(1939-10-01) Tears and Fears
Details for Tears and Fears
Summary: Madeline needs an adult to talk to, and Annie is the most convenient to fit the bill. They find a quiet spot in the library.
Date: 1 October 1939
Location: Library, Hogwarts
Plot: Headmaster from Hell
Related: Have a Long Spoon

It's mid-morning on a day of classes at Hogwarts, and while there are still a number of students the library is fairly empty. Normally, Annie would go back and have a cuppa in the lull, but today she's organizing some new books that have come in at the main desk. Plus, there have been some 'incidents' in the library of late, and she's keen to put a stop to any more shenanigans going on. Madam Patil can't be everywhere all at once, after all.

Madeline's mother has always encouraged her daughter to come to her with problems, to confide her woes and open up, but Madeline's mother is a long way away. That leaves her with one adult that seems kindly enough, and motherly enough, and is safe to confide in. After all - wasn't Annie at that meeting, with Madame Patil, and Professor Viridian and everyone? Spotting the woman at the main desk, the girl approaches, her bag slung over her shoulder and clutched tightly to her just for something to hold. She looks around, as if wary of who might be close enough to over hear, and then back to the adult sorting through the new books. "Miss Taylor…?" There's no bounce, no eager excitement, and no broad smile - not today.

Annie isn't so engrossed in her work that she misses the subdued approach of Maddie, and there's a concerned frown on her face at the greeting. "Good morning, Miss Evans," she says softly, putting the book she had been working with aside. "Is everything alright?"

"No, ma'am," Madeline answers softly. "Are you terribly busy?" she asks, hoping that Annie isn't. She glances around uncertainly, wishing there were somewhere better to talk than the middle of the library. Why does it have to be so hard to find somewhere to be alone at this school?

Without preamble, Annie stands, the books forgotten. Her robes sweep about her as she comes around the desk, letting one hand light softly on Madeline's shoulder. "No, dear, I'm never too busy. Come for a little walk with me?" She steps away, making sure Madeline is following, and starts on a course through the library, up a circular staircase, down a row of dusty books, going farther and farther until they're at a place where hardly anyone ever comes looking for books. It's a history section, and most find that class so boring they rarely feel the need to disturb the section. There's a table for studying that Annie leads to, pulling out a chair for Maddie to sit before she takes the chair opposite. It smells of books and it's quiet and warm. The closest one comes to a place to be alone within the castle. "What's on your mind, poppet?" she asks, her tone warmer now that they're reasonably alone.

Madeline follows after the woman - occasionally trotting to keep up. She climbs up onto the offered chair, plunking her bag on the table in front of her, the strap still wrapped around her back, and rests her cheek on her bag with her arms still around it. "Things still aren't any better," the girl complains quietly. "We all keep trying to hard, and it's been a whole month now, and we're still not allowed to go to class, and… and… some of the kids say that trying to be good, and follow the rules, isn't working and we gotta plan for what's next." Tears start to leak out of her eyes as she laments, "But that's stupid! That's just so stupid!"

Annie scoots her chair around so she's next to Madeline, putting her arm around the young girl and rubbing her back gently. Her voice is pitched low, soft and soothing. "It's not the best of times, love, but it will not last. I think yer doing exactly the right thing." She sighs softly, having feared that some of the students would be wanting to do something rash. She's heard so many who think they know better than the adults that it's brought her no little concern. "I won't ask yeh t'tell me who says such things, but I'll tell yeh that if anyone is planning anything violent, yeh ought t'be as far from it as possible. They're playing with fire, an' it's not a game. They'll get hurt." Her voice is pained with these words.

"I told them they were being idiots!" Madeline agrees with Annie, glad for the woman's hand on her back. "I mean… I… I… Malfoy was asking me about why I don't eat in the Great Hall, and I told him it was a hunger strike, and he goes and tells Flint - the girl, not the Headmaster - that after hunger strikes, Muggles always have a bloody rebellion. And I was laughing about how wrong and stupid Malfoy was being, because that's not how it goes at all, when the other kids start talking about it like it's a good idea and it's a terrible idea! We're just kids. They'll just get expelled - they'll just get us all expelled - and prove Flint was right about 'mudbloods' all along." She hugs her bag tighter as tears streak down her cheeks - she's been doing a lot of crying since her argument with Gabriel at dinner. "Everything's so messed up…"

This pains Annie even more, she's grown quite fond of Madeline, and she keenly feels the problems the muggle-born students are having. She makes an attempt to pull Madeline off the chair and into her own lap, wrapping the girl in a hug if she allows it. "I know, love. It's always darkest before the dawn. Yer right, it is a terrible idea, and I'm going to have t'let Madam Patil know what's been said. I don't need names, but she'll know what t'do."

It's not that hard to manage. Madeline desperately wants a hug - she desperately wants her mother. But a kindly and sympathetic staff member has to suffice. She hugs the woman back, nodding her head and holding her breath for a few moments - trying to get her breathing under control long enough to ask, "Sh-should I told to Viridian?" He should know if the kids are talking about a rebellion! Right?

Annie doesn't answer for a few moments, giving Maddie a chance to calm some, rocking the girl gently. She's so young to have so much on her shoulders. Finally, Annie fishes a handkerchief from her robe pocket, offering it to Madeline. "Maybe not, love," she ventures, her words coming slowly and thoughtfully. "It might be best not t'put yerself into a situation where others could lay any blame on yeh. I'll talk t'Madam Patil an' she'll know what t'do. We hear a lot of talk in th'library, so nothin' that comes from us can really be put down t'any one person's blame."

Madeline accepts the kerchief and makes a mess of it - wiping her eye first, before sopping up her runny nose. She sniffles, trying to get her run away emotions back under control - but it's hard. The past month has been rough on the little girl. "I told him it was stupid to even talk about it," she murmurs quietly. "He said it was just talk. That we'd be stupid not to plan for it. But I told him talking about it at all was dumb. What if someone heard?"

The hand goes back to rubbing lightly on Madeline's back and Annie rests her cheek against the young girl's hair. "That was good advice, poppet. Yer such a clever little thing, aren't yeh?" she coos gently. "Granted, yeh should be ready if someone else starts a fight, but yeh shouldn't be startin' it from the muggle-born side. That's just what some of them want, an' it'd be playin' right into their hands."

Madeline nods her head. "I'm trying to be ready. That's… that's why I've been going to dueling club, and learning all these spells and…" But it's a huge change from the girl who was terrified just by watching a wizard duel last year - and who hated casting spells even on animals for fear of hurting them by mistake. "But I don't want to fight anyone. Not ever."

It would most definitely not be a good time to bring up the fact that Aurors have to fight. More often that most of them wish, surely. She knows from Tim what a dangerous job it can be, him having lost both his parents, but this isn't something she would discuss with Madeline. Instead, Annie just tries to be as soothing as she can, to be a place of refuge for the little witch. "I think yer doing wonderfully," she says reassuringly, "and it may well never come t'havin' t'fight anyone. Especially not for yeh an' t'other students. It's not yer place t'have t'fight battles at yer age." Heaven knows there'll be plenty of time for that as adults.

It's a good thing that Madeline's only a Junior Auror - and not a proper Auror at all. She nods her head - hoping that Annie is right, and it won't come to any fighting. "I miss my mum 'n dad," she confides. "I wanna see them. School isn't any fun this year."

"Maybe they can come up t'visit on a Hogsmeade weekend?" Annie suggests. "An' it's not too long before th'holiday break. Chin up, Maddie love," she says kindly, giving the little one a light tweak under said chin. "I promise yeh, this will not last." The similarities between the school and the muggle war disturb Annie a little more every single day.

"But they have Asher 'n Saul 'n Miriam to look after…" Madeline says uncertainly. How could they come? At least - how could both of them come? "How much longer'll it last?" she asks forlornly - as if Annie could possibly know the answer to that. "I just wanna go back to potions class. I'm a really good witch," she insists quietly. "I study really hard…"

Annie gently smooths Madeline's hair back from her face, using her thumb to wipe away an errant tear streak. "I don't know how long it'll last, love," she answers honestly. "But there are adults all over do everythin' they can t'make it end, so things can get back t'normal." Or, as normal as it gets in the wizarding world. "An' maybe yer folks could take turns? That might be nice, gettin' yeh two weekends with a bit of family an' not just one, hm? An' yeh know that yeh can always stop by my little cottage t'visit when yeh go on the weekends out. I'm just at th'end of Cottage Lane. Number seven."

Madeline nods her head, giving another sniffle. "Maybe we will," she agrees quietly. "Uncle Perry let his flat in London go, you know. He got a place in Hogsmeade. So now I get to stay with him on weekends." She wipes at her eyes again. "I shouldn't be complaining. I get to see my uncle every Hogsmeade weekend, and there's plenty kids in the same boat as me who won't get to see their family at all until the break."

"Those are some blessings t'count," Annie agrees. "I know it's hard sometimes, when things look bleak, t'see the brighter side. That was good of yer uncle, t'be closer t'yeh." She lets a few more moments pass in silence, just being a presence for Maddie to lean on right now, quite literally. "As for this business of the other students, I want yeh t'try and just leave that here with me. It's a heavy burden for yeh, so I'll carry it from here. I'll talk t'Madam Patil, an' even Professor Viridian if she thinks it wise. An' I'll let yeh know what they say." Because she can't expect the girl to forget the possibility exists. "How's that sound?"

Madeline nods her head at Annie's question, sniffling again and wiping her nose on the kerchief. "Thank you," she answers quietly. She worries at the kerchief in her hands before adding, "I got your handkerchief all mussed up. I'm sorry."

Annie smiles at the girl's comment, shaking her head. "A quick charm will sort that, don't yeh worry." Her arms tighten briefly, giving the girl a quick hug, before she releases her. "Why don't yeh go an' splash a bit of water on yer face, take a minute t'have a few deep breaths? Yeh've done th'right thing, poppet." Impulsively, she gives Madeline a quick kiss on the temple before she nudges the girl to stand, and stands herself. "C'mon then," she says, her voice lighter. "Shake out yer robes, tuck back yer hair, an' shoulders up." Annie does all of this as well, setting an example.

Madeline nods, climbing to her feet and trying to straighten herself out, as her bag falls to hand at her side - the strap never having left her shoulder. "I, umm, I wrote Rena a letter," she confides in Annie. "Rena Odori. But I couldn't say much in case someone else read it but enough so's she'd know something was wrong…" Whether or not Annie wants to do something about that - well - that would be up to her. Leaving the sodden handkerchief on the table she adds, "Thank you Miss Taylor."

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