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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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Cambria Morehouse

Bale regarded Rosemary with wide, puzzled eyes.

"I don't remember," he said worriedly.

"That's alright," Cambria said. "You've been through a lot. It's not surprising that you're confused." She wondered if the boy had hit his head - or if Darren had hit him. That wouldn't surprise her, and would explain the confusion.

Bale shook his head. "I don't remember... who are you? Who are all of you? Where am I?"

"We're your teachers," Cambria said. "You're safe. You're at Hogwarts."

"...Hogwarts...?" Bale repeated, uncomprehending.

Cambria looked at Eve and Rosemary. "Oh dear," she said.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

Oh dear, indeed. Spell, potion or trauma? Combination thereof?

"It's alright, it's alright. How about we start with what you know. Do you remember your name? Maybe name the last thing you remember."

She still wanted to get the boy out of there and to someplace safer, but if he was in this confused state...he may not wish to go. The last thing they needed was a scene. A scene that Darren might be able to use to his advantage. She poked her head out of the room, located Lucie and nodded at the jackdaw.

"I need you to go find that other Bale. Quietly. Let me know where he is."

The jackdaw bobbed her head and flew off. While she should be doing the looking, Lucie could cover more ground. Hopefully the man didn't recognize her...
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Cambria Morehouse

Anthony Bale's brow furrowed as he searched his memory. "I don't remember... not much... I think I live in a place with a lot of other kids?"

Cambria nodded encouragingly. "Yes, that's right," she said. As an aside to the others by way of explanation in case they didn't know, Cambria said, "Bale lives in a children's home when he isn't at school." Then addressing the boy again, she said, "What else do you remember?"

Bale closed his eyes. "I... I don't know. It's fuzzy. My name? I... I don't remember my name!"

It was clear he was starting to get alarmed. Cambria patted his hand reassuringly.

"It's okay," she said. "I know it's scary not to be able to remember, but you're going to be alright. Your name is Anthony Bale. You're at your school, Hogwarts. You will be safe here. I think something happened - you got injured, or sick. We're going to take you somewhere that can help."

"Hospital Wing?" Eve asked.

Cambria nodded. This was beyond what the three of them could accomplish, and tinkering with the boy's brain could do more harm than good. "We just have to make sure we don't have any... unwelcome visitors. Once Lucie confirms where Darren is, we'll move."

It wouldn't be long before Lucie would report that the Other Bale was in the owlery. What he was doing there was concerning, but at least he wouldn't interfere with getting Bale to the Hospital Wing.

"We'll need a way of protecting him," Cambria said. "Once Darren figures out what he's missing, Bale will be in danger."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"Hospital wing is certainly best. As for protecting young Bale here, I think our best bet is personal protection. Darren's an able wizard - I doubt charms and cants will slow him down. Of course, we need someone we trust - but we also need to chase down the man in question."

The owlery. She could only imagine what that man was doing there. Strange, but she didn't see Darren as someone who would work together with others - it seemed to her that he very much had a personal vendetta on his mind. No, she very much doubted he was at the owlery sending a missive to unseen cronies. So...maybe he was there to pick a message up, instead.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

Eve nodded as Rosemary spoke, but something was still troubling her.

"He won't stay as Bale," she said.

"He won't?" Cambria asked, surprised. "After all that trouble to kidnap Bale...?"

Eve shook her head. "That was..." She struggled for the word that would convey the conclusion she had reached. "...Convenience. You need to take polyjuice potion every hour, or you change back. You need a piece of the person, so it's easier to maintain if you have access to them. But you don't have to. It's more risky, but you can get pieces other ways - hair from their hairbrush or off their robes, or nail clippings from the rubbish bin. Risky because there's no guarantee it's the right person if you don't get it directly."

Cambria was catching on. "Yes, that's risky. But less risky than staying as the same person after someone recognizes the trick, right?"

Eve nodded. "Exactly. So he'll be someone else. To start with, he'll probably be someone from the Hufflepuff boys' dorm. Just because it's easier. He can go there as Bale, and get someone's comb or brush, or pick a hair off the shoulder of a robe they aren't wearing right now. But over time..." Her brow furrowed with worry. "Could be anyone in the school. Or the village. We'll have to be careful."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

"So what do we do?" Cambria asked worriedly, as they helped the still-addled Anthony Bale to the Hospital Wing. "We have to figure out which person is the intruder before Darren manages to do any more harm. But going person to person trying to lift the potion's effects..."

Eve shook her head. "We wouldn't be able to tell who we'd already checked, if he just changed is face again. But there are... options."

"Options?" Cambria repeated.

Eve nodded. "We could try to confront him in the owlery right now. Might work - three of us, one of him. But if he slipped away, we've really tipped our hand for nothing. Or, we could do what we were talking about - wait for him to steal from my ingredients stores and track him. But that would take time. Or..."

"Or?"

Eve thought for a moment. "McGonagall would have to help. But we could just make everyone sit in the Great Hall for sixty-one minutes. The potion wears off in an hour. And anyone who was missing, we'd know it was them. But of course, that would take a lot of coordination and Darren would definitely guess our plan."

Cambria considered for a moment. "What do you think we should do?" she asked Rosemary.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

She kept an eye on young Anthony as Eve laid out their options, a single crease in her forehead deepening as time passed. Abruptly, she turned to whisper in Lucie's ear. The jackdaw bobbed her head and flew silently out of the infirmary.

"I sent her to make sure Darren's still there - and to see if she can intercept the message he is either receiving or sending. I think we should take the fight to him. I am pretty sure we tipped our hand back in Hogsmeade. He knows we can't be too far behind him."

"Unless he thinks we're stupid." her brain finished.

"If we don't catch up with him, we should go with your Great Hall plan. Time is running out and I'd rather have eyes on the perpetrator than sit back and wait for his next move."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve nodded.

"Alright," Cambria agreed. "We'll get him to the Hospital Wing quickly, and then--"

She was interrupted by the arrival of a rather out of breath and flustered-looking Professor McGonagall.

"Oh, there you three are!" the Headmistress said. "And you've found Mr. Bale... again? What happened? You just located the lad in Hogsmeade a short time ago - did he run off again? But he looks awful..."

Bale was indeed a sorry sight. His clothing was dirty and disheveled. He was missing a shoe. His hair had been hacked indiscriminately and stuck out at odd angles. But more alarming, his expression was still blank, uncomprehending, and fearful.

"I think we'd best get him to the Hospital Wing," McGonagall finished, looking between the four of them with worried confusion.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"Yes, Headmistress. I'm afraid young Bale here is having a bit of trouble with his memory. The Hospital Wing is the best place for him. Would you be so kind?" While she fully intended to be as bold as she was, she also realized that it wasn't polite to do so and quickly added, "It's just that we're on the trail of the other Bale - the one we retrieved from Hogsmeade. I promise you we'll catch you up once we have him in hand."

Rosemary wasn't entirely certain why she didn't tell all. She trusted McGonagall. Of course she trusted that she was a capable witch. It was just...it seemed like there wasn't the time.

"We must be off. Please, Headmistress, just trust us to take care of this?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

"I'll go with you," Eve said.

McGonagall raised an eyebrow. "Professor Travers? Surely the Headmistress of this school is capable of escorting an injured student to the Hospital Wing. It seems your friends are in need of your help. I'm surprised you aren't choosing to give it to them."

Eve didn't react. She just calmly insisted. "Too dangerous for anyone to go somewhere alone. He could be anywhere."

McGonagall sighed. "Very well. You can be my chaperone if you insist, Professor Travers. Let's be off."

"Sorry," Eve said to Cambria and Rosemary, doubt suddenly evident in her voice. Was she making the wrong call? Leaving her friends in danger without her help? "I'll meet you soon."
Last edited by Monkey Kitty on Sun Mar 20, 2022 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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