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🎄Christmas 69
Wintering Over [Open]

Started by Talia Bryce, June 01, 2021, 03:34:42 am

Talia Bryce

December 6th, 1969
Saturday Afternoon
Outdoor Greenhouse

Open to any and all!

    So far Talia felt like she had been doing a rather good job settling in quicker than anticipated with her new role as professor. It helped of course that it was one of her favorite subjects and more so that she was back in a place that had given so much life to her growing up. The greenhouses were a place she could always rely on being a good spot to study quietly or revise notes during her time as a student. Now she was back and had more control over the space which meant more opportunity to work. Which of course there was plenty to do even if it was a winter wonderland outside. Professor Bryce had done a number of enchantments on the greenhouses to keep the temperatures regulated for the plants living within. She didn't want to take any chances having things get frost bitten or wither before the first years had, had a chance to delve deeper into Herbology. There was also the matter of a certain Potion master's stores that had to be well stocked. Growing things on site was far better than having to rely on popping into town. Though that did give the professor a chance to get out beyond the castle walls. Still, she was comfortable here. Even learning to share a space with children had been smoother than she originally worried about. Everyone seemed to do a wonderful job at cleaning up, thank Merlin because she was absolutely chaotic at times with the tools and leaving things all over.

Kicking the snow from her boots, Lia waved her wand over her jacket with a wordless spell cast to dry it off before tossing it onto a vacant stool. She had put out a number of notices for students to volunteer their weekend in the greenhouses and help tidy up, reorganize some of the tools, and possibly re-pot some of the dittany that was growing a little out of control in their current spot. It was a versatile herb and something she wanted to make sure they kept a steady supply of so the fact it was growing quick was a win in her eyes. In return for their time she was offering some house points and possibly a chocolate frog or two as thanks.

"Must be that mooncalf dung..." Talia muttered to herself as she walked deeper into the greenhouse and over to the long trays filled with soil, dittany sprawling all over one another a few in a tangled mess reaching to the table. "Hello little ones!" Lia cooed softly as she traced her fingertips over a  flutterby bush that shivered in response. Walking over to a small desk she had brought out to place her items and books while teaching, Talia set down her leather bag and pulled out a couple of books she wanted to let students have access to. Her journal slid out along with the textbooks and she smiled at the sight of it. Opening the cover she was greeted with the drawing of a waterfall and it made butterflies tickle at her stomach. She made a mental note to stop at the owlrey on her way back to her office later. For now she had work to do!

The sound of the door closing made the professor look up and give a wave in greeting. "Afternoon! I hope you're here to lend a hand?"

Ophiuchus Yaxley

June 02, 2021, 06:18:03 am #1 Last Edit: June 02, 2021, 06:26:33 am by Ophiuchus Yaxley
Ophiuchus was not happy.

She wanted to scream! The young witch had spent the night before thinking about how she intended on asking Professor Bryce for some additional tutoring...along with Professor O'Cleary,  Professor Pren--. The thought of asking for help exhausted her, but she knew that it was important for her to maintain her grades. She wanted to stay in choir and was given a warning that if her grades dropped any more she would not get to sing. In the process of joining the school's choir, the young witch had become "friends" with one of the toads, Bogart. He was quite the bulbous, warty, smarty toady with a deep baritone hum that made the young witch brim in pride.
The witch wasn't happy about leaving the confine of the warm poster board bed on the Saturday morning and trudged the halls as though she'd transformed into a grouchy troll. She stomped her way out to the greenhouse in an oversized green and silver jumper with a baggy black pant. Her hair was pulled up in a loose, messy bun. She left her school's cloak in her room, it was the weekend so she didn't feel like she needed to wear it.

"Hello little ones!" The petite student found the Professor in the greenhouse as she was greeting the flutterby bush. A judgement formed in Ophi's mind, 'She's lost her mind, Professor Bryce is talking to the plants. Does she even have friends?' She began to close the door behind her when the professor turned around. "Yes." She stated plainly, and curtsied in her pant.

To be frank and honest, Ophelia was not pleased that Professor Bryce was not a pureblooded witch and part of her wanted to leave Hogwarts and go to Drumstrung to be amongst her people. She couldn't help but judge the single spinster who appeared to speak to plants because she was so lonely! Ophi was chuffed at her brilliant judgement of the professor, despite coming to an acknowledgement that she'd still need to study the subject to pass her N.E.W.T's even if the test wasn't for another several years.

"I came to help." She looked around the greenhouse that she'd become familiar with through the semester. The witch didn't want to admit it to herself, but she was finding the subject interesting enough. Ophi didn't want to admit to the Professor that lessons were engaging! She couldn't give her that gratification of an affirmation. She went over to a pair of gloves and slipped them on. "What are we doing today?" 

Bobby Cashmore

Now into his third year at Hogwarts, Bobby had found that his ongoing studies of Herbology hadn't really endeared him to the subject, or, rather endeared it to him. He had much preferred his other subjects that felt more... scientific and precise, or at the very least more repeatable and certain. But he was determined to try to improve on it as best he could - and Professor Bryce wanted some help in the greenhouses, and it wasn't like he had much else to do this weekend, as he was up on all his homework, and Professor Bryce was someone he felt like he might learn more from than his previous lecturers.

The air was fresh and clean and for once being outside actually appealed to Bobby. He had felt a bit cramped being in class lately and stretching and getting a little physical might do him some good before returning to his family for the Christmas break.

Bobby wasn't quite enthusiastic enough to be first in the greenhouse - there was a flame-haired Slytherin he'd seen in a few other classes... Cressida was it? Or her sister? He couldn't quite tell them apart, but was too polite to simply ask.

"Anything I can do to help, Professor?" Inwardly he was praying that Professor Bryce didn't remember that his grades weren't the greatest and suggest he spend some time reading the books on herbology; as much as a bookworm as he was, there was something about the textbooks that just didn't quite work for him on this particular subject, even if he admired the precision and detail in all the illustrations.

He had heard the professor talking to the plants as he had arrived - he wondered if there would ever be a time he felt he could ask if talking to plants helped, without it being a supremely awkward conversation.

Talia Bryce

"Miss Yaxley! I'm happy to see you decided to stop in!" Talia beamed down at the redhead and perched her hands on either side of her hips. It had taken a few weeks into the term for Talia to be able to tell the twins apart based on how they carried themselves and spoke but for awhile she had struggled. Though, setting a portion of the greenhouse aflame had also helped to burn into her memory which girl was which. "Well, I'm hoping at least a few more decide to pop down today. Not that the two of us can't handle it. Promise, no fire spells this time." She gave the girl a playful wink and set out a couple pairs of extra gloves for anyone else that might show.

"Anything I can do to help, Professor?"

"Perfect! Mister Cashmore, welcome!" She ushered the third year over and waved a hand at a pair of gloves. Two- well that was better than none and she was thankful that out of the ones who could have shown up, sniffing around for house points it was at least these two. If she were lucky a few others would wander in throughout the day. "I have a handful of things that are a bit of a priority so I can shuffle things around for you all by next term, but we can start out with the two of you collecting some herbs and dittany for me. As you can see the dittany has sort of outgrown its current home." She gave a nod over her shoulder behind them towards the messy tangles of green leaves. "If you both could share one of the baskets and take it over to the nettles and lavender first by the counter there." Directing them to the right side of the greenhouse, Talia picked up two pairs of sheers and offered them to both of the students.

"Be sure to keep your gloves on when handling the nettles, they can give a nasty rash and sting if you're not careful." She warned and gave them both a serious look and put on her own pair of gloves. Picking up a sprig of nettle leaves she grabbed an extra set of sheers and demonstrated the best way to clip them. "I know you've both gone over it in class already but just a reminder most of the stinging hairs are on the stems and underside of the leaves, so be sure to hold them to one side and snip here-" Flipping part of the sprig over she placed the blades of the sheers under the third node of leaves just above the fourth. "You don't want to cut them too short or too long, just count three sections down. Once they're snipped and in the basket the hairs will start to deflate and wilt so they shouldn't prick you."

She patted the woven basket on the counter and grabbed a second. "I'll just be right at the next bed over tending to the lavender so when you've filled this basket I can show you how to tend to the other herbs before we get to the dittany. Questions?"

Ophiuchus Yaxley

Oh my globballs?!

She wasn't sure why she thought she was going to do anything fun and exciting in the Herbology class with Professor Bryce on a Saturday morning. Her eyes glazed over as the Professor began explaining what they would be doing this morning. No, her eyes didn't glaze over. Correct that. She greeted the professor with a half-grin and her eyes mooned. "Morning Professor Bryce." Her words were curt, and her tone soft. It was just too early in the morning for a Saturday.

When the professor made a comment about the fire, Ophiuchus didn't respond. A micro-expression of anger flashed before she caught herself and steaded herself. Her plastic expression reappeared.

She gave a quick grin at Cashmore. To be honest, Ophi hadn't the foggiest idea who he was, but she'd seen him around the school so she knew he was at least a Ravenclaw. She didn't have the space in her brain to keep track of all the students that didn't matter! So of course he didn't make the cut. Her non-existent issues with him didn't seem to be relevant, though. She realized she'd have to partner with him today.

"If you both could share one of the baskets and take it over to the nettles and lavender first by the counter there." Did the professor just say she'd have to share with him?

After the Professor explained their morning duties, the younger of the two students raced to the available basket and grabbed it before walking to the overgrown dittany. As Bobby approached she called out to him, "Cashmore...What's you're name again?" Her gaze fell to the dittany before she picked up the sheers and began cutting away at the overgrowth. For being an aristocrat, her motions were quite uncouth. She haphazardly chose areas of growth to cut. Was she even trying?

"You're a Ravenclaw, right?"

Bobby Cashmore

Bobby had sort of expected that he'd be pretty much the only one here, though getting a bit more practice in Herbology was never a bad thing.

He wasn't altogether thrilled about having one of the Yaxley twins here - he could never quite tell them apart, was always afraid of offending both of them by not getting the name right, and he always had the impression that they somehow looked down on him for not being from a wealthy wizarding family. Though there was nothing he could specifically point to about that, it was just a feeling. Airs and graces sort of thing.

"Bobby... Bobby Cashmore, and yes, I'm in Ravenclaw." He slid the gloves on, and took up the shears.

The dittany looked quite formidable, but he wasn't worried with the gloves on. He was, truth be told, slightly more concerned at how his plant partner was snapping the shears at the plant.

So he took a different part of the plant, with its own leaves and fronds and things, and tried to follow the instructions - three sections down, the professor had said, but it all looked pretty smooth to him and not really clear as to which were the sections or not.

Not wanting to bother the professor for something he thought he ought to know, he turned to Ophi, gestured to where he thought he should cut, and asked, "Does this look about right to you?"

Ophiuchus Yaxley

Looking at the young witch, it was evident she was slightly annoyed, slightly perturbed as she hacked away. She stared at the dittany, but it didn't seem like she was all there. She tried to remember if Cashmore was part of a family that she had to care about, but it didn't seem so. So, she stored away his name in her temporary filing cabinet. "...Bobby. Is that short for Robert?" Her question let out absentmindedly.

The surname wasn't familiar, she couldn't tell if he was even a half-blood. It simply didn't register.

His question broke through her and she looked up at him, making eye contact for the first time since he arrived to the Herbology Greenhouse. "Wait, what?" The shears in her hand stopped snipping and she came to the realization that she'd made a blunder. Her green eyes widened with a snapshot of embarrassment before she decided to double down on the mistake she'd made. Might as well right?

Realizing it wasn't the nettles she was cutting, she continued to cut away at the dittany. Their brief eye contact was disrupted as she looked back at the plant before her, this time cutting with some delicacy. Though she hardly paid attention in class, she was faintly away of the medicinal uses of dittany....enough to stop hacking away at the plant. The witch concluded at this point the Professor would eventually correct her.

Finally satisfied, she began picking up her fallen victims and putting them into the shared basket. "So, erm. What do you know about plants?" Her small talk was in poor taste. "Oh yeah, I'm Ophelia Yaxley," she shared. As her name rolled off her tongue, she fashioned it with a proper Londoner's accent.

...would the Professor notice?

Bobby Cashmore

Bobby looked down at his own plant, looked again for the sections that Professor Bryce had indicated, and with a fresh look it seemed he could - faintly - make them out. With a certain amount of faith he snipped, and was relieved when the hairs started to deflate just as the professor had said.

"I just wanted to check I was doing it right before I started cutting was all." That wasn't all of it, though, there was a sense of trying to subtly suggest that she was doing it wrong and he wanted to tell her that without saying it out loud - not wanting to get her in trouble.

Bobby just carried on cutting the nettles, working slowly and carefully, building up a bit of a rhythm, one-two-three-snip, while trying to not think too hard about whatever Ophi was doing to her plant, he just worried about his own.

"I don't really know that much about plants... Herbology isn't my best subject." He smiled, faintly but awkwardly, "That's why I'm here, really."

It wasn't that long before he filled up his part of the shared basket with the leaves he'd trimmed. While doing so he thought about Ophi's accent, it sounded far more posh than his own Midlands accent, much more measured and less melodic. Something about the tone made him a shade uncomfortable, as though part of Ophi's attitude for being here wasn't really to learn something but to show off, to be seen to be helpful rather than actually being helpful. It never sat well with him.

"Ah, Professor? It looks like we've filled our basket - what should we move onto next?"

Talia Bryce

Talia gave a little smirk as the two seemed fairly eager for her to start. Well, that went far better than she expected. Especially with Miss Yaxley having shown up for today's tasks. She would've anticipated getting a little more bite back but why look a gift abraxan in the mouth? Shrugging it off, Talia focused her attentions on another portion of the greenhouse.

Humming to herself she started to trim some of the lavender, the gentle snipping behind her oddly soothing. Ah, the sound of working tools... snipping.. away.. rather-faster than she thought she thought be? No, no.. Talia shook away the nervous scratching at the back of her head. They were perfectly capable of the task she had given them. No need to get so controlling even if they were younger students, she had to trust them.  

Vaguely listening to their chatter, snipping seeming to have calmed down now-fewf- Talia leaned across the planter and clipped a few more lavender stalks to try and give the remaining ones room to spread out.

"Oh, already? Wow you two work so well together! Let me take a look." Tucking her pair of clippers into an apron pocket she brushed off her hands before turning to face them. Her mouth immediately hung open and eyes widened twice their size. Working her mouth silently she eyed the dittany bushes, gaze falling from the plants to each student and back.

"What...you two.. what happened-" Stuttering she stepped over to them slowly and reached a gloved hand out to the dittany bush. Sure, yes it needed to be trimmed and she needed to collect it regardless but... Her eyes studied the mangled bush. Pulling off her gloves she shoved them into her apron and rubbed with both hands at her eye sockets.

"So eager..." She half laughed and half sighed trying to process what she was witnessing. "Miss Yaxley," She had to be stern, this was an important healing ingredient and unfortunately even waving a wand when growing plants didn't always poof them back into existence. Especially this one she had carefully been growing since a wee little sprout, carefully curating its properties. Steadying herself the professor placed a hand on her hip and looked down at the second year.

"Had you not been so quick to simply rush off before I finished instructions you would have saved yourself a great deal time and energy as you'll now be re-potting the dittany yourself. I'm sure that and spending the rest of the evening in detention with me will give you plenty of time to reflect on the qualities of listening and following instructions." Talia slid her gave to the Ravenclaw boy. "Considering you listened to instructions and have collected the required herbs, you'll be free to go once you help Miss Yaxley here lay the dittany she so kindly collected far too prematurely and prep them for drying in the hopes they will be fine for potions. I take it you remember how to set them up into sprigs and wrap the ends so they can hang? I'll go get twine and clips for you both." Arms crossed loosely around her torso she looked from one to the other to see if they understood this time.

Ophiuchus Yaxley

June 19, 2021, 06:12:09 am #9 Last Edit: June 19, 2021, 06:21:34 am by Ophiuchus Yaxley
"I don't care." The words echoed through her mind as the professor admonished her for what she'd done. I don't careeee The young witch looked straight at the Professor as she spoke, and didn't break eye contact with the teacher. A scoff formed on her lips as the professor dug deeper into her. "Yes, Professor Bryce. I heard you." She managed to reel in her contempt of the professor, and gave her a half smile. Filthy half-blood. The words repeated over and over, she could hear her brother's words behind her own.

Professor Talia turned to get the twine and clips. As soon as the hateful comments passed through her mind, her expression began softening and the second year looked visibly confused. It wasn't like Ophelia to feel so much anger, so much fear towards another person. Especially a person who'd only demonstrated patience, compassion and a delicate care towards her. It made her want to cry. She felt conflicted.

She lowered her head and rubbed the tears out of her eyes.  Ophi could hear her brother behind her, telling her she was weak for not be angrier towards the blood-traitors. He reminded her that she needed to distance herself away from Bobby. What the heck. When did he gain so much traction in her head?

The second year managed to gain her composure, stiffen up. She remembered Professor Talia explain that she'd get detention, though that didn't seem to phase her. "Cashmore, I suppose we best do what the Professor asks." She reached over to the basket and began pulling the dittany into piles. The formality of her tone showed him she was trying to distance herself from him. "Don't want you to get in any trouble, too." She tried to laugh, but she couldn't find it in her. She tried to make eye-contact with Bobby, but she couldn't do it. Was this shame?

Bollocks. This was going to be a terribly long day. 

Bobby Cashmore

Bobby caught the tone in Ophi's voice and realised she was doing him a favour by trying to keep some distance. He nodded, in agreement.

He watched her make small piles of dittany leaves and wondered if that was the best way or not... he scratched his chin in thought, trying to remember what he'd been told previously in herbology.

He shrugged inwardly, and reached for a small clutch of dittany leaves, reasoning that if he was going to make a sprig out of them, he probably wanted only a few at a time rather than a big old clump. The leaves stood out from their stalks so it seemed like a plant that didn't like being clumped together.

Taking some twine, he fumbled his way around tying up the small group of leaves he had, and clipping it at the end. Garden twine in particular was something he never liked working with, it always felt like it would make his fingers itch, but his mother used it in her garden. He thought back to the last time he'd tried to help at home in the garden - with twine - and his mother trying to be patient about letting him do it rather than just taking it off him and doing it herself but, as she'd said, he was all 'fingers and thumbs'. Which, while accurate, wasn't particularly complimentary in the moment.

He picked the sprig up, looked at it, turned it in his fingers. It looked like a really rubbish job, but he hoped he'd done it right... and set about starting the next one. He could only hope that by doing more of them, he might not feel quite so clumsy and uncoordinated, but he wasn't convinced.

Talia Bryce

The atmosphere had immediately soured and even if it made the professor feel bad for having to be so strict she knew it was for the best. Some of the kids had already pushed her around and her time around them at the hospital had made her almost impervious to most of their manipulations. Still, she felt a twinge of guilt that the Yaxley girl had shown up, eager or not. Talia grabbed at the twine and clips, setting them on the table between the two students. She gave a nod and stood for a moment watching them work, hovering long enough to be sure that the second year wasn't going to spin into some sort of mood.  

"Good size groupings Mister Cashmore, well done! Just try to tie that a little more snug and it'll be perfect." She offered the boy a smile and left them to continue on, trusting she wouldn't have to oversee any of the task. Back to her own basket, she clipped away at a few other herbs and looked over every so often at the two of them to be sure they were working. A little smirk played on her lips as she watched the two of them. This seemed to be a good change of pace for the young pureblood girl, Talia mused. Perhaps it would give her a little perspective into working with others. She didn't see the girl branching out often with other students and despite her own experience at Hogwarts she knew getting out of your comfort zone, though scary... was extremely beneficial. She was determined that Ophiuchus was more than just strong willed and stubborn... Bobby would be a good person for her to interact with. Strange how the universe laid things out sometimes.

A quick glance at her watch and Talia stood, stretching out her legs and waved a hand in the direction of her bag, a small blue box floating to her hand. Walking to the table where the students were working away, she turned to face Bobby. "Thank you for your work today and for helping Miss Yaxley here as well. You're free to go should you have other plans." Talia handed him a chocolate frog box. "I appreciate you giving some of your weekend up, five points to Ravenclaw." She would wait for the boy to leave before facing Ophiuchus.

Turning to the small redheaded girl, Lia let out a long sigh and placed her hands on her hips. "Now as for detention... I think we should perhaps reschedule after such an eventful afternoon? I will be sure to send along an owl with the details." She gave the girl a pointed look to let her know there would be no getting out of it. She hated dealing out detention but it had unfortunately been a tool she needed to use already a handful of times this term and seemed to be one of the few ways to keep students from getting carried away. So far... that is...  "Understood?" She stared down at the girl waiting for a verbal response.