The Sugar Quill
Author: Lumos P. Nox  Story: McGonagall's Decision  Chapter: Default
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Point of View

 

McGonagall’s Decision

 

 

Disclaimer: All of these wonderful characters (and even some actual text) was first created in J.K. Rowling’s great mind, and I thank her.  I also thank my awesome betta, shellebelle, for helping me along the way.

 

Professor Minerva McGonagall was sitting in her office gazing out her window which overlooked the spacious grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The sight, which usually cheered her up at a glance, didn’t succeed in distracting her.  That awful night from ten years ago had been constantly playing in her mind since she had seen him again at the school’s front doors when the train had arrived at Hogwarts.

            She could distinctly remember the long wait on that horribly hard garden wall, the sudden appearance of Dumbledore, and the tragic news that followed. What could she have done differently? She was not the mothering type, but she could have easily found a home that would have loved and cared for Harry, James’ son. Besides, at the time she was sure that Dumbledore had had some reason for sending Harry to those Muggles.  She had always trusted his judgment.

When McGonagall had seen him again, after all those years, she had thought she was looking at James.  He had always been one of her favorite students when he was at school.  He had such a gift, he was a powerful wizard, but in her class he was exceptional.  She had loved him dearly, almost like a mother.  McGonagall had always shown it by being extra hard on him.  She took away more house points from him, gave him extra detentions, and was constantly scolding him. Not even James knew how highly she thought of him.

            And here he was again.  Harry had the same untidy black hair, the same skinny body.  His face though had the pinched look of someone who had skipped meals too often, and he was much too small for an eleven-year old.  It hit her then; she had let Harry grow up without proper clothes, without enough food, but most of all without love.

It was hard to look at Harry at first, but soon she became accustomed to the sight, and even began to enjoy watching him.  So far she hadn’t mentioned James at all to this small look-alike and she doubted if she ever would.  She had always felt slightly responsible for James’ death, but she too had trusted Sirius Black.  James and Lily could have used her for Secret Keeper, but they had insisted on using Black instead.  And then they died. 

She would always watch Harry. It was a promise she had made to herself as well as to James and Lily’s spirits on All-Hallow’s Eve ten years ago.  She would make sure nothing happened to their son.

The reason she was gazing out of her window at this particular time was because she could see the smooth, flat lawn where the Gryffindor and Slytherin first years would be having their first flying lesson.  She just had to see if Harry was as like James as she supposed he was.  She just had to see him fly. 

McGonagall watched apprehensively as that Longbottom boy shot up in the air like a cork and down to the ground like a stone.  She winced as he hit the ground knowing he most likely had broken some bone or another.  She watched as Madam Hooch slowly led Longbottom back into the castle, most likely to the hospital wing.  She continued watching the other students, Draco Malfoy was obviously taunting Harry, and she watched as Malfoy took his broomstick and flew up to a tree.  Something small was glittering in his almost fully clenched fist.  That was enough for her, the students had been unsupervised long enough.  She quickly decided to go down there to get Malfoy off his broom. No first year should be flying by themselves, especially without a teacher present.  This could get dangerous.

She quickly took the hidden passageway behind her tapestry and followed its direct path that led from her office to the grounds. She was catching up to the students surprisingly quickly, but apparently not quick enough.  She watched the scene unravel as if it was in slow motion. 
            “Catch it if you can, then!”  Malfoy shouted as he threw the small glass ball high into the air. 

The ball streaked back towards the ground. Faster. Faster. Too fast to even see; it was just a blur of foggy glass. 

There was Harry—one second by Malfoy—the next he was gathering speed in a steep dive, racing the ball—she watched him stretch out his hand -– a foot from the ground—he was too close, he was going to die with her running towards him, she was too far away, she couldn’t run any faster—NO!—Yes! He caught it!  And just in time to pull his broom straight as he toppled gently onto the grass with the glass ball clutched safely in his fist.

McGonagall was in shock, “HARRY POTTER!”

She couldn’t believe it.  He could have been killed. But here he was, still alive. That must have been at least fifty feet.  She had been right all along. She was RIGHT!  That dive had been James all over again, but different, almost better. McGonagall had never seen anything like that before. It had been incredible. Still… he could have been killed.

“Never—in all my time at Hogwarts--,”

She was almost speechless with shock, “how dare you—might have broken your neck--”

A sudden outburst of students started explaining, all trying to defend Harry.

“It wasn’t his fault Professor”

“Be quiet, Miss Patil--”

“But Malfoy--”

“That’s enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter follow me, now.”

She looked down at this incredible boy and slowly reigned in her temper.  What if he had gotten hurt?  But she still couldn’t get over that dive.  She really shouldn’t, but they did need a Seeker, and tryouts had gone horribly.  He did have it in his blood.  Isn’t this why she had been watching him?  Why then did it still come as such a shock?  She was still pondering it as she marched him back to the castle and inside straight to the Charms classroom.

“Excuse me, Professor Flitwick, could I borrow Wood for a moment?”  She watched Harry’s bewildered expression with slight amusement as a burly fifth year left his seat and headed toward them.

“Follow me, you two.”  She said as she led them into an unused classroom now only occupied by the school’s poltergeist, Peeves.

“In here,” she directed the boys.

“Out, Peeves!”  McGonagall barked. After he was gone she turned and faced the boys.

“Potter, this is Oliver Wood.  Wood—I’ve found you a Seeker.”

She watched smiling slightly as Wood’s look of puzzlement turned into one of delight.

“Are you serious, Professor?”

“Absolutely,” she said crisply, “the boy’s a natural.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Was that your first time on a broomstick, Potter?”

She watched him nod slowly.  Looking back to Wood she held up the glass ball. “He caught that thing in his hand after a fifty-foot dive,” she tried to hide the hint of pride that was in her voice.  “Didn’t even scratch himself. Charlie Weasley couldn’t have done it.”

Wood looked like Christmas had come early.

 “Ever seen a game of Quidditch, Potter?”

“Woods is captain of Gryffindor team,” Professor McGonagall explained.

“He’s just the build for a Seeker, too.” Wood commented, now walking around Harry.  “Light—speedy—we’ll have to get him a decent broom, Professor—a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven, I’d say.”

McGonagall had already been considering this.  This was a start to repaying Harry for all the hardship he had experienced. 

“I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can’t bend the first-year rule.  Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year.  Flattened in the last match by Slytherin, I couldn’t look Severus Snape in the face for weeks…”

She suddenly peered sternly over her glasses at Harry. “I want to hear you’re training hard, Potter, or I may change my mind about punishing you.”      

She couldn’t hold it back anymore and she let herself smile.  Should she say it?  Not much, just a comment.  She could just mention him… that would be all right.  She decided to chance it.

“Your father would have been proud,” she said suddenly.  “He was an excellent Quidditch player himself.”

//
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