Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Monkey Kitty
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Cambria Morehouse

Cambria turned away from the window to face Rosemary. Her eyes were puffy and red, but no tears were falling. She did her best to hold her voice steady.

"They were alright when I left - physically, at least. Bale is confused, and his mind will take some time to recover after having his memories erased so many times. Eve... I honestly don't know, Rosemary. She isn't acting like herself. She's not usually..."

She was going to say 'not usually cruel,' but was Eve the one being cruel here? Perhaps Cambria truly had transgressed. Perhaps she'd misperceived the situation, misinterpreted polite interest as... another kind of interest, from someone who would never feel that way about her. It wouldn't be the first time something like that had happened to her...

No time for such speculation. Not with Darren still at large and people still in danger.

"She's not acting like she usually does. But she did hit her head on that column. She may need to recover too. I'm not sure how she is at the moment. She... she wanted me to leave. Demanded it. So I..."

Cambria shrugged helplessly. What else could she have done? But even if Eve truly hated her, Cambria still cared about Eve. She couldn't help it.
Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Rosemary Bain

Cambria was holding herself apart, trying to hold herself together. Her heart twisted inside her. For her friend's obvious pain, yes, but also as she began to realize just how big the issue was.

"That doesn't sound like Eve. She really only seems comfortable when she's around you. I ... I also found out some news from Liam. Apparently Eve's been there for 45 minutes and was very surprised by Liam and Shishguk's relationship. That...also doesn't sound like Eve. Cambria. We need to get back to hospital wing and make sure that really is Eve in there with Bale."

How could she have been so stupid. This situation was completely out of control...but hopefully still salvageable.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Cambria Morehouse

One semi-clear thought finally managed to pierce through Cambria's befuddled brain.

"Forty-five minutes? That's too long. I saw her more recently than that. She can't have...?"

She can't have gotten all the way to London in that time. Even if Eve was well enough to travel - which was doubtful, after that head injury, especially relying on a broomstick - there was no way she had spent forty-five minutes in the city.

"There have to be two people, Rosemary. That's the only explanation. But which one is Darren?"

The Eve in the hospital wing certainly wasn't acting like herself. But neither was the Eve in London. How would they know?

Cambria remembered a suggestion Eve had proposed what seemed like a lifetime ago but had really only been a couple of hours at most: Polyjuice only lasted for an hour, so if they watched someone for an hour and they didn't drink anything or change shape, they were presumably who they appeared to be.

"You're right, Rosemary. We need to go to the hospital wing and check."

When they arrived, Eve was predictably unhappy to see them. "Get out!" she shrieked at Cambria. "I told you to leave. Stop bothering me. I'm going to report you to the headmistress for harassment..."

This time, though, the words just washed over Cambria, because she had noticed something else... tiny, fresh wounds shaped like crescents all over Eve's hands. They hadn't been there when she had left a short time ago.

"Eve, what happened to your hands...?" Cambria asked, but even as she spoke the words, she realized she already knew. They were fingernail marks.

Eve met Cambria's gaze with suddenly wide, terrified eyes. "Protect... Liam..." she gasped softly, fighting for breath, fighting for every word. Then abruptly, her eyes shuttered again and became flat and lifeless. "Get out!" she screeched again, and hurled a water glass, which shattered against the wall a foot from Cambria's head.
Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Rosemary Bain

She stood in the doorway, absorbing everything she saw and felt in the room. What Cambria had told her about dropping Eve off in the hospital wing. The details that seemed to stand out so obviously now.

He couldn't have. He didn't.

She thought these things, but she knew that it was only wishful thinking. A man like Darren absolutely could and would curse Eve just to make her life miserable. If she'd ever been in doubt, she knew now that his depravity knew no bounds. Which meant that Eve was right - Liam was in grave danger.

Rosemary turned abruptly and left in search of a fireplace. The emergency floo system would be the fastest way to contact the Ministry - the Aurors, specifically - about Darren's whereabouts. She did her best to explain as briefly as she could where Darren was, that he was disguised as Eve, and that the young man Liam was in immediate danger. Rosemary hoped that Shishguk was away safely as Liam had said - she left the goblin girl out of the discussion in case the Ministry got distracted by this particular detail. Right now, they needed to focus on the Death Eater.

Her missive delivered, she decided it would be best to return to the hospital wing in support of her friends. Rosemary wasn't certain how she was going to encourage Eve that she'd done as asked without alerting Darren that his time was short, but she supposed her presence could be enough.

And hoped against hope that she was wrong about Darren's farewell 'gift' to Eve.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Liam Pellingham

"Tea, Liam?" Eve asked placidly. She had surely seen him jump, startled, when she entered the room, but if so, she'd made no mention.

"Uh, no, Mum. Thanks," Liam stammered. The thought rose unbidden, What had she put in the tea?

But that was a strange thought, wasn't it? His own mother? Yes, she had been a Death Eater. A master of Potions, of poisons. But he had never feared her. Not till now. He'd written all those letters, pressing the Ministry for her release from Azkaban, and he had never worried what she would do once she was free. Never for a moment during their reacquaintance since had he seen her as a... a released convict, or something. She was his mother.

Today she's different. There was an intensity, a glint in the eyes, a gaze held too long. Nothing was amiss in her appearance, exactly, but there was something about the way she moved. Too quick, too twitchy, too...

"What's wrong, Liam?" Eve stared at him as if her eyes could bore holes into his skull and see everything that lay beneath.

"Nothing, Mum, I'm fine, I just-- ah!"

He startled again as Eve grabbed his wrist. His mother's touch felt strange. It felt... wrong. His brain registered that fact first, then registered why a moment later. Eve was thin, slight, weakened by years of malnourishment and lack of exercise in a prison cell. How was her hand so strong? How was her grip so tight...?

"Mum, let go! That hurts!" Her nails were digging into his pale flesh now.

His discomfort turned to alarm as Eve dragged him closer so they were face to face. She shouldn't be able to do that - should she? Not after almost two decades behind bars in Azkaban? But she was stronger than him.

"We need to talk, Liam. We need to talk about your failures. Your lack of morals. How could you, Liam? How could you consort with goblins? You have strong blood. Wizard blood. Pure blood. How dare you dilute it by fraternizing with lesser creatures?"

"Mum, why are you doing this? Why are you acting so weird?"

"You will learn, Liam. I will teach you."

She wouldn't let go. He couldn't get away. He twisted, panicking, but couldn't break her grip.

"Liam, come with me. I will show you the way, the true way--"

"Mum!"

"I'm not your mother."

Liam stared at Eve without comprehension. "What do you mean? Of course you are, you're my birth mother, I was born when you were going to Azkaban..."

"I'm not Eve, Liam. I'm Darren. Your father."

"No! No, you can't be--"

"I am. And you have proven you cannot be trusted with your freedom. You have squandered the life that was given to you. It ends now. You will come with me, and I will teach you. Shape you. Make you better. Then together, we will--"

The door burst open, and three Aurors stood framed in the doorway, wands out.

"Let the boy go!" Barclay commanded. "Now!"
Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Rosemary Bain

Rosemary paced the hall just outside the door to the hospital wing. She should go inside. Cambria and Eve needed her support. Still, she didn't want to rush in to reassure Eve that all was well until she could be reasonably certain that Darren wouldn't be able to make use of that information. And when it was 'safe' - what then? He wouldn't release her of his own volition and to resist could drive her mad. If she didn't succeed.

Then and there she decided it was impossible for Eve to fall to the curse. She obviously had the willpower and strength of character necessary or she wouldn't have been able to tell them anything at all. And Eve wasn't alone. She had her son and her friends.

Enough waiting then. Rosemary strode into the room and smiled at Eve.

"You've got this, Eve. We're with you and the Aurors are protecting Liam. You've won the battle! We're with you for the war!"
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Eve Travers

When Rosemary entered the hospital room, she would find it in disarray. Everything portable within Eve's reach had been thrown at Cambria and now lay strewn on the floor around the unfortunate witch. Eve's face was characteristically pale, but her cheeks now blazed a fiery red, and her voice was hoarse from shouting insults at the top of her lungs.

But Cambria hadn't left. She had ducked the blows as best she could, and tried to let the words roll off her back, tried not to hear...

Eve looked at Rosemary when she entered. The Potions teacher listened. She stayed silent so long it appeared she wasn't going to respond.

Then she squeezed her eyes shut, she dug her nails into her hands again, and with a cry of anguish she rolled off the bed and lay convulsing on the floor.

"Eve!" Cambria cried, ignoring the possibility of further attacks as she knelt on the floor by Eve's side. "Eve, are you alright..."

Eve's eyes slowly opened, and she struggled to focus on Cambria and Rosemary. Finally, she spoke in a whisper. "You took me to the seashore."

"Yes," Cambria said comfortingly, relieved that Eve seemed at least physically intact. "We did."

"You..." Eve pointed to Rosemary. "You loved the water. You talked to me. You showed me..."

She closed her eyes again. When she opened them, she was looking at Cambria. "I had nightmares. You let me sleep in your room. You... you ran your hand... through my hair... and I..."

And then Cambria understood. Eve wasn't reminiscing. She was trying to apologize. Trying to restore the relationship they had before all this. Before Darren invaded their home and Eve's mind.

"That's right," Cambria said soothing. Very slowly, she reached out to Eve, and started running her fingers through her hair again as she did when Eve was trying to fall asleep. "And we're going to do all those things again. You're safe. You're back. None of this is your fault. This doesn't change anything."

For a moment, Eve just cried softly, letting herself be comforted. Then finally, she said, "We still don't know who killed the rat."
Quaxo9
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Re: Start of Term (Hogwarts) (cont'd)

Post by Quaxo9 »

Rosemary Bain

She didn't remember moving, but Rosemary found herself kneeling on the floor in front of Eve next to Cambria, nodding encouragingly as Eve spoke. Her own words echoed Cambria's, hoping to reassure Eve that they were together in this - in everything.

"Yes, we absolutely will continue to adventures and lovely times. We will support each other always."

Reaching up, she grabbed a couple of blankets off the nearby bed and offered them to the other two women. She chose a half-emptied pillow for herself and sat with it behind her head, hands resting comfortably on her knees. Whether or not her brain was ready to admit it, the events of last week - nevermind the chaos of the day - had drained her. Their troubles weren't over. There were still so many unanswered questions. So many wounded people.

"You're right, we don't. We have a lot of unanswered questions. But - for now - I think we can focus on ensuring you and Anthony are taken care of and on the road to healing. We'll take the waves as they come."

The dead rat was definitely an issue that needed looking into. Rosemary had a feeling it was specifically focused at Keeva and peoples' preconceived notions about acromantulas, which she would love to face head on and change minds throughout the populace. It remained, however, that she could not keep an acromantula in her room forever. Keeva needed a home where she'd be safe. She couldn't just release her outside, not into Aragog's territory. A permanent solution was needed - one that left Keeva happy and enriched - and most importantly - alive.

"The waves retreat and the waves roll in. Let's just rest in the ebb for a short while."
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