Participation trophies only
Wed May 2, 2018 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, the reason why he had attacked was still irrelevant without a clear, immediate threat, but Garen was more sympathetic to it. “I see,” Garen said, and he did. He really did. “I can understand why you felt a need to protect yourself, then.”

What didn’t make sense was the idea that Claudia would deliberately seek out queer students to hex them. (This was the first Garen had heard of her hexing her brother—he would have to check if that was something the staff needed to address.) That was a fairly extreme campaign for anyone, let alone a girl who, by all accounts, had spent the last four years being polite and studious. Garen supposed that anything was possible, but it didn’t add up, at least from his perspective. It seemed more likely that perhaps Dade had, having heard about previous incidents with Claudia, been predisposed to believe she was following him for that reason. That would certainly explain his reaction.

It felt like they’d exhausted Dade’s supply of information—and ability to discuss it—so it was fortuitous timing that there was a knock at the door. Garen opened the door magically, allowing Claudia to enter his office and take the other seat opposite his desk. From Dade’s visceral reaction and Claudia’s visibly anxious demeanor, was immediately clear that both students were terrified of each other. Garen resolved to minimize the amount of time that the students needed to be in the same room. As he had done with Dade, Garen invited Claudia to tell him what happened.

Her story did not necessarily contradict Dade’s—she asserted that she had been walking the same way as him but not following, which was believable. She agreed that Dade had set the fire; her version of events suggested it was deliberate, and Garen felt that regardless of whether his spell had worked as intended or gotten away from him, Dade had clearly meant to use offensive magic against his Housemate. He had neglected to mention the first spell he had used on Claudia, which could be explained by how shaken he was, or by an attempt to get in less trouble.

Then Claudia said something that visibly surprised Garen. Drew had what? That didn’t sound like him. It was entirely believable that Drew had left his notebook out where someone could see it—Garen knew from the past thirteen years that Drew had a habit of leaving his possessions all over the place—but doing research outside of class didn’t sound like Drew. Doing research for something class-related wasn’t much like him either. Garen supposed his son was occasionally motivated to look up information for music or a Rocky Voices article, but that was the extent of his non-fiction reading, and neither of those would involve Dark magic. He knew that Drew had recently joined the Dueling Club, and that his Defense Against the Dark Arts grades had improved this year, but Garen attributed those things to Cindra. He couldn’t just ignore this—he’d have to speak to Drew about it—although he wondered how Claudia had known offhand that the spells she had seen were Dark. She didn’t have a reason to lie about this, though.

“I… appreciate you reporting that, Ms. Dubois. I will,” Brecht, what a mess. Garen hadn’t expected his son to be so much trouble every year when they had decided it would be okay for Drew to attend the school where his father and stepfather taught, “follow up with Andrew.” Dade looked like he would be grateful if a dragon suddenly burst into the room and swallowed him whole, and Garen doubted that a productive conversation with the underclassman would be possible at present. Besides, Drew carried his notebook everywhere; it was plausible that he would have it while with a friend, without the friend knowing the exact contents. If Claudia’s allegations did turn out to be true, Garen could always call Dade back to his office once he figured out what to do about it.

After receiving confirmation from Dade that Claudia’s report of the words and spells exchanged was accurate, Garen proceeded. “Mr. Farnon, I understand that you believed Ms. Dubois was following you,” he said, trying to phrase it so that Dade knew he understood without betraying that fact to Claudia. “However, using magic against other students is unacceptable. I’m subtracting twenty points from Cetus for your actions. Additionally, you will serve two weeks of nightly detention with Ms. Liang. She will contact you about the details of your punishment later this week.” Given that Dade had done damage to the school, spending some hours assisting the caretaker with her duties seemed appropriate.

“Had Professor Embers dismissed the class when either of you left?” Garen asked, suspecting he knew the answer. Surely Dade wouldn’t have felt that Claudia was following him if there were other people in the corridor, some of whom might have also gone toward Cetus and therefore witnessed the event. “Right. In that case, I am subtracting an additional ten points each for skipping class, and both of you will have to make up the lesson with Professor Embers. Please see that you arrange this with her at the earliest opportunity.”

  • It’s not a competition - Claudia Dubois, Wed May 2 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... more
    • Participation trophies only - Garen, Wed May 2 13:38
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