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The Little (Half-Blood) Prince

McGonagall let loose her hair (and boy, did she!)

Posted on 2004.03.14 at 19:54

McGonagall Let Loose Her Hair

A Potterverse Fan Fiction in One Unnatural Act



Black, white, and green.

Those were the colors of Minerva McGonagall, her heraldry and her banners.

Green, for the emerald robes she wore, winter and summer. White, for the paleness of her Celtic skin, made paler still for never seeing a sun stronger than that of Scotland. Black, for the richly sable hair that was forever kept in a tight bun.

It all made for a visual picture that was most memorable. And, in the case of her severely-controlled tresses, most intriguing. At least, it was for one sixth-year Hogwarts student who had just spent most of her Transfiguration class staring at said tresses.

"I wonder if she takes it down when she takes a bath," mused Pansy Parkinson, walking in the hallway with Blaise Zabini. Parkinson sat next to Zabini in most of her classes because he took better notes than she did. "How can she keep it clean?"

Blaise's normally-smoothly-olive face wore a disgusted expression. "Wonderful. Now I have to think of her naked for the rest of the day."

"Don't blame me because you're a pervert, Zabini," said Pansy, but without any particular bite. They had been having variations of this conversation, off and on, ever since they were first-years. "She doesn't use Sleekeezy's to hold it in place -- I know what that smells like, and her hair doesn't smell like that."

They turned a corner on the way to the Arithmancy classroom. "Why is her hair such a big deal with you?" Blaise asked, for about the two-hundred-and-seventy-fifth time.

"Because," replied Pansy, for about the same number of times, "it doesn't seem natural."

"Of course not," snorted Blaise. "She's a witch, remember? Just like you."

"You know what I mean," said Pansy, frowning. "There's something -- something that's not right about it. I'd love to know what it is."

"Then why don't you go ask her?"

Pansy elbowed Blaise in the ribs.



It waited in the forest, hungry, anxious.

Its two-legged masters were long gone, it having eaten them several days ago. They had tried to hurt it once too often. It thrashed in its agony, and, in doing so, shattered even the magically-reinforced iron bands that had held its great bulk in place.

They hadn't heard the bands snapping. The creature's screams were too loud for that. It was on them before they had the chance to do anything about it.

It was more merciful than they were. They were dead within seconds.

There was game a-plenty in the forest -- giant spiders, deer, even a stray centaur, if it felt energetic enough to chase it -- but that involved effort.

Why chase after that, when there was a big cache of two-legged beings so close by? Even though they were in the large rocklike thing much of the time, they often came out, in large numbers, onto the green grass.

The green, smooth grass, so easy for a creature of its size to move on.

It put out its trunks to sniff the air. The scent of the two-leggeds was very strong.

It decided to make its move. Picking the widest paths it could find, it shambled and slid on its way to supper.




From her office window, Minerva McGonagall watched Hetty Hooch putting the first-years through their flying lessons. No matter how busy she was, she always made a point of observing them, if only from afar.

It brought back such happy memories for her: Her first broom experience, the trophies she won as a Chaser, the time she managed to see through the Slythern Beater Darius Throckmorton's badly-executed Transylvanian Tackle to send the Quaffle into the hoop. Also, she wanted to be ready in case the next Harry (or Harriet) Potter made his or her broom talents known. Especially if he or she happened to be in Gryffindor house.

There were no such Potter-like prodigies to be found in this year's crop, alas. But there were a number of willing, biddable, and talented youngsters. That red-haired Ravenclaw -- what was her name? Aphra Johnson. Well, she was already quite agile on a broom. She bid fair to be a creditable Seeker, she did.

A loud rumble came from the far edge of the pitch. The students looked towards the noise -- and screamed.

The noise was coming from a... thing.

McGonagall watched from afar as Hooch's face turned dead white.

"Great Merlin," Hetty whispered. "I thought they were all dead." She turned to the students. "Class dismissed! Get inside at once! We're going to fetch the Headmaster!"

The first-years didn't need to be told twice. They ran for the double doors as fast as their legs would carry them.



Out in the open, away from the forest that confined it, the creature was fast indeed. But the cursed two-legged ones were faster yet. They were all inside the big rock before it even had a chance to taste one of them.

Unfair. Unfair!

The creature bashed its bulk against the wooden thing that covered the hole where the two-leggers had entered the rock. Rock was hard, and hurt. But wood, wood was softer. Much softer. Large dents several inches thick appeared in the wood where the creature was slamming into it.

Suddenly, the creature became aware of a two-legger. Only one, but nearby. Almost within reach of its trunks, if not its pincers. And smelling so delicious...

It turned to face the morsel.




Dumbledore met Hooch and her students in the hallway.

"I saw the whole thing," he said, raising a hand to forestall her, as she had just opened her mouth to speak. "And countermeasures are being taken."

"Countermeasures? Countermeasures?!" gasped Madam Hooch, who was winded from running up and down several corridors and stairs.

"Follow me," said Dumbledore calmly. "I'll have the house-elves bring up tea and chocolate."

And he then proceeded to lead Hooch and her charges up to his office.




It had been years since Minerva had last had to do this. Years of iron discipline, of limited freedom -- she wasn't sure what would happen, if she ever dared let her grip relax.

But the time had come for her to do so.

She had taken her old Cleansweep and flown out the open window of her office, down to the Quidditch pitch, as the ravenous monster was distracted by the fleeing first-years.

Then, as its trunks caught her scent and it turned to devour her, she did what she had to do.

McGonagall let loose her hair.




Up in the headmaster's office, a throng of persons, most of them quite young, were peering out of the non-sashed windows.

Well, all but one of them was peering. Hetty Hooch was pacing the floor and shrieking.

"Do something, Dumbledore! Poor Minerva's out there all alone!"

"Not 'alone', Hetty," murmured Dumbledore in his softest voice.

Madam Hooch spun around to face him.

"'Not alone'?" she said.

"No. Look out the window. You'll see."



If the creature could have smiled, it would have.

Here was a two-legger, offering itself up for consumption. Not even trying to move.


Those black things. Those long black things. Coming out from the two-legger. So long and thick and shiny --

AAAAHHHHH! They're grabbing! They're touching!


In all its long years, the creature had never encountered something that fed the same way it did. Until now.

It fought against the black things, but they grew in size and number, meshing one over the other, almost totally blotting from perception the two-legger from where they came.

The creature felt itself weakening. It felt itself shrinking. Its world was being reduced to nothing but shiny black things.

Then, suddenly, the creature stopped noticing even those.

Its last conscious thought was that it heard something like a belch.




Whispers in the Great Hall that evening, from a multitude of voices:

"Did you see what McGonagall did?"

"No! I was in Flitwick's class. He wouldn't let us out, even though you couldn't concentrate anyway, what with it screeching the way it did."

"Yeah. I'll bet they heard it in Hogsmeade."

"Yeah. It was wicked. I'm glad I'm not in her class any more."

"Me, too."

The staff filed in, decorously and quietly, to sit at the Head Table.

The plates filled with food, as they always did. The goblets filled with beverages, as they always did. And Dumbledore engaged McGonagall in small talk, as he always did.

Neither Dumbledore, nor any other person in the room, dared to look too closely at McGonagall's hair, which was now back in its accustomed bun, and looked relatively normal.

Well, except for being blood-red, and three times its normal size, it looked normal.

"Remind me never, ever again to make that woman cross," Ron whispered to Harry.



harvester of eyes, that's me
vulgarweed at 2004-03-14 22:19 (UTC) (Link)
SO glad you posted this. Great to see it again!
Catherine Cook
catherinecookmn at 2004-03-16 17:46 (UTC) (Link)


I haven't been able to access ff.net, so I decided to put it here.
tilney at 2004-08-10 01:26 (UTC) (Link)
It's VERY interesting. It's incredibly nice to find someone who explores places in the canon where noone else has been before. It was an interesting read, thanks for posting it.
Catherine Cook
catherinecookmn at 2004-08-10 04:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Poor Minerva tends to get short shrift. Plus, I always wondered about her hair -- always so tightly controlled, as if she were afraid what it might do, if allowed to run free...
eavling at 2006-02-22 05:03 (UTC) (Link)
Marvelous! Marvelous! I love it!
Catherine Cook
catherinecookmn at 2006-02-22 05:11 (UTC) (Link)
Persephone Yavanna the Entwife
theentwife at 2006-12-07 06:54 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for letting me know about this story -- I enjoyed it very much! :)

Have you considered posting it to quinquatrus or hp_oldladysb?

lookfar at 2006-12-22 03:19 (UTC) (Link)
Eeee! How weird and Medusa-like! A really neat idea.
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