Chapter 1 : In Which Hagrid Does Some Banging
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The huge scarlet engine - which is a locomotive, not a euphemism - huffed up to the station, bringing with it a babble of excited voices as hundreds of students flooded the platform. They were all talking about the jolly japes they’d got up to on their holidays, and although the platform was crowded, they all managed to maintain a respectable distance between their personal body parts.
The first years gathered uncertainly, waiting to be told where to go. None of them had yet spotted their future soulmate amongst their new classmates, which is just as well as they were only young children and were more interested in pogo sticks and tiddlywinks.
Beyond the gates, past the Great Lake and the Whomping Willow (again, a tree - not a euphemism), lay the castle. Within its stony walls lay a cosy room, wherein was gathered the staff of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although they were all excellent colleagues and, in some cases, platonic friends, they maintained a reasonable distance from one another, each sitting in their own squishy armchairs. One can never be too careful in a staff room, for they are well-known as dens of dissolution and debauchery.
A voice spoke from within one of the many armchairs.
“Minerva, what are you thinking? Making Draco Malfoy this year’s Head Boy!” exclaimed Professor Sprout, who was a very dirty woman indeed. No, really. She taught Herbology and rarely washed her hands. “He’s a former Death Eater, he tried to kill your predecessor, and he’s a bully, just like his horrid father.”
“And, he’s not even meant to be in this year group!” the marvellously non-sexual Flitwick piped up. “It’s not fair on his classmates whose first attempt at this year this is.”
Professor McGonagall drew herself up, a movement which may well have emphasised her large bosom had anyone been looking, but they weren’t, so that’s okay.
“If Draco Malfoy wants to resit the year, I am certainly not going to stop him. Anyway, he’s not evil, Pomona, he’s actually quite misunderstood. Or so I hear.”
“Where on earth did you hear that?” asked Sprout, picking a small potato from under her nails. Gosh, she’s so earthy and cheerful, like Helga Hufflepuff covered in soil.
A dreamy voice spoke. “I foresaw it.”
“Yes,” said McGonagall, pouring herself a glass of whiskey and eyeing it appreciatively. “Sybil foresaw it.”
“After the battle, when my earthly body was aching, my inner eye became suddenly clear. I saw a strange world, a world where Muggles communicate by hitting plastic letters with their fingers.” The teachers all leaned forward, partly out of interest, but mainly because Professor Trelawney was slurring through her sherry-stained lips and they couldn’t hear her. “Some of these Muggles had somehow heard of the legend of the Boy Who Lived, of his friends and enemies, and were transcribing them onto their glowing screens. It seems that posterity will show the Malfoy boy not only to be completely misunderstood, but improbably muscular.”
“What else did you see?” Professor Flitwick pressed eagerly.
“Well, not much about you, Filius. Their records seem somewhat muddled - I saw legends told in which our friend Minerva here was romantically entwined with..." Sybil paused, enjoying the bated breaths of her audience. "...with the Dark Lord.”
“A scurrilous rumour,” said McGonagall as her colleagues gasped in shock. She threw back her whiskey like the hardened Scot she is, and wiped her thin, thin lips with the back of her hand. “The most we ever shared was a passion for reading. We ran the Hogwarts Book Club together. He always brought the biscuits.”
There was a silence as the staff absorbed this information.
“Anyway, the decision has been made. Malfoy will be Head Boy.”
“But... why?” asked some other staff member. Whom haven’t I mentioned yet? Anyway, they weren’t sexy in the slightest.
“Well, if you must know, his parents made a sizeable donation to the rebuilding of the school in return for the privilege.”
There was a collective gasp, and Professor Flitwick gave a muffled squeak as he fell off his chair. This was something that happened to him with some regularity, and although it appears endearing and somewhat humorous, the poor man actually suffered with dreadful inner ear problems affecting his balance.
“Minerva!” Madam Pomfrey breathed, looking scandalised.
“Well, do you want a new Quidditch pitch or not?” snapped McGonagall, getting to her feet. “Hermione Granger has been appointed Head Girl to keep him in check. Let’s face it, Ginny Weasley is too hot-headed to be a good example, Luna Lovegood is two flobberworms short of a flobberfarm, not to mention her rather saucy surname, and none of us know any other girls in that year group.”
“Good choice, Professor,” said Hagrid, who had so far remained quiet, as he was quite occupied with hitting a dead pheasant with a mallet. “She an’ the Malfoy boy have never been mates; in fact, he’s verbally abused her for being Muggle-born, an’ she once clocked ‘im in the face.”
“Exactly. They have very little in common, apart from being highly intelligent,” said McGonagall. “There’s no chance of any funny business in that new shared dormitory we’ve had built for the Heads.”
“About that...” began Madam Pomfrey. “Do you really think it’s a good idea?”
“It’s about as good as hiring Gilderoy Lockhart, or letting teenage students battle dragons for entertainment,” McGonagall snapped. “But that never stopped Albus. Anyway, I have created a few new rules for this year that may just help to keep their raging hormones at bay. Now, let’s get to the Great Hall. The students will be here soon and I want to get well and truly sloshed before making my first speech as headmistress.”
“What?” asked Professor Placeholder, the new Potions master and Head of Slytherin as he followed her from the Staff Room. “Why?”
“Oh, it’s tradition, dear,” said Professor Sprout jollily, which surprisingly is a real word. “The Head is always absolutely wasted before the start of the school term.”
“Minerva’s a wonderful drunk,” giggled Flitwick. “Sometimes she transfigures into her cat form...”
“An’ it turns out tha’ sloshed cats don’t always land on their feet,” added Hagrid, giving his pheasant a hearty thump. Which is most certainly not a euphemism, either.
“Old Dumbledore couldn’t really hold his drink, bless him,” smiled Madam Pomfrey. “His speeches made less and less sense as the years went on. By the end, he just sounded angry and Irish all the time.”
“Hardly twinkly at all,” said Flitwick sadly, as he hurried after the other teachers.
Madam Hooch appeared from the depths of her armchair, because I’ve only just remembered her, and followed him silently, because we don’t really need any more dialogue.
The door to the Staff Room banged shut, and Hagrid looked down at his pulverised pheasant in the sudden silence.
“Oh, bollocks. The firs’ years. Knew I’d forgotten something.”