|Scene Title||A Distinctly Disorderly Meeting|
|Synopsis||Dumbledore is called away to a meeting of the Board of Governors they won't let him out of. Siobhan is left to run the meeting and debrief the Order. Things go … interestingly.|
|Location||Room of Requirement|
|Date||October 22, 1995|
|Watch For||Oh god, what not to watch for. Um. SO MUCH AWESOMENESS all wrapped up in one scene. These guys were EPIC awesome.|
|Logger||I am the Bad Wolf|
Early Sunday afternoon is usually a fairly quiet time around the school. Today is no exception, despite the angry-looking blonde climbing the grand staircase to the seventh floor. The thundercloud on her expression doesn't lift even as she paces back and forth the requisite three times in front of just the right wall. When the door appears, she yanks it open, steps inside and looks around. Suddenly the idea of this meeting just got a whole lot more bearable.
For this, the Room has almost outdone itself. Probably due in part to the person who required it, it looks … well, it looks like the room for a war council. The walls are high and the ceiling has some very Baroque-looking flying buttresses, but it's hard to see the stonework when there are maps and charts and rosters and a few wanted posters that just might feature Harrison Ford. On the opposite end of the door is a massive - yet empty - fireplace with a strange sort of pedal set into the wall, but the centerpiece of this room is undoubtedly the large table made of birch wood, stained so dark that it almost looks black. High-backed chairs line all four sides, each one upholstered in rich violet fabric.
Letting her violet robes - funnily enough almost the same color as the upholstery - swoosh dramatically behind her, she strides to the head of the table and collapses into the chair at the head. Sideways. So that she's got her knees hooked over one arm of the chair and her elbow braced on the other arm. It's a position of utter carelessness that couldn't possibly be comfortable, except that it is.
Molly arrived fairly early, using the visit to the castle to 'check in on' her children, including Harry. She sat with them at lunch, beaming at them, bringing them a huge care package. She isn't completely unaware of things. With several cautions and directives thrown at all of them and a heartfelt, "Take care of yourself, Harry-dear," she heads out, appearing to leave completely. However, she treks up the stairs to the seventh floor, entering the Room of Requirement a little out of breath.
"Oh, my. It's too bad Arthur can't make it. He'd love … Is that an aeropal — whatsit?" Mrs. Weasley tilts her head to look at the pictures. She takes a seat near the front on one side, just far enough back that she isn't 'in anyone's way, dear.' She sits somewhat impatiently, waiting for the meeting to begin in earnest.
Sirius arrives on the heels of Mrs Weasley, looking a bit sour faced. Kreacher yet again has put him in a bit of a temper. Fortunately, sneaking his way into the castle so that the students aren't disturbed by his presence has calmed him down. Some. He tries to not eye Molly with any resentment that she got to have lunch with his godson instead of him. Fortunately the mood he's in disguises any ill feelings as he nods at the witch before taking a seat towards the middle of the table.
"You forgot Sean Connery dear. He was in that movie too you know." … What? Minnie's watched a few muggle movies in her time! And, /Sean Connery/. McGonagall's eyes sweep up and around the rather interesting setting for the meeting, before she sweeps in the rest of the way and nods primly at everyone who has already gathered.
Watching the members of the Order trickle into the room in ones and twos - and the occasional group of three - Siobhan heaves a heavy sigh and pushes herself to her feet, actually pulling the chair properly out this time and sitting in it the way it was intended to be sat in. McGonagall gets a wry grin and a snort. "Yeah, but they'd already caught him by this part." Still, she taps her wrist on the arm of the chair and with her tiny willow wand now in hand, conjures a picture of Sean Connery chasing the birds with his umbrella right in front of the Gryffindor Head. "Better?" Her grin is just a bit more genuine and there's a look of gratitude shot to the old wildcat for the assistance in pulling her out of at least part of her funk before things actually have a chance to begin.
She clears her throat and looks down at her hands, lacing the fingers together on the tabletop. "Dumbledore won't be able to make it today." Realizing that she probably can't be heard over the low murmur of conversation, she clears her throat and raises her voice to what she now thinks of as 'teaching tone'. "Professor Dumbledore was called to a last-minute meeting with the board of governors and could not get out of it." She has to grin a little bit, here, almost to herself. "Gave 'em a good go of it, though." Watching paunchy, middle-aged men get rings run around them is always fun. "But since most of the information that needs to get out today came in my last report, he told me to just …" She shrugs, here. "Go on with things as planned. I'll try and make this as quick and painless as possible." See? Joke attempt.
Having never been to Hogwarts, it may be simplifying it to say that Valentina got lost trying to get there. Actually, Valentina got lost trying to get to Scotland. Once she managed to accomplish that and find Jack, things went somewhat better. He managed to get her to Hogwarts, and managed to get her into the correct room, even — she is prattling on in a low voice about how confusing the stairs are, and how did he even find this room and where did it come from — when the Russian woman actually gets a glimpse of the actual room, and stops dead in her tracks, covering her mouth.
"Details." Minerva huffs, lips twitching as she tries not to smile at the conjuring. Instead, she waves her hand in front of one of the cups at the table to it's… a Sean Connery mug. So there. Far be it for her to wink at Siobhan though, so she settles into her seat with the utmost dignity and doesn't look even the least bit surprised at what the young woman says of Dumbledore. "Those Governor's wouldn't know sense if it…" Oh, right. Report. Her seriousness is fully in place when poor Valentina arrives. Late. With Jack. Both *late*. And true to her nature, she fixes both with a look of censure for the tardy arrival.
Sirius doesn't bother with the pretense of sitting properly, or at least in an upright adult manner. Slouching comfortably and casually in his seat, he nods to Siobhan for the news. The governors must be putting up a monster of a fight if Dumbledore couldn't get out of the meeting. The pictures of this Connery and Ford persons draw just a passing glance, as they don't really concern him. Unless they are dark wizards who need putting down. The sour mood of Black's lifts when Jack enters and he raises a hand in a wave while grinning at the man.
Jack half-leads, half-follows the Russian woman into the room. He scans around. "Rosie!! It's a bright and cheerful greeting. Never mind that he's totally interrupting the meeting. "Where's Dumbledore?" His voice isn't as cheerful when it comes to speaking the Headmaster's name. Someone near him whispers what Sio's just said. "Oh. Right." He nods, and takes a seat, gesturing to the seat beside him for the blonde witch to sit beside him. "I'm sorry, Professor," Jack feels this need to say. "She got lost." That's right. Blame the witch. He settles in and waits for someone to speak.
"Who is this Sean, dear?" Molly asks Minerva in an aside. "Is he an old friend of yours?" She notes the man on the mug, and smiles a little."Wouldn't hex him for cracker crumbs, now would I?" This is spoken softly, but since no one else is speaking at the moment, it probably carries. It may be a good thing none of her elder sons are here. She tsks unhappily at Jack, shaking her head in a very disapproving way. However, the witch he brings with him gets a look. "Welcome to the Order. Who is she, dear?" She looks over to Jack for the answer, though anybody could tell her, that'd be okay.
For once, it's Sirius who gets the grateful look. His silent assent - whether it comes from Kreacher in a bad mood or not - is a godsend when one considers the alternatives. Taking courage from the fact that no one's argued with her taking charge so far, Siobhan inhales deeply and stands - only to see Jack dragged in by an unfamiliar blonde witch. Some things never change. Pointing to an empty seat, Siobhan gives her older brother a very stern - and he might notice, also nervous - Not Now, Jack look and then turns back to address the table. Just because she's also got the stress of leading this shindig doesn't mean she'll get cut any slack if she messes up this part. It's that pressure that seems to put Siobhan in her element.
"The first thing that I probably should explain is that I'm, you know, here. In three dimensions." She doesn't spare Jack an apologetic look just now for having kept this part from him. She couldn't hold it together if she did. "The counter-curse was located in the private study of the man I honestly believe is as big a threat as Voldemort himself, if not more so." There's a pause to let that reality sink in. "I will debrief you all on this new enemy of ours, but first I think it would be proper to welcome back one of our own." A smug sort of smile tugs at her mouth. "I owe him my life and you owe him your respect." Her gaze travels across each face in turn, and if it lingers a little longer on Sirius' well… At least she doesn't say anything out loud. A familiar snap of her wand emits a swirling mist that coalesces into a familiar hyena. "Ed, love. Please go fetch our guest." With a soundless bark and a lolling ghostly tongue, the hyena gallumphs down the table and leaps off through the closed doors. If Siobhan's posture is suddenly tense as though ready for a fight - or a duel - then maybe she can be forgiven once 'their guest' is made known.
"We've had lunch a time or two." Minerva whispers back, glancing at the mug again. "Such a shame he's muggle through and through." Which is her way of agreeing with the comments about hexes and crackers. Yes indeed. Does she nudge Molly mischeivously? Maaaaaaybe. Hard to tell since she still has that stern and uncompromising expression on her face. "It's disrespectful to be late. Don't let it happen again." Valentina is spared a slightly softer look, but only because she hasn't offered a flimsy excuse. Yet.
Once Siobhan has spoken again though, Minerva opens her mouth as if to say something - probably like 'Out with it! I want names!'. But, the promise of a debfriefing has her abruptly shutting it again. And then the wait. The interminable wait while another is fetched to be brought in. Note, however, that her expression hasn't moved. She's going for the opposite of the DADA class reaction today, see.
With a familiar swish and swirl of robes, Severus Snape strides into the room. He nods his greeting to the room at large, then greets Siobhan with a drawn out, "Miss Noble." He swirls his robes around him, and sits down near, of all people, Jack Noble. There is only one seat between them. Since he's been paying attention to what everyone is saying, he gives verbal assent to Siobhan's words. "Indeed. The man who cast this spell is a menace nearly equal his master." His eyes darken slightly with some unknowable emotion, and then he falls silent, letting the others digest his presence and their words.
Sirius probably already knows what's coming based on the look that Siobhan is communicating. The animagus tenses and his knuckles whiten as fists are formed. And when the suspicion is confirmed, an audible growl is heard from Black. (At least he restrained himself from hexing first, or transforming and going for the throat.) So far, he's behaving. Even without Dumbledore or Lupin to hold his leash.
And on the other side of Jack Noble is Valentina Long Unpronounceable Name — okay, that's Ilariyovna Baryshnikov, but you can also call her Ms. Lancaster — who looks, if nothing else, quite curious at Snape's arrival. And choice of seat. She is almost leaning over Jack to peek at him, but is at least doing so politely, and at least she spends enough of her time staring at Jack that hopefully he will not be bothered. "Quite the entrance you make, sir," she says softly in strongly Russian-accented English, and then goes back to pretending she understands what is going on here. (The ashwinder was much easier to handle.)
Molly's reaction to Snape's entrace is a gasp, a glance between the two Slytherins, and then a "Oh, you poor dear." Which snake the sentiment is intended for is not clear. Maybe both. "He's almost as dangerous as You-Know-Who? Surely not." In Molly's mind, Voldemort is The Ultimate Evil (TM) and everything else is on a scale below that. It doesn't occur to her that sometimes sanity can be scarier than insanity. Valentina gets a smile. "That's just our Severus." He's been dramatic since Molly's known him.
One can almost see the fine tremble of Minerva's hands before she grips her chair at Snape's entrance. She even -stands up- and watches him walk to a chair and sit next to Jack, her gaze quite unblinking and undoubtedly both cautious and displeased at being left in the dark about whatever it is that's happened. Sirius' growl forces her eyes to shift his way with a firm stare. (( Now would certainly be a poor time to have to shift to my animaguus form)) - Did she say that aloud? No, no, but how obvious it might be to see her think it.
"Severus." she says, finally, asserting her seniority amongst the people gathered in order to speak up quickly. "Miss Noble, I require an immediate explanation. I will not do you the disservice of assuming anything other then that he…" Glance at Snape. "..is deserving of his place at the table, but in the future you would be wise to provide the details before such an entrance! /Proceed/." With -all- of the information, one assumes.
Jack tips his head to Snape and says nothing, though he does shoot a narrow-eyed glare Sirius' way. He knows his friend's penchant for snapping and growling at the potions master. But he owes too much to the man for him to tolerate much of the normal snarling from even one of his 'heroes.' He grins at Valentina's words, then turns all his attention toward Siobhan. At least for a moment. When Minerva speaks, Jack turns to face her, then rubs a hand across his face. He'd offer his own additions to the 'proof', but Rosie needs to do this herself. If she needs him, he'll speak up. And gladly.
There's something almost proud in the look that Siobhan gives Sirius. There aren't any dog treats on hand, though. Oops! Knew something was forgotten. The growl isn't the worst thing he could have done by far, but it's enough of a warning for his legendary temper that Sio wastes no time. Minerva's reaction is … a little more unnerving, but it only reinforces Siobhans' need to explain. "Severus went through great personal pain and put himself directly into the line of fire in order to secure the counter-curse." Yes, she uses his first name on purpose. Yes, she's allowed to do that. His return to 'Miss Noble' instead of her proper title or even her proper name earns him a sharp look of hurt quickly closed off. Now's not the time, but he'll definitely pay for that later.
"If he hadn't acted as he did…" She looks from Minerva to Sirius, narrowing her eyes in a silent warning. "If he hadn't lied to the Dark Lord's face, I would have been dead by the New Year." That's news to even Jack, and since she's pointedly not looking at Snape just now, she seems to expect some level of surprise from her audience. When she looks again at Minerva, there's a little bit of softening to her expression, but since Baby Noble is still expecting battle, it's not much. "I'm sorry, Minerva. We all felt it was best to deliver the news to everyone at once, so that rumors wouldn't even have a chance to form." Here, that sharp glare swings to Dung, who doesn't have the good sense to cower.
There's a twitch of his fingers as just briefly, Sirius harbors thoughts of going for his wand. Feeling the heat of eyes upon him, he places his hands on the table in clear view. See? The dog is being a good boy right now. Even if his teeth are clenched, and another growl 'sneaks' out. If looks could shoot hexes and curses, that's the sort of expression Sirius is flashing in Snape's direction, before tearing it away. Because frankly, one could go blind if looking at Snape too long. "I'm sure he did," he snarls softly behind clenched teeth, turning his attention to Siobhan.
Snape is just that bright, Sirius. He appears a little embarrassed at the praise being heaped upon him by his student-turned-colleague, but it passes, and he turns a fully composed expression to Minerva. "Minerva, Siobhan is right." He flicks his glace toward the woman in question as he uses her given name. "The curse was an especially tricky one. For an extremely short period of time, it might keep one out of trouble, but as time went on, especially if no one knew she was alive and aware…" He would scowl deeply at Dumbledore right about now, but the old man isn't here, so he just scowls for everyone to see. "She would begin to lose her most basic essence. It is the reverse of the natural order of magical portraiture. Instead of having the true form, it is merely the copy. When the true form is forced into a realm not made for it, it causes interminable damage. I believe we have prevented most of it, but only time will tell." Therein lies the cost of her … information. He does not speak to his own mistakes of running away during the battle in Hogsmeade, but merely focuses on the information needed now.
"The man who cast this spell is extremely intelligent, Mrs. Weasley. The Dark Lord has the intelligence to cause damage, but this man will not only cause damage, but he will incite terror in the process." Voldemort does that, but it's a matter of degrees. "It was his idea to bring a body into the school to make it appear that someone had died in the attack that harmed Miss Noble." Sirius merely gets a black look. Snape will take the high road. For now. When he finishes his commentary, he turns to Valentina, a look of confusion, surprise and resignation cross Snape's face, and he replies, "I have found it is highly effective when used in the presence of students, Miss…?" What's her name? She's not been properly introduced. He gives Siobhan a warning glare for this oversight, blaming her, instead of where the blame really does lie. With Jack.
Although the explanation does much to take the wind from her sails, Minerva is still decidedly displeased about the way things have been disclosed. "We can discuss the matter of timing later." she concedes, with enough steel in her tone to suggest she still isn't quite willing to let thatr part go. I mean, hello. Is everyone -trying- to kill her off by giving her a stroke or something??
And while she's lowering herself back into her seat, slowly, she is also fixing her gaze on Snape to listen intently to his explanation. "I see." The details, at least, appear to have captured her attention as fully as possible, with her brow crinkling exponentially with each added piece of information and a scowl showing up that almost rivals the potion masters' own. Her frustration at the situation they find themselves in is palpable. "Then you must obviously proceed to debrief us, Siobhan. Without delay." Pause. "Or, rather, without delay once your tardy brother introduces the young lady he dragged in here with him. Or perhaps she can do that herself?" Arched eyebrow centers on Valentina now. Welcome to the spotlight.
Jack picks up on Snape's comment, and frowns as he considers how to do this. "That's my fault. This is my friend Valentina Ilariyovna Lancaster. I met her on the job, and then got a hold of her again to help with a problem that came up. We took care of that little problem for you, mate." He grins unrepentantly at Sirius, then seems to realize this is not the time for such teasing. "I mean…" Especially when his former Head of House is staring at him like that. "Valentina, this is the Order. That's my sister Siobhan, that's Severus Snape — as was said, and that's Minerva McGonagall. You probably will recognize her name." And Minerva may recognize hers. They are on a List somewhere together. "Everybody else, you can meet later." He grins, and gestures to his sister. "Carry on, Rosie."
When McGonagall has everyone looking at her it takes a lot for Valentina to not sink under the table she's sitting at. Or change forms, considering it's all the rage in this crowd. Before she speaks up to properly name herself, once she's gotten out of the brief moment of total embarrassment from being the center of attention (at least she isn't a blusher), she actually smiles. "Yes," says Valentina, first, as regards Minerva. "Valentina or Leta is fine, if the whole thing is a bit much," she adds. Because Ilariyovna is, of course, part of her first name. Technically.
Molly listens to the words, and nods. "Welcome, Valentina." She smiles broadly. "What a lovely name. It's rather like Celestina." Who is, of course, one of Molly's favorite witches ever. She listens to Snape's words about Siobhan's state, and is shocked. "We had no idea, dear." Oh, dear. "I'm certain Albus kept that in mind, though." Her unswerving faith in the Headmaster makes its untimely appearance.
Sirius finds it easier to forget that Snape is present if he just ignores the man, which is incredibly difficult. It's also safer for everyone involved if he just keeps quiet for now. A curt nod is the response Sirius gives to Jack for the problem referred to, and an incline of the head is given to Valentina. Fortunately, he recognizes the seriousness of the conversation, hence his admirable restraint in behaving.
Siobhan looks for a moment like she might like to join Valentina in her quest to disappear under the table without actually moving. Then she looks like she might just explode. A white-knuckled grip on her tiny willow wand and - with her other hand - on the edge of the table gives voice to her silent battle for control. This is so very obviously not a situation she wants to be in, but Dumbledore is weird about dumping responsibility on the young and it looks like Minerva is still punishing her for the Morsmordre in class. So, with a deep breath and a fervent wish for scotch, Siobhan does what any snake worth her salt would do; she adapts.
And totally wings it, praying to whatever gods there be that she can get through this on sheer brass and cheek.
First, she looks to Sirius, walking around to stand beside his chair and laying a hand on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. "He really did, Siri." Her voice is quiet - Snape and Jack may recognize the tone she often uses with Q - and soothing, but not patronizing or syrupy. "I know you guys have bad history, but he didn't have to save me." She lowers her head to mumble into his ear. "Hate him for the child he was if you have to, but don't hate him for the adult he's had to be. You're not the only one who had your choices taken." And with a final squeeze to his shoulder, she moves back to her own place at the head.
Next is Jack, who gets a Look and a dry, "Thanks for the permission, Captain Flash." The Nickname(TM) is enough of a warning and she opens her mouth to continue on to the debriefing when Molly just so happens to push the Big Red Button. "Albus did no such thing," she snaps perhaps a little too harshly at the woman she does actually like. "He doesn't know everything - as was made painfully clear to me over this summer - and I was useful the way I was." She says more than she intended to, but the bitterness which comes out there probably hints at part of a reason. Realizing her mistake, she sinks into her chair, her face pale. "Tell them about Shadow, Severus." She leans forward on her elbows braced against the table and hangs her head. "They need to know about the Room and I just …" She can't.
Dedalus Diggle speaks up, cutting off what anyone else might have said. "Are we sure he is going to give us honest information? Merlin knows he's been playing both sides for so long…" The old man's high, reedy voice cuts through the mutterings around him. "Maybe this Shadow guy is just a — shadow — of his imagination." He snickers at his own joke, then falls silent, expecting some of the more staunch old guard to pick up his point for him.
Visibly disturbed - if one can count the pursing of her lips and the tightening of the lines around her eyes as 'visibly disturbed' - by some of the things being thrown back and forth about the table, Minerva McGonagall sits up straighter in her chair and levels a fiercely stern glare at the high-pitced old voice who dares to stir up more trouble in this meeting. "Daedelus Diggle, I should think you would have learned enough sense by now to leave such idiocy at the door." Whether or not she actually agrees with him or not, her look is unwavering. "Just because we are in the school today does not give you leave to act like children." She includes several of the other members in that last statement and then sits back with a nod to Snape that clearly indicates he has permission to proceed.
Valentina remains silent; while at least everything is not entirely going over her head, she's unaware of the details and most of the personal interplays, here. She manages to stop her hand mid-air before she starts to drum well-manicured nails on the table, and instead puts it flat on the table, fingers splayed. She is focusing. Listening. And not making any judgment calls on this new group of people: she dare not yet call them 'friends.'
"Shadow," Severus begins after acknowledging Minerva's nod and returning the gesture with a simple tilt of his head, "is a menace. As I have stated. His evil intent is as great or greater than the Dark Lord's himself. The Dark Lord is content to merely attempt to effect change in society and set himself up as its leader. This 'Shadow', who disguises himself in face or voice so that he could be anyone — mark, anyone with a reasonable sense of intelligence…" He stands, gazing around the room the thought that one of them might be the culprit crossing his mind.
He continues his 'lecture' with a clinical impassivity that serves the Slytherin well as a shield from the horrors he must disclose. "The 'room' which Miss Noble refers to is a room within the Dark Lord's Headquarters reserved for this man. If you will recall the men, women and children taken from the small village near Hogsmeade last year? Miss Noble discovered their bodies — in use in ways too disturbing for even myself to elucidate. They have been preserved as life-sized dolls, kept there to remind him, perhaps of the results of his — experiments. It is he who found and used the curse on Miss Noble for the mere sake of testing it. He was not completely certain what it would do, and was elated with the result. Many old curses and other spells have fallen out of favor for the specific reason of their brutality." He pauses, gazing around the room, eyes landing on several key members as he continues.
"One of Shadow's main goals is to rediscover these lost magics and give the Dark Lord sufficiently terrible ammunition for the next time he meets us on the field of battle." It's clear he's fallen into lecture mode. "I do not fear the Dark Lord as much as I fear this wraith of a man. His knowledge of the weaknesses and desires of many wizards and witches makes him even that much more dangerous." He strides up and down the free space, pausing for a moment to consider his next words. "Miss Noble has gathered a great amount of information for us at great cost to her own person, and indeed her mortal soul." Dramatic, much? Absolutely. "I am attempting to ascertain more information on him specifically, but he is now Voldemort's own 'golden child.'" A dark expression crosses his face for a moment at his own phrasing, but he continues on. "It is difficult to discover who he may be when the Dark Lord is the only one who knows and he has such skill as to disguise himself in such a manner." He is frustrated with himself for having no more than that. "Is that sufficient, Miss Noble?" He gazes directly at her, not waiting for her response, and sits down in his seat again, straightening his robes.
There's a noticeable tightening in Sirius's jaw as Sio approaches, squeezes his shoulder and speaks in his ear. It's best for everyone if he just keeps his mouth shut, because this meeting does not need a typical Black outburst. He then casts a brief glance at Diggle, but doesn't share a chuckle. Black already has his own suspicions and conclusions about Snape's allegiances. (Most of them steeped in bias of course.) He shifts a little in his seat, and opens his mouth as if to voice a concern that echoes Diggle, but shuts his trap, thinking better of it. And NOT because of the look and lecture McGonagall is giving. With great reluctance, Sirius gives Snape some of his attention, the information being shared is of great importance. As if Voldemort weren't bad enough, the dark wizard seems to have an underling that may surpass even him.
Pardon the intrusion folks. Mere moments after Snape finishes in his briefing, the door for the room opens and closes. Did people catcht that blur of multi-colored mess t hat just tripped through? And faceplanted? Yes, no…Maybe? Well, the door closes and Tonks is now picking herself off the floor.
"Sorry about the tardiness, I was a bit, uh, tied up in things," Tonks offers in her most sincerest tone, trying to adjust her attire (which is toned down in a simple black t-shirt, pants and bomber jacket) to make herself look presentable. She does look /remarkably/ raggled.
….Is that smoke billowing from her?
Molly is aghast. She's never heard such a thing. She sits in her seat, mouth open, eyes wide in shock, hand clutching her chest. "Oh, my." It's all she can manage right now.
As a curse breaker, Jack Noble has seen some of these darker, older curses at work. His eyes narrow with understanding, and then widen again as he realizes that the person witnessing all these things was his precious baby sister. He gazes over at her, not speaking yet beyond a quiet question. "Could we narrow down who it is by how he behaves? How much he knows?" Perhaps they could figure out who he is by some sort of 'tell.'
Siobhan doesn't notice the tightening in Sirius' posture or expression. She's currently staring very hard at her hands, wand stowed back in its holster on her forearm. The fact that she doesn't hear anything from him, however, is a true relief. A mental note is made to bring some really nice booze next weekend. And also to tell Jack they've got dinner plans to escape Mum. Oops. Distracted from those thoughts by Snape's debriefing, Siobhan lets her bangs fall into her face, obscuring the fact that she's got her eyes closed and her jaw clenched, nostrils flared as she tries to maintain control over the urge to be sick all over again. Just because he doesn't get descriptive doesn't mean she doesn't see it all over again. So when she looks up sharply at the sound of the door - the Room wouldn't open for a non-member unless it was an emergency, after all - it might be excusable that her pale face has taken on a light sheen of sweat and a decidedly unhealthy green tinge.
"Tonks…" There's so much more relief in that one word than there should be, but this meeting isn't really near finished yet and Siobhan's already had just about all she can handle. In some ways, an open fight would have been better. All of this tension and energy and sickness could have been dispelled with a good row. "I don't know, Jack. My first thought was an Unspeakable because of all the paranoia, but it's been pointed out to me that there are plenty of other people who manage to be that … careful without working for the DOM." Moody comes to mind, right off. She swallows hard, trying to push past just how raspy her voice sounds to her own ears. It's a show of weakness in front of people who aren't her own and it bothers her. "I'd recognize his voice anywhere - " since she still has dreams about it screaming Crucio at her while she lays in the blood-soaked snow " - but there are even spells to change that." Maybe it's Tonks' familiar, reassuring presence that bolsters her courage, but Siobhan Noble gets this look on her face like she's gearing up for a Very Big Fight.
Okay, now Sirius is smiling widely as his cousin makes her entrance. "Welcome Tonks," he says with a hint of a tease. Finally he speaks and his mood lightens. Sometimes the dark cloud over his head just can't stay put when Nymphadora's present.
Seriousness returns swiftly however. See what he did there? Haw haw. Anyway. Black decidedly doesn't look at Snape when he says, "Then this Shadow needs to be taken out quickly. Amazingly, Voldemort isn't afraid of this .. thing.. taking over." Because really, how can you refer to someone as sick and twisted as that as a person? "After what Jack says, we have him identified. "Unless it's one of those happy arrangement where alliance with Voldemort allows this thing free reign to commit atrocities."
Snape catches Siobhan's expression and scowls darkly, meeting her face with a dark look. Ladies and gentlemen, this is his 'NO' face. He remains silent otherwise, having spoken his fill for a while.
"Probably," Valentina offers up, her first actual non-snake-removal input to the entire Order. "About the happy arrangement. This sounds like things I have seen many a time before, it happens very often with those — types." She speaks, of course, not of the Wizarding Wars but of the Soviet Republic and its fall; she was right there for the entire unhappy event and the unpleasant years before. "So it does not seem like something easily fixed or handled. More to be carefully watched."
There's a bit of swearing here and there as she's patting out her coat. Why didn't anyone tell her she was still possibly on fire? Okay, satisfied she glances up to see who greeted her and
—Suddenly little baby Noble is scooped up in a hug. "YOu're BACK! Why didn't anyone tell me you were back! Oh wow, you're back! ARe you okay?" HUG HUG HUG, total pat down, make sure all the limbs are on one placemissing any fingers? Okay, so Tonks has kind of been out of the loop here. Back to hugging! Oh boy oh boy oh jolly good fun and all that and—
"OH wait," she catches sight of Snape's -_- look, and finally realizes the general mood of things, "WE're supposed to be serious, huh?" Pause, set Sio back down, and she'll take a chair. Ahem. You guys /totally/ didn't see that. And now, for some true words of wisdom: "What're we talkin' about?"
Moody's protege, ladies and gentlemen.
"Yeah." Jack can see his little sister's point. He sighs. "I just wish there were a way to track him somehow. But if I know people that … careful," he'll blatantly steal Rosie's wording, "they check for the usual stuff. Sis." He's getting a Look of his own on his face, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. He sits in thought for a long moment. "Think Mick could combine …" He wonders if she'll pick up on his idea. "If it'd work…" It'd break about five laws, but for something like this, who cares?
Siobhan opens her mouth as if to continue on to whatever thought had her gearing up for a fight, but one look at Snape has her jaw clicking audibly shut. There's a moment where she holds his stare in challenge, but she does - eventually - yield. "You don't even know what I was gonna say," she grumps at the only other Slytherin in the room, but that's all she says in her own defense. Or on her previous mission. Instead, she turns to Sirius in surprise. "That actually sounds like - mmmrfffflgrpkttfffff" Suddenly smothered by Tonks.
As soon as she gets over the shock, Siobhan returns that hug fiercely, even putting up with the mothering without a single word of complaint. "I missed you, lady." It's a quiet - and suspiciously choked up - response, but it's earnest and heartfelt. When Tonks takes her seat and leaves Sio back in charge of a bunch of people older than she is, the youngest of Hogwarts' current staff sinks back into her chair to listen to what her brother has to say. She's not following his current train of thought, but something he says does make her jerk up as if electrocuted. "Sirius!" she exclaims, turning to him with wide eyes. "The map!" No, she's not making a lot of sense, but since she's been dubbed 'mental' by several people over the last few weeks, maybe he can pick up on her train of thought. The mind is the first thing to go, after all.
Sirius's hands are still on the table, but they clench again in fists as he turns his attention to Valentina. "He needs to be taken out as soon as possible. We cannot afford to carefully watch!" Pardon him, Black doesn't do well at sitting still. He still manages to rant like this even as Tonks reunites with Siobhan. That may not even be happening with the flare-up of impatience. "What?," he snaps as his whips his head to look at Siobhan. You interrupted his pissiness!
Valentina looks mildly guilty for her comment having ignited such fury in Sirius, for all she seems comfortably aware it isn't entirely her fault. She doesn't know anything about any maps, or anything about something that breaks laws, but she has no objection to participating in whatever they are. "If you can find a way," she agrees, "I will help however I can."
"Whoa, okay, wait? Who are we taking out and you can't just 'take someone out'," Tonks says this to Sirius. Though, probably despite his initial thoughts, it isn't anything about the law. "There's precautions you've got to take, depending on hwo it is. You just can't run in waving your wand. YOu're going to end up missing body parts that way." She then looks at Jack, "/Who/ are we talking about?"
"The focus of this entire meeting, Nymphadora." Snape drawls. Siobhan only gets called by her given name in rare circumstances. Tonks, though, gets it outright. Why? Because it bothers her, of course. "One very powerful, very intelligent, very malicious Death Eater. Who may be on par with the Dark Lord himself." The man does catch Siobhan's muttering and answers it. "I do not need to know specifics, Miss Noble. I know effects." She wasn't a prominent member of his house for seven years for no reason. When Siobhan mentions the map, his lips thin. "That infernal piece of parchment," he hisses, staring over at Sirius.
Tonks idly scratches at the corner of her eye. It's merely coincidence that she's using her middle finger, isn't it?
"Yeah but that means drawing him back here," Jack replies, catching the train of thought. "And we do have lots of Aurors around, but I'm not sure… I was thinking about a bug. You know. Like Bond or something." The muggleborn or -raised, or any odd purebloods like the Nobles who go out and Do Stuff in the muggle world would get the idea. "Huh." He's deep in thought for a few minutes, or at least until he catches Tonks' movement. Then he laughs outright. "Nice, Tonks." He shakes his head unashamedly, then returns to his train of thought. "I just don't want anybody else, especially the kids here, hurt." Rosie going through all that was more than enough, thanks.
"The map, Sirius." Siobhan attempts to make Significant Eyebrows at him, fails utterly and heaves a sigh. "The one Lupin wanted to make copies of. The one I got chewed out over when I told him it was a stupid idea." The one that shows all of Hogwarts and the people walking around it. THAT MAP. "Lupin said you guys made it." And a lot of other sensitive information to boot. "This guy had to have gone to Hogwarts at some point because he showed up for that stupid Alumni Weekend thing." Yes, stupid. Since that event ended up with her cursed, Siobhan feels entitled to her voicing opinions about it. "If he came back to the school, would the map tell us who he is?"
Oh … Oh dear… On top of everything else - this meeting with people who aren't her people and trying her damndest to keep a tight rein on lots of volatile tempers and having to relive her own private version of hell and and and… When it's Snape and not Sirius who flings the first childish insult onto the table, she … she loses it. "That is enough out of you, Severus Snape." He will recognize a tone taken directly from a pissed off Eileen. "You of all people should know better than to spit on an advantage, no matter where it comes from. If you can't keep childish prejudices off the table when it's time to be an adult, I will hex your mouth shut and take the temptation away." Yeeeeeah. It sucks that it's him who pushed the Big Red Button, and she'll definitely feel like shit about this later, but when she was so worried about Sirius being the one to start trouble between them… She's just not okay with this. Sitting back down in her chair, Siobhan realizes that her palm hurts and she looks at it funny. Did she slam her hand on the table at some point? Must have. Pushing her hands roughly back through her hair - and ruining the pretty twist in the process - she rests her elbows on the table again. "A bug?" Yes. That would be the Siobhan Noble Signal to Move On. This meeting can't be over soon enough.
At Siobhan's very maternal outburst, Valentina is unable to resist air-golf-clapping in her direction with a sociable smile. Her expression says: that's it. Don't let your age make you feel like a lesser leader, you've got the floor so lead it! Right on. Except, perhaps, her thoughts were in Russian instead. "Where would you bug," she asks. "How would you know where to put it."
Sirius growls at Tonks, "You can just take someone out." Merlin knows he attempted it once before. It didn't go well, but he tried. "We find out who he is, where he is and we kill him. One less lunatic in the ranks." See? Does he have to do all the thinking in the Order? It's a good plan, it's a quick and easy one! A sneer is thrown at Snape, "You just don't like that it didn't obey you." Oh right, the map. He takes several deep breaths, it doesn't work to calm him down, but he does at least refocus himself. "It never lies. It will show everyone on the grounds."
And with a crack of her wrist meeting the edge of the table, Siobhan whips her wand in Sirius' direction, sending the same silencing spell at him that she caught Moody with at the hospital those many months ago. Whether it hits or not - or sticks or not - is anyone's guess. "You were warned, Sirius." Pissy Sio is pissed.
"You know, this… this right here," Tonks says this to Sirius, "Is why you wouldn't make it in my job." Hell, Tonks isn't sure how SHE makes it in her job. She did just walk in smoking after all. And Sio goes off, and Tonks is just going to… stand up and dig in her pockets. Bottomless pockets of course, and from within, she pulls out a handful of small wrapped candies and hands them over to the young woman. Immediately it's obvious they're Muggle candies. With liquors in the center if one would read the label.
She then claps her hands, "Right then—" And Sirius is silenced. "Okay, this map thing. YOu have to know his real name though, don't you? This guy you're after?" She then glances to Jack and Valentina, "I can probably pull some strings. I /can/ go undercover, too. Better than anyone here. Tell me where you think this guy frequents, I'll see what I can do."
Snape begins to say something else to his rival, then, at a very familiar tone, unexplicably snaps his mouth shut, crosses his arms across his chest, and patently sulks. For all of five seconds, at least. Then, he straightens and turns toward Sio's brother. "You are referring to a muggle recording device?" Right. Moving right along.
"Yeah," Jack replies, blessedly ignoring the childish behavior. At this point, to be honest, he's not sure who he would jibe worse. "I was thinkin' that Mick — our brother," duh, "could tweak something." He chews on his lip. "You know. Like the time he took that radio and made it do the thing with the Sonorous charm." Mickey's pretty good about making the same kind of things that Jack is better at breaking.
The point is made when the wands come out. Reflexes kick in and wand in hand, Sirius neatly deflects Sio's spell. Although, wordlessly, he does repocket his wand. Nostrils flaring slightly in anger, he does seem to be deflating, but it won't take much to reignite his temper. (Kids, this is why cousins shouldn't breed.) "Yes," he says with forced calm, making himself look at Tonks, "We would have to know his name first, or we just look at the map and set a tail on every suspicious name that appears." Calm still forced and with a pained smile to boot, he looks at Sio, "What did you have in mind for the map?" Funny, that smile looks a bit menacing with his teeth baring like that.
Silent, listening, and not having cast many quelling glares as yet, Minerva looses a his of air from her lips and things continue to spiral down the rabbit hole. "If we continue to argue like a bunch of old house-elves, we will /never/ pull it together long enough to even find the man let alone ensure he can't harm anyone else." The old witch, really starting to lose her shit. See the steam trying to escape her ears? "Siobhan." she says, her voice once again firm and in control. "Give us assignments, or appoint someone to hand out assignments. Then we can break off into smaller groups to make this work. And everyone will report on their progress to Siobhan, Dumbldore, Snape, and myself. Unless you prefer otherwise?" She raises an eyebrow now at Siobhan again, questioning.
Oh Merlin. Booze-filled candies. The look Siobhan gives Tonks is filled with gratitude bordering on devotion. Unwrapping one, she pops it into her mouth and sucks on it with relish. Then she realizes just how … close these things look to lemon drops. She promptly chokes, recovers and bites down hard to bring up a crack through which she can pull out the meagre amount of alcohol contained in the tiny sweet. Blood from a stone? Maybe, but she can hope.
When Snape just … takes her outburst without comment and even moves on without comment, something uncomfortably like guilt settles itself in her stomach and on her expression. That was the absolute worst kind of manipulation and it's only thanks to Minerva's timely intervention that she snaps out of her spiral and nods sharply, pulling in her focus. "Sirius, you'll know best who has the map now. Get ahold of it and bring it to Minerva or myself, please." No way is she letting that thing even possibly become a temptation for Snape to take up pyromania as a side-hobby. "Tonks, Moody was supposed to show up today, but I would guess he's back at whatever set you on fire." See? An attempt at humor. "Severus or Jack can fill you in on the details about Shadow and then you can fill him in, yeah? We'll need your eyes and ears out in the Ministry. Da knows to tell me if he hears something fishy, but you guys'll hear more of the scuttlebutt than he will." Sir Michael does have the habit of squishing juicy gossip with just a mildly disapproving look. "Minerva, if you'll update Albus, please?" That's one conversation she very much Does Not Want. "He knows my information already, but the rest of this should be gone over with him." By someone who isn't about to throw a bunch of hexes, is left unsaid. "Jack and his guest should go through him, too, I guess." And she doesn't say anything to Severus. That all can come later, when he's done skinning her alive.
Jack nods. "We can do that, can't we, Leta?" He grins over at her, waggling his eyebrows at the pretty Russian lady. "I don't know how much I'll pick up, but I'll keep my ear to the ground. He returns to silence, waiting to see how the rest of this plays out.
Sirius gives Minerva a look not unlike the incredulous arrogant ones he gave her once upon a time in Transfiguration class. HIM report to Snape? McG is clearly off her nut. Map. Right. "How about I just make another one?" Why deprive Harry of such an item? Like he could even bring himself to asking Harry for it back.
"Yes, I can update Albus." Minerva agrees, her lips thinning much the same way they did back in Transfiguration class when Sirius tried those looks on her /then/. It doesn't work any better now! "Jack, Valentina… I will arrange for the two of you to speak with him as well." Because nobody knows his schedule quite like the Deputy Headmistress. She'll find a way to get them in. Really.
Molly tsks lightly at the tension, finally having recovered herself enough to contribute to the conversation. "Good idea, Minerva." She smiles at the professor, then turns to Siobhan. "You're doing a great job, dear." Perhaps it's not what Sio needs to hear right now, but she's proud of the young lady for being so strong. "I don't know that I'll find anything out, but Arthur might. I'll have him listen and tell one of you." Or all three, maybe. "We certainly could have another meal at our house soon." She enjoyed that. "Severus could come this time."
Tonks moves to salute Sio, while she's digging in her pockets again. Oh look a chocolate frog.
"I think there is no reason we could not," Valentina agrees, giving Jack both a smile and a wink — that in return to the teasing eyebrow-waggle, certainly — in response. Her focus slides to McGonagall as she speaks, and the magizoologist nods again. "Da, I would appreciate it."
"Of all the imbecillic, …" Severus begins another tirade, but a glance in Siobhan's direction has him inhaling and shaking his head instead. "It would be unwise to make another one, Black. Perhaps a certain individual would be willing to loan it to you for a period of time. We would not need it longer than the specific encounter with our intended quarry." Snape has a very good idea of where the map is at the moment. "If not, perhaps he could watch. Merlin knows the boy is nosy enough."
"Only when it's things that involve him," Tonks offes an opinion. She's not dumb, she can tell who Snape's making jabbing remarks about. Or slightly jabbing remarks. As for the map, "But I have to agree with PRofessor Snape, Sirius. Making another item like that's not good. What if it fell into the wrong hands?" Think ahead sometimes, Cuz! You'rea smart man, act like it once in a while.
And suddenly we have the same argument that Sio had with Lupin. Joy. "No," she states firmly, backing up when Snape makes an even better argument than she could. "Does that make him the horse or the beggar, Severus?" It's a dry-as-dust question, drawled slowly as Siobhan pushes herself a little bit shakily to her feet. "The more of them there are, the more chance there is that someone with bad intentions could get ahold of it." She can't really stop Black from going over her head to Dumbledore, but she'll at least try and point out the reasons they're so set against it. "I can retrieve it from Harry if need be." Though that's another conversation she doesn't want to have. "Thank Merlin." Tonks is repeating her point and maybe with all three of them, it'll be laid to rest here. "The last information I received indicated that Shadow was away on assignment." She sweeps one last glance around the room and moves to walk away, thinks better of it and sits right back down to slump in her chair. "That was two weeks ago. Keep an ear out for anyone who's either just coming back from a trip or has just come back. That's all." And hopefully that - accompanied by her closing her eyes and letting the chair sort of absorb her - will be enough of a dismissal. Baby Noble is so done with today.
Sirius pointedly ignores Snape's suggestion. It just cinches Black's refusal to get the map back from Harry. Besides, having another map would be swell! What could POSSIBLY go wrong? A glare is shot at Tonks, oh there's gonna be words later. Traitor. "FINE," Sirius snarls. "I'll ask for it back," he says with a mutinous glare at Siobhan. No one but HIM is asking for it back.
"Good, now that's all settled." Minerva is quite ready to get on with her day at this point. Beginning with pouring however mush whiskey it takes into her tea to make the headache go away. Far, far, away. "If you'll excuse me." Is anybody -really- going to try and stop her from leaving. Not likely! So she makes a nice, stately walk for the door. Cheerio!
Tonks returns Sirius' look with one of her own, which, probably very frighteningly shows that the two DO INDEED have family resemblance. Sometimes Tonks has to work those Black genes to her favor. Of course, her look to the 'Traitor' look is simply, 'BRING IT OLD MAN'. She will pwn you. "Now that's settled, once it's convienient I'd like any information on this bloke. anything that would help identify him."
Snape is preparing to add something probably very meaningful to the conversation when Siobhan says a single line. He stops, gazes at her blankly, keeping the dry humor and annoyance to a flash in his eyes. He takes another long moment to compose himself, but decides to add his two knuts. "I have not heard of his return yet, though I imagine it to be imminent." He's the one closest to the maniac — well, the pair of them anyway — so he has the most intel. "When he does return, I shall inform Miss Noble and the Headmaster."
Siobhan is slumped back in her seat, looking pale and worn and mildly nauseated, even with her eyes closed. She's done the job she was tasked with and right now has nothing more to say. The fact that she's being slotted into a more permanent role of responsibility within this group without her consent? Goes right over her head.
Sirius glances over at Siobhan, and dammit, he feels guilty for adding to the girl's stress. Yes. She's still just a girl. He gives a casual flick of his wand and a goblet of Rosmerta's meade appears before her.
If Leta will take it, Jack will offer her his arm. "I could show you Hogsmeade. Only complete wizarding village in Britain. Buy you a drink at the Hogshead. Roz is a dear." And maybe, just maybe, they'll get back to his office / flat. Maybe.
Valentina had just been debating the best way to gracefully exit, and so it's perfectly lovely when Jack hands it to her; she accepts the offered arm with all the aplomb possible, and a very genuine smile. "That sounds lovely, I think, yes. You have the rest of my night." The eavesdroppers can make their own guesses as to where it goes.
"It is settled then." Severus nods briskly, giving his silent farewells to those who have not insulted him. "If you will excuse me, I have an exorbitant amount of grading to do, and imbecilic minds to chasten." With a swirl of robes much like his entry, Severus Snape exits the meeting.
With Jack and Snape both leaving, Siobhan heaves a sigh and hauls herself up. Guess it falls to her to give Tonks the details about Shadow. The goblet of meade is spied and she drains it dry before turning to Sirius and his cousin. "What information do you need, Tonks?"
Sirius breathes a sigh of relief as Snape buggers off. He pushes himself up from his seat but isn't in a hurry to promptly return home, or tell Harry he needs the map back.
"Just, I dunno. Whatever you think would help identify him. What does his voice sound like? Any particular vocal ticks? Height, weight estimations. Just… stuff like that." She'll go into conversation with Sio here, hopefully that'll fend off whatever may happen due to her trying to challenge ye auld mutt over there.
Siobhan lets her tired gaze drag up to Sirius when he stands, offering him a soft smile and a quiet. "Thank you, Siri." For everything. Tonks is given a moment of long, hard regard. "I don't suppose you know Legillimency, do you?" Because that would make this so much easier. It doesn't seem like she's too hopeful, though, because Siobhan's already hunting in her robes for something.
She's already fishing in her pockets for something else to nibble on. "Think of how scary that would be of me to be able to do that, then ask that question again," is Tonks' reply
Siobhan obediantly pauses to think about a Tonks-who-can-read-people's-minds. She shudders. "Okay, now do you know Legillimency?" It's a little cheeky of her, she knows, but she's been taught several tough lessons on the risks of taking anything literally. Even so, she finds what she was looking for and pulls it out of her pocket. A small glass vial. Uncorking the thing, she taps her wrist lightly against the table and holds the end of the willow wand against her temple. Her face screws up as she relives the memory she then pulls out and lowers into the vial. She then pulls one more out and drops it into the same container. The cork is replaced and she extends the vial to Tonks. "That has him during Hogsmeade and him on Alumni Weekend." If her voice is a little shakier this time, she can probably be forgiven. These are some of her worst memories.
Tonks scoots over in order to reach for the vial with one hand, and the girl with the other in a one armed hug. "I'm sorry," That she had to do that, and what she had gone through. But being an Auror sometimes means unpleasant things have to be done to get the information. You learn these lessons the hard way; there's no other way to do so. "I'll make it up to you, in a way other than catching the bastard." She tucks the vial away, noticeably in a place wehre she hadn't been dipping in for sweets. Maybe Tonks /is/ competent after all.
Now that the over-sensitivity of the first week is starting to tone itself down, Siobhan finds herself not only more willing to tolerate physical contact, but - on a primal sort of level - starting to crave it. So when Tonks takes the vial and gives her yet another hug, it makes things just that little bit better. " 's not your fault, Tonks." Still, the idea of Movie Night with Tonks - or some other completely silly girl thing - sounds awesome. "Thanks, though. Maybe I'll catch you this weekend." Is she inviting OTHER PEOPLE to Sirius' house? Not blatantly, no; she does have better manners than that. Seeing as he's Standing Right There, however, she at least drops the hint. Ahem. Pushing herself up to stand - a little less shakily now - she pushes a hand through her hair and offers another sort of watery grin. "I have my first bout of papers to grade, sadly. I'll … " She lets her shoulders sag and just waves half-heartedly. "I'll catch you guys later."
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