FIC: "Face on by Daylight" for therealsnape Recipient:therealsnape Author/Artist: Inspire inspired_ideas Title: Face on by Daylight Rating: PG Pairings: Minerva McGonagall / Poppy Pomfrey Word Count: ~2,700 Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): *None*. Summary: It takes more than four Stunners to the chest to take down Minerva McGonagall. Author's Notes: Bits of dialog from JKR's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were lifted for the making of this story and are presented in bold type. I tried to incorporate therealsnape's likes for teacher fic, missing moments from canon, canon re-told with a twist, Minerva McGonagall, and women being awesome in the gift.
"Ahem," the portrait of Headmaster Armando Dippet coughed. "Excuse the interruption ladies. Minerva, she is on the move with four Aurors and a fifth in Ministry robes. They are all headed toward the entrance hall."
"It'll be Hagrid then. Thank you, Headmaster," Minerva already had her wand out and it was a matter of moments to send her Patronus to both Filius and Pomona. She considered enlisting Severus' aid as well, yet decided not to risk his position for something the other Heads of House should easily be able to handle on their own. Rising from the chair, Minerva swept from the room and out onto the grounds.
This was unconscionable. Six people attacking one lone, unarmed man, although Minerva was proud of how well Hagrid was holding his own against four Aurors and Walden Macnair. Her momentary relief in her decision against sending for Severus was broken by an immediate rise in temper as the Ministry miscreants invading her school Stunned Hagrid's dog and continued to attack the poor man himself. Picking up speed, she ran across the grounds. "How dare you!" Minerva was furious. "How dare you!"
She could make out John Dawlish now and her anger grew ever more acute considering he'd been a party to Albus' exodus. "Leave him alone! Alone, I say!" Minerva shouted as she advanced. "On what grounds are you attacking him? He has done nothing, nothing to warrant such—" Perhaps, had she not allowed her anger with that frothy, pink toad and her henchmen to cause her to see red and get the better of her sense, she'd have seen the Stunning Spells streaking her way in time to Shield herself. As it was, all she would remember when she woke more than a day later was being lifted off her feet and sent flying without a broom.
"Through here. That one, by the fire," Poppy indicated which bed. Minerva looked deathly pale. Her first diagnostic spell indicated a weak and erratic heartbeat. "What happened?" she asked Filius, all the while casting spells to find out for herself.
"Stunners, Poppy. At least four of them, Dolores, Walden Macnair, and two—possibly three—Aurors fired at her all at once. No warning at all," Pomona said in a rush. She had just come at her friend and colleague's summons and saw it all from the doorway as she exited the castle. "Minerva took them straight to the chest. It's a wonder she's still breathing." She wrung her hands.
"Testament to how tough our Min is," Filius added. "Let's leave Poppy to her, shall we? The Astronomy O.W.L. was tonight. The students likely got an eyeful. Let's see to it they get to their common rooms. No reason to give Dolores reason to go after any of the children, hm?" The Charms professor knew it would be what both Albus and Minerva would want. The students always came first.
"Minerva McGonagall, I swear, if you die on me, I will look up Lord Thingie and have him bring you back just so I can kill you myself," Poppy grumbled as she cast yet another spell to stabilize Minerva's heart. Grumbling was the only way to hold back the terror in her heart that she might lose her.
"Trust me, you do not wish him involved. He would likely turn her into an Inferius to spite you both." Severus stepped up to the bed but kept distance enough to allow the matron to work. "How is she? Filius informed me she took four or five Stunning Spells." His jaw was locked tight to reign in his anger, not that anyone other than she or Albus would be likely to tell, Poppy thought to herself.
"Four straight on. Another clipped her hip. I'll need—"
"I have a heart strengthener brewing. I put it on as soon as Filius informed me. Why did you not ask me for one directly, madam?" His voice was frosty but Poppy knew him well enough to know he was hurt she'd not contacted him.
"Severus," she patted his arm, noting they were already crossed, closing himself off, "I've been working non-stop to get her heart rhythm stable enough to shove a potion down her throat. I know perfectly well how long it takes to brew and it will be done a good hour before I'm ready for it if it's already simmering. I was about to send you word." She noted his posture relaxed slightly.
"As soon as Minerva can be safely moved she needs to be sent to St. Mungo's, Poppy." His voice was kept low but there was something in the seriousness of his tone that told her this wasn't an idle observation. "If you have to leave her side between now and then, see to it Pomona, that Filius, or I are here to watch over her. She should not be left unattended. Perhaps that ridiculous house-elf, Dobby, should be alerted to stand by in case someone needs to be fetched?"
"I normally use—"
"You need to use one that is not beholden to follow the orders of any staff member," Severus told her. "You need one that is willing to only do as you ask and ensure the creature knows it."
"There is danger?" Poppy openly searched his face now. She disliked doing that, knowing it discomfited him to be so openly regarded, however Minerva was too important to be risked.
"Perhaps, then again, perhaps not. I cannot say with any certainty. I would, however, advise caution. What would happen, for example, if someone interested in the whereabouts of Albus Dumbledore were to dose Minerva with Veritaserum in her current condition?" Severus raised an eyebrow and waited for her to supply her answer.
"Dolores," Poppy snarled.
"As you say. I know you would prefer to care for her yourself, Poppy. I do not doubt your ability to do so under most circumstances. However, I believe that Minerva would be far safer in a place not under Madam Umbridge's quasi-control. You are only one person. St. Mungo's has many." Severus bowed, "If you will excuse me, I will see to Minerva's potion and send it up with Dobby."
"Of course, Severus." Poppy cancelled the spell she was holding over Minerva's heart. "She's a fighter." She only wished it wasn't taking so long. "Thank you, my boy," she said with all sincerity.
Severus' lips softened slightly at the old endearment before he bowed once more and slipped away.
"She's not here, Potter," Poppy told the lad sadly, capping the potion she'd been spooning into Montague. "She was transferred to St. Mungo's this morning. Four Stunning Spells straight to the chest at her age? It's a wonder they didn't kill her." She'd managed to stabilize Minerva's heart rhythm enough to give her Severus' heart strengthening potion and then waited by her side until the Transfiguration professor could be transported to St. Mungo's. With the assistance of Pomona, Filius, the portrait of former Headmistress Dilys Derwent, and the intervention of Griselda Marchbanks with the Ministry's Office of Magical Transportation, Minerva McGonagall had been safely tucked away in hospital before dawn broke over the castle.
Dolores had not been at all pleased. Which, naturally, pleased everyone else on staff greatly.
"She's…gone?" Apparently Potter was surprised.
"I don't wonder you're shocked, Potter," Poppy said, approving of his concern for his Head of House and fierce to defend her friend. "As if one of them could have Stunned Minerva McGonagall face on by daylight! Cowardice, that's what it was… Despicable cowardice… If I wasn't worried what would happen to you students without me, I'd resign in protest." By the time she looked up from Montague, Potter had fled. Poor dear, he was obviously very upset not to see for himself that Minerva would be all right. Hopefully the boy wouldn't allow his upset to get the better of his sense.
"Of all the ridiculous nonsense!" Minerva shook out her paper. It wasn't Dolores who would be the death of her, it would be Potter. Of all the times one might be laid up in hospital, the end of any given school year was the worst possible. How on earth did those children manage to get themselves from Hogwarts to the Ministry of Magic? Minerva removed her spectacles and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"Where did you get that?" Healer Partridge asked as she bustled in and snatched the Daily Prophet out of Minerva's hands. "You shouldn't be doing anything as stressful as reading about the return of He-Who—"
"Miss Partridge, he has been back for a year now. I believe I have had time to acclimate myself to the news," Minerva said dryly. She'd been at school with that blasted demon and refused to be cowed by him simply because he'd gone off and turned himself into something Dark and less than human. "I would appreciate the return of my newspaper, if you please."
"I thought you'd rather be sprung from this 'not-so-gilded cage' as you so charmingly put it when you threatened to transfigure the night shift into toads," said Healer Partridge with a touch of humor in her voice of which Minerva approved.
"You should have said immediately. I was already contemplating what shade of spots to give you, young woman," she replied in the same vein as she tossed back her blanket to stand and dress.
"Not so fast, Professor. One more examination and then I'll have in your things." She went about waving her wand as her charmed quill made notations. "I don’t suppose I could talk you into using a pushchair for a few days?"
"Absolutely not! I'm fit as a fiddle." Minerva had always been active. She saw no need to even be abed now. She certainly wasn't going to wheel herself about instead of using her own two feet.
"Then you're going to need to rely on a walking stick for a few days at least. No argument or I'll have to keep you here in bed. Four Stunners would damage the youngest and healthiest of hearts." Minerva was about to disagree when the healer added a compelling argument. "You'll find the added support of a walking stick less of an impact on your dignity than collapsing in front of your students." The woman's lips twitched, "Besides which, you shouldn't miss out on the fun of brandishing it at the little miscreants."
"Bah. The students need no such inducement to behave in my presence. The matron, however…" Minerva's eyes sparkled and she settled back to allow the healer to finish her examination. Yes, brandishing a walking stick at Poppy for sending her off to this forsaken place instead of keeping her at school where she belonged could be quite satisfying. Poppy Pomfrey was always at her best when worked up into a fine snit.
Freedom. A blessing, thought Minerva as she stumped up from the gates. She was going over her mental list of things that needed doing to make sure she hadn't overlooked anything that needed to be got on with straight away. She opened the door to the castle and suppressed a sigh. Apparently she'd need to re-prioritize for this.
"Ah. I see there are no longer any points left in the Gryffindor hourglass to take away. In that case, Potter, we will simply have to—"
"Add some more?" Minerva cut off Severus' rant. It didn't take divination to tell that the Potter-Malfoy rivalry was in full bloom. She wasn't pleased to see that her house's points were all gone, but neither was she surprised.
"Professor McGonagall! Out of St. Mungo's, I see!" Severus welcomed her back, stepping toward her to take her things, which showed much better manners than those of her students. Minerva decided to remove two of them from the current equation and beckoned Crabbe and Goyle forward.
"Yes, Professor Snape. I'm quite as good as new." While that wasn't entirely true, it wouldn't do to let on in front of the students. "Here, take these up to my office for me," she said, shoving her cloak and carpetbag into the two boys' arms and waiting for them to trudge up the stairs before addressing the issue of the house points.
"Right then," she didn't want to encourage the sort of behavior that led to a group of children taking on a group of Death Eaters but neither did she wish to let the opportunity to restore some of the unjustified points taken away this past year slide. She would simply focus on the benefit. "Well, I think Potter and his friends ought to have fifty points apiece for alerting the world to the return of You-Know-Who!" That was the true benefit of the adventure after all. "What say you, Professor Snape?" Not that there was much the poor man could say. Minerva McGonagall was a witch who liked to get her way.
By the time she was halfway up the staircase, Minerva was wondering if it wouldn't be easier to adopt her tabby cat form for the trek despite Healer Partridge's admonishment not to attempt any Animagus transformations until she was stronger. For someone used to navigating the halls and stairs of her school with speed and agility, being out of breath and struggling to remain upright between one floor and the next was quite vexing.
Instead of making her way directly to the hospital wing to check in with the matron as she'd been instructed to do following her release from St. Mungo's, Minerva stopped off at her office to rest for a bit.
It was there that Poppy found her asleep three hours later.
The slamming of her office door broke Minerva's slumber.
"Minerva McGonagall! You've had me worried to death!" Poppy shrieked at her. When the treatment parchments and health notes had arrived from St. Mungo's noting Minerva's discharge were not followed by the witch herself, Poppy had begun to panic. After several hours of waiting, Poppy had called Albus to request a search, only to be told Minerva had returned some time ago and was currently in her office. The matron, who had been out of her mind with worry, had stormed off to give the witch a piece of her mind.
Minerva clutched her hand to her chest. The sudden start from the door had sent her heart racing, although she suspected some of the speed was from the glorious sight of Poppy in full temper.
"Min!" Poppy had her wand out and casting diagnostic spells the moment she saw the fleeting grimace of pain. "I shouldn't have. How could I have been so stupid? Too fast," said Poppy to herself as she took note of the rapid speed of Minerva's heart.
Her fussing was beginning to annoy Minerva who wanted nothing more than for Poppy to go back to railing at her with fire in her eyes. "Stop. I'll live, blast it. I don't need you to mother me, Poppy." Minerva's fingers closed around Poppy's hand before plucking the wand from her grasp and pulling the woman down into her lap. "There. Much better."
Poppy felt Min's hand sweep the cap from her head and deftly pluck the pins from her hair. "Stop distracting me. I'm furious with you!" Not that the distraction was unpleasant.
"Yes. Yes, you are." Minerva's voice was rich with pleasure. "Go on then, carry on being furious whilst I carry on with what I'm doing," which was now turning her attention from fanning out Poppy's hair to kissing a path from that lovely spot beneath her ear to the corner of her mouth.
"You're impossible. It's full daylight," Poppy complained more for the sake of putting up a small resistance than because she actually wished to resist.
Minerva used her lover's wand to seal the door and charm the windows opaque to protect their privacy from any unwanted visitors or curious broom riders. "There. Does that satisfy your Hufflepuff sensibilities? No turn for adventure, you lot," Minerva teased.
With a strangled growl, Poppy grabbed back her wand and promptly divested them both of their clothing. Gryffindors, Poppy mentally groused and beamed at the same time, always wanting to battle, preferably face on by daylight. "If you frighten me like that again, I'll Stun you myself," threatened Poppy before attacking Minerva's mouth with her own.