the pearl

The Tale of Minnie and Hooch

When Rolanda Hooch first arrives at Hogwarts, Minerva's positively scandalised. In fact, she has a list — unwritten, but still a carefully organised and bulleted list — that she goes to Dumbledore with.

"She can't possibly teach the children!" she says, her voice climbing sharply into shrillness. "Her first day here, she arrives on an extremely unsafe broom — held together with spellotape and chewing gum! — and crashes it into the Astronomy Tower; she's wearing a t-shirt that reads 'Ravenclaws do it by the book'; she tracked mud through the Great Hall with her very large and very loud boots; she introduced herself not as 'Madame Hooch' or even 'Rolanda Hooch' but as 'Hooch the Quidditch bitch'; she called me 'Minnie' even after I said 'please call me Minerva'; and, to top it all off, she's smoking!"

Dumbledore tilted his head slightly and looked at her. "You never seem to complain when Professor Grubbly-Plank partakes of her usual pipe in the staff room," he replied calmly.

Minerva opened her mouth, then narrowed her eyes. "I can hardly complain about Wilhelmina smoking in the staff room when I allowed her to smoke in my bed..."

Dumbledore smiled. "Then perhaps you should consider Madame Hooch a potential challenge, rather than a hazard."

Minerva spluttered. "Albus!" she finally shrieked. "I'd...I'd..." She closed her eyes and shook her head. "Never."

Dumbledore nodded, his eyes still twinkling. "Of course, Minvera." He held up a small plate. "Biscuit?"


When the students arrive, it's even worse. Minerva worked very hard to create a very strict routine when it came to the new students. It wasn't just a list in her head, it was written down, copied, and distributed to all members of staff — just in case something went wrong.

Hagrid meets the First Years from the station, and puts them in the boats. They're transported to the school across the lake (avoiding the Giant Squid, if possible). They meet her at the docks, where she lines them up alphabetically before giving them a stern talking to about the Four Houses. When they are well-behaved (or as well as they can be, considering what's about to happen), the doors are opened, and in they go.

It was a very strict routine, not tampered with in any way since she was first put in charge of that vital First Years' First Night. She remembered her own First Night, the intimidating size of the castle, the silence as each First Year walked up to the front, the knee-quaking terror as the hat was placed on your head. And her routine was carefully arranged so that, from the first step off the train to the run towards his or her new House table, each First Year was accounted for and ready for the next seven years.

Rolanda Hooch takes less than a minute to completely ruin the routine.

Yes, Hagrid met the First Years. And they were on the boats. And that's when Hooch flew by on that ancient broom, cackling maniacally, and picked up a student from one of the boats. She continues to laugh, flying around the lake, as First Years look fearfully up at the sky and scream.

When they finally reach the docks, it takes Minerva a good ten minutes to calm them down — ten minutes that would have involved lining them up, talking to them, and walking through to the Great Hall. Instead, she's wiping noses and quietly casting Scourgify on damp robes.

And once she has them calm, and in the proper order, that's exactly when Hooch swoops by on her broom, landing right next to the students, with the small child in front of her laughing hysterically.

"Hey, Minnie! Got another one for you!" Hooch shouts as she slides the child off of the broom.

The children look between Minerva and Hooch, a few of them whispering what must obviously be "Minnie".

Minerva takes a deep breath, and stares imperiously at Hooch. "And what is the name of this child?"

Hooch grins widely and cuffs the boy affectionately. "Hooch. My great-nephew. He's gonna be a menace on the Quidditch pitch come next year."

Minerva points where the younger Hooch should be, and wonders if Dumbledore would let her take a sabbatical for at least seven years.


The beauty of being the Transfigurations professor is that, through some careful scheduling and knowledge of some of the more unused passageways, she can effectively avoid all mentions of Hooch for weeks on end.

It doesn't help with the staff meetings, where Hooch puts her boots on the table and has the gall to smirk at Minerva, but it does keep her irritation at a low level.

Until the first Quidditch match of the year.

It's Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw, and halfway through it, one of the Ravenclaw Chasers whips between the stands, carrying the Quaffle towards the hoops. One spin, a backflip, and the Quaffle floats effortlessly past the Keeper.

Half of the audience groans, rising to its feet, and Minerva's up before anyone else. "Foul!" she shouts at Hooch. "That's a foul!"

Hooch flies over and looks at her. "What?" she yells, trying to be heard over the shouts of the crowd.

"That's a foul! No flying outside of the boundary lines!"

Hooch rolls her eyes. "This isn't the World Cup, Minnie! Nobody plays that rule!"

"Nobody!" Minerva shouts back. "We have had Quidditch at Hogwarts for nearly 500 years! And since the creation of the standardised rulebook in 1883, we have followed it precisely!"

Hooch shakes her head. "My pitch, my rules, Minnie!" And she flies off, up towards where the two Ravenclaw Beaters are smacking Bludgers towards the Gryffindor Seeker, and all of Minerva's arguments are lost to the wind.


And yet, after many years, they've managed a bit of a truce. Not a particularly good truce, mind you, as Hooch still knows how to drive Minerva up the wall, and happily does it on a regular basis, but now, at least, Minerva isn't considering any number of Unforgivables.

At least, until Minvera's 50th birthday.

She knew that Dumbledore had planned something — there was no other reason for him to be so bloody twinkling and smiling all the time — and when she caught Hooch and Dumbledore whispering in the staff room, she knew something was going to happen.

She spent most of the day in her office, carefully avoiding all other professors, the staff room, even the Great Hall, just in case they had arranged something with the students as well.

She waits until after curfew to head back to her rooms, and she's at the door when she hears a thump, and a shriek, and what sounds like an old man's giggle.

Minerva closes her eyes, sighs deeply, and, despite the increasing urge to just sleep in her office tonight, she opens the door.

"Surprise!" everyone shouts, shooting off fireworks and confetti and that small iridescent sparkling flower charm she saw Flitwick practicing with, but never believed it was to be used for this.

She smiles graciously, and she's actually a little bit touched (although concerned that they got into her rooms in the first place — she must recheck the wards), when Hooch, obviously already hitting the gillyweed gin (as evidenced by the faint webbing between her fingers), wraps one arm around her shoulders, sloshes a full to the brim glass of gillyweed gin into her hand, and says, slurring slightly, "Happy birthday, Minnie!" before kissing her on the cheek.

Minerva blushes at this. And she was convinced she was beyond blushing.


The party's winding down, with everyone slowly leaving after a few hastily recited sobering spells. Eventually, it winds down to just Minerva, Dumbledore, and that infuriating Hooch, who has continued to drink nothing but gillyweed gin, and, unlike most women of a certain age who imbibe gin, she seems to be on high spirits, laughing and carrying on loud and rude conversations until there's nobody left but these three.

Dumbledore looks at Minerva and smiles widely. "I'm afraid, my dear, that it is no longer your birthday."

Minerva looks at the clock on her wall and sighs. "All for the best, I imagine," she says. "Can't say I was really looking forward to being 50..."

"Bollocks," mumbles Hooch from her chair. She straightens up slightly and looks towards Minerva with bleary eyes. "50's brilliant. It's like...all of that rubbish about settling down and having children and pretending to give a damn...they're all gone." She makes an exploding gesture with her hands. "Poof! You can do anything!"

Dumbledore nods. "Although it's not exactly the same with wizards as I imagine it is with witches, Rolanda does have a point." He stands, slowly. "Unfortunately, I must admit that being older than 50 does have its downsides."

Minerva stood, and she took his hands in hers. "Albus," she says, softly, "thank you. It was a lovely party."

Dumbledore shakes his head slightly. "I merely attended. There's someone else you should thank."

Minerva's eyes widen, and she looks back at the woman slouched back into her chair, then looks back at Dumbledore with a surprised look on her face.

The infuriating man simply smiles, eyes twinkling yet again as he bows to her and departs.

Leaving her alone with Hooch.

Hooch stands up, wavers slightly, and reaches for her wand. "Ma-ma-madidus terminator!"

There's a faint sound, but Hooch is still wavering. "Balls," she mutters to herself before falling back onto her chair.

Minerva sighs and reaches for her wand. "Madidus terminus," she says, softly, pointing her wand at Hooch, who blinks a few times, straightens, then smiles.

"Ah," Hooch says, her voice clear. "Thanks for that, Minnie. Wouldn't want to miss that big Quidditch match tomorrow."

Minerva looks at her - really looks at her, all crewcut and yellow eyes and skinny muscular body hidden under well-worn robes — and it's like something's changed.

Something for the worse, maybe, but definitely something.

And it might be for the better.

"Hooch," Minerva says. "Did you really arrange all this?"

Hooch looks around at the tattered decorations. She pauses, then smiles, widely. "Well, I figured you'd otherwise be sitting around with some needlepoint or other elderly pastime and if you can't have a party on your 50th, then you might as well be dead already."

Minerva looks down at the needlepoint she had been working on, and sighs. "I..." She stops, shaking her head, and starts to laugh. "Thank you," she finally says.

Hooch's smile grows sharper, more feral, and with those yellow eyes, it's like looking at a playful wolf. "Anything for a pretty young thing like yourself, sweetheart."

Minerva's eyes narrow and she straightens angrily. "'A pretty young thing'?" she says sharply. "I can put up with you calling me 'Minnie'. I can put up with the obvious danger you place students in. I can even put up with you changing the rules of Quidditch. But I am not a pretty young thing!"

Hooch leans in close to her. "I'm hitting 70 this year, Minnie." Her mouth is dangerously close to Minerva's, and, for some reason, she has the inexplicable urge to lick her lips. "I can definitely call you 'young', and you're most definitely 'pretty'."

Minerva breathes shallowly. She's afraid to shake her head more than a tiny amount, for fear that things might change. "I...I..."


Minerva inhales deeply, and exhales even deeper, as if to draw the line between the past 50 years and the next 50 years. "You are one of the most utterly frustrating people I have ever met," she says.

Hooch chuckles. "Yeah?"

Minerva nods. "And one of the most fascinating" she whispers.

Hooch looks up at this, her eyes catching Minerva's in an unspoken question. When Minerva nods again, just the faintest angle of her head, Hooch suddenly shouts, something between a laugh and a war cry, and wraps her arms around Minerva, lifting her off of her feet.

"Oh!" Minerva says, suddenly flustered. "I...Oh, let me down!"

"Oh no you don't, Minnie!" Hooch exclaims. "You haven't received my birthday present yet!" She laughs again, and leans in to kiss her.

This Harry Potter story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at