Professor Warrington was just about to leave the classroom for lunch when a shadow fell upon the open door. Looking up, he saw a Ravenclaw student, clutching a sheaf of papers in her hand and looking slightly nervous. "Come in, Miss Dunstan," he addressed her coolly, "Is there something you need to speak to me about?"
"S-sir . . ." she said quietly in her docile, timid voice. Her thin arms were pressed flat to her sides and her square shoulders tense. Her pale face turned slightly red as she took a deep breath. "I," she paused, then moved into her planned statement.
"I was hoping to be accepted to a Young Editors Internship at the Daily Prophet. But to be accepted, you have to receive two recommendations from professors that address your writing style and ability to compose mature and . . . and . . ." she paused again, before staring at the floor and then speaking again. "Intelligent essays, articles, and things of that nature. So . . . ."
As she trailed off, Warrington nodded, eyes still fixed on her forehead (since her eyes were downcast). "So, you're asking me to write out a recommendation for you, unless I'm vastly mistaken and you're just here to chat about your favourite Quidditch teams, the weather and the House Elves' excellent cooking."
Her face and neck became hot and she lifted her head to look her Professor in the eye. "Yes, sir. I was hoping you might write a recommendation . . . i- . . . if I earned it." Bree glanced down again and then swallowed and forced herself to look up. The Quidditch and weather comments weren't made because she and Warrington were best mates. He was obviously saying something.
Warrington seemed to ponder this for a few moments, before he fixed the girl with a piercing look. "And do YOU think you've earned it, Miss Dunstan?"
Bree felt herself shrinking under her Professor's gaze. "I- . . . I-" she stuttered nervously, feeling quite intimidated. "I turned in all my work on time," Bree said, her voice slightly louder, her eyes locked on her teacher's face. "I did well on my tests and projects. I was nev- . . . never late for your course. I always tried my best," answered the red-head, not exactly answering his question.
"And then, as this is all true," Warrington persisted, "Then logically, you should be confident of receiving a positive recommendation from me."
Bree said softly, "Yes, sir."
Warrington's eyes held a hint of amusement. "All right, then." He took the papers from the girl's hands, "And for this, I am to comment... upon the quality of your writing, yes? That's easy enough, but is there anything else that you wish for me to know, that might affect what I write in here?"
She paused, then shook her head. "No, Professor Warrington." Bree swallowed and then frowned. "Thank you."
He nodded, setting the papers in his desk. "I shall finish them tonight, then. Shall I owl them back to you, or would you rather pick them up in person after your next class?"
"O- . . . I'll pick them up," she said, standing her full height. Then, for once, her voice raised enough so that one would not have to strain to hear her. "Professor, do you think I earned a recommendation?" she asked, probably the question that took the most confidence she could muster.
"Well, there's no reason that I shouldn't give you one," Warrington started, before stating bluntly, "As you have said, yourself, you've been a diligent student, and academically, I have no complaints. A bit less apprehension in terms of speaking up... might be called for, but that's about it."
It's not easy, thought Bree. So many things could go wrong . . . and then people don't really care to hear what I have to say . . . . But instead, all she did was nod and take one step back. "Thank you very much, sir."
"You're welcome," he gave her a curt nod. "And I believe that both of us should go to the Great Hall before the lunch hour is over. Wouldn't you agree?"
Bree let out a shy smile. "Yes," she agreed. "I think so."
"Excellent." He locked up his desk and opened the classroom door wide, waiting for her to walk through before closing and locking it with a spell. "Let's go, then."