I was on my way down to the kitchens to grab a quick bite to eat, when I heard it. A soft sobbing, coming from behind one of the castles many ancient tapestries. I groaned inwardly, knowing my turkey sandwich plan had now been delayed by at least half an hour, and pulled back the tapestry, half hoping it was only that fourth year that kept losing her favourite mascara, and half hoping it wasn’t, as that girl really did go on for hours. Rose Weasley looked up quickly, and began frantically wiping her eyes.
“Oh! Hey Professor Longbottom,” she said thickly.
“What’s up Rose?” I replied.
“Oh, nothing,” she said in an almost normal voice, which was totally ruined by the fact she let out a loud sob.
“Come on Rose, tell me,” I said, sitting down beside her on the cold stone floor. It was at times like these I regretted wearing my summer robes in the middle of November, but hey, one can get rather warm while wrestling man-eating plants from around student’s necks, or yelling at said students for poking the plant with their quill/clippers/any other sharp object they seem to have with them.
“Nothings ever stupid if it upsets you Rose,” I lied, thinking of Cornelia Smith and her blasted “Lavenders Luscious Lashes.”.
“It’s just……..,” she began.
“Scorpius Malfoy said I shouldn’t be in Gryffindor,” she whispered.
“Why on earth did he say that?”
“Because it’s true,” she wailed. “Professor, I’m not brave, or courageous! Lily has more backbone than I do, and she’s eleven!”
“Rose…,” I began, before being cut off by Rose, who seemed to have found her stride.
“You have no idea how hard it is Professor, to be surrounded by all these brave and funny and confident people! All my cousins are so sure of themselves! They don’t understand what its like to be afraid of, well almost everything! Nobody does!”
“I think I do Rose,” I said quietly.
“You?” she scoffed “Professor, your one of the bravest people, ever! You fought in the Battle in the Department of Mysteries, the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, and the Battle of Hogwarts! So don’t try and tell me you understand what its like to be afraid!”
“Rose, on all three of those occasions, I was scared out of my wits!”
“So? You still fought!”
“The only reason I did was because your parents, Harry, Ginny and Luna were there!”
“Come off it Professor! No one was there when you chopped off Voldemort snakes head!”
“Yes……… well that was different,” I mumbled, knowing she had backed me into a corner.
“No it wasn’t Professor,” she said resolutely, folding her arms to signify that the topic was now closed. I sat there for a few minutes, thinking, not only about my turkey sandwich, but also about how to make Rose feel better. Eventually, I came up with something.
“I wasn’t always brave, you know. I was brave on those occasions, but before that, not so much. People thought I wasn’t a true Gryffindor either.”
She looked at me sceptically.
“It’s true!” I nodded my head vigorously “People were forever making fun of me, strangely enough, Mr Malfoys father was the main perpetrator.”
“But how did you become brave?”
“I didn’t necessarily ‘become brave’ Rose, I didn’t wake up one morning and decide ‘Oh, today I’m going to be brave’, it happened over time. Your parents and Harry told me to start standing up for myself, and that kind of stuck with me, Rose. Every time Malfoy and his cronies started at me, those words kept replaying in the back of my mind, until I just couldn’t ignore them any more.”
“But, how is that going to help me?” she said sadly.
“I’m going to tell you exactly what they told me, the Sorting Hat chose you for Gryffindor, didn’t it*?”
Memories from that day flooded back to me. Bunny-hopping my way back to Gryffindor Tower, a bushy-haired, buck-toothed, bossy know-it-all springing up to undo the curse, a tall, lanky, befreckled, ginger youth telling me to start standing up for myself, and a short, skinny, bespeckled boy, with the messiest hair I’d ever seen, telling me that the Sorting Hat hadn’t been wrong, that I really did belong. If you had told me then, that they would turn out to be the saviours of the Wizarding World, I don’t think I would have believed you.
Rose said nothing for a few minutes, thinking about what I had said.
“The Sorting Hat didn’t make a mistake?” she whispered, as if scared to even say it.
“It chose you Rose.”
She inhaled deeply, stood up, and smoothed out her robes.
“Thanks Professor,” she said quickly, before she ripped back the tapestry and marched out of the passageway. I scrambled to my feet, and followed closely behind her. She strided down corridor after corridor, until she came to the Entrance Hall. She flew down the staircase, and marched towards a group of boys emerging from the entrance to the dungeons.
“OI! MALFOY!” she screeched.
I know I’m a teacher, and I know I’m not supposed to take sides, but I got a sense of deep satisfaction by seeing someone punch the ferret in the face, even if it was only his son.
People crying behind tapestries were quite a common occurrence at Hogwarts, in a school so big, at least ten people would cry every day. So I didn’t find it odd, while on my way down to the kitchens three years later, to grab yet another sandwich (tuna this time!), I heard someone sobbing behind a tapestry. I pulled it back to reveal Rose Weasley. Now this, I found odd. Save that one time in third year, Rose was a generally happy, bubbly individual.
“What’s up Rose?” I said.
“It’s…….stupid,” she looked at me with tear-filled eyes.
“Nothings ever stupid-,”
“-if it upsets you,” she finished for me “I know, I know.”
“So then you’ll have no problem telling me what’s upsetting you,” I sat down beside her on the stone floor (thankfully, it was April, so it wasn’t like sitting on a block of ice)
“Scorpius asked me to be his girlfriend,” she whispered, hugging her knees.
“And, that’s a bad thing?” I asked, confused.
“No,” she giggled sadly “Its just……….I’m scared, scared of what will happen if I say yes. And I haven’t been scared in a long time Professor.”
“Everyone gets scared Rose, it’s only natural,” I reasoned.
“But this isn’t……normal scared! This is close on terrified! I’m terrified of how my family would react if I said yes, how HIS family would react! And I’m trying to be brave but……..”
“This doesn’t require bravery Rose, this requires something different, courage,” I nodded wisely.
“But…….what’s the difference?” she asked, confused.
“Bravery is standing up for yourself or others, courage is standing up for what you believe in, not necessarily what’s ‘right’, but something you think worth fighting for.”
She still looked confused.
“If you’ll remember, I told you a story once, about people telling me to be brave, to stand up for myself,”
“Well, nobody can tell you to be courageous; you’ve to find it in yourself. Nearly everyone is brave at some point in their lives, but courage is rare.”
“I still don’t get what you mean Professor.”
“Well, take your uncle Harry for instance. People were forever telling him how brave he was, and rightly so! But no one told him to walk into the forest to face Voldemort, he had to do it all on his own. That, is courage.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes.
“What you need to figure out Rose, is whether Mr Malfoy is worth fighting for, if he is, you’ll find it in you to say yes.”
She nodded slowly, and we sat in silence for a while. I lloked over every now and then, and saw that her ‘deep-in-thought’ face was identical to her fathers.
She inhaled deeply, stood up, smoothed out her robes, and marched out from behind the tapestry. I scrambled up, and followed close behind her. She walked quickly through corridor after corridor, until we reached the Entrance Hall. She flew down the staircase, towards a lone, blonde-haired boy, who was standing at the entrance to the dungeons, looking thoroughly depressed.
Most of the crowd gasped when their lips met, but not me. I know I’m a teacher, and I know I shouldn’t be getting involved in students private lives, but I can’t help feeling that I helped bring the relationship together.
DISCLAIMER! I OWN NOTHING!
Quote is from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, page 160, UK edition.
EEEP! My first one-shot and my first challenge entry rolled into one :D eeeep!
This is basically just my take on bravery and courage :P
15/3/13- FINALLY corrected all the mistakes in this!
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