The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF techmeyer  Story: In Trouble Every Other Week  Chapter: Default
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In Trouble Every Other Week

Disclaimer: Of course I don't own any of this. My thanks to J K Rowling.

Sugarquill forum > Dates & Ages, What we now know contains supporting evidence that McGonagall is in the same rough age group as Rubeus Hagrid and Tom Riddle.

"You there! What on earth are you doing out of your common room? It's after ten. As a prefect, I'll be reporting you to your head of house."

I was half way through evening patrol, which usually took about two hours. Every second Tuesday was my responsibility. Turning down the transfiguration corridor, I saw a shaft of light spilling out of the open door at the end of the hall.

"Good evening, Minerva." Professor Dumbledore called softly as I approached. He looked up from the sheet of parchment he was marking as I came into the light. "You might take the halls toward the Slytherin dormitories, as two sixth years may be dawdling in that direction," he advised with a twinkle behind his half-moon spectacles. I used to wonder how he always knew what was happening in other parts of the castle. As a matter of fact, I still do.

Coming down the marble stairs, I thought I heard the familiar creak of the oak front doors. As I reached the hall I saw nobody. "Hello?" I called. Perhaps I was just hearing things, or perhaps someone had just left the castle.

As I stepped out an April breeze whipped across my face. The waning moon cast faint shadows across the lawn, and I could see a large figure walking into the forbidden forest. Only one thing for it: I would have to awaken the gamekeeper.

Ogg opened the door of the gamekeepers cabin after I knocked.

"I think that big first year has gone into the forest." I told him.

He cursed. "Hagrid?" he asked. I didn't know the boy's name, and at my shrug he answered his own question, "Hagrid." He went back into the cabin. "Come on, Muldoon." A whimpering yowl came from the dark and the big dog came limping toward the door with his master behind him. "You have your wand? Let's go."

"What? You want me to come along?"

"That's right," he answered, "McGonagall, is it?" I nodded. "Stay with me and you'll be fine," said Ogg as we walked toward the edge of the forest, Muldoon snuffling around the undergrowth ahead of us.

The trees were getting thicker as we followed the boarhound who appeared to know which way the boy was going. As if he knew what I was thinking, Ogg said, "Muldoon will know which way he went. He loves Hagrid… goes straight at him whenever he's on the grounds. Light your wand, now, Lumos!"

For a few minutes we walked in silence. There were rustling sounds beyond the wandlight that I was sure were not Muldoon. I thought I heard hooves but when I pointed my wand toward them I could see nothing but great gray gnarled trunks.

"Best keep your light toward the path, McGonagall. There are things in here don't prefer humans." He talked quietly, as if he preferred not to be heard himself.

"Werewolves?" I asked, turning my light back onto the path.

"Yes, but they're not so dangerous tonight. Full moon was last week." He said.

"What then?" Quite aside from being curious, I wanted to be prepared for what I might encounter.

"They won't bother us if we don't bother them. Lots of stuff - unicorns, centaurs - lots of stuff. Can't think why anybody'd come in here anyway, but-" High pitched laughter cut off our quiet conversation and Ogg Grabbed onto my robes and whispered, "nox!" Both wands went out and we were plunged into darkness.

I could feel him shaking as he took a few steadying breaths. Muldoon whimpered right next to us and from ahead down the path I could hear scuffling. The laughter came again from off to the right and a moment later the gamekeeper whispered, "Lumos," and started shakily to walk again with no explanation. He turned and saw that I was not moving. "Erkling." He said. "Don't follow it. Stay with me." I hadn't an inkling what an Erkling is, but lit my wand and followed.

The scuffling got louder as we drew nearer and suddenly the boarhound ran down the path, wagging his tail. In a clearing we came upon an astonishing sight. The big first year that Ogg called Hagrid was grappling with something even bigger than himself; it looked to be ten feet tall, and by our dim wandlight it appeared to have green-tinted skin. "Oh…" said Ogg.

"What on earth…" I began, but never finished. As they pivoted I realized: a troll. Hagrid threw his opponent against a tree and picked up a nearby boulder, which he held over his head menacingly. The troll's huge barrel-shaped chest heaved and he grunted, leaned against the tree, and sat quietly.

"Hagrid! What on earth?" The huge boy turned suddenly and dropped the boulder. His face showed half giddiness and half remorse. Upon seeing us, the troll suddenly moved to stand up and Hagrid grabbed for his boulder and hollered, "Git back ter the path. I'll come!"

I didn't need telling twice. I scuttled down the path right behind Ogg and after a minute we heard a thump behind us and stopped. "Shall we go back for him?" I asked.

Ogg looked pale and slowly answered, "If I have to go back and he's still alive I'll kill him." Just then Muldoon came loping up the path with a great tall figure behind him. Ogg raised his wand as Hagrid's voice called out, "Comin'."

One word from the gamekeeper, who turned towards the castle: "Detention." I followed him with Hagrid and Muldoon close behind. I had turned up some interesting things in three years as a prefect, but this was certainly one of the strangest.

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