Episode 9: The Past and the Present

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Written and Directed by Humaira K and Gill P

Guest starring
Elisha Cuthbert as Sofia Conti
Eliza Dushku as Faith Lehane
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
Victor Garber as Jack Bristow
Helen Mirren as Constance

Sydney blinked her eyes open. The soft light streamed through her window and she yawned. Then she gave a start. “Hello?” she called, her voice echoing off the walls. Her field agent training kicked in and her body was in full alert. She was in a bed. Not restrained, she realized, catapulting her legs over the side. Sydney hit the floor with one smooth movement. She saw some clothes of hers on a chair nearby, so she slipped out of the strange pyjamas she was in and dressed quickly.

“Sydney?” said a gentle voice.

Sydney whipped around and her hands went up in a defensive Krav Maga position.

The healer smiled at her. “Sydney, what are you doing out of bed?” she scolded gently.

“Your stare swallows me/And I can hardly breathe/I feel it’s dangerous/Could be deadly/Somehow I’m willing to do the things you want/Take me in your arms/Spoon-feed my heart and.”

“Who are you?” Sydney replied.

“Sydney, my name is Miss Constance. You are currently at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. You’ve been admitted here on the insistence of Professor Dumbledore, your employer at Hogwarts,” Constance explained. “You had a bit of a run-in with one of our magical tools, the Pensieve.”

Sydney’s arms dropped to her side as she realized what Constance was saying was true.

“How long have I been here?”

“You’ve been in and out for the past few days. You’ve been here nearly a week.”

“Oh.”

“Why don’t you get back into bed? We’ll send for the Headmaster. He said he would like to speak with you when you were yourself again.” Constance turned to walk out the door.

“Um, Constance?” Sydney asked as she settled herself onto the bed.

“Yes?”

“I didn’t… do anything did I?”

Constance smiled sadly. “I’ll let the Headmaster explain what has happened to you.”

“Drip by drip/I’ll take it all/Sip by sip/I guess that it’s/Make or break/Boy here and now.”

Sydney leaned back on the pillows and struggled to remember what landed her in the hospital in the first place.

* * *

Sofia was finding it harder to keep up the pretence of being engaged to Draco then he was. Most of the Slytherins had figured out that they weren’t madly in love by now. After all, when they weren’t in public they ignored each other to the point of not noticing if the other was right beside them.

From her vantage point Sofia watched as Draco pored over his homework, idly making notes at some points. He was a nice boy, a good ally, but not a lover she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She had noticed the jealous looks directed at her after they had announced their engagement, and it was making her love life just that more difficult.

It was time to take some drastic action to quell the seeds of doubt about the validity of their arrangement. She wasn’t going to like it, but it had to be done.

“Send me away/I’m here on my own.”

Heaving herself off the comfortable couch, Sofia made her way over to Draco’s side. He lifted his head to notice her and she kissed him, deeply and fully stopping all conversation in the Common Room. Even Draco was too stunned to say anything. Smiling, Sofia exited leaving a startled Draco scurrying after her. She gave him a good chase as they found themselves beside the freezing lake.

“What the hell was that about?” shouted Draco with fury on his face. Really if they were going to act like lovers he could be pleased that she’d take the initiative.

“Time to put a few rumours to rest Draco. If the other Slytherins aren’t convinced we’re a couple, then why should your precious girlfriend be?” said Sofia idly watching the giant Octopus as it surfaced.

Draco was silent for a moment. She could almost see his brain processing this tidbit of information.

“You don’t want me to,” started Draco with a dawning horror, his face looked turned several shades paler.

Sofia couldn’t stand it anymore; she burst out laughing much to Draco’s annoyance. “Draco when will you ever learn? If I had wanted that don’t you think I would have actually been your girlfriend since first year? No Draco, the thought of that with you isn’t my number one priority, although if that’s what it takes to make sure we’re really seen as a couple we’ll do it. You’ve been a good friend to me Draco, but that’s all you ever were,” explained Sofia.

“Hammer, stutter now/Let’s rock, let’s roll now/She says I’m obsessed/I say I’m in love/Hold me/You’ve done it now/Now send me way out/I feel insecure/And desperate.”

“Well I have had better,” said Draco trying to repair his wounded pride.

“I haven’t, so what say we go back and practice being a couple a little more. I’ll try not to make it too much of a chore,” said Sofia in a husky voice coming closer to Draco so he could suddenly feel very warm despite it being freezing outside, “You can warm me up.”

Draco gulped, trying but failing to answer that with a witty remark. He couldn’t understand Sofia. One minute she blatantly said she was using him, and the next she was making him feel like there wasn’t enough air around. Women. He’d never understand them.

* * *

Professor Dumbledore’s broad frame filled the door to Sydney’s room at St. Mungo’s, a few moments after Constance had left her alone. She looked at him questioningly, but the sad look on his face alone broke her heart.

“Headmaster? Why am I here?” Sydney asked.

He conjured up a chair and placed it beside her bed. Dumbledore grasped her hand and looked at her gravely. “Due to your prolonged usage of the Pensieve, you became another person. You attacked a student, Miss Bristow. Granted, you were not yourself.”

“I – I what?”

He squeezed it gently. “Calm down Sydney. Jeremiah will be fine.”

“Oh no,” Sydney said, more to herself than Dumbledore. “Jeremiah was one of my favourite students. So eager to learn…”

“I know,” the Headmaster said softly. “I know that if you hadn’t been under the influence of the Pensieve, you would never intentionally harm a student.”

“We’re caught in a moment/And I won’t let it go/I am falling deeper, losing my control/Involved in a feeling/Like the blink of a eye/And the silence it belongs to you and I.”

Sydney nodded. She loved teaching. It had been her passion for years, even when she was still learning the truth about her mother. “What did the governors say?”

“Well, naturally, they asked for your resignation, effective immediately. Mine as well. I suppose your unfortunate incident, on top of the attack on Miss Darcy, they’ve had enough. They’re asking for the illogical solutions that one would come to in situations like this.”

“What did you tell them?”

“I said unequivocally that in all the years I have lived and worked at Hogwarts, there hasn’t been a time where I’ve never been able to protect my students and my professors. I’m not stepping down. And neither are you.”

“I appreciate your vote of confidence Headmaster, but with all due respect, perhaps they’re right,” Sydney said with a resigned sigh. “I abused the Pensieve, I should pay for my mistakes.”

“And what?” Dumbledore said, his blue eyes twinkling. “Deprive the future generations of Hogwarts students of your knowledge of the Muggle world? What an absurd thought.” He smiled at her, but Sydney was reluctant to return it. “As you can see, I’m not going to let you go without a fight,” Dumbledore continued. “And if it’s a fight you want, Miss Bristow, a fight you will get.”

Sydney blushed. “Thank you, Headmaster.”

“What do you know about regression therapy?” Dumbledore began, shifting gears.

Sydney raised her eyebrows. “It’s a technique the Muggle world uses, depending on who administers it, to recall memories. The CIA used it effectively on my friend, Will Tippin, to assist us during a mission.”

Dumbledore smiled. “Do you see why I can’t lose you? Your knowledge of the Muggle world is too vast to be used in your world. Imagine what you could do here in the wizarding world.” Dumbledore let go of her hand and stood up. “I’m going to speak to the healers and see if regression therapy would be effective in your rehabilitation.”

“And if the rehabilitation fails?” Sydney dared to ask.

“I have faith, Miss Bristow, that you will be back teaching at Hogwarts in no time.” He looked out the door and nodded to whoever was out there. “I believe you have a visitor, Sydney.”

Sydney looked at the open door, and her face lit up, as Severus swished in, his face flushed.

“Broke through barriers/And passed a state of mind/I’m not scared no more/It feels divine/So take me in/And catch me when I fall/I’m waiting on the edge/Uncut my soul.”

“I’ll leave you two to it then,” Dumbledore said, leaving the two of them behind in search of a healer.

* * *

Jack Bristow watched the delighted look on his daughter’s face as she received her boyfriend. The Headmaster of the school she worked at gave him a polite nod and then disappeared. He was getting used to this disappearing thing by now.

He gave Sydney and Severus a few minutes to themselves, noting that Severus was so gentle with his daughter, like she would break if he held her too long. A ghost of a smile flitted across his lips. He had been like that when she had been born. It had not been possible that he and Laura had been blessed with this small miracle who made every day an adventure.

Sydney looked at the doorway, and that was his queue to go in. The smile she had been holding together for Severus’s sake died as soon as she laid eyes on her father. He nearly ran the distance between them just so not even one tear would be shed in her misery.

“It’s OK sweetheart, I’m here,” he said hugging her close to him. She heaved great choking sobs that clenched his heart to see his child in so much pain. Severus had discreetly disappeared; Jack had to give points to the man for doing that.

“Daddy,” said Sydney, a word she’d rarely used since childhood.

Jack rocked his daughter until there were no more tears left in her broken body. “Why didn’t you contact me, sweetheart?” he said when they had been quiet for a while.

“I thought after our last encounter, you wouldn’t really want to talk to me. I thought I could handle it on my own. I thought I could deal with watching myself go through that,” started Sydney before she heaved dry sobs and Jack’s heart once again broke for his daughter.

“Snip by snip/I’m oozing it/Bit by bit/I’m taking it/Step by step/Boy here and now.”

“I wanted a child. When I was out of the agency for good. I thought with my new job I’d have the peace I needed, that I deserved. But that thing showed me everything. I saw was all the bad memories of my life, Dad. But I saw some good ones as well. You and Mom, laughing and in love,” continued Sydney.

“They’re good memories sweetheart,” was all Jack would say before he too clammed up. Father and daughter held each other trying to fix the broken souls that resided in their tired bodies.

Sydney eventually fell asleep in her father’s arms like she had when she was a little girl. Jack gently laid her down, and kissed her forehead. She was in so much pain, but she was strong. They had raised one hell of a woman, and she would overcome this. As soon as he found out who had hurt his daughter, Jack was going to make sure they never woke up.

“We’re caught in a moment/And I won’t let it go/I am falling deeper, losing my control/Involved in a feeling/Like the blink of a eye/And the silence it belongs to you and I.”

“Let me help you,” said Severus as Jack stepped outside of the hospital. He would be back tomorrow, and the day after. As long as Sydney needed him.

“Help me with what?” said Jack ever cautious.

“Revenge,” said Severus with a serious look on his face.

“I thought you didn’t do that anymore,” said Jack reluctantly respecting the man for knowing what he was going to do.

“Not when the woman I love is affected Jack. Priorities change. I think we should let her deal with the revenge though. We could use all the help we can though,” began Severus, his mind already working.

Jack thought this over, if Sydney pointed them in the right direction they could make sure that when it finally came down to it, she would be the one to exact revenge.

“What do you have in mind?”

* * *

“Headmaster!” Faith exclaimed. “I can’t teach!”

Professor Dumbledore smiled kindly down at Faith, as she stared up at him in total surprise. “It’s no secret that Professor Bristow will be indisposed for a while. In her unfortunate absence, we need someone to cover her classes. My other professors already have full course loads and I would hate to inconvenience them in any way. Naturally, since you are a Muggle, Muggle Studies will come easily to you. I’m sure you could handle it. I always ask my professors to lay out their plans for the school a year in advance. This time, we’ve actually had to use them.”

“Look, Albus – can I call you that?”

“Certainly.”

“Albus, I’m not a teacher. I could barely get through high school. I’ve never been very good with authority figures. I don’t know if I could be one.”

“Faith. That’s an interesting name. I think it fits you and you could do wonders with it here.”

“The reason I had to get away from helping Hagrid was because my hands were full with karate club,” Faith reminded him. “I’m not even supposed to be here. I was only going to keep the karate club going.” ‘Well karate club, and now my little pet project with Anastasia,’ she thought to herself. “Teaching – in front of students – that’s just…”

“I’m better off like this/I’m better off/I’m better off like this.”

Dumbledore placed his hands on her shoulders and smiled again. There was something in his eyes that Faith couldn’t help but trust. And she made it a point never to trust a man (or woman) with a good smile. “Like I told Miss Bristow today, I have faith.”

Faith sighed. “Promise I can give it back when Syd comes back?”

“Yes. This is only a temporary position.”

“And if anything goes wrong…”

“Nothing will go wrong, Miss Lehane. I’m sure talking about your world will come easily. In fact, you could include a section on Slayers.”

“Well, I guess I could…”

“You don’t sound all that eager,” Dumbledore teased.

“Thank you, Headmaster,” Faith said, sticking her hand out. Dumbledore enveloped her small hand into his large one and shook it. “Thank you very much.”

“Very well. You’ll start tomorrow. Good luck.”

“I wish I was myself again/I wish I was myself again.”

As Dumbledore walked away, Faith said aloud, “What the hell have I got myself into?”

* * *

Wesley was not happy. Anastasia Darcy had near enough blackmailed him into coming here and now the one person he had taken to avoiding for the last few weeks was staring at him. “What are you doing here?” he asked in an irritated tone.

“Since I was blackmailed to come here, I’d say the same thing you are,” said Faith in an amused tone.

Anastasia watched as the two interacted and decided to break it up before they got any real training done.

“When I, thought I knew you/Thinking, that you were true/I guess I, I couldn’t trust/’Cause your bluff time is up/’Cause I’ve had enough/You were, there by my side/Always, down for the ride/But your, joy ride just came down in flames/’Cause your greed sold me out of shame, mmhmm.”

“Look, you’re both here to help me train like a Slayer. And since you’re a Slayer and you’re a Watcher, I’d say the two of you go hand in hand. I need you two and you need each other,” said Anastasia stopping them from breaking into an argument.

“I don’t need her,” said Wesley stubbornly.

“Yes you do. Without her you can’t show me how a Slayer would do stuff. And before you say anything,” Anastasia continued, shooting Faith a glare, “You need him because he can train you and me in forms of fighting we wouldn’t know so that I can defeat Bellatrix.”

Wesley and Faith sobered up quickly during Anastasia’s speech.

“Do you really think this is a good idea Anastasia? I mean there are other people who could take her down,” said Faith gently.

Anastasia shook her head, “That woman took away something I’ll never get back. A chance of happiness. And she’ll keep taking it away until she’s dead. She’s hell bent on revenge Faith. Now she’s put my parents in danger, I have no choice. It’s personal.”

“There’s always a choice Anastasia, but since you seem hell bent on revenge, the best we can do for you and your parents is to at least teach you to the best of our abilities,” Wesley said looking over at Faith.

Sighing she nodded her head in agreement.

The lesson began as Wesley instructed Anastasia in techniques Faith had learned from her old Watcher, and some more that she hadn’t. By the time the lesson finished Anastasia had gotten better at disarming and attacking then she had been previously.

With a smile, she left the pair alone promising to see them both tomorrow.

Faith turned to get away from Wesley as fast as possible before he intercepted her. Taking a deep breath he said sincerely, “I’m sorry. I know you were only trying to help, but she has to be alive. I have to fix this.”

Faith turned around and stared at Wesley for a long while before she said, “She’d forgive you. I know I would.”

“‘Cause it makes me that much stronger/Makes me work a little bit harder/It makes me that much wiser/So thanks for making me a fighter/Made me learn a little bit faster/Made my skin a little bit thicker/Makes me that much smarter/So thanks for making me a fighter.”

Walking away from him, she left Wesley staring into space as the force of her words hit him.

* * *

“We should do something,” Hermione said resolutely. Though it was beginning to get cold, it was still warm enough for the students to take their homework outside and enjoy the last vestiges of autumn.

“Something for Professor Bristow?” Meliza asked. “I’m down with that. She could use some cheering up, let her know that we’re thinking about her.”

“What can we do? It’s not like they’ll let us just waltz off, even to visit Sydney,” Ron reminded them.

“Professor Dumbledore understands,” said Hermione. “I’m sure he can make an exception.”

“Wanna bet?” Ron retorted.

“I don’t believe you know me/Though you know my name/I don’t believe the faults I have/Are only mine to blame/I don’t believe that magic/Is only in the mind/I don’t believe I’d love somebody/Just to pass the time.”

“Mel, you seen Anastasia anywhere?” Harry said quietly as Hermione and Ron continued to bicker. Seamus rolled his eyes and buried his head into his Ancient Runes homework.

“No, I thought she was with you,” Meliza replied. “But I didn’t say anything. I didn’t think it was my place. I mean, I haven’t really talked to her since you know.”

“I’m worried about her. Since the attack, she hasn’t really been herself. I keep trying to get her to talk, but there’s something she’s not telling me. And it didn’t help when the Daily Prophet ran that stupid article either.”

“You get that feeling too?” Meliza said gravely. “It’s like she’s distancing herself from us.”

“I don’t know why,” Harry added. “I’ve been trying to open up to her. But sometimes it’s like she doesn’t even hear me.”

“Hey guys!” Anastasia called cheerfully from behind them. Her arms were loaded down with books and her bag. Meliza and Harry pulled away quickly and sent her matching cheesy smiles. “Talking about me, then?” Anastasia teased, sitting between them.

“Of course,” Harry said nonchalantly.

“Good things, I hope,” she said, kissing him softly on the cheeks.

“No, actually we were talking about that terrible hairstyle you had the other day,” Meliza joked. “Absolutely frightening.”

Anastasia elbowed her friend, who smiled in response, and opened her books.

“But I believe in you/And I believe in you.”

“So should we ask?” Hermione asked everyone breathlessly.

“I’m right behind you ‘Mione,” Meliza said, giving her a thumbs up.

“Okay, I’ll talk to Professor Dumbledore.”

* * *

The students greeted her warily, their last Muggle Studies teacher had gone mad, this one was a murderer and a Slayer. At least they couldn’t say Dumbledore wasn’t creative when picking his teaching staff.

Faith nervously smoothed down her skirt, the first time she’d ever worn one since she was a little girl. But that was what teachers wore right? Sensible skirts. Oh god, what had she gotten herself into?!

“OK, I’m gonna start by saying that Professor Bristow is not gonna teach you for a while. She’s recovering in hospital. I’m your temporary teacher, and I’ll do the best I can. Some of you know me from the Karate classes I teach, but for those of you who don’t, I’m Professor Lehane. I’ll follow Professor Bristow’s lesson plan, so you won’t be unprepared, but I have to say I’m nervous,” said Faith looking her startled students in the eye, “It’s not a sign of weakness, OK maybe it is, but rest assured what happened with Professor Bristow won’t happen with me. Unless you really piss me off.”

“Secretly I let it slip/Emotional I fall through it/All I know I’m losing my control/I’m down your way too far/And there’s no turning back/And now I’m shedding all my fears/I know, I know.”

The class gulped unanimously. The news had spread like wildfire; most of the students liked the Muggle Studies teacher and had been shocked at her attack of a student. This new teacher didn’t look any more stable, but she was all they had.

“So let’s get started on today’s lesson which is on how the Muggle home works. Remember for your practical exam in the summer the examiners are going to see how you interact in a real Muggle home without magic. I’ll ask professor Dumbledore if we can do a practice test before the Christmas vacation so you’ll have some idea of what’s gonna be in the exam.

“Let’s get started. The main features of a Muggle home consist of a living room, dining room, kitchen and toilet facilities. While most homes have one of each the bathrooms and bedrooms can be more than one…”

After the lesson had finished Faith slumped into her chair, exhausted.

“You did well,” said Severus coming out of the shadows. Faith jumped into a fighting position before she could identify the intruder.

“Oh Severus. Hi,” said Faith putting down her arms.

“You know I am getting tired of people jumping into defence positions every time I enter a room,” said Severus smiling.

“Oh my god! You smiled! Call the newspapers!” joked Faith as she watched Sydney’s boyfriend make his way further into the room.

Severus even graced her with a laugh, which made her grin. Her expression turned sombre though when she asked, “How’s Syd?”

Severus abruptly stopped laughing and a haunted look entered his eyes, “She’s recovering. Thank you for asking.”

“And how are you?” asked Faith gently.

Severus didn’t answer as the true force of the last few weeks hit him, “Not so well.”

“We’re caught in a moment/And I won’t let it go/I am falling deeper, losing my control/Involved in a feeling/Like the blink of a eye/And the silence it belongs to you and I.”

Faith nodded and the pair sat in companionable silence before Faith’s next class.

Fade out

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