A/N: Humongous thanks to Zsenya, who didn’t have to wrangle
any adverbs this time. (She wrangled commas instead.)
Everyone should give her cookies because she’s so spiffy.
Also, my deepest thanks (and felicitations on the appearance of her
newest kidlet!) are due to Katinka
for letting me borrow Abby Loomis, who is of course entirely Katinka’s own creation.
With Dumbledore gone, fear had spread as never before, so
that the sun warming the castle walls outside seemed to stop at the mullioned
windows. There was barely a face to be seen in the school that didn’t look
worried and tense, and any laughter that rang through the corridors sounded
shrill and unnatural and was quickly stifled.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
It’s quiet as the tomb here – how morbid. No
– I won’t talk about that. Rather, I shall give you a general idea of the state
of the school.
It is quiet. The faculty is still
patrolling the halls at all hours, although Gilderoy
has managed to skive off his duty by foisting his hours off on the prefects. I
can’t say that I’m surprised, however – although I do rather feel sorry for
Percy Weasley. He’s been the one assigned to patrol with Gilderoy,
and it does make me uncomfortable to have Weasley out by himself, even though
he’s probably the most prepared, well-rounded student out of all the prefects.
I’ve asked Poppy to bar all visitors from the
hospital wing in case the attacker decides to try and inflict more damage.
Other than that, I can’t think of any more precautions we can possibly take to
safeguard the school. Lucius Malfoy will come knocking and sneering eventually,
and I don’t know what I can tell him. I know I shouldn’t be worried about it,
but I can’t really help it.
misses you – he’s been singing rather sadly all day.
P.S. Have you found everything you need in
Regarding Gilderoy, simply leave him alone. Even should he want to
take over patrolling, he would likely do more harm than good. Percy is fine on
his own, but you may want to keep an eye on him. I understand that he and Miss
Clearwater were quite close, and he is understandably distraught at her
I had a
run-in with Argus Filch as I was leaving. I was actually about to exit the school
when he stopped me and asked where I was going, and I told him. It hurt,
Minerva – I never thought it would. It wasn’t so much that I’ve been suspended
as the look in his eyes. Look in on him when you get the chance – more for my
sake than for his.
The flat is
very, very quiet. It is indeed comfortable, and I’ve settled in quite nicely. I
am trying to think of this as a forced holiday, but there’s never been a time
when I’ve wanted to take a holiday less. I’ll be able to catch up on my
reading, yes, but it’s difficult to enjoy it.
to Lucius Malfoy, don’t think about him. Should he show up and try to
interfere, quietly and politely suggest that you can’t work on stopping the
attacks while you’re standing there talking to him.
Above all, don’t
worry. Turn your attentions to the school and keep them firmly fixed there.
About Fawkes – he and I have had a little discussion,
and now that he knows that he’ll still be seeing me, he is quite fine.
Actually, there is something I can’t find – where are the potholders?
I honestly don’t know where any potholders
are – I apologize. Theron did most of the cooking, and he never told me where
they were. Perhaps a Summoning Spell might turn a few up.
Severus has come to me and lodged a complaint
about moving the students to and from each class. He says that he shouldn’t
have to escort them because it requires him to leave his classroom, and since
there are various ingredients that are necessary for the Mandrake Restorative
Potion, to say nothing of the ‘rare and lethal ingredients he keeps for
research,’ he ‘doesn’t think it’s quite prudent to leave his area’.
I’ve got a school to run, a vicious attacker
to catch, and a board of governors to satisfy, and he comes and complains
because he doesn’t feel like taking a walk out of the dungeons a few times a
day? He and Gilderoy should start a ‘Let’s Make
Minerva’s Job As Difficult As Possible’ Society. Honestly.
I’ve asked Severus to keep me abreast of any
rumors about the Slytherin common room, but as he ‘never goes in there,’ as he
put it to me with disdain, it will be ‘difficult to get information’. I imagine
that young Malfoy is giving him problems, but really, Albus – is it so
necessary to be so irritable and singularly unhelpful?
Percy Weasley has been adhering to his duty,
but isn’t saying very much about anything. I’ll keep an eye on him. I haven’t
had a chance to speak with Argus yet, but I think I’ll be able to find time to
drop in his office tomorrow. That is, if there’s not some new problem to deal
instructions for you. First: go to your rooms. Second: pick up your pillow.
Third: beat the stuffing out of it. Fourth: leave it for the house-elves to
clean up. It will prevent you from killing Severus, and repairing the pillow
will undo the effectiveness of the exercise.
that Severus is under a great deal of stress – more than any of the rest of the
faculty, except for you. He is the head of the House under the most suspicion,
and he must balance the normal nastiness he gives and receives with working
with some very troubled students who are more agitated with usual. Be patient
with him. I have enclosed a note for him. I would appreciate it if you would
deliver it personally.
I did try
the Summoning Spell, but I couldn’t turn up any potholders. I suppose I’ll have
to venture into the main part of Hogsmeade. It will do me good to get out, I
think. An old man molders when he’s not aired out regularly. Remember that for
I followed your instructions and I feel much
I know this is going to sound rather odd, but
I feel like I need to know. If I’m pressing too much, tell me, and I won’t
mention it again.
The first time the Chamber was opened, I’d
been out of school for two years, and the only bits and pieces I heard about
any of it were the few things that Theron told me. I know that Hagrid was expelled over it, and I also know that you
didn’t think he did it. I know that it was what caused Dippet to retire earlier
than usual. I know that someone was killed. And of course, I know the original
I suppose the question I’m trying to ask is
this: what do you know that I don’t? I ask because I feel like it may have some
bearing on potentially stopping future attacks, and also because I’m curious.
I’ve never asked before because I never thought it would be an issue. It
apparently is now, and it worries me.
Again, if I’m nudging into things that are
none of my business, tell me so.
Send Fawkes back tomorrow and I’ll tell you what I can. I need
tonight to prepare my answer.
As you asked.
No, I don’t
think Hagrid is the one who opened the Chamber this
time, nor do I think he was the one to do it fifty years ago. It was all too
convenient. The rest of the faculty were all too willing to believe that it was
a half-giant who constantly broke rules. Nobody bothered looking deeper.
attacks – it seemed that Hagrid was always in the
wrong place at the wrong time. You know Hagrid as
well as I, and you know that he would be incapable of such a thing. I also know
something that most people do not, and that I would prefer you not to spread
around: the creature that everyone thought was the one in the Chamber, that was
supposed to be the one Hagrid had raised, was not
the creature that is causing these attacks, or caused the ones fifty years ago.
The creature is still residing in the Forbidden Forest today, and is not in any
I have my
suspicions about fifty years ago, and I have my suspicions now – but I cannot
say anything without more proof. Leading you in the wrong direction would
ultimately be more dangerous than leaving you without information. I will only
tell you that it is not Hagrid.
told Theron with any certainty who caused the attacks the first time, but I do
remember telling him one of my main suspects. Do you remember a boy named Tom
Riddle? He was four years under you – a Slytherin.
This is not
all that I know, but it is all I feel that I can tell at this point. I am
P.S. I have
not made my potholder venture yet.
I’ve waited and watched, and there seems to
be nothing going on whatsoever. Everything is dormant. We prowl; we patrol;
nothing. Severus is better; Gilderoy is the same. I
am grateful that there have been no new attacks, but all the same, the quiet is
eerie. I just want to catch the attacker and get you back in your office where
I will not question what you have told me,
and I thank you for telling me.
P.S. How are things in Hogsmeade? Did you
for waiting so long to answer. Fawkes seemed to want
to stay a while, so I allowed him to do so.
tried my best not to venture into town. It’s difficult to move around – I get
stared at more than usual. I inspire gossip, and for once, it’s not about my
eccentricities. Call it the vanities of an old man, but I would prefer not to
have rumors about my apparent senility bandied about behind my back while I am
still well in earshot.
managed to stop in and see Miss Abby Loomis in Gladrags.
You remember her – she was a few years behind James Potter and Remus Lupin. A
Hufflepuff. She offered to sew me a few potholders, and I took her up on it,
with the promise that she will allow me to take her out to lunch at the Three
Broomsticks this Sunday.
is progressing well. I am currently involved in the novels of a rather famous
Muggle writer by the name of Stephen King. I don’t think you would like him,
though – rather a lot of blood and gore, especially in his early novels. It’s
an interesting look at American Muggle society. His novels are also very easy
to fall into, which is a very good thing at this point in time.
Minerva, is how life goes in Hogsmeade.
Have a lovely time with Miss Loomis, and be
sure to give her my best.
Nothing is happening at the school. Frankly,
I am rather exhausted. Evening patrols are harrowing, and I can understand why Gilderoy wanted to skive off. However, the fact remains
that if he had not managed to skive off every single patrol he’s been assigned
to, I would not be awake with Percy Weasley night after night. This grows
forgive me for taking so long to answer. I felt like I needed Fawkes for a few days. Not because of anything Miss Loomis
did – I knew it wasn’t a good idea to venture into Hogsmeade, and yet I did.
walking to the Three Broomsticks as planned, and you know what a glorious
afternoon Sunday was. For a while, I could and did forget the attacks. I
ignored the stares, the whispers, the pointing fingers. I was out with an old
friend, and it was a fine day – what was there to worry about? I should have
noticed that we were being followed.
seated us in the corner, and we sat and talked quietly – discussing the events
during her brief years at school with us. It was a quiet, very much enjoyable
luncheon. As we stood to leave, so did a group of roughs. I did not recognize
in front – a great big man – and said, “Albus Dumbledore.”
me,” I said.
the great Albus Dumbledore?”
I looked at
him. I didn’t say anything.
the governors removed you…if they’d done it sooner, some of the Mudbloods might actually have died. There’s always hope
now, isn’t there?”
was quite indignant. I attempted to escort her out – the best thing to do in
situations like that is just leave – but the one in front stopped me.
proud of what I did. I Stunned him with a bit more force than was really
necessary. Once he was down, the other three worked their way forward, but I
dealt with it.
like fighting, Minerva. I am an old man, and I shouldn’t have to defend myself
against four men who are a great deal younger than I.
the worst, though – seeing how nice Rosmerta was about it was horrible. By the
time we were through, the pub was a bit of a mess, but instead of getting
furious, she just patted me on the arm and told me and Miss Loomis to go on and
not worry about it. She pitied me, Minerva. I’d just made a shambles of
her pub and harmed four men, and she treats me as though I’m just as senile and
helpless as everyone else thinks I am. Instead of getting angry about it,
though, she patronizes me.
Miss Loomis back to her cottage and came back to the flat and sat for a long,
long time. I know I’m neither senile nor helpless…at least I think I
know that. Maybe I really am, and no one has told me yet. I hate being loomed
over by ruffians and made to feel three times my age.
sending Fawkes back to you, Minerva, and let’s make
no more mention of it.
P.S. Mis Loomis’s potholders are quite lovely – purple with
stars, and a blue one with clouds, and one with polka-dotted socks. She knows
what I like.
You asked me not to make any mention of what
happened, but I feel that I must. You are not senile, and you are certainly
not helpless. Perhaps there is just no stopping this attacker. Armando Dippet
couldn’t stop the attacks fifty years ago, and they cost him his health. It is
a shame that the attacks are still going on, but you mustn’t blame yourself.
This isn’t your fault. Not in the least.
You also shouldn’t feel guilty for defending
yourself against four men. If your force was excessive, what of it? You did not
kill them – and think about this. Miss Loomis could not have defended herself
adequately, since she never received her full education. Yes, she would not
have been there had it not been for you, but were you really as senile as they
are insinuating, she could have been harmed. Because of you, she was not. Don’t
worry about it. You did well.
I am announcing to the students on Monday
that their exams will commence in one week. They won’t be happy about it. If
they’d spent more time revising and less time speculating on the identity of
the Heir of Slytherin, they wouldn’t have to worry about their exams.
P.S. Your potholders sound lovely.
I had a
little bit of an adventure last night. I decided to venture to Knockturn Alley.
Don’t panic, now – I kept myself
invisible until I reached the Lethifold’s Lair. I
went visit Sherrinford Shiftlet to see if I could get any information. He
confirmed a few of my suspicions, but couldn’t come up with answers to some of
my questions. No matter – I still know more than I did before. And yes, I came
out of Knockturn Alley alive! So stop worrying!
that matters will soon come to a head. Be on guard. Don’t be panicked – just be
P.S. How is
I have good news, for once: Sprout informed
me after dinner that the Mandrakes will be ready for cutting tomorrow morning,
and we can have the victims revived by tomorrow night. I’ve told Severus, and
he told me that he will have the necessary ingredients ready for the
Restorative Potion. Speaking of Severus, he is fine. I haven’t heard a thing
from him since I delivered your note. Whatever you said – thank you.
on the other hand – I’ve told him that he is patrolling with me
tonight, so there will be no more shirking responsibility. I am sick and tired
of people not holding up their end. I’m half-tempted to get Peeves to hide in a
closet and scare the fool out of him – although such a thing might be
P.S. You will note that I did not mention
your trip to Knockturn Alley.
it might be, please refrain from frightening Gilderoy.
(But if you
do, make sure there’s some way to record his reaction so I can see it later.)
I’ve just had the shock of my life. Potter
and Ron Weasley had slipped away from their class in the corridor and were
hurrying off in the direction of the hospital wing to go see Miss Granger.
All this time – I’d never thought – it’s
really horrible. Yes, Miss Granger and the rest will be revived tonight, but
Albus, how could I have been so positively callous? I spent all this time
thinking about how hard it was for me to run a school, and I never had a
thought for how the friends of the victims must be feeling. Right after I sent
off Potter and Weasley, I found Percy and asked him how he was doing. To tell
the truth, he looked a great deal better than he has the past few days. He said
it was because the victims would be revived – Albus, there’s not anything
romantic between Percy and Miss Clearwater, is there?
I’m feeling like a cretin. I suppose I just
thought you ought to know. Oh, Merlin’s teeth.
At any rate, how is your day going?
You are not
a cretin. You’ve had other things to worry about. They seem to be doing fine.
And yes, I
have my suspicions about Mr. Weasley and Miss Clearwater.
I’ve just had a meeting with the staff – oh,
Merlin – Ginny Weasley has been taken into the Chamber – there’s a message on
the wall – sending the students home tomorrow.
I don’t care what the governors think any
more, as there won’t be any more Hogwarts – just please come. Please.
I’m on my
way. Fawkes will get there faster than I will, but
I’ll be there right after him.