written for the hogwarts forum assignment 9 and the ilvermorny weekly challenge 12
Hogwarts: Assignment: Herbology
Task: Write about someone resisting something (e.g. a change) and only making the situation worse for themselves.
Ilvermorny: write about these professors that are not as well known. Explore who they are, why they decided to be teachers and what their lives may involve. These can be set at any time they are teaching at Hogwarts, just before they start teaching or after they have retired.
chosen professor: charity burbage
a/n: i just really liked that "dinner, nagini" quote, like damn, voldemort that was a really sassy villain comment, i just love villains sometimes
. . .
Charity Burbage is twenty-five when she is approached to become Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts.
"We cannot think of a more qualified person for this job," Professor Dumbledore explains to her.
Charity herself isn't Muggle-born, half-blood, actually — she thinks that's why she's chosen for the job. Muggle-borns would have an exaggerated opinion of Muggles, pure-bloods would exaggerate in the opposite direction, but half-bloods? They weren't pure Muggle or pure wizard — it wasn't their problem either way.
As a student Charity had a wonderful affinity for Muggle Studies, and she's got wonderful grades in the subject.
So, yeah, she'll take this job, and yeah, she'll do a damn good job of it.
. . .
Sometimes Charity has difficult students. There'll be mostly half-bloods, a few sympathizing pure-bloods, and there's always the odd Muggle-born in the mix, too.
Some of them are awfully ignorant.
"Do Muggles really kill their environment...on purpose?"
"They don't do it on purpose," Charity will reply, then. "They don't murder their environment, either. They have inventions to make life easier and those, unfortunately, degenerate their environment — Muggles keep using these, because some of them are still skeptical of the degeneration of the environment. It is, however, very real…"
There's Muggle-born Hermione Granger, as well. She's a bright student, overworking, and she doesn't need the class. At all. She knows everything about Muggles, but she wants to see it from "a wizard's point of view."
Charity goes and explains to her that people all have different opinions.
"You can't sum everyone's thoughts about Muggles into one generalization, Miss Granger. I can see you are pushing yourself too hard — I would advise you to drop some of your electives, and Muggle Studies is certainly not a subject that you need."
. . .
The war starts soon enough — the war with a woman named Dolores Umbridge.
She absolutely hates Charity, probably because she despises "half-breeds" as well as Muggles. Charity is probably the kind of person Umbridge is strictly against, the kind of person who likes Muggles and would be called a blood-traitor.
She quite likes being a blood-traitor, in that case.
"Professor Burbage, I'll just be conducting a quick inspection of your classroom," says Dolores sweetly to her.
"Of course, Professor Umbridge," Charity replies, just as accommodating. "You can go on ahead."
Charity knows her job is at stake here, but oh, she wants so badly to one-up this little pink toadlike blood supremacist that she doesn't mind.
So she goes through her lesson as normal, and she can hear the toad's quill scratching away on her parchment.
In the end, Charity stays. It's not much, but she's proven herself competent, and it's a battle she's won.
. . .
The other war starts soon enough, too — the war with the Dark Lord Voldemort.
Charity fears him, and no longer is she going to act like a Gryffindor and be a proud blood-traitor. She's already teaching a subject that makes her a risk for capture. Oh, no, Charity is going to play it safe this year.
She stays in the safety of Hogwarts for the breaks.
She stays within her regular curriculum; she doesn't answer any controversial questions. She teaches and she doesn't give any of her perspective to her students. Charity quite prefers the state of life to the state of death, thank you very much.
Charity strikes friendship with Severus Snape, inexplicably. They talk sometimes at the staff table. She'll talk about her students. He'll talk about his. It's an acquaintanceship, and it feels a bit odd, to speak freely.
She's unaware that it's the last time she'll feel free.
. . .
Charity tries to resist her bonds; she tries, but they clamp onto her more tightly, and she tries to speak, but she can't — she can't do anything, and this is how she's going to die.
She knows she shouldn't have written the defense of Muggle-borns. But the pamphlets people had been printing, the things they had been saying to a race that was wizard all the same as them — it had infuriated her so.
They'd found her. Charity prefers her current state of liveliness, so she struggles against them to no avail.
That ratty little man they call Wormtail is weak. The charms on her are weak, too. If Charity can only —
And there it is —
She takes her chance, calling out, "Severus, please…"
"Wormtail, didn't I tell you to silence our guest?" a high, cold voice speaks calmly, as if it is of no concern to him that Charity is going to die — and of course there wouldn't be, because who is she but Charity the Mudblood protector?
The gag falls on her; Charity is silenced. She struggles and she struggles, vainly, because the ropes tighten on her, but she'd like a little control over the way she dies —
And suddenly there is that same high, clear voice. "Avada Kedavra," it says, and then everything is silenced.
The body of Charity Burbage hangs there, swinging like a pendulum, as that cold voice says, "Dinner, Nagini."