A problem of plumbing
Author’s Note: Thanks very much to my Beta, Letomo. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. Speech: “Who’s on first.” Thought: *What’s on second.* This is another silly short that has been bothering me for a while. Hope you get some amusement from it. Disclaimer at the end. A problem of plumbing
Minerva McGonagall strode through the corridors of Hogwarts, her face grim and her eyes hard. Before she even reached the Gargoyle that guarded the door to the Headmaster's Office she snapped out “Liquorice Allsorts! And be quick about it!” The poor statue moved as fast as it could, but it was clear by the tapping of Minerva's foot that it wasn't nearly fast enough.
She climbed the stairs, flinty eyed gaze landing on the occasional empty portrait frame. The occupants had fled to safer places, having been warned that the Deputy Headmistress was approaching in one of her 'moods'.
The inner door flew open before she'd even come within ten feet and she didn't break her stride as she walked in.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster and former Transfiguration Teacher looked up from his work as if he wasn't fully aware of the fact that Minerva had been on her way to him and in, as he sometimes put it, 'a bit of a snit'.
“Ah, Minerva. Wonderful to see you. Would you like some tea?” He offered placidly.
“No. And nothing else either,” Minerva glared.
Albus coughed. Minerva was usually punctiliously polite, the fact that she wasn't even pretending to be, boded ill. “A pity, the tea is really excellent. Then what can I do for you, Professor?”
Minerva crossed her arms. “It's happened again, Albus.”
“What happened again, Minerva?” Albus asked, now slightly confused.
“That dratted lavatory on the second floor! It blew back so hard that Miss Abbott was soaked and covered in faeces! The poor girl is still in hysterics!”
Albus looked appropriately grave. “I shall have a word with Myrtle about it-”
“Myrtle? Myrtle has nothing to do with it! Do you know Albus, I checked the records. That lavatory has not had an overhaul in at least five-hundred years? Not a faucet changed or pipe replaced. It smells, it's dingy and, forgive my language, its crap!” Minerva had been leaning closer and closer to the headmaster so that now she was glaring at him form less than an inch away, her hands on his desk. “And I know that there's money in the Maintenance fund set aside for the lavatories, Albus. So don't throw budget problems at me!”
Albus sighed. “I agree, Minerva. But you see, neither I, nor any of my predecessors, have ever been able to find a plumber who was, well, able to fix the problems. Most don't even want to go in there. It is as if the room tries to chase them away.”
Minerva's eyes narrowed. “So this room might be self-aware? Do you know where it keeps its brain?”
Albus blinked. “I must admit I don't...” his voice trailed off as he saw that Minerva's face was now no longer slightly flushed but paler than snow. The only colour about her was the slight tinge of red around her flaring nostrils.
“So for at least five-hundred years that-that room has been watching young girls go to the toilet?” She grated out, her hands clenched into fists. “I’m calling a plumber, Albus. And I’m going to find out where its brain is!”
Albus nodded. “Of course, Minerva. I shall allocate funds from the budget for the purpose.”
Minerva turned on her heel and stalked towards the door. Just before she exited, she turned her head. “And don't think you're off the hook about this, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!”
Dumbledore poured himself some tea with a trembling hand. *Really quite a snit.*
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Minerva had ears and eyes in many places, places that Albus considered to be a bit gauche, or not worth his time. That meant that she knew about people that Albus might ignore, or not even know about. It was one of these people that she was now contacting. It was a long way to fly for an owl, and he was rumoured to be very expensive, but if anyone could solve this matter, it was him.
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At first glance the man she had hired did not look particularly capable or inspiring. He was quite tall and lanky, wearing a stylish overcoat and a broad-brimmed Borsalino hat. His grey trousers and neat black half boots and moustache suggested more a natty gentleman than a craftsman. Not, in short, the sort of man who would be able to deal well with a magical castle and its plumbing. He carried a large, well made leather satchel and a small overnight bag made of heavy canvas.
He did march right up to the Leaky Cauldron, however, which was hopeful. He had to stoop quite low to enter the low doorway, as so many people instinctively did, but he bent his head more than most. He was obviously used to the fact that he was tall. He glanced around the bar and approached Tom, who was cleaning a glass.
“Excusa me, I am a lookin' for a lady, a Professor McGonagall?” he asked in a voice marked with both Italian and American accents that yet managed to sound very cultured.
Tom looked at him with interest. “Aye, she's over there,” he nodded at Minerva, who sat at the window, still studying her new employee.
Minerva rose and walked over. “Mr. Pizzaio?”
The man nodded. “Professor McGonagall? I understand you’ve got a problem with plumbing?”
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The man had scored points by not being surprised at Apparition, or by the sight of Hogwarts. He had asked a lot of questions about drains and how the sewage was dealt with, how many people used the castle, if the lake was large and deep enough to purify the effluents. All things Minerva had never thought about. It had been immediately obvious to Mr. Pizzaio that any lighting or water at the Castle most likely came from local sources, no towns or even smaller settlements being nearby and the cost of such amenities being prohibitively expensive.
Minerva had just nodded. He had rapped his knuckles on the bridge and commented on the construction. He'd done the same with the great doors. He'd nodded approvingly at the Grand Ceiling. He’s seemed quite pleased with the room prepared for him, running a connoisseur’s hand and eye over the bathroom fittings. He’d excused himself and changed into work clothes. And then had hoisted his bag and asked to be shown the problem.
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The man entered the bathroom, ignoring the wailing, translucent woman. It didn’t surprise Minerva, she knew he was used to wailing, translucent women. “If you told me you had ghosts I’da brought my vacuum cleaner.”
Minerva shook her head. “Don’t worry about Myrtle, or any of the other ghosts, except possibly Peeves. They all obey the Headmaster.”
The plumber looked around keenly, noting that the room looked worn and old and smelled damp and musty. “How long has it been since there was last any maintenance here?”
Minerva rolled her eyes. “Five hundred years at least.”
The plumber pursed his lips. “I see. I will need to survey the rooms, figure out the run of the pipes. You realise that if the rest of the plumbing and sanitation is in a similar condition, addressing the problem here might just show up a weakness elsewhere?”
Minerva smiled. “Oh, yes. That would mean a complete overhaul.”
He gave her a cheeky grin. “I assume you’ve got the funds to cover it then. Well, I won't keep you from your work any longer.”
Minerva accepted that as the dismissal that it was and left to attend her duties. Fred and George Weasley had been sent to her for consideration. Again. It was amazing the amount of trouble a couple of Second years could get into.
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The state of the room was awful, but it did not faze him. He was, after all, a Plumber. He tried all the toilets, much to the annoyance of the wailing girl, and the faucets. One didn't work. He set about breaking into the pipes when it became clear that no water was even brought to it. He was rather surprised when it rolled aside and a large, hissing snake emerged.
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Dumbledore beamed at his guest. He found he got along quite well with the man, he was quite polite and knowledgeable and his bright green coveralls showed excellent taste. “Well, Mr. Pizzaio? Have you found the reason for the flooding of our bathroom?"
Luigi shrugged and took a lead pipe out of his bag. It was bent in the middle. He also took out a large tooth. “Well, for one thing, you had a lot of secret tunnels and some big snake down there. I took care of them today. Tomorrow I hope to get around to the actual plumbing. I'm gonna have to charge for my wrench though, I broke it on the stupid snake.” End note: I own neither Harry Potter nor the Mario franchise in any way or form.