So I'm only a week away from the end of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and of course instead of being a good little camper and working on my original novel, I had to go start a new HP story! Blame it on the release of Deathly Hallows - I've got the bug again, and bad. Besides, I'd been away from this world for too long, and I missed it. This prologue is, by its nature, somewhat short, but I do have Chapter 1 completed and will post it a little later in the week. As always, reviews are much welcomed!
In writing my memoirs I am faced at once with a conundrum. Many of the events that brought us all to the final confrontation with He Who Must Not Be Named did not involve me directly — I may have been a member of the Hogwarts staff, but a good number of us were, for lack of a better term, kept quite in the dark as to Albus Dumbledore's plans; as should be, for the more who are involved in a matter of secrecy, the greater the chance that one of them should let something slip. Also, as the Astronomy professor, I was even more divorced from certain incidents. My tower was high, my hours irregular due to the nature of the subject I taught. But I was there for enough of it, and indeed, as those last terrible hours approached, I perhaps was privy to more information than many would ever have guessed. So if it seems I do not give full weight to some events that were highly significant, it is because those tales have already been told by others who were present, who have far more right than I to describe them.
As I began to set down these recollections, I realized the temptation existed to paint myself in a more flattering light, to present my actions as always good and noble. I did my best to avoid this temptation. If at times I perhaps seem foolish or hasty or simply lacking in judgment, then so be it.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary people, but I never thought of myself as particularly extraordinary. A gifted witch, of course, but there were others in my class just as talented. It might be said that I stood out by virtue of a strong stubborn streak, although there are many (including my own mother), who would call that no virtue at all.
As may be. I am still unsure as to what particular qualities Albus Dumbledore saw in me, or why he would select someone woefully lacking in years or experience to be his new Astronomy professor. Dumbledore's motivations were often inscrutable, but his madness proved to be quite methodical when looked upon with the clear lenses of hindsight.
I was not the youngest professor ever - that honor fell to Severus Snape, although he had been a member of Hogwarts' staff for some years before I began my tenure there. Still, twenty-three was young enough, especially since, as my mother pointed out, I had done little enough with my life up until then.
"Off in the wilds of Scotland," she said on the day of my final visit with her before I departed to take up my new position. She gave me a disapproving look as she bent forward to pick up her teacup. Even the heavy brocade curtains in her drawing room seemed stiff with disapproval. "With utterly no prospects at all!"
By "prospects," she meant prospective husbands. I couldn't bring myself to feel angry with her over her repeated attempts to see me properly settled. With my older brother Augustus dead in the fight against He Who Must Not Be Named, she saw me now as the last hope of preserving the Sinistra line.
"Well," I said, "there's always Professor Snape."
I'd made the comment knowing that her response would be less than enthusiastic. As always, she didn't disappoint.
"Severus Snape!" she retorted. Her tone fairly dripped contempt. "An upstart out of nowhere. A Death Eater!"
"That's never been proven," I replied. I took a bite of my watercress sandwich, then added, "Surely you don't think Professor Dumbledore would allow a follower of the Dark Lord to teach impressionable young children?"
Her face reflected a war between her respect for the Headmaster and her contempt for Professor Snape. Respect apparently won out, for she said, "I suppose not. But really, Aurora, I think it in quite bad taste for you to even jest about such things. Surely you can do much better than Severus Snape."
I began to regret my off-hand remark. "If you say so. At any rate, I'm certain Professor Dumbledore would be rather alarmed if he knew I was more concerned with finding a husband than teaching astronomy."
"Those pursuits are not mutually exclusive," she replied, but I thought I detected a hint of resignation in her tone.
From there she turned the conversation to my wardrobe, which she considered inadequate to both my new position at Hogwarts and my status as the last scion of the Sinistra family. I didn't bother to argue with her; if I'd learned nothing else from Boudicca Sinistra, it was to choose my battles.
At the time I'd had no idea that the sorts of battles I'd one day face would be quite different.