murmured. "I smell magic at work here … we need to investigate this author. The clerk said she was signing books this afternoon in Edinburgh; let's go."
"But, of course! Forward we go!"
Minerva McGonagall sat in her rooms at Hogwarts, plaid dressing gown keeping her warm as she toasted her toes before the fire, bun taken down for the evening, nursing a small glass of firewhiskey.
"Ah, Albus," she addressed the empty room, "if only you knew how clever Miss Granger-Weasley truly is! She has taken memory charms to a whole new level." She chuckled to herself. "All those people reading about our world, loving it, and not realising it is real. Very clever Muggle Liaison Device. And the author has no idea – just thinks the story fell from the sky right into her head whilst on a train ride! Amazing!" She sipped some more at the whisky, then opened the book on her lap and began to read:
'Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.…'