(So there was this one night Leena caught Myka leading Helena to a broom cupboard. Seventh year Leena promptly shrieked, covering her eyes at the sight of half-naked Myka burying her face into a grinning Helena.
"You two—I swear. I knew there was something going on with your auras, what with the fighting (and seriously what is with the duels you two stage) but I didn't—you couldn't have gone to the Room of Requirement like everyone else?"
Helena shrugs, straightening her blouse as Myka tugs on her sweater. "So are you going to give us detention or not?" Myka demands and Leena rolls her eyes.
"Go to your rooms and I might decide to not give you detention."
They leave, and a week later, they are caught again by an outraged Professor Nielson who only bemoans the "loss of his favorite student" (whatever that means) before sending them on their way.
Fifth year was a fun year.)
The day Christina gets her Hogwarts letter isn't quite the proudest day of Helena's life (somehow a weird mix of Christina's birth and the day her Transfiguration textbook was published and subsequently put to use at Hogwarts) but its close. Christina looks up from her morning cereal, eyes wide as Charles (their owl, named as a joke for Helena's younger brother, off on the mainland presumably still writing books on magical objects for muggle eyes—Helena doesn't quite know how he managed to get everything past the Ministry, but Charles has always had a way with words, so) swoops in through their open window, and she shrieks, "Mummy, Mummy!"
Helena has to stifle a laugh, finally breaking down as Christina dances around their kitchen table.
"Sweetheart, just get your letter and we'll go to Diagon Alley in a bit, okay?"
Christina calms down finally, and skims the letter, signed Arthur Nielson, Deputy Headmaster. Her smile is bright, talking about how cool it was going to be to get a wand finally, and Mummy, if you bring Charles with you can I get a cat for myself, please please please? Helena laughs, says no darling, I don't think it works quite that way (but really, she'll probably wind up buying her a cat, maybe a tabby or something; Christina is hopelessly spoiled, doted on by her single mother and uncle), and yes, okay, she imagines Christina wearing the green and silver of her own house. Helena never imagines Christina being sorted anywhere else.
Christina, of course, ends up being sorted into Ravenclaw of all places. Helena had waited breathlessly for the shout of Slytherin from the dammed hat, and when the hat announced Ravenclaw, Helena absolutely could not look into the direction of Professor Bering, who in addition to being the Charms professor is also Ravenclaw's Head of House, and therefore going to be positively insufferable.
(So okay, Helena and Professor Bering would totally get along great if it were not for the fact that when they were at Hogwarts, they kicked each other's asses in Quidditch regularly.)
(No, okay, that isn't really the reason. The real reason is: they'd been kind of sort of dating, (it was complicated, okay) except at that time there'd been reconstruction after a war, and a shadowy group of Death Eaters appeared again (fucking Voldemort); and suddenly there were students disappearing again and Helena was in Slytherin—and Myka was Ravenclaw, and worse, not pureblood, and yes, at one point Helena stared over the precipice, seeing all her friends around her rubbing their right arms, and they'd asked her about her (mudblood) girlfriend and she was seen with all the wrong people—
She'd told Myka that nothing had gone on, she did not have the Dark Mark on her right arm, but Myka was angry and terrified and they'd—broken, in their seventh year, and they didn't quite get over that. They don't talk about it, still.)
(But also: they really really kicked each other's asses in Quidditch. Frequently. Violently. Meeting at wand point was not actually an uncommon occurrence with the two, even after they started dating.)
Christina's been avoiding her, not dropping by to visit her office like she promised she would. She'd write it off as new student jitters…but Christina's her daughter. They live in the same school, and Helena hasn't caught more than passing glances, Christina smiling reflexively as they pass each other in the hallways (which, not as often as one might think. Hogwarts is big) or her dark head lowered as she works on some Transfiguration work (not going so well—Christina is more suited for Charms of course. And Potions, but that's admirable at least). And it's not as though Christina isn't talkative otherwise, (Care of Magical Creatures, Professor Pete—Latimer, but he likes to be called Pete—teasing out giggles and jokes from her normally vibrant daughter; bumping into Claudia Donovan (Head Girl, from Gryffindor house but Helena doesn't hold that against her) one instant, and joking around with her, wide eyed and smiling, the next) but it's been weeks, and Helena has had quite enough.
She flinches, back to Myka, and turns to face her, plastering a smile on her lips.
Myka scrutinizes Helena's face, and sighs. "Go to her Helena, she thinks you're angry with her." Myka runs a hand down Helena's arm, ending on her hand, her thumb rubbing soothing circles on her wrist. "She doesn't want to see you, and know that you're disappointed because she got sorted into Ravenclaw (which is preposterous I know—clearly Ravenclaw is the better house, and anyway it's a school house so not that big a deal. Right?)" She sounds faintly disapproving, and she walks away after sternly telling her "Go. See her."
Helena rubs where Myka's touch still burns, thinking she isn't sure she isn't disappointed.
(She isn't really, but that's what rubs Helena the wrong way—that after all these years, Myka still knows Helena better then she knows herself sometimes.)
She has class in an hour, and the Gryffindors always find some way to mess things up—no sense in thinking on anything but Transfiguration, and how many ways Todd Davenport can mess up a simple spell.)
Everything tells her to let Christina come to her, that overcrowding her would not be a good idea, but Myka's voice keeps popping into her head, telling her to go to Christina, to talk to her, so here she is. Myka's office is so…her. They've worked here for years, and this is her first time seeing Myka's office; and it is exactly as she would have imagined it. Books line the walls (not so dissimilar to Helena's, actually), their spines worn with use, and in front of her mahogany desk are comfortable chairs, plush deep, dark blue. Her wallpaper doesn't surprise her, mostly because she can't really see it, but it is deep silver.
Amusingly, there are post-it notes everywhere. Helena fingers the brightly colored papers that dot the room, covered in Myka's messy half-cursive scrawl, bearing notes like Pete is not allowed in the common rooms (and really, he's more a Hufflepuff pet) and tell Rebecca St. C. she is not allowed to snog Jack S. in Prof. P's class, no matter how boring he may be (damn hormones). Pete the ferret snoozes in the corner, and Helena goes to his cage as Myka walks in. She's carrying a muggle book, Pride & Prejudice—which she made Helena read their sixth year—in her arms, and she sets it down on one of the bookshelves as she sees Helena.
Her smile is soft and cautious, but she gestures to her chairs, and Helena sits. She fidgets in the comfortable chair, and finally Myka rolls her eyes. "What is it Helena"
"I need to see Christina. She has to know—"
Myka chews on her lip, before saying slowly, "You know you can just ask her to go to your office, right?"
Helena swallows, "Yes, but she's—she's Christina. She'll get defensive, and then everything will get mucked up so I figured you could—I don't know, call her here?"
Myka sighs, "You're absurd. And you clearly missed the communication part of parenting classes. You talk to your children, not get other people to talk to them for you." she mutters, then, "Alright. Wait here—I can't believe I'm playing carrier pigeon to you two…"
She comes back after a bit, Christina in tow, and ignores Christina's dirty look as she locks them in.
"I'm going to get some food, and when I come back, you both have better worked out your issues."
Christina is scowling at Helena, petulant, and Helena looks at Myka. Myka, of course, rolls her eyes and leaves, muttering "Crazy. What is it with the Wells family and crazy?"
Myka comes back with sandwiches, courtesy of a polite relationship with Hogwarts' house elves, to the sight of Christina curled in Helena's lap the way she used to when she was a little girl. She places the platter of sandwiches (roast beef, Helena's favorite) on her desk, and walks to Helena. The look on her face is soft, softer then she's seen it in years, tender, and Helena's heart might have stopped when Myka runs her fingers down Helena's face. She swallows, and tries not to lean into Myka's hand (doesn't work out as well as she'd hoped) before looking up to Myka smiling.
"You guys are ridiculous" she whispers, "And I'm not going to play mediator every time you two can't talk like normal people" Then she shakes Christina awake, sends her off with some sandwiches, and tells her to share with her year-mates or she'll know. Christina scampers off, dark braids flying behind her as she giggles out a "yes" and suddenly Myka and Helena are the only two in the room.
They eat their sandwiches in (relative) silence, punctured by Myka occasionally catching Helena stifling a snort at the various post-its littering her desk (there's a lot) and glaring, warning "Don't even start."
It's one of the nicer nights Helena has spent at Hogwarts, since she started working there.
Altogether too soon, Christmas arrives, bringing with it large fir trees lining the entrance hall to the Great Hall and, rather distractingly, clumps of mistletoe (that don't let you through until the person standing there kisses someone) hanging from every major doorway in the castle, and most annoyingly, at the entrances to the house common rooms.
Helena suspects Pete.
She catches Professor Nielson—Artie—with Madame Calder under the entrance to her office. It looked like they'd been at it for a while (go Madame Calder) and Helena left to go see Leena about a bet owed, and determinedly doesn't think about the (seemingly innocuous) clump of mistletoe hanging above her office door.
("Um. I was just coming to get you for our scrimmage with the other professors."
Helena is not looking up Helena is not looking up…
"Helena, we're going to miss our scrimmage"
Come on, surely Pete put some sort of safety net, some way to break the spell—oh. That's Claudia's handiwork, oh, she is going to get docked so many points when Helena gets out—
"I'm going to kiss you now"
…not a word.)
Things at Christmas dinner are: awkward (in a fit of some sort of Christmas spirit Helena invited Myka for the holidays and she accepted, saying that two straight years at Pete's made her want to kill him), slightly migraine inducing (Christina invited friends over), and yes okay, a little heart-warming (Myka again, playing game after game of Exploding Snap with Christina, losing gracefully, not even complaining (much) about her singed eyebrows, laughing as she deftly maneuvers her way through the kitchen, not even requiring the use of magic while Helena struggles to even boil water).
Helena wakes to Christina bouncing on her bed Christmas morning, gleefully shouting about presents (she is very very spoiled), and sits up to find Myka leaning on the doorway, holding mugs of tea. The early morning light of the window lights her from behind, and she is vibrant, beautiful, bathed in gold and Helena wants Myka more than anything else in the world right now.
Christina eyes them from Helena's bed and rolls her eyes before getting up to go downstairs (which means: sliding down the banister, infernal child) calling out, "Mum, there's presents downstairs and Myka made breakfast so if you two could possibly break from your "moment" I would rather give you your presents sooner than later", effectively breaking the spell. Myka's cheeks go pink, but she stands firm, handing Helena her mug as Helena walks towards the door.
"You have a devil child," she mutters, and Helena laughs.
"Yes I do."
"That's how I know she's yours," Myka tells her, a smile quirked at the edges of her lips, "She's exactly as evil as you were"
"As I recall, you had your own share of evil, darling" Helena teases, and the endearment slips out (force of habit, force of habit). Helena freezes, but Myka chuckles like nothing happened.
"That was mostly me wanting to impress you" she admits, but her mischievous smile reminds Helena of that time in their second year, charming frogs into Joshua Donovan's bed (Claudia's older brother, not quite the troublemaker his younger sister is, but close) and making them ooze the moment he starts to dream. Helena had been impressed, but Myka certainly hadn't done that to impress her (she'd done that because Joshua was "really really cute" and she'd wanted to impress him, and yes she figured he'd be receptive to a prank more than flowers, which Myka confessed to Helena their fifth year, red-faced and fidgety. Helena teased her mercilessly).
"No no, you were a devil child yourself," Helena protests, going to the bathroom. Myka follows up to the door, has one foot inside the door before laughing nervously and walking out (seventh year: before their break up, giggling as they stumble inside Myka's personal bathroom, a perk to being Head Girl, Myka pushing Helena up against the sink, eyes hot and smile even hotter) taking Helena's mug with her.
From downstairs, Christina shouts "Mum. Hurry up!"
Ah, family. She opens the door to Myka's amused face, grabs her mug, and downstairs they go. Later, Myka and Helena curl up on the same couch as they watch a muggle film with Christina ("You mean muggle pictures don't move?" "Not unless it's a film playing." "Or you're on that—what is it called, that—Internet thing." "…Yes, that too") and Christina doesn't tease them about it.
("Wow Mum, that couch does look comfortable. Or is it the pillow Prof—Myka's legs are making?")
Valentine's Day comes heralded by bright pink flowers, of all things, blown up to colossal sizes (seriously, Helena thinks one of the flowers manages to block a window) smelling of perfume (the halls are positively stinking of perfume, which doesn't do much for her allergies) and sing at random intervals.
Once again, Helena blames Pete.
(The flower that mysteriously opens up in front of Myka's office? Not her fault.
"—can I have your attention please—we're like chocolate in the sun—"
Pete is dead.
"Helena, there is a flower singing in front of my office make it stop."
So, so dead.
Irritation makes Myka scrunch her nose, snap at her students. The flower sings loudly, most of the Ravenclaws refuse to go anywhere near her office (which, it's on the seventh floor, so. No one's really going there unless they absolutely have to) and Myka is steadily planning murder-by-muggle-candy.
Best Valentine's Day ever. )
(Except: Charles flies into Helena's office with a post-it note stuck on his back (magically attached) with Myka's messy scrawl, the northeast corner of the library reports there are empty tea cups and an untended copy of Keats' which would be gibberish to anyone else, but she remembers one night fourth year, huddled over books ("Keats was a wizard?" "Of course"), attempting to study (which ended predictably—they fell asleep over the books, leaning against one another only to be awoken by Professor Frederic who smiled enigmatically at them and suggested they go to bed before Professor MacPherson finished his rounds of the school).
It remained one of Helena's fonder memories of Hogwarts, and after she leaves her office and heads to the northeast corner of the library, she finds Myka reclining in one of the comfortable armchairs reading a book ("You can't tell me Shakespeare was a wizard—please don't." "He wasn't, but his wife was. Shame their line died out, apparently she was a very strong witch…"). She looks up when Helena slips in, smiling as she offers a book to her.
"We never did finish that study date.")
Helena does not take Myka back to her office/room after that night, or the next time they have a study date, or the next time. It's…comfortable, reading books, talking, joking, with Myka, the way they used to. It's not precisely that they hadn't been closer then colleagues before this year (there was that year they had to preside over detention with Teddy Lupin, Claudia Donovan, and Todd Davenport. It was an…experience, and it was possible they'd wound up sharing some of their less…destructive exploits when they had been at Hogwarts, Helena grinning whenever Myka rolled her eyes and corrected Helena in whatever, interjecting that no actually, Professor Wells didn't really charm (the then Headmistress) Professor McGonagall's underwear to the ceiling. Myka's even right—it wasn't Helena, but Myka who'd done the charm, but it had been Helena to take the detention. Of course, Myka neither confirmed nor denied anything, and the students left with a newfound respect for their (normally uptight) professor(s)) but there's…something. Like maybe eleven years has been enough (even if nine of those eleven years were spent without any direct contact between each other further then a vague knowledge that Myka was teaching at Hogwarts) to overcome that knot of guilt/anger/fear in their chests. There's something to be said for this year, Helena suspects.
(So seventh year—not good. At 1999, the war was (mostly) over but there were everlasting pockets of those truly disgusting Death Eaters, and for a bit Harry Potter disappeared and the Ministry was floundering (really, what sort of government placed their responsibilities on the shoulders of an eighteen year old) and in the Slytherin common room there were several sixth and seventh years rubbing their arms as inconspicuously as they could.
It did not make for very good atmosphere.
Myka was Head Girl that year, along with some pureblood boy from Hufflepuff, all that remained from the war—and she was muggle-born to boot.
Seriously bad atmosphere.)
"I saw you with them! They were—you have to know what they are, Helena."
"They're my, our year-mates, Myka! I can't help talking to them, as you can't help talking to that Hufflepuff you call a Head Boy"
"I don't call him Head Boy, I call him Daniel, and Professor Frederic picked him and—stop changing the subject. Your year-mates are Death Eaters. Don't pretend you don't know why they keep everyone and everything from touching their arms, okay?"
Except then Helena self-consciously rubs her arm, and Myka, Myka was terrified because she remembered the war, remembered staying, suffering through the Carrows, though Snape, and she does what she always, always does. She draws her wand. The oak is warm in her grip, slippery with sweat, and Helena's heart stops. What are you doing? Slowly she draws her own wand, brandishing in front of her, staring at Myka.
Myka's eyes are wet, and she shivers, looking around the empty hallway. She whispers "Expelliarmus" and catches Helena's flyaway wand in her other hand. She looks at the wand, as though she can't believe she's done this, and then she looks back at Helena.
"What are you doing, Myka" Helena asks quietly. "Are you going to curse me?"
Myka's grip on her wand tightens, and then she slumps against the wall. "No, no of course not." Helena's wand clatters on the floor, where Myka drops it, and Helena moves to grab it, before standing up, holding her wand tightly in her hand, a spell on her lips as she aims for Myka—
"Do it" Myka whispers. "Go on, kill me. It's what you do to mudbloods right? Kill me."
Helena freezes, holding her wand impossibly tighter, and she swallows hard, before lowering her wand and walking away. Myka makes to grab after Helena, arm outstretched, no, no this is wrong.
"No wait, Helena—"
Quickly, Helena spins around, aiming her wand squarely between Myka's eyes. "Do not come any closer." Her hand shakes, and her voice breaks as she she rolls the sleeve of her shirt up with her other hand, "See? Nothing there."
"No. No. I can't—" Helena wants to run away, hide, or pretend tonight never happened, pretend they are still in Myka's bathroom, giggling as Daniel pounds on the door, yelling at them to shut up, some people need sleep, and could they please stop making out everywhere?
"We need to talk."
Conversations that begin like this, Helena has noticed, never end well. Still, she tries.
"I'm grading papers?"
"You do the terrible ones in advance and leave the really good ones for last so you can breeze through them. Come on, I'll grab some tea from the kitchens and meet you at the library."
"No I don't!" She does, actually. It's scary how well Myka knows her. Myka gives her a look like, don't even try with me, and walks away.
("I'm still mad at you."
"I know. So am I."
("It's just—you were so secretive. And you can't imagine what it was like, okay? You're a pureblood, and that means hardly anything to you, but all your friends, everyone here, to them, that meant something—and the year before was terrifying, and the Carrows, and everyone around me was talking about the Muggle-born registration commission, and Merlin, Helena, there were people disappearing, so excuse me if I was still terrified when you pointed your wand at me—")
They're adults; they should be able to get over one fight in eleven years.
They try, and Myka is invited over for Easter break.
They're a…work in progress.
(After Easter break, things accelerate. Exams come fast, and Helena's Slytherins are (characteristically) studying quite a lot. "Ambition," she tells at Myka, "means hard work."
"Good," Myka says back, "then you wouldn't mind telling your ambitious students to stop interrupting my Charms class. The Gryffindors have to learn too." Helena laughs, because seriously. Those bloody Gryffindors. Myka grins at her and they get back to making up exams.
Pete shows up later, laughs at them leaning against each other, undignified, asleep on the desk. He takes a picture of them, offers copies to Claudia, who promptly sells them.
"At least the livened spirits make for better studying," Myka grumbles.
Helena agrees, and keeps one for herself.)
(So does Myka)
Professor Frederic chuckles when one of the copies reaches her desk (Professor Nielson, torn between muttering "Finally" and groaning because he really really thought Myka would have better sense then go with "That woman," drops the picture on her desk) and doesn't say anything to their faces, which is how Helena and Myka know that Professor Frederic approves (not that there's a. anything to approve, and b. any way her approval or disapproval could affect them in the event there were anything between them).
("There's not actually anything going on with us." Myka complains to Helena in her office one night. The scattered tea cups (Helena is, astonishingly, not fastidious in housekeeping—a childhood spent with house elves picking up after everything, it seems, is not conducive to learning to pick up after oneself), and most tellingly, the bundle of clothing next to Helena's bed, contradict Myka's words. Helena raises her eyebrows, looking directly at Myka's bare shoulders, peeking out from underneath Helena's blankets.
"Nope, nothing at all darling" she drawls, and smiles quick and devastatingly at Myka's face.
Christina goes to Helena's office one night after double Transfiguration, and sits primly on Helena's bed.
"What are your intentions towards Myka?" (At this, Helena chokes a little on her pumpkin juice—Christina laughs at her, the terrible child)
"Your intentions, mother. Towards Professor Bering."
"Christina you can't ask me that because I'm your mother and you just—cannot."
Christina glares at Helena, "You'd better not break Professor Bering's heart" she says, then walks over to hug Helena round the middle. "And I'm happy for you both."
(Myka laughs herself silly when Helena complains to her about Christina before admitting Christina had done the same thing to her. "You daughter is actually slightly scary. It's an astonishing effect on an eleven year old. You're sure she doesn't actually belong in Slytherin?")
Exams week is long and exhausting. Helena expects her fifth and seventh years to excel, and terrorizes those who don't. Myka would be a calming influence on her, except she's busy trying to keep her Ravenclaws from fainting of exhaustion before the actual exams, and they don't see much of each other.
("Claudia D. is setting off fireworks by your dungeons, please see to that" sent surreptitiously to Helena by way of Charles.
"Already taken care of, by the way I shoved food down one of your fifth years throat, please excuse the roughness but he was about to faint"
"You tell them once, you tell them a thousand times…"
"Tomorrow is the last day of exams, Three Broomsticks?"
"Thought you'd never ask")
Exams, quite predictably, go great—which is to say there are only a small handful of nervous breakdowns (ah, exams) and none of them are even Slytherin, or Ravenclaw. When Helena and Myka settle down at Three Broomsticks, they're greeted by exhausted looking seventh years, just finished with their N.E.W.T.s, who still manage to leer at them.
Helena smirks over at them, reminds them that she holds their grades in her very capable hands, and turns to look at Myka. She's rolling her eyes fondly, sipping her tea serenely.
"Done terrorizing students?" she asks, indulgent and fond.
"Yes," Helena sighs, "They're no fun post-exams; too tired to really be any amusing"
"Good, now you can take me to Honeydukes. I want to buy some sugar-free candy."
"Honeydukes is all sugar, darling."
Myka laughs. "So you think," she says, "You could be surprised."
"No, I doubt I will" Helena tells Myka, "I think you just want to pretend the sugar quills aren't your favorite."
"They are not!"
"Oh Myka, lying to yourself is never good" Helena admonishes, and then grins. "Well, this is familiar. I seem to recall someone buying me candy after a particularly…interesting game."
"Not my fault you're easily distracted" Myka scoffs, but she's smiling as they get up.
"I'm actually not"
Helena turns and looks, despite herself, and Myka grins at her, quick and bright, devastatingly distracting. Helena falters for an instant, the quaffle slipping from her fingers ("WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING H.G") and Myka surges, plucks the quaffle from where it's falling, grips her broom tighter, and flies out, headed for the Slytherin goalposts. Helena thinks she can hear her brother laughing at her in the stands, and grits her teeth, chasing after Myka. There's a loud cheer from the Ravenclaw side, Myka has scored, and someone is so very dead.
Her captain pulls up in front of her, shaking. "You are going to get those points back" he says slowly, "And you are going to get over your ridiculous crush on that girl. Then you are going to play better. Understood?"
Helena nods, and glares at Myka from over her captain's shoulder, where she's laughing. She almost falls off her broom, she's laughing so hard, and Helena flies over, one hand reaching out to catch her. Green and blue robes mix, and Helena whispers into Myka's ear, "You are dead Bering, dead."
Myka straightens on her broom, smiling again. "Bring it on, Wells"
Ravenclaw wins, 165-130, and Helena corners Myka by the potions classroom.
Her smile is dark with promise, and Myka looks steadily at Helena. "I believe you mentioned something about death?"
Helena smiles slowly.
"Yes" she says, walking closer.
"Bring it on.")
The years-end feast is spent laughing with Myka, pointing out which students gave them the most trouble (Claudia, despite her pranks, is actually a good student, which makes her a favorite of Myka and Helena's). They share a laugh when the older Slytherins crane their necks, hoping to catch them snogging or something (as if they would—they're adults, and at the dinner table where there are children around), tease Pete about his girlfriend (Kelly, who works at Eyelops Owl Emporium), and possibly they poke fun at Professor Nielson and Madame Calder. Maybe they hold hands under the table, but that could be too juvenile, so mostly Myka follows Helena to her office, and the next morning they share tea and look forward to a summer without students.
(Myka is invited to the Wells summerhouse too.)
("—Myka have you seen—oh Merlin, really?"
"The door is closed for a reason."
"You're in the library! Again!"
"Door. Closed. Locked."
"Wizard. Magic. Open."
Myka carefully detangles herself from Helena, looking up to glare at Pete, "Get. Out."
Pete, faced with the twin glares of two very unhappy witches, wisely chooses to leave.)
(Leena catches them the next week, where she merely glares at them and mutters "Thank Merlin the students are leaving in a week," and let's them go back to Myka's office laughing, telling them "Next year, I will sic Christina on the both of you, if I catch you in public spaces again."
It's a fitting threat.)