Sep 30, 2022 9:41 AM
Slytherin Sasha meets Slytherin Cat
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"Are you volunteering, Mr Parsons? How noble of you." 

Somehow, Snape manages to make the word 'noble' sound like an insult. 

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"No, Professor, I was hoping—"

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"I teach Potions, Mr Parsons, not foreign languages. Was that all?" His tone suggests that it had better be. 

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Not exactly the response Christopher was hoping for. 

"Do you know anyone who does teach foreign languages, sir?" 

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"No. Now get out of my office, I have a class to prepare for and you two," he sneers, "are going to be late for your own." 

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No, they're not.

"Yes, sir. Sorry." 

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Well. That could have gone better.

Once they're out of the room, he asks Mikhailov, "How much of that did you get?" 

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"That he said no." Sasha hadn't expected anything different, hadn't really even let himself hope, but he's having a hard time keeping his face clear. (It isn't like he didn't already know what Snape thought of him.) 

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Christopher nods. "Like we knew he would. But now we can ask other teachers, and tell them Snape said no." 

He thought of something while they were in there, what was it, oh right—"What language do you speak? I never asked." 

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"Russian," very softly. 

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Nod.

Just as quietly, "I'm going to ask all our teachers whether they speak Russian, and not tell them why unless they say yes. Okay?"

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He nods. 

He doesn't expect that any of them will, or that any of them will be willing to help. But it's — nice, that Parsons is trying. 

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And now they really should get to class. 

Christopher is happier now that he has a plan. In every lesson they have that day, he tries to find a moment when he can casually ask the teacher an unrelated question without seeming too suspicious. None of them will admit to knowing more than a couple of words in Russian. Over the next few days, he goes through every professor they have classes with, except for Snape and Binns. (He doesn't think either of those would be productive conversations.)

He pays more attention to Mikhailov than before, trying to think of other ways he can help. He still doesn't have a solution to the tiredness thing.

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Having some kind of plan is — better than not. He's still bone-deep tired; he makes as much of an effort to concentrate as he can. He's a little wobbly when he walks for reasons that have nothing to do with the ever-present people trying to trip him or push him down staircases. His handwriting is nigh-unreadable. 

He's gotten very, very good at hiding bruises and lack of balance. It's fine. 

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Christopher doesn't have enough social clout yet, even within their house, for disapproving glares to be very effective. So he doesn't glare disapprovingly at people who push or trip Mikhailov, even though it would make him feel better. 

This is probably why he's a Slytherin. His dad would have stood up for Mikhailov openly, confronted the bullies and told them to stop. 

He's gradually coming to terms with the fact that he's not his dad. 

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Yeah. It'd be nice to get them to stop, but he's not holding it against Parsons that he can't; there's no shortage of people who want to pick on the small stupid Slytherin mudblood. 

He sleeps in the library whenever he can, curls up under a table. It's been a good move historically — nobody really wants to make a scene where Madam Pince will hear — but being on the ground leaves him vulnerable to ""accidents,"" as he learns one day when he wakes up to searing pain in his hand and a Gryffindor second-year walking away from him. 

He — does his best, in class that day. 

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He's started sitting next to Mikhailov in one class every day. (He never sits with the same people twice in a row, so this isn't at all notable.) Today, it's Transfiguration, where he notices that Mikhailov isn't taking any notes, and hasn't been since this morning.

"You okay?" he whispers when McGonagall is distracted correcting another student's...creative...failure to transfigure his beetle into a button. 

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"I'm fine." It hurts to hold a wand. He can mostly tell what they're supposed to be doing from watching the other students, though, so it's fine. 

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Christopher is dubious, but short of poking Mikhailov to see if he flinches, there's not much he can do. 

In Charms, they're not sitting next to each other but he still keeps an eye out for any signs that something's...more wrong than usual. It's a theory-based lesson. Flitwick wants them all taking notes. 

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Oh no. 

...He writes as best as he can. His handwriting is somehow even worse than usual; his fingers are jerky. He tries to keep himself from wincing. 

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...yeah, there's something wrong. He can't say anything in the middle of class, though. 

It itches, almost painfully, to sit there and take notes on Cheering Charms while knowing for a fact that Mikhailov is hurting. 

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He's not flinching. He's not flinching, he isn't. His face isn't as still as he would like it to be but he is not flinching. 

He can't read his own notes. He is literally copying what he sees on the blackboard and he can't read his own notes. Not in the usual sense that he can't actually read this language, in the sense that looking at his own handwriting he cannot tell the letters apart from each other. 

Flitwick doesn't seem like he notices anything is wrong. 

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As soon as class ends, he catches up with Mikhailov and walks next to him until they're out of earshot of the other students. 

"It's your hand, isn't it? I could see it hurting when you had to write." 

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Hand. Write. 

Now he flinches. (People aren't supposed to be able to tell when he's hurt.) 

...it's Parsons. Parsons hasn't done anything but help. He forces himself to relax, then nods. 

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Christopher deliberately moves half a step to the side as they walk, putting a little more space between them so he seems less threatening. 

"You should go to the hospital wing," he says, barely loud enough to be heard over the ambient noise in the corridors. "Do you know where that is, do you want me to show you?" 

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