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Interview with a Headmaster
Emeline took slow careful steps as she made her way across the large expanse of grass that lay between her and her alma mater. She knew from experience that the greenery was riddled with holes and bumps that were sure to trip her if she didn’t stay on guard. She had been injured many times in the dueling club back in her Hogwarts days, but none of those injuries surpassed the severity of ones caused by her own clumsiness. The infirmary had been one of her regular places to study. Eventually, she’d even worked it into her daily schedule.

Emeline was pulled from her musings at the sound of her shoes hitting hard stone instead of grass. She’d arrived at the main entrance. The clock tower stood above her in all its glory, the hour hand midway between eight and nine. Not uncommon for this time of year, the birds had decided to congregate in this area of the castle as they went about with their chorus of song. Early in the summer, Emeline found the sound cheerful. However, the heat had quickly made her irritable and their voices only worsened her mood.

Emeline stepped into the castle, her mind quickly generating memories from her youth. She wondered if the kitchen still made the brownies with coconut, butterscotch, and chocolate. If they did, her first meal at the school was certainly near the top of her list of things to look forward to should she be given the position.

She’d been told to meet Headmaster Black at the entrance to his office. Of course, she remembered Phineas Black from her days as a student. He’d been her head of house after all. She couldn’t remember having a conversation with him outside of the usual passing pleasantries. From what she remembered; he hadn’t been a particularly cheerful man. In fact, she had difficulty picturing his face with any other expression besides the frown that lingered in her minds eye. Had he ever smiled to her knowledge? Emeline couldn’t be sure. She’d usually been too absorbed in her reading to pay much attention to the people around her. It wasn’t entirely shocking that she had only vague memories of the man.

She wondered if he would remember her. It would be best to expect him not to. It would avoid any future embarrassment. However, Emeline couldn’t help but hope he knew of her studious nature. Though the decision of her hire wasn’t entirely his decision, as far as she knew he still had some influence and she hoped to give herself as much of an edge as possible. Her thoughts drifted to the position itself. Would he have an automatic distaste for anyone seeking the role, given it was once his? Emeline certainly hoped this wasn’t the case. It would make the coming interview that much more difficult for her.

She stopped in her tracks, realizing she’d been circling the same corridor near the Headmaster’s office for a much more significant amount of time than was likely proper. She cleared her throat and gently coughed int her hand. She quickly rounded the corner and positioned herself next to the entrance to Headmaster Black’s office. She hoped she wouldn’t have to wait too terribly long. Nine couldn’t be too far off now.

Emeline clasped her hands together at her waist and straightened her spine. Hopefully the coming conversation wouldn’t live up to the nightmarish daydreams she’d concocted thus far.
July 10, 1889 - Hogwarts

Of all the things Phineas would rather be doing right now, humoring the Board of Governors over a new hire was not one of them. It wasn't like they listened to him anyway, what was the point? They had their greedy little claws dug so deep into the school it was a miracle he even had a position or responsibilities at all these days. As if they knew just what exactly it took to run the school itself day in and day out. He was a busy man after all, even when the students were not in the castle, and he had shit to do.

Needless to say he was already in a foul mood when the clock struck nine and he started to head down the steps from his office to greet the potential hire. Who had already arrived. Well, half a point for promptness. But only half.

"Miss Thorpe," He greeted, with a nod, but no hint of recognition on his features. The name sounded familiar, she was old enough to have actually been his student in potions rather than just as Headmaster, but if he bothered to remember every student across his teaching career, he would have no room for anything else in his brain. "Thank you for your punctuality, please, come in." Phineas waved an absentminded hand in the direction of his office and since the door was open, let the lady ascend the stairs first.

Once inside, he resumed his seat behind his desk, only once he'd offered a chair to Miss Thorpe in the ones across from him. "What is it that's been keeping you busy these days, Miss Thorpe?" Merlin's beard he hoped she had some relative experience.

“Toujours Pur.”

deep quote code by Soph ♥ av by MJ
Emeline shifted in her seat as the Headmaster watched with his unnervingly dark eyes. She bit her lip and opened her mouth to speak.

“Well, I worked under a potions master for a few years after graduation,” Emeline started tentatively. “I ended up in a research lab in London after that, my main focus being the study of pneumonia and its effects on the magical population.” Emeline found herself gaining momentum as she talked about her work. She had truly enjoyed her time at the lab. She considered her time there some of the best in her life so far.

“I was in the process of developing a sort of immunization for witches and wizards, as the disease had managed to mutate in the lungs of various hosts and developed the ability to infect magical beings.”
Emeline frowned slightly as she continued, her mind running through the shocking end of her research.

“Unfortunately, my research was put to a rather abrupt halt when the lab that employed me was closed due to lack of funding from the ministry.”

Emeline rearranged herself again, uncrossing her legs and setting her feet on the floor before continuing to fidget. She cleared her throat.

“I do love children of course. I look forward to the brilliant thoughts and revelations of the next generation and I hope to do my best in cultivating the minds of today’s youth.”

Emeline winced, the words sounded far to robotic, even to herself.
Of all the positions that Phineas was the harshest on, his own former slot as Potions Master was probably the hardest for someone to walk in and impress him with. Though he'd been out of his actual teaching position for some time now, the subject matter was not lost on him entirely. Unfortunately for Miss Thorpe, as she reminisced about her post-graduation work, he started to lost interest rather quickly. Fortunately for Miss Thorpe, the Board seemed quite confident in her capabilities, so therefore his opinion of her really did matter.

Healing was of course a natural course to take Potions along for the ride, but it was never Phineas' favorite method of utilizing what he'd learned. Then again his position in life afforded him the chance to merely pursue it as a hobby in his own post-Hogwarts years, rather than need to do anything of significance with it.

Though he may not appear as observant to some, Phineas did notice the fidgeting and the unease in which Miss Thorpe seemed to exude in spades. He'd been told before that he had this effect on people, but rather thought that being at the attention of a class full of students every day should have the same impact, would it not? Would she be like this teaching? Would it be a distraction to the students? He made  mental note to make a comment about it when addressed by the Board at a later time.

He nodded a long, very much a listener, even passively, when she paused, he waited to rephrase his next question as she had partially answered it. Then again, that information didn't surprise him either. He always wondered if was just a crock of bull or if some people did truly enjoy teaching. . . "Have you any teaching experience to prepare you for the demands of the curriculum and exams? How would you deal with being paired with a veteran teacher for insight and modeling?" Standard procedure obviously, but some people handled criticism and direction better than others.

“Toujours Pur.”

deep quote code by Soph ♥ av by MJ
Emeline gave the headmaster a small smile. His tone suggested that he was less than disinterested in their conversation. She would have even dared to guess that he would prefer to be almost anywhere else at that exact moment. However, he seemed to at least be paying attention to their conversation and gave her all the necessary social cues she needed to know he was listening. A small mercy, she supposed. Though Emeline was often nervous around other adults, especially men due to her tense relationship with her father, she’d always had a way with children.

“I’m afraid I don’t have much experience as a teacher sir, other than my own years of being a pupil that is.” Emeline shifted in her seat once more before continuing. “I am eager to learn in all aspects of life and would welcome any suggestions or guidance from a fellow Professor.”

Emeline watched the Headmaster with a careful gaze. She was aware that she was likely acting far too nervous. As it was, there was little she could do about it. She’d done her best in the past to get past her rather crippling anxiety, but it was all in vain. She would simply have to prove herself in the position. Luckily, the board committee she had interviewed with had seemed genuinely pleased by her past endeavors. Their pleasure had subsequently put her mind more at ease. She could tell that this interview would likely not be similar.

She dearly hoped she made a good enough impression to at least be considered for the position. She couldn’t help but remember Headmaster Black when he was her Professor. He’d been a bit blunt, sometimes even harsh with his students. Emeline had never been on the receiving end of his words, but she had witnessed his teaching methods on numerous occasions.

It was no doubt she herself would have a vastly different way of maintaining a classroom. However, Emeline feared that this fact in itself was already harming her chances of becoming a Professor at Hogwarts.

Phineas had to wonder what it would take to actually find a candidate that had teaching experience these days. Or was a least a professional in their field. Never mind he was neither when he was a new professor. Any kind of relevant life experience would do really, but the board seemed insistent on hiring all of these young kids with just enough knowledge in the field and he rarely got a say otherwise.

At least she seemed alright with a mentor. There was that at least.

"Where do you see yourself in five years, then?" This question always amused him. Would they still be here? She looked young enough to still marry, would she move on? That was what the Board hardly ever took into consideration. These "young professionals" always inevitably left to start a family. 

“Toujours Pur.”

deep quote code by Soph ♥ av by MJ
Emeline smiled kindly at the headmaster. The man intimidated her more than she wanted him to know. It wouldn’t bode well for her career if she seemed terrified of him.

“A teacher’s work is never done, yes?” she responded brightly. “I see myself here, teaching young witches and wizards the wonder, and danger, of brewing potions.”

The answer was honest. Being widowed at her age meant there was very little chance of finding another partner to spend her life with. Children were something Emeline had only recently come to terms with never experiencing firsthand. She could see no future commitment that would pull her away from Hogwarts.

Though her response did not surprise him in the slightest, it was the "right" answer after all, Phineas could not help the barest quirk of an eyebrow. He always had to wonder if these young women knew the strains of the position or cared little about marrying or neither, but it never failed to amuse him, just slightly.

"Very well, Miss Thorpe, did you have any questions for me about the position?" He hoped not but felt it prudent to ask. It was telling either way, whether they asked questions or which questions they bothered to utter. If not, he'd be pawning her off on one of the staff currently in the castle for a tour of the professor side of Hogwarts. Skeeter must have been lurking somewhere, he usually was even in the summer. Perhaps Collins was in. Either would do.

I'm actual trash and I apologize profusely, this time of year is super hard for me!

“Toujours Pur.”

deep quote code by Soph ♥ av by MJ

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