(1937-10-13) Better Late Than Never
Details for Better Late Than Never
Summary: Lois fulfills her Prefect duties (overdue though it may be) and informs Slughorn about some violent behaviour.
Date: 13 October, 1937
Location: Potions Classroom
Related: Date Dump Date, Promises

The final classes of the day are freshly out, students filing off to library and pitch and common room to do homework and make merry. After two days of difficult scheduling (five N.E.W.T. courses, two clubs, and prefect duties take a lot out of a person), Lois has finally had the opportunity to arrange a meeting with Professor Slughorn - topic unspecified but implied to be fairly important - scheduled for four o'clock, promptly.

Fifteen seconds to the hour, she is in the corridor outside: Miss Pym is nothing if not prompt. The prefect takes a moment outside the Potions classroom to arrange her hair and robes to scholastic propriety, takes a deep breath, steels her spine, and raises a dainty hand to knock. Immediately after, her head pokes around the doorway. "Professor?"

A hefty cough is given in response, as Professor Slughorn waves his hand in the air at a rising column of purplish smoke coming from his cauldron. With a flick of his wand, the gathering cloud dissipates, clearing the air enough for him to spy Lois across the room. "Ah, yes! Miss Pym, come in. Come in. I was just trying to freshen up the room." Indeed, there is a rather unpleasant odor lingering in the air, slowly being replaced by the sweet scent from the cauldron. "A few Deflatulence Elixirs didn't go as planned during my last class, I'm afraid."

Lois slips smoothly into the classroom, pausing to shut the door behind her. Fresh air would be nice, but, well, it's not like the air in the outside corridor is all that pleasant anyway, this being dungeon level. "I remember that lesson. I think my class had difficulty with it, too," she says, gamely stepping around worktables and making her way towards him. She breathes through her mouth, as subtly as possible. "It's no worse in here than a common room full of boys gets." Short-legged through she is, the classroom isn't vast: by the time she finishes speaking, she's a few feet away. There's a moment of hesitation, before she gets right to the point: "I'm not sure if this is a formal visit from a prefect or not, exactly. I need to talk to you about two of the Slytherin Sixth Years."

Slughorn titters at her little joke about boys and their…emissions. Soon enough, the fragrance of his potion has the room smelling rather like a meadow on a summer's day, in sharp contrast to the dreary dungeon atmosphere. Her report, however, has ol' Sluggy frowning in concern. "Has there been a problem, Miss Pym? Please, come sit." He moves to his desk, and flicks his wand to slide a chair over for her, behind the desk as well. Prefects get special attention!

"I'm afraid so." Trailing after him, Lois waits to take her seat, folding her hands neatly in her lap, before she begins to speak again. The girl's voice is steady and quasi-professional in tone; her expression is mostly composed, save for a lingering hint of worry at the edges of her mouth. Deep breath! "It's the Fox brothers - Leander and Ripley." And… another deep breath. She isn't enjoying having to do this. "Leander I know has been using… well, at least the Stunning Spell… out of appropriate context. And Ripley I witnessed, two days ago, erhm - well, punch his brother. I broke their fight up." Color creeps into her cheeks as Lois hurriedly adds: "I apologize for the delay in telling you, Professor. It's a, um. Complicated situation? And I wanted time to think."

Slughorn blinks, his mouth forming a worried O. "Goodness gracious…the Fox twins are fighting? Stunning spells? Miss Pym, you should have come to me much sooner, indeed. But never mind that. Just tell me what has happened, starting with these Stunning Spells."

The hint of a blush turns into a full spread of scarlet. "It gets worse," Lois admits, miserably. "I probably deserve to lose my badge for this." The girl's eyes flicker closed for a second before she continues. "The Stunning Spell… This was back in early September. The long and short of it is, I was turning down an offer to go to the Feast with Clark - you know, Hufflepuff's Clark? - and Leander and Ripley happened by. And… Leander thought I was in trouble, although of course I wasn't, and he acted without thinking, using a Stunner on Clark." Lois gives Slughorn a weak, embarrassed smile. "I knew at the time I should have reported it, but, erhm. I was… flattered that Leander was so quick to defend me, even if it wasn't… the right way to do it… and when I reversed it and explained what had happened, Clark agreed about keeping it to ourselves. And I thought because I bawled Leander out about jumping in without thinking, that maybe since he fancies me he might be more careful."

Slughorn's brow knits sorrowfully, shaking his head. "Oh dear, oh dear. This is a very serious infraction. To use magic against the rules…well that is one thing. But to attack another student?" He touches a finger to his lips in a thoughtful gesture. "Why did Mr. Fox think you to be in trouble? Did it appear to him that Mr. Kendall was assaulting you?"

"I think so." After a moment's lip chewing, Lois says, in a rush, a hint of temper bubbling under the surface, "That's the problem with him. I mean, if he had looked for more than a second, he would have realized Clark was only trying to get my attention. But he never does seem to take a moment and assess, do you know?" Abruptly, the prefect sighs, reaching up to massage her temples. With a hint of a grumble, she adds: "Fancy a Slytherin needing a Gryffindor to keep telling him to not be so reckless."

The professor chuckles, though there is little mirth in it. "Dear me. I fear this will have to be address. This is twice now that Mr. Fox has used such dangerous magic against the rules." His shoulders slump, deflated. "And what about his brother? You say he attacked Leander?"

Again, a sigh. "I wonder if there's something going on with him," Lois admits. "That's part of why I've been so - well, he doesn't tell me much, you know." And that's frustrating, her expression adds. After a moment's hesitation, she admits, embarrassed: "I'm hoping you might be, erhm… be better positioned to do some questioning? I just… I feel like he needs help, and I don't know how to give it, and…" She is probably unaware of the way her hands wring together on this thought; they go still, at any rate, when the topic shifts to Ripley. Until one lifts, again, to massage her temples. Again. "From what I can gather, and I don't know very much: Leander acquired some sort of promise out of Ria to not date Ripley. Ripley fancies Ria. Ria spilled beans to Ripley. Ripley hauled off and slugged his brother in the jaw for ruining his chances."

A hand goes to Slughorn's face, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. "Ah…young love. It leads us to some very foolish decisions. Yes…yes I'll speak with them. I think the Fox boys are very much in need of counseling." He takes a deep breath, regarding Lois for several silent seconds. "As for you, Miss Pym…no, I do not think your Prefectship is in danger. I'm afraid I must deduct twenty points from Gryffindor, however, for your failure to perform your duties in a timely manner." He gives her an apologetic grimace.

Lois seems to have expected this. Her face is pale but set, and she nods in solemn accordance. "Understood, sir." The girl looks down at her hands for a moment, and then looks up, expression hopeful: "So you'll handle this from here on out, Professor? I'm afraid I, um," wince, "seem to have made a muddle out of it, myself."

Professor Slughorn rises from his chair with a grunt, and offers a hand to lift her up as well. "Leave it to me, Miss Pym. Your part in this is done. Thank you for bringing this to me."

"And thank goodness for that," mutters Lois, expression briefly verging on the sour. Her meddlin' ways have led to no good, of late. With the assistance of his hand, she rises from her seat rather more gracefully. After a pause to look down at her shoes, the teenager flashes Slughorn a tentatively grateful smile. "Thank you for your time, sir. I appreciate it."

He returns the smile, looking grandfatherly. "Any time, Miss Pym. May I say that, despite this single instance of poor judgement, Hogwarts is very lucky to have you as a Prefect." He gives her a slight bow at the waist. "Good day, Miss Pym."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License