(1941-11-21) Notty Secrets
Details for Notty Secrets
Summary: Phoenicia receives a plea for study help from a Slytherin who snubbed her earlier. Despite herself, she agrees, and makes plans.
Date: November 21, 1941.
Location: Gryffindor Girls' Dormitory
Related: Guilty Liason; The Fawley Raising Bee

Bong… bong… bong… went the Hogwarts clocktower. It was the wee hours of the morning, and the clapping of the bell was muffled for the hour, but inside of Gryffindor Tower at least one student heard. Still snug in a pink bonnet nightcap and buried beneath thick scarlet blankets, Phoenicia's amber eyes fluttered twice, then went wide open. She glanced out the window nearby; the campus grounds looked so peaceful and perfect, but she knew it would be frigid cold outside, away from the warmth of the nice bed and roaring fire. The only other sound in the room was a half-dozen girls lightly snoozing out of sync with one another, content in their four-post beds. The redhead shivered reflexively. It was nice, sure, but she had to run patrol.

She let out a little sigh. "Ye did sign up for this, Phillips," she chided herself — but softly, so as not to wake her roommates — and lifted up her comforter, letting it rustle away as she wriggled the rest of her body — clad in a princess-style pink nightgown — out of the sheets. Her feet fumbled about for a few seconds before finding fuzzy slippers beneath their toes, then worming their way in. She reached one arm over to her nightstand in the dark of and clutched about until she found the yielding rosewood wand she was seeking. Firmly grasped, she touched it with a clink to a glass candle jar.

"Incendio," she yawned. Too early to do a non-verbal spell. There was a soft rush of air, and the candle came to life, casting shadows across the room. Next to it, and underneath the black veil that covered a cage, she could hear an owl stir in its sleep. She smiled, but didn't dare wake Lugh. That would upset the whole dormitory. Her eyes traveled to the side and caught a glimpse of brown feathers and claw, looking at her patiently from atop the mahogany wood. Barn Owl, with the characteristic concave face.

An owl. Not her owl. Holding a letter. Well, that was interesting! Not many people were up that early.

"Quietus," she urged, her voice immediately becoming the barest whisper as she looked at the owl. It stared back at her, blinking. Better behaved than Phee's own pet, that was for sure. She reached over and gently rubbed behind the back of the bird's head, letting it ruffle its wings pleasantly and allowing her to take the envelope from its talons.

"Yer a cute one," she said with a dimpled grin. "Jes' a minute, love. Let's see what all this fuss is then. Diffindo," she intoned with a tap of her wand along the envelope, and the top edge of the packaging slid off as though it had never been connected at all.

Miss Phillips

I have opted to accept your offer of tuition on strict condition that nobody find out. Our blood statuses are just so vastly different and I fear what people might think, I'm certain you understand. I risk being a Slytherin outcast if anyone were to find out I was even speaking to you.

I am sure we might be able to make this work. I await correspondence on when we might begin.

Yours in complete secrecy (please)


P.S Her name is Stygian and she enjoys Bat-flavoured Owl Treats.

Immediately after she finished reading the letter, the redhead doubled over in a fit of just-barely-not-silent-thanks-to-magic guffaws. It was all she could do not to roll off the bed with laughter. The nerve of that boy, to pull what he did and then still ask her for help! After a moment, though, she composed herself and fell still on the bed — legs still bent over the edge, arms spread eagle. She puffed up her cheeks, and blew a little air out as she thought. She did understand the position he was in; some of the things those Slytherin girls said about blood traitors were frightening. He'd have to learn to stand up for himself sooner or later, but in the meantime, he needed her help. And he was fond of his owl. That was a good start.

She sat up straight and tucked a few loose strands of hair back into her bonnet, then reached for a spare scroll, a quill, and an ink-well. She nibbled the end of the feather for a moment, then hunched over the end table and began to scribble.

Mr. Nott,

I understand the position in which you find yourself. It makes things difficult, but not unmanageable. I assisted the Fawley Farm with their 'Raising Bee' after our encounter at the Three Broomsticks. They seem friendly sorts. I will write to them requesting that we may use part of their farm for lessons on Hogsmeade Weekends; as one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight families, I am sure this will be unlikely to raise suspicion among your friends.

Her signature was exceptionally florid, an elegant and embellished 'P' in practiced script and nothing more. But she followed it with her own post-script after a moment's thought.

P.S. I will feed her well before sending her back upon her way.

With this written, she took out a second slip of paper — this one a fine, semi-translucent vellum — and began a second letter,

Ranger Fawley,

My name is Phoenicia Felicity Phillips; I hope you remember me, but I never properly introduced myself. I am a sixth-year student at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft; I helped tend your owls this past weekend. I was wondering if I could impose upon you for a favor? A classmate and I are both terribly fond of magical creatures, but,

Phee's quill paused. She didn't know much about the Fawleys, really, and Nott had asked for discretion. She sighed.

we are having some issues mastering Care of Magical Creatures this year. I thought perhaps you might be so kind as to grant us access to a small corner of your barn on Hogsmeade Weekends that we might study in a live environment. It will only be for a few months at most. Privacy would be ideal. We will keep disruptions to a minimum, and I am happy to give payment for services rendered with an ample tribute of gingerbread cookies. Your kindness is much appreciated.

- Phoenicia

Phee allowed herself a moment to reread her two notes, the one on parchment, the other on vellum. She was satisfied with them, she decided.

"Nae then, Stygian," she returned her attention to the owl, "I dae believe ye've earned y'self some bat-bites?"

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