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When Minerva turned seventeen, Dumbledore took her to the appropriate department at the Ministry to register as an Animage. He had already caught her once prowling around the school in cat form without permission, and now, the examination would be held in the formal chamber; while the required number of examiners assembled, she waited in the front. A clerk scratched at his desk; high windows let light onto the floor, and in a corner, behind spell-reinforced metal bars, there was a grayish, shifting creature.

"Nasty business." the clerk said after lifting his head and seeing her stare at it. "They were supposed to take it away in the morning, but I suppose they haven't got around to it. If you want to wait in the hall while they get the registrars together, I can come out and find you."

Minerva looked at the child, growling and pacing behind the bars. It crawled on four legs, and every few moments, a different piece of animal would sprout on it: there would be rainbow feathers down its back, and then the feathers would disappear, and its face would lengthen and distort into that of a fox's. She watched as scales grew over the back legs; it tried to sit up, but the cage was too low. It banged its head and howled.

"The father thought he'd figured out the Kwikspell way to become an Animage," the clerk added. "Too much of a coward to try it on himself, so he used that poor thing. Youngest of his children. Are you sure you didn't see it in the Prophet?"

"I've been busy studying."

After being examined and showing her knowledge of regulations, Minerva learned, from Dumbledore, that the child had turned on its father, killed him, and then hidden under a laboratory bench until found by its mother and sisters. There was some discussion on account of the child's age, but sentence of death had been passed. It would be a merciful killing, best for everyone involved, and yet, years later, she caught Remus Lupin in the Restricted Section, alone, after-hours. He might have escaped, run off into the darkness before she could pin a spell on him, but he had preferred stuffing the book back into place rather than fleeing -- Controlling Your Transfigurations: Arcane Arts and Dark Secrets. He did not want to take the chance that someone should suspect, but Minerva knew. A little of the cat stayed with her even when she was human, and she had smelled it on him when he came to her classroom the first time.

In addition, before Remus arrived, Dumbledore had taken her aside, asked her if there was anything she could think of to help. She had not been able to think of anything. There was nothing in the literature. Lycanthropy was hopeless, and it was dark in the Restricted Section.

Minerva did not deduct many points from Gryffindor, nor did she lecture Remus. He was alone; the Gryffindor - Ravenclaw Quidditch game had been that evening, and his friends would have been too tired to venture out with him, so Minerva walked him back to the dorms, her hand on his shoulder. She even asked him a few questions; he did not respond much, but that was all right. She remembered, after all: it had been dark in the Restricted Section. By light of a candle, Lupin's eyes had gone as yellow and round as a wolf's. He had looked, in fact, like a caged boy who did not want to die.

Inspired by the cross-section of cages, Remus, and McGonagall in [livejournal.com profile] angiepen's No Good Deed, which I found in the del.icio.us links of madsophiehatter.

Date: 2007-06-03 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] moireach.livejournal.com
I THINK I HAD A HEART ATTACK when I saw your name on my friendslist and then it didn't stop because this is so raw and interesting and good. Love the creepy-ass story of the child, Minerva's compassion, the first line and oh, that last line. Yay for you writing fic!!

ALSO I had somehow totally failed to connect you with your DS9 stories which I've been totally fangirling.

Date: 2007-06-03 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
!!!! I had no idea that anybody was even reading those, so your comment is doubly flattering.

And yeah, this surprised me too. It ended up in a different place than I thought it would because I'd been kind of trying to put Remus, pacing in a cage and giving McGonagall looks of hate that were too human or something angsty like that because. Yeah. The line between Animage and werewolf is kind of darn, darn, darn interesting.

Date: 2007-06-03 07:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] proteinscollide.livejournal.com
Ah, come back and write more in HP, I've missed your writing. I like how you link the ideas here, of the caged boy without a form to call his own, and Remus' lycanthropy. And I've always liked how you write McGonagall, the calm and the kindness under the strict exterior. You manage to say so much in so few words. I really liked this.

Date: 2007-06-04 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Hurray! I'm glad you like this -- and kind of amazed that anybody in HP is still reading this, but yeah. There's just something fascinating about the juncture between being an Animage and lycanthropy.

It's strange to come back to HP, but really comfortable, too. There's a lot ot be said about visiting old, familiar themes. XD

Date: 2007-06-03 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_happy_as_rain_/
Oh, this was beautiful. I'm so sad you're writing HP again! :D

Date: 2007-06-04 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Ahhaha! I'm going to assume the sadness is either sarcastic or a typo because really, I very much want to think that somebody with icons as pretty as yours likes my fic. :)

Date: 2007-06-04 03:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reserve.livejournal.com
Girl. WTF. Be back in my life ASAP.


Date: 2007-06-06 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com

Date: 2007-06-05 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] two-if-by-sea.livejournal.com
Magic misses you. :(

Date: 2007-06-06 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
I would say that I missed you, except that would sound incredibly stalkery since I just talked to you today.

Um, it did slip out, didn't it? D:

Date: 2007-06-05 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angiepen.livejournal.com
Chilling. :/ It makes sense that you could really mess yourself over with the animagus transformation if you don't do it just right. I'm not at all sorry that child killed his father -- the man deserved it and then some.

I liked the distanced, moody style of this; it fit the subject matter nicely. Glad to have inspired you. :)


Date: 2007-06-06 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
It's been years -- literally -- since I've even thought about Harry Potter fanfiction, but I was pottering around on del.icio.us and WHAM. Without your fic, I would never have thought of Minerva and Remus and the complexities of changing shape in the wizard world.

So thank you. Immensely.

Date: 2007-06-09 10:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nolivingman.livejournal.com
Oh this is lovely. I'm so glad you linked it from your other place.

Date: 2007-06-10 07:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Talking with [livejournal.com profile] randomalia woke up all the HP neurons in the back of my brain, and. Yeah. Hello, freedom of making shit up left and right!

Date: 2007-06-10 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nolivingman.livejournal.com
I went over and read a bunch of your HP stuff, and it's all good. I don't read much HP except when it's on my flist - the fandom kind of scares me in its hugeness and craziness.

Date: 2007-06-10 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
HP doesn't seem quite as scary now as it did back in the day -- but that's probably because I've been in hiding from it for about three years. My time has passed so far that I don't even know where to find the crazy anymore.

Anyways. I'm immensely flattered that you like the HP stuff. I spend a lot more time thinking about the girls in HP, probably because I'm much more comfortable telling stories about the place that they get in wizarding society, and I kind of want to be McGonagall when I grow up.

Date: 2007-06-10 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nolivingman.livejournal.com
I think there are some interesting women in HP, yes, both good and bad. I wish I could be as cool and as tough as McGonagall, yes. And I have serious overidentification issues with Luna Lovegood.

Date: 2007-06-18 05:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kickthebeat.livejournal.com



i love you. :D

Date: 2007-07-10 06:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imadra-blue.livejournal.com
Ooooh, I like that. Interesting look at transfigurations and shape-changing. You even mentioned one of my favorite characters, Lupin. :D

Are you gonna make me friend this journal, too, to keep up with you, woman? ;)

Date: 2007-07-10 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
HAHAHAHA. I think I'm HP'd out for now, but we'll see. And wouldn't your time be better spent doing other stuff anyways, like pick lint from your belly button or stare at the ceiling?

Date: 2007-07-11 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imadra-blue.livejournal.com
At least let me know when you write HP. :D And actually, my time would be better spent reading the books assigned for my summer courses, but that's something responsible people do. XD

Date: 2007-07-11 01:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quigonejinn.livejournal.com
I don't know if you saw it, but I also put this (http://rhoddlet.livejournal.com/230503.html) up around the same time.

Responsibility is for schmucks. Or something.

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