(A/N)-I am SO sorry for the very delayed update! I overthink this story too much. And I have no one to bounce ideas off of, so this past month I've been debating whether or not I should include another OC, if she is entirely necessary, along with wondering if I should trash this story and start over or trash it and forget about it entirely. But then I realized I was being too hard on myself, and that people on here had obviously read it and enjoyed it enough to want me to continue, so continue I shall. It's just going to take me a while.
I want to make it clear that although I would like to show more of Charlotte's interactions with other students, this story is to focus mostly on Constance so, for the most part, whatever happens will be only what she sees. Until much later on, at least.
* I am eternally grateful to those who have reviewed!
If anyone would like to chat with me about Worst Witch and stuff and help to keep me inspired, please drop me a PM or an IM via
Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out my youtube account (also under the name SeltzerAddict) I have quite a few Worst Witch music videos that I think are fairly decent but have yet to receive much needed love. :3
Hope you like this one! Bit of femslash (nothing graphic) be warned!
Chapter 5- Truths
Truth serums weren't exactly forbidden to make, but a witch could not make one without a special ingredient. This ingredient is regulated by the Witches Council, and the truth serum itself is only made in rare cases. The reason for this is it's instability. It's side-effects were often unpredictable, and the length of time in which it would work could sometimes be anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 days. The strength of the serum was also unpredictable. One could either still keep the truth from leaving their lips, or become unable to stop telling truths even without one questioning them.
Constance Hardbroom wouldn't have taught her students how to make one if the secret ingredient were obtainable, but since it wasn't, she instead replaced the ingredient with blood root, which turned the potion purple when mixed with the dogwood bark. This made it possible for her to tell if they'd mixed the potion correctly.
She had hoped no one in the class would realize they weren't making actual truth serums, but she was wrong. Ethel Hallow had to open her big mouth, and forced her to explain. As if any of them would even think for a split second that she would teach them how to make a potion that could wreak so much havoc on the castle.
"So how will we know who tampered with the ingredients tray?" Drusilla asked. She sighed irritably. Her empty threat had been found out.
"I already know who did it." Miss Hardbroom answered curtly.
"It was Enid Nightshade, wasn't it?" Ethel asked, looking around at the culprit, who sneered back.
"Was not!" Enid snapped back, her eyes immediately locking with HB's as she silently pleaded with her not to tell.
"Must've been the new girl then," Ethel said, turning back around in her seat.
"It's nobody's business but my own, Ethel Hallow!" Miss Hardbroom reminded with a warning stare before checking the clock above her chalkboard, "You all have twenty minutes left, best that you all spend that time completing your potion rather than pointing fingers."
"But what happened to your-" Ethel began as she motioned to her potions mistress's bandaged hand. Miss Hardbroom cast a deadly glare in her direction, her arms folded tightly across her chest, hiding her bandaged hand as she wordlessly dared the girl to continue. Ethel closed her mouth, and continued working on her potion.
All of the girls, even Mildred (although her potion was a bit more of a pink than a purple) had managed to successfully complete their potions. She congratulated them briefly and carelessly, knowing all too well if she showed too much appreciation that they would surely overstep their boundaries. She tried hard to hide the pain her injury was causing her but despite her incredible amount of self control, she couldn't help but flinch slightly as she flexed it. She knew it wouldn't take long for her to heal, but she couldn't stand injuries, especially one that she could've avoided had she been more alert.
Enid sneaked her way up to the front of the classroom as the others filed out. She saw her murmur to Charlotte to wait for her outside, and she obeyed, but not before glancing over at her mother worriedly.
Ethel purposefully bumped into Enid on her way out with her handbag, "Troublemaker," she growled. Miss Hardbroom opened her mouth to tell her off, but thought better of it.
Once the girls were all gone, save for Enid, she flicked her wrist, causing the door to slam behind them. Both Charlotte, who was waiting outside the classroom, and Enid, who was standing guiltily before her desk, jumped simultaneously at the sound.
"I have my next class coming in five minutes," she began, "so I'll make this quick ..."
"I didn't mean it, Miss," Enid muttered, looking at her shoes.
"Don't interrupt!" she quipped, "And look at me while I'm talking to you."
Enid reluctantly met her eyes. Miss Hardbroom could feel the usual resentment the girl always felt for her since she'd arrived here, but with it was a mixture of fear, fear of being expelled and being sent home to her parents.
"I'm not going to expel you," Miss Hardbroom made clear, "I know you meant for the potion to simply turn one's hands red, and any side-effects it has caused were out of your control," she said seriously, her eyes never leaving Enid's, "You should know that. You are a capable witch, and you must understand that pranks meant to cause mischief can also cause unintentional harm on others."
"Yes Miss Hardbroom," Enid replied.
"That being said, you will receive detention so as to be made an example of. I can't allow mischief to go unpunished."
"I understand." she replied, a feeling of relief flooding through her as she inwardly reminded herself that although she wasn't going to like detention, at least she wasn't going to be expelled for her actions.
"You are to help Miss Drill put away her equipment every evening before dinner for the next two months," she ordered, fighting back a small smirk. Now Imogen wouldn't have any excuses to make for a while, "You will also serve detention this evening, 500 lines of 'I should not misuse magic on my fellow classmates'."
"Yes Miss Hardbroom," Enid replied dutifully. She hated lines, but she got along well enough with Miss Drill, so she was content with her punishment.
"You may leave." Miss Hardbroom dismissed, swinging the door open with a casual wave of her hand. Enid left, but not before mumbling a "Thank you, Miss" under her breath, knowing that if she expressed her gratitude any more than that, her potions teacher would only get annoyed with her.
Miss Hardbroom looked up, only to see the back of Enid's head as she left the room, closing the door behind her. She had half a mind to ask Enid what was really going on, but decided it was best that she didn't pry unless her grades were affected. She instead made a mental note to ask Charlotte to try and speak to her about it.
She sighed deeply, and got out her lesson plans for the next class as the first years began to pile in.
Miss Hardbroom sat alone in the staff room, sipping tea awkwardly with her left hand, her dark eyes staring down distastefully at her bandaged right hand. Was she really growing soft in her old age? She should've brought the matter up with Miss Cackle and pushed for a longer punishment for Enid. 100 lines and a week of afternoons spent scrubbing the dungeon walls until they sparkled, was a bit too nice of HB, she thought. However, Enid didn't intend for the mixture to cause any physical harm; she'd only meant it to do what it was supposed to, and it would have, if Miss Hardbroom hadn't been so distracted.
"Afternoon, Constance," Imogen greeted cheerfully, touching her shoulder lightly as she passed. Ordinarily, Constance would've flinched, but there was no one else in the room to put on an act for. She peered at the stationary cupboard for any sign that Miss Bat may be hiding in there, but the coast appeared to be clear, for it was open a crack, and Davina always shut it completely behind her when she went in.
"What happened to your hand?" Imogen asked with a slight gasp, sitting down beside her and gently taking the wounded hand in hers.
"Oh, it's nothing, just an allergic reaction," she dismissed with a wave. Although she did enjoy the attention, she wasn't about to lament about a couple of sores.
She heard Davina's singing some way off down the hallway, and immediately she retracted her hand, only to meet Imogen's hurt eyes. Constance said nothing, she simply stared back at her, widened her eyes slightly, and looked to the door. Davina promptly flung the door open with a basket of posies on her arm, singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Constance looked back to Imogen, who simply shook her head in disbelief, both at Davina's behavior as well as Constance's, before slumping back down in her chair.
"Davina?" Constance addressed in an airy tone, "I'm guessing that your singing has to do with the recent sighting of a rainbow?"
"Oh yes!" she exclaimed, "There's one just outside there! I brought all my classes out to witness it in all its glory!"
"Is it still there, at this very moment?" she asked, toying with her.
"Why, yes!" she said with glee, clasping her hands together, "Would you like to go see it?"
"No thank you," she answered, "I just wanted to tell you that if you continue singing that song, I'll personally send you 'somewhere over the rainbow'." She finished with an amused grin, hiding it behind her teacup as she took a sip. Imogen, on the other hand, was in the middle of drinking from her water bottle, and she spluttered it all over the front of her shirt as she tried to hold back a laugh.
Davina shot an angry glare in the gym mistresses' direction, and Imogen apologized, excusing her behavior by saying she drank her water too fast, and faked a couple of coughs to back it up.
"I know you were laughing, Imogen!" Davina spat, shaking her basket and sending several posies flying into the air. She sighed deeply in frustration, her hands at her sides as she regained her composure. Constance casually brushed a few petals off her shoulder, sharing a glance with Imogen.
"Oh, relax Davina!" Imogen said exasperatedly, and changed the subject "Constance isn't feeling very well."
Constance cut a look in Imogen's direction, and Davina noticed her bandaged hand.
"Oh dear!" she exclaimed, and she knelt down so that they were at eye level, asking in a concerned whisper, "Did that old cat of yours take a swing at you?"
Constance was outraged, "Morgana would never 'take a swing' at me!" she retorted, "She's not psychotic like your cat."
"Daisy is not psychotic!" Davina snapped, rushing over to her cupboard, grasping the handle as she glared at Constance, "She suffers from mild dementia and she's blind in one eye!"
Constance was about to comment about happening to know someone else who might be suffering from 'mild dementia', but before she could open her mouth, Amelia came into the room.
"What's all this shouting about, ladies?" she asked calmly.
Davina shot one final glare at Constance before shutting herself inside the cupboard with a slam.
"Business as usual," Imogen sighed heavily.
"Constance, dear, what's happened to your hand?" she asked, raising a brow as she sat across from her deputy headmistress.
"Just a minor incident in the potions lab," she dismissed, not wanting to have to go into detail, "The student involved has been punished, it's nothing to worry about."
"Constance ..." Amelia warned, letting her know that she wasn't going to take this as a suitable explanation.
"Well if you really must know," she said with a sigh, "Enid Nightshade played a prank on Mildred Hubble, to turn her hands red," she looked to her hand in disgust, "I touched the mixture instead and had an allergic reaction to it."
Muffled laughter came from the cupboard, to which Constance ignored, though it took a considerable amount of self control to do so.
"Why would Enid do such a thing?" Imogen asked, confused, "They seemed to be getting on alright just yesterday ..."
"Mildred was apparently reading her journal," Constance explained, "So Enid took it into her own hands to seek vengeance."
"Did you punish Mildred as well?" Amelia asked.
"No, well-" Constance was taken aback- why didn't she punish Mildred? "I didn't think about it. Should I have?"
"My, my, Constance," Amelia said with a bemused grin, "I never thought I'd see the day when you would forget to punish Mildred for any wrong-doing."
"I did not forget!" she argued, "I simply ... it was more hearsay than anything! I didn't think it was that serious."
Imogen shrugged, "It was serious enough for Enid to act in such a way," she said, "Invasion of privacy, you know ..."
"I don't see why either of you care if she's punished or not," Constance seethed, looking at both of them, rising from her chair, "Either way she's bound to land herself in detention by the end of the day, somehow."
"Where are you going?" Imogen asked, failing to hide the concern in her voice. Luckily Amelia didn't seem to notice it.
"I need to speak with Charlotte," she said, casting an apologetic glance in Imogen's direction as she spoke to both witches, "I'm going to escort her to the lake to release that salamander of hers. Might as well do it now, for it's only a matter of time before it gets loose and someone's cat makes a meal out of it."
And without another word, she folded her arms and disappeared into thin air.
"I don't understand why they insisted on us having salamanders," Charlotte mused, looking down at the tank in her arms as she headed through Walker's Gate, "I mean, you can't handle them without getting messy, they can't ride on broomsticks, their slime isn't even used in useful potions ... what's the point?"
"I haven't the slightest," Constance replied, closing the gate behind her magically as she caught up with her daughter, "Did you ask Miss Salamander herself about it?"
"I wouldn't dare, she'd have my head for asking something like that ... d'you know she has one herself? It's huge and gross, and a pale pink color ... she used to have it in a tank outside the mess hall, made nearly everyone lose their appetite. Goliath, his name was, and rightly so. She had his tank moved into the staff room after someone fed him a shrinking potion."
"Could've been fed worse, I suppose ..."
"No one would dare feed him something worse than that," Charlotte said, "They never found out who it was but Miss Salamander couldn't be bothered since he wasn't harmed."
"How was Chanting class?" Constance asked gently, changing the subject.
"All right, I suppose," she said with a shrug, "Never been instructed to chase a rainbow before. The teacher kept looking at me as if I had three heads ..."
"Miss Bat," Constance said, "Well, yes, she's not all there most of the time ..."
"Did you tell her about me?" Charlotte asked abruptly, looking up almost fearfully.
"Certainly not!" she assured, "Only that you are my daughter, but I had to so they wouldn't mention it in front of the other students; they'd met you before ..." Charlotte looked confused "You were three years old then, too young to remember."
Charlotte nodded, looking down, "Oh!" she exclaimed, looking up to her mother with a grin, "I taught Enid that spell you taught me, you know, the one to hide writing from prying eyes? I thought I had forgotten it, but it worked."
"Nasty business, that was," Constance muttered, shaking her head slightly, "It's not like them to fight like this. She must've written some pretty personal things to pull a stunt like that."
"Her parents are getting a divorce," Charlotte said abruptly, eyes widening as she realized what she said aloud, "Don't tell Enid I told you."
"Of course, because I'm just the person to bring up personal matters out of the blue," she said sarcastically, "If she made such a big deal about it, why did she tell you?"
"I told her about father," she said quietly, pulling a strand behind her ear with a grim smile, "And that I didn't want the rest of the school to know. Secret for a secret."
Charlotte stopped a good ten feet from the bank, crouching down as she began to pry at Salvador's container.
"Don't you want to release him in the lake?" Constance asked.
She shook her head, "I don't think he can swim very well," she explained, "Best I let him out in the mud."
Constance sighed, folding her arms, "Well, don't come crying to me if he gets trodden on."
"He won't," she assured, still struggling with the top latch on the container. Her mother slipped her spell casting fingers out from her folded arms and sent a shot of magic at it, causing it to open straight away. Charlotte looked over with a look that said 'I could've done it myself'. She scooped him out of the shallow murky water that lined the tank, and held him out in the palm of her hand, "He's as quick as lightning," she said, stroking him gently atop his head. He allowed her to pet him a couple times before darting into the air and landing into the soft earth, causing her to let out a squeak of surprise.
Constance stood there with an amused grin on her face, and Charlotte caught it before she could hide it, "They're all rather flighty," she excused, and promptly she toppled over onto her rear into the wet leaves.
"Goodbye, Salvador," she called weakly as she watched the amphibian disappear beneath a rock.
"Come on," Constance ushered, offering a hand and helping her daughter to her feet, "You haven't even been here a full twenty-four hours and you're already filthy." She brushed some of the dry leaves off before giving up and casting a magical cleaning spell about her clothes, making them good as new.
"Must you use magick for everything?" Charlotte protested in slight irritation, but with a hint of concern, "You know what it does to you ..."
"I'm perfectly fine." Constance replied sternly.
"Bet you're not sleeping at all, are you?" she asked, touching a nerve.
"I sleep the required amount each and every night," she protested, although she failed to mention what the required amount was - for her, she made sure she at least got one full hour, perhaps two.
Charlotte looked like she didn't believe her, but Constance was in no mood to protest. Her lack of sleep didn't effect her work, and until it did, no one had the right to question her wellbeing, not even her own daughter.
"We should head back," Constance said, walking back towards the castle, "I've papers to mark and Enid will be wondering where you are."
Charlotte sighed, shutting the latch on her tank as she gave one last look at the rock which Salvador had disappeared under.
"Charlotte," Constance called, waiting up as she jogged up beside her.
"Close call back there, that was," Imogen remarked with an uneasy grin.
"What do you mean?" Constance asked, pretending to be reading her book on Magical Remedies but she really was paying attention to Imogen.
They were both still on their break before lunchtime, and Constance had just been talked out of grading papers to spend some quality time with Imogen. Of course, they didn't want their whereabouts to be questioned, so Constance saw fit to simply be in each other's company in her potions lab. That too, however, would probably raise suspicion - why would two teachers who had nothing in common be sitting around in a classroom chatting animatedly? So she took out her book and pretended Imogen was trying to interrupt her in her reading, a scenario that Imogen wasn't particularly fond of but she wasn't in the mood to quarrel about it.
"Davina," she said, "After you left she made some smart remark about you being too close to water, that you might melt. I told her off, and she asked why I was defending you so much lately."
"What did you say?" Constance looked up at her from behind her book as she sat at her desk. Imogen, who didn't find the student's desk chairs to be comfortable one bit, slung her legs over the table top and sat cross-legged at the desk closest to Constance.
"I told her I wasn't defending you, that I was just sick of you and her constantly bickering, which I am," she added, looking seriously in the direction of the potions mistress. Constance pretended not to notice as she looked back down at her book.
"Figures Davina would compare me to the Wicked Witch of the West," Constance remarked with a wry grin.
"You're familiar with the story?" Imogen asked, surprised. She always thought books by non-magical beings were beneath Constance, and the portrayal of witches wasn't exactly true-to-life.
"Of course," she replied simply, "The Wonderful Wizard of OZ was always Charlotte's favorite book growing up, however ..." she rolled her eyes, "Now that she's older, it's that other book and broadway play adaptation ..."
Imogen fought back a smile. She wondered if Constance knew the story of 'Wicked'. If she did, she'd probably approve of it more. In any case, she should know that she sort of resembled Elphaba, only she didn't have green skin. Imogen thought of pointing this out to her, feeling it would do her heart good to know Charlotte's interest in the book may have possibly come from overall respect of her own mother ... but Imogen kept quiet. Constance never did like musings much; she was a straight-forward sort of woman. No 'possibly's or 'maybe's here. It would be sort of like gossiping, and Constance couldn't stand for that.
Constance shut her book firmly with a thud, waking Imogen from her thoughts. She rose gracefully and rounded the desk, leaning against the front of it slightly as she looked down at the younger woman.
"If you like," Constance offered, "I will remember to pick a fight with you next time instead of Davina, if you think it would help divert suspicion."
"Constance Hardbroom?" she asked, in mock surprise, "Pick a fight? Now that's unheard of." She teased with a grin.
"Watch it, Drill," she growled in a teasing manner, leaning in close to her face with her arms folded. "I'll fight you this very moment if you don't mind your tongue."
"Is that a threat?" she asked with a wry grin, and stole a kiss from her ruby red lips. She pulled away almost instantly, a part of her fearing she'd be told off for not even bothering to check if there were any students nearby, but the distance between them was immediately closed as Constance held her pale hand to the tan woman's cheek and pulled her in for a searing kiss.
As needy as the kiss was, it wasn't long before Constance broke it with a sly grin. She snatched up her book and headed out of her classroom as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
"Tease." Imogen murmured as she dragged herself off the desk with an exaggerated huff.
"Miss Drill, don't dawdle!" she snapped, in case any students were nearby, "Don't you have detention to oversee?"
(A/N) - I've rewritten this chapter like a bajillion times so have mercy! And please leave an encouraging review. :)