(1939-09-03) Plans and Promises
Details for Plans and Promises
Summary: Toward the end of the day, two students and the new assistant librarian find some common ground.
Date: 03 September, 1939
Location: Library, Hogwarts
Plot: Headmaster from Hell

It's getting close to curfew time, and a Ravenclaw prefect with a long, dark red braid down her back is walking along the shelves, a floating quill writing on the parchment she holds as she speaks. She looks at the row of books, checks a list in her other hand, and then reads the title of the book. As the quill scratches, it appears she's writing down the titles of the books that are NEWT levels for those not needing special magical schooling.

It's been a very long day in the library, and Annie is actually thankful that it's nearly over. A strange feeling for a girl who loves libraries so very much, to be longing to be out of one. There are very few students remaining, and Annie walks to the tables where one or two sit studying, giving gentle reminders to finish up soon. As she walks past one of the aisles between the bookshelves something registers, and the assistant librarian walks backwards a couple paces, to have a better look. She smiles, noting the Ravenclaw among the books. It's been several years, but Annie is fairly certain she can place the girl, despite the changes that growth has brought to her. "Miss Rosen?" she ventures, hoping she's got the right name. "Mind your time, please." Her voice is only loud enough to carry, and has a lilt of kindness.

At hearing her name, Elspeth glances up to the end of the row, and she nods. Turning back to the books, she pauses, then looks back again. "Taylor?" she asks curiously. "You have graduated, have you not? How are you being here, now?" She turns slightly to the side, and crosses the hand holding the list under the arm that leans against the bookshelves, still holding her parchment with the quill in front of her.

Annie's smile broadens as the younger girl speaks. Yes, she would recognize that distinctive pattern anywhere. Stepping into the sheltering row of books, Annie nods, "It's me, and it's wonderful to see you still here. I've been hired this year, as an assistant librarian to Madam Patil." She pauses, then adds, "Almost every Ravenclaw's dream job." Reaching out absently as she stops, Annie pushes a book back into place that hadn't even looked like it was out of place.

There's a shift of her fingers, and then Elspeth wraps her empty hand around the other elbow. "Thank you," she replies quietly. "It is good to see a friendly face in the faculty. Aba was saying that I was not needing to come if I did not wish it, but I am wishing to take my NEWTs. So I am here." She manages a half smile. "It is being a dream job, although… here?" The shoulder not against the shelves lifts slightly.

A soft sigh puffs through Annie's lips, the light in her eyes tempering with mild sadness. "I didn't realize what was in store when I took the position. I had no idea things of this nature would be happening." The words are almost apologetic, but the young woman shakes her head and goes on. "Still, I think it might be the best place I could be right now." She's been thinking all afternoon about what she might be able to do to make a difference. Her eyes cloud further when Elspeth's words about her NEWTS sink in. "Are you going to be able to take them? Have they put you into that dreadful class?" Maybe there's been some leniency toward the older students? But Annie already knows the answer to that, it's been one of the things most whispered about.

Elspeth shakes her head slowly. "No. Despite my O's and E's on my OWLs, I am deemed needing special instruction," she replies. "I am least having the books that Professors Beery and Slughorn recommended for the year, and I can be studying in them in the dorm. But I am not being able to actually touch plants, or brew potions in the potions class." She chews the inside of her lip. "We will be figuring out something, I am sure. It will just be taking a little time."

The main door to the library opens just enough to let Gabriel peeks his head in and look around in a cautious sort of way. Once he finds (or doesn't find) what he's looking for he opens to door all the way and walks in, hands firmly in his pockets and headed for the Librarian's station.

Annie's face darkens further with Elspeth's confirmation that she has been removed from her classes by the new restrictions. "Yes," she says simply, "You will figure out something." With the thought that have been bubbling in her head for most of the day, Annie is already being careful to keep her cards close to the vest. Most of the students don't remember her and have no idea what her heritage is. She will not be quick to point out that she is also muggle born, she will not draw attention to herself in that way. Subversive actions require a low profile. As her ears catch the sound of the door swinging, Annie steps back out of the aisle where she stands with Elspeth, looking to see who has newly arrived, close to curfew.

"You are lucky you have graduated already," Elspeth murmurs, a rueful curve pulling at one corner of her lips. "But, our esteemed Headmaster is not paying attention to history very well. Tyranny always pushes too far, and people are always rising up to defeat it in the end." A sigh flows from between her lips slowly. "Unfortunately, many are also lost in the fighting against tyrants. But it is always being the right fight, yes?" Hazel eyes look up to Annie's seeking, before she hears the door opening and turns to hastily put away her quill and parchment in the satchel at her side. When Annie steps back out, she pulls the other parchment she had tucked in the books and puts it in her satchel as well.

Lost in his thoughts, which to judge by his expression are not good ones, Gabriel fails to notice the two women. Once he makes it to the Librarian's station he stands on tiptoe to get a better look around and in this process finally spots Annie and Elspeth, "Oh. Hi. Is Madam Patil around?"

Annie looks back to Elspeth, thoughts and plans already swirling in the older girl's head, and she murmurs, "Yes, it is the right fight." She lets her blue eyes hold a moment, before her attention turns to the newest arrival. The somber cast to her face eases at once as she puts on her 'PR' smile. "Madam Patil is doing some paperwork. I'm An… Madam Taylor, the new Assistant Librarian. Is there anything I might help you with?" While she recognized Elspeth, the young Ravenclaw boy is unfamiliar to Annie.

Gabriel smiles and gives a little wave to Elspeth before focusing on Annie, "Hello Madam Taylor. I'm Gabriel Ward. Nice to meet you." Then he hesitates and starts walking back and forth looking down the aisles to see if anyone else is in the Library right now. After all, he did miss Annie and Elet. Once he's satisfied no one is around he comes back to Annie, "I was wondering if there are any texts I could borrow on Animagi and Animagi transformation. Especially if they explain how they work." He seems reluctant to actually ask for what he's looking for but having no real choice he does it anyway.

Annie steps toward Gabriel, letting Elspeth return to her work until it's time to clear out the library for curfew. "It's my pleasure, Mister Ward," she says pleasantly and quite sincerely. She does have a soft spot for fellow house members. Thankfully, at least there has been no designation insisted upon yet to identify the muggle-born students on sight, but Annie is forced to ask, "Are you among those who have been restricted?" It's clearly not a question she wants to ask.

The spinning cogs in Gabriel's brain are almost visible as he considers lying about his answer then finally decides not to do so. Instead his shoulders droop a bit then are quickly pulled back into an overly straight line as he lifts his head and he answers with, "I am Muggle born, yes." His stiff back is accompanied by a raised chin and a tone of voice that borders on the challenging.

The boy's straightening brings a gentle smile of approval to Annie's lips, but for the moment she must toe the party line. "There is nothing available for removal from the library for you. At this time," she adds, giving the boy a pointed look, pausing before she continues. "However, you may look through any books here, in the library." The edict did specifically say they were not allowed to be checked out, so Annie and Madam Patil have been using that technical wiggle-room. There is still a bit of time before curfew, so she motions for Gabriel to follow, "I will show you where to find what you desire, and you may come read whenever you are not in…. class." Only a curl of her lip would emphasize her distaste for using that word on what the muggle-born children are being forced to attend.

Gabriel lets out a little titter as he catch on to Annie's distaste, which he quickly gets under control, turning it into a quick chuckle. After all, tittering is not manly, at all. Looking around again to verify the emptiness of the library he lowers his voice to a whisper and asks, "Are you Muggle-born too?" as he follows her down the aisles.

Annie doesn't hurry, and she glances back at Gabriel at the whispered question. There is no immediate answer, and but for the glance it might be debated whether she even heard the question. The last thing Annie wants is for her heritage to become widespread knowledge, not with the things she's been mulling over. She doubts Flint is even actually aware of her existence, having been hired through Dumbledore and Patil, and being so far down on the ladder as to be inconsequential to a man with his preoccupation toward making children suffer. It's not until they turn into a aisle between shelves that Annie stops and turns to face Gabriel, addressing his inquiry. "If I were," she says quietly, but not quite whispering, "And if that were to become common knowledge, it might hamper any help I could be at this time." Her blue eyes hold on Gabriel, not wavering, taking his measure. Some boys his age can keep quiet, some hold a secret like it's water in a sieve.

Gabriel's lips spread into a happy grin as he looks straight at Annie when she hold his eyes. He shrugs a bit as he says, "I can keep secrets with the best of them…" Then in the spirit of honesty he adds, "As long as I know that they /are/ secrets. But then again, the way /some/ people are behaving it is a tad obvious that blood status is a secret unless you are a Pureblood…"

Annie's smile widens to mirror the boy's, and she nods her head. "Then, Mister Ward, we shall call this our secret." Her speaking voice, which had been carefully held neutral, now relaxes and her North London accent comes out. "Them what's tryin' t'hold us down are gonna find their comeuppance, mark m'words, lad." Her attention turns to the shelf to their left, and she indicates a span of books on a middle shelf. "These should be of interest of yeh, t'start. I'll have a look through some others, an' if I find useful information, I'll put them aside."

Gabriel's mood, which had been rather bleak when he walked into the library is now markedly improved and the smile remains on his lips, "Its like the Tortoise and the Hare. They're starting off fast but we'll catch up to them before then end." He starts looking over the books Annie has pointed out to him and after moment asks, "Do you know which one has the best information on the dangers of transforming? I think I might have to teach myself if they keep trying to keep Muggle-born from learning any real magic so I want to know what the worst that can happen might be…"

The Assistant Librarian's smile fades slightly into concern, and she also looks to the book spines. When she speaks, it's back to her neutral, measured accent. "I want you to be very careful. This won't last forever, but a transformation gone wrong could. I like that you are approaching it with due caution." She reaches out, tapping one of the books lightly with her index finger. "Start with this one, and I will do some research for you." There's a pause, then Annie bends knees, stooping before the boy. It makes her have to look up to him, and her face is earnest. She raises her right hand, pinky extended. "Hook your pinky with mine."

Gabriel arches an eyebrow slightly at this request but holds out his pinky, "I'm not so silly as to try something like this without making sure I can make it back into my regular body. But if you need me to promise it, I understand. After all, most young teenagers do not think the same way Ravenclaws do."

Annie can't stop a light laugh, finger linked with Gabriel's. "No, I trust yeh not t'be foolish. This is a promise for us both, t'keep each other's secrets." She sobers again, taking a quick breath. "I promise t'try an' help yeh best I can, Gabriel. An' yeh might just as well call me Annie when no one else is around, if we're keepin' secrets t'gether."

Gabriel's grin returns as he tightens his pinky a little bit around Annie's, "Cross my heart and hope to die." His grin widens a little more when Annie offers to let him use her first name, "Annie is easier than Madam Taylor. And I don't know what I could help you with but if you ever need my help, you can count on it too. I can cast a pretty mean Pestering Jinx."

There's a nod, business done, and Annie straightens, unlinking her pinky from Gabriel's. "I'll keep that in mind, ta." There's a soft, musical gong, and the redhead glances toward the main library. "Right then, remember the book, an' off wi' yeh. Back t'the common before curfew." She turns to escort the boy to the door, adding with good humor, "Give my love t'the eagle."

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