Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

The Harry Potter books focused on the lives of Hogwarts students, but this story centers around the teachers and staff members who are in charge of educating and protecting these magical children. Set in approximately the Cursed Child time period, it follows the stories of the guardians and caretakers who keep Hogwarts safe. With great power comes great responsibility... and lots of magical headaches.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

She nodded, preoccupied with planning out how to trap Darren in the owlery. What spells to use. What she should prepare for. Passing off Bale to the Headmistress, she continued on her pre-determined path.

It wasn't until they were halfway to the rook that things settled into her brain. Rosemary slowed, then came to a stop.

"Cambria, did the Headmistress sound a little...odd to you? I mean, didn't it seem strange that she'd simply refer to us as Eve's friends? A trifle familiar, perhaps?"

She grew a bit pale as she realized that they may have just made a very grave error.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

Eve gave McGonagall a contemplative look as they walked together in silence, with the confused student trailing behind. After a moment, she spoke up. "Do you remember what you said to me in Azkaban? About Liam? About being a person he could look up to?"

McGonagall gave her a brisk nod. "Yes. I recall. I trust you're living up to that."

Eve let silence fall again. Then softly, "Professor McGonagall didn't say anything about Liam when she talked to me in Azkaban."

McGonagall turned to her and smiled. "You're smarter than you used to be, my dear."

"But not quite smart enough," Eve said with rueful calm. Slowly, so as not to alarm the boy, she moved to block Anthony Bale with her body as she turned to face Darren Forness wearing McGonagall's face. As much to distract him from the boy as because she really expected information, Eve asked, "What are you doing here? After all these years... what do you want from me?"

"From you?" Darren's scornful expression looked out of place on McGonagall's face. "You think I came here for you? Don't be stupid. You don't matter to me. You've never mattered to me. You were only... a convenience. To me. To everyone. You don't really think that anyone could care for you, do you? That anyone could ever love you? You - the ugly, awkward little freak making potions in the basement? You aren't important to anyone. You never have been. You never will be."

Eve showed no outward reaction. She tried not to let it affect her on the inside - not to worry that Cambria, her new love, saw her in the same scathing terms that her first love had. "Why, then?" she persisted. "What do you want?"

Darren smiled. "You know what I want, Eve. It's the same thing I always wanted."

Eve blanched. "Liam," she whispered.

"That's right," Darren said with a grin. "And no one can stop me."

Eve had expected a magical attack. She was prepared for that. But she wasn't prepared for what actually happened - Darren grabbing her by the shoulders and dashing her head against a stone column. She collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

Darren turned to Bale with wand drawn, and aimed it at the boy. "Obliviate!"

***

"Yes, it is odd..." Cambria agreed with a worried frown.

Just then, Lucie returned from the owlery. The bird had discovered two pieces of information that she could relay to her witch companion. Darren was no longer in the owlery. And he had stolen the contents of a package addressed to Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions in Diagon Alley. The package had contained clothing being sent for repairs - a couple of green robes, and a green hat.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Rosemary Bain

"I'm such an idiot" she growled through clenched teeth as she ran full-tilt through the halls back the way they'd come. "I should have seen right through that disguise - polyjuice or no."

Self-beratement aside, Rosemary was absolutely furious at Darren - how he'd managed to get this far. The audacity. The cruelty. She was simultaneously terrified for both Eve and young Bale, whom she'd left with that monster. With any luck, they'd catch them up before Darren was tipped off.

But luck, it seemed, continued to be against them. Two still forms in the hall. Though she ran to the child first, she called out to Eve while scanning the hall for McGonagall's evil twin.

"Eve! Eve, are you alright?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Cambria Morehouse

Anthony Bale looked back and forth between the three professors with wide, terrified eyes. Any help they had been able to provide since locating him had been erased, along with his memory. From the glassiness of his expression, Cambria assumed he'd been Obliviated. Again. She only hoped that the magic wouldn't have any serious long-term effects, but time would tell.

Since Rosemary was capably assisting Bale, Cambria hastened to Eve's side.

Eve glanced at Rosemary when she addressed her and shook her head slightly as if to clear it, then winced at the discomfort. "I'm... I don't know. Yes. I'm fine, I think."

Cambria put her hand reassuringly on Eve's shoulder... a gesture she'd done plenty of times, so she was a bit shocked when Eve shrugged her off and drew out of reach. But Eve had just been through a traumatic experience. Of course she wasn't feeling quite herself. No doubt she was anxious, and not necessarily eager for physical contact, when she'd presumably just been manhandled, if the smear of blood on the column was any indication.

"Sorry," Cambria whispered, chagrined. Then at normal volume, she added, "Eve hit her head. We need to get them both to the hospital wing."

The laceration probably wasn't as bad as it looked - head wounds tended to bleed more copiously - but they needed to make sure that neither Eve nor Anthony Bale had sustained permanent damage.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Rosemary Bain

Yes. Hospital wing. That really was the best next step. Or was it?

"If you can manage to take them...I think I should at least try to catch up with him - and warn the Headmistress. He can't have gone far."

The last time they split up, something terrible had happened, but she still felt it was necessary. To simply deal with the damage he'd left behind was to remain three steps behind. She just hoped it wasn't too late to go on the offensive.

Rosemary drew her wand and cast the shield charm on herself, and after a moment's consideration, the other three. Giving Eve and Cambria a grim smile, she turned and started walking in the direction opposite the one they'd come. She'd ask anyone she met if they'd seen the Headmistress. If the trail seemed to turn cold, that was when she'd make the trip up to McGonagall's office.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Cambria Morehouse

"Wait just a moment," Cambria replied.

Of course she could handle escorting two people to the Hospital Wing under normal circumstances. These weren't normal circumstances. A disguised intruder was roaming around Hogwarts - and Cambria was starting to worry that their anxiety, eagerness, and frustration were causing them to make the same mistakes over and over.

Before they split up yet again, she needed to make sure this person was actually Eve, not Darren in disguise.

"Eve," Cambria said evenly, careful not to let her neutral tone slip. "What is your kitten's name, and where did you get him?"

For just a moment, Eve's eyes blazed with a malevolent hatred that Cambria had never seen before. But then just as quickly, Eve's expression changed to one of pain and confusion... and then nothing. Blank eyes and relaxed mouth.

"Basil," Eve said. "I got him when we went to Hogsmeade. We were playing with him. He had no home, so I went back and got him. I hid him in my robe."

Cambria was now torn. It hadn't occurred to her that her plan might produce conflicting evidence. How could Darren possibly know that much? Even if he'd seen Eve pick up the kitten, he couldn't have known the name she chose... could he? But the way Eve's eyes had changed...

She hesitated.

Cambria took a deep breath, then asked a question that was painful to even mention, but that only a tiny handful of people would know the answer to.

"My Maledictus curse. What beast do I become at night?"

Eve's mouth twisted into a sneer. For just a moment, Cambria thought her suspicions must be right. But then...

"A Sphinx," Eve said coldly.

Cambria wasn't sure whether to be relieved or dismayed. There was no way this could be anyone other than Eve. But why was Eve acting so oddly? The head injury? Well, the Hospital Wing was surely the best place for her. And certainly for Bale.

They made it to the infirmary without incident. Madam Pomfrey asked Cambria to help her get Eve settled into a bed while the matron tended to Bale. A perfectly ordinary request...

Eve shook her head vehemently. "I don't want her anywhere near me. She's been harassing me since I got to Hogwarts. She won't leave me alone. She's disgusting. I tried to be nice about it, but it just kept getting worse and worse. Now she's making... romantic advances. It's awful. Like she doesn't even notice I was married to a man? She's a woman. I'm not... confused... like her, but she just won't drop it. It's sick."

Madam Pomfrey shot Cambria a questioning look, and Cambria shrank back. "I'm... I'm sorry," she said.

"I think you should probably leave, Professor Morehouse," Pomfrey suggested gently but in a tone that would brook no argument.

Cambria nodded, her vision blurring with unshed tears as she escaped the suddenly confining Hospital Wing as quickly as she could.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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McGonagall was not in her office; she too was out searching for the intruder. It would take Rosemary some time - and questions to multiple people - to track her down. By the time Rosemary actually managed to locate her, nearly forty-five minutes had elapsed.

Before Rosemary had a chance to speak to her directly, though, a fireplace just to her right roared to life in an instant. Visible in the flame of floo powder was the image of Liam Pellingham.

"Professor Bain!" Liam called, relief evident in his voice. "I've been trying to find you. I'm sorry if I startled you. But Mum's here, and she's acting... er... really, really odd..."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Rosemary Bain

She'd listened to the questions Cambria asked Eve while giving Bale another once-over before sending them all off for medical treatment. It had been a good idea to ask them, of course, and the answers had sounded reasonable to her mind. She'd taken to her presumed path without much more than a glance and a nod to Cambria. That it was going to be okay. They were going to get him.

Of course, fifteen...thirty...three-quarters of an hour later she was stymied. Where had she gone wrong? What turn had Darren made that she'd missed? Liam's sudden appearance caught her with her hands on her hips, spinning in the hallway. His arrival was the distraction she didn't know what she was looking for. It took her a moment to catch exactly what he was saying.

"Wait, what do you mean, odd? She'd a bit of a bump on the head, but they would have patched her up..." Yes. Yes they would have. But that would have taken some time - and how'd Eve manage to get to Liam's so quickly afterwards?

"Wait, when did she get there, Liam? What else can you tell me about her behaviour?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Liam Pellingham

"When did she get here? Erm..." Liam glanced away for a moment, presumably at a clock. "Maybe forty, forty-five minutes ago? I was surprised when she knocked, truth be told - I'd have thought she had classes to teach today. At first she seemed fine, though. Normal. But then..."

Another glance away, for a couple of seconds, in the other direction this time. This time he was making sure his mother wasn't there. That he wouldn't be overheard.

"Look," he said, his voice dropping in volume. "I have to make this quick, before she wonders where I am. She came in and I was going to put on the tea kettle, and then she saw Shishguk. She acted... surprised. Then shocked, when I reminded her Shishguk is my girlfriend. She started shouting at me. At both of us. She wouldn't calm down till Shishguk left. Mum was... she was so angry I'm dating a goblin. But..."

He glanced at the door again, and his words sped up.

"But Mum knows that already! She's met Shishguk. Whenever she writes to me, she asks after her and sends her regards. I was nervous to tell Mum at first, because she was... you know... a Death Eater... and all. But it was fine. Now it's not. I don't know what's going on. Why is she acting like she doesn't know about any of this? She's coming. I have to go!"

Liam's image disappeared, and the fireplace returned to its usual cheery blaze.

What Liam said about Eve was certainly strange - but that would surely not be the only thing Rosemary would have gleaned from the brief communication. It was not possible to Apparate to or from the Hogwarts grounds, meaning even a magical travel option wouldn't be instant, and the person at Liam's flat had been there the whole time Rosemary was searching for Darren at the school.

The timing would have been impossible. The Eve at Liam's flat could not be the same individual Rosemary saw in the hospital wing...
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

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Rosemary Bain

Liam's explanation had been so quick that she hadn't the chance to warn him. It was all too obvious that Eve wasn't there with Liam - but it was also obvious that whomever had knocked Eve out wouldn't have been able to get to Liam's in time either. Which meant that she really needed to check up on Cambria and the Eve she'd left behind with her. There were too many things not adding up.

Back to the hospital wing, then.

Rosemary hurried through the halls and stairwells, passing knots of concerned students whispering rumours of all sorts. Usually she'd listen in, but today she needed to get to...she slowed as she rounded a corner and spotted her friend sagged against the edge of a window frame, looking out over Hogwarts. That was strange. She looked further down the hall for Eve, but saw no one. As she approached Cambria, she could see her shoulders shudder as she wrapped her arms around herself.

"Hey, what's happened? Are Bale and Eve alright?"

She couldn't imagine what else might have gotten Cambria quite so upset.
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