Gavyn Scarborrough Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor
Gavyn sat at her desk, grading the hundredth essay on the proper warding off of Gytrashes. She shook her head, correcting the paper. "Wandlight," she muttered under her breath, "not fire, wandlight." She hoped that the practical demonstration she had planned for Monday would drive the point home.
On the other side of the room, the footlocker rattled again. Right. Monday was going to be quite the day. She'd managed to borrow a boggart at the behest of some of the other faculty, and she supposed it was easy enough subject matter for the third years. She just hoped hers wouldn't bring back some of the rumors that had gone around when she'd taken the job.
Checking the time, she crossed the room and opened the door. She tried to keep regular office hours, with the hopes that working in smaller groups would help with some of the more difficult subject matter. She knew better than most that not everyone wanted to fight a boggart in front of others. Besides, she wanted to give students a safer path to her profession than the one she'd taken, or the one her friends in Dumbledore's Army had created for themselves. The students were, ostensibly, here to learn, and she'd do whatever she could to help.
Teegan walked slowly down the hallway to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, his head hung low. He knew fighting a boggart was something he had done back in his third year, but he had never quite mastered the Riddikulus spell. While many other fifth years still couldn't master the spell, it was one he wanted, no needed, to master. He didn't like being left behind, and whenever possible, liked to be ahead of the curve. Having grown up in the muggle world had opened so many doors for him. Despite the fact he had never been on the studious side in his primary school, subjects like Defense Against the Dark Arts, Charms, and mostly Transfiguration had reawakened his love of learning. While is marks in Transfiguration and Charms were O's, his grade in DADA was sitting at an A. While Acceptable, pardon the pun, Teegan didn't want to scrape by, and he was more than willing to work hard and better himself in a subject that, while he was not excelling, he did find absolutely fascinating.
He regarded Professor Scarborrough as one of the better professors in the school, since he learned something new every lesson, even if he couldn't quite retain the information whether or not a Gnome's saliva was made to increase Intelligence or help boost Stamina during a long day of work. He did remember it was somehow beneficial, he just couldn't quite remember in what way.
He was currently running through the speech he had planned once the professor answered her door. "Professor," he had planned to start, "I know that I'm two years removed from learning the Riddikulus spell, but I feel the one or two days we worked on it in class wasn't quite enough for me. I was barely able to scare away my boggart when class ended, and I was hoping that I could work with you privately. Mostly in order to avoid the other students making fun of me for my lack of ability with the spell." He knew he was thinking about it a bit too much, and knew he should just say what he felt when he finally got there instead of rehearsing, but he couldn't help himself.
He knocked on the office door of Professor Gavyn Scarborrough three times and waiting, his hands clasped before him.
Post by trashpanda on May 27, 2018 11:34:36 GMT -5
Gavyn was almost through the stack of essays when she heard a knock. At first, she didn't respond, thinking it was the boggart rattling about in the footlocker again. Then she realized it sounded quite a bit like a knock. Looking up, she saw Teegan standing in the doorway.
He was one of her best fifth-year students, she thought. He wasn't the top of his class, but he was interested and dedicated, and that would take you much farther out in the field than testing well on pop quizzes.
She was also a little biased at the moment, as Teegan was one of the few students who had taken the essay on the use and effects of the Rictusempra Charm seriously. She shouldn't have been surprised by the class' lack of interest when they knew they'd be writing about the forbidden curses next year, but so far as offensive spells go it was both effective in a fight and relatively safe.
That said, he looked nervous. She decided to lead with good news. "Mr. White," she said, "Come in." She reached behind her to the second desk covered in stacks of paper that acted as a (somewhat functioning) filing system. She returned with a couple feet of parchment with an "O" marked at the top. "Your paper on the Tickling Charm was excellent. Your grasp of the theory should do you well during the practical next week."
Teegan smiled up at her, hearing he had gotten an O on his most recent homework, although he had a feeling he would. When classes he enjoyed overlapped, as in this case, using a charm to disarm your enemies by tickling, he tended to do better than when the subject's homework was stand alone. He held out his hand to accept the roll of parchment, though dropped his hand, thinking it was silly. It would look strange if he was the only one who didn't receive his graded homework back the next class period. "Thank you professor," he was able to get out before pausing, thinking of how best to word what he wanted to say. "That's not what I came to speak with you about, however," he continued, his face screwed up in thought.
His mind was racing at a hundred miles a minute, completely overthinking what he wanted to say, which was typical of him. By the time he had finally produced words, the only thing he could get out was "My Boggart is my third year spells and ridiculous friends." He stared at her for a moment, not completely registering what happened with her, because he was just happy he said anything at all. By the time what he had actually said had registered with him, he nodded, knowingly, and pointed at her. "That's not what I wanted to say." His face burned red with embarrassment, but for what it's worth, he kept soldiering on, unabated by his mind moving faster than his mouth.
"What I mean to say was that, during third year, I didn't quite feel I was able to master the Riddikulus spell, and since I don't have a boggart to practice with, I've fallen behind on it." He sighed, glad his mouth was making normal sentences now. "I was hoping to practice with you outside of class time so my friends don't hear I'm having problems with a Third Year spell and start to make fun of me for it." He hung his head a bit. "A bit ridiculous, I know," he started, chuckling, "no pun intended, but I want to be able to master as many spells I can while I'm here." He looked back up at her, the look on his face shifted to that of hopeful as he waited for a response.
Post by trashpanda on May 28, 2018 18:08:06 GMT -5
She put the essay back on the stack, smiling at the pun. "There's nothing ridiculous about driving yourself to master spells. The larger your arsenal is, the more effective you can be if you ever need to defend yourself."
Gavyn wondered, for a moment, if she could get away with just having him practice on the boggart without demonstrating first. It was going to be quite enough to show off her greatest fear on Monday, and she had no desire to practice. Then she thought about Teegan stumbling over his speech. If there was any chance a demonstration would keep him from stumbling on the spell, she wouldn't risk his safety by skipping it. Boggarts weren't usually dangerous - more frightening than anything else, really - but there was no need to gamble.
The boggart rattled the footlocker ominously. Gavin stood and crossed the room to face it. "Do you remember the spell?"
Teegan smiled at her words, and helped reassure him that his current decision to seek her out was actually the right one. It was a typical teacher's response, he knew, but it didn't make it any less impactful. Especially since he was still trying to master a spell he had known for nearly two years. The embarrassment-red color had drained from his face then, only to be replaced by a white tinge upon hearing the boggart in the footlocker. His eyes flicked from her, to it, then back to her. "Oh," he said the fear suddenly filling up inside him. "You already have one ready to go..." He faltered, his eyes now glued upon the footlocker. "I had been thinking we could reschedule for another..." his voice trailed off, the memory of the last time he had faced the boggart manifesting itself in his mind.
He had stood in the classroom adjacent to her office with all the other third years in his class, and had waited his spot at the front of the line, amazed to find out the deepest fears of his classmates, and only to laugh when the 'Riddikulus' spell turned their fear into something hilarious. Then it was his turn. He never was quite sure what his biggest fear was, as he had never spent much time thinking about it. He knew what he'd do to a snake or a spider, or even a giant scorpion, as he had seen others do. But when the wardrobe had opened, the unexpected had happened. Instead of a creepy crawly inside, the floor of the cabinet was wet. Then the water started to rise into a wave. The wave increased in size, growing bigger and bigger until it nearly touched the high, vaulted ceiling of the classroom. Teegan had not prepared for this, and suddenly, the reason his boggart was a tidal wave came flooding back to him. He was rooted on the spot. He could hear the gasps and cries of his classmates behind him, even the occasional "Riddikulus it, already, White!" He couldn't. He had no way of making a tidal wave funny in his mind. He raised his wand anyway. "Ridd--- Riddi--Riddriddridd," he stammered, before the wave began to crash down on top of him. He remembered the professor jumping in front of him just before the wave had hit him, and he had shut his eyes, cowering in fear. The Slytherins in his class, the ones that always picked on Hufflepuffs, regardless of who they were, didn't let him live it down for weeks. "Scared of a little water, there, White?" "Lookout, there's a puddle in the hallway further down. Careful you don't fall in!"
He shook his head, ridding himself of the memory. "Yes," He said, his voice full of obviously false confidence. "It's 'Riddikulus'," he stated. "That's not the problem I have with the spell," he admitted, his eyes dropping a bit. "It's how to make the spell work that I can't figure out."
Post by trashpanda on May 29, 2018 19:48:38 GMT -5
Gavyn watched him blanch, then zone out, then bluff. She'd seen that maneuver countless times in the field. Something had gotten under his skin, and he was making a valiant effort to ignore it. Unfortunately, she knew from experience that kind of thinking would get you in trouble. "'Riddikulus' is cast by focusing on something you find funny. Boggarts mimic our greatest fears to feed on our reactions - if one gets to you, it will only grow stronger until you can break out of your fear and fight it. The best way to fight fear is by laughing at it. It's always hard, but some objects or levels of fear can be harder to make light of than others."
She wasn't walking her own talk, as she stood in front of the foot locker. She dreaded opening the locks, and she knew that gave the boggart a foothold on her fear that a better professor wouldn't have given it. "What was your boggart last time?" she asked. "We can come up with a few options ahead of time."
His eyes darted down to the footlocker as the boggart rattled again, and Teegan gulped audibly. He blinked, regaining his composure for what felt like the fifth time since he had stepped into her office. He turned his head towards her, though his eyes stayed on the chest for an extra second. "A... a tidal wave," he said, forcing a smile. He shrugged and looked around the room. "That's the problem," he began, sighing heavily. "I just can't think of a way, to make a tidal wave funny," he trailed off, suddenly interested by something on her desk.
"With a spider, you can put roller skates on its feet, or turn a snake into a balloon, or even with a werewolf you can turn it into a cute, little puppy," he began after a short silence, "but with a tidal wave, I'm just not sure how I could make something to laugh at." He looked downtrodden and lost, like he had already given up on this impromptu lesson.
Teegan seemed to lose hope before her eyes. She forced a smile of her own. "Start by making it less terrifying. Remember, the boggart feeds off of fear. You don't have to pick something hilarious so much as absolutely nonthreatening. I've seen a werewolf become a stuffed animal, or..." she took a deep breath, and faced the locker, "for example, alohamora."
The chains fell away, and the lid flew open. The boggart whirled out onto the floor. Immediately, it began to grow and take on a gray hue. Gavin could feel dread gripping her stomach as the edges became more defined - a statue, that, to a casual observer, would be identical to the one memorializing the Battle of Hogwarts. Instead of the middle-distance gazes immortalized in the real statue, however, the eyes of the children were cast down at Gavyn, their expressions dark.
It had taken her forever to find something she could laugh at under those gazes. She picked one of her earlier attempts, that was more benign than amusing. "Ridikkulus."
Cheery music began to play, like chimes, as the statue spun. It took on a golden hue, and the children moved apart. When the boggart finished shifting, a small carousel stood before her, with smiling children where the horses would usually be.
"Think of a few things that would be entirely benign - maybe a kiddie pool, or a water fountain. If you find something that's amusing, even better, but start by neutralizing the threat. Step up when you're ready."
The boy stood, rooted to the spot, as he heard the latch click and the incorporeal form of the boggart slid out of the locker. He watched it materialize into the tall, well-made statue that stood out front of the school, remembering from his History of Magic classes that it was for the battle of Hogwarts, almost twenty years ago, before his time. The statue was identical, except for the eyes. They watched his professor defiantly before it, this demon-made-stone, wand raised. Then, as it melted into a carousel, he couldn't help but smile. She was correct, it didn't have to be something to laugh at, it only had to neutralize the boggart's hold on your fear.
He breathed a heavy sigh, the realization that he needn't make it something funny finally hitting home. "I guess the laughing just makes it shrink back," he said, mostly to himself, before steeling himself to take her place. He nodded to her and, once she stepped away, he took her place. The carousel almost immediately collapsed into a giant, wet mess on the floor, its form now coalescing into a shallow puddle that began to rise. Teegan raised his wand, trying to strike the same, defiant pose Professor Scarborrough had, but couldn't quite get there, his confidence level being far less than what she had, or at least put on for his benefit.
It rose, higher and higher, the tower of water rushing upwards to meet the ceiling. The wave was at least a good ten feet tall when it moved on him, the sound that of the fury of the whole ocean filled the room as it advanced. As the top began to topple forward, the young man finally found his voice. It was not immediate, and that was alarming to him, afterwards, as the wave had nearly collided with him by the time he had finally shouted "uhhhhhrrrRiddikulus!"
The wave seemed to freeze in place before shrinking back to about five feet tall. A surfboard seemed to bubble up from its bottom, and stuck half way out of the curl. The water seemed to fuse together, turning into a hard plastic. Carbon-fiber resin. A sign popped up next to this odd statue, with the words 'Surfs up, dudes!' printed on it in large, bubble letters. A picture of a muggle camera appeared beneath it. At this point, it looked more at home in a tiny, pacific, tourist town in California than it did in the office of a Professor, especially one at a school for Witches and Wizards.
He blinked rapidly, staring at the prop, the few drops of water that had been careening off the top (the boggart's final attempt to reestablish itself as his fear, he thought) finally solidifying into resin. He smiled and turned to look at his professor, the look of elation and joy plain as day on his face.
After Teegan took her place, she could see why he was so scared by his boggart. The tidal wave it created didn't seem physically possible - it nearly took up half of her office. To be fair, she'd been using the classroom's large supply closet as an office, but the apparition nearly reached the ceiling and made her fear for the essays she'd just finished grading. When the wave began to curl and he hadn't cast the spell, she readied herself to jump between Teegan and the creature. She'd taken two steps towards him when he finally shouted the incantation.
She kept her wand ready as the wave froze. When a surfboard appeared, she knew the spell had been successful. She looked between Teegan and whatever was forming with a mix of curiosity and pride.
Once she could tell what hit was, Gavin did laugh at the resin wave, and the boggart shook and began to shift again. Her fault, she thought, for making it nervous. "Everte Statum," she said, repelling the boggart back into the foot locker with a resounding knock. "Well done, Mr. White. That was a creative choice, and you stood your ground to execute it. That was the difficult part - now that you know you can control the situation, it's just a matter of trial and error until you learn to banish boggarts on your own."
She gave him an encouraging smile. He'd been on edge since he'd walked in, and he'd tackled his greatest fear since then. She'd let him decide whether he was ready to try again, or ask questions, or speak, even.
She told him that he may actually have a chance of defeating a boggart on his own! The pride that had been hiding in the bottom of his stomach decided to explode outward, radiating in all directions. He was sure he could almost feel as if the glow within him was showing through his skin. Then the dam burst.
"I don't know how I thought of that," he began, talking hurriedly and in a higher pitch than normal. "I was trying to imagine what else having to do with waves I knew about," he started, the grin on his face widening. "and I remembered the picture stand I had seen in Monterey, California on a trip there," he continued, his hands now starting to move with his speaking. "It was in a small, little shack off the beach. They were a restaurant," he stopped suddenly, "well, maybe not a restaurant, it was more like a banquet hall that would host events. Provide food, cater, things like that," he prattled on, "and I just happened to take a few steps in and see it, and I thought it was a weird thing to have. Then the head chef nearly chased me out with her cleaver," he finished, laughing. "But I have no idea how I remember that one, small detail after only seeing it once when I was eight." His look of elation changed into one of contemplation.
"That's a class they should teach here at Hogwarts," he stated. "One of my muggle friend's brothers was taking a class called 'psychology'. It was a look into the human mind, how it worked, why it works the way it does." He looked up at her, realizing what he was doing. "I'm sorry professor," he said out of nowhere. "I tend to talk when I'm anxious and excited." He smiled again and chuckled. "That's the first time I've been able to face down a large wave since I was 13!"
Post by trashpanda on Jun 13, 2018 21:34:40 GMT -5
It was really wonderful to see him so excited, considering he'd been too nervous to speak earlier. From a technical perspective, it was even better - he was laughing. Gavyn wondered if he wouldn't be able to banish a boggart with the same idea after all.
She nodded as he suggested psychology. "I briefly studied criminal psychology during the course of my research, and I think you may be onto something." Thinking for a moment, she asked, "Thirteen? Is that when you became afraid of waves?"
He nodded solemnly. "Yes, professor," he said, his eyes wandering down to the floor. "It is." he looked back up at her. "Before then, it was snakes. Mostly vipers," he admitted. "I was afraid they'd be striking from all the shadows when I was out in the woods..." he trailed off. "I... I lost my friend to a huge wave," he said. "We were surfing off the coast of California, and a huge wave came in while I was on shore." He was blinking rapidly, trying to keep the few tears back. "She was out by herself. The wave crashed over her and dragged her under while the rip tide pulled her further out..."
He paused for a few moments, looking like he was replaying the memory in the theatre of his mind. "But things happen," he finished, wiping his nose off on his robe sleeve. "and we have to live with them." He put on a brave face and a fake smile. "Nothing I can do about it now."
Post by trashpanda on Jun 20, 2018 11:05:09 GMT -5
"No," she said, and nodded solemnly. A wiser person - one of her own professors, maybe - would have shared some sage adage to comfort Teegan. Maybe something about the dead living on in your memories, or strength in the face of fate. They always seemed to know what to say.
Gavyn had never been a particularly good advisor, though. She was If she was being honest with herself, Teegan had a better grasp of acceptance than she did, regardless of his youth. He was here, studying magic, confronting his fears, building a life for himself. Instead, she'd done the rough equivalent of moving to the beach to stand watch.
Teegan: For anyone not on the discord, the group thread has been started in the "Other Locations" board
May 23, 2018 2:17:56 GMT -5
Teegan: A year, a month, and three days since the last shout. Still love you all! Hope we could someday find some free time in our crazy lives to get back here. Love this place!
Jun 26, 2019 19:45:26 GMT -5