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Rodent Problems

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It was summer in Scotland, beautiful, glorious full-blown summer. Sunlight poured over the stone walls of Hogwarts, chasing dust motes in the Great Hall and vainly trying to penetrate to the nether reaches of the dungeons. The halls were empty of students, filled with ghosts and prowled only by the teachers. Up in his office, surrounded by portraits and artifacts uncounted, the Headmaster was looking over applications for the newest addition to the faculty. Yes, the Defense Against the Darks Arts position was open. Again.

At the edge of the lake, where the squid was known to toss up the odd tropical seashell, a woman Apparated. Beneath her feet, a magical flower swiftly bloomed, red and violet and spangled mauve. She tossed her raven-black hair over her shoulder and blinked her large, silver- grey eyes against the shimmer of sun over the lake's surface, before pulling out the latest Firebolt 3000 and mounting effortlessly. Swifter and more graceful than a breeze, she swept across the shimmering water. She tipped a wink at the squid, who swooned in his watery lair, and alighted at the very castle doors, hardly a hair out of place.

For she was elegantly attired, in the same shades of violet that had sprung from beneath her feet, in such lovely robes that clung to her slender, well-formed figure, and yet hinted at mysteries undelved beneath. Her feet kissed the flagstones, and the very castle rejoiced at her presence. All unbidden, the doors gaped wide, and the Deputy Headmistress stood waiting to take her overcloak and escort her within.

"Professor McGonagall? I'm here about the DADA position."

"Welcome dear, how lovely to see you again."

"Oh, it's so lovely to see the old school again. It's been ages since I was last here, and I've been so many places since then. Romania, to study dragons, France for charms, India for transfiguration, China for astronomy. I so wish I had been here during Voldemort's demise - I'm sure I could have done something to save the Potters - to spare poor Harry the loss."

"Yes dear, you were in Lily and James' year, weren't you?"

"Oh yes. Dear, sweet Lily, and courageous James, and dashing Sirius and mysterious Remus. I miss them all so."

"Yes, of course dear. Will you have some tea, and we'll chat before you go up to see the Headmaster?"

"Oh, of course! I have so much to tell you. I've mastered so many things over the years, but I'm sure you're most interested in the amazing breakthroughs that I've made in Transfiguration! I'm an animagus, you know - I mastered that in my sixth year with Sirius, James and Peter."

"It's amazing what you lot got up to during school."

"Oh yes. They called me Scales, for I'm a dragon."

"Quite rare for an animagus, isn't that?"

"Oh, yes, usually people transform into a non-magical animal, but I've some veela blood in me on my father's side, and mother was said to be descended from both Rowena Ravenclaw and even Merlin himself. What's really unusual is that I've found a way to change into more than one form!"

"Oh, really?"

"Oh, yes. I've only had the time to master one other - I choose it so I could perhaps spy on the Death Eaters and bring news of their plans to the Order of the Phoenix. But I'm sure I could change into more things."

"Why don't you show me?"

The woman transformed. McGonagall sighed, and put down her teacup. She reached over to pet the small, softly-furred rodent, and transformed herself. A moment later, a small tail followed the rest of the rodent into the maw of a silver tabby. The crunching noises rather echoed, and a few moments later, McGonagall took another sip of her tea to wash away some of the lingering taste of fur.

"Minerva?" The fire next to her glowed green and Dumbledore's head poked through. "Has Miss Soo arrived?"

"No Albus. I'm afraid she..." McGonagall covered her mouth and suppressed a belch. "...she won't be able to join the faculty this year."

"Ah. Was the position not to her liking? Or did she have differences with the staff?"

"Oh, no. She had had a fling with Black, holds Lupin in the utmost esteem while still wanting to jump his bones, has the sort of eyes that could ensnare Snape in a heartbeat, could have Sprout wrapped around her finger in a trice, and would probably manage to get the Dueling club going with Flitwick. No, it's just..."

"Rodent problems?" Albus asked sympathetically.

McGonagall nodded, "I do so detest lemmings."