A Call To Arms

By MyDearProfMcGonagall

Fantasy / Action

The Flight of Dumbledore's Army

“I still say we ought ter use Veritaserum,” Alecto grumbled, as the last Ravenclaw first year left Snape’s office. It was late afternoon; Minerva had been sitting in the wide, round room for hours. The portraits on the walls had abandoned their frames. Minerva liked to think that it was because they were disgusted with Snape’s abuse of his power. The office was overheated in the early summer light that streamed through the windows. Horace sat beside her, sweating profusely. On her other side was Filius, whom Pomona was repeatedly elbowing in order to stop him from speaking up in anger. Snape had been particularly harsh to the girl who had just left. The four Heads of House sat in a row at one side of Snape’s desk. On the other side were the Carrows, and Severus sat behind the table, glaring coldly at each student who had passed underneath his hooked nose.

“We would hear more useless things than I care to imagine,” he said dismissively, waving a hand at Alecto. “It is easier this way.”

“Ye mean when only you get to know what’s goin’ through their heads, Snape?” Alecto asked angrily.

He turned cold eyes on her. “Correct, Alecto. Who is next?” he barked at Amycus, without removing his gaze from her.

“Hufflepuffs,” Amycus grunted.

Pomona looked at Minerva, who nodded encouragingly, and stood up to go to the door.

For the last two days, lessons had been cancelled and all students had been confined to their House common rooms. On the first day, Gryffindor House had gone into questioning, followed by Slytherin. Neither had been productive, for Gryffindor was devoid of all of its members of Dumbledore’s Army, and those who remained had been reticent and unhelpful. Minerva had felt ill to see Josephine O’Brien, bruised and cut all across her face and neck, seated before Snape’s desk with a look of fierce defiance on her face. The only information that Slytherin House had provided came from Draco Malfoy.

“All I know is that the entrance is across from that tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy,” he had muttered, not looking up from his folded arms. “I told you that ages ago.”

“That weren’t enough, then,” Amycus snapped. “We need ter get in, not just stare at the wall!”

“Then I can’t help you,” Malfoy retorted. “They probably sealed it against you, anyhow. I figured that out after about a second of being in there. I’m sure even Longbottom could have done it after six months.”

Minerva’s fists balled in her lap, but Horace laid a heavy hand on her arm, shaking his great head only slightly. She let out a huff of irritation, but had remained silent for the rest of the questioning. Minerva was sure that today, the second day of interrogation, would prove no more helpful. Now that Ravenclaw was finished, Filius was breathing a sigh of relief just as Pomona reached the door.

“Hang on,” Alecto snapped suddenly. She was frowning down at a long scroll of parchment. “We’re missin’ a few, there. Seventh years…Ravenclaws,” she added quietly, her eyes resting on Filius. Minerva stiffened.

“I think you’re mistaken. We saw all of the seventh years,” Filius began, but Snape interrupted. He had gotten up and snatched Alecto’s list from her.

“She is not, Professor Flitwick,” he said coldly. “We saw almost all of your seventh year students. Two of them, however, failed to come before us.”

“Corner,” Amycus said eagerly, pointing at the parchment. He too had gathered around Snape with his sister. “An’…that’s Patil’s twin.”

Minerva’s mind was racing; had the Ravenclaws fled to the safety of the Room of Requirement? She could see her question reflected in the faces of everyone else in the room. If they had, they would have done so to protect Michael Corner—perhaps he was still as badly off as Poppy had feared. Pomona and Filius looked as though they were restraining cries of elation. Horace looked frightened.

Severus was white as a sheet. “Pomona, go to your House at once—Alecto, go with her—if any of your students are missing—”

“You’ll do what, precisely?” Minerva was on her feet, staring fixedly at Snape. A roaring had filled her ears and her heart was racing, her fists balled at her sides. She was aware of Horace catching at her sleeve, but she paid him no mind. Severus glared just as fiercely back at her, but he did not speak. “Enlighten us, headmaster. What exactly do you expect to do about the students that have vanished—excuse me, I should call it what it is,” she spat derisively, “I meant fled and gone into hiding from them.” Her lip curled as she looked upon Amycus and Alecto.

Amycus started forward menacingly. “You—”

“Please, Amycus,” Snape said, raising one hand calmly. He did not remove his eyes from Minerva’s. “What is it you wish to say, Minerva?”

You are the reason students are missing! You and your—Death Eater lackeys! For all we know, every single one of these students could be dead, or worse, and it is entirely your fault!” Minerva cried. Horace was making blustering, nervous noises beside her, but Filius and Pomona were completely silent, their attention locked on her. “I hope you know that you are, perhaps, the worst failure of a headmaster this school has ever seen! It’s no wonder that students are going into hiding! I, for one—”

“Support them?” Snape’s voice was so soft, so velvety quiet, that it startled Minerva into silence. “You support them, and their destruction, and slander, and useless acts of stupidity—or would you call that bravery?”

“Don’t spew your lies at me, Snape,” Minerva snapped. “There are first years in this school who are brave enough to know that you, and these two oafs, are wrong.” She was reaching dangerous ground; she could see that in the vein that was throbbing in Severus’s temple, but she could not make herself stop. “You’re criminals, liars, and murderers, and one day very, very soon, you’re going to get what you deserve.”

Severus blinked. “Is there anyone else who shares Professor McGonagall’s opinion?” he asked, his voice still deadly soft. No one spoke. Minerva had not expected them to, nor would she have asked it. She had crossed a line. “I think, Professor McGonagall, that it would be best if we were, for a short time, to relieve you of your teaching duties. You are very clearly overwrought from your experience the other afternoon—”

“You want to throw me out of the castle?” she asked, sounding quite a bit haughtier than she had intended.

“No,” Snape said softly. “I certainly do not.”

He’s afraid. The thought leapt wildly to the front of Minerva’s mind, and she prepared to latch onto it, to shout him down at last—

“You can’t.”

Snape’s eyes flickered over to Pomona, who stood firmly in front of the door. She was positively white. “Take her away, and you stand scaring off the rest of the students—you can’t risk that.”

“Consider it, Severus,” Horace said, standing as well. “You’ve got enough on your plate with just these few missing—you can’t make it seem as though you’ve lost control of your staff.”

Filius actually got to his feet and stood protectively in front of Minerva, his arms folded. “I wouldn’t, headmaster.”

Minerva saw a muscle in Snape’s jaw twitch. His hand gave a sort of tic, as though he had considered for a moment trying to draw his wand. Finally, he drew a sharp breath through his hooked nose and turned away. The Carrows were still glowering unpleasantly at Minerva. When he spoke, Snape’s voice was indifferent and he was facing away from them, his eyes on the wall of portraits behind his desk. “Find out whether your Ravenclaws have joined Longbottom in his cowardice, Flitwick—and see to the Hufflepuffs. Minerva, consider yourself warned.”

“And you, headmaster,” she said automatically. She did not know what made her say it, but it was a mistake.

Snape whirled around. “ALL OF YOU, OUT OF THIS OFFICE, IMMEDIATELY!” he bellowed, reaching out and striking the bookshelf so hard that several leather-bound volumes tumbled off, and one of Albus’s small, silver devices smashed on the floor. “OUT!

There was a general rush to escape, led by Alecto and Amycus, but Minerva took her time. She walked slowly and calmly to the threshold, where she stopped. She met Snape’s eyes for a few moments before strolling through the door, shutting it softly behind her.


“‘You know, I’ve got a brilliant idea, I’ll just verbally abuse the three people in this castle who wouldn’t have a moment’s hesitation before murdering me on the spot!’” Pomona cried hysterically. She waved one hand so wildly that she let fly the spade she was holding. It soared across the greenhouse and nearly decapitated a Fanged Geranium. She gave Minerva a filthy look, as though it were her fault. “Honestly, you mad old—didn’t stop for a moment to think—” She made a noise of disgust, swore, and picked up her wand. “Accio,” she muttered, and the spade came flying back to her hand. She resumed digging through the pot of earth before her.

“You’re right. I wasn’t really thinking,” Minerva said quietly.

“Really?” Pomona retorted. “Is that a fact?”

“I let my anger carry me off, Pomona, I’m sorry for it,” she said earnestly. “Thank you, for standing up for me.”

“I won’t see anyone driven out of this castle,” Pomona mumbled. “Anyone else, at least. And I won’t let Snape have one more possible reason to let You-Know-Who through those doors ever again.”

Minerva felt a pang for her; after hastily departing Snape’s office the afternoon before, they had agreed it was best to avoid the Carrows, who were patrolling the corridors at every waking hour, and to meet in the greenhouses before breakfast the next morning. In the meantime, Pomona had made the unpleasant discovery that one of her seventh years, Susan Bones, was gone as well.

“I suppose there’s one good thing in all of it,” she said, after a long stretch of silence during which she broke up a particularly tough clod of dirt. “We’ll have students again, instead of prisoners. Wonder what breakfast will be like.”

Minerva shrugged. Something else had been on her mind, and had kept her awake all night. She had had less than two hours of sleep because her mind had not stopped whirring. “Haven’t you wondered how they’re doing it?”

“Doing what?” Pomona asked, placing the pot on a tray and laying aside her spade.

“Keeping alive,” said Minerva. “Gamp’s Laws of Elemental Transfiguration won’t allow that room to make food for them, I know it. I can’t see how even Rowena Ravenclaw would have worked around that one, and according to every legend there is, the Room of Requirement was her pet project.”

“Maybe they’re stealing from the kitchens,” Pomona suggested tiredly. “Come on, let’s get to breakfast.”

“They can’t be,” Minerva insisted, following her from the greenhouse. “They aren’t dead, and they haven’t left the school—otherwise, how would the others know where to go? Yours and Filius’s, I mean.”

“Don’t say it like that, Minerva.” Pomona shuddered as she flicked her wand and locked the greenhouse door behind them. “I don’t want to think they could be dead.”

“No,” Minerva replied. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.” She had, of course, simply been talking, but now that she realized what she had said, the idea sickened her. The very idea of one student dying was bad enough—more than one…she could not even think of it.

“I had thought they might try for a little more trouble,” Pomona said worriedly, as they walked through the doors of the Great Hall. “But after what they did to Michael Corner…and poor Miss O’Brien…perhaps not. And perhaps they’re better off.”

“Decidedly so,” Minerva agreed. “Though I doubt that Longbottom or any of the others will see it that way.” As she and Pomona crossed the threshold, they found that the Great Hall was surprisingly lively; there was chatter and laughter everywhere, and she actually smiled a bit. It was nice to see the students behaving at least somewhat normally. She sighed. “We have exams to give.”

Pomona rolled her eyes. “I’ll ask them whether or not the plant they are holding is magical, and then pass them, regardless of the answer. You can’t seriously be considering giving an exam in all of this?”

Minerva shrugged as she settled into her chair at the head table. “What are we supposed to do? The Ministry is coming to give O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s, regardless.”

“Have a heart, Minerva.”

“What is happening down there?” Minerva pointed to the Hufflepuff table, where both Alecto and Amycus had converged on Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott.

“I expect Severus has told them about Susan Bones,” Pomona said anxiously, rising immediately and hurrying away, down to the trouble.

Minerva looked anxiously over to the Ravenclaw table. If Michael Corner had been caught and beaten by the Carrows, she had a shrewd idea as to who else might belong to Dumbledore’s Army. Sure enough, Terry Boot and Anthony Goldstein were watching the Hufflepuff table warily. Minerva let out a sigh.

“Leave her alone!”

Minerva was jerked back to reality by Ernie Macmillan’s shout; it drew the attention of the entire hall, which fell immediately silent. He had leapt to his feet beside Pomona, who was attempting to push him back. Alecto held Hannah in a vice grip, attempting to drag her off, and Hannah was wrestling furiously. Minerva stood as Amycus, sensing trouble, darted across the hall and came to Alecto’s side.

“Come on, pretty, you’ve got some questions ter answer,” he jeered, seizing her other arm. He threw Ernie a filthy look. “You’re next, Macmillan.”

“Carrow!”

And Minerva had a sudden, heart-stopping moment of terror, for of all the things that could have come to her mind at that moment, she could have sworn that it was Albus who had just called out. As one, all heads in the Great Hall turned to the doorway. Snape, white-faced and tense, was rushing up the aisle to the Carrows, a newspaper clutched in his hand.

“Release her,” he barked.

“What? Snape,” Alecto began furiously.

Release her, now!” he shrieked, descending upon them like an overgrown bat. He brandished the Daily Prophet in his fist. “Come with me at once!”

Extremely reluctantly, the Carrows relinquished their grips on Hannah and trudged away from the Hufflepuff table after Snape, nearly knocking over a few entering fourth years.

Chatter burst out across the hall; Minerva distinctly saw Ernie pull Hannah into the seat beside him and lean in, muttering worriedly. He poked his head up and seemed to look for someone across the room, and she followed his gaze. Minerva frowned. Anthony Goldstein and Terry Boot sat at the Ravenclaw table, half-risen out of their seats as they gazed after Snape and the Carrows. She would hardly have suspected those two to be involved in the slightest way with Longbottom…but, then, if Michael Corner had been in, she reasoned…

“What was that?” Pomona hissed, arriving at the staff table once again.

“Something dreadful must have happened,” Horace put in. He was seated a few chairs down the table, his great brow furrowed. “Disagreements aside, I do hope things are all right.”

“Honestly, Horace,” Minerva snapped impatiently. She leaned closer to Pomona. “Something big has happened.”

She nodded nervously. “Should I warn—?”

“Filius and Poppy,” Minerva said. “Just those two. Tell them exactly what just happened, and what we suspect. I’ll see if I can’t get ahold of Remus—or maybe Shacklebolt, find out if something’s gone wrong with the Order.”

“What if it’s got to do with Longbottom?”

“Whether or not it has, I’ll bet he and the others know about it,” Minerva murmured quietly. Pomona followed her gaze to Hannah Abbott and Ernie Macmillan, who were sitting, quiet and tense, at the Hufflepuff table. The first bell rang, and they both leapt out of their seats, making a hasty exit from the hall. Minerva started to get up, but Pomona placed a hand on her arm.

“They’ve got Herbology first,” she said. “Calm down. They’re not running off.”

“They had better not,” Minerva mumbled, watching the Hufflepuffs go. On their heels were Terry Boot and Anthony Goldstein.

After breakfast, she hurried to her office and sent off Patronuses to Kingsley and Remus, asking for any news they had. She waited for an answer until the last possible moment she could before her lesson began, and very reluctantly went to teach when she had none. But for the rest of the day, there was something very odd in the air. The entire atmosphere of the castle seemed to crackle with some kind of electricity, a nervous anticipation of something wonderful—or terrible. At first, Minerva had believed that it was her own anxiety getting the better of her, but she was beginning to see it in the students’ faces, as well.

Josephine O’Brien was smiling again, even under her half-healed bruises; there were no students taken out of classes by the Carrows, nor did she hear any sound that indicated they were meting out detentions. In fact, for the rest of the morning, the Carrows were absent from the castle entirely. When she spotted a group of sixth year students who should have been in Muggle Studies sitting quietly outside the classroom, Minerva wondered if Alecto and Amycus were still holed up with Snape, dealing with whatever crisis had arisen. She skipped lunch so that she might wait for a response from Kingsley or Remus, but still received none. Famished after many consecutive classes, filled with chattering students who were unwilling to review for their exams, she went down to dinner reluctantly.

Her plan was to return to her office as quickly as possible after eating, but she found that the Carrows had returned, and were patrolling the Great Hall when she arrived. The students at all four tables were completely silent as they ate, an eerie occurrence. But, strangest of all, Snape sat at the head table for the first time in weeks, surveying the room sourly. Minerva passed up the aisle between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables, noting with satisfaction that Hannah Abbott and Ernie Macmillan were still present. She checked the Ravenclaw table, and her heart gave a nervous twitch. She could not see Boot or Goldstein anywhere. She arrived at the head table and checked her pocket watch as she sat down in her customary chair beside Pomona. It was still early; perhaps the boys had not yet come down to dinner.

“Have you found anything out?” Pomona whispered, for Snape was uncomfortably close, and could easily overhear.

Minerva shook her head slightly, laying her napkin in her lap.

“It’s something bad,” Pomona murmured, making a show of serving stew loudly onto her plate. “For them, I mean. Alecto threatened anyone who talks with detention.”

Minerva’s heart leapt. Perhaps someone—Kingsley, perhaps—had emerged from hiding, been able to deal some blow to the Death Eaters. Or, if she dared to hope, Potter had managed yet another escape…though she didn’t see how that could be, unless he had left the safety of Bill Weasley’s home…

“Of course he has,” she cursed aloud, quite by accident.

Pomona looked startled. “What?”

“It’s something to do with Potter,” Minerva whispered to her, trying not to be annoyed. This was difficult, as she could see in her mind’s eye the mutinous look he always wore when told to stay safely where he was and mind his own business. It was mingled with a demented desire to laugh. “He’s gotten away from them again, that’s what this is all about.”

“Are you sure?” Pomona asked.

“Oh, I’ll bet anything, that’s what it is,” Minerva muttered. “I’ll try and get down to the village tonight, to ask Aberforth if he’s heard any rumors, but…” And suddenly, the bubble of emotion burst. She had no reason to be excited, when Potter’s escape had nothing to do with the problems she faced within Hogwarts itself. “Well, I’ll see what he’s heard, anyway.” Pomona frowned slightly, but did not question her. Minerva did not eat; she did not think she could. She felt foolish for believing that somehow, good news in the outside world would translate into good news for Hogwarts. She stared down at the Carrows, who were prowling among the students like wild animals, and her heart turned into a block of ice. In war, even good news could be as devastating as bad.

“HEY!”

Minerva started and looked to the doorway of the Great Hall. Terry Boot stood beside Anthony Goldstein, and they were both grinning wildly. Severus rose immediately and began hurrying down from the head table, but Alecto and Amycus seemed too stunned to react, frozen where they stood.

“GUESS WHAT, YOU LOT?” Boot shouted. “HARRY POTTER’S BROKEN INTO GRINGOTTS, AND HE’S ESCAPED ON THE BACK OF A DRAGON! HARRY POTTER IS ALIVE! HE’S ALIVE AND FIGHTING FOR ALL OF US!”

Minerva’s jaw dropped, but not because of what Boot had said. Amycus seemed to have come back to life, and before she or any of the students had a moment to react, he strode forward and aimed a punch straight for Boot’s face. There was an immediate uproar. The boy crumpled, but Anthony Goldstein seized him under the arms and yanked him to his feet. His face was covered in blood, but before Snape, Alecto, or Amycus could get any closer, both boys had taken off running. In the Great Hall, an explosion of sound had taken over. Students were on their feet, cheering and screaming.

“What just happened?” Minerva demanded of Pomona, horrified. She looked to Filius, who was actually standing on his chair. “What just happened?

He looked stunned. “I—I haven’t any idea!”

Three loud bangs echoed through the Great Hall, and silence fell once more. Snape and the Carrows were staring at the students, their wands out. “Everyone to their House common rooms immediately!” Snape barked. “Anyone caught in the corridors for the rest of the evening will be punished on the spot!”

“Abbott,” Pomona said suddenly, tugging at Minerva’s sleeve. “Abbott and Macmillan, look at them.” Minerva followed her gaze to see the two Hufflepuffs cutting and weaving their way through the crowd of students thronging to get out the doors. Alecto seemed to be hunting for them as well, but they dodged her. “That’s it,” Pomona said. “They must all be with Longbottom now…”

“What on earth was Boot on about?” Minerva asked quickly. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Snape and the Carrows approaching the staff table.

“It can’t be true,” Pomona said sensibly. “It’s fantastical. But Potter must have done something to make them this angry.”

“All of you are to return to your quarters,” said Snape’s drawling voice. Minerva turned. He, Alecto, and Amycus were facing the staff members gathered round; she, Pomona, Filius, Horace, and a handful of others stared back at him. “None of you are to interact with the students—”

“What, are you scared of a rumor like that?” Septima Vector asked loudly, and Pomona threw her a sharp look. Snape glared coldly at her.

“We have information that a dangerous criminal may be interested in entering Hogsmeade,” he said silkily. “For the safety of the students—”

“If it was about their safety, we would be allowed to see them,” Minerva interrupted coolly.

Severus’s eyes narrowed, and she could almost see the rage he felt overwhelming him. He raised one hand to point at her. “Minerva, I—” And at that moment, a most extraordinary thing happened. Alecto and Amycus, who had still been standing on either side of Snape, gave identical convulsive movements, as though they’d been burned; in the same second, Snape dropped his arm and looked wildly around at the staff. “You are all dismissed. Leave. Now.” Bemused and bewildered, the knot of teachers broke, and Minerva left the hall with Pomona and Filius. Her mind was racing.

“Dear me,” Horace rumbled, shaking his head. “Things don’t seem to be going well for the headmaster, do they?”

“Horace, really,” Minerva snapped impatiently. She leaned closer to Pomona. “They felt something—those wretched Dark Marks, I know it. It must be Potter.”

“How can you know that?” Pomona asked.

“All three of them behaving like that at once, without a word? And what else would they be called for but Potter?” Minerva whispered incredulously. “Pomona, you’ve seen Severus when that mark burns, you know what he looks like.” A memory of the fleeting spasm of shock and pain that had filled Severus’s face for just a fraction of a second, while they had all stood waiting for Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory to emerge from the Triwizard maze, seemed to hang in the air between them.

“You don’t think—” Pomona’s voice was strangled, “—He’s not—he’s not coming here? With a castle full of students?”

“No,” Minerva said. “Severus was keen on hiding it, the last time. He’ll make them go to him…or he’ll send a message, something.” She stopped and looked around; only Filius was near, listening to her. She addressed Pomona first. “I wonder if you might—”

“Warn Sibyll, of course,” Pomona said, and she hurried ahead.

“I’m going to my office to wait for some news from—anybody,” Minerva added to Filius. “If I hear something, I’ll send word. See if maybe you can have some better luck than I with getting a letter out?” He nodded once and disappeared as well. Minerva climbed the stairs to her office alone. It took all her restraint not to swear when she saw that there was no Patronus or Floo-call awaiting her inside. She sat down at the desk and impatiently picked up a stack of fourth year essays—no, she had graded those. She wasted perhaps an hour straightening her desk, pointlessly shuffling papers, trying to decide whether alphabetical organization would best suit her bookcase, and making her entire office neater than it had been in forty years of teaching. Then, because she was fairly certain that she was starting to go mad, she organized her bookcase twice more: once by size, and then back to alphabetical.

Finally, to her overwhelming irritation, she accepted that she was not going to hear from anyone, gave up and entered her private rooms. She flicked her wand moodily and set a roaring blaze in the fireplace, which she had to lower slightly so as to avoid setting the hearthrug aflame, and placed a kettle on to boil. She changed into her nightclothes and spent an unnecessary amount of time combing her hair and twisting it into a long braid. The kettle began to boil, and Minerva poured herself a cup of tea. She settled comfortably into a chair with a book, trying to force herself to calm down enough to sleep. The carriage clock on her mantelpiece told her that it was half-past eight. That gave her plenty of time to relax and wind down from the day…she had been foolish, she told herself, getting so worked up over nothing…Potter had escaped, and probably Weasley and Granger with him…the fact that Voldemort seemed to know…well, that didn’t mean anything…

There was a knock at her office door, and Minerva leapt up, hurrying through the hidden door. She found Pomona and Filius standing on her doorstep. “I spoke to Sibyll,” Pomona said, shaking her head. “Honestly, I never know what she’s thinking, that one…”

“Filius, did you—” Minerva began, but he interrupted her.

“Alecto just asked me to let her into Ravenclaw Tower,” Filius said.

“What?” Minerva gasped. “You didn’t, did you?”

“I didn’t have much choice, I’m afraid,” he answered anxiously. “She demanded to be let into the common room. I told the students to remain in their dormitories…”

“Well—what did she want?” Minerva asked, confused.

“That’s just it, I asked her,” Filius insisted. “She told me to leave her alone—a little less politely than that, I admit.”

“So she’s just sitting up there by herself with two dormitories full of students,” Pomona muttered.

“They’re both acting oddly,” he agreed. “Amycus is wandering around, muttering to himself, and they’re letting Filch handle patrols tonight.”

“What can this mean?” Pomona asked.

“I haven’t the faintest idea,” Minerva said, leaning against her desk and shaking her head. She looked at Filius. “Is there any way that Terry Boot can have been speaking even the smallest bit of truth?”

“Even if he was, how would it connect to Alecto sitting in Ravenclaw Tower?” Filius asked.

“Perhaps they’re keeping lookout for Dumbledore’s Army?” Pomona suggested.

“But the last of them are in your House,” Minerva said. “And it’s too late for them to stop anyone else, I’m sure they’ve all gone to meet Longbottom by now…”

“Oi.”

All three of them started and turned to look through Minerva’s open door. Amycus was standing in the corridor. “All staff have been confined to their rooms,” he growled.

“We are your peers, Professor Carrow,” Filius said indignantly. “You needn’t speak to us as though we were students.”

“It’s all right, Filius,” Minerva said disdainfully, feeling a rush of hatred for the lopsided leer on Amycus’s lumpy face. “I don’t think I’d like to be considered a peer, in this case.” She inclined her head graciously to Pomona and Filius. “I shall see you both in the morning. Good night.”

Pomona looked furious. “Good night,” she mumbled, through gritted teeth, and she left the room, Filius just behind her. Minerva moved to the door as Amycus watched them go.

“Good night, Professor Carrow,” she said politely, before banging her door shut in his face. Angry, her mind chasing itself in exhausted, hopeless circles, she stormed back into her room and sat down once again. She looked at the clock…it was a quarter of nine. Then, because she was furious, because she hated Amycus and Alecto, and Severus, and the ruin to which she had seen Hogwarts reduced, and a million other things, she picked up her book and flung it across the room.


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