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DH Skies and Andrew James
Fri Jan 19, 2018 13:15

"I see," said Selina her tone a little icy but at least even. It was an achievement given the revelation Mr. James had just made to her but Selina had a great many years of practise in not reacting with shock or horror to the things that were disclosed to her, although having taken on a half veela student unawares - indeed, with the student herself not knowing - did probably set a new record.

She had returned to school the day before term started to an owl requesting an urgent meeting with her on the first day back. It was never how you wanted to kick a new year off, and her mind had churned over all the terrible possibilities. Or she had thought it had. She had invited Mr. James in, and he had arrived first thing by Floo, bringing Cleo with him. She was now upstairs in the Crotalus dormitory, and Selina was counting her blessings that she had the room to herself.

"I-I know I should have told you."

“Yes, you should have,” she admonished, her tone losing some of its professionalism. She took a breath. Andrew James - a big man, one who under other circumstances might have looked tough or intimidating - was already writhing in his seat like a naughty schoolboy, contrite and regretful. There was nothing additional that shouting at him would achieve. She studied his face. He looked awfully young for someone with a daughter Cleo's age. So young, and he'd been all by himself, in this very complicated situation.

"Hindsight is twenty-twenty," she told him, then explaining, because he looked confused."It's easier to see the right thing to do when looking back. Yes, you should have done a lot of things differently," she added, but much more gently this time. "You have placed your daughter and my staff at considerable risk.”

"The staff? But Cleo's not dangerous - it's her that's at risk from them.”

“And if something had happened, without us knowing this information about Cleo, what do you think would have been done to that teacher? They could have lost their job. Ended up in prison.”

Cleo’s father wrung his hands, looking down at them. He appeared to be thinking through what she’d said.

“We’ll put measures in place,” Selina assured him, mind whirring. She wasn’t sure how it would all work, but it would… They would find a solution... “We’ll make sure Cleo is safe here.”

But she had misread what was going through his mind. He was not feeling sorry for the staff. Well, he recognised the truth in what she said. That innocent people could have had their lives ruined… That was a terrible thought. But it hadn’t happened. They knew it hadn’t. And the deputy headmistress seemed to think that meant everything had been fine up until now. But there was still something they didn’t know.

“You said, if something had happened…” he stared at her across the desk, frightened, “How do you know it hasn’t?”

It was like a freezing charm had been directed straight at her spine. Her mind stopped spinning forward, into all the things they would do, all the ways they could make sure there weren’t any problems. What if they had one already?

“Has Cleo said something?” Selina asked.

“No. No she didn’t suggest… But… It’s a concern.”

A concern you want me to address, she realised, with a leaden feeling in her stomach.

OOC - ordinarily, two characters are not posted together like this. However, I happen to write both of them.

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