Chapter Ten: One Week Later

The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.

Beta cred: Palmetto Blue

 

Sunday morning dawned far too bright and early in the headmistress’s opinion. She swept into the great hall with a stern expression that deepened to a scowl when she surveyed the faculty table. It was as severely lacking in occupants as it had been the entire week before.

 

“Where the hell is my staff, for Salazar’s sake!” she demanded of Septima Vector, taking her customary seat. “First they’re traipsing off to London and inviting Godric-knows-who to Hogwarts.” She poured herself a cup of tea. “Now they’ve decided breakfast is optional!”

 

Professor Vector peered over the top of The Prophet’s front page. “They’re young, Minerva; let them enjoy a good lie-in while they still can.” She returned to her perusal of the paper. “The youngest Parkinson girl made the headlines this morning.”

 

The headmistress unfolded her serviette with a brisk, loud snap. “Unless she’s abducted my staff, I don’t care.”

 

“Apparently she’s entered Circe’s Ladies In Total Renunciation of Impure Status.” Septima rolled her eyes. “Bit pretentious, announcing such a thing in the Prophet, if you ask me. Then again, she was always an attention seeker.”

 

“What!” exclaimed Minerva. “That’s a bit difficult to believe – she was here at Hogwarts just last week done up like a Knockturn Alley trollop!” She added crossly, “Probably for some faculty party I wasn’t told about. Did you know Neville has locked up Greenhouse 6 completely now? I’m sure that’s where they’re all gathering!”

 

Septima returned to the paper. “Well, her party days are at an end – I hear C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S members forswear all contact with men.”

 

“Yes, yes,” Minerva waved her cup in a dismissive gesture, sloshing tea in the process, “I’m sure the wizards of England will sleep better with one less witch in heat on the prowl.”

 

“She does have a certain reputation,” agreed Septima. “She’s been stalking poor Neville shamelessly for months! Although that,” here she raised her eyebrows and peeked over the top of the paper again, “doesn’t surprise me in the least, if you know what I mean.”

 

The headmistress shot her a disapproving look and turned her attention to a nearby serving dish. “If that were true, why on earth would he and Hermione have invited her here last week? Scrambled eggs?”

 

“No, thank you. Perhaps they met for a threesome.”

 

“Septima!”

 

Professor Vector coolly stared down Minerva’s expression of utter shock. “What! They’re young! They still have the energy for the fun stuff! And don’t pretend to be so pure-minded; I know you.”

 

“Barged in through my Floo and demanded her visitor’s pass without so much as a ‘how d’you do’,” the headmistress continued in a grumbling tone, “and nobody tells me anything!”

 

“Aha! I knew it – you just want all the juicy details.”

 

It was Minerva’s turn to blush. She gasped in outrage. “If there were such debauchery going on under my nose,” she glared at her forkful of eggs, “I would be required to know all the details in my role as headmistress of this establishment.”

 

“And then, as my oldest friend, you would be required to share them with me.” Septima looked down at the paper still clutched in her hand. “But for Miss Parkinson to make such an extreme decision at her age – especially with her reputation! It makes me wonder if someone sent her running in that direction.”

 

There was a stretch of silence broken only by the clink of silver on china. Suddenly the headmistress gave an uncharacteristic giggle. “You don’t suppose some poor harassed wizard pulled the old uni-poo tactic.”

 

Septima snorted tea out her nose. “Do you know, I’d forgotten all about that one!” Her choking quickly turned to snickering. “That would definitely do the trick; nothing says ‘run far, far away’ like uni-poo. I mean, unless you’re into-”

 

Septima!”

 

Professor Vector folded the paper and set it aside. “Feign prim and proper all you like now, you old gossip, just so long as you keep me informed.”

 

Minerva’s lips twitched. “Agreed. Although it’s going to be tricky since no one seems to want to tell me anything!

 

“Next time just tell them you’d like to be invited. Here,” Septima passed another tray. “Have a Danish; they always cheer you up.”

 

Minerva huffed petulantly. “As if I’d want to join them.” She selected a pastry with a generous amount of glistening icing and an unblemished cherry. “I wonder what they’re doing.” She gave it a speculative stare. “What could possibly be better than a Danish pastry?”