(1939-11-14) Only a Black Heart
Details for Only a Black Heart
Summary: Madeline wants to know if Valda really killed Leander.
Date: 14 November, 1939
Location: Hogwarts Lake Shore
Related: A Killer in Our Midst

Ever since being outed by Soleil Parkinson, Valda has tried even harder to stay out of the public eye at Hogwarts. When she isn't hiding away in Ravenclaw Tower, she is staying well away from the rest of the student body. On this cool, damp Friday evening, her efforts at solitude have brought her to the shore of the Black Lake. She sits on the rocky beach, occasionally picking up a stone to try to skip over the surface of the water. But most of them just plunk right down into the deep.

Madeline has been working hard to find Valda - following rumors, and searching the outdoor until she manages to find her by the lake. She hesitates a moment - the knowledge that Angelus really believes she did cast the killing curse a little knot in her stomach - but she puts on a smile and flounces down to the water's edge, picking up a stone to try tossing herself. "Hi!" she greets Valda in a cheerful tone. "I'm Maddie - Madeline Evans. I'm in Gryffindor." As if the red and gold accents to her clothes don't give that away.

Valda doesn't look at Madeline when she hears the crunching of stones at her approach. But the bright greeting draws Valda's gaze. She lifts her brow at the energetic young Gryffindor. "I am Valda," she drawls hoarsely. "I am Ravenclaw." She looks the girl up and down appraisingly, rolling a skipping stone absent-mindedly between her fingers.

Madeline is trying to keep a game face on - but it's impossible for her to hide the fact that, yes, she's a little nervous talking to Valda. The smile's still in place. "Hi Valda." She tosses another stone out onto the lake, watching it skip once, twice… and then sink. "It must be hard, leaving your family and friends and switching your last year of school. Me and my uncle were talking about me switching to maybe a school in America and it was pretty scary."

"Why?" Valda asks. Her w's are tinged with a slight v-sound — just another aspect of her accent. "What are you running away from?"

"Well, it was 'cuz of Flint," Madeline explains. "The Headmaster that just left? I'm a Muggle-born, and I wasn't learning real magic here anymore, and… well. It was pretty scary. So we were thinking maybe I should go somewhere else. I'm glad I don't have to." She looks back towards Valda after picking up another stone. "Was it… scary at Durmstrang? It sounds like it was even worse."

Valda shuts her eyes for a moment, inhaling deeply. "Durmstrang was not always scary. Not for me. For you…it would be scary. They would call you Schlammblut and hurt you. But they would not let you in. It was better that you are here."

"So if it wasn't scary for you - how come you left?" Madeline asks, watching Valda for a moment longer before she tosses her rock. Rena didn't want her talking to the Magijugend from Hogwarts - she'd throw a fit if she knew who Maddie was talking to now!

Then again, Maddie was a first year when Rena told her that.

Valda sighs, shaking her head. "My English is bad. It was not scary from before. Now…now it is scary. Here is better." She cocks her arm back, and finally lets her stone fly. It manages one skip before disappearing beneath the glassy surface.

"No, it's pretty good. It's a lot better than my German, and that's the only other language I know anything of," Madeline offers helpfully. She nudges at the stones with her foot, asking uncertainly, "So, umm, what changed? How come it got scary? I mean. It's okay me asking, right?"

Valda doesn't respond right off. For a few uncomfortable seconds, the blonde girl just stares at Madeline. At last she sighs, picking out another stone from the beach. "You know. Everyone knows."

Madeline is silent for a while herself, still toeing at the rocks. What do you say in response to that? Her head is turned down towards the stones, but she looks towards Valda out of the corner of her eyes. "About… Leander Fox?" she offers finally in quiet, uncertain voice. "Yeah," she admits, with her heart thudding in her chest. "But, umm. If that's really true… why would it make things scary for you? Wouldn't it make things… better for you? I thought…" She isn't really sure how to finish that sentence - so in the end, she doesn't.

Valda doesn't move an inch, but the tension pulling at her muscles can be felt in waves. Her blue-green eyes fix on the rippling water before her. "Better?" Her voice wavers, strained through her teeth. "You think was making better? What?" She demands, turning her head to stare hard at Madeline. "What did you thought?"

Madeline's a brave kid - but being faced by a girl who has killed someone, and with magic, while all alone… She looks up at Valda, and it's plain on her features that she's scared as she takes a small step back. "I, umm… I dunno what I thought. I just wanna understand, and I don't. Please… don't be mad. I really didn't mean to make you mad. I just wanted- I'm sorry."

Again Valda goes silent for a few moments, calming herself as she considers her words. "Remember…worst thing you ever did. You steal from your mother? Maybe you break window, blame little brother for this. Yes? Think how you are feeling now about this. You have this feeling in your memory, yes?"

Madeline thinks for a moment - trying to pick a suitable memory. She doesn't do a lot of bad things - but she does feel guilty easily. Finally, she settles on the memory of the time she broke the little statuette her mum had had from grandma on accident - and how her mum had cried. She'd felt awful. "Yeah. I remember," she answers quietly, the fear ebbing into caution and curiousity as she watches Valda.

Valda nods slowly, her eyes fixed on Madeline's. "Now pretend everyone knows what you do. All of your friends know. All of your professors know. Even Headmaster know. And all of them…they tell you did right. They tell name of person you hurt…and tell you did right to hurt. But there is hole inside you because of what you do, and words never fill it. Not ever." Valda hefts herself up to her feet to look down at Madeline. "Now…you understand, yes?"

"…maybe," Madeline answers after a thoughtful silence, trying to get that idea into her head. "Angelus Eibon, he said you got… real upset when Parkinson gave you the pin," she murmurs quietly. "He says he believes you're sorry - really very sorry. And… you helped Headmaster Dippet and the other students come home, right? And… and Dippet and Dumbledore both want you to stay here? They trust you."

Valda looks away toward the water again, her hard gaze broken. "It does not matter if I am sorry. Sorry is not bringing him back. I come here because…" She pauses, and sighs. "I am answered your questions. Are you still afraid?"

"No," Madeline answers quietly. "I suppose not." And as if to prove this the girl come a little closer. "But I would, umm… I'd like to hear why you wanted to come. I mean, if you want to tell. If you don't, I mean, you don't gotta. Mum says I'm too nosy sometimes and it's rude and I oughtn't be."

Valda nibbles pensively at her lip, weighing a silent decision. "You should be afraid," she says grimly, looking at Maddie from the corner of her eye. "Not everybody can cast a Killing Curse. It is hate. Pure hate. Only a black heart can do it." She lifts her chin, gazing ominously down at the Second Year. Then, as she feels her mask start to crack, hoping the girl won't catch the wavering of her features, Valda starts back up the shore toward the castle.

Madeline shifts uncomfortably under the hard gaze, looking away for a moment - and then back again. Now she's… confused. "But… you're sorry," she insists quietly. As Valda turns to leave, Madeline stays where she is but decides to push her luck. "Why did you do it? What… what made you mad enough to do something like that and then… then feel bad for it?" Her heart thuds in her chest as she hopes she didn't push things too far.

Valda stops. Very suddenly, she simply stops with her back to Madeline. Slowly she turns around, glaring at her with tears falling down her cheeks. "I did it…because I had to be best," she growls, her voice cracking. "Nobody else mattered. There was only me. My greatness." She wipes at her eyes. "It is easy to hate somebody that you make small in your mind." She tosses her arms outward in a helpless gesture. "Are you satisfying now?"

Madeline wishes the older girl wasn't crying, and it shows all over her face - her own guilt at upsetting her. "Yes," she answers softly. "I'm sorry I made you upset." After a brief hesitation she bounces up the beach towards the seventh year, offering, "I'll walk with you. No more questions, honest. I'll tell you about my farm! Or, umm, if you know German I can try to speak German! 'cept I'm lousy at it, really, but I'm getting better. Plus, I think I have some peppermints. Do you like peppermints?"

Valda blinks at the tears in her eyes, taken aback at Madeline's sudden shift. Her shoulders slump, defeated by this twelve-year-old. She murmurs, "Ja, ich spreche Deutsch," as she turns to continue up the shore toward the path to the castle.

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