It began this morning, when Elphinstone asked me to meet him in his office. I must admit I’d been avoiding his office of late—passing him documents in the hallway, taking a week-long trip to Scotland—and so I was nervous about what he might say to me. Suppose he professed his love!
But he didn’t. Instead, he called me into his office to offer me a promotion.
I realized, right away, that this promotion would both improve my life at the Ministry and solve many of my problems. I would no longer be working directly under Elphinstone, I would be taking charge of a few local civic improvement projects, and of course my salary would increase.
But my first thought, as soon as I heard the words, was “NO.”
Elphinstone was clearly excited about the idea of my leading a group tasked with reviewing the existing Floo Network and deciding where to add additional entries and exit points. I was not. It’s hard to say why I wasn’t, but it was almost the same thought I had when I told Dougal I couldn’t marry him: if I take this path, I’ll be turning away from what I was meant to do.
I thanked Elphinstone, and told him that he’d have my decision by the end of the week. He said that wasn’t how the Ministry worked. “You don’t choose whether you move up. You take the opportunities offered to you or you leave.”
I said “Fine, you’ll have my answer by the end of the day, then,” and I left. I caught his eyes before I closed the office door; he looked sad, and hurt, and like he wanted to say so much more—but I didn’t let him. I walked out of the Ministry, in the middle of the day, and took the Floo Network to an owlery in Diagon Alley.
I bought a scroll and wrote a letter to Professor Dumbledore, asking if there were any open teaching positions at Hogwarts.
The owl returned as I was walking back to the Ministry. A tiny piece of scroll was attached to its leg, with a single sentence written:
I thought you’d never ask.
The scroll was also a Portkey.
Yes, dear diary, I am writing you from inside my new chambers in the Hogwarts faculty dormitory. (They’re much nicer than the ones for students.) The scroll took me to Professor Dumbledore’s office, where he explained that he had been expecting this request for weeks and had gone as far as announcing my appointment in his welcome speech to the students and faculty!
“I told them you were going to teach First-Year Transfiguration, but your arrival would be just a bit delayed and I would be leading class sessions until you made your appearance.”
Then he winked at me. “I suggest you make that appearance memorable.”
I asked him what would happen to my things—transported, of course, to my new room—and what I should tell Elphinstone. “I’ve sent him an owl explaining your new position,” Professor Dumbledore said. “Perhaps I should not have told you about his deep admiration and love for you. It pushed the two of you apart when I hoped it would bring you closer together. It’s a mistake I’ve made before, in love.”
Tomorrow I will write my own letter to Elphinstone, thanking him for his friendship and for being an excellent mentor when I needed one. I would not like him to think I left without saying goodbye.
Then, I’ll make my dramatic entrance into the first-year Transfiguration classroom. I already know how I’m going to do it.