The door banged
shut and Ron pulled the Invisibility Cloak off.
‘We’re in trouble
now,’ he said hoarsely. ‘No Dumbledore. They might as well close the school
tonight. There’ll be an attack a day with him gone.’
and the Chamber of Secrets
Albus looked at Minerva, then
glanced at the parchment lying on his desk. “It would seem so.”
“But – how? Why?” She
was standing by the desk in a state of almost-shock – arms hanging slack, palms
inward, fingers stretched helplessly.
Albus said, “I would imagine that the letter explains it
all, Minerva.” She picked it up and read it; he began walking around the
office, slowly taking books off of shelves and shrinking them to fit in his
pockets. When he heard her set the parchment down again, he turned to face her
Her face was pale, and she was shaking – whether from indignation or fear, he
could not tell. “They feel you’re no longer adequately equipped to
“They’ve expected me to stop the attacks by now, and I have
not,” he pointed out. “You must admit that it’s logical to assume – ”
“Logical, fiddlesticks,” she snapped, nostrils
flaring. “You’re the only one who can stop
them, and you know it, I know it – everyone knows it.”
“Except for the ones with the authority,” he said.
“And you know damned well that Lucius Malfoy forced them
into signing that order.”
“I do,” he said. “I also know that there’s nothing I can do
Her face did not soften as much as sag. “Albus – ”
"You're in command now, Minerva." He gestured
around him. "It's your office -- although I hope you won't object to my
borrowing a few books."
"Of course not -- but Albus -- "
"And you'll take care of Fawkes?"
"Naturally, but -- "
He raised a hand. Softly, he said, "No protestations, Minerva,
She was quiet for a moment. Then she said, "I was going to ask you where
you were going to go."
He paused. He hadn't thought about that. Hagrid was
in Azkaban, four students and a ghost were lying Petrified in the hospital
wing, and all his hopes rested on two Gryffindor second-years. He hadn't had
time to think about himself.
"Take my flat in Hogsmeade," she said. "It's close by -- just in
case." The last was said hastily, and he was suddenly and violently
reminded of a certain ungainly, nervous fifth-year Gryffindor prefect sitting
in his office near tears because she didn't think she had the capability to
function without strong guidance in matters of command. He had soothed her then
with biscuits, hot chocolate, and quiet, gentle words.
Now he only said, "Fawkes is accustomed to
delivering mail, and he does tend to move faster than most owls." Her look
of relief was fleeting, but definite.
He turned back to the bookshelf and selected one last volume
– Hogwarts, A History – and shrank it. He faced her again, keeping his
face blank. “Goodbye, Headmistress.”
As the door closed behind him, he heard one low, mournful
note from Fawkes.
He rather felt the same.
A/N: Yay for Zsenya, Queen of
Adverb Wranglers! I have not written my 100 adverbs on the blackboard because I
have not yet had the chance (and there are no blackboards in my school, so it
makes it a bit hard). I do promise to try and shape up in the future.