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Chapter 16 : Chocolate Pudding Monster
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I don't really know what else to say, actually. So here's the chapter!
"Um...... Professor Whit?"
"Yes, Mr. Black? How may I help you?" Lucy asked, smiling welcomingly at Reg, who looked intensely....... uncomfortable.
"Um, I was wondering, if, uh......."
"Yes?" Lucy asked curiously. Reg heaved an impatient sigh, shoved a chair onto the trapdoor that led down to the corridor, and sat down.
"Look," he began bluntly, and Lucy could tell she was going to go through Part 2 of the Friends Confusion Talk. "I don't get it, and I don't get what's going on, and it would help if you told me. Like a lot, you know?" Lucy nodded with a grin and leaned back slightly from where she sat on her desk.
"Yeah, sure, Reg. No prob. It's real simple, actually. Knot had a hissy fit, that's all, and made me Div professor for the month." Lucy felt a pang at those words, a sharp, sudden stabbing pain as what she'd avoided even thinking directly came out of her mouth. She'd never said it out loud, but her term as Divination professor was only for a month at Hogwarts. She knew it, her colleagues knew it...... But no one had said it out loud before, not after everything had been settled. And now, to say them out loud, to hear them sound so very final and real and harsh to her ears...... It was already her second Wednesday. Where did the days go? How could there only be twenty-one more days of her being a professor at Hogwarts after this one had ended, this tenth day that had hardly begun? It hurt Lucy to say, physically hurt her to accept and acknowledge, but she withheld that information with such ease that only one that was used to never sparing an emotion that wasn't allowed to pass across their visage could accomplish, not even flinching as the words fell like dead, sharp things into her. Lucy was smarter, more experienced than to be blank now—she was smiling and looking as cheerful as she always did—but she felt dead inside.
What she had been feeling as of late had been true happiness; it would be gone all too soon.
She wasn't doing enough.
"Oh, okay then." Reg said, not knowing in the least all that had gone on just behind Lucy's perfectly shuttered, still eyes, or how much havoc her simple, casually spoken explanation had wreaked on her insides. No, after bit more time in which the two conversed like the friends they were, Reg left, completely innocent to what had happened inside of Lucy's mind and heart, and what he had done to bring it about. She felt nothing against him for it, though, for Lucy knew it had to have happened sooner or later.
Nevertheless, Lucy locked the trapdoor, put her head in her arms, and sat very, very still until her first class that day, skipping breakfast completely and not being seen by anyone but Reg and the painted animals on her walls—come to investigate the intense quiet and stillness, and wonder as to why the lady in the deep blue robes was so still instead of so vibrant, as she usually was—until her first class showed up.
......She didn't cry, though.
It just made Olivia madder when she cried, so she'd stopped crying ages and ages ago....... not like Lucy had ever really cried, though. It was just that one time, but.......
Lucy shuddered in remembrance, just as the bell rand signaling class. The only thought that went through her mind as she unlocked the trapdoor was a simple one, but one that gave her a slightly haunted look for all of two seconds—a look she was able to hide with the sickening ease of one given much time to practice.
She doesn't like it when I cry.
Olivia didn't like it, the one time Lucy had ever cried, ever, the first time the woman had truly laid into her—how old had Lucy been? Two, three years old? And how long had she gotten beaten by Olivia?
.......That depends. How long had Justin been gone with Annie at the museum? Almost all day, wasn't it? And hadn't Lucy only broken down and begun crying just before Justin and Annie were home, when Olivia had—but never mind that now.
Olivia beat Lucy to hear her pain, see her pain, but that first fury had been etched in Lucy's mind forever, so much so that her only fear was crying in front of her aunt now. If Lucy cried when her aunt lashed out at her now, maybe they would be shorter, less painful. But Lucy did not know that, nor could she believe that. Because that very first time, as Olivia had seen the clock and realized that Justin was due home with Annie any minute, had seen Lucy finally begin crying in pain, had....... No. No, Lucy would never—no, could never—cry in front of that woman, the lady who ran the house of Number Twelve Rosewood Road.
And that was, perhaps, the reason why—but never mind that now. That wasn't of any importance, not here. Not at Hogwarts. Olivia surely couldn't affect Lucy now, she being so far away, being safe. There was absolutely no way for Olivia to have the slightest sway or power of Lucy while the girl was here.
She doesn't like it when I cry.
.......Just teach, Lucy, and forget about your troubles for the next while. Do what you always do little one, and try not to remember. Maybe one day it'll get better, if you just keep believing it will.
She doesn't like it when I cry.
Lucy is perfectly composed, as if nothing is wrong, laughing and joking with her students as she normally does.
She doesn't like it when I cry.
I can't ever cry, not if I can help it.
Lucy knows too well how to act, how to laugh, to smile—she's mastered the art of being herself. She's on autopilot, though, even if no one else in the world is aware of it.
She doesn't like it when I cry.
Lucy's only fear. Not even her aunt.
.......And for such an empathetic person, one who felt things so fiercely, sharply, who was so attuned to the feelings of those around her that it was as if they were her own, whose every breath told her of the suffering of others, who possessed intense knowledge that was stored deep inside of her, in a well of pain that continued eating her from the inside out, even when she wasn't aware of it.......
She doesn't like it when I cry.
Classes came and went that day, blurring into each other slightly, yet somehow each was sharp and clear in Lucy's mind as she thought over them. She couldn't help but smile as she did so, either—all the pain she'd felt in the beginning of the day had been absolved by her students, and all the work she did that day.
And the laughter. So much laughter, shared with such wonderful beings.
Lucy loved Hogwarts like no other place on Earth.
And now, as students drifted to her room—which had become quite the hangout place as of late, believe it or not—Lucy felt perfectly....... okay.
"Hey, Professor Whit!" One of her older students—a sixth year—called cheerily, waving as he ascended into the room. She beamed, seeing not only his, but the rest of the students that came up with him, smiling faces. The large group spread out through the room, leaning and sitting—even laying—wherever they felt like, large grins on their faces. The room continued filling with students of all ages and of all Houses, all chattering cheerfully to one another and, when she stopped by, to Lucy, whose mind had cleared of all the poison that had resided within it all day.
This was where she belonged, right here. Right now. With her students, in her classroom. Talking with them, smiling true smiles as they regaled her with stories of their lives. Showing them tricks, giving them tips, making them laugh.
That was the best. Making them laugh. They always looked so happy then....... Lucy liked it when they laughed; they looked truly happy, inside and out when they laughed like that, like they did then. Real laughs, real happiness. It always brightened Lucy's days when she saw them laughing like that, happy like they deserved to be....... They always looked so bright, so wonderfully light when they laughed....... Even the too-somber Slytherins let out a real, genuine laugh now and then, before they could catch themselves.
It was proof of magic if Lucy ever needed it, that happiness that the students shared but never truly admitted to each other outside of and away from Lucy's presence. It was like a silent, informal truce had been agreed upon, only acknowledged where Lucy was in charge, always ignored everywhere else...... Even when arguments broke out, they never escalated to the violent level they were sometimes prone to becoming....... And not just because of the respect they had for Lucy, or because of Lucy's reactions to fights as such either.
......And not just because they knew that Lucy, who treated them not only as equals, but as if they were friends, was not above taking their wands and taping them to both her classroom and private quarter's ceilings. And refusing to give them back until things were settled and she was sure they wouldn't commence their fighting again...... And Lucy would take some convincing for her to believe that; she could be more stubborn than even James could be—more stubborn than James, more stubborn than a mule....... More stubborn than James if he was combined with a mule....... Really, really stubborn, basically. And that was something that she didn't need to tell or teach to anyone: It was clear, very clear at times that it would probably take a wand to the head to change her mind once it was set. Maybe more.
"Hey Professor! Come check this out!" An ecstatic voice called from the other side of the room, scaring a flock of painted birds from their perches up in the branches of the trees where it came from. Lucy looked up, curious, and saw a girl by the name of Teri Camp motioning her over excitedly. "I did it! I did it!" Teri shouted, bouncing on the balls of her feet energetically. "Look, look! I did it! They changed colors and spun around and they went all the way up there! Oh, and they didn't explode or hit anyone!" Teri's eyes shone brightly as Lucy made her way to where the little brunette was waiting impatiently for her, a proud grin on her face.
"That's great Miss Camp!" Lucy said brightly, none of the pride or the familiarity of a friend disguised by the formal way Teri's name had to be spoken. "You've been practicing for so long now!"
"Yeah! And look, Professor Whit; no one needs to go to the Hospital Wing!" Lucy's eyes were bright as she pulled Teri into a quick but tight one-armed hug.
"I'm so proud of you!" Teri's eyes shone even brighter at Lucy's praise, a large grin spread across her face. "You've been working so hard on getting it right! Can I see? That's so great Miss Camp!" Lucy's excitement was contagious and spread like wildfire throughout the room until just about everyone was itching to see Teri's accomplishment.
Teri shone so brightly under Lucy's praise that she did the spell perfectly in an instant, and the next thing she knew, she was teaching the entire group how to do it.
"Hey-ey Professor! I'm here for tutoring!"
"We're here for tutoring, genius!"
"Yeah!" Lucy laughed; she had to. The triplets were here for tutoring. Two girls and one boy, they were born within just seconds of each other and looked shockingly alike. All three had soft green eyes, light honey hair, and amazingly delicate features. Even the youngest of the triplets—the boy, Stephan—looked as though he might shatter at the slightest nudge. All three were small and had incredibly childlike looks—they reminded some of porcelain dolls, what with the combination of their looks and size...... But as much as they looked alike, they were that much different. Stephan was a Hufflepuff and on the quieter side; shy and always looking down. He didn't speak much and had few acquaintances; those he rarely had contact with outside his family could in no way be called his friends. He had a smile that could steal hearts, but it was rarely seen: Stephan barely if ever smiled or laughed, his extreme quietness combined with his shyness gave him a rather serious air that belied his actual kind manner—a thing that not many got to witness or experience, as there were few even within his own family that he would willingly converse with.
Megan was the oldest of the three, and a Gryffindor through and through. Stubborn, hard-headed, and impatient were three qualities often used to describe her........ Especially impatient. Megan could hardly wait the two extra seconds it took to actually stop and say hello to somebody she knew, throwing the greeting over her shoulder as she sped away more often than not. She was always doing something, always hurrying to get things done. She liked being in charge, too, often believing that the only way things would get done was if she was the one doing them. She meant well, though, deep down, though her clipped way of speaking and the ease of which things aggravated her oft made people think otherwise. She got on many of her friends' nerves a lot of the time, true, but she was a good friend and had a very caring nature....... deep down, anyway.
Carly was a Gryffindor as well, though she was absolutely nothing like Megan. She was undeniably sweet and was in no way a leader. She was always happy to step back and let someone else take charge, if that was their fancy. She spent a lot of her time among nature and wildlife, Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures being her two favorite classes. She loved helping others, and could near always be found giving assistance to absolutely anybody that needed it, from other students to animals to the House Elves—a thing that the House Elves wished she wouldn't do. Carly spent most of her time helping others, often neglecting herself. More often than not, Megan would find her younger sister up late in the common room, doing homework or studying, not having been able to do it during the day because she'd been too busy helping someone find their favorite quill. Carly was the epitome of gentleness; a peacemaker down to her very core, and a pacifist as well, which made her being Gryffindor's best Beater since Fred and George Weasley a true shock to the system.
Carly was the only one of the triplets that played Quidditch, as a matter of fact, and she absolutely trashed the other teams. Competitive, energetic Megan spent her Quidditch time in the stands, as well as the Quidditch-loving Stephan. For whatever reason she had, Megan preferred watching Quidditch to playing it, and Stephan, who was absolutely nuts for the sport, had a much better time talking about it and suggesting things to Carly than even thinking about trying out for his House's team. Maybe Megan and Stephan saw how great Carly was and didn't want to try their luck against her, or maybe they both saw Quidditch as hers, which was honestly the only thing that she didn't share with her siblings. Carly—sweet, kind, caring Carly—shared absolutely everything with the two of them, and without hesitation. She wouldn't be the least bit bothered if they expressed a want to play—on the contrary, she'd be thrilled, overjoyed, as she always was for them and everyone—but Stephan, and even Megan, didn't want to take that away from her. True, she wouldn't mind, but they would. Quidditch, the silent agreement between the oldest of the triplets and the youngest, was Carly's. It was something Carly both excelled at and loved; neither of them truly wished to play—not officially, anyway—enough for them to feel as though they were taking that from her. Neither Megan nor Stephan ever spoke of their silent convictions to Carly, as they both knew perfectly well that, at the first hint that she got that they'd be happier playing, and weren't because of her, she'd do something rash and impulsive, that would ultimately make her unhappy. Like quitting the team, for instance...... Carly wasn't one to deny others happiness, after all, especially not her brother and sister, whom she loved with all her heart.
One thing the three had in common, though, was a deep, almost profound bewilderment of Divination. True, their grades had improved much when Lucy started teaching, but they still needed some assistance in certain areas, and appreciated help on their harder assignments. Lucy didn't give them the answers, no, but she helped them to understand a lot more than if they would've tried to riddle the work out themselves. All three of them loved Lucy for all the help she gave them; though they were surprisingly good at most all of their other subjects, in Divination they were truly hopeless. Now though, thanks to Lucy's help, they were doing much better in their dreaded class than when Knot was "teaching"....... Which was good, seeing as how handing out easy assignments wasn't one of Lucy's strong suits....... She liked challenging her students, after all.
And boy, did Megan, Carly, and Stephan feel challenged.
"Okay now, James, what color is this?" Elaine prompted, showing James a large, green plastic cube. James looked at it a long moment, then knocked it over. And laughed. Elaine sighed and smiled; she knew James was smart, and that he probably knew the block was green. The boy just did not like paying attention to most learning-related things. "What about this one, hmm?" Elaine asked, pulling out a bright blue ball. James blinked, then laughed and poked at the ball to get it rolling.
"Trying to teach James his colors, love?" David's amused voice asked, Elaine looking up to see her husband leaning in the doorway. Elaine smiled and stood, James continuing to play with the differently colored toys.
"He knows his colors, David Harry Potter." Elaine said, giving her husband a light whack when he smiled a very smirk-esque smile.
"I believe you, I believe you!" David said, still smiling that smile, hands held up in mock surrender.
"Hmph. You better." Elaine said, arms crossed in mock irritation.
"Jamie." Baby said to her big brother.
"Of course I believe you; after all, you are always right." David said with a laugh. Elaine whacked his arm again, a tad harder than before."
"Yeah, Baby?" James asked Baby, neither of their parents noticing their conversation.
"You say that in a joking manner in order to get around the fact that I am always right." Elaine joked with a smile.
"Jamie." Baby said, in a tone that implied she thought him silly for not understanding her the first time.
"Well, I—look!" David said suddenly, lowering his voice and pointing at their children.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry Baby." James apologized with a slight grin, handing Baby the red triangle and yellow rectangular block. Baby laughed delightedly, eyes bright. As she waved the toys, James laughed. He put his chin on his hands and his elbows on the floor, the rest of his body following soon after. "Show me." He said cheerily. Baby grinned, showing her toothless gums quite happily, and put the toys next to her face. Then, she made what her parents had to assume was meant to be either scary or vicious, and attempted a noise that they couldn't interpret. She was only a year old, after all; most all of the sounds that came from her mouth were in some form of a gurgle. James, though, seemed to understand what Baby was getting at and laughed heartily. "You're silly!" He said in a truly happy way, as if there was nothing he would've rather said to or about his baby sister. He rolled onto his back and looked up at his parents brightly. "Baby's silly, mummy. Baby's silly, daddy." He said, a wide grin on his face as Baby leaned foreword precariously, her little tongue poking out of her mouth. As their parents smiled amusedly down at their children, Baby plopped down on her belly. Before anyone could respond or even show their concern, Baby laughed and began playing with James' hair quite cheerily, causing her older brother to laugh as well.
David and Elaine exchanged looks, then shook their heads, amazed. Those two were really something together.
"James, darling." Elaine said suddenly, remembering something. "What was so funny, sweetheart? What was Baby trying to do that made you laugh?" James looked surprised, as well as slightly confused.
"Why, didn't you see her, mummy?" He asked, eyes wide in the way only children's can get. "She was pretending to be a lion! Course, she said the red was for something else." James thought for a long moment. "Grimindorf?" He asked, then shook his head. "Gurnenmor?" He shook his head again.
"......Gryffindor?" David asked; a complete shot in the dark, but it was the closest-sounding thing he could get to. James' face brightened and he nodded rapidly.
"Yeah! That! Grimmenmorf!" Elaine bit her lip hard and looked away as David grit his teeth together tightly, both to keep from laughing. Poor James; it was as if any and all Hogwarts related words he came across, he'd mispronounce. And badly.
Baby laughed brightly, the sound of her laughter reminding David of not only her presence there, but of something else.
"Wait...... James. Baby didn't say anything." James looked confused again. So did Elaine, actually, so David explained. "Before, James, you said Baby said that the red was there for Gryffindor, not just the lion." David blinked in shock, something else occurring to him just as it occurred to Elaine; they exchanged wide-eyed stares a moment, James breaking their apparent stare-off.
"Didn't you understand her, Daddy?" James asked. "Wait about you, Mummy? Didn't you guys understand Baby?" James paused, letting his head drop back down onto the floor as he looked up at Baby, who responded to this by poking him with what could've been called a shrug.
"Jamie." Baby looked up at David and Elaine, back at James, then over at where the colored toys sat, forgotten. "Jamie?" James laughed and nodded, then rolled over and reached for the white cube—identical to the green cube in all but color. He handed it to Baby and she smiled brightly at him, then began to play with it, turning it around in her hands as if observing it. After a few moments of this, during which David and Elaine felt rather neglected, Baby handed it back to James then rolled on her back to stare up at the ceiling.
"James, honey?" Elaine asked, James looking from Baby to his mother inquisitively. She paused a moment, thinking. Then; "What was that about?"
"Oh." James said nonchalantly, rolling back onto his stomach to watch the ceiling with Baby. "Baby asked me to pass her the white block. She wanted to see it." James yawned, then continued. "She was looking at the black ball just before you came in." Elaine shot David a Look before continuing.
"And...... How did Baby ask for the ball?" Elaine asked carefully. James shrugged, rolling onto his side to face Baby, who was now giving him a curiously intelligent look. James blinked a few times, confused, then nodded slowly before rolling back onto his back. He stared up at the ceiling for a moment, then yawned.
"I'm tired." He said distractedly, then looked back at Baby. "You tired?" He nodded. "I'm tired, too." James turned on his side again, holding out his arms to Baby. She yawned sleepily and sidled closer to her brother until she was close enough for him to wrap his arms around her. He did exactly that; James lying on his side, Baby tilted slightly towards him by James' arm under her back. "Good night, Baby." He said in an almost informative tone; as if he was telling her she was to go to sleep now. She seemed to sense that exact same thing and smiled tiredly; the next instant it seemed, she was asleep.
James waited a long moment, as if to make sure she was soundly asleep, then carefully stood, shifting Baby in his arms until he was carrying her, tongue poking out of his mouth in his concentration. He slowly walked to Baby's crib, not lifting his feet from the ground in order to lessen the risk of dropping or jostling his sleeping sister. Thankfully, the crib's side was already down, so all James had to do was place her gently in it. Then, James covered her with her blanket. He smiled and bent down to kiss her cheek sweetly; it was such a moving sight that both David and Elaine, justifiably forgotten, had to fight hard to keep an "aww!" from escaping them.
James smoothed some hair from Baby's face, patted her arm lovingly, then put the crib side up. James made sure the latches were securely fastened—a funny thing for such a small child to do; maybe he was just copying what he saw David and Elaine do every time they put the crib side up? He held onto the bars momentarily, just watching her sleep, then hummed absently to himself. Then, with another rather large yawn, James turned away from his sister's sleeping form. When his eyes landed on his parents—still in the doorway—James blinked, surprised, as if he'd completely forgotten they were there.
Or existed, for that matter.
"She just asked for it, mummy." He said matter-of-factly. "She just asked me if I could pass her the black ball." James smiled, eyes twinkling. "It's the same color as her hair and mine." He said brightly, eyes going to the black ball that, coincidentally enough, had come to a rest beside the white cube. James went over to and picked the two of them up, studying them like Baby had studied the white cube. He bit his lip and looked harder at them. "Remember when you taught me the shapes, daddy?" He asked suddenly. "And Baby was playing on the couch?"
"Yes......" David answered slowly, watching as James—who hated cleaning his own room—began tidying up the colored toys Elaine had bought for the kids to learn their colors with. The little boy didn't clean very well, but it was cleaning: James moved all the colored toys to one corner of the room, creating a neat-ish looking pile in aforementioned corner.
James paused a minute in what he was doing, thinking, then poked a ball that had rolled away from the pile back to where it belonged, straightened, and looked over at Baby. "So does Baby." James grinned suddenly and made his way to where Baby still slept; Baby still didn't sleep through each night yet despite being a year old already and her parents were becoming somewhat concerned. When she slept, though, it was a surprisingly sound sleep, and there were times when she made it through the entire night...... Or most of it, anyway. James knew better than their parents that Baby had odd sleep issues and patterns, seeing as how Baby would sometimes wake James up at night—always with a most rueful look on her little face, as if truly sorry that she was doing so. Most nights, though, Baby would wake up and stare up at the ceiling, too tired to fiddle with the latches that held the side of her crib up. "She remembers it really good daddy." James informed David with a yawn as he rubbed his eyes tiredly. "I'm gonna go to bed now. Good night mummy I love you. Good night daddy I love you. Good night Baby I love you. Sleep good tonight so we can play a lot tomorrow."
And with those parting words, James took his leave.
......Leaving his parents to stare at each other in wonder.
Lucy hummed tiredly, leaning back in her chair a moment; she needed a break. Not a long one, nah. Just a moment or two, that's all. A moment to breathe, to rub her eyes. If she only had time to rub the tiredness out of her eyes she'd be fine...... Just a moment. She was so tired.
"One. Two......." Lucy yawned. "Three......" Lucy rubbed at her eyes, pausing a moment to let out a low groan. Her eyes stung slightly; she removed her hands, which had been balled into fists, and blinked rapidly. It helped, but not much. "Tired." Lucy said, leaning back further in her chair. She yawned again; when was the last time she'd gotten a full night's sleep? Lucy leaned back even more and tried to remember, coming to the conclusion that it was most likely before she'd started teaching. "Only Merlin knows." The tiny eleven-year-old—eleven, not twelve, despite what everyone believed—said with a slight grin, leaning back even further in her chair....... Too far, this time: The chair toppled right over, taking Lucy with it. In a way it was a good thing; it woke Lucy up—scared her into full consciousness again.
"Woah." Lucy breathed as she picked herself—and the chair—up. She blinked and shook her head, pushing the chair back under the large worktable she had set up in her living room. "Maybe time for a little walk?" She asked herself, looking at the organized mess of plans she'd been working at. Nodding to herself with a sigh, Lucy mentally agreed. It was definitely time for a walk. Maybe to the Potions lab again? Yes, that should do. Nice little walk—or long walk, if one was to look at it distance wise—down to the dungeons to work on a couple Potions.
Work, work, work....... That was all poor Lucy seemed to be doing nowadays. Of course, she didn't mind it—she was used to overexerting herself, actually. Then again, it wasn't as if Lucy had nothing to do after her duties were done, after all. True, she was adding a lot more than she needed to herself, but she considered that little fact irrelevant.
The entire school knew that Lucy was most likely overloading and overworking herself with all that she did for her classes and the students at Hogwarts—of course, none of the students realized the toll that her continuous stream of work could and was doing to Lucy....... They didn't really understand that all Lucy was doing took any effort on her part at all, actually. And why would they, seeing as how Lucy never complained, or made it seem as if she were being adversely affected by any of it anyway?
But back to the entire school's knowledge of Lucy's hard work.
Everyone knew she spent her time planning classes, assignments, "field trips", Madness, tutoring, Quidditch games, acquiring the things she used—with or without the knowledge of her colleagues—and more. They knew, yes, but what none of them knew was that Lucy was even sharper than they gave her credit for........ And that much more tired, to be completely honest.
See, Lucy didn't spend all her time working on the professor-type things she did. She also spent a fair amount of her time—mostly the time she could've snagged some sleep with—working on schoolwork. Actual school work. As in the classes she would have been taking if she weren't Divination professor. Transfiguration, Charms, Potions. All of them. She still had her schedule and knew what classes she should've been taking and when, and was keeping track of her assignments carefully and in such a way that no one was aware that she was doing it....... She hadn't made it this way purposely, not in the beginning, but figured it was probably best that she not tell anyone she was still working on schoolwork as well as everything else.
Lucy tutored students of all years, Houses, and classes. Which meant that she needed to know all the assignments and work her colleagues had planned for each class. Most all of the other professors had their class plans ready for the entire year, though there were some that worked month by month creating class plans. Either way, it was hard to stay exactly on task—the professors were working with people who were just learning the things that they already knew, after all. So, fully aware that Lucy was helping a great deal of students in more than Divination, the other instructors helped as best as possible. They gave her copies of their lesson plans and lists of the assignments they would be giving, as well as going so far as to give Lucy synopses of what they would be teaching....... In short, Lucy got notes, assignments, and everything else all the students got. Not just the second year Gryffindors, which was what she needed. Which was good, as it aided her greatly in her tutoring, as well as helped her keep on track. What Lucy hoped to accomplish was simple, yet hard to believe in a way: Lucy wanted to finish her time as Divination professor with all of her schoolwork done beforehand, so she could hand it all in her first day "back". Sounded simple enough, and was a good plan on paper—as most bad ideas end up being, but whatever—but it was quite a hard thing to pull off, with all the extra work Lucy gave herself daily, trying to make life at Hogwarts as great as possible for everyone she could.
.......Sleep, conveniently enough, was not to be found on even her mental agenda.
"Ahh! ......Oh. It's you...... Um, I mean...... How are you this evening, Professor Whit? Well, I hope." Lucy smiled and shook her head lightly up at sixth year girl who she'd accidentally come across—and startled rather badly—on her way to the dungeons.
"Miss Travers, do I even want to know what you are doing out at this late hour?" Lucy asked, one eyebrow raised, knowing the answer. Alison Travers shook her head sheepishly, looking embarrassed, but answered anyway.
"A couple of my friends dared me to go to the Kitchens and, um......" Lucy smiled encouragingly up at the taller girl, who saw her as both an adult and a professor, despite their radical height difference—Alison was one of the tallest sixth years, and Lucy was small even for an eleven year old.
"Go ahead, Miss Travers. I can assure you that whatever you were planning to do cannot be any more insane than what the Marauders do." Alison gave Lucy a confused look.
"Marauders? Who are the Marauders?" She asked, distracted, and Lucy laughed.
"Oh, silly me. I forgot." Lucy said with a shake of her head. "You see, Miss Travers, I had mentally dubbed Misters Potter, Black, Lupin, and Pettigrew as 'the Marauders', and have been calling them as such in my mind whenever anyone spoke of them, or I was speaking to them." Lucy smiled brightly, eyes laughing. "I find it a fitting name, after all, and forgot for a moment that I am the only one that calls them as such. Forgive me, please." Lucy grinned. "I guess I'm becoming a tad forgetful at this late hour." She paused a moment, studying Alison's face carefully. "Which brings us back to our main subject: What, may I ask, were you sent to the Kitchens for?" Alison, who had been listening raptly, looked sheepish again.
"Chocolate pudding." She admitted, surprised at Lucy's lack of surprise. The only thing that changed on Lucy's patient, listening face was the level of brightness in her shining flecked eyes. Her amusement seemed to shine right out of her face—but it wasn't the condescending type of amusement that adults often used which irritated most all the students at Hogwarts, but the amusement of a coconspirator, in a way. Which was, in an odd way, what many saw Lucy to be.
"Continue, please, Miss Travers." She prompted with a smile. "I find this to be quite interesting, and you have my full attention." Alison knew Lucy was being completely honest—not only because Lucy never lied, but because it was rather clear that there was nothing else the "professor" was thinking of. Or, it appeared, anywhere else she'd rather be—a thing that made Alison feel much more comfortable.
"Well, Professor Whit, I was supposed to go and get a huge bowl of chocolate pudding and, um......." Alison paused, giving Lucy a repentant look.
"Again, Miss Travers, it's probably nothing that the Marauders wouldn't have done at some point." Lucy encouraged, which made Alison smile slightly and nod.
"Okay, okay...... I was supposed to get the pudding and pull some kind of prank on someone. It didn't matter who, but I had to bring back proof that I'd done it." Alison sighed and shrugged. "Stupid Truth or Dare." Lucy, on the other hand, seemed even more interested.
"Proof? What kind of proof?" Alison shrugged again.
"I dunno. A wand, a picture...... A detention? But something." Alison shrugged once more. "My friends really know how to make a dare."
"I'll say." Lucy murmured, impressed. Alison gave her Divination professor an odd, confused look. Why did it look almost as if she were....... planning something? And then, it happened. Alison saw that smile that meant so much appear on Lucy's face and knew that, crazy as it seemed, Professor Whit was going to....... help her?! No, no! That's impossible! Completely and totally— "I have an idea." Lucy said, an utterly mischievous smirk lighting her face. Alison's eyes widened at those words. Then her mouth dropped open as Lucy told her of her idea.
"But...... But Professor Whit! I can't do that!" Alison exclaimed in disbelief. Lucy's smirk widened as she shook a finger up at Alison.
"Oh but you can, Miss Travers. And you will."
"But...... But what will my friends say when I tell them?!" Lucy's flecked eyes were burning so brightly with mischief that they seemed to light up the dark corridor.
"Where was it said in that dare that you needed to tell them who you pulled the prank on?" Lucy asked, humming to herself happily in the shocked pause that followed her words. "Exactly, my dear. You need proof?" Lucy pulled out her wand and held it out to Alison. "Trust me, my dear, dear Miss Travers...... I'm going to enjoy this as much as you will. Perhaps more." She amended, seeing the scandalized look on Alison's face. Lucy laughed, a shiver of excitement racing up and down her spine. "Now, I believe we need some chocolate pudding. Shall we?" And Alison, stunned beyond belief and unable to protest any more, followed her Divination professor, Professor Whit, to the Kitchens.
"So? Did you do it?! Well?! Alison!"
"Come on, tell us!"
"What'd you do with the pudding, Ali?"
"Did you bring back proof?"
"I...... I...... I......" Alison stuttered blankly, still shocked out of her mind, the image of the completely-chocolate-pudding-covered Professor Whit trudging brightly towards her private quarters for a long shower all but burned into her mind.
"Ali! Wake up!" Alison shook her head, snapping back to the present.
"I, um, brought back the net. I-it's covered in chocolate pudding. A-a-and I have......." Alison trailed off, holding out Professor Whit's wand dumbly. Her best friends and dorm mates pounced on the wand and net in ecstasy.
"What'd you do?!" They were all shocked silly at the thought of Alison really doing something so crazy. They hadn't expected her to go through with the dare—after all, Alison wasn't one for pranking. But here it was; proof. But what has she done? And how much trouble was she in?
"I...... Chocolate pudding....... net......." Alison took a deep breath to steady herself, remembering what Professor Whit had said. "I used a couple spells to hide the net and suspend the chocolate pudding up high then waited and made noise until someone came." Alison gave her friends a sheepish look. "I didn't want to come back until I'd finished the dare." She admitted, knowing full well that her friends hadn't thought she'd go through with it....... Neither had she, to be perfectly honest. "Anyway, I hid when I heard footsteps and made sure I wasn't visible when I came out to look." Alison found herself grinning; it had been funny, after all. "I couldn't really tell who was in the net, cause they were covered in chocolate pudding." Alison laughed helplessly, remembering how Professor Whit had looked entirely coated in chocolate pudding. It had been so funny, seeing little Professor Whit pretending to be mad as the diminutive professor laughed so hard she'd started crying.
Alison laughed against her will, remembering all the fun she'd had with what was undoubtedly her favorite professor of all time. Professor Whit had been truly vibrant, eyes lit up like two burning moonstones. She'd bounced around the Kitchen in a surprisingly silent way, collecting some of this and collecting some of that and collecting tons and tons of chocolate pudding. Professor Whit's plan had been awe-inspiring in its foolproof-ness. She had every little detail sorted—had her "i's dotted and her t's crossed", as Alison's grandfather might say. Professor Whit had taught Alison spells that Alison wasn't sure she'd ever heard of before, showing her just how to do this and that, joking all the while. That was something Alison liked best about the insanity she'd been though that night with her Divination professor—Alison couldn't remember ever having that much, or any realy, fun with a professor. Or an adult, actually, which semi-included her family. Professor Whit had kept Alison laughing and in a great mood the whole time. Though she was a professor and supposed to stop and reprimand Alison sharply and punish the teen heavily for not only being out bed and wandering the corridors at night, but for the prank she'd been about to pull, playing a game like Truth or Dare so late—which would've undoubtedly resulted in her friends' being severely punished as well—and probably some other rules Alison might not've known she was breaking....... Professor Whit hadn't. She hadn't bothered much with any of that. It had been clear enough that Professor Whit hadn't been angry or even irritated with Alison at all, and the tiny professor—she was much, much shorter than practically all the students at Hogwarts! ......Not that they made fun of her for it....... unlike poor Professor Flitwick, of course, who's size was constantly a joke—didn't waste one moment of her time pretending to be. Except, of course, when Alison had "caught" her in the net/pudding trap. Even then, though, it had been more of a big joke than an actual attempt at anger.
Professor Whit was more than a professor to Alison that night, more than an instructor, or an adult. Even when she was helping Alison break as many rules as possible in as small a contained space, Professor Whit had seemed even more than a coconspirator...... She'd been more like a....... a friend to Alison that night, which was something that no one expected of an adult and professor. Especially of a professor.
But it was true. Professor Whit had acted as a friend to Alison that night, though they still called each other the formal, distanced titles required of them—"professor", and "miss". Professor Whit had assuaged Alison's fears and worries, helped her to have fun. She'd looked out for her needlessly, joked with her...... treated her like not only an equal, but as if Alison really was her friend. It was a rather pleasant surprise indeed.
Lucy treated everyone with that same open invitation of friendship. Lucy's willing friendship was never forced, or fake. It was real; Lucy really cared about them all, but as much more than students, or kids—Minerva knew this as a fact, the conversation she'd had with Lucy forever burned into her mind. The Transfiguration professor knew perfectly well indeed, what Lucy thought of the students of Hogwarts, knew that Lucy saw them all in a much different light than most people did. As people. Nothing more, nothing less. Which, believe it or not, was actually harder than it sounded. The mind often labeled others as one way or another way until knowing them better—and even after that, the labels often only changed, though most never noticed they did this. Lucy though, a true anomaly if there ever was one, didn't seem to have this instinctual function in her brain, oddly enough.
As Alison began talking more animatedly to her friends about what had happened—leaving out little unimportant details like how Professor Whit was the one that came up with the prank, and was not only "lenient", but wicked awesome the whole time she and Alison had been together....... despite being probably one of the most respected professors at Hogwarts. Conveniently enough, Alison refrained from saying that it was Professor Whit that she'd "pranked", instead saying that the person had been so covered in chocolate pudding that she couldn't recognize the trapped person. Safety first, after all. Professor Whit was most likely the most loved adult in all of Hogwarts. Alison would not be well liked if it got around that she'd pranked Professor Whit, oh no...... Oh Merlin no; Alison would have to beg for mercy if that little detail got out! And protection as well! It wasn't a lie, either, when Alison said she couldn't recognize who it was. Professor Whit had honestly been perfectly unrecognizable. Which was good. Very good, because Professor Whit had told Alison—with surprising seriousness—that she didn't want Alison to lie to her friends. Then she'd winked, and Alison had realized that Professor Whit knew exactly who her friends had been, the ones that'd dared her out into the castle in the first place. Her dorm mates. It had amazed Alison once more, that wink, that sharing of knowledge. Professor Whit knew who was involved—she could've gotten them in deep trouble, too—and yet she still was willing to withhold the information and become a chocolate pudding monster looking thing.
Alison absolutely loved her Divination professor.
So, what'd you guys think? Can you picture Lucy--erm, sorry "Professor Whit"--as a chocolate pudding monster? I did. ^-^ It made me laugh.
Anyways, I hope you all liked it. I'll do my best to post a new chapter up much sooner than this next time, promise.
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