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

The last night at the seashore, Eve lay curled up in a cocoon of blankets that Cambria had tucked around her before going to her own repose in sphinx form nearby - the Maledictus curse that Eve still fully intended to break for her. Wind whistled around the cottage outside, but inside was cozy and warm, with the last embers of a fire dying slowly on the hearth.

Eve realized she was the happiest she'd ever been.

She had two true friends in Rosemary and Cambria. Her son was back in her life, and had a girlfriend he adored. Eve had Shelby and Basil, too. Even the thought of returning to Hogwarts the next day didn't fill her with dread, because despite what a hard place it had been for her in childhood, now it was finally becoming a home.

The happiest she had ever been... she would cherish every moment of it.


***


When they arrived at the castle, Eve and Cambria unpacked their belongings, only to be interrupted by a rather flustered-looking McGonagall.

"I'm afraid we have misplaced Mr. Bale again," the headmistress said through pursed lips. "He is somewhere in the castle, but no one has seen him, and his housemates are becoming worried. It seems we must search for him yet again."

Eve managed not to comment that 'Bale has bailed,' and felt bad for thinking it at such a time. Still, she was sure the lad was fine. The castle had a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in, but not a tremendous amount of actual danger... for the most part. Though now that she thought about it, there were quite a few ways an overly curious Third Year might manage to imperil himself...

She and Cambria agreed to help look for the boy a second time. As Eve peered into an empty classroom, Auror Barclay suddenly appeared behind her, making her jump. He grabbed Eve by the wrist, pulled her into the classroom, and slammed the door behind them.

"What do you think you're doing?" Barclay snarled at her.

"Looking. For... student." Eve was having trouble forming sentences. Barclay intimidated her too much - not so much the man himself, but the power he wielded over her.

Barclay shook his head impatiently. "I don't mean right at this moment, and you know it."

Eve had not known it, and now had no idea what the conversation was about.

"Then... what?" she asked, genuinely baffled.

"Your parameters were communicated very clearly!" Barclay's face was livid pale, except for bright red spots on his cheeks. He brought his face very close to Eve's, and took a step toward her when she drew back. "You were not to have any unnecessary contact with the students or faculty! You had no reason to leave the castle! And then I find out you... went on holiday? You are a criminal on a tenuous parole, Travers. Very tenuous. Never forget that."

She didn't expect that he would actually hit her, so it took her by surprise when the backhand made her see stars.

Barclay puffed like he'd just run a marathon - seemingly as shocked as Eve that he had gone so far. He showed no remorse, though. His features hardened.

"You will tell no one about that. It's your word against mine, and I will see you behind bars immediately for lying about an Auror. Do you understand?"

Eve nodded, regarding him with wide eyes.

Barclay went on, "I think we have given you far too much leniency, Travers. From now on, you have no reason to leave the dungeons. Your classroom is there, as is your bedchamber - your own chamber. I do not want to hear any more reports that you're spending your nights in the Muggle Studies professor's room. As for your meals, I am sure the House Elves can manage to provide them in your quarters; there is no need for you to disrupt the Great Hall with your presence. You will remain in the dungeons at Hogwarts... or you will return to Azkaban. Is that clear?"

The thought of being trapped in the dungeons made Eve's heart beat faster with panic. But she told herself there was no need. She could still teach her classes. Her room was not a cell - it was warm, dry, and safe. Surely her friends would find excuses to come visit her from time to time. Hogwarts was much better than Azkaban. She needed to make sure she stayed here.

"I understand," Eve replied, in a voice that sounded rusty and distant.

Barclay departed without another word, leaving her leaning against the blackboard, gasping for breath and fighting back tears.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

The lights moving through the castle seemed oddly lively for a Sunday night, she thought as she put away her papers for the evening and started up the hill toward the grand building. Very lively. The woman quickened her pace, Lucie settling on her shoulder and Keeva bringing up the rear, close enough to touch the trailing edge of Rosemary's robes. It didn't take long to find out what the fuss was about - the first bundle of students she approached gave her as many details as they could before running off to continue their search. Rosemary spent a moment's pause in the hallway as the people flowed around her. Hadn't Cambria said something about a missing student before they left? That he'd been fine? Maybe if Cambria knew where he'd been found last time, they'd have an easier time figuring out where he'd gone to now.

Her steps ate up the stones as she searched for Cambria and Eve, knowing full well that they'd be in on the search and it seemed little use to look anywhere on the main floor where everyone else was running about. A nervous chitter from Keeva brought her up short. She turned and saw the acromantula staring off into a side corridor even as she ran into Rosemary's leg. Looking up, she caught nothing but the flare of a robe disappearing through the doorway into the night...but not just any robe. An Auror's robe. Dropping to the floor, she put an arm around the quivering acromantula.

"Keeva. Keeva listen. Did he have Eve with him? Did he take Eve?" The spider seemed to calm with her presence and communicated a negative answer. Rosemary's shoulders sagged in brief relief before they stiffened again. Just because he left didn't mean he hadn't dropped off some doomsday letter or something with the Headmaster. Now she really need to find her friends...for more than just the boy's sake. Standing, she questioned some students as the passed on whether they'd seen the other professors and got some vague directions she followed for lack of a better idea.

The corridors were oddly quiet in this part of Hogwarts, but perhaps it was because the rest of the halls were so awash with people. Perhaps it was the absence of pictures...there. Rosemary paused and listened carefully. She could have sworn she'd heard the sound of someone who was frightened - perhaps their lost student? Another choked sound seemed to be coming from the classroom she'd just passed. Slowly, she went back to the doorway and pushed it open, casting an illumination spell as she did so.

She was a bit surprised to find Eve, though also glad her friend was safe in the castle and not being toted off somewhere by the over-enthusiastic Auror. The smile had sprung to her face automatically when she'd seen Eve, but as she approached, the smile faded into concern, then shock, then anger. The latter emotion she attempted to stifle, not wanting to alarm Eve, but utterly distraught by what she could imagine happened. She did her best to soften her face and offered a hug.

"Barclay." Though she'd done her best to be calm, his name was spoken through grit teeth. "We saw him leave. He...he struck you, didn't he. I..."

Rosemary couldn't go on. The man was an insult to Aurors everywhere. He didn't deserve to be in power. He deserved to be in the prison he so faithfully patrolled. If he couldn't control his wand or his hands...Rosemary felt like he shouldn't be allowed to use either.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

Eve's eyes widened with fear, remembering what Barclay had said - if she told anyone what would happen, he'd accuse her of lying and lock her up.

"No one hit me!" she insisted fervently. "I fell. Over... a desk. Tripped. And fell over a desk. I have to go. I can't stay here. You can find me in the dungeons if you want."

Eve was suddenly very conscious that Barclay might not have left the school yet. He might come back to check whether she had followed his orders. He hadn't given her an exact timetable by which she had to be gone from here, but she doubted he would be lenient.

She turned and ran out of the classroom, making for the nearest staircase. Eve paused on the landing, her gaze drawn to the small window. Her fingers brushed the glass, and she sobbed as she caught a last glimpse of the sky. She wouldn't be seeing that for awhile. But she couldn't linger.

Her heart grew heavier as she descended the stairs into the dungeons.

What was the point of this exercise? Of having to live this way, holding her breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop? She could brew a potion. It would be easy. Go to sleep and never wake up...

She shook off the thought. Cambria still needed her to break the curse. Liam needed protection. And who would take care of Shelby and Basil?

Much as she might see her friendship as more of a liability than a benefit, she still had work to do. Oblivion would have to wait.

Eve went into her dungeon bedroom - where she'd only spent half a night so far, before Cambria found her wandering the halls in confusion. She needed to get used to it.

Her cloak still smelled like sea air. Eve carefully sealed it with a spell, trying to hold in the scent. It wouldn't last long, but it would be a small trace of freedom she would hold onto as long as she could.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"Eve, wait! Please wait!"

She didn't believe her excuses for a second. With Eve's sudden departure, Rosemary was even more certain of Barclay's involvement in the other woman's current state of mind. Entering the hallway, she realized she wasn't going to get any other information from her friend up here. And while there was a kid missing, this was an emergency too. Besides, this seemed to be becoming a habit...Rosemary couldn't help but think that maybe young Mr. Bale was just looking for attention.

"Lucie, please go find Cambria for me and get her down to the dungeons. I need to check up on Eve."

Keeva didn't need any instructions to follow Rosemary, the acromantula hot on the professor's heels as they took to the stairs in pursuit of Eve. While Eve's room was down there, she didn't blame her for not wanting to spend more time down there than required...so why the sudden change? What had Barclay told her that had her running for the dungeon like it was her solace?

Passing the classrooms, she reached Eve's door and knocked. "Eve? Are you alright? Can we talk?" Rosemary hoped Cambria would be along soon. She always seemed to know what to say and do to make Eve feel better. Besides, Rosemary was all too well aware of the anger burning in her toward the Auror. Anger didn't co-habitate with reassurance very well.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

Eve had cried - furiously, desperately, in aching sobs that had left her shaking and drained. It was over in moments, though. When she opened the door to Rosemary, her eyes were red and swollen, but her face was grim and composed.

"I need to find a new home for Shelby and Basil," she said without preamble. "They shouldn't be stuck down here in the dungeons. Shelby finally made it out of Azkaban, and Basil is just a baby. They need light and air. I want them to be happy. Can you help me find someone to look after them, now that... now that I can't give them what they deserve?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

Slowly, she reached out and set her fingertips on Eve's shoulders, transferring a gentle pressure through them as that alone could ground the woman before her. She ducked her head so she could look her in the eye.

"No, you don't. They need to stay with you because you are their person. Their caretaker. I think you need to take a deep breath and hang in there. You are not going to be stuck down here forever. I...we won't let that happen. You deserve freedom, Eve. I won't rest until you have it for real and that's a promise."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

"It's alright," Eve said. "It's not Azkaban."

Already, she was starting to distance herself from her previous life. Her brief life that was too good to last.

She would need to lock her door at night, she realized. Otherwise she might wander the halls again. The idea of locking herself in made her shudder. But it was necessary. She would get used to it.

"Best to just focus on my work. That's the only reason they brought me here."

Cambria arrived a moment later, a little out of breath. "What happened?" she asked. "Why did I just see Barclay storming out of the school?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"But it's not the only reason you should stay!" she blurted before she could get a better hold of herself. Cambria's arrival was a welcome distraction - well, more of a welcome focal point. Eve was seemingly accepting of whatever it was Barclay had told her, which she suspected had something to do with never leaving the lower levels of Hogwarts ever again. That simply would not do.

Rosemary turned to allow Cambria access to Eve's room, herself barely shy of barging in. "I have no idea why he'd be storming when he's the one causing damage! The nerve of the man. Please Eve, what exactly did he say to you?"

She wanted to know because then she'd have specific points to bring up before...who, exactly? Who could she talk to about an over-ambitious Auror? The Minister, likely, but these would be some serious allegations to bring up without much of a leg to stand on. Unless...unless they circumvented Barclay entirely....

"Pardon." The word spoken without context was quickly followed by an excited explanation. "We need to fight to get you pardoned. If we can do that, Barclay won't have any jurisdiction over you and he'll have to leave you alone by law! Then you'll really be free to live your life outside Azkaban, outside the dungeon, outside Hogwarts...truly free."

Her face almost glowed with fervour and her words left no room for doubt that this would happen. Of course the how might take some doing, but anything would be worth it to see Eve get to truly live.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

"Barclay was angry with me," Eve said, looking away and rubbing her wrist. "He was upset that we went to the seashore. It was worth it. It was... an experience I will never forget. But Barclay said I shouldn't have. I'm not allowed to do things like that. Now I have to stay in the dungeons. I can't go to the Great Hall anymore, or outside... just my room and my classroom."

For a moment, Rosemary's idea offered a glimpse of hope. Was it really possible? Could she really be free?

Eve couldn't even imagine what that would be like. It sounded like heaven. But it also seemed... simply impossible.

She shook her head. "I'm not innocent," she said softly. "I did what they said I did. I deserve... all of this. I deserve to be punished for what I did. I'm fortunate not to be in Azkaban. I can't ask for more."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

Rosemary was seething. The limitations Barclay had levelled on Eve...it was unfair. Beyond unfair. It was inhumane.

She really did have herself to blame. She should have known better than to suggest a trip so far off the school grounds. She should have thought ahead...

To what? To what Auror Barclay would do when he found out that a woman who had been released from prison was doing things regular people did? No. That wouldn't have been fair to Eve - to see her friend only in the light of what other people thought of her would have done her a greater disservice than Rosemary's failure to protect her from the Auror afterwards.

It had been the right thing to do.

"I think you've served your time, Eve. You have been punished. I just don't think they deserve the right to own the rest of your life for what you did. You've paid the price already, Eve. It's about time someone said that to the powers that be. I'm no lawyer, but I do happen to know one or two. You may not be ready to ask for more - but I certainly will."

She stopped here, getting a handle on her emotions and letting her gaze travel around the room while she did so. The idea struck.

"And in the meantime, you don't have to be down here alone. There are plenty of rooms on this level - I'll move down here to keep you company." Lucie might not be terribly happy about that, but Rosemary was certain that she could whip up some sort of system to make it so the bird could get outside whenever she wanted and vice versa. She might lose her coveted room in the tower, but it would be worth it to alleviate some of Eve's loneliness.
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