AN: Just a little fic about how Harry came to be the youngest Quidditch player in over a century.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Harry Potter related
Smashed to Pieces
"He's a natural, Albus. You should have seen the way he caught that thing! And on a rickety old school broom! I've never seen anything like it!" Professor Minerva McGonagall raved as she paced about the headmaster's office, "It was…bloody brilliant to use the phrase of young Mr. Weasley."
"Bloody brilliant?" Albus Dumbledore echoed, gazing amusedly at his deputy headmistress over his half-moon spectacles, "Mr. Potter must be a talented flyer if he has reduced you to using profanity, my dear," he commented, chuckling.
"Oh, but he is, Albus, and the extraordinary part is that it was his first time on a broomstick. One can only imagine what he would be able to do if he was trained up a bit," McGonagall gushed. Dumbledore chuckled. Though no one would ever guess that the stern, proper Professor McGonagall was so passionate about Quidditch, he was well aware that if she got on the subject, she could go on for hours about it, especially if the conversation turned to the Gryffindor House Team.
"Well, Minerva, I'm sure young Harry will be a great asset to the Gryffindor team next year," he said, smiling, not noticing the slight change in his colleague's behaviour. The witch slowly approached his desk, sat down in the chintz armchair, and folded her hands on her lap.
"About that Albus," she started, her tone business-like, "Perhaps it might be beneficial for Harry to begin his Quidditch career this year," she ventured. Dumbledore slowly raised his eyes from the papers on his desk to look at her. She was completely serious about the matter, about bending the rules so the first-year could play.
"Minerva, do you really think it wise that Harry be allowed to play? That rule was set in place for the safety of the students. Harry will be much less experienced and much smaller than the other players and could possibly suffer greatly for it," Dumbledore reminded her.
"You do know that I value my students' safety above all else," McGonagall clarified, "I would not have suggested the matter if I did not think Harry would be able to cope with it."
"I was not insinuating that you were not considering his safety when you suggested that he play, Minerva," Dumbledore told her, "I was merely reminding you why that rule was set in place."
"Some rules are meant to be smashed to pieces every now and then, Albus," she said. His white eyebrows shot up into his hairline.
"Smashed to pieces, Minerva?" he spluttered, unsure he had ever heard his rule-abiding deputy correctly.
"Smashed to pieces," she confirmed, a small smile gracing her lips, remembering.
"Would either of you care to explain to me how you two have broken at least fifty school rules in less than a month back at Hogwarts?" Minerva McGonagall asked, looking sternly down at the two dark-haired Gryffindors that were seated in front of her desk.
"Talent?" thirteen-year-old Sirius Black ventured, shrugging and grinning up at her. She was momentarily caught off guard by the comment. The boy seemed so at ease, so proud of his so-called 'accomplishments'.
"Talent?" McGonagall repeated, looking down at him, her lips a thin line on her face, "Do you think that's funny, Mr. Black? Are you really proud of breaking every school rule in existence?" she asked dangerously.
"I haven't broken EVERY rule, Professor," Sirius corrected earnestly.
"But there's an idea…" the other boy said softly, a slow grin spreading on his face. McGonagall's head snapped towards him and she could practically see the gears turning under his messy black hair.
"What did you say, Mr. Potter?" she asked, ready to nip that problem behaviour in the behind. Young James Potter sat up straight in his chair and leaned forwards, that mischievous smile still on his face.
"How many school rules are there, Professor?" James asked. Once again, she was caught off guard.
"A great many," she managed to get out.
"Wicked," both James and Sirius said at the same time, Sirius's grin now matching James's.
"No," she said in her firmest voice, "I will not have you two conspiring to break school rules here in my office! Rules are put in place for a reason. They are to uphold the structure in society and maintain order. You can't just go about breaking the rules on a whim!"
James looked up at her with intelligent hazel eyes and said, "But Professor, how do you know a rule will work the way it's supposed to unless it's tested? Some rules are meant to be smashed to pieces every now and then. How else would you test them?" he questioned, rendering his professor speechless for a couple of moments until she threatened to give him a week's worth of detentions for every rule that he broke. Her threats fell upon deaf ears, for young James Potter had already made it his life's goal to break every school rule in existence.
"Sometimes rules have to be broken to test their effectiveness," McGonagall clarified, borrowing her former pupil's logic. Dumbledore looked at her carefully, trying to discern just what it was that was making her act this way.
"Interesting that this rule should be tested now, when Gryffindor stands to gain a talented seeker," he mused.
"That's not the reason, Albus," she told him, though she was no doubt pleased with the thought.
"Then does this have anything to do with Harry being 'the boy who lived'?" Dumbledore asked, "We cannot play favourites, Minerva."
"I am insulted that you would even suggest such a thing, Albus!" she cried, obviously offended.
"I don't mean to offend, Minerva. I just want to understand," he said quite calmly, considering he was receiving a glare that would make weaker men turn and run. McGonagall leaned over the desk.
"Harry is a talented boy, Albus, and with instruction and guidance, he can build on his innate potential to become an even better flyer and Quidditch player. This rule is standing in the way of him pursuing his potential," she explained in a low voice, "There is nothing I wish more than to see my students succeed in reaching their goals and I will do anything I can to help them achieve said goals."
Dumbledore looked at her for a long moment, taking in her serious demeanour and replaying the ferocity of her words over in his head. She was a lioness fighting for her cub and would not be swayed easily. Knowing full well of the possible consequences of his decision, he said, "I suggest you find Harry a better broomstick than the ones we have lying in the broom shed. He's going to need all the aid he can get, being the youngest Quidditch player in a century."
"Thank you, Albus," McGonagall said gratefully, offering him a smile, "I'll get right on that and let Harry know the good news," she said, her small smile still present as she turned to leave.
"James would be proud of him," Dumbledore said to her retreating back.
"Yes, he would," McGonagall agreed, not turning around for her smile had widened. James would most definitely have been proud of his son, but for more than just the reason that Dumbledore thought.
"I would ask you two what you have to say for yourselves, but I am well aware that it would be a fruitless endeavour on my part," Minerva McGonagall sighed as she surveyed the two young men standing before her, covered in slime.
"I'm glad that we've reached an understanding, Professor," Sirius Black said cheerfully, lazily smirking at her as he leaned on a desk. She narrowed her eyes at him, but before she could retort, his chief partner in crime piped up.
"Actually, Professor, there is something I'd like to say," James Potter announced rolling on the balls of his feet. McGonagall was confused, and she wasn't the only one. Sirius frowned and cocked his head to the side, staring at his best friend the way a dog might.
"Out with it, Potter," she sighed wearily, bracing herself for whatever may come out of the young man's mouth.
"Well, Professor, I'm not sure if you remember, but at the beginning of my third year, I set a goal for myself and that was to test all of the rules found in this tome," James told her, pulling a rather large book from his bag. She read the title and frowned.
"'Hogwarts Disciplinary Handbook: A Guide To Student Misbehaviours'," she read, "This was the manual that disappeared from the caretaker's office all those years ago," she said. Deep down, she always suspected that the thief had been James in his quest to break every rule in Hogwarts, but she had never been able to prove it.
"Yeah. Although I wouldn't classify it as a handbook. Encyclopaedia may have been a better term," James shrugged, "But I digress. Four years ago, I set out to test every rule in the rulebook. And today, on my last day here in this prestigious school, I have succeeded in my goal," he said proudly. McGonagall gaped at him in disbelief. No way was it true. It couldn't be.
"All the rules?" she asked weakly.
"Smashed 'em to pieces!" he exclaimed, grinning widely.
"No bloody way!" Sirius ejected, jumping to attention and mirroring McGonagall's disbelief. James grinned.
"Yes bloody way!" he said proudly, "You own me a broomstick, Mate."
"Let me see that!" Sirius snarled, grabbing the tome from James's hands and madly flipping through the pages.
"I put a checkmark beside everything," James supplied, "And letting a troll into the castle was my last task. Be a dear, Padfoot, and put a check next to that one," he said cheekily. Sirius glared at him and madly began flipping through the pages, looking for a way out of the bet.
"About that one, Potter-" McGonagall feebly tried to get back to the issue at hand. James turned to her and put on his best innocent face.
"But Professor, I had it subdued and on a leash. It wasn't going anywhere," he said, "And besides, it's not my fault that it sneezed bogeys all over the great hall."
"AH HA!" Sirius suddenly cried, his face alight with glee. James and McGonagall looked over at the dark-haired boy who was now dancing on the spot.
"What are you on about?" James asked. Sirius grinned at his friend.
"You didn't break all the rules," he said.
"What? Of course I did!" James protested.
"Nope!" Sirius said, "Rule number 343: No first year student shall be allowed to play Quiddtch competitively on the house teams. If I remember correctly, Jimmy, you were sitting with me in the stands for all of our first year," Sirius looked like a dog that just caught the rabbit.
"That doesn't count!" James argued, his face pale and horrified as he looked on the page at the offending rule.
"That soooo counts!" Sirius argued, "You said to me, Remus, and Peter that you would break every rule in that book and rule 343 is most definitely in there. You owe me a broom, Mate," he said, echoing his friend, "But…could I just get the galleons instead? I want to use them on a down payment for this motorbike…"
"N-no!" James's voice cracked and he showed no indication of having heard his friend. Suddenly discipline was no longer necessary because Sirius had just punished James more than McGonagall ever could.
"I'm gonna go tell Moony the news!" Sirius exclaimed sprinting out of the classroom, leaving James just standing there, looking at the one rule that didn't have a checkmark beside it. McGonagall put a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Potter," she said, and he cringed, expecting punishment, "With the number of detentions that you've had with me over the years, I was sure that you had broken every rule in the book," she said this almost sympathetically, giving him a small smile. He looked up at her and a grin slowly crept back on his face.
Minerva remembered feeling a little disappointed for James when he realized that his goal was impossible to achieve. She hated seeing his face fall when Sirius had pointed out the one flaw in James's master plan. Even if James's goal was asinine and challenged every one of the rules that she strived to uphold, she still wanted to see him succeed. She meant what she said when she said to Albus that she only wished to see her students succeed and that she'd do whatever she could to help them.
That was why she fought so hard for Harry to be able to play Quidditch. She was helping two of her students succeed in their endeavours.
Minerva knew full well that James would have been thrilled to learn that his son was a talented Quidditch player. James had quite a talent on the Quidditch pitch as well. But she also knew that her bright-eyed, messy-haired, former student would have been ecstatic to learn that his son had unknowingly helped his father achieve his old childhood goal of smashing all of Hogwarts' rules to pieces.
Yes, James would most definitely be proud.