Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

Eve was more than happy to remain by Rosemary's side with her friend's arm around her, like a baby chick under the wing of a mother hen. It was a such a serene, peaceful feeling, knowing all her people were safe. She didn't have enough experience with that feeling to have missed it during her years in Azkaban, but she would treasure it now.

She nodded when Rosemary said she didn't know Eve played chess. "I forgot," Eve said, a trifle apologetically. "That I used to do that. I forgot what things people do."

The explanation was a bit clumsy, but it was the best she could do. She had lost so much of her grip on the outside world. The concept of hobbies seemed almost foreign, now. She could remember the things she used to do, but was so disconnected from them now that she couldn't have named them if asked.

Eve smiled. "A celebration. Yes. There is a lot to celebrate. Can Liam stay?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"Of course Liam can stay! Say, Shelby and Basil aren't here, are they? I would like to bring Keeva - but don't want any mishaps...if you catch my meaning. I'm sure once she gets used to things around here they'll be fine together, of course. Anyway, finish your match - I'll be back in a jiffy."

Rosemary gave Eve an extra squeeze before releasing her and sweeping off into the hallways to pick up her acromantula. Some of the students she met gave her some inquisitive stares - partly from the rumour mill and partly because most of them hadn't seen their professor in anything but her teaching robes. She had a feeling there would be additional rumours flying over the next few weeks and not all of them about Aurors, acromantulas and Azkaban.

At the exterior of her chambers, however, was a different sort of crowd. Three professors and a few older students were attempting to force open the door. She caught snippets of conversation about 'smoking it out' and 'what was the Headmaster thinking' and came to the correct conclusion that these people made up the small population of persons who don't like different things and have the gumption to do something about it. A few students noticed her approach and made hemming noises to alert the rest. The small mob seemed to turn as one person.

"Can I help you?" she asked in a polite tone, though she had drawn herself up to her full height and face gave no suggestion of actual friendliness.

"You cannot be allowed to keep that...thing on the school grounds. It is a dangerous creature, Bain. Not one of your pets. Not something to be toyed with..."

She cut him off with a wave of her hand, bringing about a look of astonishment and purple-faced indigence from her fellow professor. "You are correct to say that she is not a pet - acromantulas are classed as sentient beings, after all. Keeping one as a pet would be akin to slavery."

"Sentience doesn't make it a safe creature, Rosemary." The other woman was reasoning with her, trying a different tack. "You can't just adopt it and expect it to behave as anything other than what it is."

"Oh, and what might that be?"

Silence.

If they had expected her to agree with them, they were sorely mistaken. And in the face of someone who had just been given permission to keep an acromantula on the school grounds by the Minister of all people, they found it difficult to voice their opinions. In a way, Rosemary could see their point of view. Many people weren't fond of spiders in general, nevermind ones that could grow to be the size of a Volkswagon and read the newspaper you would have used to swat away their smaller cousins. It didn't make them right, though.

"The Minister has given me permission to house the acromantula here. For the record, her name is Keeva and she will be assisting me with my classes as she learns about Hogwarts and how to get along with other sentients. Any attempts on her person will be met with force in kind, do I make myself clear?"

The rumours that she'd duelled an Auror over the creature were also fresh in their minds - but it didn't mean that they were happy, or quiet, about it.

"One tarsus out of line, Professor Bain and we'll file enough complaints to make your head swim. I suggest you recall that you are part of a team here at Hogwarts - not a one-woman sideshow host." The first professor had found his tongue. Having made his threat, he pushed past her and his entourage followed. The students wouldn't look her in the eye. They guessed correctly that there might be extra essay assignments coming their way on a particularly pertinent topic.

She took a moment to make sure that the body of enforcers had left the causeway before taking a deep breath and entering her room herself. Closing the door, she let her shoulders sag and she sank to the floor. As much as her day had been filled with jubilation and good news - it had been entirely stressful. And it wasn't over. Might never be over. She had to come to terms with that. They both did. She and Keeva were in this together now. The young acromantula approached her and she smiled.

"Don't fret, my dear. Not everyone is as well educated as they think they are. Not everyone is as accepting as they should be. That doesn't mean that we should give up on them, though. Come now, I have good news for you. You're allowed to stay here with me as long as you like and I am oh so happy for that. We won two battles today, Keeva, and we're going to celebrate with Eve, Cambria and Eve's son Liam. Let's not disappoint them, eh?"

She opened the door to allow the two of them to exit, but paused. Re-entering, she picked up the pendant that she'd used to send Keeva and Lucy back to her room from the forest. She stared at the ammonite for a minute, marvelling at its perfect curves and the way the light hit the stone and reflected reds and greens. Turning, she realized she was keeping Keeva waiting and tucked the fossil into her pocket...and found a folded piece of paper. Strange.

You have made more enemies than just the Auror. The note, written in perfect penmanship, read. Rosemary carefully refolded the paper and continued on her way out the door, smiling and chatting away at Keeva.

Watch your back.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Liam Pellingham

Liam drew in his breath, clearly in preparation to speak. "Mum, I need to tell you something," he said, his expression serious.

A thousand terrifying scenarios ran through Eve's mind. Liam was sick. He was dying. His father had gotten to him somehow. He was leaving. He was in trouble. The goblin rebellion had been discovered and he was being sent to Azkaban...

Seeing her panic, Liam shook his head. "It's nothing bad, Mum. It's good! At least, it's good to me. But I'm afraid you won't understand."

Eve gave him a crooked smile. "I was in Azkaban. For nineteen years. For being a Death Eater. Which you can understand. What could you possibly have done that I wouldn't understand?"

Liam smiled too. "Okay. Point taken. Here's the thing. Shishguk - she's not just my friend. She's my girlfriend."

"Oh," Eve replied. "That's nice. I'm happy for you. You both."

"Really, Mum?"

Eve knew why he wondered. She had been a Death Eater. The Dark Lord's obsession with purity of blood would never have allowed such a match. But that had been a long time ago. She had been young, deluded, looking for someone to blame for her troubles other than herself... and worst of all, looking for love and acceptance. She was a different person now.

"Really happy. I promise. We're having a party tonight. You should. Goblin magic - she'll get here in time. Invite her."

"You think so?"

"Yes. Invite her. She should be here."

Liam grinned broadly. "Thanks, Mum!" he said. He gave Eve a hug. "I'm glad I told you. I wanted you to know. I'm glad you're happy for us."

He left to send the message.

Eve stared after him for a moment. "All I want is for you to be happy," she whispered, even though she knew he couldn't hear her.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

Thank goodness for weekends. While yesterday's party hadn't gone late or been any amount of crazy, the entire week had been an absolute roller coaster. It had been nice to unwind with her friends - and get to know some of them better - but the morning's solitude was also restorative. Despite her weariness, her morning's routine remained unchanged. Coffee. Rowing.

She'd spent a bit longer out on the water than usual today. The water was calm and she'd felt the urge to stop in the middle of the lake and just breathe for awhile. Out here she was both vulnerable and untouchable. Nothing between her and the depths but the thin hull of her boat. Nothing between her and the elements but the long-sleeved racing-style shirt and a pair of shorts. It was the sound of voices echoing over the water that brought her back to herself - or rather, back to her surroundings.

Meanwhile, back at her lodgings, Lucie was giving herself a thorough preening when a rat floated past her through the casement and dropped onto the floor. The jackdaw gave the creature a hard look, trying to identify it. It wasn't any rat she knew...and though many strange things happened at Hogwarts, she had never known rats to fly of their own volition. Lucie turned her attention to the world outside the window, but saw no one. Odd.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

Someone was knocking on Cambria's door - firmly, and with purpose. When Cambria opened it, she found McGonagall standing outside.

"Headmistress? Come in."

McGonagall entered, acknowledging both Cambria and Eve. "Ah, good, you're both here - I was hoping to speak to both of you."

The Headmistress was pleased that Eve was getting along so well with Professors Morehouse and Bain. When Eve had first come to the school, McGonagall had been a bit worried how well she would fit in. Apparently it hadn't been a problem. Eve's friends might not be many, but they were certainly true.

"We have a small... situation," McGonagall explained. "One of the students has gone astray in Hogsmeade. Anthony Bale, one of the Third Years. He went missing from his group, and no one can find him."

Eve looked very concerned, but McGonagall held up a hand to forestall her worry.

"I'm sure there is no reason for alarm, Eve. You may have forgotten this from your own school days, but it's common for students to simply lose track of time or unthinkingly wander off somewhere - especially those who have received Hogsmeade privileges for the first time. We simply need to locate him and make sure he returns to the school safely. Will you help?"

Eve and Cambria both nodded their agreement.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

Towelled off and back into her regular clothes, she picked up a few items from the kitchen on her way up to her lodgings. She couldn't believe how much better she felt. It was as if the water had absorbed any residual traces of foreboding left over from the week. Rolling her shoulders as she walked, she bit into an apple and left it hovering in her teeth as she opened the door. It was only once she removed the fruit that she could see the body on the floor.

It was a rat. White froth slowly sank into the wood planking, the creature's limbs askew, eyes frozen wide and bleeding. A poisoned rat. Her head snapped up, checking first Lucie, then Keeva for signs of illness. The two of them were keeping well away from the poor thing now expired on the floor. The jackdaw made a coughing sound and flapped her wings. Of course. The rat was already dead - it was these two who needed care.

"Are you two alright? Are you feeling well?" She had hurried over to that side of the room and had swept Lucie upon her shoulder even as she bent low to offer an arm to Keeva. "How did it even get in here?"

Surely no rat would have willingly walked into a room that smelled like an acromantula - even if it was sick. The jackdaw fluttered her wings and flew out the window, startling Rosemary. She looked out the window after her and Lucie came swooping back inside with a strange halting gait to slowly alight on the floor. The bird turned her head to observe her friend's response. The human's eyes were narrowed in thought.

"It...flew in through the window." The bird cawed in triumph, then retook her position on Rosemary's shoulder.

Rosemary wasn't quite sure what to make of that, but regardless, the rat needed to be dealt with - but how? You couldn't just...throw a poisoned rat into the garbage. Burning it seemed a viable option, but what of the poison? This didn't appear to be the work of the usual stuff people used to sort out nuisance rats. Such a substance wouldn't be used around Hogwart's anyway with all the pet rats around. Oh. She hadn't thought of that right away - what if this particular rat was someone's pet? Oh dear. Now she really needed to know about this poison...if the rat had an owner, they would certainly want to see their friend off and she wasn't about to put a child at risk.

"Lucie, could you go fetch Eve and Cambria, please? I think we could use their help."

The bird few off dutifully, but didn't have to go far. She spotted the two professors in the hallway and swooped back around inside to land on Cambria's shoulder, head bobbing in greeting.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

"What's going on, Lucie?" Cambria asked as the bird perched on her shoulder. It was clear that the bird wanted them to follow her - which of course posed a problem, because they'd just been asked to help McGonagall search for Anthony Bale in Hogsmeade. Rosemary had been rowing this morning, and probably didn't know about Anthony yet... unless this was somehow related, of course.

"We can go talk to Rosemary before we leave," Cambria suggested. "Let her know what McGonagall said about finding Bale..."

Eve nodded her agreement. Moments later, though, 'finding Bale' became a moot point as the Third Year came up the path at a run, looking chagrined. He stopped when he saw Cambria and Eve. Eve elicited a minor shudder - he was clearly more than a little intimidated by the black-clad, quiet Potions Master - and he addressed Cambria as though she were alone.

"I'm so sorry, Professor! I know we're not supposed to go to the Shrieking Shack, but I was so curious. I wanted to see what was in there. I guess I was gone longer than I should've been, because my friends left and I guess everyone's looking for me?"

"All's well that ends well, Bale," Cambria said, with a slight disapproving shake of her head for form's sake. "The Shrieking Shack is dangerous - and I don't just mean magically. You're lucky you didn't fall through a rotten floor or have the ceiling cave in on you. Go tell McGonagall you're safe. And for goodness sake, be more careful next time!"

"I will, Professor! Thank you, Professor!" the lad continued his hasty passage back to the castle.

Cambria smiled at Eve. "All's well that ends well indeed. Let's go see what Rosemary needed."

Eve nodded, but was more pensive. The Shrieking Shack had seen some monumental events in the Dark Lord's reign. The thought of students curiosity-seeking there made her unaccountably nervous. Any true danger was long past. And yet...

And yet. It seemed the past kept circling back.

Upon arrival to the cottage, they knocked on the door. Eve glanced around outside but saw nothing amiss. She wondered why their friend had summoned them.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

She wished she could convince herself that she was just being paranoid, but Rosemary knew all too well that her gut feelings were usually right. Soon enough, her gut would have confirmation, she supposed as she let her friends inside.

"Sorry about the locks - I didn't get a chance to tell you last night that I caught some professors and students trying to break in. They were after Keeva. I think that this rat was their next attempt to make her unwelcome. I was wondering, first, if either of you recognized it as belonging to a student, and second, Eve if you could tell me about what poison was used on it. I want to make sure I dispose of it safely."

The rat in question still lay on the floor. As much as she didn't want to bring up the trouble of last night, she thought it was only fair that they know how some of their fellow professors felt about the acromantula's presence.

"I was also passed a note. I initially read it as a friendly warning, but now...I'm not so sure that it isn't a threat. I don't know what to think."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

Eve gingerly levitated the rat with her wand, not wanting to risk any of them touching it directly. She brought the unfortunate creature closer to her face, examining it carefully and then sniffing the air. The creature's resemblance to Shelby was unnerving, but Eve forced herself to remain businesslike. She had to keep her wits to solve the murder.

"Strychnos nux-vomica," Eve finally said. Then she clarified, "Strychnine. From a plant."

Cambria frowned. "A plant? Maybe the rat ate something accidentally outdoors..."

Eve shook her head. "Unlikely. Doesn't grow in Britain. Asia, Australia - not Europe. The Herbology professor probably grows it in the greenhouse but that's not..." She paused a moment, collecting her thoughts, making her phrasing understandable. "It's fast. A rat that ate something in the greenhouse couldn't get here before expiring. It's too far."

Cambria nodded thoughtfully. "Who at Hogwarts would know how to use that plant as a poison?"

"Me," Eve said calmly. Everyone knew she'd been the Dark Lord's poison manufacturer. There was no reason to deny it.

"Who else besides you?" Cambria pushed gently.

"Um. Anyone. It's not specialized knowledge. Even Muggles know strychnine. Not hard to figure out it's from the plant. Sorry. Doesn't really narrow it down," Eve replied apologetically.

"That's okay," Cambria assured her. "It was a worth a try, but that's okay. The rat... I'm sorry, Rosemary, but it probably was someone's pet. I don't recognize it, but if they really wanted to get rid of Keeva, they would try to discredit her by making it look like she ate a child's beloved pet rat. We'll need to find out if anyone is missing one - gently, of course."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"Discredit her and kill her all in one blow." There, she said it. Her suspicions out in the open. "Thank-you for identifying the poison, Eve. We should be able to clean the poor thing up for identification by the owner before we bury it."

Rosemary moved to the window, as though the perpetrator would be standing there. She sucked her lips against her teeth, trying to keep a level head. Someone had tried to kill Keeva while she was 'safely' within Rosemary's quarters. Likely one of the people who had stormed her door last night, but she couldn't be certain. Obviously, people were uncomfortable with the acromantula's presence, but Rosemary wasn't about to give up. No, Keeva wanted to stay here and people needed to learn to get along with things they were unnaturally afraid of.

"I can't begin to say how disappointed I am that someone here would do such a thing. Until I can sort out the people who are so frightened by her, I think I should keep Keeva with me at all times." She sighed and turned back toward the room, leaning against the wall. "At least it is the weekend. It gives us some time. What are you two up to? Anything fun? I do hope you're not planning to waste the whole thing grading papers."

The easy smile had returned to her face, though inside her heart was pinched with worry.
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