Chapter 31 : McGonagall's Office
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Every January, the head of houses met with their seventh year students and discussed what their plans were after school. We would also help them arrange meetings or ways to get interviews with where they desired to go. I had pamphlets and grades all in front of me of the eight Gryffindors. I thumbed through them. Black. Crowley. Evans. I pursed my lips and knew that these students were unpredictable. I wouldn’t know what they were going to say to me about their future. Did they even know what a future was? They were all so wrapped up in Hogwarts that I wasn’t sure they understood they were leaving this year.
“Professor McGonagall?” I heard the quiet peep of Samantha Rabot, the Gryffindor sixth year prefect. She had her head around my office door, her eyes large. She was always slightly afraid of me.
“Yes?” I asked. She blinked a couple of times, watching me watch her over the top of my glasses. I pursed my lips.
“Sirius Black is here.” She told me. Meeting number one. Joy.
“Let him in, then.” I told her. She nodded and clicked the door shut.
Sirius Black was a character in himself. He was charming, debonair, and very smart (though he would never tell anyone that). I felt sorry for the boy sometimes, being that he was so different from his pureblood, aristocratic family. I was happy, however, that he had managed to get out in the nick of time. He had too much potential to throw it all away. Yet he was in my office every other day for the past seven years. He could not find it in himself to behave for more than a week, no matter how many detentions he was given or how many times I threatened to expel him. It just seemed to egg him on more.
“Professor dearie! You look lovely today.” I heard Black’s chipper voice as he entered, showing me his award winning smile. I sighed, pursing my lips at him. For some reason, he found the need to attempt to flirt with me to no avail.
“Please sit down, Mr. Black.” I said dryly. The smile didn’t come off his face as he took the chair opposite me and kicked his legs up over the side, practically lying on the chair. I felt a bit of anger flare in me at this. “Sit properly in that chair, Mr. Black.”
“You don’t like to make a lad feel at home.” He mumbled, placing his feet on the ground. His smile never faltered. Ignoring his comment, I set his grades in front of him. He glanced at them, but didn’t seemed too concerned.
“Those are your grades over your time at Hogwarts.” I began. “Like I told you fifth year, I believed you should have challenged yourself more. You have so much potential and it is such a shame to see your cleverness go to waste on your pranking.”
“Are you flirting with me, Minerva?” Sirius asked, smirking as he leaned forward, wiggling his eyebrows at me. This boy really knew how to get under my skin.
“We must think about your future, Mr. Black. What are your plans?” I tried to get him to act serious (no pun intended) for a moment. He sighed, obviously knowing that he wasn’t leaving until this question was answered.
“I don’t know.” He mumbled. I figured as much would come from him. I didn’t expect him to have any definite plan. Black barely planned for the next day.
“I thought you might say that.” I said, placing a few pamphlets out in front of him. He scooted forward, glancing down at the pamphlets. “I had a couple of ideas for you.”
I watched patiently as Sirius picked up the pamphlet on the Ministry and about entry level positions. I did not think he would even think about that position, but I had to give him options. He frowned when he saw the business robes the man on the front was wearing. He immediately set it down without flipping it open. He then picked up the pamphlet on Aurors. I smiled as he opened it, knowing this was the right choice for him. He let his eyes wander over it and I could see his eyes lighting up at every word he read.
“This one.” He said simply. I nodded, going to my left and going through the papers I had available to me.
“You have the proper grades to become an Auror and the right qualities as well. You must be aware that being an auror brings a lot of danger into a young man’s life. Are you prepared for that?” I asked him. His eyes were gleaming and I knew that anything I said would not matter to him at this point.
“I can handle it,” He told me, his chest puffing out slightly. I handed him the summer training program for Aurors.
“You must attend every training session and exceed the trainer’s expectations. When you do, you then must become a trainee and do all the Auror’s dirty work. Only then can you become one. Are you okay with that, Mr. Black?” I asked him. He pursed his lips slightly, but nodded his head again.
“I can.” He reassured me. I nodded. I knew he could.
“Well then off you go, Mr. Black. Nothing more I can do here.” I told him. He kicked himself off of the chair and started towards the door. I went back to the paperwork in front of me.
“McGonagall?” I heard. I looked up to see Black was turned around at the door.
“Yes?” I questioned.
“It’s been a good few years, yeah?” He asked, a small smile playing on his lips. I found myself smiling along with him.
“It’s been interesting.” I informed him. He chuckled and then left.
He never ceased to amaze me.
“Professor?” I heard the calm voice of Remus Lupin as his head poked around the office door. He had a rather large scar from the outside of his eye down to the middle of his cheekbone. I smiled warmly at him. He always had that kind of effect on me.
“Come in, Mr. Lupin.” I informed him. He slid around the door, clicking it shut behind him.
In a way, I dreaded this meeting. Remus thought so little of himself because of his “problem”. He didn’t think he could do the things other students could do. He always stood back in the shadows, letting his friends become the Quidditch stars or letting other students get the awards for each class. He always did well, but held himself back from being at the top. Unfortunately when it came to job searching, this was something where he couldn’t be number one. I wasn’t even sure he could be number two.
“You have fantastic grades, Mr. Lupin. You’re nearly at the top of every class.” I began. I didn’t know how I was supposed to let him down easily with this.
“Professor?” He interrupted me. I looked up from my hands to see him with a small smile on his face. “I’m aware of my predicament. I wasn’t really expecting much from this meeting. It is quite all right for us to end it just like this.”
I felt useless to the poor boy. I felt like he was the professor. Though Lupin would be a great teacher, there wasn’t a school within kilometers that would be willing to take on a werewolf. It was just too dangerous no matter how delicate and gentle his human form was. Remus was the kindest, most well-rounded student I had seen come through my door in ages and it was unfortunate his situation. I tried to smile at him, but knew it would do no good given the circumstances.
“I am still going to try for you, Remus. Mark my words.” I told him. He chuckled and nodded, though I knew he had no hope.
“Have a good day, Professor McGonagall.” He told me, getting up and clicking the door shut lightly behind him.
Next was Peter Pettigrew. He sat in front of me, his round cheeks growing red as he tried to sit still, but squirmed slightly in his seat. He fidgeted with his hands and tried to calmly await me to begin the meeting. There was always something a little off about Peter. He was nice and a gentle boy, but he always lacked a certain spark his friends had. He was always in the background, never too keen to shine through the Marauders. He was shy and quiet, which was strange for a Gryffindor.
“All right Peter. What do you want to do after Hogwarts?” I asked him. He shuffled in his chair and looked up at me through his thick eyelashes.
“Err… What did Sirius and Remus say?” He asked me. I pursed my lips. Always too fast to want to follow the crowd.
“I did not ask what they want to do, Pettigrew. I asked you what you want to do.” I repeated. He cleared his throat and tried to glance at the pamphlets in front of me. I covered them with my hands. I wanted him to think for himself for once.
“Something easy?” He said, though his statement sounded more like a question. I sighed. He was always trying to take the easy way out of things.
“Peter, when you were younger, did you not aspire to be anything when you grew up? What did your future look like when you entered Hogwarts?” I asked him, trying my best to pry him open a bit.
“I just wanted to graduate, Ma’am.” He mumbled. I wanted to rip out my hair, but knew I would have to wait until I got through these damn meetings.
“What did you dream of being, Peter?” I repeated, this time more stern.
“My own person.” He told me. I blinked a couple times. That may not have been the answer I was looking for, but it sure was a start. His own person. I nearly smiled at this. I leaned back in my chair, pursing my lips as I watched his cheeks start to turn red again.
“Well, Mr. Pettigrew….I think I might have something for you, then.” I told him. I reached forward and grabbed a pamphlet in front of me and handed it to him. I watched as his eyes darted across every inch of the pages. He flipped it open and hunched over it. He looked up at me with hope gleaming in his eyes.
“Department of International Magical Cooperation?” He questioned me. I smiled at him and nodded.
“I think it would be a good fit. Take the pamphlet and read it over. If it interests you, I can set up an internship for the summer.” I explained. He nodded and was out of the room in a dash.
Next was Mary McDonald. Sadly, I saw her a lot during the last few years. Mainly for bullying. It was rather hard to explain to her that she was actually not better than everyone she encountered. The good news was that she always had one talent (and one talent only). She always had a way with words when she wrote her papers. It may have been a Troll paper, but the way she worded things made it get an Acceptable. I had spoken to the Daily Prophet and sent them a couple of her essays and they agreed to take her on as an intern. She was beyond joyed when I told her. Mary was always a hit or miss. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she told me no.
Alice Logan sneaked in after her. She smiled sheepishly at me, taking the seat in front of me. Alice Logan was the quietest Gryffindor I had seen in a long time, yet she had something about her that lit a fire in the Gryffindor house. She brought her own cards to the table and that was always something we professors treasured. She was very unpredictable; you never knew what she was really going to do. I watched as Alice waited so patiently for me to give her something, anything to do. A slowly slid a letter I received from the Head Auror at the Ministry. They wished that she would come begin the auror training this summer. She was shocked (the same way I was when I had received the letter). It wasn’t something we expected, but she was grateful to ‘give it a go’.
“Hello Ms. Evans.” I said to Lily Evans as she came into the room, not even knocking. I didn’t expect her to. Her relationship with me was rather strong. Stronger than I had experienced in a while. Lily had discipline, drive, and independence. She was a true Gryffindor. The bravest soul resided in this one girl.
“Hello Professor!” She said cheerfully, sitting down in front of me. I wouldn’t have noticed if she had gotten no sleep over break. She was always cheerful and bubbly.
“Let’s get right down to business, shall we?” I told her, clearing my throat as I grabbed my cup of tea and took a sip. It wasn’t easy when it came down to trying to figure how I was going to go about this meeting. I didn’t know if I wanted to guide Lily in a certain direction or if I wanted to present her with what I had and let her pick.
“What do you want to do with yourself, Lily?” I asked her. She looked slightly shocked at my question. She had expected to come in here and me to tell her what she had available to her.
“What do you mean, ma’am?” She asked me, furrowing her eyebrows. She tucked her red hair behind her ear.
“I’ll be very honest with you, Ms. Evans.” I told her, pursing my lips. “You have perfect grades. You are very active in the school. You have the world at your fingertips. I have received many offers for internships and positions for you without even sending anything out. So what I want to know is what you want to do, Ms. Evans.”
She took a deep breath, letting her mind collect itself. I could see the engines going in her mind, trying to make sense of what I have said. I knew that I had thrown her for a loop, but that was my intention. I didn’t want Lily to think that her future was set for her by just walking through a door. That was never my intention. I wanted her to know she had options. More than she was aware of. I needed to know that she would be happy in what she was doing. That was all that mattered.
“I don’t know what I want to do, Professor.” Lily said, looking up at me with her big green eyes. I was reminded of when she was a first year and didn’t know what to think of the large castle. She was so innocent and pure that I had to smile at her.
“I don’t expect you to, Ms. Evans. I just want you to listen to your heart. What do you like to do? What do you enjoy doing?” I asked her.
“Well…” She started, blinking a couple of times as she thought of the one thing she hadn’t thought of in a long time: herself. “I like to help people. I want to do something meaningful with myself.”
“That’s a start.” I told her, grabbing a couple of letters and placing them in front of her. “I think these are a few of your options then.”
I let her study them. She read each through carefully and let them process in her mind. It was a big decision. The first I had passed her was a healer internship. It would give her the opportunity to help the helpless people and feel good about herself. The second I had passed to her was the auror position. She needed to be doing something meaningful with herself and Lily Evans was a bit aggressive to be honest. Being an authority figure would do her well.
“Can I think about this?” Lily asked hopefully. I expected her to think about it. I didn’t want her to come up with her answer right away for me. I wanted her to weigh the options and the pros and cons.
“Absolutely. I would hope you would, Ms. Evans!” I told her. She nodded, reaching forward and shaking my hand. That was something that I wasn’t used to when it came to my students.
“Thank you, Professor McGonagall. I really appreciate it,” She said, a warm smile attacking her face. I chuckled to myself as she walked out of my office.
It was ten past two. Lenora Crowley’s appointment with me was at two. I really hadn’t expected her to be on time. You never could expect too much from Ms. Crowley. She just would occasionally surprise you or amaze you. Lenora was unpredictable. I never was able to tell if that was a bad or a good thing with her. Her timing needed some work, but at least she was developing into a young lady (finally). With all of the constant changes in her life in the past year, I was surprised she was still walking on two feet. Her father was in Azkaban, her mother was living with the Lupin’s, and her social life was coming out of nowhere.
I heard a rather loud crash outside of my office door and it made me nearly jump straight out of my chair. It sounded like someone had ran full force into the armor outside of the door. I quickly got to my feet, dashing towards the door and pulling it open. Oddly, I wasn’t too surprised at what I saw. Lenora was laying on the floor, pieces of armor all around her. She even had the helmet resting over her head. She groaned, pushing as much as she could off of her, with no regard to the armor. Upon seeing me staring at her, she froze on spot.
“You’re late.” I informed her. She stumbled to her feet, more armor scattering around the hall.
“Y-yes I’m sorry. I was just…uhm…” I could tell she didn’t want to quite tell me what she was doing. Seeing her relationship with Sirius Black lately, I was not sure I really wanted to know.
“Let’s go then,” I said, stepping aside to let her in. With red cheeks, she scurried in, taking the seat opposite my own. I slowly walked around my desk and took the seat opposite of her. I let her sit in the silence for a moment. She did not like it. Lenora always had to be doing something. Sitting still was not her forte.
“Lenora…” I began, looking down at my desk. I had worked for a while on Crowley’s file. She was a different breed. It was impossible to predict what she would be good at with her ever-changing ways. “I do not really know where to begin.”
“I have bad grades.” She began for me, looking down into her palms. “I’m not very active in activities. No one made an offer for me, did they.”
It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. I sighed, folding my hands on my desk and looking over at Lenny, studying her. She hadn’t come in here with the intention of hearing anything promising. She had expected me to tell her to begin applying for jobs in Diagon Alley. I had honestly thought about it. That was until someone reached out to me. Someone, who I had known for a very long time, took interest in Lenora Crowley. They thought she had spark and drive. They read her essays and had even came to her Quidditch games and seen her drive. They wanted Lenora, and even though I would not have recommended this place to her in the beginning, I was loving the idea of it.
“You’re wrong, Ms. Crowley.” I told her. She looked up at me confused.
“Wrong?” She repeated. I nodded at her. Holding the folded letter in my hands.
“You have an offer. It is something that I would have never considered before receiving this letter, really.” I began to explain. “You are right. Your grades are barely passing and the only thing you are active in is Quidditch. Yet, someone took the interest and the initiative to watch you and to see that you would be a great fit for their company.”
“What place is it?” She asked eagerly.
“I just want to talk to you about it first….before I just give you the letter.” I explained. It probably wasn’t something she thought about doing before. It probably wasn’t something anyone considered she’d be able to do.
“All right, hit me Professor!” She said, sitting up straighter and smiling. I kept the straight face, but I was secretly smiling at her enthusiasm.
“You hurt yourself a lot, yes?” I said. She nodded. It was true. Lenny was always getting herself injured. “You know a fair few spells to heal yourself?”
“A few. Nothing substantial.” She said. I nodded at her.
“Now, think of Potions class.” I began. She cringed. I expected that.
“I blow things up. A lot.” Lenny answered. I smiled at this. I couldn’t keep my straight face. I couldn’t count the amount of times Professor Slughorn came to me and told me the stories of Lenora blowing up cauldrons.
“Yes, but you produce good healing potions. Maybe not any other type, but good healing potions. You also have a very good understanding of the medical uses of many different herbs and magical ingredients, which you will not find in your classmates.” It was true. Lenora received flying colors in her essays in Potions, just not particularly the cauldron.
“I just want to be able to know what the purposes are of fairy dust in case I need it someday.” She said with a shrug. She was horrible at taking compliments, really.
“You are also extremely driven and you drive your own broom.” I kept explaining. I could see the blush beginning to creep its way onto Lenora’s cheeks. “That is why these people took interest in you, Ms. Crowley.”
That was when I passed her the letter. She slowly took it, afraid to look at it. I nodded towards it and she eventually looked down. Her eyes scanned every inch of the parchment, making sure to soak it all in. When I had first heard that St. Mungo’s wanted Lenora Crowley to be a healing intern, I barely was able to comprehend what they were saying. I immediately got a hold of the healer in charge to make sure that this wasn’t some sort of mistake. It wasn’t. They explained how they thought she had unbelievable potential. I couldn’t agree more with them and was excited that someone had seen what I had seen the minute she had walked into Hogwarts.
“St. Mungo’s? They want me to be a healer?” She said, looking up at me. Her large brown eyes looked at me in pure wonder. “Is this real?”
“You need to believe in yourself a bit more, Ms. Crowley.” I told her. She smiled at me and even though she will never admit it, I could have sworn I saw tears building in her eyes.
“Thank you, Professor.” She whispered and I could feel the sense of accomplishment swim over her and splash onto me. I felt as though the last seven years had paid off. I felt that the detentions I had to sit through with this girl had made it all worthwhile right now.
“You are very welcome, Ms. Crowley. Now get along. I’d hate to take you from Mr. Black for too long,” I informed her. Her cheeks began to burn as she nodded her head, dashing out of the room. I sighed, leaning back in my chair.
There was a soft knock on my door. Knowing who it was, I immediately sat up straighter. I cleared my throat and Albus Dumbledore came floating into the room. His robes billowed behind him as his warm smile met me. I smiled back as he danced over towards the seat opposite me. I felt strange being in the authority position. He crossed his legs, blinking a couple of times. He was an old, trustworthy friend, not just a colleague. Dumbledore was the reason I was a professor.
“Well?” He asked. I pursed my lips slightly.
“They are an interesting group,” I confirmed our conversation from earlier. “But they would make great additions to the Order. All of them.”
Author's Note: We are almost at the end!!! ONE MORE CHAPTER TO GO!!! I love you all and thank you so much for your dedication to the story and your amazing comments. I could not have done this story without all of you.
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