(1939-11-12) A Killer in Our Midst
Details for A Killer in Our Midst
Summary: Valda is outed as Leander's killer, sparking new conflicts within the Hogwarts student population.
Date: 12 November, 1939
Location: Hogwarts Entry Courtyard
Related: Escape from Durmstrang

Since officially transferring to Hogwarts and being sorted into Ravenclaw, Valda has done her best to keep her head down and try to blend in. She rarely speaks unless called upon by a professor, and has yet to really connect with other students, even in her own house. But she is ever-watching, observing, and absorbing all that goes on around her. This wallflower behaviour is precisely what has brought her to the courtyard this evening, where she can curl up on a bench and read her Ancient Runes textbook, while quietly observing passers-by.

Gabriel walks by Valda's bench, despondently kicking at rocks as he goes, eyes on the floor. Once he's past the new girl's bench he stops, looks back behind him then walks backwards until he's back in front of Valda, "Hi. You're the new girl, aren't you? I'm Gabriel Ward, third year Ravenclaw. How come you've barely talked to anyone since you got here?" Even standing he's not tall enough to loom over her but even so he squats down so that now he's actually looking up at her slightly.

Sierra is walking with two of her friends - just back from some mischief, to judge by the laughter. They pause in the courtyard, one of them remarking on some fifth year potions work they have to finish up. "Good luck with that," Sierra remarks. "I'll see you at dinner." Glancing around, she spots the new girl and without so much as a word of invitation, plunks herself down. "Because people are a bother, sometimes," she announces cheerfully, opening a little satchel to pull out a crochet hook and some bright orange yarn. Leaning towards Valda she adds in a loud whisper - the sort meant to be overheard, "This one's alright, though. Usually."

Valda peers over the top of her book at her sudden guests. Slowly she lowers and closes it, nodding as she finds her voice. "No yes," she says, her thick Slavic accent already quite evident. "I am new girl. I…am sorry if I am rude. It is such difficult being new." She nibbles at her lip, then, taking a cue from Gabriel, adds, "I am…Valda Rozenblats. Seventh Year Ravenclaw."

Coming in to the entry courtyard satchel hanging over one shoulders, the blonde hair of the seventh year Hufflepuff known as Seamus Cavanaugh is rather identifiable. Blue eyes go wide as he spots Valda, his body stiffening just a little bit as he fights the urge to run away from her. Since she arrived, he's been doing his best not to panic whenever she's around. While it's true that he's nervous around the Magijugend in general, she seems to inspire an even more powerful reaction.

Gabriel reaches a hand back to his book bag and digs around in the side pocket for a moment. After a few seconds of scrounging he comes up with a small item wrapped in wax paper. Offering it up to Valda with a smile he says, "Well, welcome. You sound like Elspeth. Are you from Germany? Why are you just starting here in your 7th year? Are you working on NEWTs? I imagine one of them is Ancient Runes, right?"

"Nah, not rude. Don't you worry," Sierra answers Valda. The creation she's working on is starting to take shape - an oval body, already stuffed, topped by the beginning of a rather long neck. She has her gaze on her work, glancing up from time to time - and tilting her head curiously when she spots Seamus' uneasy appearance.

Angelus is adorned in quidditch gear with a splash of red and gold. His broom is propped against his shoulder as he walks, heading on his way towards the castle apparently. The youth starts to slow when he notices the gathering, a hum escaping from him as he arches a brow, tilting his head as he looks over curiously. He approaches slowly and quietly, just looking on from the outside to see what's going on.

"Not Germany. I am from Latvia." Valda takes the wrapped item from Gabriel, lifting her brow curiously as she peels back the paper. The little chocolate ghost pops up and overs over her palm. She blinks, glancing at Gabriel with an uncertain look of appraisal. But beyond him, a shock of startlingly blond hair takes her attention, and her eyes fix on Seamus. The poor chocolate ghost tumbles form her hand, its meagre levitation charm not strong enough to save it from the fall.

Gabriel's hand flashes out on pure reflex, used to catching things on the fly. After rescuing the little ghost from smashing on the cobblestones of the courtyard floor he finally realizes that both the girls on the bench are looking behind him, one in shock, the other in curiosity. Seeing Seamus when he turns around he smiles brightly for a moment, a smile that fades quickly as he notices Seamus' expression, "Are you alright, Seamus? You look a little pale…"

"I am… I am fine Ward." Seamus nodding his head and trying to get himself back to his usual calm demeanor. He puts on a fake smile as he looks at Valda,"I hope that you're getting settled in ok with House Ravenclaw." It does sound like he means it too. "Would anyone care for a biscuit?" He asks curiously as he pulls out a small round tin from within his robes. The opened tin is actually offered to Valda first.

"I'd love one," Sierra agrees brightly, letting Valda have first pick, before claiming one for herself. Her gaze flicks between Seamus and Valda curiously as she watches the pair, and nibbles on the biscuit. "You know," she remarks, "My brother's a seventh year. I bet he'd be happy to help you out if you need a hand reviewing any spells you hadn't covered at Durmstang," she offers helpfully. "If you're in the same NEWTs, that is."

The new student? A smile tugs at his lips as the fourth year approaches further, a curious flicker in his eyes. However, Angelus keeps a bit back. She looks to be surrounded already by people who want to meet her and he certainly doesn't want to overwhelm her. So Gel will hang out here and wait, if he's noticed, then he'll say something. His blue eyes flick between the gathering as he watches.

As Seamus regains his composure, Valda's starts to slip away. For a moment, she eyes the biscuits warily, then gives a quick shake of her head, stammering, "N-no…thanks you." Her big eyes fix on Seamus, and more and more she looks like a cornered animal, ready to bolt. What is with these two?

Gabriel looks back and forth between Seamus and Valda as he idly munches on the fallen ghost. Finally, as if tryin to lighten the mood, he says, "I know the biscuits Seamus Cavanaugh is offering are nowhere near as good as Oreos but then again nothing is really as good as Oreos. But they're nothing to be afraid of either. Quite tasty in their own right."

Soleil is bundled up a bit against the cool scotish weather. Her silver and green knitted scarf loosely slung over her face. As she strolls towards Valda and the group around her the matching knitted gloved thumb of her right hand rubs a spiral over a flat circular object in her hand. The girl's gait is casual enough as she approaches. "Miss Rozenblats, I have a present for you." Her voice muffled by the scarf a hint, which makes the tone of it hard to read. But she keeps to the edge of the gathering, wanting to interupt the gathering but doing her best to remain polite and the proper little lady.

"Well if you change your mind just ask." Seamus says smiling back at Valda. The cool Scottish weather doesn't bother Seamus in the slightest. It really isn't that different from the cool Irish weather. "Last time we met I didn't get a chance to share them with you. I take biscuits very seriously. Ward has a fascination with oreos and they aren't bad but homemade foods are always better than something prepared by a factory."

Sierra's tarting to look a little concerned at the way the older girl shrinks back - and flashes her a confident, reasuring smile. "Hey - did you want to go for a walk or something?" she offers. "I can show you the grounds - all the little nooks and crannies you never had the chance to learn?"

There are so many rumours that Angelus would rather not have fallen on fresh ears. At least, not without him first making a good first impression. Still, the youth hesitates to move any closer, especially because the new girl already look so apprehensive. A sigh escapes from him, and Angelus lifts a hand lightly. "Well don't crowd the new girl. Why don't we give her some space?" he suggests.

Valda nods slowly to Seamus, still apparently uncertain how to handle the Hufflepuff Prefect. "Thanks you. I…will ask you if I am changing my mind." Her eyes flicker to Soleil, swallowing hard as she feels so much attention bearing down on her. Angelus and Sierra earn grateful half-smiles, as they seem to grasp how overwhelmed she is. "Thanks you, all. I do not know what to tell." She takes a deep breath, and lowers her feet to the ground to sit properly, adopting a bit more composure, even if it is obviously forced. Nodding to the bundled-up Soleil, she pushes a soft smile through. "You are kind. What is present?"

"Eibon." Seamus says looking at Angelus with his calm expression,"I do hope you're doing well and not causing yourself more trouble." He says with that gentle smile. There are probably some that would read more into that but it's Seamus. "So you are the female Higgins. I've heard of your brothers. It is good to see that not all of the Higgins are lacking in proper behavior. I know the youngest here is quite ill-mannered but he means well as a rule."

"He may be an ill-mannered brute, but he's my ill-mannered brute," Sierra responds - with just a hint of warning in her tone. She's allowed to speak ill of her brothers if she wants to. Others aren't. "Don't worry. I can be just as much of a handful as any of them." Her crochet project rests in her lap now - as she keeps a close eye on Valda and the others crowding her.

Angelus' blue eyes flick over all, seeing who's deciding to heed his suggestion. He even glances towards Sierra with a little smile, nodding his head as he arches a brow. As Seamus addresses him, he regards the seventh year for a quiet second before he drags out a sigh. "Cause myself trouble, Cavanaugh? Whatever would give you that idea?" He offers out a sweet smile, bowing a little to the prefect. His gaze shifts, glancing back towards Valda, and offering Soleil a nod of greeting.

Soleil feels like she could be sick, but she pushes on, having dreamed about doing this since she was notified of Valda's presence. Swallowing behind her knitted veil she steps closer, bends over and begins to gently and carefully attach a pin to the side of the new girl's badge. Thanks to the gloves the trembling in her hands from the adrenalin coursing through her is less than persevable. Once the pin is attached she tucks the scarf under her chin and with angry tears sparkling in her eyes she looks into Valda's eyes and 'greets' in a dead inside tone, "Welcome to Hogwarts." That said she rights back up and turns to go.

Several weeks ago during Flints reign some fliers and posters began to appear, they were quickly confiscated by the Magijugend. But it appears that Soleil had one in reserve. Upon the button, the words 'Magijugend Means Murder.' Is the opening title before it swirls away and a picture of Leander Fox in his promo-shot robes for the Triwizard Cup stands proudly with 'Never Forget' printed under it. Every once in awhile the picture swirls and 'Leander Fox, died May 26th 1938 when escaping from Magijugend. Murdered by the Killing Curse. Unforgivable.' Is written in the swirls before it returns to the simple proud picture of the Hogwarts Champion. That seems all that Soleil was after doing, she has presented Valda with her cross to bear and with that she nods to those about the blond curiosity and makes her way back the way she came.

Valda begins to smile at Soleil's seeming act of welcome, permitting the pin to be attached to her robe. But when she glances down, just in time to see Leander's face form and look back at her, her eyes go wide and fearful. She screams in terror, and in a sudden panic she leaps to her feet, her runes book toppling from her lap. Frantically, she pulls and tears at her robe as if it were on fire, and once she has it off, tries to push her way through the nearby students. But her hurry robs her of grace, and she stumbles to the cobblestones, where she remains, shaking too hard to force herself to rise. "Es atvainojos!" she sobs in her mother tongue. "Es vēlos tā bija mani! Es vēlos tā bija man…."

Whoa! What just- "Hey, hey, it's alright. It's just a-" Oh, hell, it's one of those Leander pins. "Really, Parkinson? Because she went to that damned school?" Sierra chastises the older girl, before moving to help Valda remove the pin. "Don't mind her," she tries to calm the panicked girl. "Let's go for that walk, alright?"

The button causes Seamus to go paler than usual. That's a pretty impressive thing. "I thought those were destroyed." Seamus says in a wavering voice. "Excuse me." He closes his eyes for a moment and breathes in as he tries to regain his composure. Apparently Soleil's little gift cause him to be affected by it as well. "I think that I need to go now… If you will all excuse me." He says his face still ashen and his voice incredibly tight as if he were struggling to appear even this level of calm."Parkinson… I recommend you go see your House Head and let him know what you've done… Excuse me… I really must go." That said, it seems like the blonde is fleeing from the scene now. As if trying to escape from the button as much as Valda does.

Gabriel, who had become distracted by a plat growing along the courtyard's edge, uttering something about medicinal properties, suddenly looks up at all the hubbub, "What was that all about? Parkinson!? What'd you do, that Cavanaugh is sending you to see your Head?" Focusing on Valda and her realizing just how distressed she is he frowns, "Maybe she should go back to the Ravenclaw Tower? Or maybe to see Madam Spleen for a calming drought? I don't know if a walk where she might run into other people with funny ideas is the best solution…"

Angelus inclines his head curiously, locking his gaze on Soleil and Valda as he peers at the two girls. When he catches a glimpse of the pin, a frown suddenly deepens his expression and his blue eyes trail after the Slytherin. Down by his side, his hand tightens into a fist as a glower reaches his eyes to follow the seventh year Slytherin. "…That's not what we were about," murmurs the youth. He inhales sharply, turning his gaze quickly away and glancing back onto Valda. He starts, shifting as he's suddenly taken aback. "Er-" The blonde haired Gryffindor approaches, glancing in his confusion toward Sierra, and then down to Valda. "Do- Do you need a Professor?"

Soleil turns around and hisses at those coming to Valda's defense, "She's the one that killed him you stupid little gits. Shut your mouth if you don't know what you are talking about. If that girl's aim was any worse, I wouldn't be able to give her that 'gift'. She doesn't belong here, no matter what what she's done to blind old fools with her sob story. So sure, go ahead and defend her and coddle her, nuzzle up to a girl that belongs in Azkaban and not this school." She makes a bitter gesture towards Valda and then spins about to wipe at her eyes as she goes off pointing angrily at Seamus. "Don't you ever speak to me again Cavanaugh. Biscuits, really? Did the SCUMS class really turn you into such a subservient spineless pathetic little welp? Such a shame, I always wondered why on earth Leander had you there. You truly weren't worthy to be there at his side, biscuits for the worm that killed him and started all of this Magijugend nonsense?" Soleil could really just spit. With a frustrated huff she continues to leave, now more storming off than before.

Valda clutches a trembling hand on Sierra's robes, using the younger girl for some kind of symbolic stability. She looks up at Soleil with tear-streaked cheeks. "I am…s-sorry," she weeps, choking out the words. As Soleil departs, she hoarsely whispers, in English this time, "I wish it was me…I wish it was me…."

"She- she's not- She can't be…" The teachers wouldn't let a murderer go to school here! Someone who'd use the killing curse! But then Valda is apologizing, and Sierra can only stare at her in shocked confusion. "But… it wasn't you. It couldn't have been," she insists. "It's just… you must have been there, when…" Right? Surely that was the explanation! "Parkinson's just confused…" Despite her rationalizations, though, her heart has started thudding loudly in her chest.

Spinning around as he hears Soleil, Seamus' expression is one that few people have ever seen on his face. It is fury. "You understand nothing Parkinson. Yes. I could hate her. I could hate them all. Do not think for a moment that my memory has failed me. I remember every single thing about that night as if it happened just a matter of moments ago. However, I am trying very hard to show mercy towards her. I am subservient to NO ONE. I choose to try and take care of those around me. Hating her would be far easier. Oh God above it would be easy to hate her for what happened. But tell me Parkinson, would that bring Leander Fox back? Would it make me a better person? Would it really do ANYTHING of a positive nature? NO! It could turn me into something worse than her." He says angrily,"Listen, there is a reason she is here. Maybe if she hadn't been taught to HATE then that would never have happened. Hate helps no one. I am trying to show that no matter what happens, we can always choose kindness. Do you think she accepts the kindness from me without it causing her guilt? Look at her face. She's lost as much as any of us ever have been. So which will it be Parkinson, will you let Hate rule you? If so then I feel sorry for you. We shouldn't be discussing this where students can hear us. If you were in my House, I would be docking you points. If you want to keep telling people I will speak with the Headmaster about it." For once the calm prefect's feathers are ruffled as he draws himself to his full height, fury etched in every line of his body.

Gabriel frowns deeply at Soleil's words, looking from one girl to another then finally takes a deep breath and says, "Well, right now she's not hurting anyone. /She's/ the one hurting. And I really think she needs to go see Madam Spleen. As for whether she belongs in Azkaban or not, that's something for the Wizengamut to decide, not us… Just like the Slytherins have been telling the mudbloods for months, learn the system, trust the system, and know your place." Looking over at Sierra he says, "Please, take her to Madam Spleen. I think she might faint if we don't and then it'll be all the harder."

The shouting and arguing has Valda cringing. But she gathers her courage enough to speak up. "Please…d-do not be angry at her. Sh-she is…she is right." The girl from Durmstrang makes a feeble effort to push herself to her feet, still shaking and feebly murmuring between sobs, "I am sorry…I am sorry…."

There is surprise locked on Angelus' features as he turns back to stare at Soleil. His eyebrows both wing upwards, gaping for but a second, and then turning his gaze towards Seamus. With a quick shake of his head, Gel clears his throat. A glance is shot towards Sierra and Gabriel, gauging everyone's faces and reactions to try and pick out the truth. A hiss escapes the fourth year as he shoots another look towards the Slytherin. "A git?! Really? Don't insult me!" Because the only issue here is his pride, right? Oh! He clears his throats, and looks to Valda again. He does shift on his feet nervously - because, the Killing Curse? Wow - but he also nods understandably. "An Auror stated that we should forgive each other," Angelus states. He inclines his head and lowers his hand to Valda. "When mistakes are made in the past I was told it might be hard, but if you're looking for a friend, ma'am, I can offer it."

There's trepidation that certainly was not in Sierra's gaze before as she watches Valda. This is… how could any of this be true. "Ward's right. We should get you out of here," she finally decides, quickly retrieving her crochet work which had fallen to the ground, and then picking up Valda's robes and folding them over her arm. She uses her other hand to take Valda by the arm, trying to help her to her feet and lead her towards the Entry Hall.

Soleil shakes her head and rolls her eyes whipping back around gloved hands on her hips, "You accuse Slytherins all of treating people a certain way in the same breath in the accusation condemning them of stereotyping. That's what you call circular nonsense Ward. You're no better than the people you're sniping at. The Magijugend spewed that doctrine, not Slytherin. I'm not out for hate, I'm out for justice she killed someone. She doesn't belong here, see, even she realizes it. Dumbledore is a soft hearted fool. He didn't end Grindelwald when he had the chance and now he's let her here and is waving about his Order of Merlin about to blind the powers that be to have her here instead of Azkaban where she belongs. I can't have that, I gave her a means of proving herself to me. Just like he told us to do. So how about you all go bugger off and mind your own business, or kiss her arse and coddle her like she made a little mistake like peeking over at someone's test. She joined the Magijugend. She studied the dark arts. She has enough of a black heart that she could channel it into Leander's end. But yes," She adopts a widdle giwls voice who's asking for tweats. "Wets cowdul widdle Walda Wosenbwats." She looks over at Angelus just shakes her head and finally enters the castle again.

Valda shakily rises with Sierra's help, and even takes Angelus's hand for support. Just how much of what others are saying to her now is questionable, as her distress and the hot emotions flying around her are enought to overwhelm anyone. But if anything is getting through, it's Soleil's dagger-sharp words, and Valda winces at every emphasis from the Slytherin girl. She doesn't dare look at Soleil again, nor make any effort to counter her claims. All she can do is shuffle toward the doors and murmur, "I am wanting to see Madam Spleen, please." Probably the best thing she could do to defuse the sparks between Soleil and Seamus is to get out of sight, and with a little help, that's exactly what she does.

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