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

It appeared Anthony Bale was as entranced by Honeydukes as Professor Bain had once been. They found him at the back of the store, past the displays of chocolate frogs and fizzing whizzbees, licorice wands and cauldron cakes, jelly slugs and ice mice...

Bale was staring, as if enraptured, at a display of candy flowers. The roses and daisies were opening and closing of their own accord, an impressive display of culinary illusion magic.

Suddenly, a feeling of foreboding hit Eve almost like a physical chill. "Something wrong!" she said softly, but urgently.

She had no time to elaborate on that thought - and no idea what had triggered her panic, even if she had.

Bale turned to face them with a smile on his face. "Hello again, Professors," he said amiably. "Sorry for running off again. I just lose track of time."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

There were kids dreaming their lives away in candy shops - and then there was Anthony Bale. There was something just not quite right about this picture. Perhaps it was the surely impressive, but perhaps not entirely all-consuming flowers, or the way he was all alone in this little corner of the store. It wasn't just Eve's reaction and pronouncement that gave her this strange feeling. And then there was his reaction; it did little to assuage her fears.

She didn't want to frighten the lad, but she also wanted to let him know that he was in some trouble. It was all fun and games until you got caught. Rosemary managed to keep her arms from folding across her chest, but one managed to prop itself up on her hip despite her best efforts.

"Mister Bale. One does not simply end up in town by 'losing track of time'. Leaving school grounds without permission is punishable, you know. I trust you have some explanation?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Cambria Morehouse

"I'm so sorry, Professor!" Bale said. The face beneath his untidy fringe of yellow hair was the perfect picture of contrition and sheepishness. "I just needed a bit of a break. School gets so overwhelming! The lessons can be so difficult. And the other children are unkind sometimes."

Cambria frowned slightly. Was Eve's sense of unease just catching? Because now she felt it too. It started as a nebulous feeling, then calcified into certainty as Bale talked about the 'other children' in his class. Bale was a Third Year, which made him roughly thirteen or fourteen years old. What teenage boy referred to himself and his classmates as 'children'?

Was she overthinking this? Just trying to see what Eve saw? She didn't think so. She thought her reaction would be the same even if Eve hadn't said anything.

But what were they to do? They couldn't just refuse to take Bale back to Hogwarts because he was behaving oddly. Leaving him at the candy store wasn't an option.

"Very well, Bale," she said briskly. "Let's get you back to the school. I suspect Headmistress McGonagall will have some rather pointed questions for you when we return."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

While her face retained its mien of mild displeasure, her mind's eye narrowed as Bale spoke. He just didn't sound like a teenager - at least not one from this decade. The way every statement was hedged, and yes, the lack of the word 'sucks', had aroused her suspicion. Of what, for certain, she didn't know, but as the four of them made their way out of the candy shop, she knew she couldn't just take the boy to Hogwarts without at least checking a few items off the list.

Rosemary wasn't one to leap to conclusions, especially not to outrageous conclusions, but she felt prompted to act on the most outrageous one her mind could draw. She wished she could warn the other two before she cast the spell, but she didn't want to tip off Bale if she was correct - nor did she wish to look ridiculous if she was wrong. Bale was a minor, after all, and it wouldn't do for someone to see a professor casting a spell on the boy even if it wasn't one that would harm him.

She hung back at the entrance to the store and let Cambria, Eve and Anthony step out into the open street. It was fairly quiet at mid-morning, most people were at work by now and it was not yet time for the customary mid-morning break. Rosemary discreetly removed her wand from its holster and whispered,"Revelio".
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers

Nothing happened... magically.

But Bale turned in his tracks, and for just a moment he fixed Rosemary with a look of pure, blinding hatred, before his face returned to cheerful neutral.

"Interesting idea, Professor," Bale said with a smile. "That would have been convenient, wouldn't it?"

Eve's brain started working furiously. Rosemary's spell would have revealed the truth about a person who was also concealing themselves with a spell. But a spell wasn't the only way.

"Why..." Eve said haltingly. "...Hurry back? You didn't get a chance to eat any candy, Bale. Let's get some."

"No thank you, Professor," Bale said, turning his grin to the Potions Master. "I'm not really hungry."

"Then how about." Eve went on. "The Shrieking Shack? You wanted to see it. Didn't you? Can't get in trouble if your teachers take you there on a field trip."

"No, Professor," Bale replied, his tone becoming noticeably cooler. "I think not. Not today. You're right - we'd better hurry back to Hogwarts and see the Headmistress before she gets even angrier."

Eve hesitated. Bale took a step toward her, and she instinctively pulled back.

"Oh, and Professors," Bale went on. "Just in case you're thinking of doing anything foolish. I assure you, if you raise a wand against me again, I'll make sure Eve is back in Azkaban before nightfall. If any of you attack a student, she is never going to see the light of day again. Do I make myself clear?"
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

She dropped her arm, allowing the arm of her robe to envelop her wand, smothering the visible threat even as she quelled the rising fear inside of her. The look Bale, no - whoever that was, it wasn't Bale - gave her made her heart nearly stop. This was it. A no-win situation. The last thing they should do would be to take this person to Hogwarts as requested. But how could they detain them without making it look like three professors were attacking a child?

Of course, this likely wasn't just any random person seeking entry into Hogwarts. It was someone who knew they could single out Eve, which reduced the list to only the most dangerous of persons. Which meant that really, the best option was to do exactly what was asked of them - because that would allow the three professors to keep this person in sight.

"Very well, Master Bale, let's go. It's not a far walk but we'd best be underway."

Besides, once on school grounds, Rosemary had a few other forces she could call into play.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Cambria Morehouse

"Wise decision, Professors," Anthony Bale - or whoever he was - said with perfectly placidity. "I think I'm quite ready to go home."

Apparently the boy had found the time and pocket money to purchase some candy after all. He began eating a candy rose as they walked, slowly pulling off the petals and putting them into his mouth with languid fingers.

Cambria's mind was still racing. Something wasn't right. Something definitely wasn't right. Bale wasn't acting like himself... or like a teenage boy at all. And it hadn't escaped her notice that he'd referred to Eve by her first name. Of course, that could be simply disrespect - but he'd said it so casually, without thinking, his focus on the threat rather than how he addressed a Professor. It added one more piece of evidence to a stack that seemed piled too high to ignore.

Bale followed along sedately enough until they got to the school. As soon as they were through the gates, though, he suddenly took off at a run.

"Bye, Professors!" he yelled over his shoulder. "Gotta go see old McGonagall like you told me! See you later!"

Of that, Cambria had little doubt.
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

As she watched 'Bale' run off across the lawn, she gave no visual indication that his words had landed. Her steps were the same measured pace. The robes swished and danced around her ankles. The child was a fair pace off before she spoke to her friends.

"As much as I would dearly love to string him up by his ankles, I think he may not be our primary concern." She stopped, stuffing her hands into her pockets and turning towards the other two. "I think we can all agree that *that* was not the Bale we know and love. Our focus should be on the real Anthony Bale. We'll warn the Headmistress of course, but other than that, I'm not sure it will be safe for the child if we tip our hand any further."

She bit her lip, glancing back toward town. A rare sign of remorse from the otherwise self-assured professor. "It was stupid of me to try that right in the village. Not only does he know we suspect something is up...it may have put Bale in danger."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Eve Travers and Cambria Morehouse

Eve shook her head. "Probably not. Not in danger. Not yet."

She glanced toward the castle as if to make absolutely certain the impostor was still running that direction, not standing right behind her. After confirming that he was, her voice took on a more confident tone and her words came more quickly and comfortably as she warmed up to a subject she knew well.

"I think your spell was on the right track. It would have worked if he was transfigured by a spell. But I think he took a potion. Polyjuice."

"There isn't a way to reverse polyjuice potion, is there?" Cambria asked, though she was pretty sure she remembered the answer.

"Right," Eve said. "But it wears off fast. Have to take a dose every hour. That's why I'm sure the real Anthony Bale is still alive - and why this person won't kill him unless there's no other option. You have to use a piece of the person. Hair, fingernail, that sort of thing. If you want to keep it up for long, you need a living person. A corpse would rot. Sorry if that's harsh, but it's good news for Bale."

Cambria nodded. "Good news indeed. So we just have to catch this person taking polyjuice."

Eve nodded. "Easier said than done, though. The person will be very sneaky, and probably carry it on them somewhere. We could try. Or we could look for Bale. Don't know where to start looking, though."
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts)

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Rosemary Bain

"Well, I can have Lucie tail our friend there - maybe he has a spot he sneaks off to dose, if nothing else. But I really do think that finding the real Bale is a priority. Not only do we need to make sure the boy is safe, but without a source, whoever it is can't make more Polyjuice."

There was still the matter of where to look - and of notifying McGonagall. Two too many places to be at once.

"Perhaps I should go find Lucie and inform the Headmistress that something might be amok. As for finding Bale, I think we should focus on the places he went when we know for sure that Bale was Bale. Easier said than done, I suppose. Though, perhaps a quick look inside the Shrieking Shack might be a good place to start. There were rumours that he was interested in going...perhaps he went and something happened to him there."
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