Meetings With McGonagall
Harry Potter was nervous.
His legs-still reasonably long and lanky- were bouncing up and down against the wooden floor, the sole of his shoes squeaking loudly with every rub of the leather. He could feel the fabric of his black trousers sliding back and forth with each anxious hop of his foot. His right hand was sitting hand was sitting on the desk across from him, his fingers dancing a rapid staccato rhythm on the deep cherry wood. He left was clenching a handful of his thick wool robes; the dark green bring out a shinning emerald in his eyes. His mother's eyes, as he'd always been told.
Harry had never felt comfortable in the headmaster's office.
To distract himself from the nerves that threatened to eat at him, clawing at the insides of his throat, like a fire that burned through his limbs...he glanced around the room, his forest gaze lingering on the things that hadn't always lived here.
Through most of Harry's youth, when Albus Dumbledore had reigned of headmaster, this office had seemed majestic-larger than life itself. The walls had been lined with books that mingled among the former headmasters' portraits. (Harry could here them now, muttering obviously about his presence, but he ignored them. After twenty-four years of unfortunate fame, Harry had gotten used to muttering.)The ash filled bird perch that had once sat in the corner, a large fiery-red phoenix resting omiounously above it, no longer sat in the corner of the room. No more were magical instruments lining the desk, each one of every shape and size, just challenging to be touched. But only the traditional portraits sat around him now. To Harry's eyes, this new room which lacked color and brightness seemed somewhat cold-for use of efficiency.
But the biggest change to the headmaster's office was the portrait hanging high over the dark cherry wood desk; larger than any other in this room. It was blank at the moment, the intricate golden frame decorating nothing but an seeming endless black hole.
It was normally a portrait of Albus Dumbledore.
As shameful as it was, Harry couldn't help but feel slightly relived that his old headmaster was off visiting another of his frames now. He was nervous as it was, and philosophical chats with Dumbledore never seemed to help lighten his mood much.
Even though the picture now showed nothing more than enchanted night, Harry still felt as though he was being watched intently by a pair of piercing blue eyes, their gaze peering over a pair of half-moon spectacles. The eyes were so familiar Harry could have seemed them yesterday. They were all knowing, and yet had the signs of young curiosity. Wise and inquisitive. Intimidating and kind. Cold and warm. Stone and water.
Harry closed his own eyes, fighting against the view in his mind. Events of his past always seemed to sneak up on him at the worst of times. He should have expected the memories to come flooding back at him when he was in this room, even changed as it was.
Harry had spent a surprising amount of time in the headmasters office during his schooling at Hogwarts. He had gotten into a fair amount of trouble during his years, but nothing compared to several infamous groups that still had detentions yet to serve. Only one-or possible two-of Harry's visits to this office were related to actual misbehavior. He could still remember every meeting he had ever had with Dumbledore.
His first year...the sorcerers stone...Professor Quirrel...the power of his scar...
The forth year...Cedric Diggory's murder...Voldemorts return...
Third year...Series Black...his godfather...time-traveling...
Sixth year...all the lessons...the pensive...Dumbledore sacrifice...Snape's lie...
Fifth year...order of the phoenix...department of mysteries...Sirius's death...the prophecy...
Second year...the Chamber of Secrets...Dobby's sock...Tom Riddle...saving his best friend's sister...
Harry's eyes bolted open.
He had been purposely avoiding thing her name for so long. He shouldn't have slipped his concentration.
Harry Potter had lost a lot of people in his life; everyone who had ever tried to guide him or be a parent, Teddy's parents, so many friends, over half the order, and her.
The only girl he'd ever loved.
The horribly ironic part, however, was that she was still alive and well.
Harry could go see her whenever he wanted. He could wrap his arms around her, holding her supple body close to his lanky form. He could kiss her with all of the adoration he had bottled up for so long. He could tell her how much he had loved her-would always love her.
But he wasn't good enough for her.
Ginny was the perfect girl-or woman, as that would be the more appropriate term. She was unearthly beautiful, but her charms extended even beyond that. She was strong willed and tough after growing up with so many brothers. She possessed a quick wit and even more rapid draw of the wand. Harry could still clearly remember the twin's complaints of her infamous bat-boogey hex. Harry couldn't help but grin at the thought.
Harry was sure that someone worthy had managed to catch Ginny's attention by now. There was a time, back years ago, when Harry might have had the chance to be that someone. But that time was gone now, and other men were not blind to the wonder Ginny was. She had found her someone by now, he was probably kind and intelligent, who could give her a normal life.
And that's the one thin Harry could never give her.
Harry wasn't normal. Even among wizards, Harry had been a freak since the age of one. There was no one in the world who understood Harry, who he could speak to and confide in. No one to empathize with his pain; even his two best friends-Hermione and Ronald Weasley, who were the closet thing to sibling Harry had ever know (seeing as he didn't particularly like to think of Dudley Dursley that way)-could never seem to understand exactly how much of the world Harry felt was placed on his shoulders.
Harry worried constantly that this great responsibility he placed upon himself would affect the other people in his life; his god-son, in particular. And his-god son was the entire purpose behind this trip. Harry wanted to be a good father-a great father. But he didn't know where to turn for advice and example. Certainly not his uncle Vernon, as he wasn't fond of the thought of locking Teddy in a broom cupboard. Harry had never really known his real father, and Series always appeared more of a friend than guardian. Dumbledore-god rest his soul-kept to many secrets for Harry's liking. Harry wished he had time to learn this slowly, like other fathers, but he didn't have time where Teddy was concerned.
Over the past seven years, while Harry had been off at training and then trying to save the rest of the magical world, Mrs. and Mr. Tonks had been watching Teddy. They had been doing an excellent job with their grandson, of course, and Harry made it a point to visit as often as possible, but it didn't change the fact that Harry was neglecting his god-son. And now, just this past month, Mrs. Tonks had died. Her husband tried to pull through, but after the loss her his daughter combined with his wife, he too lost the spirit to move on. To fight back death. Taking care of Teddy sat fully on Harry's shoulders now.
He had helped his young god-son moved past the death of his grandparents, and thankfully his young age helped him to snap back quickly. He was living with Harry at the his small London flat at the moment, but it wasn't enough room for them both. Now, because of Harry's meeting, he was spending time with Hermione and Ron's two children.
Harry knew that as soon as he would be taking Teddy permanently, he would have to get a new job. Teddy needed a stable environment, where his guardian wouldn't be running off to get killed every day. Being an auror would simply have to be off Harry's prioity list. So when this job had opened up, Harry looked in to it immediately.
Which was why he was here. For a new start. For both he and Teddy.
From beside Harry, breaking the silence in the lonely room. The paintings around Harry all quieted instantly, before the rapid mumbling picked back up again at a furious pace. Harry jolted up from his chair, complete startled. His legs-which he had just managed to still from quaking-had begun shaking again. He could hear the low sound of the stone gargoyle curling upwards, ready to face the new headmaster towards the grand entrance door.
Or rather, headmistress.
She entered through the doorway with all of the prowl and power she always possessed. Her shoulders were pulled back in rigid posture, perfectly straight lines. Long crimson robes feel all the way down to the floor, barely showing the brown boots beneath it. Her long black hair was pulled back into it's classic tight bun, though large streaks of gray now tainted the color. Her cold, somewhat beady eyes were shielded by a pair of square frames. Her face still held all of the coldness as in Harry's youth, yet it was now slightly aged. Circles and wrinkles that had not existed before taking over once smooth skin. Her walk towards him, silent and gentle, had a aura of feline to it-a likely trait. Harry felt the old instinct to immediately shrink back at the sight of this woman approaching.
But Harry had often heard that Minerva McGonagall could do that to almost anyone.
Harry managed to place a half panicked smile on his face and walked out towards his old transfiguration teacher. He reached for her hand slowly, as if he were nervous how this simple gesture would be taken.
Headmistress McGonagall raised an eye brow at Harry's nervous antics but otherwise said nothing.
"Mr. Potter," she greeted quietly, using the tone of respect that Harry had not bee expecting. He still thought of McGonagall as his teacher, and was mentally preparing to take notes. It was only since Harry's seventh year that she had begun speaking to him as an equal, and not a pupil. It still seemed unsettling.
"Headmistress," he greeted, pulling his hand away.
She smirked slightly at the title. She nodded her head towards the desk, gesturing with a small sweep of a hand that they sit. Harry waited until she had appeared to be comfortable before sinking fully back down into the seat again.
"Would you like something to drink, Mr. Potter?" the headmistress questioned politely.
Harry gladly accepted. Anything to keep his hands from shaking would be gladly accepted. McGonagall pulled out her wand, a thin pine, the light color matching her pale skin, and used a quick flick of her wrist to conjure a silver tea tray, all fixings included. The tray hovered in air for a moment, before finally setting quietly on the desk in front of them. She proceeded to pour them both a cup, taking more time than Harry would have though she would have. McGonagall was nothing if not efficient.
After Harry and taken two sugar cubes and taken a small sip of the hot steaming liquid, letting the bitter taste run down his though, warming him from the inside, she spoke up.
"Potter," she began, "Since you requested this meeting, polite society would normally dictate you begin the topic," Harry opened his mouth the begin his poorly memorized speech, but one flash of her cold eyes and he promptly shut his jaw. "But," she continued, "If you're here for the reason I suspect you are, I have few things to state first."
Harry nodded slowly, his nerves resurfacing immediately.
"First off, Mr. Potter-or Harry, if you prefer-if I hire you, I will not hire you reputation. I am not hiring the boy who lived, nor will I be bringing in the vanquisher of he-who-shall-not-be-named. We are both perfectly aware of you history, Harry." She gave him a pointed look over her glasses that vaguely reminded Harry of another teacher. "I was, after all, present for the...aftermath of most of your more astonishing adventures." Harry felt the blush begin to creep up into his face, but pushed it down again. He must remain professional.
"And if I hire you, Harry, I will not be enrolling you to tell stories to my students. You will teaching them." Another glare. "Understood?"
Harry nodded mutely.
McGonagall gave a great sigh and then her posture relaxed, her back leaning backwards to be slightly more cushioned in the overstuffed chair behind her. "Good. And I want you to know, Harry, that I have every intention of hiring you for the position." She shot him a long, questioning look. "You are interested in the teaching position, aren't you?"
Harry gave another silent nod. He wasn't when he was allowed to speak, and it didn't seem as though McGonagall was done quite yet.
"Here is the point of the matter, Harry. I am hiring you. But I'm doing it because I know how talented you are. Your recent years as an auror have proven that your beyond capable, and perfect for the job. Plus, I already know of your...less authorized teaching experience as a boy."
The smirk and stare she gave Harry was knowing, and more than enough to remind him of Dumbledore's Army.
"Not to mention," the headmistress went on, "Your countless letters of recommendation. Even forgetting good friends', such as Mrs. Weasley or Mr. Longbottom, your record is outstanding. As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Potter, you've already got the position."
Harry could of jumped ten feet or flow, broom or not. His heart felt so light it was like it was about to float out of his chest. His arms were shaking again, but no longer in anxiousness or nerves. He was ecstatic! He had Teddy would finally start having a normal life, and Harry couldn't have been happier. He wanted no more than to rush back to Ron's and pick him up; to go celebrate with everyone he knew.
But then, of course, reality came crashing back down.
"There is one thing, however, Mr. Potter, I would like to discuss." It did not escape Harry's notice that she used his sir name. His heart was drifting back down, setting in it's rightful, gloomy place.
She shook her head once, sipping her tea neatly before moving forward with the conversation.
"Minerva, Harry." she corrected. "Is it true you have a god-son? Teddy Lupin?"
Harry wasn't sure where this conversation was headed. He couldn't fathom how having a family would prevent him from teaching. Hermione did it just fine. She simply came in the mornings by floor network and left each night the same way for dinner. She and Ron both worked the same way. They had a house-elf, Petal, to take care of the children while they were off working. Many wizarding family's did the same thing. That had been Harry's plan. He had Kreature-a much more lovable thing now a days-to help him.
Harry bobbed his head up and down, saying a quiet, "Yes."
"And how do you intend to raise him with a full time job?"
Harry told her of his plan.
McGonagall was nodding half way through his explanation. "Certainly not a bad plan, Harry," she admitted once he had finished. "But there are a few things you failed to consider. For instance, what would happen if there is an emergency at night, and my best line of defense is at home? Or if Teddy got hurt and you were in the middle of a class? Mrs. Weasley had her spouse for help, and how do you have? A house elf?"
Harry had failed to think this through.
What was McGonagall asking from him? To chose between a job and his family?
He would choose Teddy always-she must have known this.
"So here is my suggestion, Harry." She leaned forward, the robes of her crimson gown scraping the dark woodened desk. "You, Teddy, and your house elf may all live in Hogwarts."
Harry blinked. He didn't understand. Family's of facility were not allowed to live here. It was an unspoken rule. "But Teddy isn't old enough-" Harry began again.
"I didn't mean to attend school, Harry." She interrupted him. "There is an abandoned room on the fifth floor that is plenty big enough to be separated for the two of you-three, counting the elf. You can live here and teach. Teddy can help Hagrid with his duties, or spend the days on the quittich fields, or in the library, or in the kitchen, or with unoccupied teachers. You will spend after dinner with him, and you both may choose where you would like to dine. As so long as he doesn't disrupt any going-ons during classes, everything should be fine. Don't you agree?"
"But this hasn't been done before," Harry needlessly pointed out. He couldn't let himself hope for such a perfect solution. Not when it was so unlikely.
Minerva McGonagall looked Harry straight in the eye, here expression so piercing it was almost frightening and told him, "Harry, you're the best and I need a teacher. You'll excuse me if I don't let your love for a little boy who needs a full time parent ruin my chances at getting you. If you are happy with this arrangement, then school starts in five days," she stood up, her tall form making ready to leave, an held her hand out for Harry to shake. "I'll be seeing you, then," a small smirk and a long pause. "Professor Potter."