What you Need to Know :This goes along with 50% of the story line in the books. It starts from the summer before book 5, just because I want another teacher who likes to torment Umbridge, mainly. (Yes, I will admit that I only went this far back to get horrible revenge on that woman. But, who wouldn't be tempted?) This story is written as close to the books as I can manage. Of course JK and I will have different writing styles, naturally. However, I will try my hardest to keep everyone as In Character as possible!
And I'm rubbish with coming up with good names.
Now, please enjoy!
The Deceptive Waltz
A Story by Kristin Bender
The Headmaster's Request
The streets were silent at this hour of the night. Each house had it's lights off and most likely all those inside had tucked into bed hours ago. Even the neighborhood cats and dogs seemed to be snoozing at this time. The usually bright lamps seemed to flicker for a few moments before each flame sprang from its place. Each one flew directly to a muggle-looking lighter object, which snapped closed when the last of them entered.
Dumbledore smiled warmly to himself as he pocketed his deluminator into this blue cloak. He pat the area, as anyone would have guessed a sign of making sure it had not disappeared. Though, to anyone who was wise enough to know the brilliant wizard, they would say he was merely thanking his beloved object for its work. Dumbledore strolled down the street as though it were his own familiar halls, his old hands clasped together behind his back, and he even dared to hum a tune. He continued to walk without a care to a broken house on the corner of the street.
If any of the residents of the area were awake to witness such things, they would surely be shocked to see the cloaked man, not only steal all the lights, but to go to the Black house. The Black house was a thing of children tales. Mainly of the residents liked to act as though it did not exist in their quiet neighborhood. It's overgrown weeds and towering bushes were enough for kids to stay away. It's large hole in the shabby roof and crumbling foundation made the adults turn their noses.
So, it was a wonder as to why this Wizard, whom was famous in his own right, would stroll into this place.
Dumbledore went through the weeds, as though they did not stain the ends of his robes. He did not seem to be bothered that the steps were half-caved in as he walked over them. The groaned against his weight but they did not give way as most would have thought. He knocked three times onto the rotten door, all the while continuing to hum that strange tune.
If he was surprised that the door seemed to open without any help, he did not show it. He merely let himself in when the door was wide enough and went onward with his venture.
The entry way was dark and smelled like musty boots and old wood. In a house so old, one would not be surprised by such things, as they were to be expected. However, another smell slowly overpowered all others. A hint of peppermint and ginger spice. It quickly cut its way through the olden scents and beckoned the Head Master to find its origin.
The Old Wizard reached into his pocket and with one click of his magical lighter-imitating object, brightened the place in the literal sense. The entry way was as old looking as it smelled, with spider webs abundant on the walls. A large, once grand, staircase led to further rooms, though it was ridden with holes. Even the Wizard did not think of traveling up those.
He turned towards the living quarters and headed in. It was almost as though the rest of the house did not exist. The walls were clearly new with a dark purple wallpaper plastered on it. A brown leather couch adored the middle of the room, which was hard to see since it was covered in worn books looking as old as the house itself. The only space to sit on the thing was a cramped looking corner with ink stains dotting it. Some twinkled in the candlelight, showing how fresh they were.
On the floor near the couch was an impressive stack of newspapers, both magical and muggle. Some seem to be torn into peices while others were left neatly folded. Clippings from each of them had been taken and spread across the wall.
The floor was covered in a bright red rug over its hardwood flooring, which was also very new looking. At the end of the rug, given a foot or two, was a fireplace. It's hearth full of ashes from the past winter and maybe one before it. The fresh wood piled on the side, gave the room a healthy scent. As well as make it look rather homey to whatever guest had come to visit.
If any difference of the entry to the living area shocked the old man, it did not show at all. In fact, the man's humming had increased and a playful smile grew on his lips.
The scent of peppermint grew when footsteps drew closer to the living area. The master of the house entered to find the Headmaster standing rather whimsically on the edge of his quarters. The room he had left, one would presume the kitchen area, was too dark to make out.
The Master of the House was carrying a tray with two cups of steaming tea and curious looking sweets, that changed color depending upon which angle you were standing. He smiled at the Head Master.
"It's been over a year Albus," he said in a silky voice. He titled his head to get his dark locks away from his vision. He nearly puffed at the strand that seemed determined to block his view.
"That it has," Albus said, clasping his hands once more. He had stopped humming finally as he eyed the tray. "I see my visit was not a surprise."
The Man smiled, causing gentle wrinkles to form on his young looking face. "Not at all. You know nothing surprises me anymore."
"Ah," he answered. He pulled out his wand and quickly conjured a modest chair for himself. "I wonder, if you have guessed why I have come here tonight."
The man watched the headmaster take his new seat, and followed suit. He quite easily squeezed himself between the couch arm and the stack of books. He wiggled a bit, probably smearing the ink stains into his pants, to make one book move that was pinching his hip when he sat. He placed the tray onto the table between them.
"I must admit, that I haven't a clue as to what you will ask of me," he spoke honestly, taking a cup from the tray for himself along with a sweet. "However, I can imagine it will not due well with my health."
"One can only imagine," chuckled the headmaster. He continued to smile as he took one cup for himself. He carefully sipped the warm liquid before closing his eyes, seemingly to savor the flavor. "No one makes peppermint and ginger tea like you."
"Flattery," waved the man at the comment, though he looked away as though he were embarassed. "A gentle means to start a hard conversation."
"Or merely a nice way to continue peace," Dumbledore said, sipping his tea again, his eyes twinkling with delight. He helped himself to a few of the color-changing sweets. "How do you like your house? You must forgive me, for I was in a little bit of a rush to find you something."
"Don't think a moment on it." The man waved his hand once more to ward off any negative thoughts. "This place is far too big for just me. It's more than enough."
"I'm glad to hear that," Dumbledore spoke happily. "Though, I must admit that I did not think you would stay if I did not continue to visit."
"You gave me far enough to keep my mind busy," he said gesturing to all the books on the couch. "A new book every week Albus? Really. It's too much."
Dumbledore's lips curved into a smile. "You've always been up to a challenge I've given you so far. I'm sure you'll do well on any I could hand you in the future."
The man sighed, taking his own generous sip of tea. "In all honestly, and games aside, what do you ask of me?"
"Always trying to get to the a point before the true point is made," The headmaster said, as though to he did not hear the first part of that man's comment. "You know your questions must come first."
The man nodded, placing his cup back down on the tray. He offered the headmaster more tea, which he nodded for, before asking, "Is it true Albus?"
Albus' eyes became graver as did his once playful voice. "I'm afraid so."
The man turned his eyes away in deep thought. His brows pinched together for a few seconds as though in pain before glancing back up at the headmaster. "Is the boy in any danger? Are the wards holding as they should? Is he-"
Albus held up a hand to pause anymore questions. Once the man had ceased, Albus spoke gently, "We are all in danger. You know this as well as anyone."
The man gave a fierce nod of the head, refilling his tea and sipping it as though it were a much needed vice. When he seemed to be through thinking over the headmaster's words, as well as popping a few candies in his mouth, Albus began again.
"I know his safety is of great importance to you, all things considering," Albus said, getting on a rather good roll. "He will need a great amount of guidance in order to survive this year. A figure that is there constantly to give hope. Alas, I fear that he is struggling with his pain of a great loss. Something, I myself, have trouble with at the best of times."
The man continued to drink his tea, staring into nothingness now. It did not seem to surprise him that the headmaster had granted him an inside. That Alubs trusted him enough to let him see a possibly weakness. He did not even glance back at the headmaster. If one did not know him as the headmaster did, one would think he was not absorbing all the words into his being. But, Albus knew better than just anyone.
"You see," Albus started, pulling the man from his thoughts. "Not only will he be in great need of some help, but I will as well."
At this, the man looked up and connected eyes with the headmaster, repeating his words, "You will as well?"
"Yes," he nodded, the twinkle coming back to his eyes. "My grounds keeper and good friend Hagrid will be on his way to reach out to the giants. I'm afraid his journey will be quite long. Almost half the year if I have calculated correctly and I daresay that I will be short a Teacher for Care of Magical Creatures, at that time."
The man sat up straighter in his position on the cramped sofa. "Is it true the Ministry will replace such missing Teachers as they see fit?"
Albus seemed to brighten even more at this, glad to see the man had kept up with the news. He spoke easily, "It is true. It seems Fudge no longer deems my judgment up to his standards."
"Rubbish!" The man spat, attempting to take another sip of his tea and only to find it empty. He still held the cup in his hands though, not ready to give up the comfortable weight. "Men of great power are quaking at the thought of using it for good. What's the point of our Aurors if they are not going to protect us?"
"Now, now," Albus chuckled and waved a hand to levitate the tray to the kitchen for his host. He watched as the man hastily gave up his cup to the tray as it floated into the dark kitchen area. "I must confess that I too am disappointed in the Ministry's choice. However, that still leaves me with the choice between what they want and what Hogwarts needs."
The man shrugged. "And what it needs is clearly your decisions."
A second after he spoke it, the man knew it was the incorrect thing to say. He visably winced at his statement, clearly afraid it would be taken the wrong way by the man he admired.
Though, the man had nothing to fear. Albus seemed to think this over for a few moments before rephrasing the statement, "What it needs is good decisions by me, not any decision I could make."
"Yes, of course," the man answered with nodding agreement. He folded his hands together and began to twiddle his thumbs in a way that suggested he was not consious of this habbit. He seemed to think off for a few moments, before snapping back to attention when Albus began speaking again.
"I would of course, always look to others for thier opinions on whatever matters occur," he said with a gentle voice and slightly raised eyebrows. "And of course, need others help in making these choices come true."
"Albus." He shrugged for the second time and with a heavy sigh he said, "Please, no more tricks. No more games. Just ask me."
Even though the headmaster had seen the end to his little game, he still smiled. It seemed as though he would have to ask outright. Something that he did not do very often.
"Would you like to take the place of one of the school's teachers, while they are away?"
"Yes, of course!" The man said, sighing in relief. He recalled part of thier earlier conversation and said airly, "Care of Magical Creatures was always an easy subject."
"Oh, my dear man, I do not mean Hagrid as the one you are to replace for the moment," Albus said with a growing smile.
The man's eyes grew slightly wider as he realized he had been tricked. However, he could not find it in him to be in the least bit surprised since Albus always had a way of doing this to him. He had the sudden urge to lash out with a 'What then', but refrained from doing so as the headmaster spoke again.
"I would like you to teach a very different subject. One you do not like to do, so if you could forgive my slight trickery," Albus said, placing his folded hands in his lap. His smile still holding despite his hosts' lack of. "I think you would be rather skilled at teaching Transfiguration while Minerva is away on Order business."
The man covered his eyes with his hand and let out a pained sigh. The old man had gotten him again.
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