Title: Teaching, A Guide By Professor M. McGonagall
Characters: Minerva McGonagall, and Remus Lupin & Family.
Notes: Just to make it known, I think Transfiguration is a very worthwhile subject, and therefore no on eshould feel offended by the upcoming comments used to rile our dear Minnie up. This didn't turn out quite how I expected - it isn't even in the same era! Please don't favourite without a review, and I hope you enjoy!
At first, Minerva expected a nice, calm sort of chaos she could relate to, being a teacher, which usually came with being within fifty feet of adoscolents. However, what Minerva had yet to learn was that children learnt everything from their parents.
Albus had arranged for the wizarding parents to be bought in by Floo - not wanting to risk taking down Hogwarts' elaborate wards - and the Muggles to be bought in by train.
Hence, the havoc that ensued could only be blamed on Albus.
At least two parents got trapped in the Floo - Merlin knows how - another five got lost somewhere round Hogsmeade, and one unfortunate man was currently in Amsterdam.
And the Muggleborn parents - you can just imagine.
Just attempting to tell them that the train would be coming at eleven and that the Hogwarts express didn't really permit delays and making sure everyone was on the train was hard.
Getting them from the train to the carriages to the school was torture.
Nevertheless, prim Professor Minerva McGonagall was faced, rather like being faced with her inevitable doom, with a list of fifth-year Gryffindor names practically staring up at her.
Seeing that Black was halfway down the list, she prayed to whatever deity was still on her side that this wasn't going in alphabetical order.
After a gruelling day of meetings, Minerva was just about ready to retreat back to her rooms and sleep, praying that this was all a big nightmare.
The first meeting involved explaining the function of a Sneakoscope to Mr and Mrs Evans, and also trying to make them understand the benefits of using a quill rather than a Muggle pen or pencil.
The second, Minerva had a struggle not to strangle poor Pettigrew over her desk for asking if he could just drop Transfiguration already, because he was fooling no one.
The third, Miss McDonald had broken down in tears after Minerva told her parents that she was failing in no less than five subjects, and that extra curriculum work for Divination didn't count if you were sleeping but not recording your dreams and what they meant, or really doing any work at all.
The fourth, Mr and Mrs Black wanted to know what the purpose of Defence Against the Dark Arts was, and whether or not it was possible for Black to move houses yet.
The fifth, Miss Patil refused to believe that Care of Magical Creatures really wasn't a worthwhile career if you were allergic to fur.
The sixth resulted in the breaking of a plate, three Dungbombs, somebody's sock and the pin out of Minerva's bun, which she still was baffled about.
Needless to say, Potter got two detentions as Mr Potter laughed along and Mrs Potter looked appalled.
The seventh was a relatively calm affair - or so Minerva wished. She was sure she had a grey hair by the time Mrs Miller walked out of the room, still suitably confused.
Nevertheless, the Transfiguration professor was somewhat relaxed when the last meeting rolled about far too late - Mr Lupin, whilst being a trouble maker and a marauder in his own right, really was the calmer of the four Gryffindor boys she was landed with at the start of first year.
Minerva idly wondered exactly what she had done to offend Merlin so greatly.
"Come in," she answered when a knock at the door awoke her from her musings. She checked that her bun was in the right place, and shuffled a few pieces of paper to look important as Mr and Mrs Lupin entered, their son trailing behind.
"Ah, Mr and Mrs Lupin. A pleasure to meet you," Minerva said warmly, feeling anything but when she saw that the mischievous light that sometimes occupied Lupin's eyes came from his mother.
She stood up and shook their hands. The first stumble in their meeting was when Lupin, looking rather bashful and nervous, also stuck out his hand.
The protruding limb threw her off guard, before she gave Lupin a pleasant smile that so obviously meant "We'll talk about this later, Lupin," and shook his hand also.
"Let's get down to business, shall we?" Minerva asked, straightening a pen on her desk for something to do rather than meet the rather familiar and unnerving eyes of the Muggle Mrs Lupin. "Mr Lupin shows an aptitude for all of his subjects, apart from, it seems, Potions-"
"Oh," Mrs Lupin interrupted, looking deflated. "I always did enjoy Chemistry. Remus, why didn't you tell us?"
Minerva was somewhat surprised to see that the werewolf produced a rather excellent imitation of a deer caught in a Lumos charm. The boy shuffled nervously.
"It's only Potions, Mum," he muttered, pink colouring his ears. "I mean, I did say that I didn't want to go into that or anything of the sort-"
"Yes," Minerva put in, deciding that she rather liked her china teapot, and therefore didn't need a full-blown argument, which there was certain to be if Mrs Lupin's temper was anything like her son's. "We'll come to that later. Now, Mr Lupin, what's your favourite subject? What do you really enjoy?"
She peered down at the student from behind her spectacles, wondering if that Muggle program about influencing people with your eyes was true. Lupin squeaked.
"Well - Well, I think - um - possibly, it might be - um-"
"Rem," Mr Lupin said, rolling his eyes at Minerva, making her feel rather like some sort of conspirator, "just spit it out, lad."
"Charms!" And spit it out Lupin did. He almost leapt from his chair, and quickly covered his mouth as if he had just shouted an unfavourable curse word in the Great Hall. "Sorry, Professor."
"It's quite funny, Mr Lupin, that you show a great ability in the field of Transfiguration-" Minerva gave him what she hoped was a menacing smile. Lupin twitched. "- so you may want to reconsider your answer."
"I like Defence as well," Lupin told her, eyes somewhat wild. Mr Lupin nodded, obviously satisfied with this addition, and Mrs Lupin looked thoroughly confused by this turn of events. "And - um - Herbology is quite interesting, I think-"
"Mr Lupin," Minerva said calmly, despite the slight desperation and frustration she was feeling, "you don't even take Herbology anymore."
"Oh," Lupin answered, rather dumbfounded. "I don't?"
"No, Mr Lupin, you do not. Now, as I was saying, if you really do enjoy Charms and Defence then perhaps you could consider Curse-Breaking as a career in later life. Now, I know this isn't a careers meeting but-"
"Sorry to interrupt, Professor McGonagall," Mrs Lupin said suddenly, looking much like a Hufflepuff student with the confusion lines etched onto her brow, "but you were saying that Remus shows a great ability in - what did you call it? Trans - Transfig-"
Minerva felt perfectly scandalized. "Transfiguration, Mrs Lupin. It's actually the subject I teach." She eventually gave the woman a bittersweet smile.
"Ah, I see," she said, and just as Minerva was about to continue, she opened her mouth again. "Sorry, but what exactly is Transfiguration?" She wondered if Albus would consider a pay rise for her.
"It is the process of turning one thing into another. We start off small - turning matches into needles and back - before turning to full conjuration, which is the art of bringing things into being, if you will. Mr Lupin is currently working on Vanishing at the moment, if I remember correctly," Minerva replied tightly.
Minerva spluttered for a few seconds, letting her calm facade slip. "W-why?" She asked painfully, thinking that she must surely look like a madwoman at this point.
"I mean, I understand conjuring and vanishing things - I think - but why would you want to turn a - turn a bird into a cup and whatnot? In everyday life?"
"You - you may need a cup, and the only thing handy may be a bird, Mrs Lupin," Minerva replied, looking and feeling flustered.
"But surely there are limitations? I mean, the only thing you'd really need is food, because you can produce water with that Aqua charm, or something, and the only thing you'd gain is if you could change something into precious metal or stones or something."
"You can't do either. There's a law that forbids us to-" She huffed as she was interrupted again.
"So, why?" Mrs Lupin leaning forward, looking everything the patient, interested mother. Only Minerva saw the devilish gleam in her eyes - she wasn't exaggerating or hallucinating. It was definitely there.
"... Mr Lupin, how do you feel your OWLs are going?"
Only after Mr and Mrs Lupin were out of the door did Minerva McGonagall rest her head on her hands and sigh pitifully, thinking of getting a petition signed against parents' evening, especially for a certain group of fifth years and their parents.
Sometimes, Minerva mused over a pot of tea that was currently trying to escape from her cup, teachers learnt more from the pupils and their parents than they taught them in return.
Sometimes, teaching was the hardest profession you could possibly undertake, and sometimes the best.
"Mum!" Minerva heard outside the door. "You promised you weren't going to do that!" But mostly the hardest.
There was a soft chuckle that Lupin obviously inherited. "Rem, you have to admit, it was quite hilarious. And you made the first slip-up."
"She's going to hate me now. She's actually going to hate me. Do you know how much she could make my life a living hell? She could make sure I get the latest Sunday night prefect duties. She could give me the hardest questions in Transfiguration. She could murder me and get away with it - that is the power of Minnie! You humiliated me!"
"Perhaps you should stop calling her Minnie, Rem. And blame your mother; I did nothing of the sort."
"Oh, but John, did you see her face?
Minerva sat in her office for the remaining hours of the day, silently plotting the death and public humiliation of Remus Lupin. She wondered if all teachers felt this homicidal after these types of days.
... She really needed a pay rise.