You’ll never guess who I saw today: Professor Dumbledore!
He came into the Ministry to take a meeting with somebody. Elphinstone says they want Professor Dumbledore to be Minister of Magic someday. I like that idea; it would be lovely to work under him. He’d probably give me more important tasks to do, since he knows my considerable talent first-hand.
(They still send me after files, even though I’ve been working at the Ministry for almost a year. How many scrolls does one person have to move before they prove themselves ready for bigger responsibilities?)
Professor Dumbledore stopped by Elphinstone’s office after his meeting. I didn’t realize Professor Dumbledore and Elphinstone were friends, but there they were, the Professor in the soft chair we keep for guests and Elphinstone sitting on his desk—and me allowed to sit on the wooden chair next to Elphinstone’s desk, because Professor Dumbledore asked me to stay.
“I’m very interested in how your career is going,” he told me. “I understand you almost took an interest in agriculture.”
Elphinstone didn’t get the joke and I didn’t explain it. I still haven’t told him about Dougal. I haven’t told Professor Dumbledore, either, but he seems to know everything. Perhaps he is an Animagus, and he flies across the country keeping watch over his former students. I should look his name up on the Registry, the next time I am sent into the basement to alphabetize files.
Professor Dumbledore asked how my Animagi work was going, and I had to admit that it had been months since I last became my cat form. “I don’t know what to do with it, anymore,” I said. “I learned this skill and now there’s no place to use it.”
Professor Dumbledore looked disappointed in me. “Your Animagus ability is not a skill that you use,” he said. “It is part of who you are.”
When I left work—and this is the strangest thing—it was as if Professor Dumbledore appeared out of the London crowd. I was going to write “as if by magic,” and then I remembered that was probably how he did it.
“May I walk with you?” he asked, and we walked together, and he told me not to let the Ministry change who I was. “They’re always worried about results, and numbers, and plans—and I know you’ve always enjoyed a good plan, but you are more than that. You are a young woman with an observant eye and a thoughtful heart and a brave spirit. Don’t let the Ministry make you think of yourself in terms of skills and results.”
I thanked him, and asked him how he was doing at Hogwarts, and we talked for a bit about students and professors we both knew, and it made me feel—well, it made me feel more like myself again. Like the first thing I was going to do, when I got home, was take a quick ride on my broom and then become a cat for the rest of the evening.
But Professor Dumbledore said one more thing before he left. “You know Elphinstone Urquart is sweet on you.”
“No, I didn’t,” I said, but Professor Dumbledore was gone. Disapparated into thin air.
I can’t believe it. I didn’t realize it at all! I thought Elphinstone was just being a friend. He’s older than I am, too. Not old old, but we never went to Hogwarts together, so he must be at least seven years older than me, and he’s my boss, and this is all so confusing, and I’m not sure what I’ll do when I see him at work tomorrow.