1996-02-24A: Spinning a New Web


McGonagall_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif

Scene Title Spinning a New Web
Synopsis Siobhan sneaks out of the hospital wing to meet with the acting Headmistress.
Location Hogwarts - Headmaster's Office
Date February 24, 1996
Watch For McG being epic amounts of awesome.
Logger Bright One

Finding herself in an unenviable position, McGonagall has all but locked herself away in her offices since the return from the Ministry. Now and then she will wind up in the Headmaster's office, taking files and retrieving things she needs to keep the school running. But, it's a matter of what is right to not actually occupy the office unless she ends up granted the mantle. That doesn't stop the Ministry from bombarding her with requests and oversight requirements and so many questions that anyone who has walked in within the past day or so has simply seen a whirlwind of papers trying to sort themselves and a /very/ unhappy Deputy. She did, of course, find time to have a lovely little gift of flowers and a teddy bear sent up to the infirmary. But, last she saw, the young Slytherin professor was still out like a light.

Early Saturday morning is actually probably the best time for this - Siobhan spares a moment to be grateful for cosmic timing. For once in her life, it seems like it's working in her favor. Leaning heavily on the railing after rasping out the obligatory 'licorice snap' to the stone gargoyle, Siobhan is perfectly fine to let the spinning staircase do the work for her. Getting down to this point was hard enough, thankyouverymuch. The light under the door makes her breathe a sigh of relief. Sometimes it really helps that the portraits like her. Leaning on the edge of the doorframe, she'll raise her hand to knock three times against the wood. "Minerva?" she calls quietly, half question and half announcing who she is. "Can I come in?"

The frantically shuffling papers all stop, and float down to the ground in neat piles – while behind the desk, Minnie adjusts her glasses. No, she takes them off and cleans them while answering for the door to open. “Come in, come in dear. My goodness, child. You should –not- be out of your infirmary bed yet. What possessed you to walk all of the way down here? Sit, sit.” The chair pushes out on its own, inviting the other teacher to settle herself in. “Mind the papers now. I trust you've recovered faster than I thought you would. Well. I’ll set the tea to start while you tell me what’s on your mind.”

Siobhan doesn't need to be asked twice. The last couple of weeks have been a bit … hellish on her muscle strength. Even this short walk has her shaky and a bit winded. Settling in the provided chair with a relieved sigh, the Slytherin professor gives her friend and colleague a wry look. "Don't you start," she warns teasingly. "When Severus realizes I'm not in bed, I'll be lucky to escape with my life." He's still there, still nearby - the feel of him just at the far edges of her consciousness is comforting. "So I promise I'll be properly chastised for this 'utter foolishness'." She mimics her mate's slow drawl there, flashing McG a playful grin.

Physically still weak, she seems to be much more … herself today. "Tea sounds heavenly, thank you." But if this woman tries to offer her a lemon drop, Siobhan might just quit life. "I'm here because we need to move quickly, Minerva. The Ministry bungles everything they touch. If we don't have you confirmed by the Wizengamot within a week, you can be sure they'll find some way to fuck this up, too." No, there's no apology for her language. The many fallacies of their governing body make Siobhan grumpy. "I've already sent word to Da. He'll get a headcount from his office and get back to me by the end of the day." So they know where they stand and who - if anyone - they need to win over. "Who will you name as your second?" Because if Siobhan focuses hard and drowns herself in all the details, she doesn't have to think about the fact that she killed this man.

“I’m old enough to start if I want to, so no sass from you today young lady.” Minerva retorts, pointing a tea spoon at her and shaking it chastisingly. It is, however, accompanied by a matching wry smile. So it’s very likely she’s joking; and she’ll do whatever she wants anyway cause she’s McGonagall. “You’ll be lucky I don’t tell him, or that fiancé of yours, that you’re up and about when you ought not be. Really Siobhan. Two men chasing after you like sick puppies. What I’d have given for that in my youth.” She jokes, fanning herself before the conversation turns serious.

The bleak reminder of their situation forces her to nod. “I will be naming Severus as my second.” She says simply. Blowing out a huff of air. “Not only do the students need to see and understand that he has the support of the staff, should rumor swirl… but a message must be sent once and for all that house allegiance cannot and will not divide the loyalties of this school. NOT on my watch.” One can tell she is prepared for argument about her choice here. Not by the young lady in front of her no. But by some in the Wizengamot.

Siobhan winces. "Trust me, Minerva, it's not as fun as it sounds." Rubbing the back of her neck, she swallows hard around the guilt that rises in the back of her throat. "It's been arranged between the three of us from the start, no secrets, but … " But she's a hopeless romantic, secretly, deep down inside, and this makes her feel guilty. "I feel like the worst sort of liar, most of the time." And even though she laughs at herself, it's a true enough statement. "I actually like Jake." And she does, too. "But that's not why I'm here." Minerva gets a lopsided sort of grin there - Siobhan doesn't have the luxury of time to be distracted.

As Minerva announces her choice, Siobhan is momentarily surprised, but there's a fierce pride in her expression when she nods sharply. "And you know he'll protect these children with his life, if it comes down to it. He's a good choice, Minerva." And not just because she's biased or anything. "And I think you'll find more support for your choice than you expect." Politics is a funny thing. "Da's fair certain they'll be putting me in front of some kind of hearing, if not a full trial. But being as he is who he is and being as I'm not in any condition to actually flee, I should be allowed to continue teaching." Instead of, you know, Azkaban to await trial. "I'll be able to give you those dates as soon as I have them." As if to make up for the lack of possibility for proper procedure surrounding her work and her last disappearance, Siobhan seems determined to do this one by the book.

“I trust you know what you’re doing.” And Minerva will leave it at that for now. Betraying not a hint of the worry she has over her decision, how it will play out… how others will see it… her expression remains fiercely stoic right up until the mention of a full trial. “I will testify on your behalf to keep you here and teaching, as well as at your trial if it comes to that.” Proving, perhaps, for once, that she’s as canny a witch as one might expect of someone who has lived as long as she has in the wizarding world – she holds out her hand for a file that whips out of one of the cabinets and settles there. “It is well known that I have been an ally of Headmaster Dumbledore. A supporter. A… friend. He was my best friend for so long.” Her breath when it’s taken in next is a bit on the shaken side, but, the folder is held out. “I have had a statement written up already of the incident that happened at the Ministry. And the… the unusual staff meeting that led up to it. Coming from me, and considering the time I have spent as the Deputy Headmistress, I think you may find that it goes far to persuade those who are actually interested in a fair trial.”

That makes Siobhan laugh. "Most days I honestly don't have a clue. I just get up and deal with whatever gets thrown at me as it comes." Which seems to be an awful lot, lately. There's open gratitude in Sio's expression when her former professor already seems to have that side of things well in hand. "Thank you." She means it. "I'm … for what it's worth, Minerva, I am sorry." Not sorry she protected her mate, but sorry that it ended the way it did. "He was a friend to you and Severus both, in his own way. I never meant - " She cuts herself off sharply, face hardening into a careful blank as she wrangles control over herself and stuffs those unwanted emotions back in their box where they belong. "Wait. Staff meeting?" Her nose wrinkles in confusion. "What staff meeting?"

“As am I, Siobhan. As am I. He was not the same man that I remember putting so much trust and faith in.” A terrible burden for someone such as Minerva to admit, and she purses her lips closed after that. “You were too far gone to see it , my dear. But most of us had wands trained on Albus at that moment. I’d cast a protective spell on Severus as well. So you see, there may be more than one person who would like to claim that they would have done the same thing you did, had you but acted a second later.” She admits, hoping to lift some of that burden. Nobody should have to live with it. “Why yes. The one where he told Severus he was not allowed to assist us in finding you. Of course, we paid little mind to that from the beginning, as I tried to keep him distracted. But fate, it seems, won out in the end.”

The statement - true though she believes it is to her colleague and friend - makes Siobhan uncomfortable. "I think I was a Slytherin in his school for too long, Minerva," she admits quietly. There's not much nice she can say except that she's sorry for the pain it's causing her friends and that the intent wasn't to kill him. It wasn't the intent, but there's a small part of Siobhan that feels a little safer for him being gone. To her, he was always the same. "I hadn't realized that…" That she was not the only one to take action is more of a relief than Sio would like to admit. At least she isn't completely insane. As for this staff meeting, her confusion is evident. "I knew he'd forbade Sev from finding me." It had been a sore spot for her mate. "But I didn't realize he would do it so publicly as all that."

McGonagall looks a little pained perhaps, but continues on with the explanation. "He tried to convince the rest of the staff that you had left on your own. That you were simply gone. And would not be returning." Which, obviously, Minerva did not believe. Not even for a moment. "He had information that he presented to everyone, in a folder, pertaining to other disappearances. One from a number of years ago. Fortunately, most of us waved that aside. I played the role of neutral observer and offered to liaison with the civilian team looking for you - in lieu of Severus. Albus agreed to this. Up until the others were rescued."

Siobhan's face grows pale. "But Minerva…" She swallows hard, pushing hair behind her ear in a nervous habit. "There were only ever two other disappearances that would have had open files. One was after the Alumni weekend while I spied for him." Which means he knew damn well where she was at, thanks. "And the other was - " She cuts herself off, a rather violent shudder making her look a touch greener around the gills. "The other was when I was still a minor. It occurred during the break between school years. Hogwarts had no jurisdiction over it." Inhaling sharply through her nose, she straightens a little. "He should not have had access to that. Whoever gave him that access will need to start looking for new work." Because that shit's just not acceptable. Still, she is used to conversations with people far, far more twisted than McGonagall. She caught that little tidbit and it worries her. "Most, huh?" Leaning back in the chair, she gives the acting Headmistress a measuring look. "How much resistance are you having to my being back on the staff, Minnie?"

"I know." Minerva whispers. "And I agree. Whoever game him that information should be fired." is admitted. "I believe Mister Morgan has already begun trying to find out who released it. He appeared particularly unhappy." she notes, meeting Siobhan's gaze and just shaking her head. "There has been only one person who made any noise. And at the overwhelming support you received, she quickly changed her mind. You need not worry on that score."

That makes Siobhan laugh, but it's not a particularly happy sound. "How does Jake know about that file?" Scrubbing her hands over her face, she finally sighs and drops them back to her lap. "That man has an awful habit of knowing more than he should." But behind the aggravation, there's amusement and even a little affection. "What in the world was he doing in a staff meeting? You didn't have him teaching my classes, did you?" Because with a professor as 'cool' as Jake, Siobhan can just imagine all the bad habits her students would have gotten into by now.

"I told him." Minerva replies easily. "It seemed the prudent thing to do. But of course he wasn't at the staff meeting." she scoffs. "Imagine. /Really/. No, Severus and I taught most of your classes. Their essays are all due in at the end of the week. That should ensure you stay put for awhile." Hah! so there. Minnie can be sneaky (and predictable) too. "You need to focus on fully recovering. I hope I'm making myself clear."

Siobhan groans, pushing both hands back through her hair. "Essays, really?" Le sigh. "You do know I didn't disappear on purpose, right?" That's her reasoning behind why she thinks being punished by essays is gloriously unfair. "So me having essays to grade really doesn't have much effect on someone else deciding I'd make a good Science Fair project." It's not a reference she expects the old witch to get, but the snark seems to make her feel better at least. That is, until her friend seems to be edging toward a point. "Grading essays takes focus," she points out, narrowing her eyes at McGonagall in an expression eerily similar to Jack's when looking at a particularly puzzling curse. "So I would have to say that it's more you want to keep my focus away from something specific rather than on something specific…" Or maybe she's just too used to dealing with snakes and Albus! "What is it you're hinting at, Minerva?"

McGonagall is thoroughly exasperated at -that-. "I'm hinting that your pretty little behind had better stay out of trouble for a few weeks while you recover, young lady. No adventures. Taking some time to actually relax might not be the worst idea either. If you push yourself too much you'll wind up back in the infirmary." she points out. " Believe me. Siobhan. I don't think I could even imagine up something worse then what you've already been through, that I would be trying to keep your focus away from."

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry." Both of Siobhan's hands are raised in a 'easy, I surrender' kind of gesture before being dropped back to her lap. Even that doesn't last long, the young woman folding her arms over her chest and rubbing both hands up and down her upper arms. "I'm a little strung-out, I guess. Seeing ghosts in gloveboxes." That makes her smile, though it's a little wan. "Got a lot more respect for Moody's paranoia now, though." Brown eyes lift to meet her colleague's gaze, the normally bright cinnamon darkened by shadows of her own. "Do you really think Tom is going to sit idly by and let the opportunity presented by Albus' death pass him by?" It's odd. There's no fear in her voice when she speaks of the man whose name most cannot even begin to say. That fear is reserved for his shadow, now - at least for her. "He'll negotiate with me and Severus. In a war where his side won't even hint to anyone for fear of premature exposure, I may not have a couple weeks to relax. Not if we don't want to lose critical ground." Sighing, she takes a deep breath and offers her friend an apologetic look, followed by a subject change. "When will you call the Order? We need to make sure that all contact is forwarded to you, now."

"No, I don't think Tom will waste a moment." Minerva agrees. "I will call the Order to gather within the next few days. And what of your new friend, the healer? What is her part in this?" In other words, what responsibilities, if any, should be assigned to the new girl. "We will need to all meet and discuss a way to keep Tom off balance, and force him to give us the time we will need to re-organize." she decides, certainly not the master chess player that Albus was. But perhaps that is a good thing, since she sees her people as… people, not chess pieces.

There's a moment when Siobhan's expression goes cold, a fierce protectiveness flaring in her eyes. "Maura is non-com personnel." She is firm on that. "She's a trained healer who could honestly probably finish her certification practicing here." The idea has come to her as she's talking, but the more she thinks about it, the more she likes it. "I know tradition normally only has a mediwitch at the school who deals with the usual scuffles and sniffles that go along with having so many children stuffed in one place, but with the time we're living in … maybe it's high time for Hogwarts to have her own Healer." She shrugs in the 'just a suggestion' kind of way. But speaking of re-organization… "Don't expect much in the way of information from Severus for a while. Shadow's stay in Tom's house is coming to an end and during any time of upheaval, the safest bet is for all of his followers to keep their heads down." And she is uncompromising on his safety. "On the matter of safety, I think you'll be getting paperwork from Morgan Securities in the next few days. Last I'd heard, my fiance will be supplementing the Auror force here with his private one - provided there are no objections, of course."

"Siobhan, I am not Albus." Minerva reminds her gently. "The girl has been through quite enough I agree. I only wish to know what she wants to do, so we can help her settle in." she assures, looking thoughtful at Siobhan's idea. "I imagine with your father's help, we could make sure there was no objection to that. Or, I can just stare at people until they agree with me." Or wet themselves. She'd probably like that, the old witch, right about now. "Additional security is always a boon. What will they specifically be doing, do you know? Or should I take that up with Misters' Morgan and Gardner?"

Siobhan sighs. It may be a while before she can assume someone has good intentions, rather than bad ones. It may never happen. After the last few years, who knows? "Sorry, Minnie." At least she has the good grace to feel bad about it. "There's a team assigned to Maura and one assigned to Severus and myself. Aside from them, there will be regular rotations around the clock as well as surveillance teams canvassing the entire area." She was paying attention to that briefing, see? See? "If Jake hasn't given field command to Jethro yet, he'll be doing that today, most likely. I expect you'll be seeing quite a lot of Mister Morgan." Siobhan's grin is sly, here. "Should be good publicity for the school. After last year we could use some good press." And with people wanting to get a shot of the 'happy couple' and Jake's 'valiant offer' to aid in the protection of the school, that should come in spades. Oh, and: "Let's go with you staring them down. I need an occasion for popcorn."

"I'm not upset, my dear. I'm just reminding you. I expect we will have similar conversations in the future." And Minerva seems not bothered, just sorry for it really. "That's a good idea, until Shadow is no longer a threat." she agrees, rubbing her forehead a little bit now. "Well now, I don't imagine any of the young ladies here will see that as much of a hardship, seeing Mister Morgan around the school a bit." she jokes. "And it will be good press, indeed. Do my poor old heart some good and make sure I get reports on any suspicious activity would you? I'd like to stay apprised. And, it will give me just enough fuel to make the stare convincing."

Always quite good at sensing her cue to go, Siobhan painstakingly levers herself out of the chair and takes a moment to straighten the zip hoodie she's layered over her pyjama camisole and sleep pants. "I already made sure to include you in the debriefing list. Next time I see Jethro, I'll remind him." Since sometimes these wires get crossed, after all. "Thanks for the tea, Minnie." Despite, you know, the fact that Sio didn't drink any of hers. Just before closing the door behind her, she has a thought and pauses. "For what it's worth, I'm so glad it's you." She takes one last look around the office of the Headmaster and then steps out, closing the door quietly behind her.

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