Professor Tabitha Hawthorne
Intermediates (and the rest of you), prepare yourselves.
Fri Aug 17, 2018 18:47

Tabitha could feel a headache coming on and her lesson with the Intermediate students hadn’t even started yet. She had reason to be stressed, though. Her lesson today was focused on the one creature that most of her discussions had been surrounding since her employment as Defence professor: Veelas. It had been decided between herself, Selina and with the rest of the staff that the best course of action regarding Cleo was to tell her peers the truth and to give her a free pass on Tabitha’s lesson. That particular point was the only reason that Tabitha wasn’t freaking out completely. At least she didn’t have to look into the eyes of the poor girl while they explained the dangers of the very creature she was half of.

She also had a hunch that the other reason she had a headache was a lack of sleep, resulting from a tiresome week. It had been an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs but she felt much better and, with a smile to herself, she knew that Mary was responsible. The lovely Potions mistress had not only given her a Draught of Peace that morning to try and help with her nerves going into her lesson. As well as this, Tabitha was also riding on a high as she now had a date with the lovely Mary Brooding and she was absolutely delighted. She had been eagerly awaiting her owl and had moments of giggling like a schoolgirl whenever she thought of the woman. Good God, she was a mess.

She’d just finished her sketch of a Veela in their angered Harpie form on the chalkboard when she heard somebody entering her classroom. Upon turning around, she saw the Deputy Headmistress walking towards her. She wasn’t an unexpected guest, the two of them having agreed that it would be for the best if Selina told the students about Cleo given that they knew her better than Tabitha. In all honesty, it was a bit of a relief. Tabitha had been worried for a time that she would’ve been faced with the task and it wasn’t something she was quite prepared for. She gave a weak smile towards the woman before turning the board round so that her notes in cursive were on display instead. She didn’t want to freak the students out the moment they walked in.

“Morning Selina,” she greeted the deputy as she moved over to her desk. She picked up Mary’s vial and showed it to the woman. She didn’t want her to think that she was taking anything illegal. “A Draught of Peace, for my nerves... Given that I can’t drink wine whilst teaching, this was the next best thing.”

“It’ll be fine,” Selina assured her, as Tabitha admitted that she had Draft of Peace on standby and would have preferred wine. Selina would have liked to crack a joke, and she was sure there quite a number of amusing comments about drinking wine that one could make, but she could not think of any right now. She had to admit that she was also not particularly looking forward to this. But it had to be done. And no one currently had a medically induced tendency to burn the school down, except for Cleo, so she was trying to tell herself it was better than last year. “If it helps, I often find that when you’re dreading a particular element of your day, it usually goes smoother than you expected.” Whether this was because you mentally set the bar so low that it was difficult for it not to exceed it, or because the real problems were always the ones that caught you blindside, she wasn’t sure, and decided not to share because that was not a particularly comforting thought – you are dreading this, but it will be fine and something worse that you haven’t expected or planned for is what’s really going to screw you up. It was definitely better to stick to saying only the first half of that.

“Anything else you need?” she asked. They had agreed that Selina would introduce the subject. As she also did not have a class during this slot, she had offered to stay for the remainder of the lesson, if Tabitha wanted the emotional support. If having the deputy headmistress looming over lesson wasn’t conducive to relaxing her, Selina more than understood. She had told her she could think about it, so now she asked, “And am I staying or not staying?”
Tabitha liked the Deputy Headmistress and owed a lot to her but it didn’t mean that she was comfortable with her sitting in on the lesson. If it had been Daniel Nash asking the question, she probably would’ve more likely accepted the offer. There was just something about having your boss that made Tabitha feel more anxious so, she shook her head. “No, thank you. We’ll be fine.”

She sincerely hoped that was true.

The Defence Against the Dark Arts class for the intermediates started slightly earlier than the beginner and advanced classes, and a memo had gone out to all students requesting them to join at the lesson’s start time. After some careful thought, weighing up the various extremes in terms of information sharing, they had settled in the middle – the beginner and advanced students would be present for the announcement (they would hear the news by lunchtime anyway, and at least this controlled how it was delivered) but they did not need to stay for the lecture, and would depart to their regular classes afterwards. All the Professors, but especially Gray and Nathan, had been briefed on the fact that This would be going down today.

“Good morning,” Selina greeted, once the… the entire school, minus one, was settled in. “You’re probably wondering why we’ve asked you all to come here,” she wished there was a less cliché way of opening her speech but social niceties existed for a reason. She had to say something. She couldn’t just…. “Normally what you learn in Defence Against the Dark Arts, whilst practical, is not something you need in your day to day life around our school. Or at least, we hope so. Today Professor Hawthorne will be teaching something that affects us more than usual. The intermediates will be learning about veela. This is important because one of your classmates is half veela. She is not here,” she added, before everyone started shifting around too much to eyeball their classmates, “Cleo James, fourth year. She has been given a pass on attending this class.” The moment of naming Cleo was especially horrible, like she was spilling someone’s secret. That Cleo knew that they were doing it, that they had discussed it with her, did not make it feel very much better. Her eyes flicked over briefly to Parker to see how he was taking this. He knew already, but her gaze found him several more times throughout her speech, wondering how he felt about how they were discussing his friend. She had warned Professor Hawthorne to keep a particular eye on him.

“Although this is Defence Against the Dark Arts, you should not assume that Cleo is a monster. She is still your classmate. She has some powers that make her different, and just like you need to learn about your powers in order to be safe, you – and she – need to learn about hers. The school has put in safety measures to minimise the risks of any incidents. Advanced students have already sat this class and beginners… Beginners are less likely to come into contact with Ms. James, or be affected by this issue. However, anyone from those groups who has particular concerns is welcome to come to see me or Professor Hawthorne.

“Cleo has not known about her half veela status for most of her life,” although this was somewhat private, Selina felt it important to establish – neither Cleo nor the school had been being dishonest, or withholding things from those around them. “It is still something she is adjusting to. She probably does not want to discuss it with absolutely everyone in the school, even those of you who mean well and want to support her. The best thing you can do is treat Cleo as you have until now. As you would any other classmate,” whilst it would obviously be far preferable than a wave of hostility, a bunch of virtual strangers attempting to get all in touch with Cleo about her feelings and how they valued her – whilst very well intended – was probably going to be unwelcome and overwhelming.

“Are there any questions from the beginners and advanced students?” she asked. If not, she would dismiss them and leave the intermediates in the hands of Professor Hawthorne.

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