Instead of spending long nights alone in your quarters grading half-assed essays by subpar students you're spending them curled up beside a timid rabbit getting a crash course in phycology. She is a spitfire beneath her quiet exterior and you don't know where it comes from. Nights of fireballs and more cracks in the floor remind you that small or not she is dangerous – who ever heard of a rabbit attacking a wolf?
On the third period of every Wednesday you wander down to the dungeons to the fire room and join Ava in practicing spells and jinxes and hexes. You conjure targets that looks like Lacivi while Ava summons a photo album where she takes a picture out every session. You don't ask who the distastefully glamorous woman is, it isn't your place but curiosity burns underneath your skin anyways.
"Odin, do you think there's a reason I can't cast a patronus?" Ave asks poking a stick into the fire where she had thrown a few sheets of parchment into. The fire didn't burn her as the paper went up in flames. "I think it's odd but no one else has ever mentioned a reason why to me, so it can't be that weird. Right?"
There are some days where you forget that she is a muggleborn with little to no knowledge of the wizarding world. While muggleborns aren't unusual in Hufflepuff they aren't certainly aren't discriminated against its still strange for you, who was originally in Slytherin, to see someone who didn't know about wizarding culture. The patronus charm isn't covered very heavily in class, the students are only taught enough to produce it and you know that isn't right. "You k-know to cast a p-patronus charm you need the h-happiest memory you've got."
"Happy memory?" Ava deflates at this and you can't help the concern welling up in your chest at the look on her face. "I haven't got too many of those." She shakes her head before pulling her knees to her chest. "The best I've got is first year with Maggie, but I don't think those will work after last year…"
'The Fight' as you've deemed it. It's been brought up before and each time has resulted in your head being nearly blown off so you've resolved not to ask about it. "N-no I don't th-think that'll work. Is there a-anything from back h-home?"
"Home?" Ava looks up, her eyes dark. "Nothing noteworthy there. Maybe I'll never get this." She looks so hopeless and you're can't help but wonder who has ruined her life so thoroughly that nothing seems to be worth it for her.
You stand from your positon across from her and walk around the fire to sit beside her instead. "You'll g-get it, I'm s-sure of it Ava." You wrapped your arm around her shoulder in a comforting gesture, the way you used to for Crow and Raven before they were both 'too old' for it. She smells like cinnamon and ash and something entirely her, not that you're trying to smell her or anything before speaking again. "You're st-stronger than you think."
"Thanks Odin," she hastily wipes away wetness you're sure you weren't supposed to see before leaning against your side. You look down at her, red hair obscuring what you're sure is a blotchy face but you don't say anything and you think this is entirely inappropriate for someone on the staff to be doing with a student. Then you also remind yourself that she is only three years younger than yourself and there is nothing wrong, your conciseness
You think of the time, how it must be past supper and how he should be returning back to Pedri's before he gets into more trouble than necessary. "Ava. I need to l-leave now." You're quick about removing yourself from her side and you with only a moment of hesitation you place a kiss on her forehead before walking off, not looking back to see her reaction.