|Synopsis||Amber comes to Tiana for help. Both student and teacher get more than they expected.|
|Date||Mar 13, 1995|
|Watch For||Be careful what you wish for…|
It's late before Amber makes the decision to come find the current potions professor. Though it's not after curfew, she only has a little while before she'll need a pass from a professor to get back to the Hufflepuff common room, and she's hoping that Professor Moldavia will provide one. Filch just loves giving out the detentions.
Anyway, there's a purpose behind this mission, and it's planned so that, when she enters the classroom, there's no one else around. Perfect. "Pr'fessor? R'you in 'ere?" she asks. Clutched in front of her is the black and white rat, River, which Amber's already learned isn't an Animagus in disguise. Still, they'll need something to practise on, and since the spell doesn't hurt the rat, why not her pet? Sure, she's not entirely convinced that it's not human. Sometimes she swears the rat is way smarter than it should be. But there are other reasons she wants to learn this spell… She wants to teach it. To everyone in her house, and then in other houses, so that no one will have to go through what Perpetua did.
Tiana is indeed here. Since her work on dismanteling the wards around Professor Snape's office have yet to yield fruit, she is forced to do her marking in the classroom itself. Parchment is spread out all over the wooden surface, the clutter broken only by a pot of red ink and a magpie-feather quill. Her face is set into a scowl as she writes, the quill-strokes fierce and sharp. Someone is agitated.
When Amber pokes her head in - holding River out in front of her - Tiana pauses in her work and sets that black and white feather to one side. "May I help you, Miss Matthews?"
Damn, she's caught the professor at a bad time, it seems. "I was just hopin' you could teach me that spell," she says, holding up the rat. "'cuz you said it was too 'ard n' all, but I think maybe I c'n catch on if we start early." Amber's not the best student, but there's a reason she's a Hufflepuff. She's hardworking and tenacious, and she very rarely takes no for an answer.
"And, you know, if not, then I was 'opin' we could talk about Perpetua a l'il." She bites her lip, looking back toward the classroom door as if she expects someone to come in and shoo her out. "Pr'fessor Sprout's good fer that, Ma'am, but she cries so. N' I allas' feel bad 'cuz I don't. N' I don't think you do, either, so maybe if you have some time…" She looks down at the papers that Tiana's grading. "R' I could make an appointment."
Yes, Moldavia, she wants you to be the guidance counselor here. For some reason - maybe it's the memory of how fiercely this woman protected the body of her friend - Amber really trusts Tiana. Maybe… Maybe the woman can even be her mentor. Help her along a little bit while she's here!
This…was unexpected. Moreso, Tiana realizes belatedly, than it should have been. Caught between a rock and a hard place then. Either teach the child a spell she cannot possibly do - and could possibly do some serious damage by botching - or sit down and deal with a side of the emotional register that she'd effectively sealed off years ago.
Let's go with Option Number 3, shall we?
"Miss Matthews, I have told you once before that this particular spell is far and away beyond your level of casting. I will not repeat myself again." She quite dislikes that. "As for Miss Torrington, I understand the need to find a confidant who is not prone to such vulgar displays of emotion, but certainly someone in your House would suffice?" And even though it is a little cruel, Tiana has to push a few buttons and at least try to save herself from this. "After all, I did not meet her until post-mortem. How in Circe's name could I help?"
Without a sound, without a word, a pearly transparent and ghostly shape drifts through the wall behind Tiana. The shape is of a teenaged girl in Hogwarts robes. While no colors can be made out, there is the Hufflepuff badge on the front of her robes. She's staring curiously at the back of Tiana, head canted to the side, while floating about two feet off the floor. Sure, this Tatiana, I mean, Tiana person seems new to the school and interesting.. oh hey.. floating. Tearing her gaze from the back of Professor Moldavia, the girl holds out her arms from her, inspecting things with a mix of horror and curiousity. Hmm.. more curiousity than anything, and the same sort of fascination that has a person watching a train wreck.
"Well this is odd," she says in a sort of hollow sounding tone. Hollow because she really has no voice or throat from which to speak with. She's just here, a grey representation of the girl she was just a few weeks ago. Experimentally, she does a bit of a pirouette in the air and giggles at her own self. "I never could have done that before!" The giggle does fade rather quickly as Perpetua examines herself a bit more closely. "The Friar did say this would take getting use.. oh hullo. Talking about me?"
Amber tries not to be discouraged as she draws River back toward her chest, the rat crawling its way up into Amber's hair. "Yah, but…" Amber begins. "I'ave to start somewhere, aye? Jes' — " The look on Tiana's face, though, causes the thought to die in Amber's throat, and she decides to tackle the other issue instead. "Yer— Yer the one who brought her b— "
Another thought goes unfinished as Perpetua comes through the wall. Amber says something wholly inappropriate for a student her age, and, were she still holding River, surely the poor rat would have been dropped. Though used to ghosts, they've always just been ghosts. Never her friends, and always people she'd never known in life. That's scary.
So Amber does what anyone would do. She points. Not really one for vocals, they seem to completely fail her completely for a span as she stammers and indicates that SOMETHING IS THERE. Finally, she manages, "W—well you could get t'know 'er now!"
The cursing and pointing has Tiana whipping around in a flash, wand out and pointed straight for…a ghost. And not just any ghost, but one with a face that still haunts the interim Potions professor. "Miss Torrington." The wand is put away again and Tiana straightens her robes. "A pleasure to finally meet you properly." The woman's voice is smooth and polite, flawless manners in the face of adversity! Wait, are we sure this woman isn't British?
With a glance over her shoulder at Amber, the professor makes a 'tsk'ing sound. "Do not point, Miss Matthews. It is quite rude." That being said, the ex-Auror settles herself to once again grade some truly abysmal Potions essays. Perhaps this will be her One True Out. Amber can get all the talking she wants to get done out in the air with Perpetua's ghost. This frees Tia completely from any scenes of emotional awkwardness.
Or so she hopes.
The ghostly remnants of the girl looks behind her, then turns back to grin a bit weakly and apologetically at Amber and Tiana. A hand is raised almost shyly as she wriggles her fingers in a wave.
"Oh I don't mind if she points. Some first years already did that." She seems okay with this. It /was/ freaky however. She was freaking out a bit herself until she ran into, uh, through the Fat Friar. He's been a dear.
"Ooooh, are you a new teacher?" Perpetua asks curiously, hovering RIGHT BEHIND and over Tiana's shoulder. "Potions? I got to drop that for NEWTs.. but what happened to Professor Snape? I thought he was going to skulk the corridors forever." She's a bit clueless to the surprise she's just delivered.
The horror and surprise kinda gives way to a slack-jawed stare until Amber blinks, realises that she is being rude, and that ghosts do still have feelings - even if they're imprints of the people they used to be - and Perpetua is still a Hufflepuff student. Albeit one who'll never age and can walk through walls. Holy crap, that's creepy.
"Y— yah, but…" Amber says to Tiana, tearing her eyes away from Perpetua long enough to look at the professor. Concentrate on something. "Uh, Pet, this's Pr'fessor Moldav'ya," she says. "She— uh, she's the one who— D'ya even know what 'appened, mate?"
This is all kinds of weird. And what's even stranger is that, even though Amber feels as calm as can be, her eyes have decided that they're going to cry like fountains, and there are tears all down the side of her face. She sniffles.
Oh Merlin… Tears. And lots of them! So much for escaping a scene of emotional turmoil. When Tiana hears that sniffle, she looks up sharply from her grading and narrows her eyes at the live Hufflepuff. "Miss Matthews!" she snaps. "Stop that unseemly nonsense this instant! Your friend is right there. You no longer have to miss her. Talk to her! Do not just stand there blubbering like an anorexic walrus!"
Perpetua is, for the moment, ignored. It's much easier on Tiana's nerves this way. Bad enough she had to carry the child's body to the castle, but to know that she's bound to an eternity of ephemeral stagnation? It's something Tiana cannot think about Right Now, and so she grades the essays with a renewed vengeance. Poor first-years, and they thought Snape was bad.
"Mmm…. no.. not really.. not after the.." Perpetua looks uncomfortable and sort of shifts a bit. Then, "Oh no.. no.. don't start crying Amber, if you cry, then I'm going to cry too! And then I'll want to hug you and I can't!" She lets out a stifled sob, "You're going to make me sound like Moaning Myrtle!" Regardless, she raises her hands to her face, crying into them. Not that she can actually cry. What? No crying? Too late.
"Sorry!" Amber says automatically to Tiana. She doesn't really mean it, though, because she's not even sure what the professor said! Something about walruses, like Angelina. Or was that a hippo? Definitely a hippo. That matters not!
"Oh— Therewasthisguy…" Amber starts. "An'e'wasarat but no'reallyn' then… Then 'e— I dunno! Then you were… And I— I wanna hug you, too!" It's like all those emotions that have been bottled up - except for a brief case of the weepies with Moody - are all coming out right now. Perhaps she'll feel bad for Professor Moldavia later. Maybe. There could be apology cards shaped like hearts in the picture.
Out of instinct, Amber reaches for Perpetua. She's always liked touch as a means of expression. It's just that when she touches the apparition that is her friend, it's cold enough so that she pulls back her hand in shock. "'M sorry, 'm sorry!" she says. "Don't cry, Perpetua!"
Oh good grief! Slamming the quill down on the desk, Tiana stands, strides over to the door and throws it open. Pointing towards the corridor, she turns fierce eyes on both girls. "If you do not take this nauseating display of emotion out of my classroom within the next ten seconds, I will remove twenty points from each of you and keep you in detention for a week!" And quite possibly Transfigure Amber into a walrus, who knows! Glancing at the wall, where a charmed window shows the moon waxing nearly to full, Tiana takes a deep breath and reins herself in, harnessing that unholy rage into a glare that would rival one of Snape's best. The slit of moonlight almost touches Tiana's feet. It is still early tonight. "You now have five seconds, girls."
EEEP. She forgets to cry when Amber's hand just swipes through her. "That's.. that's gonna take getting used to," Perpetua admits, her sobs now subsiding to sniffles. Grabbing the sleeves of her robes, she tugs and twists a bit, then wipes at her eyes. Rather, the pearlescent tracks on her cheeks. "Can you do me a favor? Not tell my brother about me? I don't want him to see me like this.. or my parents." She's honestly not sure where she's going to go.. or how she even wound up here!
Another squealed eep escapes at Tiana's display. "S.. sorry professor.. I.. oh.. hey wait! You can't put me in detention!" Then the tears disappear and a sudden look of sly glee appears. She's.. UNTOUCHABLE.
Amber has no idea of the problems her professor has with the moon. She'd probably be a little freaked out if she did, but there's something that's got more of her attention right now. Ghost friend!
Unlike Perpetua, though, who can't be kept in detention, Amber certainly can. And she could also take the blame for the loss of forty points from Hufflepuff. She actually looks momentarily hurt, but that lasts just a fraction of a second, before she's backing toward the open door. "C'mon, Pet, we gots lots o' stuff t'talk about. N' I won't tell, dun' worry. I'll keep ya comp'ny." Even though it'll be really hard to get used to for Amber, too, though probably more so for Perpetua here.
She doesn't even look back at Tiana as she quickly exits the classroom. Once outside, she says to the ghost, "You're gonna be able t'get inta all sorts o' trouble now!"
REST IN PEACE, PERPETUA!