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Professor Hawtorne and Professor Brooding
Advanced Students - Let's See Into Your Minds
Sun Sep 2, 2018 10:21

Tabitha liked her Advanced classes. They were the most interesting for her to teach as she got to delve further into the trickier side of magic which tended to rely more on one’s soul, their emotions and their thoughts, rather than just the correct wand movement or the pronunciation of a spell. Both were important, of course, but there was something truly extraordinary about what a wizard or witch could do when their feelings came into play. Today was of no exception.

Having dropped the bombshell of Cleo James being a half-veela the week before, Tabitha had been thinking about magic that involved the mind. Veela enchantments worked by playing on the mind of a victim and one way that could be prevented was developing a good mental defence, protecting it from outside sources. There was, of course, a spell that allowed for this, known as Occlumency. She had suspicions that Veela magic was simply an advanced or a variation on Legilimency, which was something else she was going to teach her students about.

She supposed that it was a bit risky, teaching a bunch of hormonal teenagers how to essentially read each other’s minds. On the other hand, becoming a Legilimens was something that took a lot of work, especially to reach the point where they didn’t require a wand or spell incantation so she doubted that the sixth and seventh years would go around poking into each other’s heads. Also, she hoped that they all had more respect for each other than that. There was only one way to find out.

The lesson that she’d planned was half theory, half practical. She wanted them to first understand the mind and while it was a powerful thing, it was also fragile. Walking through somebody else’s mind was a dangerous business as one foot wrong could destabilise the delicate framework of the brain and send it into a jumbled chaotic mess of memories, feelings and thoughts and essentially send someone insane. It was for this reason that Tabitha was absolutely not going to let the students perform Legilimency on each other and instead, have them focus more on performing Occlumency and building mental barriers - after all, it would be Occlumency that would serve them better in the long run, as extra protection against Cleo’s magic, however accidental it may be.

The practical side of it involved the demonstration that she was going to give. This had been a trickier thing to organise as she doubted many, if any, of the teachers wanted the Defence professor to run rampant through their minds and she did not feel comfortable doing so. It was with these thoughts that she had made the decision to play the part of an Occlumens. She had to admit that she was better at it than being a Legilimens as there were a number of beasts who could perform Legilimency - unicorns, for one. She also remembered that the Hogwarts Sorting Hat, that had declared her a Gryffindor all those years ago, used Legilimency to see into a student’s mind in order to see their character and place them in the right house. As a result of this, she was able to shield her mind rather well and, in order to hide her more private memories, she could push other unimportant ones to the front.

This presented a new and different problem. To let someone into her mind would need a boatload of trust and then some. While she had no problems with any of the teachers at Sonora and was pretty sure that none of them had malicious tendencies or were closet murderers, she knew that there was really only one teacher that she trusted to perform Legilimency on her and that was, of course, none other than Professor Mary Brooding. It was rather lucky that the Potions mistress was not teaching at the same time and Tabitha had thanked her repeatedly for doing something that she was sure Mary wasn’t particularly keen on doing in the first place.

Mary hated the idea. She was particularly embarrassed that she was a skilled Legilimens but a lousy Occlumens, meaning she couldn't even politely offer to switch places with Tabitha. She trusted that Tabitha would not let her into her mind, which was good since Mary didn't want in, but she was a bit concerned about what it meant that she could do one and not the other. What if she could get into Tabitha's mind? What if the effort sent them both insane? There were risks but Mary knew Tabitha was determined and preferred to be involved than watching helplessly for the consequences.

She wore violet that day, a dark rich purple that made her feel dangerous. It was important to want to succeed with Legilimency and she supposed she should look the part when the motivation didn't find itself in her crazy emotions. It was more fitted than usual, sans either ruffles or petticoat, but still not as fitted as might be considered immodest or even out of character. It had a stiff high collar and sleeves that came to a neat pointed trim just past her elbows. It was made for dueling but Mary had never used it for that purpose. She had simply found it easier to extract various potions ingredients when sleeves weren't a concern. She supposed that this class would be its maiden voyage so to speak, just as much as it would be her own.

Mary did her best to be prepared for these things, though, and for her, that meant potions. She arrived to the Defense classroom well-stocked, a suitcase full of Draughts of Peace, Pepperups, and more basic things like fainting salts and sleeping potions. She’d also been running through a list of possibly helpful spells, like obliviate, and been preparing the potions necessary to have a functioning pensieve in her office in case Tabitha wanted to send any of her more distressed students someplace to work through their memories more actively.

“I’m here!” Mary announced, smiling at Tabitha as she walked in. “How are you today, Professor Hawthorne?” And she kissed her, enjoying the stolen intimacy before a busy day of classes.

Tabitha looked up as she heard Mary walk in and automatically smiled, feeling better about her lesson already. She knew that the Potions professor more than likely had her worries and concerns but Tabitha trusted her completely and knew that they would both be fine. Especially after the greeting with a kiss. She hoped she’d get that every day.

“I’m very well, Professor Brooding,” she replied, clearing a space on her desk for Mary’s case of potions. “And yourself? I trust you slept well?”

Mary breathed a sigh of relief that Tabitha had played along with her joking formalities and seemed willing to maintain the professional facade into the class.

“I did,” Mary said. “Very well. I had a lovely book of adventures to keep me company, written by someone very dear to me.” She set her case down on the desk, smiling silent gratitude at Tabitha. “Let me know what to do. I shall stay out of your way and out of your ear as much as possible so you can focus.”

“I wonder who that could possibly be?” Tabitha pretended to think about the author of the ‘book of adventures’ though her smirk gave away that she knew exactly who Mary was talking about (Tabitha herself, of course). “Well, it’s pretty simple. I’m going to do a small lecture on the mind first, then about Legilimency and Occlumency. Then, we’ll do our demonstration. Once that’s done, I’m going to perform Legilimency on the students - lightly, of course, I don’t want to hurt them - which is where your wonderful potions will come in. I imagine that at least one of them is going to be shaken up by the experience. Feel free to take my desk chair, if you’d like to sit. I much prefer standing.”

Mary let out a gust of air as quietly as possible, thanking whatever stars made sure she wouldn’t have to perform Legilimency herself on the students. She nodded, accepting her role.

“Normally I’d prefer to stand,” she agreed, “but I think your desk isn’t quite as high as a potions stand so I’ll sit.” She wondered if she was stepping over the nurse’s role on campus but thought that the woman would probably prefer not to be terribly involved in academic affairs.

Mary threw a look of unashamed adoration at Tabitha before taking a seat, and quickly wiped the look as the first of the advanced level students entered the room. She always felt small around these children because at least half were taller than she was. Still, sitting made that less noticeable.

Tabitha shot one last smile at Mary before she assumed her role of Defence professor. Her back straightened and she pushed the sleeves of her forest green buttoned shirt up to her elbows as she surveyed the students who were coming in and taking their seats, then getting out the materials that they’d need for the lesson. She took a deep breath before she snapped into the role that was quickly becoming more and more natural to her as the days went by.

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