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Aug 08, 2022 2:41 AM
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She's setting aside a parchment.  "What is it?"

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"Professor, a few minutes ago Pansy Parkinson came over to me and my friends to harass us.  I asked her to leave twice and she refused.  When Fred and George stuck up for my friends Wardwizard Snape intervened and blamed the whole thing on us."

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"Blamed it on Clover, more like," Fred says.  "He went off on a rant about Clover being some kind of ringleader."

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"He said he was going to speak to you and Professor McGonagall and give us detentions.  We wanted to make sure you heard our side of the story."

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"All we were doing was sticking up for Ron and Millicent, Professor."

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Whitlock sighs.  "I see.  First of all, Wardwizard Snape is not allowed to hand out detentions.  Acting as though he does is already wrongdoing on his part, and I am not going to follow through for him on threats he is not allowed to make.  Regardless of what else happened today, that's already ground for a formal complaint to the Headmaster or the board of governors, which I would be more than willing to help you with."

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 - shit.  Maybe Hogwarts really does have a better caliber of teacher than Muggle schools.  "Thank you, Professor."

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"You're welcome.  As for the rest - I'd like to hear your account of the - altercation - between you and Miss Parkinson, in as much detail as you'd care to provide."

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Clover nods smartly.  She is pretty sure she can spin this.

"I, and Millicent Bulstrode, and Ron and Fred and George Weasley, were all talking pleasantly when we were approached by Pansy Parkinson and Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.  Parkinon said Is it Ronnie's turn with the family pet in a contemptuous tone, I asked her to leave, she said You don't know the Weasleys, do you, Clover, there's about twenty of them and they only have one familiar between them in the same tone, I asked her to leave again, she said You don't have to stand with them, you know that's not a proper Bulstrode, right.  Ron told them to get lost, Crabbe and Goyle mocked his phrasing, Fred and George defended their brother with a joke, Goyle decided to interpret it as a threat, and Fred and George explained why it would be stupid of them to pick a real fight with us.  At that point Wardwizard Snape intervened.  He immediately rounded on us, and even before he started threatening and interrogating us I found his demeanor to be unpleasant and suggestive of a deliberate attempt at intimidation.  He implicitly believed Pansy's insistence that she was just trying to start a conversation, and picked at the details of our attempts to defend our behavior in a way that seemed less like he was trying to get at the truth than that he was trying to make us look ridiculous.  He interrupted me when I tried to give an account of events and accused me of manipulating Millicent and the Weasleys into being my lackeys so I'd have backup when I decided to pick fights with other students like Pansy, which is categorically untrue."

(That's a delicate tone to hit, at the end, firm and energized by righteous indignation but still crisp and professional without seeming to actually lose control of the tenor of her voice.  She thinks she did a pretty good job though.)

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"Good lord."  Whitlock rubs her forehead.  "I'll want to hear Severus and Pansy's accounts, of course, but I don't expect to be impressed by them.  I apologize for Wardwizard Snape; whether or not you decide to file a complaint I intend to speak to the Headmaster about having him suspended or - censured - if this is how he's treating my students.  I had thought - "

She pauses.

"There were complaints about his behavior towards some of the students when he was first hired," Whitlock says.  "Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore - spoke to him, regarding them.  Until now it had seemed they'd gotten through to him, that he was able to - meet a minimum standard of professionalism.  I'm sorry that we the staff were wrong about that."

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"Thank you, Professor."

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"It's the least I can do," Whitlock says seriously.  "Regarding Miss Parkinson - this isn't the first complaint I've heard about her either.  I'm going to give her detention and talk with her about her behavior, and you should keep me abreast if she keeps giving you trouble afterwards.  I don't want to take any points from Slytherin over this, because that would punish you as much as her, and - frankly I don't like the House points system very much.  Does that sound appropriate to you three?"

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"I - yes.  I think so."

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"Suits me," says Fred.

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Clover nods.

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He hears the reports.  He listens to Calliope's secondhand account, to Minerva's secondhand account, to the children's respective firsthand accounts.  The picture becomes clear enough.

He meets with Severus, in private.

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"I would like to hear your account of this afternoon's events, Severus."

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"I think, Headmaster, there are facts regarding Clover Evans-Potter that we need to discuss, that inform my account of this afternoon's events."

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"I don't imagine that discussion will go anywhere it has not already gone, Severus.  Whatever else Clover is, she is, truly, a child, or she would not have spent eleven years in the care of Petunia Evans."

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"The implication of Evans-Potter's resemblance to Tamsyn Riddle - "

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"We both know what she is, Severus."

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" - is that Maledict Gaunt was a consummate liar!  She taught me for seven years, she worked with you for how long - "

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"Perhaps she could perfectly imitate a child if she wanted to," Albus says patiently.  "But why would she want to?  For eleven years, as everything she built crumbled, as her people turned against each other?  The chaos of the last decade cannot have been Maledict Gaunt's plan for Britain."

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"I have no idea, and neither have you!  You don't know what she is, neither of us understands - nobody still living understands everything that happened that night, I doubt even Gaunt herself does!  And you have collapsed all of the possibilities into two, either Clover Evans-Potter is Maledict Gaunt reborn with all of her powers, or she is a perfectly innocent child!"

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