FIC: "Quiet Pleasures" for venturous Recipient: venturous Author/Artist: ??? Title: Quiet Pleasures Rating: PG-13 Pairings: Griselda Marchbanks/Augusta Longbottom Word Count: 2834 Medium: calligraphy and photography Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): *none*. Summary: Private lessons and mutual attraction bring about a budding romance. Author's/Artist's Notes: many thanks to atdelphi for being our mod. Special thanks to K for bouncing ideas with me, hand holding and beta reading, I couldn't have done this without you.
Griselda Marchbanks entered her kitchen and sighed. She was tired and achy after another year's exams at Hogwarts. Some of the children needed to work harder, others should have applied themselves to their studies and a rare few were remarkable in their abilities.
Pulling out her wand, Griselda cast a few charms and soon had a kettle on to boil, a tea pot waiting for hot water and a plate of digestives readied for a light snack.
"I shouldn't indulge this late in the evening, especially after eating at the school." She said while setting a bowl of prawns on the floor for her kneazle's supper.
The large tabby purred and twined himself around her ankles before beginning to eat.
When the kettle began to whistle, Griselda levitated it over the teapot and carefully poured water in the pot. Before moving the kettle back to the cooker, she watched tea leaves move in the water.
"Now you're trying to read tea leaves before you drink the tea. This isn't good, old girl." She made certain the cooker was turned off and the kettle wasn't on the hot burner. Moving slowly, Griselda put a cosy on the teapot and placed everything on a tray. She levitated the tray to her sitting room and sat on her favourite chair. The tray was put on a table next to the chair. Closing her eyes, Griselda sighed and relaxed. While she enjoyed her job, there was nothing to compare with being in her own home.
The only thing better than being here alone, would be sharing my home with another witch. Maybe a sturdy woman like Minerva McGonagall, not a tiny lady like Irma Pince to warm my bed.
She let her thoughts wander and opened her eyes.
There were cobwebs to harvest from her ceiling, those would make nice potions ingredients. The windows needed a good scrubbing, and Griselda knew her garden could use a thorough weeding.
"And all of that can wait for tomorrow. Right now, I need to relax with this tea and a few biscuits. Then I am going to bed." She spoke to the kneazle who was now sitting on the settee and grooming himself.
Griselda knew there were going to be several owls arriving with letters once grades were sent out. She would have to work on her cottage and garden while she had spare time. In a few weeks, things were going to be hectic at the office.
June quickly turned into July and the dreaded owls began to arrive. Many parents did not believe their darling children could do so poorly on their OWLs or their NEWTs. Griselda and her co-workers stayed long into the evening writing replies to these complaints and offering suggestions on improving grades for those who had taken their OWLs.
One morning while enjoying tea in her garden, Griselda was surprised to receive owl post from a student. She went inside and tossed the scroll on her writing desk where it would be easy to ignore.
Going about her morning routine, Griselda began to wonder what the Rookwood family had to say on their daughter's grades. As she recalled, the girl excelled in all of her exams. The parchment could no longer be ignored. Griselda opened it and began to read.
The letter made her laugh. Augusta was not a poor student. She was excellent at anything she put her mind to do. The slim girl was very tall and had perfect posture. In fact, she loomed over most of the wizards who worked with Griselda. It was difficult to forget such an intimidating young lady.
Reading the letter a second time, Griselda couldn't help being curious. Augusta had received top grades on most of her practical exams. Yes her wand work was a touch sloppy but that would improve with time.
Griselda pursed her lips and considered how to reply to this missive. She was acquainted with Augusta's parents and knew they made large donations to a variety of charities. Like many pureblood families, the Rookwood family held political power within the Wizengamot.
"What do you think, Whiskers?" She looked over at her kneazle who ignored her in favour of finding a sunbeam and taking a nap. "Yes, I suppose I could sleep on it. However, I need to go to the office today." Griselda left the perplexing letter on her writing desk and left for work. She would write a reply after she fully considered the various options.
After a long day struggling to focus on work, Griselda came home and marched over to her desk. She smiled at the post script on the letter before taking a seat. Pulling out a clean sheet of parchment, she wrote a quick reply, inviting young Augusta to meet her for tea at the Ministry of Magic.
A public meeting in the ministry's cafeteria would prevent any hints of improper behaviour. She didn't want anyone saying she gave preferential treatment to a student.
Three days later, Griselda met with young Augusta. Once again, she was impressed with the young witch's bearing. While tall, the girl did not slouch or otherwise attempt to disguise her height.
"Good afternoon, Madam Marchbanks." Augusta dipped her head and offered her hand.
Griselda gave her hand a brisk shake and smiled up at her. "It's a pleasure to see you again. Please have a seat. I took the liberty of ordering a pot of herbal tea for us along with cress sandwiches."
"Thank you for making the time to see me. I want to apologize again for the appalling writing in my letter. My youngest brother, Algernon is five and demanded to practice his penmanship. I couldn't refuse."
"Think nothing of it. His style of writing shows a great deal of character."
"He still hasn't settled into using his right hand. There are times when he will write with his left hand then switch off as if he wants to see which is more legible."
"How many siblings do you have?" Griselda smiled at her guest and nodded her head when a waitress brought over their tea and sandwiches.
"Three, I'm the eldest. I have a sister who is a fourth year in Ravenclaw. My other brother will be a first year this September, and then there is Algernon." Augusta accepted a cup of tea and nervously toyed with the spoon.
"I have to admit to a bit of confusion over your letter. As I recall, you achieved an E on your charms practical. That does allow you to take advanced charms." Griselda took a sip of her tea.
"I know I did well. I have trouble with the finer wand movements and seem to have difficulty learning them from Professor Flitwick. He's a fine instructor, but he does lack certain attributes which can get in the way of wand work." Augusta glanced down at her bosom and looked back at Griselda with a slightly pained expression.
Griselda bit her cheek to keep from laughing. The young lady was well endowed and she could understand how Augusta was having difficulty with certain movements.
"Yes, I understand your predicament. I believe we can have a few private lessons while you are on break. How about I come by your family home on Saturday?"
"I think I would better be able to concentrate without my sister and brothers distracting us. Could I come to your cottage in the evenings?"
Griselda gave her a reassuring smile. "That will be fine. I arrive home from work at six. Perhaps you can stop by at seven. Let me write down the name of my cottage. I'm on the Floo network."
"Thank you, so much, Madam Marchbanks." Augusta appeared to be very relieved with this offer.
The two witches finished their tea and sandwiches in companionable silence. Griselda stood up first.
"I need to return to work."
"I understand, thank you again for your help." Augusta bobbed a slight curtsey and left with a swish of her long skirts.
Such a sweet young lady and she has fine manners. She will be a credit to her family.
Augusta proved to be prompt. She stepped out of the fireplace and banished the bit of soot clinging to her green robes. When she straighten up, her hat appeared to brush the ceiling. Griselda was sure that was just an illusion because of the young lady's height.
"Why don't you place your hat on the newel post and we can get started with a few warm up exercises." Griselda motioned to the stairs and gave Augusta a reassuring smile.
Augusta removed her feather and flower bedecked hat and did as Griselda suggested. She returned to the center of the room and smoothed her skirts.
Griselda smothered a fleeting bit of desire. She needed to keep things professional, after all this was a private lesson in charms, not in other things.
"Alright then, shake your hands a bit like so and wiggle your fingers. There's no need to be self conscious, young lady. Roll your shoulders and bring your arms out to your sides. Yes, that's fine, rotate your wrists. Just the wrists, not your entire arm."
Augusta frowned a bit in concentration. She followed Griselda's directions to the letter.
"Very good. Now, let me see your wand." Griselda was surprised by the stout bit of wood.
"It's rosewood, eleven inches long, unbending, with a dragon heartstring core." Augusta held the wand out for Griselda to examine.
"Very nice." Griselda smiled at her. "Let's see you do something basic. Levitate the aspidistra."
Augusta did as suggested. Her movements were sure and spare. There was no unnecessary flourishing of her wand. She lowered the potted plant with no effort and sighed.
"I can do the basics. It's when I need to bring my wand up like so," she moved her hand near her breast, "that things begin to be unstable."
"All right. Have a seat and let me guide your hand." Griselda stood behind a chair and patted its back.
Augusta smoothed her skirts and sat down. She raised her hand and groaned. "I wish they were smaller."
"No need to fuss. Let me show you something." Griselda moved to hold Augusta's wrist and frowned. Her arm wasn't long enough. She leaned forward which made her breast slide over the back of the chair and touch Augusta's shoulder. "Sorry about that." She stepped back. "Bring your hand up and let me hold your wrist. Yes, just like that."
Augusta began to relax and allowed her spine to touch the chair. Tipping her head, she intently looked at where Griselda was holding her.
"Now, watch carefully, when you need to make this movement, yes, I know bring your hand up a touch higher, like so."
"Are you certain this will work? Professor Flitwick insists we exactly copy his motions."
"I know he does. However, as you have observed, he doesn't have anatomy to work around. Now, when you need to make a twirl to the right, bring your hand a touch lower. Like so. That is all there is to making the finer motions."
Augusta shivered when Griselda ceased touching her.
"Are you chilled?"
"No," she replied. "May I return for more lessons?"
"Why do you want more lessons?" Griselda sat in a chair across from Augusta.
The young lady blushed. "I like being near you." She chewed on her lower lip. "I also want to learn how to be more refined and less large."
"Augusta, you shouldn't be ashamed of your size. You are a very handsome young lady and unlike us delicate flowers, your looks will be enhanced as you mature."
"You don't understand." Augusta pouted. "It's not that I hate myself. I dislike males. They are loud and obnoxious and there are times I am loud like them. I want to be more refined in my movements. I'm almost of age and I still knock things over."
"Darling, I think your mother should be teaching you how to be more ladylike."
"She is too busy teaching my younger brother to be bothered with me. I could pay you back. Or if you wish, I can do heavy lifting for you or gardening. I am good with plants."
"Very well, I can always use help with my garden. I will give you lessons in charms and in being charming in exchange for your work. You may come back each Saturday and spend the day here."
"Thank you, you will not regret your decision." Augusta rushed over and hugged Griselda.
She felt a bit smothered yet at the same time she was a bit aroused. Griselda wished she had a partner. If there was someone to share her life with, she wouldn't be experiencing this attraction to a much too young witch.
"You should go home now. I will make a list of required reading for you and send it by owl." Griselda patted Augusta on the back and was relieved when the girl stepped back.
"Thank you so much." Augusta walked over to the stairs and put on her hat. "I promise you will not regret helping me."
Griselda watched her use a pinch of floo powder and disappear in a burst of green flames.
Griselda came home from work and sighed. She put the kettle on and set out the tools to make a pot of tea. Just sitting quietly with a good book was a blessing, especially after a long day at work.
When she entered her front room, she noticed something on her writing desk.
"That looks like Augusta's wand. What is it doing here?" She placed the tea tray on a side table and went to the base of her staircase.
"Augusta, are you up there?"
She received no answer. Clucking to the kneazle, Griselda led her pet to the back door and looked out at her garden. Shaking her head, she went outside and walked to a back corner.
"What do you think you are doing?" Griselda asked Augusta.
"Oh, you're home early." Augusta bounced to her feet. "I wanted to leave a surprise for you."
"Have you planted something here? I've told you nothing will grow in this corner."
"I found a bit of ground cover. The muggles near home use it. They call it a house leek." Augusta moved so that her skirts no longer blocked Griselda's view.
The plants were squat and had an odd leathery looking dark coloured leaf or was that its body? Griselda knelt down to look closer.
"What is it good for? Do the muggles have a use for this?"
"I don't know. I just saw it growing in a rocky patch and thought it might thrive back here so I took a cutting and put it in a shallow flower pot. It grew larger and I brought it here. I wanted to leave you with something to remember me."
"You are only going back to Hogwarts, not to the end of the world." Griselda chided.
"I know that, however, all summer long you've kept me at a distance. I come of age a fortnight after the start of school. I would like to continue our friendship and maybe have it grow into something more." Augusta blushed and looked at her feet.
"Come inside and clean up. We will talk a bit over a pot of tea." Griselda led the way inside her cottage. She left the door open for her kneazle and gestured at the sink. "Wash up and join me in the front room." She took out another cup and saucer then went to sit down.
Griselda kept from thinking as she prepared tea for them. She added a bit of lemon to her cup and a lump of sugar to Augusta's.
"I am serious. I know I have told you how I feel about boys. I find the female form to be most pleasing." Augusta said while sitting down.
"Right to the point, I like that." Griselda smiled at her friend. "So, you prefer women over men. Have I done anything to make you think I have feelings other than friendship for you?"
Augusta blushed and ducked her head. "No, Madam Marchbanks."
"None of that, I just needed to verify I haven't led you on. I know you are very observant."
"Yes, ma'am, and I have noticed you looking at some of the ladies in the village when we go walking there." Augusta raised her head. "I want to be your special friend."
"Not while you are a student. After you have completed your NEWTs, we will discuss the possibility of a relationship." Griselda gave her a reassuring smile.
"We will have one, and you will be the one to introduce me to the pleasures of the flesh before my parents sell me off in marriage." Augusta had a look of determination on her face.
Griselda thought the young lady had never been more lovely than just now.