Chapter 6: The Headmaster's Office
Alphonse and Edward followed Professor McGonagall out of the Great Hall. Everyone stopped and stared as Alphonse clanked in his hurry to keep up with her. Ed just stuck his hands in his pocket and walked at a leisurely pace, looking up at the high ceiling as they travelled up a large marble staircase. They passed down a long corridor until they came to a large oak door.
"Do you suppose she might be taking us to the dungeons?" Ed asked his brother in a low voice. "This big of a castle has to have a pretty big dungeon."
"Don't be silly, Ed. She's taking us to the headmaster's office."
Professor McGonagall knocked four times and then opened it to reveal a staircase leading up. She turned to the boys. "None of the students know about this staircase. I trust you to keep quiet about it." They nodded.
At the top of the stairs they came out in another deserted corridor. They turned right, then left. Professor McGonagall stopped a few yards ahead of them in front of an ugly gargoyle statue. "Mellow Bellows," she stated with dignity.
What? thought Alphonse. He didn't understand what the purpose of this action was until the gargoyle leapt aside and the wall opened, revealing a slowly rotating, spiral staircase. Wait, how did she make that gargoyle move? Is it mechanical? And the moving staircase- how does that work? He looked to his brother. Ed was staring up at the ceiling again, apparently he had missed it.
"Follow me," Professor McGonagall commanded. She stepped onto the staircase and spun out of sight.
"Ed, you go first."
"Eh?" Edward dropped his gaze and looked quizzically at Alphonse. Finally, he noticed the staircase. "Oh. Right." He hopped on.
Alphonse looked left and right and followed his brother. The wall closed behind him as he spun around.
Ed was waiting on a landing in front of an open door. He went through it once he saw that Al was safely up.
Except he had to stop.
The large, circular room was filled with a variety of objects, and the majority of them were in motion. Things spun; knickknacks flashed. Impossible contraptions hovered midair above their heads. Paintings of sleeping people with funny, pointed hats lined the walls all the way up to the high ceiling.
Headmaster Dumbledore sat behind a massive, claw-footed desk, but rose when the Elric brothers entered the room.
"May I say again, welcome, Edward and Alphonse."
Edward momentarily swiveled his head as Professor McGonagall exited the room.
"I will not waste your time, I know that you must be very tired, Edward." He purposefully directed the comment to Ed and only Ed. Alphonse wondered how much Dumbledore knew.
"As you are both joining our school at the fifth year level, you must know that you will need extra course work alongside your classes with the other fifth years. It should be no trouble for you."
Extra class work… sounds like fun… Ed scratched his nose.
"Professor McGonagall and Professor Sprout will give you your class schedules tomorrow with the extra classes listed. But there is also the trouble of supplies." Dumbledore peered down his nose at the boys. "Neither of you have wands, nor any other supplies needed to complete your class work efficiently. For the week, you may borrow what you need but on the weekend we shall have to send you to Diagon Alley. The teachers know you two are special cases and if you explain to them, I'm sure they will concede to your needs."
Where's Diagon Alley? thought Al.
Ed yawned offhandedly.
"Patience, Edward. I have only a few more matters to address," Dumbledore said kindly. "Now I know neither of you have grown up knowing of wizards and magic, but I'm sure you will adjust soon enough. Amestrian alchemy and magic are very similar in some aspects. If you need any help, you know where to find me, but your House Heads would also be more than willing to assist you." He folded his hands. "I believe that is all. Do either of you have any questions?"
Actually I have a lot… Alphonse decided to just ask two.
"Were you informed about our situation and will you be telling the students?"
Edward suddenly paid strict attention to the conversation.
Dumbledore smiled slightly. "I do indeed know the true reason why you are here, but I intend to keep it to myself. Not even the teachers know. I leave it to your discretion."
"Thank you, Headmaster Dumbledore." Alphonse bowed his head politely.
"Now go get some rest, you're going to need all your strength tomorrow." Dumbledore made shooing motions with his hands.
Edward followed his brother out the door and back down to the hallway.
"Where do we go now?" he asked.
"Mr. Edward Elric, follow me please," called Professor McGonagall suddenly from their left. "Mr. Alphonse Elric, Professor Sprout will be only a minute if you don't mind waiting."
"Bye, Ed," said Alphonse. "I guess being in different houses means different rooms. See you at breakfast?"
"Yeah," Edward yelled over his shoulder as he walked away.
Al watched Edward disappear around the corner and then looked around for Professor Sprout. Someone was coming down the dimly lit corridor to the right. She was a stout woman with frizzy, grey hair and a pointy hat that was shorter than the ones Alphonse had seen before.
"Alphonse, is it? Come with me. We need to get you to bed before you drop from exhaustion."
Alphonse didn't bother to tell her that him dropping from exhaustion wasn't likely and simply walked silently behind her, adjusting his pace to match her speed. They went down the hall until it opened up. Only then did Alphonse realize they were in a tower. Walls covered in paintings soared upwards from the floor far below. There were massive stone staircases everywhere. Al watched as, inexplicably, one staircase moved away from a landing and shifted to the right to reach another landing.
We must be six floors up, thought Al. How did we get up here so fast when we were with Professor McGonagall? He realized that Professor Sprout was going down a staircase and quickly followed her.
The walls on his left were lined with paintings of various people. Their eyes seemed to watch as Al passed by. He stopped for a second to look at a picture of a woman by a wishing well with one cat in her arms and another clinging to her shoulder.
The woman winked at him.
Al stepped back in shock. The cat on the woman's shoulder jumped to the ground and started licking its paw.
What? Alphonse couldn't believe his eyes. The figures in the painting were moving! He looked at the other paintings. They actually had been looking at him! They blinked and moved to whisper things to each other. One waved at him. Tentatively, he waved back.
Al continued down the stairs, his attention glued to the wall and all the moving paintings on it. Thankfully, none of the stairs moved while he was on it.
When he and Professor Sprout had finally reached ground level, she led him down the marble staircase and down another staircase to the left of it.
There were no windows on this level. Torches lit the lonely, wide corridor. They turned right and walked until they came to a stack of colossal barrels in a shadowy alcove.
"Now watch carefully. You're going to need to remember this," Professor Sprout commanded. "Find the middle barrel, two from the bottom." She pointed at the lid. "And now you knock. But you have to do it just right. The Hufflepuff house was founded by a witch named Helga Hufflepuff. In honor of her, you must knock to the rhythm of her name. Any other beat will cause unwanted results."
She knocked on the lid. Tap-tap, Tap-tap-tap. The lid swung open, revealing a large, dark tunnel.
"Will you fit?" Professor Sprout asked with concern.
"I think so." Al bent over and went in. His armor scraped the sides of the tunnel but he could walk without trouble. He only had to travel like this for a few seconds before he saw the opening from which a warm, honey-colored glow emanated.
Stepping out of the tunnel, Alphonse found himself in a spacious, cozy, cave-like room. There were comfy chairs everywhere and the room was filled with potted plants.
"This is the Hufflepuff common room. That way-" Professor Sprout pointed to a round door on the left side of the room "-goes to the girl's dormitory. The other door leads to the boys dormitory. Each tunnel branches off seven ways; as you are a fifth year, you will take the fifth tunnel. Your things have already been put by your bed." She stopped and looked up at the ceiling, counting off on her fingers. "I believe that's all. Do you have any questions?"
Alphonse shook his helmeted head.
"Good." Professor Sprout smiled. "Make sure to get to bed right now, you're going to need your sleep for tomorrow." She left the room.
Al stood quietly for a few moments, looking at the dimly lit common room. Finally he moved over to a chair and sat down, his armor clanking ever so slightly. He didn't want to go into his dorm room if he wasn't going to sleep.
A few of the plants shifted in their pots as he sat in silence, waiting for morning to come.
Edward had had a completely different experience on his journey to the Gryffindor common room. When he left with Professor McGonagall, she led him back down the secret staircase and down a corridor he hadn't been through yet. Ed was practically sleepwalking he was so tired.
After more than fifteen minutes Professor McGonagall finally stopped. Ed opened his eyes. A fat woman in a pink dress sat looking out of the frame. "Password?" she asked.
Ed jerked wide awake.
"Mimbulus Mimbletonia," Professor McGonagall stated.
"Correct." The painting swung aside to reveal a large hole in the wall.
"Edward, I must leave you here. Your things are up in your room; go up the stairs on the right to the fifth year boys' dorm room. If you have any questions, ask Potter and Weasley, they're in fifth year as well. I expect you to be up early and eager to learn tomorrow. Good night." She started walking back the way she had come.
"Yeah." Edward eyed the painting and went into the common room.
The only light came from a roaring fireplace across the room. Ed rubbed his eyes and looked for the stairs. The warmth was making him even more tired.
Ed slowly made his way up to the fifth year dorm room at the top of a spiral staircase. Barely noticing the other sleeping figures in the circular room, he sat down on the only unoccupied bed, took his boots and jacket off, and pushed his way under the covers. He was asleep in less than three seconds.
Hello y'all! It's been a while :D I love you guys so much that I finished this chapter during finals week. Yeah. That's how much I love you. And I'm posting this when I should be studying more for my tests.
Errrr, this chapter took a lot of research for trying to figure out how to get them wherever without revealing too much about whatnot and whichthat...yes, it's a made up word.
-I got my info for the Hufflepuff common room off of the HP wiki page and the hp-lexicon, info which mainly comes from Pottermore. I'm not an expert in every aspect of the HP universe in any way, shape, or form.
-The secret magic passageway that takes you up to Dumbledore's office is created. Apparently only certain teachers know about it (but trust me, Fred and George do too)
-Anybody notice what was in the painting that Alphonse stopped to look at?
-I keep switching what I call them: Ed/Edward Al/Alphonse. Does it bug anyone? Because honestly, I like doing it this way.
Shout out to Brainiac5, I think you know why by now.
I'll answer any questions you have. Thanks for reading!
Next chapter? LESSONS. *cue suspenseful music*