Claudia Dubois
It’s not a competition
Wed May 2, 2018 12:08

How long would it take for the whole corridor to catch fire? The carpet was burning with an acrid smell, smoke filling the air and her lungs faster than Claudia would have expected. She didn’t know if her spells had worked on Dade - perhaps he had just turned and run away, continuing off to Cetus to pretend he had been there the whole time? Perhaps he was lying wandless in a full body-bind, watching the flames move closer, terrified they would burn him. Good, she thought dispassionately, although perhaps she should make an effort to stop the school burning down. Claudia could remember something about Wendelin the Weird, and a flame-freezing charm, but not the incantation. The older students knew a spell to produce water, but the fourth years hadn’t done any elemental conjuring in Spellwork yet. Fourth years weren’t supposed to be in a position where they would need to put out fires.

Just as she was deciding she would have to force herself to move if she wished to remain unsinged, a shriek from the poltergeist provided a second’s warning before everything in the corridor - including Claudia - was doused in water. It seemed unlikely that the presence of a non-being notorious for causing mischief would improve the situation, but he was soon joined by Garen Tennant, which was considerably more reassuring (not ideal, but definitely better than a poltergeist).

Claudia found her resolve to remain conscious weakening; her vision was starting to black out at its edges and her sense of balance had considerably diminished. The next few minutes passed in a barely comprehensible blur, and before she knew it Claudia was swallowing a calming draught and nodding to the medic that yes, her ankle did feel better now. She was also dry, and no longer in danger of passing out or regurgitating, but she was not feeling anything close to the calm her treatment proponed. She had been instructed to meet the counselor in his office, and there was a chance Dade would still be there. The thought of sitting in the same room as him sent her heart racing all over again, but Claudia did not wish to delay her opportunity to set right whatever lies the third year would be spinning without her there to prevent him. She kept a firm hold of her wand, and did not lower it when, after knocking to make her presence known, she was admitted into the office.

Claudia did not glance at Dade as she sat in the vacant seat. Just thinking about what he had tried to do made her dizzy. She tried - with limited success - to pretend he wasn’t there as she answered Mr Tennant’s request to explain what had happened.

“I left Professor Ember’s class,” - Claudia had no desire to tell him why unless the point was specifically addressed - “with the intention of going directly to my dormitory to continue studying the topic. I noticed Dade,” she still didn’t look at him; her hand remained clenched around the handle of her wand. She would not expect to need to defend herself in the office of a senior staff member, but she had not expected to be attacked whilst walking in the corridor, either. She wanted to make transparent the fact that she had done absolutely nothing to provoke Dade, so she tried to be as thorough with her answer as possible. She was speaking with a detached impassivity, which she could attribute either to this being a necessity to keep panic at bay, or to the effects of the potion she had recently swallowed. “I made a comment - something about him not wanting to be in class with boggarts, either,” she could not remember the exact words. “He told me to go away, but we were walking in the same direction. I wasn’t following him. He sped up and I didn’t. I said something else - told him I could go where I wanted to. Then Dade used a spell to push me backwards. That’s when I landed on my ankle.”

Up until this point her voice had been level, if timid. With her next sentence it began to quake, although mercifully no other physiological symptoms presented. She did not want Dade to know how strongly his actions had frightened her. “Then he - I think he tried to set me on fire. The carpet was burning. I wanted him to stop so I cast two spells,” she explained which ones and that they were in self defense, “and then I sent the siren for help.” Claudia decided to leave out the details of her sickness, and had no desire to confess she could not remember how to combat the flames. That was probably apparent.

While she had been resting her nerves in the infirmary, an unsettling thought had occurred to Claudia. She remembered the page she had taken from Drew’s notebook before midterm, and the offensive nature of the spells it detailed. She had considered telling Professor McKindy about it, as those spells had led her to discover the one she had used on Holland, to which Professor McKindy had so vehemently objected. However, doing so would necessarily involve confession of taking the page in the first place. Yet now she recalled Dade had asked for that same notebook. He had clearly known that it belonged to Drew, and probably knew what was written inside. It was obvious to Claudia that the two boys were studying Dark magic together, and that Dade, at least, was prepared to use it on his fellow students.

“Mr. Tennant,” Claudia said awkwardly - it was not just the imminent admonishment for her disrespect for personal property that was awkward, but also the comparatively informal title she was forced to use for a staff member who was not a professor - “there is something else that might be relevant.” She swallowed and instructed herself to keep speaking. “Before midterm I found some spells - some dark spells - written in Andrew’s notebook. I have seen Andrew and Dade together with the notebook in the commonroom.” Her voice was small and still a bit shaky; she wished she had retained the emotionless delivery she had achieved earlier in this meeting, but the more time she spent sitting near Dade, the more uncomfortable she became. “I believe they have been researching questionable magic together.”

  • Do I get a medal? - Dade, Wed May 2 11:06
    Drew’s dad was saying that his office was a safe space, but Dade wasn’t sure he believed that. Sure, he was clearly okay with people being different - he had Professor McKindy, after all, and Drew... more
    • It’s not a competition - Claudia Dubois, Wed May 2 12:08
      • Participation trophies only - Garen, Wed May 2 13:38
        Garen understood at once what the three people Dade had named had in common, and it wasn’t that they were all on the Lyra Quidditch team. And if that was why Dade had reacted so strongly, then—well,... more
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