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Prometheus Saintcross

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Prometheus Saintcross

This was not promising. It had only been one day since he'd been to his first Herbology lesson of the term, in which he'd been assigned to care for a small plant and bring back proof of his competence in the form of a still-alive plant the following week, and he'd already lost it. The plant, that is. In his defense, Prom thought, it was very difficult for an eleven year old boy in a new environment with a busy schedule to remember to bring a small potted friend the size of his fist everywhere he went straight out of the gate at the beginning of term.

 

Mean, was what it was. Hambledon was plain mean.

 

Not only could he not even remotely remember where he might have left it, but he'd seemingly made a point of going as many places as possible in the time between acquiring the plant and losing it. And there were tricksters at Hogwarts, he was sure of it, people who might see his name on the thing and then hide it to prank him, so he had to find it before that could happen.

 

He'd started in the Ravenclaw common room, looking under furniture and in the as yet unused fireplaces, although realistically how could he possibly have left living flora in a place like a fire pit? He sighed audibly. Maybe he sleepwalked? Now he was out in the rose gardens, for he'd breezed through there on his way back from the Greenhouses to see how well-pruned the bushes were, and he'd found it would make quite a nice spot for reading. Of course, it was like a maze in there and everything was the same color as his missing mimbletonia: green.

 

"Damn it all," he muttered, laying under a stone bench and folding his hands over his chest. "Think, man, think."

 

 

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Angelique Slater

Finding a moment alone in a castle full of peers was a task not for the faint-hearted.  It seemed wherever she looked, there was someone.  It's not as if it was a completely foreign thing - she was the daughter of a Quidditch star, after all.  She had been to plenty of events, stadiums, playoff games bustling with people.  But anyone with half a brain could discern that this was not Angel's natural state, nor her preferred one.  And while she would make an effort, by the end of the day, she was spent.  

 

She'd been attempting to get a feel for the landscape of Hogwarts as she ventured to classes (with her carefully planned notes from the library of course) and decided to take a short, secluded detour through the rose gardens on her way to the lake.  She'd left her plant, Herb, in the dorms - she feared parading him around somewhere would cause her to accidentally prod him too hard and result in a stinksap explosion.  

 

She had decided to keep a journal about how said plant changed (and hopefully survived) and so, she sat cross-legged on a quiet bench, surrounded only by the light breeze and pleasant smell of roses.

 

Oh, and apparently a disgruntled Prom.

 

With a squeak of surprise, she looked over to the adjoining bench, partially obscured by a pruned rosebush, as she heard the boys quiet plea from beneath the stone.  Scooting away slightly, she leaned over to peer underneath.  Now she had a few options.  She could run, which was usually her go-to.  She could feign ignorance, pretending she hadn't seen him and hoping he didn't see her and then she wouldn't be forced into some awkward exchange where she ended up blushing and speechless.  Or she could attempt to grow a backbone, say something inspired and not look like a fool.

 

Or maybe just say something.

 

"Hi."

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Prometheus Saintcross

Prom had closed his eyes to try to remember the exact route he'd taken after receiving his cacti-esque charge, and he suddenly felt very hard on himself about how he gave fellow writers a bad name with his terrible observational skills, and subsequently very sorry for himself, for he was only eleven, and surely he didn't have to think so harshly of this relatively inconsequential failing? The mimbulus mimbletonia, or mimo as he'd been calling it, because the full scientific title had so many syllables you might as well tack on the kingdom, class, genus and twice removed cousins, wasn't that attractive anyway.

 

Maybe he'd subconsciously lost it on purpose because he didn't want to be staring at a gross, stout blob tower covered in boils all day long. But it had been such a sad, squat little thing in a tiny clay pot, he sort of felt bad for it and that it was now lost out in the world by itself.

 

"Hi."

 

Prom blinked, and frowned. Was the spirit of Mimo trying to contact him? Had it died already without someone to ferry it around? "Is that you, spirit?" he asked, hands still folded over his breastbone. "Please don't haunt me, I didn't mean to lose you immediately. It's really Hambledon's fault for giving such a mammoth responsibility to children."

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Angelique Slater

Angel was proud of herself.  It may have been only one word, but it was of her own volition to a relative stranger, and what's more, she felt good about it.  Awkward, maybe.  But almost excited, at the prospect of not limiting herself to her small group of familiar people and surroundings.  Here she was, growing.  Her mum would be so proud.  

 

"Is that you, spirit?"

 

Angel frowned, standing now and leaving her empty journal on the seat.  Maybe Prom had hit his head on the way under the stone bench, because he made no sense.  Intrigued, she knelt down on the ground, lowering to peer at the boy, perplexed.   "Spirit?" Ahh, it seems he meant his plant from Herbology, based on the blame he placed on Professor Hambleton.  Angel chuckled to herself.  "Did you already kill off your plant?  That's probably a record."

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Prometheus Saintcross

"Spirit?"

 

Now the voice was noticeably closer, which he didn't think would be the case if it were truly a spectral being, or if it was manifestation of guilt inside his own head. He glanced down toward his feet and was surprised to see a small girl sitting on her heels next to his stone shelter, her head tilted just-so, warm eyes sparkling with amusement, though she was too kind to laugh at him.

 

"Did you already kill off your plant?  That's probably a record."

 

Prom sat up abruptly, nearly decapitating himself. "I didn't kill it!" he protested, taking a brief moment to touch the top of his head and make sure it wasn't bleeding cause he'd definitely scraped it a little bit on the bottom of the bench. "I misplaced it," he explained, holding his palms a few inches apart and miming setting an object in one place and then another. "There is a chance that it died after leaving my care or that someone else killed it but I would never do such a callous thing."

 

He shot her a sheepish look. "You still have yours, I'm sure." It probably had a tiny scarf and little hearts spewing out of its boils.

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Angelique Slater

She squeaked and winced as he sat up quickly, bumping his head.  She reached out, presumably to comfort him, but withdrew her hand as quickly as she'd offered it because that was just too much, too awkward!  She found herself smiling at the thought of a clearly careless boy not doing something so devious as to purposely kill off their plant.  It seemed like the sort of thing the boys she'd met (or observed, rather) would have done because, truth be told, a long essay was less work than keeping something alive.

 

"I'm sure it's fine," she offered meekly, retreating a little to give the boy room to breathe.  "Retracing your steps?" And she surveyed the surrounding greenery with a shrug.  "And yes, I do still have mine," she admitted, tucking a curl behind her ear.  "Herb is safe in my dorm, as far as I'm aware.  My roommates don't seem the destructive type."  She reached down for her journal, really just to provide a physical barrier between her and Prom.

 

"Do you..." and she paused and swallowed.  "Do you want some help finding it?"  It seemed her generosity was outweighing her fears, for the moment.

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Prometheus Saintcross

Angel should have known by now that nothing was more work to Prometheus than writing an essay. After all, hadn't he tried to goad her into doing the same thing for him? For someone who loved reading, and also didn't hate writing for fun, he was extremely adverse to having to write anything. It was as though each precious word that flowed from his quill had to be saved for his personal projects otherwise it was wasted.

 

"Herb is safe in my dorm, as far as I'm aware."

 

At this, Prom's face split into a huge grin. "Herb?" he said, trying to chew back his smile but unable to contain it, temporarily ignoring her very magnanimous offer to help him. She was so gentle and timid, he'd never met anyone quite like her. He'd really never met anyone his age who wanted to help him with anything, actually. So obviously he had no idea what to do with this, other than to ignore it. "You named your plant Herb?" 

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Angelique Slater

After clutching the journal to her chest, she felt it safer to look at Prom, only to find him grinning at her. She didn't always assume that people were laughing at her, as one might assume with regard to her bashful nature, as she was astute enough to pick up on inflections that conveyed mockery versus something else.  And there was nothing mocking in his smile, only that he was trying to hide it.  She smiled herself and shrugged.  "I couldn't name it plant,"  she insisted, "and I guess Herb sounded cute?  Which the plant is not."  It made sense to her.

 

"Why, what did you name yours?"  Hopefully it wasn't plant.  This exchange was embarrassing enough without her accidentally insulting him.  "Where have you looked already?  I'm sure it isn't far."  She began a slow trek down the walkway through the gardens, toward the castle, trip to the lake long forgotten.  "Though I'd mind your feet.  Accidentally kicking it wouldn't end well for anyone."  Angel was nothing if not practical.

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Prometheus Saintcross

"I couldn't name it plant."  

 

"I know," he replied, still trying to chew on the inside of his lip so it wouldn't look like he was laughing at her, but he just felt such unbridled joy at this absolutely precious and perhaps unintentionally humorous name. 

 

"and I guess Herb sounded cute?"

 

"It does, it's so cute," Prom enthused, now raising himself up from the ground, throwing an arm across his knees and coming upward to sit on his heels, then straightening up to a standing position. "I'm sorry. I wasn't laughing at you. It was just... unexpected." It was. He was delighted. But he didn't know how to explain that to her. "I called mine MiMo, cause the full species name takes forty days and forty nights to get through. This was easier, and more endearing than 'plant.'" He fell into stride beside her. "Of course, that's where they get you, they want you to become attached to it so that you feel searing responsibility and regret when it dies."

 

The Ravenclaw frowned and rubbed his lip with his thumb as they walked, trying to remember where he had already looked. "I checked the Greenhouses to make sure I hadn't just left it on the table. I checked all over the common room, like literally everywhere including places there's no reason it would be. I was going to try the Great Hall next, I feel like I might have had it with me for breakfast?"

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Angelique Slater

She considered Mimo for a moment, then nodded.  "Mimo, that's very clever.  And yes, better than plant," she agreed.  They began walking together, which she took note of but decided not to think too much on, lest she lose any semblance of courage and make some excuse to run far and fast.  

 

"Of course, that's where they get you, they want you to become attached to it so that you feel searing responsibility and regret when it dies."

 

She hummed in partial agreement.  "Sure, but we're being entrusted with so much already, learning magic.  We should feel some degree of responsibility, right?  And better a plant than something less hardy.  And the only true consequence is an essay, though I have a feeling you're averse to those," she joked, in spite of herself.

 

As they walked toward the castle, she almost admitted that she had in fact seen him that morning with his plant for breakfast.  To admit she'd logged his presence there in her memory was beyond mortifying, even if it was mostly because he was one of the only recognizable faces at her table aside from her roommates and Jeramie, and that he'd nearly reached over her for eggs, so by sheer proximity, she had noticed.  Instead, she merely nodded.  "I bet that's where it is.  I'm sure someone will have placed it aside.  And if they didn't, well," and she cleared her throat, "I did agree to help you with an essay."

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Prometheus Saintcross

It was endearing that she thought learning magic was a privilege, rather than her birthright--or a chore. Prom wondered if she was muggle-born. Had her parents been excited for her? Had they cast her out? She didn't seem particularly tortured, he thought, but appearances weren't everything. 

 

"The responsibility of learning magic is different," he posited. Of course, there was the possibility that you could learn to use magic for evil, to harm others, but that was an active decision to do harm. To him, it was clearly separate from expecting a child to keep something alive. "We have to learn to use it properly and safely, but nobody necessarily will suffer if we fail. The user might suffer, if he's inept. But if I fail at caring for a living being, it's the being that suffers."

 

She said in the worst case scenario, she would help him with the punitive essay. He laughed, pushing the castle door open for her. "I really still think the plant dying is a worse punishment, though copying a bunch of information about mimo plants may be more upsetting, depending on how dry the source material is, I guess."

 

They walked into the Great Hall, which now only housed a smattering of students grabbing a snack of studying, taking advantage of the lull between meals. Prom approached the Ravenclaw table and gave it a quick scan up and down before walking the length of it, repositioning fruit bowls and goblets to make sure his plant wasn't hidden behind anything. 

 

At the head of the table he squatted down and peered down the long benches, just in case someone had set the little clay pot down on the ground or something. But no luck. "Bother," he muttered.

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Angelique Slater

She supposed that was correct.  She didn't consider Herbology to be her calling really, and since many the plants in question were harvested for use in things for wizards, she viewed them almost clinically, she supposed, rather than as living things.  It was... well, sweet, that Prom revered even a plant, in the same category as anything else living.  And that the loss of it was a worse punishment than any essay he may have to write.  She considered this, and him, and flashed a genuine smile.  "I guess that's true, I didn't really think of it that way," she replied quietly, entering as he held the door for her.

 

She felt a little like a puppy, trotting after him toward the Ravenclaw table but despite acknowledging that she'd seen him at breakfast, she didn't follow his every move and wasn't sure where to look.  She decided to take the opposite bench, scanning in tandem and apologizing inaudibly to a few of their housemates as they investigated.  She knelt down beside him when they reached the end, mirroring his movements and disappointment.

 

"Did you try the library?" she offered with a shrug.  "I mean I don't do a ton of wandering, but we did meet in there."  

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Prometheus Saintcross

Prom looked across the way at Angel, who was also sitting back on her heels, though decidedly more delicately since she was wearing a skirt. He really did appreciate that she was taking time out of her day to help prevent him from becoming a week one failure. That was more than he could say for a lot of people.

 

"Did you try the library?"

 

Prometheus wagged his finger at her with another one of his twisted grins. "You're just trying to get me back to the library," he teased, but stood up, considering her suggestion. Then, perhaps as the blood was making its way back to his head, Prom snapped his fingers. "I remember now! After I saw you in the library and we talked about the castle, it got me thinking about secret passages. After lunch the day we got the mimos, I went looking for castle secrets."

 

That left a LOT of ground to cover, he realized, and his face fell for just a second, but he quickly recovered. "I was looking behind tapestries; we could check tapestries? How many could there be?"

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Angelique Slater

"You're just trying to get me back to the library,"

 

"I what?" she squeaked, and flushed, thankfully as Prom rose to his feet, so he didn't have to see her turn fifteen shades of scarlet.  She rose carefully, mostly to give her face time to return to its normal shade, while Prom had an epiphany.  She found it somehow comforting that their conversation had led to something else, even if that else was losing his plant.  Knowing he'd thought of her in whatever peripheral fashion gave her weird flutters in her stomach, that weren't entirely unwelcome.

 

Trying to regain her composure, she managed a shrug.  "That wasn't in my notes," she quipped and started toward the corridors, still flustered.  "Best to follow a path starting from here, unless you remember the path you took?"  When she was certain her face was normal once more, she turned to glance at him, eyebrow slightly raised.  "Did you find any secrets?"

Edited by Angelique Slater

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Prometheus Saintcross

"That wasn't in my notes."

 

"What, secret passageways?" Prom asked, making sure his strides were measured so he didn't outpace the shorter girl. "I haven't read the book yet--though I do want to get my own copy, I like owning books more than borrowing--but I would imagine in a place where there are trick steps, moving staircases, and I have to answer a riddle to get into my bedroom at night, there have GOT to be secret passages."

 

"Did you find any secrets?"

 

At this, Prom slid his eyes to the side to look at her and when their gazes met, he winked. "The trouble will be remembering WHICH tapestry it was," he mused, now talking more to himself. "I'm not very good with remembering details. But, as I said, how many could there be?"

 

Answer: a busload.

 

The pair had only examined one floor's worth of possible woven windows into other worlds and Prom already never wanted to see another rug again. "Okay I am going to check ONE more--okay, two more--tapestries and then I am just going to start that essay," Prom said. "If they wanted to cover all the walls so badly they could just have painted them," he complained. 

 

Together, they climbed the stairs to the second floor and while Angel automatically went to peek behind the first hanging she saw, Prom wandered some ways down the corridor instead, turning a corner and looking out a window, lost in thought.

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Angelique Slater

Angel, thankfully, was very attuned to details.  She took note of his pace, keeping in time with hers.  She noticed the wink her way when she inquired about any secrets he'd discovered, and found herself blushing again.  She was also very aware of the fact that they had peered behind roughly five-thousand tapestries, give or take a few thousand.  Ordinarily, this would have seemed like a pretty monotonous task but, she had to admit she enjoyed spending time around Prom, which was more than she could say for most people.  He was interesting and intelligent, which aside from being painfully shy herself around ANYone, trying to make nice with those she couldn't have a real conversation with was outright torture.  It seemed to come easily here - mostly to him, of course, but she was fine with that.  

 

That said, their spirits were dampened slightly by the time they'd reached the second floor.  Could they really spend the entire day searching behind every tapestry on EVERY floor?  She would, mind - she had agreed to it, sort of - but she had to be impressed by the fact that he'd mounted a multi-floor, thorough expedition on his first week at Hogwarts.  Inspiring level of curiosity, really.  He kept walking past the first tapestry, which she of course stopped and glanced behind.  No luck.  He turned the corner, and she considered calling out, but then decided against it.  At least briefly, because lo and behold, behind the fifth one she searched, a non-descript woven rug of a fruit still-life, she eyed a small, bulbous plant, no worse for the wear.

 

"Prom!" she squealed, hardly containing her excitement.  "I think I found him!"  There was always a small chance it was someone else's, you never could just assume.  So she tilted her head in question.  "But how do we know it's Mimo?"

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Prometheus Saintcross

Prom was startled out of his daze by a squeak, which he quickly identified as Angel since she was the only person he’d yet seen in this hallway (though he admittedly hadn’t been paying attention). Was she hurt? Had a suit of armor fallen on her? Prom raced back to the main corridor and saw the girl halfway behind a tapestry, holding it aside and beckoning to him. When he drew close enough, he saw that she was indicating a small potted plant, sitting unobtrusively on the stone floor, just far enough from the edge of the tapestry to be hidden from view.

 

”Ohhhhh,” Prom said suddenly. “Now I remember!” He ducked under Angel’s arm (not an easy feat; he basically rubbed his head on her arm like a needy cat) to get behind the wall hanging. “I set him down because I noticed a loose brick here and I wanted to try to—“ 

 

Exactly the same as the first time, Prom jammed the slender fingertips of his right hand into the gap between the stones. And exactly the same as before, once the curvature of the stone was flush with his palm, the single piece gave an inch. Before he could warn her, the wall swiftly rotated, taking Prom with it and leaving Angel (and Mimo) behind.

 

”Oops,” Prom said.

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Angelique Slater

She did feel a little swell of pride, having been the one to find the missing plant.  It made her feel useful, she supposed.  She nearly squeaked again as Prom tucked his bigger form under her arm.  "He seems in good shape," she offered, and was about to pluck the plant from the ground when Prom pressed against the wall and it started moving.  Before she could reach out a hand in aid, Prom was on the other side of the wall.

 

"Prom!"  She felt around for a switch, but there wasn't one on this side of the rotating panel.  She cupped her hands to yell, hoping her voice carried enough.  "Are you okay?  Can you get back over?"  She grabbed Mimo and tucked him under one arm.  "I guess that explains what happened to Mimo," she added unnecessarily.

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Prometheus Saintcross

Prom pressed his palms and his ear to the wall, hoping he could still communicate with Angel. Her voice was muffled, but he could definitely still hear her shout his name in alarm and asking if he was okay. He felt a not-unpleasant heat creep up his neck. She was worried about him! He did a quick once-over examination of the wall by running his fingertips along the stones, but he knew it wouldn't do any good. The last time this had happened, he'd ended up having to take this secret back-alley corridor to some weird exit near the library, which was two floors up. "I'm now of course remembering that it doesn't work from the other side, which is exactly what--"

 

"I guess that explains what happened to Mimo," 

 

"Yep," Prom replied, his mouth almost directly against the wall. He would've been a ridiculous sight to any onlooker, splayed against the wall while he tried desperately to continue communicating with his new friend. He'd been enjoying spending time with her, and now he'd been separated from his Herbology project again. How was he ever supposed to be trusted to... wait.

 

"Angel, will you take Mimo back to the dorm for me?" he leaned his forehead against the cool stone. "It's just going to die or get lost again, if it stays with me. I have a feeling he'll be safe if he stays with you." He paused. She didn't immediately say no. "I'll pick him up whenever you want, but for now I want to make sure he makes it home."

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Angelique Slater

Angel furrowed her brow in concern, then placed her ear close to the stone.  She frowned as he revealed that it wasn't reversible, but he'd made it out once, so even if she couldn't aid him, he seemed well-versed enough in all of this to make it out.  She glanced down at Mimo as Prom asked from the other side, if she might look after his plant.  It was a request full of trust and faith, and perhaps the fact that there wasn't much he could do from the other side.  Either way, she nearly puffed up her chest with honor.  It wasn't often people asked for her help (truthfully, anyway - she supposed Prom had asked her "help" before), not because she was incapable, but because she was just as liable to jet in the opposite direction if she didn't know them well enough.

 

She decided to ignore the fact that her cheeks were red (again) and she was grinning ear-to-ear (again).  "Of course I'll care for him, Prom," she offered as if the question was silly and unnecessary.  "He'll be safe with me, and Herb," and she giggled.  "He'll be waiting for you, just be safe!"  With that, she hugged Mimo to her chest and treaded carefully back to the Ravenclaw tower.  When she finally reached her dorm, she placed Mimo safely next to Herb on her windowsill.  She studied the two plants thoughtfully, feeling infinitely more responsible for their care than she had before.  Not even just because Mimo was in her possession, but because Prom had pointed out that in the end, they needed her attention, not as homework but as living things.  She'd maybe even admitted a better appreciation for the assignment and its significance.  

 

She pulled out a quill and parchment from her study materials and made quick work of a little project.  Satisfied with her penmanship, she used a sticking charm to place labels on the plants: Mimo & Herb.  She then grinned to herself as she pressed the two plants a little closer together.

 

--end

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