(1937-09-29) Answers given...
Details for Answers given…
Summary: Lois confronts Leander about his recent behavior, and fate intervenes…
Date: September 29, 1937
Location: Gladrags Wizarding Wear, Hogsmeade
Related: Suspended

Gladrags Wizarding Wear

Mens and womens mannequins revolve slowly in the front windows, graceful gestures modeling the latest in formal robes; the kind that will set you back a few galleons. Besides carrying spare Hogwarts uniforms, for those times when you dont want to tell Mum the shredding jinx you set on That Slytherin backfired and decimated your best robes, Gladrags Wizardwear carries the latest in casual wear and formal wear. Various signs throughout the store proclaim, "as seen in the current issue of Witch Weekly," or "worn by Celestine Warbeck at the latest Puddlemere match".
In the back of the store, behind a half wall, near the fitting rooms, is a section of gently used robes, for those having to watch their sickles and knuts. Although comprised mostly of Hogwarts uniforms, there is a smattering of last seasons casual wear, and formal robes from days gone long by.

It's a good thing Gladrags has a history of catering to Hogwarts students; Leander is down to a single set of school robes, thanks to his recent misadventures, so while other students are off at the candy shop or getting tea together, he's going about the more important (and boring) business of getting new robes for himself. He's just finished up having his measurements taken; the seamstress-on-duty has wandered off to begin work on the robes (only custom-made clothing for a Fox!), leaving him to sit in a chair in the back of the shop. The Sixth Year has his hands folded neatly over his lap, and is engaged in staring out the large front windows at the fair day outside and other students who wander past, his expression thoughtful and vacant.

A merry tumult of voices approaches on the street outside, heralding the approach of a small mob of older girls, shopping bags in hand. Gryffindors, most of them - though there's the odd Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw in their midst. Lois is in the thick of it, an arm slung companionably around her Ravenclaw little sister Leona: judging from Leona's annoyed expression and Lois's too-cheerful one, there's some sisterly teasing going on. As the posse passes Gladrags on their way to Dervish and Banges, it's only by chance that the prefect happens to look up at the shop window, eyes flicking first to the goods on display… and then, past, to the faint hint of a familiar figure back further in the shop. She pauses. Then, with a few smiles and some inaudible comment, the girl is leaving her companions to continue without her, disappearing in the direction of the door. A few seconds later, the bell rings, announcing a new customer.

For a while, Leander doesn't even seem to notice the group of students outside - or at least if he does, he doesn't seem to much care. He continues to stare dreamily right on past them, until he finally recognizes the similarly familiar form of the Gryffindor girl standing in their midst. That causes a moment of panic, and he jumps to his feet, his pulse quickening. He's not prepared for this chance encounter at all, and he's the type of person who /always/ wants to be prepared. He's about to spring behind a rack of clothing, but it's too late; the door opens, and he slowly sits back down, surrendering to the machinations of fate. Attempting to sound like he /wasn't/ just about to dive behind cover, he smiles and looks up as Lois enters. "Oh… good afternoon, Lois."

"Good afternoon, Leander." Lois's expression is a composed blank, posture neither friendly nor hostile - which, for a girl who is usually all warm smiles, is a bad sign in and of itself. She takes a brief moment to smile at an approaching clerk, shaking off any offers of help finding things: "Oh, no, but thank you! Maybe in a little bit." And then… Leander's doom approachth. Striding over in a businesslike fashion, Lois settles herself down in the seat next to him. Folding her hands neatly in her lap, she crosses her ankles, takes a deep breath… and stares. "So: what happened."

Leander remains seated, his own expression falling to its stoically dour default. He flushes slightly when the Gryffindor girl sits beside him, but otherwise remains quite still. Even when she stares at him, which causes his cheeks to go an even deeper shade of red, his own eyes are locked in front of him on some mundane article of clothing hanging from a rack. For several seconds after her question, he's silent. Then: "…I can't say," he says, turning to look at her with a hopeless-yet-determined stare of his own. "Other than the official reason: we were using dueling magic. I didn't act without reason, and if I were only getting myself into bigger trouble by saying more, I would, because…" He falters momentarily. "Because it's you. But I wouldn't be - I'd be getting Ria Sykes into more trouble, too."

With a faint sound of deflation, Lois lets out a sigh. "I see." It's her turn to train her gaze elsewhere, staring for a long beat at a gaudy display of hats. "You know, I don't particularly /like/ Sykes, but -" she thinks better of what she was about to say, and falls silent for several seconds longer. Finally, the girl returns her gaze to Leander, brows lightly furrowed. "I should have said something to Slughorn, after what you did to Clark," she says, voice quiet. "Maybe that would have stopped this silliness. So I suppose this is partially my fault, too." A small pause. "Is something /wrong/, Leander? It's just - well, I suppose I don't actually know you all that well, really, but this is twice in a week you've broken a school rule in a rather /drastic/ way, and…"

"Perhaps you should have," Leander admits, turning his eyes away again. "Tell Clark I'm sorry, by the way. I thought he was… you know… trying to have his way with you." The phrasing might be slightly archaic even for 1937, but he comes from an archaic family. Her question elicits a sudden, bitter laugh from him - definitely not a normal reaction for the Fox twin, but he quickly flushes again and then turns to face the Gryffindor Prefect. "Sorry. It's just - you're right, I've completely bollocksed up my record after working hard to keep it clean for five and a half years. But nothing's wrong, not really. Nothing's on my conscience, anyway." He falls silent briefly, then nods, more to himself than her, seemingly satisfied with this. Eventually he gives a weak smile. "…well, nothing other than the shrinking probability of my securing a good career."

"You know I /am/ a witch, don't you?" Lois asks, with a touch of asperity. "I'm one of the best at Charms in our year! Just because I like solving my problems by /reasoning/ with people doesn't mean I'm a helpless little damsel from a Muggle storybook. Clark was only trying to get my attention, you know. I don't mean to lecture, but… you rushed right into that situation without waiting to find out what was actually happening. That's - well, that's /why/ I'm concerned about this whole… dueling mishap story." Her gaze turns more intense, searching; after a tentative moment, she lifts a hand, intent on placing it on his arm. "I won't press, as you're right and it's not my business, but I hope it wasn't another… misunderstanding."
After a beat, she adds: "I can't believe a Gryffindor is having to give this talk to a Slytherin, of all things."

Clearly embarrassed, Leander merely nods through this series of explanations. "It wasn't… quite like that," he says lamely, not really willing to go any further into what happened between himself and the (currently ex-) Slytherin Prefect. "And yes, I know you're capable of taking care of yourself. I'm sorry about that, again." He looks down at her hand, and what little color had finally faded from his face comes right back again. It doesn't help that he's exchanged more words with her in the last few minutes than he has in the entirety of his school career prior. Tentatively, he places one of his hands on hers, and nods. "Unusual, admittedly. The odds of this series of events transpiring is exceedingly low." A true romantic, this one. He follows this up, though, by setting his gaze on hers with sudden intensity. "Sometimes it's better to go charging into a situation. Our instincts exist for a reason." And he leans forward…
…which is exactly when the seamstress comes back and dumps a bundle of robes in his lap. "There ye are, young sir!"

"I know you're sorry, and I forgive you - and, you know, I forgot to tell you, but Clark wasn't all that angry, either, once I explained what happened - I know you don't like Clark, but he's really a sweetheart once you get to know him -" Lois's train of thought is briefly derailed by this tangent, but she quickly yanks it back in line once she feels his hand on hers. There's a hint of a smile on her face, voice murmuring, "I didn't say there's /never/ a time to charge in," as she gazes up through her eyelashes…
… only to yank back in surprise and mortification at the seamstress's untimely interruption. "Ah!" Her cheeks go scarlet. "Well, anyway! I… probably ought to go catch up with Leona and the rest, I just wanted to talk to clear the air a bit…"

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