When the Students are Away, the Staff Will Play

by JKMcGonagall

This was written in response to Challenge Number 64 on the ADMM Board. The school year is over and the staff gathers to celebrate. Albus partakes a little too much of the firewhiskey and Minerva has to undo the chaos. What kind of secrets will come out? Read on to find out.

Rating: Ok for everyone (13 and up)

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. Nothing belongs to me. I just like to play in the castle sometimes. I try to leave everything in good shape when I leave.

Minerva stood on the platform at the Hogsmeade Station and watched until the final car on the Hogwart's Express rounded the bend and disappeared from sight. She sighed quietly to herself. As much as she loved the students, she was glad they were finally gone. It had been such a stressful year, what with the Chamber being opened and all the students that had been petrified. Thank Merlin no one had died this time. She still shuddered when she thought of how she had had to face Molly and Arthur Weasley. On that sobering thought, she turned on the spot and apparated to the gates of Hogwarts.

The gates opened when she said the password, and she walked purposefully up to the front doors of the castle. The doors recognized her and opened as she reached the top step. She entered the coolness of the castle and rejoiced in the relief it gave her from the heat outside. She stood there, with her eyes closed for a long moment, enjoying the quietness that meant there were no students to be found anywhere in the castle. Therefore, she was nearly scared out of her wits when an eager voice suddenly spoke in her ear.

"Are they gone, are they really gone, Min?"

Minerva spun around quickly, her wand pointing directly in the flying instructor's face. She breathed heavily in fright, and narrowing her eyes and pursing her lips, she brought her wand down.

"Xiomara Hooch! You came that close to being hexed within a centimeter of your life. Don't ever scare me like that again. And don't call me Min."

"My, my, aren't we jumpy and grumpy." Mara Hooch said with a smirk on her face and her golden eyes alight with mirth. "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you."

"Well, I wasn't grumpy until you scared the daylights out of me. Really Mara, a little warning would be nice before you just creep up on someone." Minerva stated in a crabby voice. "Especially after all that has happened this year." She shivered suddenly in the cool darkness of the castle as unwanted memories surfaced in her mind. "And in answer to your question, the Express is on its way to London with all the students on board. So, yes, they are all gone."

"Excellent! Let the celebrating begin!" Hooch crowed loudly.

"You can begin celebrating if you wish to, Mara. I, however, am off to my office to finish up the end of the year reports. As I always say, there is no time like the present."

"Oh come on Min." Mara rolled her eyes. "Stop being your straitlaced, buttoned up self. Let your hair down for a change and have a good time. Accio, hairpins." She waved her wand toward Minerva and all the hairpins holding Minerva's hair in its heavy bun popped out and zoomed to her hand. Of course, the long black hair cascaded down around the Deputy Headmistress's face. A look of surprise and then outrage crossed her face. For a moment...just for a moment before she took off running toward the staff room…Mara Hooch wondered if indeed she had pushed her friend just a little too far. She reached the corner of the hallway and skidded quickly around it. She stopped short and peered back around the corner cautiously, trying to keep as much of her body hidden as possible.

Minerva swiftly recovered from the shock of losing her hairpins, drew her wand, and yelled, "Petrificas Totalus!" Unfortunately, her target managed to round the corner just before the spell reached her and it exploded on the far wall of the hall. She stamped her foot in fury, then yelled down the hallway, "Don't call me Min. Hooch, you better bring back my hairpins, or you will be…"

What ever she would be, Mara Hooch never heard due to the quiet voice that spoke into her ear.

"Good Morning, Madam Hooch! What are you watching?

Hooch gasped and spun around. Her golden eyes took in a lot of white hair and twinkling blue eyes behind half-moon glasses.

"Headmaster! You startled me." Hearing footsteps fast approaching, she ducked around him and took off calling back, "Sorry Albus, can't stay and chat. Places to go and things to celebrate you know." Albus chuckled to himself and wondered what she had been up to. He discovered the answer when Minerva skidded around the corner and crashed right into him. His mind realized it was her just before they both ended up sprawled on the floor.

Sitting up, Albus felt around and located his glasses which he had lost in the collision. He put them on and peered around. Then he shook his head to try and clear his vision. He got to his knees to get up and hit his hand against something, another pair of glasses.

Meanwhile, Minerva was trying to find her glasses. She patted the ground around her. She felt someone take her hand and place a pair of glasses in them. She placed them on her nose and looked to see who she had crashed into. Everything was extremely blurry. She could just make out a white blob in front of her. She blinked, trying to clear her vision, when a strong hand grasped hers and pulled her to her feet. She staggered a bit trying to catch her balance. The hand helped steady her. She caught the smell of lemon sherbets and chocolate that she associated with a certain Headmaster.

"Are you alright, my dear?" Albus questioned her with concern in his voice.

"I think so, Albus, but my vision has goon all blurry."

"Indeed. I seem to be having a similar problem."

A snarky voice interrupted them. "You might try switching glasses with each other. I'm sure you will be able to see things much more clearly if you do."

Albus and Minerva took off the glasses they were wearing and felt them to determine the shape of the frames. They then switched glasses, and each put on their own pair.

Minerva muttered to herself, "First my hairpins, now my glasses. Oh, Merlin, what else can go wrong today?" She looked up to see Severus Snape smirking at her.

"Ahh, much better," Albus remarked with a smile. He looked toward Minerva and caught his breath. She was so beautiful with her hair down. In fact, he didn't think he had ever seen her looking more lovely. If only she knew how her hair being down affected him. He longed to take her in his arms and run his fingers through its soft, silky black strands. If things went as planned today perhaps he would be able to very soon. He swallowed hard, and turned to the tall, black clad man watching them with a smirk on his face. "Thank you for an excellent suggestion, Severus."

"You're welcome, Headmaster." Severus then turned to Minerva and remarked, "Well, Minerva, I see you have decided to let your hair down a bit this summer." Minerva narrowed her eyes at him and opened her mouth to respond with a cutting remark. Fortunately Albus stepped in.

"Now, now, children, it is too nice a day to quibble about things. After all, the students are gone, the castle is quiet, and if you will both accompany me to the staff room, please. I have some wonderful plans for today, and I know you both will want to hear them."

"Headmaster, I have work to do in the dungeon."

"Albus, I need to start on the end of the year reports."

Albus looked at them with his blue eyes twinkling madly. "Severus, the work will still be there tomorrow. Minerva, the end of year reports won't disappear overnight. Now, no more excuses. Shall we proceed to the staff room?"

Minerva and Severus looked at each other. Both of them were thinking the same thing. What was Albus up to? They finally shrugged their shoulders and nodded to Albus. There was only one way to find out what mad plan he had hatched for today.

A few minutes later, the three of them arrived at the staff room door. Severus opened the door. "After you, Headmaster."

"Thank you, Severus," Albus replied graciously, "however, we have a most beautiful lady with us. After you, my dear." Minerva blushed brightly as she entered the staff room. Mara Hooch poked Poppy Pomfrey in the side and grinned wickedly at Minerva's discomfort. Poppy poked Pomona Sprout, they both looked at each other and then giggled like fifth year students discussing their favorite boys.

Minerva noticed them and mouthed "Oh, mind your own business." at them. She then headed for her favorite comfortable chair. She sat down and began winding her hair back into its heavy bun. She gave Mara a very pointed look and held out her hand. With a sheepish grin, Mara dropped the hairpins into the outstretched hand. Minerva took them with out a word and began inserting them in her bun.

Albus looked around at all the staff gathered there. He clapped his hands for attention. "Alright, settle down everyone, settle down. Excellent, we are all here. Would anyone like a sherbet lemon before we start? I have a whole bowl of them."

"We didn't come here for sherbet lemons, Albus." Minerva stated. "Shall we get down to business?"

"Very well. The students are all officially gone, so let's get down to the plans for our annual celebration. I have decided that we are not going to celebrate it in our usual manner." There were murmurs of disappointment all around the room, and the headmaster received many questioning looks. He continued as if nothing had happened. "We are not going to the Three Broomsticks this year. I have decided that we all need to take a break and get away from the castle and this area. That way we can try to forget about the Chamber and the horror this past school year was. We need to get away and renew ourselves."

"Where are we going, Headmaster?" squeaked Filius Flitwick.

"Ah, Filius, I am so glad you asked. I have created a portkey that will take us to our destination." He paused to look around and let the suspense build up. He noticed that even Minerva and Severus looked somewhat interested; although, with Severus, it was hard to tell. "Our destination is…the private wizarding beach at Brighton…just think sand, sun, and fun. I have reserved it, and the nearby Daisy Dodderidge Bed and Breakfast, beginning today at noon through Sunday evening. You are not expected back at the castle till Monday morning to finish up end of the year paperwork, and then the rest of the summer is yours." More murmurs filled the room, this time with a twinge of excitement.

"Ooohh! That sounds like fun…never been there before…my children loved it there…wonder where I put that sunscreen potion…haven't seen my swimsuit since, well, forever…don't know if mine will still fit, I might have to use an alteration charm…will we still be having the usual barbeque and drinks there…can't wait to break out the mulled mead and the Ogden's Old Firewhiskey…" were just some of the comments Albus heard. He smiled happily at his staff's excitement..

He clapped his hands for attention. "Please go pack what you need to take for this weekend excursion and meet back here in about half an hour." Most everyone hurried off to pack.

Mara caught Minerva before she could leave. Poppy and Pomona were right behind her cutting off her escape. "Min..." she began sheepishly, and seeing the glint in Minerva's eyes, "er…right…then, Minerva, I'm sorry I let your hair down. Will you forgive me? It won't be fun if the four of us aren't together. It'll be like the old days when we were students. Remember we used to go to Brighton together every summer. Please forgive me." Poppy and Pomona stood in the background, silently encouraging Minerva to forgive her.

Minerva eyed the three of them. Poppy and Pomona looked at her hopefully. She really didn't want to disappoint them. She looked at Mara sternly. She did seem sheepish enough. "Well, alright, I guess I can forgive you." Mara smiled brightly and Poppy and Pomona hugged each other. Minerva caught herself smiling too at their happiness.

"Let's go pack!" exclaimed Mara. "This is going to be so much fun."

"Don't forget your sunscreen potion. If you don't have any, I will bring extra." added Poppy."

Albus caught Minerva before she could leave the room. "I hope you like the beach idea. I always enjoyed it when I was a boy.

"It is a wonderful idea Albus." She eyed him up and down and thought to herself that he would look really good in a bathing suit. She blushed at the thought and looked down for a moment. Albus wondered what caused her embarrassment. He thought she looked especially fetching with her cheeks pink. "I should warn you Albus, I haven't worn a bathing suit in years. I don't even know if I still have one."

"Surely the talented Professor McGonagall can transfigure something into one."

"Of course I can."

"Will it be tartan?" He asked, his eyes twinkling madly.

"Probably, you know me too well. Is Severus coming? I saw you talking to him."

"Yes. I have persuaded him to be our bartender for today. I told him he could come back tomorrow morning if he wants to."

"Mara might have something to say about that, you know she fancies him. We will have to get them together"

"Why, Professor McGonagall, are you turning into a matchmaker?" Albus raised his eyebrows, wiggled them suggestively, and walked off humming the match maker song from Fiddler on the Roof. Minerva smiled and thought about a certain headmaster she would like to make a match with. If only he felt the same way. She had loved him since she was a student, but she valued his friendship so much, she was unwilling to rock the boat, so to speak.

Minerva walked toward her quarters mentally making a list of everything she wanted to take. She was more excited than she would ever let on to anyone. This would be perfect. She could spend lots of time with Albus on the beach. Maybe they could find a private place to spend some time together with no one else around. Perhaps she would find the courage to tell him how she felt, after all she was a Gryffindor. She should be able to.

Within thirty minutes there was quite a crowd dressed in an assortment of muggle and wizarding summer wear gathered in the courtyard waiting around the Headmaster and his portkey, an inflatable plastic life ring.

"Would everyone gather around and touch the port key with one hand." Albus instructed. When everyone was set, Albus began counting down "…three…two, and…now!" They all felt the tug as the portkey took effect. The next thing they knew they had landed in front of the entrance to the beach. The sun was shining brightly, the sand was sparkling, and the water was inviting. Everyone quickly gathered up their gear and headed out onto the sand. Within moments, everyone was setting up their umbrellas, laying out their beach towels, and heading to the changing rooms. The water looked so inviting they couldn't wait to dip in.

Severus, dressed in a turn of the century black, knee length bathing trunks and a black and white striped bathing shirt, began setting up the bar. He quickly performed a digging spell and then cast a cooling charm on the hole before filling it up with bottles of butterbeer and Ogden's Old Firewhiskey. He set up a cauldron over bluebell flames, filled it with mulled mead, and set it to warm. Last of all, he set up a large cauldron full of ice, covered it with a freezing charm and set out a variety of bottles that Albus had procured from Madam Rosmerta and some small cauldrons to mix up drinks in. By the time he finished there was a line of thirsty witches and wizards waiting. Soon everyone had the drink of their choice. Once everyone was served, Severus accioed one of the wooden beach chairs and settled down, dark sunglasses on, to read his latest Potions Home Journal magazine.

Minerva quickly changed into her modest tartan bathing suit and a pair of muggle shorts. She drank the sunscreen potion and waited a minute for it to take effect before leaving the changing room. Taking off her glasses, she flicked her wand at them making them impervious to water and darkening them into sunglasses. She then spelled them to stay on her nose in the water. On the way to the beach chair she had claimed, she stopped and picked up a cold butterbeer. Sitting down, she sipped it gratefully, while getting out the latest copy of Transfiguration Today Magazine. However, she didn't get to read it for very long. Mara, Poppy, and Pomona quickly dragged her out of the chair and into the cool ocean water.

They began playing a game of Morgan LeFey. One of them was blindfolded and called out 'Morgan', the others replied 'LeFey'. The blindfolded one had to try to catch one of them by listening for their reply. Soon most of the staff in the water had joined in. Albus was particularly good at seeking out Minerva when he was blindfolded. She always giggled when he caught her. When they tired of the game, they made their way back to their chairs. Several hours passed as everyone had a good time in the sun. At noon, the Hogwart's elves outdid themselves by serving up a wonderful barbeque spread on the beach. Severus was kept busy refilling drink orders. Everyone spent the hour after lunch lazing on the beach, working on their tans, and digesting the wonderful meal. Several of them seemed to be getting just a little sloshed.

Albus, in his duties as host, spent that hour making the rounds chatting and drinking with each of his staff members. Minerva watched him with longing in her eyes. He was shirtless and dressed in long, knee length, bright blue bathing trunks that had goldfish swimming around on them. His sandals were covered with shells. Merlin, but he was handsome she thought. Her eyes followed him with some concern as she read her magazine sporadically. Albus usually didn't drink much more than a single firewhiskey. He seemed to be throwing caution to the wind today. She had brought her game of wizard chess with her and she hoped he would be up for a game later. She looked around to see what everyone else was doing.

Mara Hooch was flying on her broom, just skimming the ocean waves while towing Filius on water skies. Hagrid, dressed in snorkeling gear, was hugging some kind of large purple ocean fish with long whiskers and sharp teeth. It looked like a cross between a shark and a catfish. She hoped he didn't want to make a pet out of it. She didn't think the giant squid or the merpeople would want to share Black Lake with it.

Meanwhile, Poppy and Pomona were using their wands to make a model of Hogwart's castle in the sand. Aurora Sinistra was walking along the beach looking for starfish, and Septima Vector was scratching ancient runes in the wet sand. Severus was trying to avoid Sibyll Trelawney's attempt to tell his fortune with the tarot cards. She heard him exclaim loudly, "Go away woman, I'm not interested in what you see. I don't know why you keep getting the lightning struck tower. Go away, for Merlin's sake"

When Albus joined her at last, another firewhiskey in his hand, she smiled somewhat uneasily at him.

"How's my favorite deputy headmistress doing?" he asked, slurring his words a little.

"I'm the only deputy headmistress you have. I'm fine. I am not so sure about you. Aren't you drinking a little bit much?"

"I am doing wonderfully well, having a good time, thank you, and…hic…I haven't had all that much to drink. You just...hic…you just…hic…think I have."

"Albus, I think you have had enough." Minerva reached over and took the Firewhiskey out of his hand and poured it out on the sand. Albus raised his eyebrows in disbelief, got up, stalked over the Severus and claimed another drink and brought it back to his seat under Minerva's umbrella.

"I'm a big boy, Minerva. I can drink as much as I want to." He raised his glass to her to make his point and downed it swiftly. He smacked his lips. "Very tasty. I think I will have another. Can I get you something?"

Minerva just stared at him. He certainly wasn't acting like the Albus she knew. "Albus, I really do think you have had enough, but you are right. It's your hangover tomorrow. I hope you will enjoy it." She turned away from him with disappointment in her eyes. She had been looking forward to spending some time with him on the beach. She stood up to walk away.

"Miner…hic…Miner…" Albus stood up and threw his arms around her neck and planted a sloppy kiss on her cheek. "Minnie…Minnie…Minnie…hic…I realish love everything…hic…about yoush. I love it…hic…when yoush gets angry." He suddenly pulled his wand out of the waist band of his trunks and holding it to his throat he cast the sonorous spell. Minerva tried to stop him by grabbing for his wand, but he moved out of her way quickly.


All heck broke loose. Mara Hooch stared at him and fell off her broom into the ocean with a loud splash. She bobbed up spluttering and staring at them. Filius was towed further along by an out of control broom until he tripped over one ski and went cart wheeling across the waves. He ran into Hagrid and caused the giant man to lose his grip on his giant fish. It silently disappeared into the waves like a ghost into the walls of the castle. Hagrid grabbed Filius to keep him from drifting out to sea, and set him on his shoulders. Both of them stared with their mouths open. The out of control broom veered inland, narrowly missing Poppy and Pomona, who threw themselves flat onto the sand, and crashed into the Hogwart's sand castle neatly destroying it. The ladies also seemed to have lost the ability to speak and just stared with their mouths open. Aurora Sinistra stared at them and kept walking. She ran right into Septima Vector. All of her starfish went up in the air, came down, and began scuttling their way back toward the waves. Vector fell backwards on top of the rune writing completely messing it up. Severus backed up and fell over the cauldron of mulled mead, spilling it all over him and everything else. He sat up shaking his head and stared just like the others. On the other hand, Sibyll Trelawney began to madly shuffle her cards to see what she could predict about the headmaster and his deputy's future. She spread out her cards and smiled with glee.


Albus ended the spell and with everyone staring silently at them in horror…surely she would hex him into the next century…he grabbed her around the neck and pulled her to him and kissed her on the lips. Minerva recoiled for a moment and reached for her wand. Everyone shuddered and closed their eyes, waiting for the other shoe to fall, but nothing happened. One by one, they opened their eyes and looked at the couple standing together on the sand. Minerva had melted into his embrace, her wand at her side, and there was a soft golden glow around them. The kiss stretched out over several minutes until it seemed that they would surely have to come up for air soon. The silence and the staring continued until it was broken by Sibyll's cry of triumph. "Yes, the cards show that they are perfect for each other. They will be married and have twelve children."

Albus and Minerva broke their kiss. Albus looked at Sibyll with a twinkle in his eye, "Twelve children, really Sibyll? Doesn't that seem a bit much." he laughed in amusement.

Minerva stared around at all the chaos that Albus…no, they…had caused. Everyone but Sibyll (who was looking dreamily at her cards) was still staring in disbelief at them. She raised her eyebrows at them and said, "What is the matter, haven't you seen two people kissing before? Well, carry on with whatever you were doing when we interrupted it." She waved her wand as she spoke. Everything happened in reverse. The cauldron of spilled mulled mead set itself upright and was magically refilled and everything cleaned and dried off, including Severus. His hair had never been so clean and fluffy. All the ancient runes rewrote themselves in the sand, and the lost starfish came rushing back and jumped in the Sinistra's bucket as if they had never had any idea of escaping. The broomstick jumped out of the ruined sand castle and zoomed into Mara Hooch's hand. As soon as she had a hold of it, she was lifted up out of the water and was soon sitting on it. The sand castle repaired itself until it looked brand new. Filius was lifted off of Hagrid's shoulders and set on top of his skis, just waiting for Hooch to take off again. Hagrid looked around for his catashark, but it didn't reappear. He looked at her sadly.

"I'm sorry, Hagrid," she called. "I don't think my magic will reach that far." Hopefully it doesn't, she thought, crossing her fingers.

"Aahh, that's alrigh' Profess'r. I can catch anoth'r one."

Albus laughed at the look of horror on her face. He bent over and whispered in her ear. "I hope he doesn't either. I don't think Black Lake is ready for one of those. Besides, it might mistake one of the students for bait."

Everyone gathered around, congratulating them and asking questions. Albus looked at Minerva. He could see that she was becoming slightly irked again. He took her hand in his and said to everyone else, "If you will excuse us, please. We will see you tomorrow. Please continue enjoying yourselves." Placing an arm around Minerva, he turned on the spot and apparated them back to Hogwart's to a very private beach hidden on the shore of Black Lake.

Minerva looked around. There was a nice soft tartan blanket lying on the sand just waiting for them. Softly lit candles were floating in the soft summer air, and a picnic basket, no doubt full of delicious food, was waiting for them. There was a bottle of champagne chilling in a bucket. "Oh Albus, this is beautiful." She then turned around and slapped him on the shoulders, "You had this all planned, didn't you, you barmy old codger? You weren't ever really drunk at all, were you? It was all just an act. What were you drinking anyway?"

Abus's deep chuckle rang out through the darkening evening. "Lemonade charmed to look like firewhiskey. Severus was in on it because I had to have him supply me with drinks, but not have the drinks be what everyone thought they were."

Minerva looked surprised. "He really agreed to do that for us?"

Albus smiled. "Well, he did have his conditions."


"Two new, extra large, gold cauldrons, some very rare potion ingredients, and time off to attend the Potion Masters Conference in Romania later this summer."

"But Albus, we already have it in the budget to replace the old cauldrons this summer and you already signed him up for the conference weeks ago. Also, you always get him any potion ingredient he needs, no matter how rare." protested Minerva.

"Yes, well we know that, but he doesn't, so it would seem I made a pretty good deal." He steered her toward the basket. "Have a seat my dear and let me pour you some champagne." He waved his wand and the champagne bottle and two crystal goblets floated toward him, and soft music filled the air.

Minerva sat on the soft blanket and looked up at him. How handsome he looked.

"A sickle for your thoughts." His eyes met hers as he sat down beside her and handed her one of the goblets. He placed his arm around her shoulders and she leaned against him. They both sipped their champagne for a moment.

"I was just thinking how handsome you look today. Did you really plan everything today just to tell me that you loved me?"

"Of course. How else could I get everyone away from the castle so we could have it and the grounds to ourselves with no one else around? We can do anything we want to, anywhere we want to.

"Let's just stay here and enjoy the evening and each others company."

'Sounds wonderful to me. Minerva. would you grant an old man, who loves you dearly, a big favor."

"Anything Albus."

"Would you let your hair down? You are so beautiful with it down around your lovely face. I have dreamed of running my fingers through its long silky strands."

Minerva didn't answer him right away. She turned so that her back was to him and indicated that she would be willing for him to take them out. He leaned forward and kissed the back of her neck and took out a hairpin. He did the same for the rest of the hairpins. When all of the hairpins were out, Minerva shook her hair down and turned to face him. Albus leaned forward, took her in his arms and kissed her gently on the lips at the same time running his fingers through her soft, silky, black tresses. Minerva shivered with pleasure.

They remained on the blanket by the lake the rest of the evening, two old friends getting to know one another in a completely different way. They took turns feeding each other the cheese, crackers, and fruit from the picnic basket. They danced to the soft music in the moonlight, and finally, late in the night, they fell asleep in each others arms under the stars.

Meanwhile, back at Brighton, beside a fire on the beach, Mara snuggled up against Severus and ran her fingers through his soft silky hair. "I need to learn that spell Min used to clean you up. I really like your hair this way." Severus just rolled his eyes.

Poppy and Alastor Moody, who had joined her after work, were busy roasting marshmallows over the fire. Alastor had been gobsmacked when Poppy told him what Albus had done. Poppy took the marshmallows and put them between two graham crackers and added a chocolate bar to it and broke it in half. "Here, have a 'smores'." She handed one half to Alastor.

"Why are they called 'smores'?" he asked taking a bite after inspecting it from every side and sniffing it thoroughly. "Mmmm, delicious."

"Because they are so good you will want some more…get it…s'more."

Severus got up and handed everyone a fresh bottle of butterbeer. "I'd like to make a toast. Here's to Albus and Minerva. May they be happy together."

The only sound heard were four bottles being clinked together and then a contented silence.

I hope you enjoyed it. Please respond by reviewing. You will make my day if you do.