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Brigit Langley for Fletcher Langley.
The Matchmaking Menace
This boy, then. He wasn't new. Wasn't one of the worst people in the common room, those rotten rich boys - like Mr. Jailkeeper - who could not fathom a world beyond their own farts. Was a good working class lad, so he'd heard. Had a bit of a weird looking face, and a bit of a weird thing for preaching. Still.Aubrey Davis in The Under-Sofa
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Raining Cookies
September 8, 1888 - Hogwarts , Lower Levels

Sybille almost couldn’t believe that she was at Hogwarts, after thinking about it so long she almost felt as if she were dreaming. Not only was she at Hogwarts but she had been sorted into Hufflepuff just like mother had been! To make that even better was the fact that Fleur had been too. Together they were unstoppable. Yes, it was a little weird not to be at home in her own room, to instead have roommates. But Tansy and Fleur were the very best roommates one could ask for.

A week at school and what Sybille really missed, however, was baking. Fleur had made it her mission to befriend everyone in hopes that they could help with the girls’ situation and Sybille certainly was going to do her part too. It was the Saturday after their first week of classes and she was going to find and befriend a house elf. But to do that she had to find the kitchens because that was where her siblings had told her they would be. She had brought along her last tin of cookies, both she and Fleur had decided that bringing cookies would help their cause and as such had had Fleur’s mother place charms to keep them from going stale for longer, in hopes that if she did manage to find a house elf they might enjoy her cookies and let her bake in the kitchens.

Someone had mentioned that the kitchens were in the corridors somewhere near the Hufflepuff common room, but beyond that Sybille was going blind. She wandered down hallway after hallway but with no luck. She had just turned another person when she ran right into them. Her tin of cookies flying open and raining treats down on them. They were the last of her cookies and Sybille almost felt she would cry!

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Mj's magical purty
Jemima had been making her way back to the common room, and making the most of her Saturday by not doing any homework at all. Her thoughts had gotten away with her, somewhat, because the next thing she knew, one of the youngest members of her house ploughed right into her!  

She only had a split-second to register the shock of red locks (ginger was so ungainly a colour for any girl, the poor dear), when a mass of objects started raining down, tossed up by the girl's tin. Jemima supposed, had she not been so startled, she would have put together what they were, but as it was - she let out a squeal of fear and leapt backwards from where the things were pelting her, flicking one off her shoulder as though it were a giant bug!

Well, they might well have been giant bugs, for all she knew! First years were always an unfathomable bunch. Heaving an obvious sigh and feeling tremendously stupid when she realised that they were only cookies now littering the stone floor around them, Jemima peered quickly at the girl, pursing her lips in the hope she would not be laughed at. "Oh - oh dear," she breathed instead, at the poor girl's expression.

bee is wonderful
Between the cookies raining down on them Sybille could make out one of the older girls that she thought she had seen in the common room in the past week. The girl’s dark hair bounced as he jumped backward with a squeal. Oh, no. She hadn’t meant to start the girl. Sybille could feel the tears building now. But, no, she was a young lady now, and young ladies didn’t cry. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.” She started as the cookies plopped with a finality to the ground. Sybille stared miserably at them. “They were the last ones I brought with me.” She tried to explain at the older girl’s exclamation, Sybille’s voice wavering terribly. “And now I can’t make anymore.” Her voice broke. Maybe she really was homesick.

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Mj's magical purty
It became plain in an instant that the younger girl would not think her reaction ridiculous, because the poor thing was quite clearly more visibly concerned about the fate of her cookies. "Oh, that's alright," Jemima assured her, to the first remark, though she scarcely knew what to say to the next: she was surprised to hear that the first year, whom she had thought to be of the upper class, had made them? That was odd, surely. Perhaps she meant her cook, from home?

Jemima had never found a problem with the culinary skills of the Hogwarts house elves, but she suspected saying so would not be much of a comfort right now.

"Perhaps they can be saved -" Jemima began hurriedly instead, dropping to her knees to try and rescue a cookie or two from the floor. She picked one up experimentally, looking over it as though for dirt - although it did not take much scrutiny to spot the layer of dust now coating it. "Maybe not," she murmured to herself, having second thoughts. Perhaps the house elves had just missed this hallway? Or perhaps castles merely attracted dust like nowhere else.  Either way, she frowned, hoping that the younger girl would neither insist that she eat it now, nor break out into tears.

bee is wonderful
The girl was kind enough to try and save them, even going to far as to plop down on the ground to pick them up. But Sybille, like any good baker, knew they could not be saved and even as the older girl sat down she was shaking her head. "No." She said sullenly as the girl held one up. The girl agreed and Sybille tried to remember her manners. "But thank you for trying."

Despite having had maids who would have swooped in to help her clean the mess, Sybille and cleaned up more spills off the kitchen floor then she would care to admit and so she knelt down on the floor and started to sweep the cookies into a pile. "I suppose I'll just have to wait till Christmas to make more." She told the girl, trying to keep the sullen tears and tone at bay. Maybe talking about how happy baking made her would do the trick?

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Mj's magical purty
Poor thing; she was very miserable about all this, wasn't she? Like a puppy had died, or something! She understood, to an extent; she had grown up with a well-developed sweet tooth; it was a shame. Jemima halfheartedly added the cookie she'd picked up to the younger girl's pile, regarding her more closely than she was the mess.

"It's no matter, really," Jemima remarked, doing her best to be bright and spritely and hope some of it rubbed off on the new Hufflepuff before she became too tiresome about it. "You mayn't have tried them yet, but I promise you the Hogwarts elves are wonderfully talented, and make all sorts of sweets and puddings of their own. And cookies too! You'll hardly miss yours, I expect."

bee is wonderful
No matter? Of course it mattered. Sybille already missed baking and she'd hardly been here a week. What was another week and another one after that. She missed the smell of baking cookies and the feel of bread dough in her hands.

At the girl's suggestion that she wouldn't even miss her own baking Sybille's eyes grew wide and she stared at the girl. She wouldn't miss her baking to eat, she knew that, but she'd miss the act of baking. If only she might be able to find a house elf and have them teach her what they knew, she was sure her baking would only taste better.

"Is there somewhere I can find the house elves?" She asked before she could stop herself. That probably wasn't a polite question.

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Mj's magical purty
Now the girl was staring at her very queerly, like her eyes were the size of a house elf's. Jemima was rather disconcerted.

"I mean, they send all the food up to the Great Hall tables by magic, so there's no need to see them directly; you can have those sorts of treats after any meal," she explained, veering into a tone that was entirely patronising as soon as she had decided that some eleven-year-olds just hadn't figured out common sense yet. (The girl was no Ravenclaw, that much was certain.) The house elves were discreet by nature - besides that one notoriously grumpy elf who one did not much want to bump into - and Jemima could not see why the younger girl would be any more interested in them than in the food.

"We're not supposed to visit the kitchens, really," Jemima added, bemused; but she did think it might be smart to try and cheer the girl up just a little - and it was not the biggest sin in the world, might be a school rule she had broken before when she was craving cake a little too much - "but they're not actually far from here," she confessed conspiratorially, lowering her tone cautiously. "We Hufflepuffs are rather lucky."

bee is wonderful
Now the girl sounded exactly like Avril, Sybille had to work to not pout. She had learned the desserts were always there at meals. But it wasn't the desserts she wanted and she didn't quite know how to explain that to the older girl.

All hopes of finding the elves and seeing if they would let her bake crashed to the floor in a shattered mess as the girl explained they weren't to visit the kitchens. Sybille's face was crestfallen even though she had suspected this was the case, a tear leaked down her face. But then there was a hint of hope in the next words. Sybille looked up at the girl with glassy eyes, "Oh?" There was no disguising her interest.

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Mj's magical purty
Good Merlin, the girl really did look as though she were going to cry over some spilt cookies!

Jemima had supposed she was a little soft, but these upper class children who had no idea of the world! They might cry and simply demand another, and get a whole new pile of cookies on a grand silver platter. (Although this girl might get upset about not having made them herself. Jemima was glad she was not the cook employed at the girl's house. Imagine what she must have to put up with!)

She sighed a little, at the girl's first hint of changed demeanour, big hopeful eyes. Oh, to be corrupting the youth like this! Jemima gave a defeated little shrug. "I can show you where to get in, if you like. But you mustn't tell anyone it was me." She had a reputation to uphold, and that was of a sensible, obedient, goody-two-shoes of a young lady - one who didn't have the appetite of an elephant.

bee is wonderful
"Would you?" Hope and excitement coated each syllable out of Sybille's mouth. "Oh, I promise I won't tell anyone. I only want to try and bake. I use to all the time at home and I miss it." Although at this point Sybille wasn't entirely sure if she was talking about missing baking or missing home in general.

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Mj's magical purty
If she were honest, she didn't much care about the girl's reasons, as long as she wasn't going to sneak in and trash the place or kick house elves for a laugh. Mostly, this would just get the first year off Jemima's back. Maybe she'd even forget about bumping into Jemima and dropping the last of her baked cookies.

"It's just this way," Jemima said with something of a sigh, trotting away to the corridor nearby where all the paintings that lined the passageway were pictures of fruit. She stopped in front of the one with the bowl of fruit. "It's this one, see," she instructed, a little pleased that she did have some special secret knowledge to impart to the Youth. "You've got to tickle the pear, and it'll let you in." She inclined her head at the painted pear, encouraging the ginger girl to try so she didn't think it was just a trick.

bee is wonderful
Sybille was use to the sighs of her siblings, especially Jolie’s. Most of them didn’t like that she baked, but Ace gave her the privilege as her parents had and so they left well enough alone with a sigh to indicate they thought it a bad idea. This girl clearly fell into that category. But Sybille didn’t care. She was going to the kitchens! She would be able to bake! Just wait until she told Fleur.

They stopped in front of a portrait of fruit in the middle of a corridor and Sybille began to wonder if perhaps the girl would go back on her word. But instead she insisted that this was actually the place. Sybille’s brow wrinkled, wondering if the girl was misleading her. But, too excited to consider how much more humiliated she could become, she stepped up to the portrait and tickled the pear as instructed.

Slowly the portrait swung open, emitting delicious smells of dinner and baked goods. Hordes of houselfs bustled around the kitchen immersed in their own activities as Sybille’s eyes grew wide. It was amazing! She’d never seen a kitchen so big. It took her a moment to even remember the older girl still stood there. “Oh! Thank you so much!” Sybille grinned, a real true grin, at the girl for the first time since they had run into each other.

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Mj's magical purty
The girl didn't just take her word for it: the portrait doorway opened to reveal the kitchens to them both. Strange as the little first year was, Jemima was rather gratified by the girl's evident glee at the scene.

"You're welcome," Jemima granted, returning the smile with a small shake of her head. "You'll be able to find your way back? I'm actually terribly busy -" she was in her OWL year now, after all, "so I'll leave you here to your exploring, I think." She explained, gently enough, nodding her head over towards the house elves. She wasn't worried about the girl. The Hogwarts elves were (mostly) perfectly friendly. And even if she got in trouble for being here, first years could always use the excuse they'd only shown up by accident. Everything one did in first year was entirely accidental.

"Well," Jemima added, clearing her throat, "I'll just - grab an iced bun, and then be on my way -" If she was here anyway...

bee is wonderful
Oh yes! Thank you very much!” Sybille’s attention had once again quickly fixed on the scene around her rather than the older girl. Thoughts of finding her way back seemed far away, surely she could find her way. She hoped. But for now… Well she’d keep very busy. She hardly noticed when the girl snagged a snack and made her way back out of the kitchens.

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Mj's magical purty

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