"Clothilde"

Chapter 1 "What if Mary Sue had a..."

"You want me to shadow Harry then?" Came the flat, alto voice of the woman.

Dumbledore's eyes were on her, penetrating her very soul. She knew he was probably a mind-reader... she had seen very little of him in her own school days, but now many years later being with him in his office~ she could tell he was probably having a good look at her psyche... if that was possible, however, he probably had decided he wanted her prior to this interview at any rate. He mostly likely knew who she was when he had sent the owl to her.

"I knew of you yes," he smiled.

The woman's eyes widened, he was a bit of a mind-reader.

"I remember you from your teenaged years... the dueling club."

"I'm flattered... I think," she smiled faintly. A smile on a hardened face.

His expression remained kind.

"Are you sure you want me for this job? You know the types of jobs I am generally accustom to are~"

"I can assure you I require all the talent you've acquired over the years."

She flinched, and gazed hard, down at a lovely oriental carpet, "do you know... of... my past?... Some of the things I've done... um... some of the jobs I've taken have been rather less than savory at times. You should be aware of that."

"I have the utmost faith in you Clothilde."

She nodded. "You honor me."

"Ah, I believe we have guests," he said popping a lemon drop into his mouth. "If you are ready to meet the staff you'll be working closely with."

"I didn't hear~"

There was a sudden knock at his door.

Dumbledore moved across the room behind her chair and opened it. She could hear the voices of people who had taught even when she went to school here... some fourteen years prior. She overheard him making some sort of announcement about her~

"You all know the many precautions I have tried to take to ensure the safety of Harry Potter. I have decided to hire on someone to look after him."

"Look after him Headmaster what do you mean?" The voice was Snape's... of course, still nosy after all these years.

She was climbing out of the cushy chair now, facing the awfully assembled group of professors. Tall, slender, extremely long blonde hair falling in strings into a pale, battle-worn face.

Snape knew her yet... couldn't place her.

She was in her early thirties, her features were delicate... yet age and inner demons marred what could've been pretty.

"This is Clothilde Corgan."

"Clothilde." Professor McGonagall sounded as if she was trying to seem pleased while her voice actually faltered and betrayed her.

Snape's eyes narrowed, he knew her now, at least by reputation and if no one else approved of her he could certainly take this opportunity to get a few digs in and see how well she could hold up or... how far his self-hatred could push another person from him.

"Professor," she greeted McGonagall stiffly.

"You're wearing armor."

Snape.

Clothilde smiled and said flatly, "this explains why I've been having trouble with some of those yoga positions."

She met his eyes realizing he had no idea who she was... he only knew her by the most recent rumors. As a matter of fact, no one seemed to recognize her... well, except Dumbledore, and that went without saying. He was simply a far superior wizard. Had she really changed so much?

"And do you plan to mount your horse and engage in combat?" he sneered.

"I have no horse."

She wasn't playing his game and she didn't seem intimidated in the slightest either, he was going to be stuck ignoring or being civil to her.

She was, in fact, in armor. Her shoulders, arms and shins were armored with silver, slightly stained and battered pieces. What lay beneath her tabard was anyone's guess, a breastplate perhaps, or stiff leather. It made no sound as she moved about the room... not surprising that she had put some sort of silencing spell on it. It is hard to lurk about in the shadows in plate armor otherwise. At her side, hung a gladius. This was an athame. Not many in the wizarding community chose this form of wand, but for her it was the perfect choice. Snape's eyes found that almost instantly. Even now as she was attempting polite conversation with the rest of the staff she could feel him watching her... appraising her. Wondering if she was as ruthless as the ministry had claimed... the ex-auror.

Almost as if she knew what he was thinking their eyes locked for a moment.

"And..." he began again sweeping his attention from her to Dumbledore, "how is Miss Corgan going to be looking after Mr. Potter exactly headmaster?"

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as if he was amused by the intereaction between the two parties. He nudged Clothilde to speak up.

"I will shadow him."

"Shadow," he cocked his head, then took a perturbed sort of breath, "you mean you'll be following him around."

"Yes exactly."

"How very... brave." Stupid.

She actually exposed teeth this time as she smiled. How had he managed that? She was supposed to be annoyed, not amused.

"Does that mean you'll be following Mr. Potter to all of his classes?" Came Minerva's concerned voice. "That could be quite disruptive to his peers."

Clothilde said nothing, she only looked at Dumbledore, he was the one who had appointed her to this task. The rest of the professors followed her eyes to the headmaster who began to answer all of their questions regarding her. The bodyguard of The Boy Who Lived.

She turned to leave but Snape caught her arm.

"I know who you are," he said.

"Oh... really?"

Her eyes were large and gray he noticed now that she was closer. She looked like one of the portraits of a woman from the 18th century with her whiter than white skin and eyes so large they were nearly out of porportion with the rest of her face. Unfortunately though her eyes were appraising him icily.

"Yes," he continued nonplussed by her less than cooperative attitude, he was a teacher after all, he was used to that. "I know... you are a mercenary, a wand for hire if you will."

She raised an eyebrow, "so does everyone in this room."

"I know you were an Auror with the Ministry of Magic but you lost your position because you were considered too ruthless."

"Hmm... and?"

"And...."

"And, what did you plan to do with this information Mr. Snape? You weren't hoping to blackmail me I trust because obviously Albus Dumbledore knows about my... less than pleasant past.... Or... or did you simply want to warn me that you knew Death Eater?"

He flinched and withdrew his hand.

"How did you~"

"I was an Auror with the Ministry of Magic. I read your file."

For a moment his cool mask slipped, he looked up at her incredulous feeling suddenly exposed. "That's... in the past."

She could almost feel sorry for him, the frightening potions master standing, nearly broken here before her. She knew what that felt like.

"Glad to hear it." Was the callous reply she pushed him away with however. "If Dumbledore will permit me, I shall find my own way to my chambers."

The chatter on the other side of the room quieted down as Dumbledore turned to address her. "Yes, certainly my dear you must be worn out. Filch will see you to your room. And... I will see you here for breakfast tomorrow and to meet Harry Potter."

"Thank you," she nodded, her body was cold and steady as she sauntered out.

Snape remained, his shoulders rounded as if he had just suffered a defeat.

Dumbledore's eyes were on both of them wondering... perhaps even knowing the conversation which had just transpired.

* * * * *

Filch led her down to the dungeons. She was a little surprised her rooms would be down here not too far from the Slytherin dormitory, especially after inquiring with as to what household Harry was a part of. Clothilde thought perhaps there was not enough room near Gryffindor tower or... perhaps this is where riffraff like herself ended up. No matter really, she would spend most of her time with her charge regardless of where her belongings lie.

"Here we are Miss."

'Miss', she mused as he unlocked her door with a large rusty skeleton key. She did not consider herself a 'miss' these days, 'ma'am' maybe... it made her think of her great aunt, ninety-four years old and still all of her letters were addressed 'Miss'.

She glanced at the little dirty man before her, apparently he was waiting for her to wake up and go into her quarters. Clothilde said nothing as she did so. Filch followed looking around to see that everything was in order.

There was a blazing fire in the fireplace, it was a bit dank inside otherwise and she thought she would do a little magical redorating as soon as the caretaker took his leave. She strode into her bedroom while Argus Filch wandered about the pantry area.

"All of your luggage seems to be in order?"

"Looks it."

"Dumbledore saw to that."

His voice carried a heavy skeptical tone, she assumed he'd heard some rather bleak rumors about her as well.

"All seems to be in order," she said emerging from the bedroom.

"One last thing, be sure and let me know if you run into Peeves."

She raised an eyebrow quizzically.

"He's a poltergeist who has been haunting the halls here, driving me crazy is what he's been doing. Anyhow, he's on his way out of here soon as I find 'im. Spoke to Dumbledore and told him I've had enough. Ever since Peeves has been hiding, probably haunting a drawer somewhere. Serves 'im right, been driving me crazy for the last ten years!"

"I'll let you know if I see him."

Filch fixed her with a coarse skeptical look, then an odd expression came over his face. "What the hell are those?" he said startled for a moment.

Clothilde glanced over her shoulder at the row of jars. "Brains."

"You keep jars of brains in your pantry?! Human... human brains? Why I've never heard of such a~"

"Would they add more flair to my study you think?"

"I think that would make you look a bit less deranged."

"Hmm," she shrugged and casting a spell, caused the jars to levitate. Happy little bottles and colorful jars full of brains went dancing across the room into the study.

"Not exactly Mary Poppins," Filch muttered as he left her to her own... devices.

As she heard the door close behind her she sank down into a wing back chair and began to magically repaint the livingroom a nice rusty red color.

"You can come out now," she hissed.

"So you did come back Charlotte~"

"Clothilde, Peeves. Clothilde Corgan."

"Yeah whatever."

"You remembered... you're one of the only... entities here who did. You can hide in here if you want I won't mention it to Filch... one thing however."

He rolled his eyes.

"Don't use that name again."

He released an annoyed sort of whine.

"I could always notify Dumbledore~"

"I'll... I'll do as you ask," he managed sounding like a sulky child. "Red hmm?"

"I like red walls."

"That looks kind've like blood doesn't it?"

"Oh does it?"

He laughed, it sounded rather horrifying and then that's all there was, he had disappeared completely leaving only laughter. She stared into the fire... that was when she noticed the fingerprints... and a smiley-face on her freshly painted livingroom walls.

'Oh well,' she thought to herself, there were bigger things in her life to worry about.

She made her way to the bath, she needed to get some rest so she could meet this famous boy with a fresh face... or well, fresh-er. She pulled off her armor, tabard and the silk scarf at her throat, tossed some water over her face briskly and scrubbed it with a towel. The mirror before her reflected a slightly less attractive woman than she'd hoped it would... ah well, she could use some glamour she supposed to make herself seem more attractive, or she could smash the mirror into a million pieces. That thought made her smile a bit. She wiped the mirror of it's fogginess from the steam of the hot water she'd been washing in. There, reflected in the looking glass was that ugly scar... the one her scarf covered. It was a particularly nasty one, bloated in some parts, and right across the base of her throat where someone had slit it. That one had nearly cost her, her life... and it had cost her the life of the person she was supposed to be keeping alive. Putting that thought from her mind she glanced down at her naked form. Her body, although quite attractive in shape, slender and delicate... had become a tangle of dings and scars over the years. She didn't really expect anyone else to ever see it again, so she supposed it really didn't matter.

Clothilde shuffled into her bedroom. Mmm... it felt nice in there. Very peaceful. Probably Dumbledore's doing. She should probably thank him for that. He obviously knew she was tired... on so many levels.

Well, tomorrow to meet 'the boy who lived', she smiled and sunk deeply into the featherbed, sound asleep completely unaware of the disaster Peeves was making of her livingroom.