Ever wondered why Dumbledore lets Filch remain as Hogwarts’ Caretaker? Well, so do I! Anyway…
A fanfic by A. Leon using the works of J.K. Rowling.
Note: If you want to read from the beginning, it starts here.
This is my second story about Harry Potter but my first inside the actual Harry Potter universe.
The timeline would be after Harry’s third year but before his sixth.
I feel compelled to tell you not to expect Harry in this story, though.
Chapter Two: The Staff Meeting
The Staff Room was a huge panelled room, with a large circular table and several dark-wooden chairs, each of different shape and size to accomodate each member of the staff at Hogwarts.
Professor McGonagall took her chair between Professor Flitwick, Head of Ravenclaw House, and the Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore.
“Very well, I see most of us are here so we’ll start. Madame Pince has asked to be excused. She needs to put the library in order. A Peeves incident it seems…”
Nobody inquired any further.
“Has anybody seen Professor Binns?”
Professor Binns was the ghost who teached History of Magic. He usually appeared only for his classes.
“We have a lot to cover, so I’ll be brief. I would like to say it was another year we averted disaster, but that would be quite untrue. I think from now and on, Hogwarts will have to face a different disaster every year. I’d rather we reviewed the issue of our finances first…”
There was a general moan throughout the room.
“…which I know is very unpopular with everyone, so that we can forget it as soon as possible. Minerva, if you please.”
As Deputy Headmistress, McGonagall kept and updated the books. She waved her wand at the books, whose covers were made out of solid steel with several bolts, chains and locks that kept them closed. The books didn’t budge.
“Filius, Severus, could I borrow your wands, please?”
Flitwick and Snape got up and pointed their wands at the books along with McGonagall.
-Fortuna Livris Desencatenas!- said all three in unison.
The books shook a bit, but remained closed. A little laugh seemed to be coming from them. The three wizards looked at each other.
“Strong goblin craftmanship, wouldn’t you agree?” said Flitwick
“Yes, absolutely amazing. Anything you write down on them will never be read again. The only way it’d be safer is if you’d never even written it down.”
“Cut the sarcasm, Severus” said McGonagall. “Albus, could you…?”
Dumbledore waved his wand. The locks opened. The chains started running across the books, retreating themselves into large holes in the spines. The bolts unfastened. The covers opened gently, creaking as they did so.
They all sat down. McGonagall took a long careful look at the books.
“Financially, we’ve manage to score another winning year. For the first month, our income…”
She then proceeded to report all the year’s transactions for about two hours, during which everyone else seemed to fall into trance. Hagrid muttered something about feeding Fang and dissapeared for an hour. Filch swore Hagrid had left the door opened and apparently decided to check all the doors and windows. Pomfrey went to check if Madame Pince needed help and took a long time to come back down – without her. Dumbledore seemed to be asleep.
“… that left us with a very generous margin of gain. Which brings up to the topic of this year’s…”
Everyone stirred, waking up.
“…expenses which we should keep as modest as possible, meaning no additional expenses…”
“So you’re saying I should just look the other way while my greenhouses keep turning into dust.”
Professor Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff House, was looking directly at her.
“I think what our dear Pomona is saying” said Dumbledore calmly, “is that now that we’ve discussed-” (there was smirking all around) “-old business, it is time for new business.”
Sprout opened her mouth. Whether it was to agree or disagree was never to be known because Hagrid was already speaking.
“Aye, yar’ greenhouses r’ fine. ‘Sides they’re just plants in there. Sun and air wuld do them a wurl’ o’ good, if yeh ask me!”
“Just plants???” said Sprout in a very high-pitched voice.
There was a shrieking scream from Peeves upstairs. Everybody glanced upwards for an instant. Finally, everyone’s attention returned back to Hagrid as he spoke again.
“Speakin’ bout new stuff, I must tell yeh what intrigues most students ar-”
“Hagrid, no dragons…” said McGonagall in the tired tone of an argument that had been discussed to death. She softened her expression a bit, as Hagrid frowned like a scolded child. “You know their ownership is restricted by the Ministry, not to mention their huge maintenance costs.”
“So since everyone is just shouting off what they want” said Madam Hooch, “some of my brooms are really old. And I mean old like museum antiques.”
“Rolanda, you only need those to teach the first years” said McGonagall “You get most of the lot flying in the second week. It’s not like you need firebolts!”
Hooch folded her arms and avoided looking at McGonagall.
“I believe time has come…”
Professor Trelawney had stood up and was speaking in a very dramatic tone.
“…for this seer to tell you, I see dark times ahead.”
“Yes, we all see dark times ahead when you start speaking” muttered Snape without looking at her. McGonagall hushed him.
Trelawney gave no sign of having heard him.
“So I believe it would be in our students best interest if all my fellow teachers were to receive Divination classes as well!” she said with enthusiasm. “That way we could all look out for their future! Yes? Yes?”
She nodded her head at everyone, expecting the room to go nuts with joy. Her eyes, wide open, enhanced by her uncommonly thick glasses, seemed dangerously about to pop.
The resulting silence was almost deafening.
“Sybill…” said McGonagall.
She reached out and lowered Snape’s wand which he was surreptitiously pointing at Trelawney, his eyes half-closed into slits.
“…thanks for your contribution, dear.”
Trelawney sat down shaking her head, visibly dissapointed at the lack of vision of her peers.
“If you’re considering the students’ best interest” said Flitwick drawing all eyes to his small figure, “I still say we should expand our policy of helping our less fortunate students and include buying some wands for them.”
There was an uproar. Wands were the only thing no student could pass on, the instrument was tied to its owner for life with very few exceptions.
“Wands are expensive, Filius!” said Madame Pomfrey, “We wouldn’t be able to afford anything else! And you can’t put more students in this school without expanding the Hospital Wing. We have more injuries every year without raising the student population.”
“That’s no cause for concern” said someone sharply, “the population seems to diminish before the end of the year and dead students need no beds.”
The room went quiet. McGonagall was shocked at Snape.
“Severus really! That was completely uncalled for!”
“I think Severus may have something on his mind” said Dumbledore, “perhaps there is something you want to discuss, Severus?”
“You’re asking me, if there’s something I want to discuss, Albus?”
“Yes, I believe I am.”
“You want to know what it is I want to discuss.”
“I most certainly do.”
“Very well, then I shall tell you.”
Professor Snape stood up. He seemed about to explode with rage.
The entire room seemed to protest in muffled voices.
(“Oh no…” “Not again…” “Every year…”)
(“Really, why does he bother…” “He’s obsessed..” “Someone hex him…”)
(“He’s gone mental…” “No, he never left…” “Pass the sherbet lemons…”)
Snape was breathing heavily.
“That is what I would like to discuss, Albus!”
Then, all of sudden, Snape broke into a whining almost child-like voice.
“I mean why, why, why is it you won’t let me? Whyyy?”
“Severus, pull yourself together!” said McGonagall in shock.
Snape realized that everyone was looking at him. He sat back on his chair and regained his usual dignified-but-contemptuous look.
Dumbledore seemed not to have notice his outburst.
“I’ve explained the situation to you, Severus” replied Dumbledore, “While it remains as it is, I will need you as Potions Master.”
Nobody looked at Dumbledore. They were all still surprised -although sickened seemed a better term- at Snape’s behaviour. Dumbledore turned to Professor Sprout.
“Pomena, I believe the greenhouses can stand another year while we restore the one that’s damaged to working order.”
Madam Sprout said nothing, but shrugged as if that was good enough for now.
“Rolanda, you may only replace the brooms that could break, and please no racing brooms.”
Madam Hooch gave Dumbledore a slight nod.
“Filius, you know better than me that if you don’t own your wand completely your performance suffers.”
Dumbledore raised his hand in a soothing gesture as Flitwick was about to protest.
“We can, however, negotiate student loans for this matter.”
He turned to Madam Pomfrey.
“Poppy, we have enough beds. We will do good, however, to stock the Hospital Wing with more supplies.”
Madam Pomfrey seemed satisfied.
Hagrid smiled at Dumbledore, his face filled with hope.
Hagrid’s frown returned.
“Excuse me, Headmaster…”
Filch was standing at the door.
“There’s a bit of a mess upstairs. I think you should see…”
“Can it wait, Argus?”
Filch muttered something, as if carrying an inner argument with himself.
“Yes… yes it can, but…”
“Is it very important to you?”
Filch’s face twisted into what looked like a smile or a frown, one couldn’t really tell.
“To me? No, not really important to me at all…”
“Very well, if it will still be there in a few minutes, give us enough time to finish the meeting and I will go with you.”
Filch seemed confused.
“Well… I just want to clean it up and be done so…”
He muttered something nobody understood and left.
“Minerva, could we get a general guess if our budget is feasible with what we have so far?” asked Dumbledore.
McGonagall, who had been taking notes with her quill, starting asking around the table to each person in turn. Everyone checked their own notes and provided her with a possible cost. She then scribbled out a total.
“Well, this is not an altogether accurate estimate but I believe it is entirely plausible.”
Dumbledore turned to Madam Pomfrey.
“Poppy, do you think Irma has finished putting her books back in order? She may have some requests for the library.”
Pomfrey hesitated for a moment.
“Actually, I never found her, Professor.”
“I see. Severus, could you go upstairs and fetch her? And if you see Filch…”
Snape never left the table. Filch barged back in, carrying a sack. He stepped in between Professor Sprout and Hagrid and unceremoniously dumped its contents on the table.
There was a gasp from everyone’s throats and they all rose from their seats.
“So,” said Filch. “I just want to know, should I put this on the burner or send it out with the regular trash?”
Lying in the middle of the table was the body of a dead house-elf.
Harry Potter(tm) and all associated materials are property of J.K. Rowling
My thanks go to the Harry Potter Lexicon at http://www.hp-lexicon.org
Note: If you want to read from the beginning, it starts here.