A Sixth Year Story: Voldemort's Return brings in the International Confederation and a team from the North American Wizarding Confederation to take control. In this chapter, Tabitha returns to Bri...
Saturday, August 24, 1996
Salem Witches Institute
Tabitha Stephanie Spellman was an enigma, even to herself. She knew little for certain of her heritage, except that it was magical. She had appeared on the steps of the Ysgol, the first witching academy in the Americas (founded in what is now northern Maine in 1524, nearly a century before the Muggles started establishing colonies in that part of North America) nude and wrapped in blankets on July 4, 1968. She had been a ten or eleven year old child, whose personal memories had been wiped. In their place, she had been given a vast knowledge of wizarding and Muggle history and culture, and was fluent in many languages. More than enough money had been left with her to sustain her through school in near-luxury and to give her a good start on life.
The only clue to who she might be was the note that came with her, claiming she was born on June 21 and had no Muggle blood. Debate had raged on if she was a tallish 10 year old or shortish 11 year old, but she had shown enough magical ability to start school the next September. The general consensus was that she likely the product of a powerful, wealthy wizard (which would account for the powerful memory modifications and the large lump sum left with her) and either a Squib or Muggle mother. Years of research finally showed one powerful Old Believer clan had produced a Squib of the right age and general appearance to have been Tabitha's mother. This Squib had disappeared in 1956, when she'd been kicked out of her home (for her family did not tolerate Squibs) at 17. When finally traced in 1971, it was discovered she had indeed had given birth to a daughter in June 1958, had lived in the Muggle world (which might account for the use of such an obvious Muggle pseudonym for the child), and had died in March, 1968, from injuries sustained the month before in an auto accident. Her daughter disappeared from her Muggle school on the Florida Gulf coast right after the funeral.
Tabitha resembled the descriptions and Muggle photos of the daughter, but that wasn't absolute proof. If Tabitha had a good idea who her mother had been, she had no idea who the father was. Her mother's family claimed no official knowledge of her heritage, but did send her a small allotment, 'just in case'.
The Ysgol had been founded by a group of scholars who had, for the most part, been educated at Hogwarts. They therefore followed the same curriculum and had a similar House structure, named the Orange, Green, Blue (corresponding to Gryffindor), Red (Slytherin), White (Ravenclaw) and Brown (Hufflepuff) dragons. She had been sorted as a Green Dragon, more cunning than the ambitious Reds, intellectual without being as scholarly as the Whites.
She had earned twelve of the Ysgol's version of the O.W.L.s, and a N.E.W.T. in all seven of her subjects (Charms, Transfiguraton, Potions, History, Muggle Studies, Runes, and Arithmancy). Despite not taking the last two years of Defense, she had been on her House dueling team. After graduation, she had gone to Muggle universities, getting BA's in Classics and Anthropology, and MA's in modern history, history of science, and political science. At the same time she was getting her first degrees at various Boston universities, she was an apprentice in spell weaving and potions at the Salem Witches Institute, one of the few centers of advanced magical training in North America. She had gone past the level of Master in both.
She had volunteered to go to Britain in 1980 to help fight Voldemort. Between 1985, when she had finished her magical and Muggle training, and 1992, she had worked part-time as a researcher at the Institute and part-time for the North American Confederation as a trouble-shooting investigator. After helping to bring down a would-be Dark Wizard in Utah, she had retired to a full-time research position back in Salem.
Now she had letters she couldn't ignore, calling her back into battle. She glanced through the package of letters and files until she found the ones she had to reread.
/THE TEMPORARY GOVERNING COUNCIL /
/MINISTRY OF MAGIC /
/FOR BRITAIN AND IRELAND /
Enclosed you will find a one year teaching contract for Hogwarts. Please sign and come over quickly; we need you. Why we need you in Britain you no doubt can guess. Why at Hogwarts? Because it really does seem as young Potter is and will be at or near the center of events. There also seems to be a fair amount of intrigue amongst the Pure-Blood students, aimed at Potter, his friends, and the school in general. We will need several people here to keep an eye on things. I have written to Hilda, just in case she does not want to let you go.
What would we have you do? Officially, we are shaking things up a bit, and bringing in several people to teach. This will give all the faculty more time to look after the students in general. It will also give selected people (including you) extra time to tutor young Potter and perhaps up to five of his friends. If the pattern of the last several years is repeated, Voldemort will attack Potter at some point during the year, and we want him and his friends prepared just in case all other defenses fail.
Most specifically, what shall you teach at Hogwarts? A chunk of the Fifth and Sixth year curriculum: Charms (5th-two sections & 6th); Potions (5th-two sections); Muggle Studies (5th); Runes (5th & 6th); and Arithmancy (6th). You will therefore be teaching Potter and his five close friends, and the apparent leader of the pro-Voldemort students, who is named Draco Malfoy (enclosed are copies of their student files).
Tabitha reread each of the files carefully, noting that she would only be teaching Potter (and his friends Weasley and Longbottom) Charms, while she would be teaching Granger and Malfoy Charms, Runes, and Arithmancy. She would have the two Fifth year girls for Charms, Potions, and Muggle Studies, plus Lovegood for Runes.
We would have liked to have given you Fifth and Sixth year history, but decided we needed you to be able to devote some time to security. (Tabitha snorted. This wasn't a heavy schedule, but it wasn't terribly light, either, since she'd never taught these subjects at this low a level.) Obviously, we will be paying you a full salary. We need you not just for your academic skills, but for your dueling and research skills and logic and, we hope, to help mentor these teens. Toby will be leading our efforts at Hogwarts, and Tom Lawrence will be there as well. I'm sure you know Harry Dorff is on the Council; his brief includes keeping an eye on Hogwarts.
/THE TEMPORARY GOVERNING COUNCIL /
/MINISTRY OF MAGIC /
/FOR BRITAIN AND IRELAND /
My Dear Tabitha:
I promised Tudor to write, to implore you to come to help us. I have been given a long list of reasons why you should come, which I shall ignore. Come because we need you. I have just learned that one of Harry Potter's friends is, like you, a long-time mundane Dreamwalker, who has just awakened the same power in young Harry. They will need your help, especially Harry, who has reasons for nightmares that few others could withstand.
/THE TEMPORARY GOVERNING COUNCIL /
/MINISTRY OF MAGIC /
/FOR BRITAIN AND IRELAND /
August 20, 1996
I don't know why Tudor wishes me to write and ask you to come to Hogwarts to help us. We need you, and you have never failed in your duty.
Yes, it may be hard for you to work indirectly under my supervision. I assure you, I have no control over you in the class room, and I think you would be as willing to follow me as I will follow your advice. Working with Toby at the school will be more difficult, but I'm as certain he will be professional in professional situations as I am he will be a gentleman in private, unless you finally give in to his infatuation (if you do, you know he will try to go from lap dog to top dog, right?). Tom will be there, and you can always use him as a buffer, in the unlikely chance you need one. I shall not try to restart our relationship without a direct invitation.
I also wrote to Sabrina, so she can put all the blame on her godfather instead of me. Tudor can take it.
all my love
Please come to Hogwarts. Even if you refuse me yet again, I can think of no other person whose intelligence, bravery, and knowledge could help us more. If you wish to remain just friends, we shall. If you wish for me to fall at your beautiful feet and worship you, I shall do that, too.
Tabitha sighed. Henry, Tom, and Toby, especially Toby, were complications she did NOT need in her life again. Teaching students in their mid-teens, instead of the young women at Salem, was not something she desired either.
She stood and looked in the mirror. Witches age at very variable speeds compared to Muggles. A witch of 75 could look anywhere between the Muggle ages of 35 and 75. A witch of 150 could look like a healthy Muggle of 60 or an aged crone. So far, Tabitha was lucky and at 38 still looked young enough that the cruelest Muggle woman would guess her age as 24 or 25. Men were often an unwelcome distraction to her, especially persistent ones like Toby Jones. Still, she decided, she couldn't say no.
After a final sigh and a grimace, Tabby went off to see the Headmistress, only hoping Hilda had already read her letter from Myrddin.
Sunday, August 25, 1996
Ron and Hermione returned to the Grimmauld Mews a little after 10:00 Sunday morning. Over Ron's objections ("It's the last week of vacation!") the other teens had quickly worked out a study and workout schedule for the rest of the week. They would be returning to Diagon Alley one day that week, but the exact day had not yet been announced.
Dinner was a formal affair that Sunday. Besides Molly and Arthur, Fred, George, and Bill were present, as were Dumbledore, Tonks, Remus, and six members of the Order that the teens only knew by sight. There was also one stranger.
She was a tall, young, willowy, very attractive woman with slightly blondish red hair and green eyes even more startling than Harry's. The two male Order members, and the twins, seemed to be awe-struck by her, and even Neville and Ron seemed to be sneaking glances at her when they hoped Ginny and Hermione weren't looking. Remus and Arthur, who had strong senses of self-preservation, managed not to stare, although they also snuck looks. Compared to a quarter-veela, Bill at least did not find her terribly fascinating. Dumbledore seemed amused by this by-play, and some of the females gave the newcomer dirty looks.
Harry was just curious. Harry judged the beauty of redheads by his mother, and this witch didn't come close in his opinion.
"I would like to introduce one of our new American colleague," Dumbledore stated. "Miss Tabitha Spellman."
Hermione gave a rather undignified snort, which drew some odd glances towards her.
After Dumbledore introduced everyone, he went on speaking directly to the teens. "Miss Spellman is a very respected member of the Dark Forces Defense League, a Master at Spell Weaving and Potions, and very knowledgeable in areas of culture, charms, and defense. We are quite fortunate to have one of the premier researchers and teachers from Salem to help us out. She will be teaching some sections of the Fifth and Sixth year curriculum, and along with Remus, will be your unofficial tutor and supervisor."
"What will you be teaching?" Harry asked, directing it to both Spellman and Remus.
"Fifth and Sixth year Charms and Runes; Fifth year Potions and Muggle Studies; and Sixth year Arithmancy," she answered, and then glanced at Remus.
"I'll be doing First through Fourth year Defense," Remus answered.
"We are doing this to allow the staff more time for security work," Dumbledore explained. "Professor Flitwick, for example, will not be taking on any other formal classes, but will coaching a Third and Fourth year Dueling Club, while Remus here handles and First and Second years. Another visitor will be helping out as well."
"Meaning the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh years?" Harry asked.
"Mister Jones will be teaching the Fifth and Sixth years, Professor Snape will be teaching the Seventh. Mister Jones shall also be coaching the Fifth and Sixth years who wish to learn dueling, of course, and we do not think the Seventh years will really have time for dueling."
"I think we can talk over dinner," Molly interrupted. "Everyone sit and enjoy."
"Thank you," Tabitha said, in a way to include both Molly and George, who had held her chair. She turned to look at Molly. "Salem is probably the institute most integrated into Muggle customs, but we never get food like this. It's been a while since I've had a genuine British full roast beef dinner."
"You're familiar with British customs then?" Hermione asked.
"I was a student at the Ysgol, which maintains a number of British customs, at least by North American standards. And I spent well over a year here in 1980 and 1981, as part of the American Light Force Volunteers." This was a group who had joined in the fight against Voldemort between 1978 and 1981. The Ministry had opposed their involvement at the time.
"The Volunteers were a great help to the Order," Dumbledore said quietly. "They fought hard, and took many casualties."
"Yes, we did," Tabitha said sadly. "Still, I think we hurt them more than they ever hurt us!"
The other members of the Order seemed to relax with that information. Tabitha was accepted as one of the group.
After dinner, Tabitha walked the teens back to the mews. They sat in silence for a few minutes in the little common area. "Nothing to ask?" she finally asked.
"What's your real name?" Hermione asked. Tabitha smiled.
"All right, I'll bite," Ron asked. "Why wouldn't Tabitha Spellman be her real name?"
Hermione didn't roll her eyes, but instead looked at Harry. "Don't look at me! Whatever the reference is, I don't get it either!"
"My name is actually two separate references to American Muggle culture. There was a comic book character called Sabrina, the Teen-age Witch, and her last name was Spellman. There was also an American television series called Bewitched, about a witch named Samantha who married a very muggle Muggle named Darren Stevens. The characters later had a daughter named Tabitha. My name is Tabitha Stephanie Spellman. To put things briefly, I am a foundling. After years of investigation, it has been shown I am most likely the child of a wizard and a Squib. I have everything but legal proof of who the Squib was, but she is long dead. Her family, a very powerful magical clan, do not fully accept me, since to them a Squib is no longer part of the family. I've no idea who my father might have been. Does that satisfy you, Ms Granger?"
Hermione flushed, but nodded.
"What did you do with the Volunteers?" Ginny asked.
"I assisted in shifting through intelligence, and fought in three pitched fire fights. I was perhaps the fifth person to arrive at Godric's Hollow, not that there was anything to do by then. The Ministry managed to ship us out in mid-November."
"Did you know my father, or Sirius?" Harry asked eagerly.
"I never really met Sirius Black. I knew your father slightly better, and knew your mother very well. After all, the Fidelius was only done in early October, 1981. We may talk about that time of my life after we know each other better."
"Why did they ask you to come?" Ginny asked. "Other than because you were here before, that is."
"As opposed to any number of other witches?" Ginny nodded. "In part because Tudor Myrddin, Master J, Harry Dorff, and Toby Jones all know me fairly well. While I was a foundling, I was a ten year old foundling. My personal memories of my childhood were destroyed, presumably by my father. They were overlaid by a great deal of useful information, but I'm sure I could have learned most of it the conventional way. I was already talented enough to start school. Tudor was a Seventh year my First year, the School Prefect, our version of Head Boy. Harry was in my House and year, while Toby was a few years behind us and in another House. Now the Ysgol always has at least a few students staying over the summer, and Tudor was staying that summer. Since he was also in my House, he helped to look after me that summer. He's a bit like my big brother. Master J was later one of my teachers, and Harry and I dated many years ago. Toby would like to."
Ron grinned. "Toby?"
"I would advise you not to call him Tobias, let alone Toby," Tabitha warned.
"Toby," Ron said with a smirk of satisfaction.
Tabitha turned to Hermione. "He doesn't listen, does he?"
Hermione smiled back. "Not too well or too often."
"Now, why don't you fill me in on where everyone is in their preparations for the fall."
"Whose fall?" Neville asked.
"Sorry, for the autumn," Tabitha corrected herself. "Fall is the English term for the season, and its usage carried over to American English. Autumn is the French term, and like many words has replaced the Anglo-Saxon root in modern British usage."
"She talks like Hermione," Ron grumbled.
"Thank you," Tabitha and Hermione said together, which made everyone except Ron laugh.
Tabitha reviewed everyone's academic status and looked over the study session schedule for the rest of the week. She talked to the teens about their hobbies (the students had looked at her blankly -- Luna, Harry, and Ginny didn't have any, and Ron didn't think Hermione's extra reading or Neville's extra gardening really counted, which just left his chess). She then played Ron a game of chess, beating him rather easily, to his surprise. Then she sighed and tore up the schedule.
"Now, from the time you wake up until Ten-thirty, you need to do your workouts and Occlumency. From Ten-thirty until Eleven-thirty, you'll be dueling with me. From Six-fortyfive until Seven-thirty, you can study or read as you like, although the only thing I think any of you actually NEED to study to for your three to keep working on the anatomy." They had told her there would be an anatomy test their first week which they had to pass to continue the course.
"This year is going to be stressful, just like your last. You each need a hobby. Think about that tonight."
"I can't do chess?" Ron asked.
"Do you wish to play seriously, or just play, like you do know?"
Ron frowned. "Seriously," he finally answered.
"And I can't garden?" Neville asked.
"Yes, and I have an idea about that. And no, Ms Granger, you may NOT read. You wouldn't read for fun, and you need something to take your mind off your studies and your problems."
"She could knit," Ron teased.
Hermione flushed. "Not very well."
"It's a perfectly acceptable past time," Tabitha stated.
"Do YOU knit?" Hermione demanded.
"No, I crochet."
"Oh . . . all right."
"No more elf caps," Harry pleaded. "Since you don't own the house elves, picking up one won't free them. All it does is make them feel you don't care about their feelings. Dobby had to clean the entire tower himself last year."
"Really?" Hermione said, now even more embarrassed. There had been a detailed reference to S.P.E.W. in her file, so Tabitha understood the reference.
"What about you three?"
"Actually, I rather enjoy knitting, too," Ginny admitted.
"The only thing I enjoy doing is flying," Harry said.
"Have you ever worked with your hands?"
"Not to make anything."
"And I just enjoy doing rune puzzles and the like," Luna complained.
"Well, we'll work something out for the two of you. I'll see you in the morning."
"Wait!" Hermione demanded. "You haven't said what we're going to be doing in the afternoons!"
"No, I haven't, have I?" Tabitha smiled and left.