Zacharias Smith comments

Leave poor Minnie alone (Minerva McG)

QLFC, S7R1.
Wanderers BEATER 1 - prompt: Write about making a mountain out of a molehill.
Additional prompts: (genre) humour, (genre) parody, (word) expectations
Word count: 1137
Beta(s): thank you, Aya!

Summary: during the Sorting Ceremony, Minerva hears something that may be fatal at her age.

A/N: somewhat AU because Minerva almost certainly met Harry's children before they came to Hogwarts. Also, despite what it must looks like here, I sincerely believe she was very fond of James and Sirius (and all her students actually), which brings me to the next point: this is a silly parody mixed with some OOC-ness, meant to be fun, but nothing more. Enjoy :)

~Leave poor Minnie alone~

In hindsight, it shouldn't have been that unexpected. The Great Hall was the beating heart of the school, the main place where many events—none of them too quiet—tended to happen: from Howlers and feasts, to pranks and the defeat of Lord Voldemort even. Just because it was a peaceful time, it'd have been naive of Minerva to think the Sorting Ceremony would go smoothly this year. And she was in fact prepared to face many things, including trolls and nargles. But after all this time, her Inner Eye was still sleeping (Sorry not sorry, Sybill!), putting her at a disadvantage as to what was about to happen when droves of students invaded the Great Hall.

It had been a sunny day, the kind that lifts your spirits, and the night sky that the ceiling resembled was clear and full with blazing stars. Minerva, sitting at the High Table and keeping a keen eye on the new students, leaned back slightly as the Sorting Hat did its job without a hitch, its responses prompt and loud. All was well, and she let herself relax as a brown-haired girl called Elodie Parmer ended up in Hufflepuff.

It was then that she heard it, a sound that presaged nothing good coming out of Professor Longbottom's mouth:

"James Sirius Potter."

James.

Sirius.

Potter.

Minerva straightened up in alarm, all her expectations for the incoming year turning upside down. She had heard rumors about the young Potters' questionable choices in naming their sons, but she had never given them credit; Harry and Ginny wouldn't dare tempt fate like that, she had thought. Erroneously.

Sirius James Potter.

otter.

otter.

Was the boy's name bouncing back and forth between the walls like an evil omen or was it just her rattled nerves?

She looked around, in search of what even she didn't know—sympathy, maybe. Or apologies for not informing her of this any sooner. At her age, such a shock could be fatal. She turned to question Professor Adley, responsible to send the acceptance letters to all incoming students, but he looked untroubled. Like most people, he reacted to the boy's name only when he heard the word Potter. Not that the surname wasn't enough to grow concerned about the next years. If half of Minerva's hair had gone white because of James Potter, Harry Potter had been the one to complete the task. But judging by the whispers running through the Great Hall, that wasn't the reason why the boy's name was on almost everybody's tongue.

As James Sirius Potter made his way to the Sorting Hat, she just wanted to shake them all. Couldn't they see the end was coming? She couldn't ask them to care about her hair of course, but she did expect them to be worried about their own.

Minerva had never considered herself an over-emotional person, but those names… that surname… coming together in one person… She couldn't help herself—a shiver ran down her spine. She was afraid. Even more so when the boy ruffled his hair, a devious smile plastered on his face. It'd have made her hair stand up if it wasn't tied up in a bun.

Suddenly, her mind was filled with memories of Potter and Black, the students that had been the biggest pain in her neck—with the possible exception of the Weasley twins, but that could be argued since without the Marauders, Fred and George Weasley might have lacked some aid.

James Potter and Sirius Black.

The two students who could have blown up the whole castle. Two of the most brilliant children she had ever taught. The ones that had always been joined at the hip. And they were now merged.

Back then when the two demons had attended Hogwarts, there was a cardinal rule among the staff: Never, ever leave the two of them in the same room. Always and irrevocably separate them during detention, or Merlin knows what would happen.

And now...

Minerva had never had faith in Divination, but even she couldn't deny—this admission tasting bitter—that the name is often a sign. If that was true, if Potter's and Black's spirits shared that one body, people couldn't vacate the school fast enough. The havoc and destruction that were to be wrought by James Sirius Potter would be unbelievable, and she wasn't sure she'd live long enough to witness it.

Mr. and Mrs. Potter would hear all about it in a Howler—she trusted them; how dare they try to kill her?

A burst of laughter that sounded like a bark reverberated in her mind while a golden snitch chased after her—her recurring nightmare was coming alive in front of her eyes while she was powerless to stop it, and nobody seemed to care. Of course, most people were too young to understand, but still…

She imagined Potter and Black as they performed their secret handshake after they had caused the umpteenth explosion that had casually destroyed the Slytherin Common Room again.

In her worst nightmares, she was always helpless.

"She can't stop us now," Potter would say, showing his Head Boy badge off and making it glow ominouslyAlbus was going to pay for that, by the way.

"Prongs, leave poor Minnie alone. We have other matters to attend to."

All poor Minnie could think of as she faced her nightmareor was it a Boggart?was that she needed a weapon. Anything.

The boys hugged, blending.

Minerva couldn't restrain herself anymore.

She screamed.

Aloud.

Just like that, the Great Hall materialized in front of her again, bright and joyful, everyone's wide eyes fixed on her in concern and surprise. She envied them, so blissfully unaware of what expected them.

Fools, the whole lot of them. Unable to see.

Minerva felt a sudden pang of sympathy for Sybill Trelawney and shivered.

She sighed before regaining her composure.

"Please, Professor Longbottom," she said, gesturing to him. "Go ahead."

Neville glanced at her pensively before putting the Sorting Hat on James Sirius Potter's head, and in less than a second, it announced, "Gryffindor!"

As expected.

Minerva rubbed her temples. Calm down, she told herself. Look on the bright side: you'll need to keep an eye on just one student, not two…

Calm down.

She could do that.

It was working. Minerva felt her muscles and aching back relax.

She had barely convinced herself that she'd survive another year when another name was called:

"Fred Weasley!"

No, Longbottom had no right to sound that cheerful when pronouncing it, not when her old heart almost stopped. Honestly, if she wasn't Headmistress, she'd be very tempted to skip school.

This time too, the Sorting Hat was quick to pass judgment. "Gryffindor!"

Now Minerva had no doubt anymore. Somebody up there wanted her to join them soon. No need to name names; she had had enough of them.