(1937-09-11) Battle for the Attention of the Slug
Details for Battle for the Attention of the Slug
Summary: Est, Keelan, Ria, Dorea, and Lucian all vie for the attention of Slughorn, in effort to get enough attention to garner a spot in The Slug Club.
Date: September 11th 1937
Location: Corridors, Hogwarts
Related: Continued in: A Stroll of Secrets

"What you think others think about you is never enough," Est says, walking companionably with Keelan through the halls. "If you stop reminding them for even a second, what if they forget about you?" Le gasp, the horror. "I still think a staged demonstration would really drive the point home."

Slughorn is having a chat with Dorea Black who he's caught on a landing in the stairwell that is quite the hub as eventually every stair swings over to it. "Yes, do give them my regards. I look forward to seeing you and Mr. Potter at the next meeting." He perks up and looks over towards Est, "Demonstration? What was this?"

Keelan huffs a bit at Est's assertion and wrinkles her nose at it as well, "But what do you get out of this? Are you saying it's going to show how great -both- of us are?" She's not usually the most talkative, but Est's plan has got her up in arms just a bit. She pauses in her tracks when she hears Slughorn address Est, one hand rising in a bit of a wave. After all, Potions is her best class, she'd do well to be nice to her teacher!

"Of course it's going to show I great I am. I look great at everything I do," Est says with a wave of his hand, like it's obvious. "Good afternoon, Professor!" Est says without skipping a beat, although he is surprised to run into the man so soon, he would have really prefered more time to prepare. "Surely you cannot actually want to know what I have up my sleeve! Peeking behind the curtain drains all enjoyment from the performance."

The Silent Corridor isn't so silent as Lucian and Ria can be heard talking on their way back from the library. "I'm not sure it'll be in any of these, it's a fairly advanced spell. And even if you could do it, it wouldn't matter because you're required to do it under pressure," she says as she carries a book or two from the library. The prefect pair stop at the edge of the platform and wait for the stairs to come around before they step forward. Ria pauses however upon seeing her house head and the eldest Black student. "Dorea, good day. Professor Slughorn, it's good to see you as well," she smiles to both and after observing Est and Keelan she quickly puts in, "Whenever you're free Professor, Lucian and I have some ideas for a few Slytherin-run events that we could use your input on. No rush, however."

Slughorn takes hold of his lapels making him look ever so dapper and when he puffs out his chest the buttons on his stylish vest get a hard work to contain the substantial belly that also puffs out in the act. "Oh hmm. Very good point, Mr. Prince." He nods and tries to look like he's not still curious, but he moves to take steps along to stay with the pair. "But is this something of Mr. Beery's making? Do you know what he plans to put on this year? Are you in his Arts Club?" But then all is possibly lost for Est in having the professor's attention as, "My fine Miss Sykes and Mr. Proudmore! OOooo really? Yes! Well please, I was just thinking of that very thing. Mr. Prince was talking of putting on a demonstration. And I thought, we should do that for Slytherin!" He carries it off like it was all his idea and not inspired by Est. He had been planning it all along!

Lucian chuckles at Ria, a cocky smirk on his face. "Yes, because I have such difficulty casting under pressure. It just takes a little practice, is all. You worry too much." As they approach the others, he gives a polite nod to Slughorn, a grin and a wink to Dorea, and a simple jerk of his head in greeting to the Hufflepuffs. "Professor, Dorea. Sounds brilliant. You should hear some of our ideas, though."

Keelan opens her mouth just a tad, perhaps to defend Est's idea from theft, but reconsiders when she gets a good look at the two that have captured Slughorn's attention; both older, both Slytherin. She wrinkles her nose up just slightly and suggests, none-too-intrusively, "A demonstration seems a bit tame for a school with four very much competitive houses, doesn't it? Perhaps Est here and Slytherins, and Gryffindors, and Ravenclaws alike should be given a chance to show their mettle, if they fancy a chance."

Ria crosses her arms a bit and smirks at Lucian. "And you -don't- worry enough. You're a fine dueler but it's a rookie mistake to not realize what you're up against. Don't you forget that, Proudmore." Merlin, her brother was right. She does sound more and more like her father everyday. "A demonstration? What kind of demonstration and who will be doing the demonstrating?" Ria's braise raise with curiosity. "We were thinking of a more social event. One for halloween next month. It would take a bit of preparation which is the only reason why we bring it up now. But please, I'd like to hear more about this demonstration."

Slughorn looks down and over at Keelan, "Gracious Miss O'Teague. When did you get here?" He lifts one hand to stroke his hair to settle it into place. "My, my, that does sound like quite the challenge. Professor Beery should be contacted immediately. Yes! A Talent Show, some good old fashion house rivalry. Will do you students very good! Might even make an award for the winner whomever they might be can have a spot in my Club." Because his club is of course much better than Beery's Art's Club!

"Besides, if it was a competition, I wouldn't want to make everyone look bad." Lucian grins, chuckling. "Just kidding," he reassures the other students, giving them a nod…until Slughorn makes his offer. "Then again, the Professor's right. Competition is good for the spirit. We should talk to Dumbledore about setting up a dueling tournament."

Keelan puts on a bit of a sheepish face when she's belatedly noticed. Nonetheless, she persists with her train of thought and nods in agreement with Professor Slughorn, "It seems like it could be fun…" Then, when Lucian pipes up, she furrows her brow a little, "A dueling tournament is awfully specific…what about those of us who aren't particularly good at it? I'd rather the whole school have a fighting chance rather than a few cocky roosters who've spent way too much time practicing nasty charms rather than useful ones."

"Oh yes, sir, a talent show is just the thing!" Est exclaims. "That was not the original idea, of course, but I am not so proud nor petty as to let a more apt idea go past just because it was not I that thought of it." Est lays a humble hand upon his breast.

Ria is half-chatting with Dorea quietly and half-listening to the conversation. "A talent show would be rather unique and enjoyable. It would be wonderful to have professors and other staff as a panel of judges. Perhaps none that head the houses so as to avoid bias," she shrugs after she casually adds her suggestion. Ria's one to talk about bias. Though briefly she throws in, "Oh an professor, I also had something I wanted to ask you in private. Again, when you have the opportunity. It's nothing that will take too long."

Lucian sighs, "A talent show? That should be entertaining." His voice drips with sarcasm. "We can watch half the school stumble around on stage singing bad renditions of awful songs we've heard a thousand times. Then some biased judges can tell us who was the least terrible. That's not competition. Competition has a clear winner. Come on, Professor. Be daring and let's have a real contest."

Slughorn looks positively giddy, "DUUuueling Tournament! Good show Mr. Proudmore! We should discuss more when Miss Sykes brings you to our next meeting. You will be attending won't you Miss Sykes? Hmmm?" It really is just like that, Sykes is in the Slug Club, with Lucian being at least invited to one meeting, a probation of sorts. Keelan once again gets a look of surprise from the professor. "My dear girl! Dueling isn't about practicing nasty Charms, it's about honing your talents. It's about being able to defend yourself against those that hold ill will against you. I do say, it wouldn't do you any harm in practicing dear girl." The last part said with the pity of a concerned professor that Keelan might just find herself faced with ill tempered magic uses attempting to do her harm. "Yes of course Mr. Prince." To Ria he extends an elbow and nods, "I was just on my way down."

Dorea who is chuckling under her breath at the battle for attention is carried away as the step she was on grinds and swings away to carry her off to her next class.

"Mr. Proudmore." Slughorn protests, "There will be a clear winner of the talent competition. Slytherin!" He chuffles as if it was a preposterous concept that there wouldn't be a clear winner for his idea. His voice vibrates with a smug but light hearted little chuckle as he bits, "Good luck with your demonstration, Mr. Prince."

Keelan looks a tad cross at Slughorn's response and, in indignation, curls one hand into a fist, "Of course, Professor," she says through mildly gritted teeth, "I can defend myself just fine, I'm just saying…"Mr. Proudmore" here just wants to do something he can win at. He—" Partway through, she gives up on arguing and just bites her lip for a second before bidding the presumably-leaving professor adieu, "See you tomorrow, Professor. Bright and early."

There is an ever so slight curve to one corner of Ria's lips. It's subtle but smug smile which only comes as a reaction to the invitation. The smugness of course is directed to Lucian who can interpret it any way he desires. "I would delighted to," she replies, her chin also rising up proudly. Again just a little bit. Turning to Keelan she explains, "Although you're correct that some aren't apt at dueling, but improvement can still be achieve through muscle memory and what not. You're welcome to come to a club meeting. They're non-competitive and meant for simply practicing."
"I do disagree with Mr. Proudmore however in that a talent show has its own merits. And I'd support anyone who ran such an event," she looks between both hufflepuffs, not sure of who suggested it or if Slughorn simply came up with it on his own. Though she rolls her eyes at Lucian's competitiveness. She does however accept said elbow and begins to walk with Slughorn. "So this said social event Lucian and I were conceiving is social. I think it would be entertaining to have Haunted House or Maze for upcoming Halloween. I was thinking it could be a Slytherin-hosted even, but based on what we'd need I'd be willing to extend an opportunity for other houses to help. Perhaps even the art club."

Lucian just grins back at Ria's smug look, but does give Slughorn a grateful nod and a, "Thank you, Professor. I look forward to it." He tilts his head at Keelan, giving her a warm smile. "Don't be cross, O'Teague. I just want everyone to do their best. How can you be your best if you're not challenged? In any case, you really should consider joining Dueling Club. I could give you some pointers. Really." Either he's being sincere, or he's very good at covering mockery in front of the Professor.

Est's voice is noticable by its absence after a while, and if anyone bothers to look for him he's wandered off around the time the first invitations were issued. There was probably something shiny on the ceiling.

Keelan does actually completely miss Est wandering off, because she's a good housemate like that. Instead, she's too busy being suckered in by Lucian's mockery, moving her jaw side-to-side slightly in irritation. She gives a terse little nod to Ria in affirmation; she may be a Slytherin, but her logic's sound enough. Lucian's words, meanwhile, she takes for outright mockery, bringing her to cross her arms as a form of self-restraint; she doesn't plug her mouth, though, and that gets the best of her, "You can't very well know if you've never had a go, now can you?"

Lucian laughs merrily, walking slowly, but still following after Slughorn and Ria. "O'Teague, I'm serious. Professor Slughorn is right. Dueling Club isn't about showing off or bloodying each other up. It's about defending yourself…bettering yourself." He shrugs at her. "It's up to you. But I think you could do well there."

Slughorn, ever the one to like a good show and display of talent perks up at the exchange between Keelan and Lucian. "You know, I do believe that we could settle this like civilized wizards and witches. A Duel! I practically taught Dumbledore all he knows, I'm sure he won't mind me officiating a duel. Mind your wands and come with me Mr. Proudmore, Miss O'Teague." He pats Ria's hand on his elbow and looks very excited as he whisper to her, "This should be good!"

Keelan was about ready to fix the problem more like her Squib of a father might teach her to and get violent on Lucian's face, but the Professor's there and it really doesn't call for all -that-. Slughorn's idea, however, does catch her fancy. She perks up and nods agreeably, "That sounds fine by me. At least then Mr. Proudmore can have something to back his words up with, proper-like."

Ria's jaw drops at the suggestion, her mouth gaping open at Slughorn even when he whispers his eagerness to her. "I…," she looks at Lucian and then to Keelan. There's a bit of concern for how this will turn out. But certainly her head of house has things under control right? Nothing could go too disastrously right? "Fine," is all she says and follows everyone to wherever they're going.

Lucian sighs and rolls his eyes. "Alright, then. Don't say I wasn't trying to be helpful, though." He gives Keelan a slightly admonishing look. "Where to, Professor? The Club Room?"

"Oh yes, I am ever so excited to see what Mr. Proudmore can do! You as well Miss O'Teague, nothing like a little good spirited duel. Particularly when Mr. Proudmore is only wishing to prove to you the merits in learning to duel." No, nothing too disasterous, he'd never lead students astray. (Like telling them about Horcruxes!) "Yes, Mr. Proudmore. Onwards to the Club Room." He clears his throat at a stairway that is angled away from him and it swings back into position so that they have a more clear stroll to the ground floor, then to the north corridor, then into the club room there.

A short jaunt to the Club Room later…

Ria steps into the Clubroom first, leaving the door open for the rest of the group to follow. There are a few younger students playing around on the dueling platform, but she waves them away. "Get off, we're doing something," she commands and recognizing her from the dueling club they quickly scurry off to the side. The room fortunately lacking in people with only maybe 5 other students other than the group. That should prove a rather safe environment for them to do their thannngg in. And waiting for the rest to join, she puts a hand on her hip looking at Lucian expectantly as if she wants to say something to him.

Keelan goes back to her quiet self for the most part on the walk to the club, as she's racking her mind for ideas on how she's going to pull this off; she's not really that great a duelist, and she knows physical beatings are beyond the rules of proper wizard duels, and it's in an unfamiliar club room, no less! She pulls her wand out long ahead of time, carrying it at her side; cedar, with a core of phoenix feather, for those in the know, but keeps it firmly pointed at the ground the whole way. Once the four of them come into the clubroom, she just stands off to the side, lost in her thoughts and not paying as much attention as she probably should.

Lucian's eyes are on Keelan most of the way down. Unquestionably, he is sizing her up, but also trying to get a read on her. She's feisty, no doubt. But does she have some other beef with him? It's hard to know…he's made more than a few enemies at Hogwarts.
Once inside the club room, he looks on with satisfaction to see that it is already set up for dueling. He gives a Fourth Year girl a wink when he catches her staring at him. But then his sights are on Ria. Lucian has spend enough years with Ria's "looks" (and her looks) to get the idea. He wanders up to her, an expectant look in his eyes. "Yes?" he murmurs? "Something on your mind, Sykes?"

There is no leaning in or cupping of hands to make anything overtly secretive. Instead Ria walks up close enough for their shoulder to touch, she's facing one direction while Luc faces the other. Turning her head to face him, she murmurs something quietly her expression blank. Ria whispers: You've nothing to prove to this girl, so don't -kill- her okay? Slughorn won't let a murderer into his club (unless you're Tom Riddle yay!). And then she walks off to the side to approach Keelan and gestures to a hook against the wall just in case she's not already familiar with the room. "You can hang your robes there if you wish. I'd say go with your gut and don't be afraid to get a little offensive. But don't neglect your defense either. He won't, for sure," she cranes her neck over to Lucian. And then she goes to hang her own robes and rolls up her sleeves, ready to watch. "The rules, whenever you are read, Professor."

Slughorn clears his throat and comes to stand in the middle of the dueling platform. "Duelists, to your positions." He looks to either end of the long rectangle platform where they should stand. "Salute your Professor. Salute your opponent. To be fairer for Miss O'Teague, no spells above a Fourth Year level. Ready." He waits only half a beat before he steps back onto the mediator spot to the side of the platform. "Duel!"

Keelan hangs up her robes and obligingly follows the Professors instructions, saluting as the salutees are listed. She starts to open her mouth in protest at the spells being limited to make things fairer for her, but when the flag is dropped, so to speak, she has to focus on getting her guard up, and she does just that, focusing on defense and letting Lucian take the initiative if he fancies the idea.

Lucian rolls his eyes at Ria as he goes to hang up his robe. At Slughorn's order, he steps up to the platform and draws his wand, assuming what an experienced duelist would recognize as a defensive stance. "Mind your footing, O'Teague. Brace with your back leg, aim with your front. Focus. Watch your opponent. His stance and movement will tell you what he's going to do."

Keelan unwittingly adjusts her footing to follow Lucian's advice, even as she tries to think of how exactly to take him apart. Not really expecting to hit, she finally takes the initiative herself and sends -the- classic dueling spell Lucian's way with a tentative flick of her wand. Even her tone of voice isn't fully into it; she's just testing the waters, let's call it. "Expelliarmus!"

Ria's advice proves useful, as she knows Lucian's classic dueling style all too well: Stay on the defensive, provoke the opponent into striking first. The moment Keelan gestures with her wand, he is moving to counter it, stepping forward one stride and slashing his wand in a parrying motion and shouting, "Protego!"

Lucian's Shield Charm catches Keelan's Disarming spell in the nick of time. She's quick! The magic clashes in a flash of white light, which Lucian fearlessly steps through as it dissipates, lunging forward and making a thrusting motion with his wand. "Expelliarmus!" he cries, attempting to end the duel with an overpowering attack.

Keelan doesn't have to worry so much about speed; she's got plenty of time to get her "Protego!" out just as Lucian did, and from the looks of it, she's a sight better at defending herself than harming anybody, but it's still not enough to overcome the power behind the Slytherin's curse. At the end of her wand's oh-so-emphatic swish, it just goes a-flying, drawing a sharp, and none-too-couth "Blimey!" from Keelan. Well. That was quick. None too proud of her performance, Keelan sets her jaw and half-grumbles, "S'pose you got me, then."

Ria, who was watching on with crossed arms the entire time, strides slowly over to where the wand landed, plucks it up off the floor, and cleans it with a handkerchief in her pocket. She then walks over to Keelan herself holding the wand out for the girl to take back.

Slughorn's eyes go wide as saucers, "Good show! Well done Miss O'Teague. Good effort. Splendid Mr. Proudmore! Sharp instincts. Excellent. Yes, Miss Sykes, he's to come along." This time it sounds like it's less probation than it was to start with. Lucian has impressed Slughorn to the point where he just may very well let the stain of Proudmore into his club, on his own merit! "Now, off with you. Miss Sykes is after a private matter." With that Slughorn once again offers his elbow to the Female Slytherin Prefect and strolls for the door. "My that was good sport! Now Miss Sykes, what is the matter at hand?"

Lucian stands upright from his attacking stance, whips his wand to the side in a duelist's salute, and bows graciously to his opponent. He watches Slughorn and Ria depart, then hops down from the dueling platform and approaches Keelan. "You're quick, O'Teague. That was good sport. Listen, I'm serious about my offer, if you want to join the club. You've got fight in you. I like that." He offers a hand to her. "What do you say?"

Keelan takes her wand back and wipes it off on her clothes an extra time or two to make sure it's nice and clean of any dirt (or Slytherin) before stuffing it back in her pocket, "Yesyes, very well done. Next time you won't be so bloody lucky…" A bit taken aback by Lucian's good sportsmanship, she begrudgingly relents on her grumpiness and actually takes her hand, "…on a trial basis. I'll visit and see what I think, but no promises, none at all." That said, she turns tail, "For now, I'll make myself scarce. It sounds like you lot have some Slytherin business to be up to." If not stopped, she moseys for the door, ready to head back and brood about her loss in the Hufflepuff common room.

Slughorn belatedly calls over his shoulder. "10 points to Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Jolly good show!"

Lucian smirks, watching Keelan go, but making no effort to stop her. She'll be back, and she'll only get better. He does love a challenge.

Keelan perks just a tad on the way out. Hey! Her temper actually did something -good- for once. Hooray!

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