|Scene Title||Tea in Tartan|
|Synopsis||Siobhan returns to Hogwarts for the first time after the disastrous Halloween Ball. She reports to McG and finds comfort in yet another unexpected place.|
|Date||October 30, 1995|
|Watch For||Awkwardness, McG being awesome, Sio giving more heart-attacks|
|Logger||I am the Bad Wolf|
Late Monday afternoon - during the tail-end of todays' last class - finds Hogwarts' youngest professor darting through hallways and passageways, behind tapestries and around statues. Finally - checking that the coast is clear - she removes the Disillusionment Charm from herself and knocks on the edge of the frame containing her own ancestor, pulling her old magenta cloak tighter around her shoulders while she waits for some response. Despite his best efforts - and even being his descendant doesn't save Siobhan from his best efforts - the young woman is silent.
Fortunately, Siobhan needn't wait long. The painting of Sio's ancestor dutifully tells Minerva who happens to be waiting outside. And with a few hasty steps the older woman is opening the door and ushering her guest inside. With a warning to the kilt-bearer not to reveal who happens to be in there with her. She does refrain from threatening to tan his behind though. Because, well… it's a Noble male. He'd probably enjoy that.
"Do come in dear. I have the kettle boiling already and there's more then enough tea for the two of us. Sit, sit.." she encourages, keeping a sidelong glance on the girl's expression all the while. Waiting.
And though Siobhan dutifully offers a polite smile upon being invited in - her father's lessons in etiquette stuck well - it quickly fades into a much more wary expression. Lifting the hood of the cloak off her head, it becomes obvious that she'd only just recently come out of the shower, her damp hair falling in twisting golden curls over her face until she tucks it behind her ears. Perching on the edge of one of the overstuffed armchairs, Sio picks at the skin next to her thumbnail nervously. "I'm sorry about today," she blurts out, keeping her eyes on the hands in her lap. "I spent all of Saturday night going through the ruins at Godric's Hollow and most of yesterday at Devonshire and I would have been back in time but the roof collapsed on one of the rooms and I had to get un-stuck before I could finish looking…" As she raises guilty brown eyes to meet those of her professor-turned colleague, Siobhan has her lower lip worried between her teeth. Almost as soon as it's raised, her gaze is dropped again. "And I wasn't sure how I'd face … things here."
"Well dear, if you're going to apologize to anyone, it probably ought to be Severus since it was he who had to teach your class." Minerva points out, making the others' cup of tea first and holding it out with a stern eye until it's taken in hand. "But really, we've all needed to rely on one another at some point to fill in when situations arise." is added, without any censure in her tone. "And I did tell that.. Jethro, that you would be mortified when you realized what was going on." She tuts quietly to herself having hoped that it could all be resolved in a more dignified manner. But, well… "It was hardly your fault, Siobhan. You do understand that I hope. Some lackwit dripping an aphrodesiac, /of all things/, into the punch. -My- goodness. It's certainly a good thing for everyone that I didn't drink any!" And there's that tittered giggle again. Oh, Minnie.
Siobhan takes the tea with a mumbled 'thankyou', flinching at the reminder of yet another apology she has to make to her former Head of House. "I just figured since you're the one in charge when the Headmaster is away…" Or when she doesn't want to deal with said Headmaster. "Circe," she groans, taking a small sip of her tea. "I can't even apologize right." There's a soft, slightly bitter chuckle - a dark humor not entirely her own. For a moment, however, she just … stares at her colleague, mildly horrified that out of everything she could have picked up on from the babble - a roof collapsing, a visit to the ruins of the house in Godric's Hollow where Voldemort met his match, looking for something - it was the aphrodisiac. "I … " have no idea what to say to that. Groaning, she sets her tea on the hand-carved table next to her and buries her head in her hands. "I should have paid attention to what I was drinking or at least should have been able to take my … results off to deal with on my own. I can't believe he didn't hex me seven ways to Sunday." There's something in her tone that would suggest she feels he would have been well within his rights to do so.
What? It's better to deal with the embarrassing things first, and then move on to the important stuff! "I'm certain he understands." If not, Minerva will beat some sense into him with a cane. Once she has her own tea, she sits down and settles a plate of biscuits at a midway point between them, allowing the illusion of batty old woman a few seconds longer so she can get a good first sip of hearty brew. And then… "Now then, with that settled. You're going to tell me just what you think you were doing, /alone/ in such dangerous places. And you will assure me any injuries have been seen to, or I'll escort you to the infirmary myself. And then… then.. you will explain what you were doing there to begin with." Ahem. "Go ahead now. I'm listening."
The face Siobhan pulls says pretty clearly that she disagrees with Minerva's assurance. Just because she likes the man - counts him as Friend - doesn't mean she's blind. She's seen enough of his prickly pride to … fear the worst. And even though Minerva needs to know - would find out soon enough anyway - and Siobhan had even thought this would be a better avenue of conversation than one dealing with her personal disasters, she finds herself a little taken back. "Nothing worth going to the Infirmary for!" she is quick to protest, holding out her arms from her cloak - mostly bare thanks to her short-sleeved tee - and showing off some ugly-looking bruises and a few healed-over scrapes, but nothing worth bothering over, surely. "I made a promise." And doesn't that sound familiar. "When I was … trapped, Dumbledore had me exploring any and all routes I could use. During one such … trip, I met a woman whose portrait had been buried under rubble for years." She reaches for her tea and takes another sip. "She thought her son had died, you see, along with her and her husband. I knew him, though and told her what I could." Another drink and then she sets the cup back on the table, turning to McGonagall with all the fierceness of a young lioness protecting her pride. "I promised her that if I ever got out, I would find her portrait and bring it to Hogwarts where it would be safe and … " And this is the part where she would have needed to tell Minerva anyway. "And where she could meet her son."
"You make certain those scrapes don't become infected now, especially given all the herbs and potions that find their way through the halls." Minerva decides finally, after taking a good purse-lipped look at the girl's arms. Her eyes narrow a bit at mention of what Dumbledore had her doing, but she doesn't say anything about it. Just, nods firmly with a bit of a sigh. "I see. And I assume you found the portrait then? Who is it of, dear? The son is obviously here or you wouldn't be bringing this to my attention I'm sure."
Siobhan hides a fond grin behind a heavy sigh, muttering something that sounds suspiciously like 'Yes, Mother' before taking a hurried drink of her tea. Nothing to see here, folks! And yet, the question rising from her colleague has her pausing with the cup midway between saucer and mouth. For just a brief moment, blank surprise crosses her face. Then a mild suspicion - as if she's not sure why she's being made to say it aloud when she'd communicated so much already - and then finally a dawning understanding. No wonder Severus had no patience with anyone. Having to say things out loud instead of being able to communicate in layers is awkward. "Lily," she answers succinctly, finishing the aborted drink of tea and setting the empty cup-and-saucer on the table. "Her name is Lily Evans Potter."
Minerva will pretend she didn't hear that sigh. Plus, the sudden start when she hears just the first name is enough of a distraction to drive out all other consideration anyhow. "Oh my, yes. We should allow Potter the chance to see the portrait alone first I think. Before it is given a place in the hallways. You'll want to be there, I hope? I am certain they will both be quite grateful for what you've managed to do." And if there is a suspicious looking gleam in old McGonagall's eye, surely it can be forgiven and ignored right? "I do hope it brings some comfort."
Not a chance, McG. Siobhan's been dealing with much more subtle fish than Minerva of late - though few quite as blatantly intimidating. It can, however - because Siobhan's not about to start touching on more prickly pride anytime soon - be ignored and forgiven. "Of course," she agrees, pulling her cloak back around her shoulders. "I've left it in a safe place here in the castle. I can collect Harry after dinner one night this week, if that would be alright." As his Head of House, Minerva is the person to ask, after all. She doesn't offer to do so tonight, but if the boy's made it this long surely a few more days won't hurt, right? "I don't know if she wants a place in the hallways, to be honest with you… I just knew she'd be safest here for now."
As long as she's not known as 'Softie McG' anytime soon, Minerva can probably tolerate a few people learning some of her little secrets. "Yes, that would be a fine idea. If he would like Ron and Hermione there with him, I don't think that we should deny him that comfort, of course. Sometimes he can be quite a solitary young man, but…" her voice trails off into a small shrug. "So much the better, for now, if she doesn't to be truthful. It would raise too many questions, and I believe we would prefer not to draw attention to your activities aside from teaching. Almost makes me wish I were 30 years younger again." So she could go off on some adventures too! Being put out to pasture is hardly any fun at all.
"Of course," Siobhan answers again. Hermione manages to piss her off quicker than just about anyone else in the whole school, but she has a big-sister sort of fondness for the two boys - even when the ginger one sticks his foot in his mouth. At McGonagall's mention of keeping Siobhan's 'activities' a secret, the young woman's expression becomes shuttered and fierce. "There are lives more valuable than mine resting on that secret, Minerva." Lives on both sides of the line, but lives all the same. But mention of being younger brings a sly sort of smile to Siobhan's face, softening and hardening her expression all at once. "You don't have to pretend around me, you know. I know you're not too old for adventures, whatever you let your students believe." And that grin shifts just a bit to the wicked side. "And next time I have to go digging through collapsing old houses, I'll know who to call." So long as they're collapsing old houses she doesn't mind Dumbledore hearing about, anyway.
"I'm also not so old that I've forgotten how many valuable lives rest on that secret, Siobhan. Do not make the mistake of assuming otherwise. Ever." McGinagall peers across from over the rim of her glasses with a chastising expression. She hardly needs the reminder. It weighs more heavily on her shoulders then she would ever let on. "My students likely believe I'm so old my bones creak whenever I sit down, and mummy wrappings are why I wear long sleeved robes all the time." she quips, with an inelegant snort attached. "You do just that, dear. I'd be glad to help if I can be of assistance."
And the chastisement rankles, but Siobhan takes it without complaint, knowing she's earned it this time. "I'm sorry, Minerva. I sometimes forget that not everyone's as conniving as Albus." She's overtired and - betrayed by a glance at the clock - already nervous about her next task of the day. That's probably why she slips up about the name and the irritation with the Headmaster in McGonagall's presence. Probably. "Really? I always heard it was a protection from catnip." The long robes. She's joking. Mostly. Maybe. Standing and stretching - and doing her damndest to cover a yawn that has no business causing trouble for another couple of hours - Siobhan offers her colleague a quirky sort of smile. "S'good to know, McG." But hopefully before her bit of sauciness can catch on, she's moving right along. "I've got loads to do tonight still and the last classes will be letting out in just a bit, now." And she'd like to get back upstairs before the rush. "Thank you for the tea, it was lovely."
Ah yes, that is the heart of the matter isn't it. "Apology accepted, my dear." And she doesn't even make a comment about Albus. No, not this time. She knows his faults as well as his strengths, and there's no use in denying either of them. "Hnph. Quite amusing." Minerva sniffs. "Oh, do go on now. There's no need to hide the yawn and pretend you aren't itching to get away. I do thank you for coming by to keep me informed. Very much so." And she makes a shooing gesture. "You're quite welcome. Anytime, dear. Any time."
Laughing outright at the sniff - and Minerva's trademark (if unusual) way of showing amusement - Siobhan acts once again without thinking and leans down to give the 'old woman' a kiss on the cheek. Blame her overly-affectionate pack of lions. A quietly genuine "Thank you," is offered as Siobhan straightens and turns, slipping through the portrait with a flip of the bird to her ancestor and out down the hallway, leaving the distinct impression that said expression of gratitude was for much more than just the tea.
Any additional notes fall to the bottom.