The Lady and the Tramp (PG; Mundungus/Minerva, Aberforth; 550 words): Minerva accepts Mundungus' remedy for shock.
Minerva, feeling utterly mortified after having just made a complete fool of herself over Headmaster Albus Dumbledore—of whom she'd been so very certain—flees Hogwarts for the Hog's Head.
When he engaged me for the post, I thought that—
"Who's that, then?" someone asks, as she enters the pub. "I'd like to tickle her tartan."
Flushing to overhear such a comment directed at herself, Minerva moves to sit in the back of the pub.
"You're the one as just went to work at Hogwarts, aren't you?" the publican asks, moments later as he approaches her with a steaming mug.
"I didn't order that," Minerva says, realising at once that somehow, the scruffy publican's a relative of Dumbledore's. He doesn't look respectable, but then, this is hardly a respectable establishment.
"No, you didn't," he replies, placing the mug before her, "but Fletcher there," he tells her, jerking his head back towards the tap, "has seen enough of my brother's dealings with witches to know when a lady needs something for shock."
A lady. Minerva smiles slightly at the compliment. But I'm no lady, am I?
Ladies didn't throw themselves at . . . unavailable gentlemen.
"All right then, love, drink up," the man called Fletcher says, moving to join her as the publican leaves.
There's nothing respectable about him, either, but under the circumstances, Minerva doesn't make a fuss. After the shock she's just had—which will no doubt end in her sacking—she feels the need for company.
"Thank you for the drink, Mr Fletcher."
"You're welcome, Miss McGonagall, is it?"
Fletcher takes her hand. "You must forgive the rudeness of my comment when you came in. I've had a few, you see, and your loveliness would loosen the tongue of a sober man."
Unused to receiving compliments from any sort of man, Minerva can't quite think of a coherent response. "Yes, well. . . . Well."
Fletcher laughs. "Go on, drink. You'll feel better for it, and then we can become acquainted all proper like."
"And what if I don't wish to behave with propriety?" Minerva asks, surprising herself.
Fletcher grins and squeezes her hand. "Why then, ol' Aberforth rents rooms by the hour."
Stunned, Minerva exclaims, "Mr Fletcher!"
"And I'll," he continues, his grin widening, "pay up through morning."
Minerva knocks back her drink. "Through morning?"
"You're in sore need of attention, and I consider it my duty to give it to you."
No, there's nothing proper about Mr Fletcher; Minerva can almost see his plans for her swimming behind his eyes. But it's better to be regarded with naked lust rather than with amused pity, she thinks, rising from the table. "Have the publican send more of this drink to the room."
Before she can change her mind, Minerva moves to stand by the back stair.
"Albus won't like it, Mung," she overhears the publican say, as he takes Fletcher's money.
"Al can kiss my arse, Abe."
Although Minerva's not entirely certain what having her tartan tickled entails, she finds herself looking forward to it, so thoroughly in charity with Fletcher she is in that moment.
And if I shouldn't like it, I'll scratch his eyes out, she decides.
By dawn, however, the only scratches on Mundungus are the ones down his back, and mortification is no longer the only thing that Minerva feels.