(1939-11-28) It's Not About You
Details for It's Not About You
Summary: Anthony and Valda talk forgiveness… and Goethe.
Date: 1939-11-28
Location: Ravenclaw Common Room, Hogwarts

Seated at one of the tables, surrounded by open books, is Professor Black's Aide, Anthony Rowle. The books are open at a variety of pages, mostly showing runes- with especial favouring of Hieroglyphs, but there are some written in Greek characters, and others with Latin text. There is also a scroll of parchment, part written, which has neatly caligraphied (anyone with that neat a script must have some traits of OCD) 'Some thoughts about the Soul, Glamers and the Unforgiveable Curses'.

Clutching her Ancient Runes book to her chest, Valda makes a rare appearance from the girls dormitory. Some chatty Sevent Year girls had gone up not long ago, ending Valda's solitude. For a moment, she lingers at the bottom of the stairs, silently counting the inhabitants of the common room as they decides whether to stay or to seek out some quieter, lonelier place in the castle.

Anthony turns. For some reason the unexplained sensation of being looked at draws his attention, and slightly self consciously, he stands, putting his quill down, and brushing his hand against his robe side. Perhaps to clean it from ink. Perhaps to dry sweat from it. And then the hand is being extended, "Miss Rozenblats? Um… I'm Tony Rowle. I've seen you in Arithmancy and Runes. And, you know. Wanted to say hello."

Valda tilts her head at Anthony, regarding him quietly as he introduces himself. She nods slowly, replying in a thick accent, "Hello. I know you. You are Professor Black's aide. You did brought me a new inkwell for when mine was empty." She manages a meagre smile, feeling a bit more secure in the serenity that Ravenclaw Tower brings.

Anthony steps a bit closer, his hand still outstretched. "Yes. I… um. You know. Wanted to make sure you were settling in. It's a difficult time. And just before NEWTs." There's a faint air of desperation to his speech. As if the effort to make it normal was itself adding to the artificial nature.

There is visible effort in forcing herself out of her shell as Valda extends a hand to place into Anthony's. The human contact coaxes out her smile a little further, as if it were just given permission to emerge. "I am thinking that I am as settled as I can be. Thanks you."

Anthony nods, slowly, "I… um… you know. If you need any help to catch up. I help with Runes. They're a bit of a um.. passion for me." He pauses, "This place must be a bit of a change for you. Oh… can I offer you tea? Hot chocolate?"

"Thanks you," Valda repeats. "I am doing well for Runes. I study much at Durms-…" She cuts herself off, her eyes darting away to other Ravenclaws studying nearby, catching a few glances being sent her way. But all eyes are quickly returned to their books. She nods at last to Anthony. "Tea would be very nice."

The youth nods, and goes to provide. Of course, he'll make the tea British, rather than Russian style, so the girl gets milk whether she wants it or lemon. Then he asks, "Sugar?"

Valda shakes her head and accepts the tea. "Thanks you again. You are very kind." More than she can say for many other students. But she doesn't say so aloud, nor would she blame them. "You are wanting to work with Runes? Perhaps to be curse-breaking, or translating?"

You say, "Oh, not doing the right NEWTs for Curse Breaking. And… you know… more interested in the knowledge than the loot, you see. But yes, I did my intern time with IMC. " He clears his throat, "I… um. Well. I've a bit of an interest in teaching theory, and magical theory, and so forth. And if you could bear it, at some point, I'd be very interested to hear a bit more about the teaching at…. that other place."

Valda pauses mid-sip of her tea, her big eyes flitting up at Anthony. Slowly she lowers the cup, sighing softly. "It is not so different than Hogwarts. Professors tell us lessons. We read. We write. It is same." Her gazes drops to her lap, then away to the floor.

Anthony seats himself, and takes a sip. "Oh! I thought… well… actually I'm not sure what I thought. But perhaps their approach was different, and by seeing both one could understand more about magic." He gives a chuckle, "Does that makes sense?"

Valda shrugs noncommittally, trying to consider how to duck the subject entirely. But if she's learned one thing since joining Ravenclaw, it's that an eagle doesn't easily give up when he wants to know something. In barely a whisper, she reopens the door, "You…are asking about Dark magic…yes?"

Anthony pauses, and then lifts a hand to waver it. "Not precisely. I… have experienced Dark Magic." That one is thrown there. "… but I wondered if they spoke about the theory. About what it…. injures." The youth gives the girl an uncomfortably appraising look, "But… maybe now is not the time? You are newly arrived, and I'm being rude. I'm awfully sorry. This is… painful.. for you."

Valda sighs heavily, her eyes remaining lowered. "Is there the better time? No…will be always wanting to know." She takes another deep, bracing breath. "They say us that some people say that Dark magic is harming the soul. But at Durmstrang they say us that it is not harming the soul." An involuntary shudder tenses her body and she looks up to meet Anthony's eyes. "At Durmstrang they are wrong."

Anthony inclines his head, it's very slight. Perhaps almost a start, more than anything else, "I…." He stops, and takes a sip of tea, refashioning thoughts, "I cannot speak for anyone else. But I forgive you."

Valda lets her eyes drop again to the book in her lap. Silent tears fall to her cheeks. "You must not," she says, her voice quavering. "There is no making better for my sin."

Anthony says slowly, "No. No, there isn't. But there is building upwards. If that makes sense? And… well, gosh, I didn't mean to say this. Look, it's not just about sin, it's about you know… how you move forward. But I also… "

"With respect," Valda interjects curtly, "You cannot know. Unless you had done what I did, you are not knowing what it is about, or how to move forward." She wipes rougly at her cheek with her cuff.

Anthony digs in his pocket, and offers a clean handkerchief, "No. No. I can't." A pause, "I have been the other half of the equation."

Valda reluctantly takes the handkerchief, dabbing at her face. "So have I," she says grimly. "It is…horrible. But it is not same. From this, we heal…maybe we are having scars, but we heal. But from using the Dark Arts?" She looks up with a pained frown, shaking her head. "From using the worst? There is part of me that is destroyed. I feel it. A hole, and there is nothing in it."

Anthony takes a deep breath, and clearly restrains the effort to say, 'Fascinating. Lets study your soul', to instead offer, "If you fail to live for him, do you not also waste two lives?" He pauses, and says,
"If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
" It sounds awfully like a quote.

It's clear he automatically expects the 'lesson' of Kipling's 'If' to be known without actually completing the quote.

"Stop, stop. You are not parent to me." Valda holds up her hands for emphasis. There is a shadow of anger across her face now as she says firmly, "You do not say me how to live for him. I am living with what I do for two years time! Every night I see him. Every day my mind is full of him." Again the tears pool in her eyes. "Do not tell me to honour Leander. It is only Leander that I am living for."

Anthony clears his throat once more. "I'm sorry, Miss Rozenblats. I was… oh, I suppose… trying to help, I suppose." He clears his throat, "I'm sorry."

Valda takes deep, slow breaths, subduing her indignation. "I…I am not needing help. I am to be helping. I can never make it right for Leander. I can only try to make it better for people that love him."

Anthony gives a slight nod. "I… um… I rather thought so." He gives the girl a thoughtful look, "Might I make an observation?"

Valda eyes Anthony warily, but gives him a cautious nod.

Anthony says, "Is your wand to blame? I mean, for casting…. a spell… which in retrospect you would rather you had not?"

Valda sighs wearily, pursing her lips. "Of course not," she murmurs patiently.

You say, "Why not? We know that wands may refuse to cast certain spells, in certain circumstances. Or is it because it was the weapon in your hand, and yours was the will which wielded it?"

Valda's irritation begins to tighten her lips again. "I killed him," she says flatly. "My will killed him. My hate killed him."

Anthony nods, accepting this. Seemingly nonjudgmental. "Yes. Yes. And you were a weapon, also. Weapons are made. And wielded."

Valda's aggravation quickly turns to a dry chuckle. "A weapon is not choosing. A weapon is having no will. No hate." She shakes her head. "Your idea is dangerous. It is way to justify any evil. Same is how Helstrom tell us that Schlammblüter and Blut-Verräter1 are not real wizards, so it is easy to hate them. It is easy to justify destroying what we hate."

Anthony dips his head, "This is true. But a wand has will. It can choose. And you were made how you were…. and you have realised you were wrong." He considers this, "It's progress, but as you say, I cannot understand. Not truly. But I do say this. If you have felt an unforgiveable curse, as well as given one, then you are both victim, and villain. Don't claim one, without the other, please."

Valda snorts, chewing at her lip. "One is not making the other better. It is only making me sound that I am wanting forgiveness. I don't."

You say, "What then, do you want? Not to live for him…. not forgiveness. What?"

Valda sighs again in frustration. "You are not understanding. It is…my English, probably. I am living for him. But forgiveness…it can never happen. So…every time someone is trying to forgive…it is hurting."

Anthony slides smoothly into German. He's got an accent, but curiously it's not an English one. Listening, it sounds like he's from Alsace-Lorraine, the border area between France and Germany which swapped between them. There's certainly French in his German. « I am sorry. You have been very patient, speaking in my language. Is this easier for you? And I am sorry for hurting you. But… I think it is perhaps you who does not entirely understand. I did not forgive for you. I forgave for me.»"

Valda blinks in surprise, and a hint of a smile reemerges amid her dismay. "«Then…I'm glad for you.»" Her own German carries some of the Slavic accent that affects her English, though not nearly as strongly. "«It cannot have been easy.»" She pauses, then adds, "«Your German is very good. I don't suppose you speak Latvian?»" Her smirk gives away the jest. She clearly doesn't expect that he would speak her mother tongue.

Anthony shakes his head, «Not having had the chance to learn it, no. I am passable in Old Norse, if that is close enough. However, I am always happy to learn new languages. And thank you. It was, I think, important that I confronted my feelings on the matter. Although as Goethe says, 'If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.'»

"«Latvian is closer to Russian than to Norse languages,»" Valda explains, dipping her head to try to hide the colouring of her cheeks at the mention of Goethe. "«Thank you…for speaking with me. I don't expect forgiveness, but it is still nice to be treated with civility.»"

Anthony switches back to English. Perhaps it's more patriotic. Perhaps it's so the earwiggers of the Common Room can understand. "Oh, it's my pleasure. I said. You are a Ravenclaw now. And if we treat you poorly, it reflects not on you, but on us." Whatever lesson he learned a year ago, he's grown up a lot over the 12 months. "And please, if there's any… misunderstandings… please do tell me. I can mention it to Eibhlin."

Valda nods, rising to her feet. "No yes. Thanks you, Rowle. This is…was…very interesting talk." Giving him one last meagre smile, Valda makes her way out of the common room to find somewhere to hide out and think things over.

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