1995-11-23: I Miss My Mind The Most


Gaius_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif

Scene Title I Miss My Mind the Most
Synopsis Gaius comes to Hogwarts for his first 'lesson'. Siobhan ends up learning more than she teaches, but a solution may have been reached.
Location Defense Classroom
Date November 23, 1995
Watch For Unknown curses and creative uses for Legilimency
Logger I am the Bad Wolf

Thursday morning finds Siobhan in her classroom, dressed and ready for the day - though her bottle-blonde hair is still damp from her shower, loose and falling in curls over her shoulders and down her back. Skinny jeans, black chucks and a faded green band tee-shirt over thin long-sleeved grey shirt don't exactly add up to a professor's attire, but here she is. A plain black set of open teaching robes are thrown over the back of the desk's chair and there's a rather large white winged snake shifting restlessly over it. The professor - the room's only occupant - is munching on an apple and reading over a worn-looking piece of parchment, leaning back against the front of her desk and looking entirely at ease.

She might not be a typical teacher, but Gaius is no typical student. He wears no robes at all, and carries none with him. In fact, he's probably the most Muggle-looking person on school grounds. Right from the soles of his brown Doc Martens to the top of his neatly-trimmed dark hair. There's a sharp rap on the threshold of the classroom. "Knock knock. Halloo? Anyone about?" He pokes his head in. The only non-Muggle thing about him is a long and thick wand in a leather holster attached to his belt, like a policeman's sidearm.

It seems that someone somewhere has told Siobhan to be expecting a rather unusual student, because the sound of the first knock has her hastily swallowing her bite of apple and setting first parchment and then the rest of her morning treat on the surface of her desk. The white familiar lifts her head head to sniff at the juicy fruit, but decides better of it. "Hey," the young professor offers, wiping her palm on the hip of her jeans and then striding forward to offer it in a handshake. "You must be Gaius, yeah? I'm Siobhan Noble, good to meet you." Her smile is one of those brilliant expressions of joy that - while they're not conventionally attractive - are incredibly contagious. "I got notice you'd be coming. Come in, we'll get started."

Gaius has a rather crushing handshake, though he doesn't mean it to be. He was likely trying to be light. "That's me. Least accomplished student in all of Hogwarts." He gives a chuckle that sounds like it comes right from his belly. "I suppose it's normal that all your pictures move? I swear I saw one of 'em sneering at me, and another flashing his little painted buttocks. What a thing."

Siobhan does her best to try and shake out her offended hand as … discreetly as possible. Strong guy. Deceptively so. It makes Siobhan give him a second, more intense look - studying his stance and posture instead of merely taking in the glance. It's this regard that leaves her open when he remarks on the paintings. She flinches - though it's such a quickly smothered reaction that it's possible it was imagined, right? Right. "I - oh yeah," she gathers herself quickly, laughing softly and turning to lead him forward to the cleared space near the desk. "That must have been George. Never will teach him any manners, I swear. And yes," she adds, turning to lean her hip against the desk again. "Almost all of them move, yeah. The paintings can talk mostly and the camera photos just move, but nothing's ever still around here." It's meant as a joke, but there's a dry undercurrent of truth to it. This is Hogwarts, after all. "So. I wasn't given a whole lot of … well, anything to go on other than you'd lost your memory?" She phrases this as a question, looking to him for some sort of confirmation. "Why don't you tell me what you remember and we'll start from there, yeah?"

"I saw a bloody photo of me while I was out wandering about. Flying around on a broom. I remember being on some manner of team, but I certainly don't remember flying about in the air." Gaius balloons up his cheeks. "Ay? They didn't fill you in? Well, that makes things a little more complicated. Well, where to start? The short of it is, I don't have any magic-related memories. I mean, I know very well who I am. I remember going to school. I remember people. Friends. Family. But there's holes, you see. They tell me I've been cursed."

Siobhan laughs a little at that. "Quidditch, yeah. S'called Quidditch. My brother plays for the Ballycastle Bats." Probably the only decent player on that team, bloody loyal sod. "Holes … " She pulls her lower lip back between her teeth, chewing on it absently as she thinks. "Well, I guess I'm supposed to start you out on the absolute basics, then. You're in Hogwarts, the only proper school of magic in Great Britain. There're four Houses and - " Huffing out a sigh, she rolls her shoulders. "Look, it'd really help if I knew what kind of holes there were, you know? Would you mind if I took a look? Be good to know which bits to begin with."

"Oh, the doctors, they filled me in on some of it. About the wizarding world, about the school and such. Still, there's a great bloody lot that's surprising. And it's one thing to hear about it, it's another to see it." Gaius rubs at his neck. "I remember Hufflepuff. I remember my room. I remember going to classes and such. I remember this room." He points to a seat near the window, two seats back. "That one was mine. But I'll be damned if I can remember what I actually learned while I was here." He looks back to her, then blinks slowly. "Take a look?"

"Er, yeah. I assumed they would've had someone use Legilimency on you, to see where the holes came in exactly, what the magic of the curse, er, felt like?" By the end of that sentence, Siobhan is flushing just a bit pink. Rule eight, why can she never remember Rule-Bloody-Eight when it counts? "S'not a common ability though, so I guess it wouldn't be part of Healing." Grabbing her apple, she pushes parchment back and hops up to sit on the edge of the desk, swinging her heels as she thinks. "There's a type of magic that lets one person get inside the thoughts, feelings and memories of another person. That's called Legilimency. There's a way to shield your mind from someone poking around in it. That's called Occlumency. They're old magic and it takes a certain kind of mindset to use either one. I happened to learn from a master." And there, that grin's reappeared, a touch of fondness in her tone. "With your permission, I'd like to have a peek and see what these holes look like, see if I can feel any of the magic left behind by long-lasting curses. Won't need to go very deep, just think about the memories you do have of school and that'll shift 'em right up front where I can see."

Gaius looks quite…dubious. "See, the night it happened, I don't remember a bloody thing. Everywhere else, it seems just like magic's gone. But the day it happened? I remember an alleyway. I remember someone standing over me. And before that, I remember going to bed the night before. That's it." He purses his lips and lifts his shoulders. "I don't know. I had some folks at the hospital go poking 'round in my brain. It nearly made me pass out, the pain of it."

Now that is weird. That's weird enough to get Siobhan to make a face. "Legilimency? I mean, hell, I have a harder time dealing with people in my head than most, but it's never hurt…" She vaguely remembers Ron saying something about pain, though, so maybe … "Maybe you had someone who didn't really know what they were doing." Hey, if it's St. Mungo's, that's more possible than not. "If you just think about those memories, they'll be right up front and I won't have to do any more than skim the surface. If it starts to hurt at all, just close your eyes and I'll stop." Just skimming across the surface only works with eye-contact anyway. "That sound fair?"

For a big guy, Gaius can look fairly vulnerable. "The doctors. They told me I lost a few more memories the last time anyone went poking 'round in my head. You're certain you know what you're doing?" He inhales through his nose. "But that was curse-breakers. Trying to break the thing. So having a look might not hurt. As long as you don't poke at whatever the block is." The people at the hospital told him to trust Hogwarts. So here he is, trusting Hogwarts. "I'm thinking about it. The school, that is."

Siobhan frowns. "Yeah, cursebreakers tend to have that nasty habit of 'push first, ask questions later'. Part of the reason Jack works solo." Fewer work-related accidents, that way. "I promise I won't push at the block." She just needs to see it. One more bite of the apple and it goes back on her desk as she slides off and steps closer, reaching out to grab his bare wrist and making a firm but steady eye-contact. It's almost scary how easy it feels to gather her inner 'sunshine' and to use it to slip inside his mind, shifting over the very fluid surface and waiting for the fog of memories not her own to settle over her.

If Gaius has been trained in mental blocks, he's either forgotten how to use them or they've been instinctively thrown open for her. Likely the latter, given he worked for over ten years chasing magical criminals. If he did have blocks, they did him little good against the curse.
The curse. It's so apparent in his mind. There's a toxic quality to it, like a hot, oppressive, industrial August smog over some dirty town. Between the banks of this smog are glimmers of memories, fragmented like splintered glass. Some of the memories shine easily, others fade off into the mist. The ones that are the clearest are the simplest memories. Laughing and talking in the Hufflepuff common room. A snowball fight. A butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. But there's no magic. There's flashes of sitting in classrooms, but the teacher is blurred. There's glances to books, but the pages are blank. There's the feeling of wind in his hair, then the crush of bodies and cheers as the Hufflepuff Quidditch team embraces each other after a win. But there's no clear memories of flight, no broomsticks. No wands. No potions. His mind is like a book with every second page torn out and sentences that end in nothing.

Siobhan is absolutely, completely and utterly horrified. Every instinct in her being screams at her to unleash her sunlight and banish that toxic smog, but she made a promise. Slamming her eyes shut, she flings herself backwards and away, stumbling yet catching herself on her desk. Deep, heavy breaths clear a little of her mind, but she can't quite shake the feeling of filth, cloying a film over her skin. "That's …" A few more deep breaths and the room stops spinning. "Sweet Circe." Returned to a state of semi-equilibrium, she looks up from her bent stance and runs a keen eye over her 'student'. "You alright, then? No pain?"

"Oi, careful, careful," Gaius reaches out instinctively to steady her. "It's a mess in there, innit? I've gotten used to seeing that look. Sorry, luv. Should've warned you. But you sound like you've seen your share of minds. Didn't think it'd shake you quite so much." He shakes his head. "I'm all right. Seems okay if you don't work at the curse."

"I've seen a few, yeah…" She's young, but it's a matter of survival, sometimes. "Nothing like that, though. Not ever." And to someone so fiercely protective of her own mind, it's like seeing a boggart - only so much worse. This is so much nastier, so much more … toxic than she'd anticipated. There's a small part of her that wants to run and get someone older, someone who'll take care of this, but she's not really allowed that luxury anymore. "You said they'd taught you some things, yeah? Did it hurt to do magic or to learn anything about it?" Because if re-introducing the information is going to cause flares like the ones the cursebreakers induced, that's a problem.

"Not from what I've seen. I mean, I've been taught how to hold this," Gaius pats the wand at his hip. "…how to make the end light up and the like. There's been some messy moments. I've had it in my hand and something comes to memory out of nowhere, then I'm casting spells without realizing what I'm doing." His face tightens into a pained expression. "Which is why I'm here, y'see? It's like I've got to get in a car every day but I've forgotten how to drive."

"A what?" For a moment, Siobhan blinks at him with a blank expression on her face. "Oh! Right." She's even been in a car. Just not an expression one expects to hear around here. "Yeah, that would be a problem. Which, I suppose, rules out us lumping you in any of our regular classes. There's Defense - that's what I teach - Potions with Professor Snape, Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall, Astronomy with Professor Sinistra, Herbology with Professor Sprout and Charms with Professor Flitwick." She ticks off each 'core' class on her fingers. "Of those, you won't need active magic for Herbology or Astronomy, so those shouldn't be a problem. Potions requires a kind of latent magic that shouldn't be too bad so long as you follow directions and aren't Longbottom." A dry joke that likely goes right over his head. Poor Neville. "But Defense, Charms and Transfiguration all call for active wandwork." Which has the potential for disaster if what he's saying holds true. With a tap of her wrist against her hip, Siobhan holds a tiny willow wand in her hand. She takes a step back and nods to his wand. "Show me the Lumos spell."

"They think it's all still there, in my mind. Not erased, just blocked." Choked out by the smog of a curse. "They set some bottles down in front of me. At the hospital. Told me to mix them. They were ingredients for four potions. I mixed three of 'em right without even thinking about it. First-year foundational stuff, they said. Third, well, it kind of exploded in a puff of green smoke, but they told me my records said I was never too sharp at potions." A chuckle from Gaius, but it's not as deep-bellied as before. He hesitates before drawing his own wand. It's long, thick and made of redwood. Seems apt. A daintier wand would look strange in his hand. "That's the glowing one, right?" He balloons up his cheeks. "Right. Lum—" he flicks his wrist. But the movement isn't for a lumos spell, it's for…well, a crack of lightning archs from his wand and hits a nearby desk. Which sputters and starts to burn. His eyes wide. "Oh…well…"

Thankfully, his warning meant that Siobhan was ready for … well, for something to go awry. "Aguamenti," she casts calmly, sending a burst of water from the tip of her wand to quench the fire before it has a chance to spread. Another flick and a muttered Reparo leave the desk with only a single starburst burn mark on the seat to show for its trouble. "That's … well, to be honest, that's kind of weird. You didn't finish the casting word, used a different wand movement and … I don't know what that spell was, but it looks like maybe a mix between Reducto and Flagrate." She taps the side of her mouth thoughtfully with the tip of her own wand. "Usually the movements and spell-words are just there as … triggers to tell our brains what our intent is. Cause at its base, magic is all about intent and willpower." And control, but she's on a train of thought. "I wonder if that curse did more than muddle up your memories… If it shook you up enough, it might have mixed up all the triggers trained in your head, so that when you want Lumos and you do the trigger for Lumos, you've accidentally told your brain to … do something else." It's a pot-shot, but she seems determined to test it. "Try for a Lumos again."

"Sorry, sorry, oh…" Gaius rocks a step back. He watches with wide-eyed interest as she douses and repairs the desk. "Well…that's…convenient, isn't it?" He clears his throat. "Em, well, there was a theory. At the hospital. That in my job, being a magical..cop or whatever it was, that there were certain spells I used often, in the course of my job. So there's muscle memory, see. And because I've lost some of my control, my body makes one move that feels right, but I'm asking the spell to do another thing. So things get crossed and…catch on fire." A nervous chuckle. "The simple spells seem the real problem. Presumably they're so simple they're like buttoning a jacket. And it's hard to slow down and think of the mechanics of buttoning." He takes a deep breath, makes sure he's focused, then lifts his wand. "Lumos," he murmurs. This time, the tip of his wand starts to glow, just as it should.

That makes Siobhan laugh. "Yeah, it is, isn't it? I don't know how Muggles function their whole lives without it." Presumably that's what those strange red jars are - the ones that cover all those Muggle buildings. She listens to that theory, confused even as she agrees. "That makes some kind of sense, I guess. Muscle memory's a powerful thing." A fact she knows very well. When he sets up to try again, her body tenses - ready to spring into action should something worse than the 'Confladucto' (or would that be 'Redugate'?) occur. When his magic behaves, Siobhan can't quite suppress the bright grin. "Oh, brilliant. Well done!" Folding her arms over her chest - wand braced between her fingers, now - she tilts her head to one side. "Well, I can definitely teach you the basic spells and such, so that you know 'em. But if it's control you're needing to cast, I'd suggest Professor Snape." Who … isn't all that much older than this guy, come to think of it. "Might even know him." Although whether that will help or hurt in this case is really up in the air. "I don't know anyone with more control than he has and out of everyone on staff, you're least likely to accidentally hurt me or him."

"The honest part of it…" begins Gaius as he moves the glowing wand around, careful not to make any movement that his body might want to, "…is that I'm a mystery to them. They said they've never seen a curse like this before. It's either powerful, or whoever cast it got it wrong. Which is why there's been no luck in breaking it." He seems fascinated by the glowing wand. It's a look that's common on the faces of Muggle-born first years, but not so much on grown men. He's distracted by it for a moment, but then the name snaps his attention. "Eh? Severus Snape? Don't ask me why, but the same sounds familiar. Dark hair, big nose?" He frowns. "Can't remember a bloody thing other than that, though. Frustrating."

Siobhan snickers. "That's Severus, alright. Hogwarts' resident Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House." Although none of that would have been true the last time Gaius had been in these classrooms. "Bit of a prickly temperament, but he knows more about magic than I ever will - and I grew up in this world - protects the kids in his charge and is still trying - vainly, I think - to teach me better control." There's genuine affection in her voice when she describes the professor most adults in this school can't summon up anything more than clipped, forced acceptance for - and the students considerably less than that. "If there's anyone here who can help you, I think it'd be him. I'll talk to him about it and see if we can't get you in to see him next time. That sound alright?"

"Whatever it was, I don't think I knew him very well back in the day. Might just be the name and face is familiar, except when I think of him, I see a young man. I tend to do all right remembering people. Good thing. My family'd have a bloody fit if I'd forgotten them." Gaius shakes his head. Without even really thinking about it, he extinguishes the glowing light on the end of his wand. Promise, yes. But he's a Ministry wizard with a good twenty three years of magical experience inside him. And he can barely control a lumos spell. It's going to be an uphill battle. "I'll trust you folks. Tell me what I need to do to get this thing under control and I'll do it. I've had enough near-misses to know I need it."

Casting a silent Tempus, Siobhan glances at the numbers and nods sharply. "I've got my first class coming in ten minutes, but I'll make time to see him as soon as I can." For multiple reasons, now. Reaching out in a display of compassion most would find strange coming from a snake, Siobhan moves to rest her hand on his upper arm, giving him a reassuring smile and a gentle squeeze before dropping her hand. "This castle is armed with some of the best, brightest and most powerful witches and wizards alive. We'll get you sorted, Gaius. I promise."

"I'd…like to be the man I was. Seems like it was an all right thing to be. It's strange not to know your own world, you know? I've forgotten so much, but what I've seen seems wondrous. Something of mine's been taken away, and I'm going to get it back. Even if I have to do it one spell at a time." There's determination in Gaius' voice. "Thank you for your help."

A chime sounds somewhere above their heads, resounding through the stone. Like a wash of seawater, the sound of children - all boundless energy, it seems - fills the hallways, with a few of the youngest trickling in to the classroom already. One little girl in braids gives Gaius a strange look. "You're more than welcome, Gaius." Siobhan shoots him one more smile before being distracted by a group wanting to ask about their next assignment. "Look for my owl!" she manages to call, and is then completely swarmed by energetic first and second years.

Nothing like a swarm of children to make a man feel old. Gaius smiles down at them though, especially the ones with the Hufflepuff crest. He slides his wand back into the holster, then picks his way out through them. "Oi, oi, mind yourself, darling. I've big feet. I'm sure she won't yell at ya if you're a second late taking your seat." His laughter rings out as he moves out into the hallway. Before he's out entirely, he lifts a hand to Siobhan.

Any additional notes fall to the bottom.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License