(1937-09-30) Hope Renewed
Details for Hope Renewed
Summary: Hephaesta, Ophelia, and Gabrielle each find some new ground with the other, in the hope of a stronger future friendship. (There may be another version of this log, as the three girls mentioned step away from the main crowd for a time.)
Date: 30 September, 1937
Location: The Three Broomsticks
Related: Immediately follows Doughnut Seeking. Also related to Midnight Melancholy, An Awkward Encounter, and Bad Advice.

Since it's the last day of a Hogsmeade weekend, Leander has been trying to get as much done as possible - in spite of the fact that it has been an absolutely insane day. The boy is lugging around several packages now, and this is his second time in the Broomsticks, but he needs to sit down and collect himself before he makes the trip back to Hogwarts. After slipping through the door and into the warm pub, he looks around for faces he recognizes, and sees Mabel. The hand he's not using to carry his things is raised, and he offers her a wave.

Mabel gives a wave. "Hello, …Leander," she ventures, "It looks as if you could do to take a load off, care to join us?"

Llewellyn scratches his head, looking from Hephaesta to Mabel and back again. "You think so?" he asks, absently noshing on his share of the donuts off and on. "I guess he could have been… or maybe he was just trying to reel in another customer." He sounds doubtful now, though, that it was anything quite that simple. "Or he just liked the sound of your name. It is an easy one to remember."

Hephaesta frowns a bit at Llewellyn. "He was talking about my name because it comes from Hephaestus, the Greek god of crafters." Duh. It's about then that Phae notices that Mr. Toulson's fedora is still on the table. She makes a mental note to take care of it until she can return it to him.

After standing in the doorframe a moment more, Leander gives Mabel a cautious smile and nods. "Thank you, Mabel, I'd be happy to join you." He hoists a particularly large back a bit higher, then heads over to the Gryffindor girl's table and sets the assortment of packages on the floor. "How was your weekend?" To the others at the table, with whom he's not as familiar, he turns and offers polite nods.

Mabel nods, a little, "Well, one can hardly blame him for looking to drum up some business, but I do think his interest in Hephaesta is as a fellow crafter. In my case, I don't mind saying I may be in the market: if it's not too late, I may be able to play Quidditch this year, and I think it's time to pass down the old Comet I'd been using."

"Like I said," Llew replies, "he liked your name. Never said he didn't have a good reason to." When Mabel pipes up, though, his face abruptly lights up with interest. "You're handing down a Comet? Oh, you've got to give it to Claire!" What, try to acquire it for himself? Nope, too obvious.

Mabel nods to Llew. "I did have that thought, though she might already have better, it's just that firsties can't bring their own, and all. But Lois' sisters might have use as well, or someone on the team, don't you know."

"Oh," Phae looks abashedly at Llew. "Thanks. Um…hey…Llew? I just wanted to say…sorry for the other night, after dinner." Her eyes dart around to other faces, in a completely-not-subtle attempt to apologize without being specific.

Gabrielle will come back in, her cheeks rosey from being out all day doing…something. She'll have her sketchbook in her hands, and her fingers are red from the cold. Why she's not wearing gloves is a mystery. She'll come in and glance around.

Llewellyn considers Mabel's words. "Right, but if you donate it to her, then technically she didn't bring it, did she?" Who knows whether that logic would actually fly with the faculty. At least he tried, though. And then back to Phae, and his own cheeks redden a bit. "Yeah, uh, me too. I really should have talked to you first." That's two in the not-subtle category, then.

Leander spends a moment arranging his things, then looks around at the other students, frowning slightly. Since Mabel seems not to have heard his question, he gets back up, offers a thin-lipped smile to the group, and hoists his packages again. "Afraid I have to get back to the school - studying to do. Good afternoon to all of you." He heads to the pub's door and slips back out, trying to avoid bumping into anyone else with the clutter of objects as he goes.

Kiefer hopes it's still Hogsmeade weekend. If it isn't .. he's in some sort of trouble. But! He's pretty sure it is. Mostly sure. Since today is…well, what day is it? The teenaged Hufflepuff that enters the Three Broomsticks looks a little apprehensive. It wouldn't be the first, second, or third time that he's mixed up his days, and if it /IS/ a school day and he's here instead of there…yikes! But… phew! He exhales a mega sigh of relief upon spotting young Hogwarty faces here, there, and everywhere. He pulls his cap off his head, visibly slumping with relief.

Gabrielle will wave and start walking towards Hephaesta and turn to see who just came in behind her, "Oh!Hi Kiefer!" she'll smile , looking alittle hyper.

Hephaesta gives Llewellyn a smile, happy to have finally gotten that off of her chest. Her hysterics of late have not exactly endeared her to certain people, and she had worried about Llew's feelings. At the arrival of Kiefer, she brightens along with Gabrielle. "Kiefer! Guess what! You'll never guess what! A professional broom-maker is going to help me turn my walnut into a broom!"

Ophelia has had a full shopping day, and is more than ready to sit down and rest a bit. She steps in just behind Gabrielle, moving quickly to the side so as to avoid bumping into the girl or even crossing her path on the way to the bar. She's bundled up in her cloak, with a scarf wound around her head that she pulls down as she slips between the tables, hurriedly raking gloved hands through her hair to try and tame any mussed locks.

Kiefer pauses a moment, looking much like a deer caught in headlights for a split second. It isn't often that he hears his name being called not once, but two times, upon arriving…well, anywhere! He first glances behind him and grins at an excited looking Gabrielle. "Are you still happy from yesterday?" he assumes, though pauses at a thought. "Or did you find the candy shop after all?" Another grin, and now his attention shifts to the familiar face of Hephaesta, who also seems quite chipper. "Oh, this sounds familiar.." He fishes a hand in the pocket of his jacket and pulls out a somewhat crumpled card. "Was his name Laurence Toulson, master broom maker and former Hogwarts student?" he asks, starting to head her way.

Gabby will laugh at Kiefer, while walking towards Phae, "No…No candy shop. But I did have /3/ donuts!!" She'll giggle as she motions to Phae's table, " have room?" she'll not notice Oph until she gets to the table, and her smile will slip some, but she'll turn back to the conversation at hand and motion to the card, "He got around quite a bit this weekend."

"Seems like it, yes," Llewellyn says, nodding to Gabrielle and Kiefer in turn. "That was him, all right. I didn't hear him mention attending Hogwarts, but everyone has, haven't they? Unless they've immigrated."

Hephaesta nods and starts to answer Kiefer, but her breath catches, and she swallows hard, trying to force down the lump that's just formed in her throat. As Ophelia tames her hair, sending those ginger locks flowing in slow-motion (at least in Phae's eyes), anyone near enough to Phae might hear a squeaky little whimper.

Mabel nods to those coming in, with a little wave for Gabby, sitting there by the others, waving as Gabby returns. "Hello, again. and makes a welcoming motion toward a seat, a brow arching slightly, and adding to Llew. "Oh, it's an interesting notion, though I suppose those school brooms are meant to be a rite of passage, and all."

Ophelia gives up briefly when she realizes that the material of her gloves is only causing a static effect on her hair. She reaches the bar, groaning and pulling off her gloves, calling out, "May I have a butterbeer, please?" Once free of the gloves she tries again, her color rising as she feels the frizz. It rises even further as she perceives the eyes on her, and looks around, noticing both Gabrielle and Hephaesta without difficulty. She goes very still then, hands on her hair, her expression becoming… hard.

"Just three?" says Kiefer to Gabrielle with a look over his shoulder. "I would have guessed five, if I could have guessed. Next time, have me guess. Usually, I'm good at doing so. Though apparently, if I would've guessed five, I would have been wrong and you wouldn't think I was a good guesser at all." As he looks to the others again he notes another familiar face in Mabel, who earns a wave in return to her nod. By now he's reached Hephaesta, and thus pauses nearby, fixing her with a quizzical look. "Are you alright? You aren't choking, are you?" he asks with a concerned pinch of his brows. "I'm good with saving plants, but not so much with choking humans."

Hephaesta shrinks under Ophelia's hardened gaze. She tries to remember all of the advice Ria gave her…and not a word of it comes to mind. All she can do is give an almost imperceptible shake her head, with a pleading look on her face. But, a few beats later, she gathers her courage enough to rise, and tries to make her way toward Ophelia.

Gabrielle will answer Llewellyn,"He did. He's a Ravenclaw." Gabby will smile at Mabel, "Long time no see!" And then glance between Phae and Oph for a moment, and then a look of surprise flashes on her face, which she quickly covers up and looks at Kiefer, smiling but bewildered, "What? Why would you guess 5? I can't eat 5 donuts!"

Llewellyn misses the look on Hephaesta's face, instead distracted by the floating ginger hair. "What sort of gloves are /those/?" he asks. Someone hasn't had a lot of wool in his wardrobe. "Can I see? Oh, and do you want a donut?" He's still got the one that he hadn't started eating yet, which he picks up and holds out toward her."

Jackson separates himself from the bar, carrying three butterbeers in a triangular formation within his hands. As he walks along, he sings a marry tune. Further investigation would stand to reason that it is 'A-rovin' that he's singing. He approaches the table with Gabrielle, Ophelia, Hephaesta and company. He calls out, "Hello! Enjoying the last of the weekend?"

Ophelia looks away from the shaking head of Hephaesta, pain flashing across her eyes in a flash. Llewellyn provides a welcome distraction from this, and with a small smile she accepts the donut, pulling out and offering a glove to him in exchange, "Thank you. They're only cashmere, though. I just forgot to bring a hat when I left… " Glancing at Jackson, she tries to answer… and finds that she has no idea what to say.

Mabel smiles, waving a hand toward Jackson, "Oh, well enough, well-enough. I do suppose we'll have to be getting back soon enough, but for now, a bit of change of scene."

Hephaesta steps closer to Ophelia, but stops before entering her personal space. "Ophelia…please…I…" Her eyes drift to all of the others present, her cheeks suddenly flushing crimson red. Maybe this wasn't the best time to try to talk to her.

"Because," answers Kiefer to Gabrielle. "The sugar to hyperactivity ratio that I see in you seems more like five than three donuts. I bet you could eat five if you tried. I can eat five, easy." Hmm. Does the 'Sticks have donuts? He'll have to find out! "I'm glad she isn't choking," he says as Hephaesta moves off. "But she should've at least finished her story. She left me at a cliffhanger. Walnut tree to broom. Where are the details? Is she selling the tree? Was there a deal made? Has she thought of a eulogy?" He slides into a seat, pondering this just as Jackson arrives. "Hello. It's been interestingly confusing, but that's better than being bad, horrible, depressing, or downright awful, so I'll take it!"

Gabby will blink, not sure if she's been complimented or insulted.She'll glance to Jackson, "It's been…"and will trail off look at her fellow housemates, and will look back to Jackson and smile, "It's been mostly wonderful. Excuse me for a moment?" And she'll get up and walk over towards Oph and Phae.

Llewellyn nods to Ophelia and takes the glove, turning it over and over in his hands. It looks vaguely familiar, but — Then he catches sight of Hephaesta once again, hearing the hesitation in her voice. Oh dear, something's wrong, and he has no idea what it is. Didn't she and Ophelia patch up their troubles the other day, too? He sets the glove back down and stays quiet, waiting.

Jackson blinks at the general response he has been getting, "Really. That's a lot less levity than I was expecting." When people start to leave, Jackson sets the three butterbeers down on the table, taking a stealthy whiff of armpit before a look of confusion settles across his face. He shakes his head after a moment, asking anyone who is left at the table (because someone lost track), "Alright if I join you?"

Ophelia looks to Hephaesta, the hard look returning at first. Then she sighs. "Look, if… if you want to talk, then I would be happy to take a table with you. There are things I need to say. But if you would rather wait then perhaps… we should try… not to depress our schoolmates too much." Glancing up, she gives Llewellyn an apologetic smile. Gabrielle, though, is watched more warily, with a biting of her lower lip.

Mabel nods, while the girls go off to …likely confer about girl things. She just pats the air to reassure Llew he doesn't need to do anything about it right now. "Oh, do sit, Jackson. I'm not sure if you've met Llewellyn Blishwick? I imagine you must have by now, but one never knows."

Hephaesta swallows nervously, looking to the others with mixed apology and a touch of terror. Unable to meet Ophelia's eyes, she gazes down at her hands. "It's…okay. I'll just go so you can be with your friends. M-maybe we can talk…later?" She nibbles at her lower lip.

Gabrielle will smile at Oph and Phae , "Ladies? Quick house meeting?" Her face is pretty unreadable.

Kiefer is still there Jackson, don't worry! And it looks like it may be just Kiefer and Mabel left, as now Gabrielle is walking off to join the fray of students that mill around Ophelia and Hephaesta for whatever reason. Their magnetism doesn't reach him though, and he stays put. "It isn't you," he assures Jackson. "It's happened every time I've been here. There's something, I guess, happening with different groups of students. Something I don't know about. Groups I'm not a part of. But it's alright, because there are always negative auras when this happens, and I don't like negativity."

By this point, Llewellyn is all too happy to have an excuse to turn his attention away from whatever those two - three, rather - are up to. "I think so," he replies, nodding to Mabel. "Back at Summerbee's birthday party, wasn't it?" And probably at some point before that as well, though it's a little tricky to keep up with everyone at the school.

At the prompting from Mabel, Jackson looks towards Llewellyn and then shakes his head, "Can't say we've met, but you look alarmingly like a third year I pelted with an egg last year…" He then reaches a hand across the table to the Slytherin, "Jackson Jacob Potter, Junior. Treasure hunter inextroirdinaire, and trouble maker of the highest order." He then tilts his head, "Were you at the party I crashed? Sorry I didn't get your name then, mate." With his other hand, he's passing a butterbeer to Kiefer, Mabel and Llewellyn. When all the pleasantries are exchanged, He looks towards Kiefer, "They do that a lot, hmm?" He turns towards the group of Ophelia, Hephaesta and Gabrielle, "That's alright, ladies! Just go over there amongst yourselves and plot dark and nefarious deeds. One of you must be the ringleader, the other must be the mapmaker, and the final must be the wardrobe consultant. Don't ask me which is which!" He looks back towards Kiefer and waves a hand, "Don't mind 'em, mate. Probably just forming rank to storm the loo." Jackson takes a second look at his alcohol situation and reports for brevity, "Aw, bugger it. Be right back."

Mabel ohs, to Kiefer, "Well, I'm not so sure," she says lowly, "That it's necessarily a matter of negativity atall, really. But I think it'll come right." She sips from her cup. At Jackson's …commentary, she adds, "But I wouldn't expect boys to understand."

Ophelia glances back at Llewellyn, hearing her name, but as it seems he's not addressing her she looks back again to Gabrielle and Hephaesta, nodding. "Yes, that sounds like a good idea." Leaving her glove with Llew she steps away from the group and seeks a quiet spot where the three might talk.

Gabrielle will glance back to the table where everyone is at, smile and follow Ophelia into the Inn

Hephaesta follows after Ophelia and Gabrielle for their impromptu house meeting, looking a bit like she's walking to her own execution.

Ophelia doesn't find a quiet table. But then, it is a students weekend in the town. In the end, she ends up passing through the door into the Inn itself. Here she stops, frowning as she realizes Llwellyn still has one of her gloves, and turns to wait for the others to catch up.

Hephaesta looks to Gabrielle with a bit of confusion and curiosity. "So…um…a house meeting?"

Gabrielle will walk in and lean against one of the walls. She'll have her sketch book in her hands, and will fold her arms around it. "Well, I figured if would be better to do this away from people, unless you wanted more drama?" She doesn't sound mean, almost like she's trying to be helpful? "I can either stay her, go back after a few minutes, or leave out the back way. You call."

Ophelia watches Gabrielle for a moment, worried and thoughtful. When she looks finally to Phae, her eyebrows are raised in question. "Its up to you. I should probably talk to you both, really. But I won't force either of you to share a secret you'd rather not."

Hephaesta nibbles at her lip, glancing between the two girls. But she makes a decision. Gabrielle has so frequently been a calm, observing presence that she doesn't really seem to make Phae uncomfortable now. "Ophelia," she starts. "I'm sorry. I've…made my problems your problems, and I hurt you. Please…please forgive me."

Gabrielle will open her mouth, then close it as Phae starts talking. She'll let the girl speak.

Ophelia, after some serious consideration, starts to reach for Hephaesta's hand. She stops, though she nods. ""Its the fact that I'm not the only one you hurt that is bothering me. But if we can try to move on from this, then I'd like to try again." She watches her friend's face, her eyes searching, "Otherwise, and this is not the option I prefer, but otherwise I /can/ do my best to simply… let you be."

Unquestionable fear shows in Phae's eyes at the very concept of Ophelia leaving her be. "I…I told Kaiden I was sorry. Please, please understand. He's my cousin. Family…sometimes says stupid things to each other. But we made up."

Gabrielle will just kinda look around the hall focusing on the butterfly paintings. She can obviously hear, but is trying to not put herself into it.

Again, Ophelia nods. This time, she even grins. "Yes, I… well I'm still struggling with that whole idea. But I have started to figure that out." And now she does reach out, for Hephaesta's shoulder, giving it a quick squeeze, "So we try again, then." Mindful of Gabrielle's presence, she turns to the blonde, offering a small smile, "And I believe I owe /you/ an apology. I let my other problems change… how I treated you. I'm sorry i did that."

Hephaesta nods, trying to smile for Ophelia. The touch, such a simple gesture, and she goes weak in the knees. Thank goodness for that leg brace helping her stand!

Gabrielle will look over at the two, face still unreadable. Gabby will turn to look fully at Oph, shoulder against the wall, " It's all bygones. We're good." Her face softens some, "Let's just drop it and have a nice rest of the day?" she'll look between the two girls. she's lost all the energy she had coming into the pub, but isn't giving off a tired vibe. More resigned that anything else.

Ophelia drops her hand from Phae's shoulder to watch Gabrielle more closely. "If you're sure." She says quietly. "There's nothing else you wanted to say?" Once more, remembering her hair, she reaches up and tries to comb the strands into submission.

Hephaesta waits for a moment to see if Gabrielle has anything to add, before she speaks her final piece to Ophelia.

Gabrielle will shake her head, "Nope! We're good." But she will bring her eyebrows together watching Oph fuss with her hair.She'll reach up and pull the tie out of her hair and smile, "Here. before you make a bigger mess" and offer it to Oph.

Grimacing sheepishly, Ophelia accepts the tie. "Thanks." Hurriedly, she pulls her hair into a braid and secures it, glancing at Hephaesta while she does so. "Seriously, Ajax warned me to wear a hat. I was just in such a hurry… "

"Ophelia," Phae says sheepishly, but she takes a deep breath and steadies her voice. "My feelings for you haven't changed. I promise, I'll try to be better about…all of it. I'll be nice to Kaiden…I'll even apologize to him again. I…I can't promise I can be around the both of you. Not yet." Another heavy breath as she steels herself for the next bit. "But I'm not giving up on you. You mean too much to me. I don't know what's going to happen with you and Kaiden. But…I want to prove to you that I'm worth it." Okay, bravery over. Time to turn pale.

Gabrielle will look to Oph to gauge her reaction.

Once again Ophelia freezes with her hands in her hair. She darts a glance at Gabrielle as she drops them, and slowly begins to nod. "Alright, I supopose I can understand that. I, ah, don't think another apology is necessary though. Not for my sake." She braves a smile for Hephaesta, though there's still some worry there. Because now, she may just be in for a siege.

Hephaesta shakes her head. "Not for your sake…though I'd do anything for you." She blushes a little. "It's for his sake, and mine. I said some very mean things, and I don't think one apology is enough."

Wow…these butterflies are looking really interesting again! Gabby will discreetly as she can turn back to leaning against the wall and studying the painting.

Cheeks now suddenly quite red, Ophelia nods only a little shakily. "Y-yes, that sounds good. We, ah, should maybe get back. Before someone steals my drink." Its probably already gone, but hey. One never knows. "And Gabrielle? While I shouldn't have said it that way, I did mean what I said. I won't push it. But I will do what I can to help, if you'll let me."

Hephaesta catches her breath, looking a little more steady. Ophelia didn't tell her to back off…which means there's a chance, in Phae's mind. "Hey, Gabrielle? Thanks. For being…well…you."

Gabrielle looks over to Oph and sighs, "I know. It's just complicated.eventually, ok?" and will then smile at Phae, "Well, I kinda don't have a choice with that, now do I?"

Ophelia actually giggles. Its a tiny giggle, but its real, her eyes are even smiling now. "Being you? No, I don't think you do. But still, I know I like hearing people say things like that to me." She grins at Phae, then Gabbi, "Shall we go back to the party?"

Hephaesta smiles adoringly at Ophelia. "I definitely love that you're you." She blushes fiercely at her own admission, nibbling at her lip. But she nods, falling in to follow Ophelia.

Gabrielle ,"Yes, lets!"

Elspeth nods. "It is more the…" she frowns for a moment. "Atmosphere, yes? People come to sit and talk and have something to drink at the bakery sometimes. We do not have butter beer, though." She edges towards a table near the wall, away from the rowdier students. When he opens the box to show her, she leans forward and takes another sniff at the spicy aroma that emanates. "I am not familiar with these smells. What are they?"

Gabrielle will come back in and smile at the table, although her smile falters some when she sees someone is missing, but she catches herself, "did we miss anything?

Following Gabrielle, Ophelia steps in. She hurries to the bar for a new butterbeer for herself, ordering two more for her friends as well, before joining people at the table. "Hello, Elspeth." She smiles at the baker, and politely nods to those others she doesn't know as well.

Mabel smiles up to Gabrielle, "Oh, I wouldn't say so, though there's extra butterbeers about at this point. I'll have to be flitting on back to the castle in a bit, but here we are."

Hephaesta follows Ophelia quietly (except for the click-whirrr of her clockwork leg brace), but every few moments, a great, beaming smile of pure joy passes over her lips.

Jackson's eyes widen as he hears about the sailing Mabel has done in Greece, "Really? Many of the islands in the Agean have ruins dating back to the paleolithic age." He reaches his hands out, palms out, giving two squeezes, "I'd love to get my hands on those ample artifacts." He turns his head as the others begin coming in. At Elspeth's questioning about the aroma, Jackson calls out mysteriously, "That smell is what happens when sausage and butterbeer meet within…"

Gabrielle glances, and if there are extra Butterbeers, she's not going to say no to one! She'll pick one up and take a long sip. She'll close her eyes and smile and sigh as she sits down at the table. She'll look between Mabel and Jackson, trying to figure out what they're talking about.

Adding her extra butterbeer to those on the table, and making sure Hephaesta gets one as well, Ophelia looks curiously to Jackson and Mabel. "Artifacts? Agean ruins? Sounds fascinating. Are you planning an expedition?'

Mabel rolls her eyes with some indulgent amusement at Jackson's references. To Hephaesta, "Oh, in the vaguest sense. Some ruins, we did get to see, at least, though I didn't go digging about, at the time." She adds, "Perhaps one day, though." She frowns slightly at a thought, "Circumstance permitting, in the immediate future, I suppose, of course."

Hephaesta's eyes widen at Mabel. "You've been to Greece? Oooh, I want to go to Greece someday," she pines. "Both sides of my family have roots there."

Gabrielle , having nothing at add to this kind of talk, will slump back happily with her drink and play with the froth on top of her butterbeer.

Noalan lifts the box and smells it. "Don't know, I'm not an expert in spices. Probably just what was kept in it or near it before she bought it." He shuts the box again and rucks it under an arm. "Speaking of Butter Bears, how about I buy you one." He moves over towards a table when more students enter. He lifts a hand in greeting towards Ophelia and Hephaesta when they enter.

Leaning forward, Ophelia rests her chin in one hand and smiles at Mabel and Jackson. "Does your family tavel, then? Sounds exciting. The only place I ever travelled to was my grandparent's estate." She chuckles, nodding to Noalan in reply to his wave.

The extra butterbeers are actually Jackson's (he's on something of a bender) and he looks to be about to say something until Gabrielle takes the first sip. He smoothly looks away, muttering under his breath, "Oh bugger it." He looks towards Ophelia and then nods to Mabel, "Right. Circumstances permitting. I haven't really got much of a plan after Hogwarts except Egypt." He then asks, "By the way, Ophelia, have you figured out your birthday present yet?" He takes another gulp of the butterbeer he is currently working on, still watching her.

Elspeth smiles to Ophelia, responding with a 'hullo' of her own to the girl. Her attention returns to Lan and she nods as sniffs at the box that actually gives off a faint aroma of sandalwood and myrhh, so she doesn't realize the comment about sausage and butter beer is directed towards her. "I like it. It is different. And not being flowery like perfume." With the box shut, she settles her mittens on the table she'd walked over, and prepares to sit. A smile widens across her face at Lan's offer, and she dips her head in a little nod. "That would very nice, Lan. Thank you. I can guard your present for you if you like, while you are going to get them."

Hephaesta returns Noalan's wave of greeting, taking a seat (beside Ophelia if she can manage it). She takes up her butterbeer, enjoying a rather heavy quaff of it. At Jackson's mention of birthday presents, her eyes go to Ophelia, immediately dropping to the clockwork heart pendant around her neck.

Ophelia taps her chin, thinking about Jackson's question. "The wheel… well, partially. Its… ah… Aztec? A calendar of some sort, though I'm still working on the particulars." She answers as though Jackson were a professor, and as a true Ravenclaw her eyes state that she is loving every minute of the search.

Mabel nods to Ophelia. "We always have done a fair bit of sailing. Normally we spend much of the summers at sea, Mummy and Daddy's work permitting or requiring. Often just over to Nova Scotia, accordingly, but I do suppose we might make a fair group among us for some excursions like that, though. "

Jackson grins, nodding his head, "I know Hogwarts doesn't have a lot of ancient Muggle civilizations, but when you think you've got it figured out, let me know," knowing the Ravenclaw would enjoy the challenge far more than being told what it is. He turns back to his butterbeer, having another drink. He looks towards Mabel, "Nova Scotia is beautiful in the winter, from what I've heard. Love to travel there someday."

Noalan shrugs, "Could be." He says, the thought of the box being perfumed making it a little more embarrassing to carry around. All he'd need is for people to think he's got the perfume on. With a small nod to Eslepth, he slips off to the bar and, after the jingle of a few coins, he returns to the table with two butter bear bottles in one hand and two mugs in the other. He sets mugs on the table followed by the bottles before finaly taking the box out from under his arm and setting that down as well. "If it's supposed to be a pair with Aelus's we may need to wait until he opens his. Would be just like her to give us both something that can only be used together. Not sure if she doesn't know how we get along, or does things like this to force us to get along."

Elspeth takes a deep breath and smiles as she pours her butter beer. "Thank you," she says again. "It is being possible. She is an adult. I think it makes them happy to make children who do not like each other work together." She takes a sip of the butter beer, and there's a sigh of happiness. "Just as good. How do you say that, in sign language?" she asks. And so she turns the talk, and perhaps a good part of the afternoon, to learning sign language over butter beer.

Mabel nods to Jackson, "I spent much of my childhood there, really…" The box gets a curious look, for the moment, as the conversation shifts from that topic. "Oh, I suppose there's something old everywhere, if not always so picturesque as Egypt."

Hephaesta sips her butterbeer, a bit behing in the conversations, and distracted anyhow.

Ophelia nods,then sits back thoughtfully in her seat. "He… Hephaesta… " She tries, watching her friend out of the corner of one eye, "Maybe… you could help me study the calendar Jackson gave me? Its quite fascinating really… "

Jackson grins and nods to Mabel, "Right! But is it in good enough shape to dig up. That's my question." He finishes off the last of his butterbeer, sliding the glass away from himself. All talk of him going into a field of science after graduation is called into question as he calls out, "Alright you sorry lot of riff-raff and na'er-do-wells, I'm going back to Hogwarts and dancing starkers on top of the Astronomy tower! Whose with me?!" Spartacus, having already paid his tab, stands up and begins marching towards the door, unbuttoning his shirt to the beat.

Gabrielle will snicker into her drink

Hephaesta lights up like Christmas (the holiday, not the Gryffindor). "I'd love to!" she exclaims, all too eagerly. "Do you have it here?"

"No, sorry, its back in my room." Ophelia grins, assuming that Hephaesta's interest is intellectual more than anything else. Or perhaps hoping? Hard to tell, even for her. "If we make it back early enough, I'll bring it out so you can see it. I have some notes so far, but I've yet to find anything that isn't generally vague about it."

Obviously, Ophelia missed the part where Hephaesta said her feelings haven't changed. But, of course, being the good Ravenclaw that she is, her desire to be close to Ophelia isn't the only reason she's interested in the mystery. "It's a calendar, which means numbers. We'll see if there's some Arithmantic logic to it."

Gabrielle will eventually sneak out, telling everyone she'll see them tomorrow.

Mabel rolls her eyes a little at Jackson's little 'plan,' and sighs, "Well, I'd best be sure to catch up with him before he gets there …before cousin Lois finds out, or worse. I'm glad I brought my broom."

Ophelia nods, "Good idea, I'll- what… " She looks to the table to pick up her butterbeer, only then noticing that everyone is leaving. And that many have, in fact, already left. "I think I missed something… "

Hephaesta looks just as perplexes at Ophelia. There were other people here, right? "I…don't know. I think I did, too."

Ophelia watches everyone leaving, considers the time and her own inclinations, then shrugs lightly, "Well. Whatever it is, I hope they don't all get into too much trouble." Having decided, aparently, to stay, she takes a long sip of her butterbeer, closing her eyes to take in a moment, however small, of being relaxed. When she opens them again, she turns to Hephaesta, "So, I found a partner for my Herbology project. And… well, you rather inspired my idea. But I'm not sure if it will be allowed."

Hephaesta inspired Ophelia? Another check in the plus column for Phae! "Really? What are you going to do?"

"I don't know if we'll be able to, yet." Ophelia responds, spinning her mug slowly with her fingers, "But Elspeth didn't have a partner either yet. And she seemed to like my idea. We just need to talk to a professor about it." She glances at Phae, grinning a little, "We're going to see if Professor Beery will let us get a wandwood sapling."

Hephaesta gasps aloud, eyes turning to saucers. "Oh, my…Ophelia that would be amazing! There's so much you could learn from your own wandwood. Are there any wandwoods nearby?"

Ophelia shakes her head, "I don't know for sure. Mostly I'm concerned about how advanced the project is. And Professor Beery knows that my skills are less than advanced." She chuckles softly. Then she looks at Hephaesta once more, her eyes filled with worry, "We… we're alright, aren't we? I mean, I'm not… making things harder like this?'

Hephaesta nibbles at her lip. "I'm…okay." There is an uncertain waver in her voice. "I told you. I'm not going to pressure you. I just…I just want the chance to show you I can be worthy." Of course, she doesn't vocalize that it still means she wants Ophelia to break up with Kaiden. But she's learned that those words bring nothing but pain for both of them.

Ophelia nods, "Yes, I'm sorry. I just… don't want to hurt you, you know, without realizing it or something. Are, um…. are you going to try for the costume contest?" Hooray for random subject changes!

Hephaesta takes a deep breath, choosing to address the first question. This is important to her. "I'll be okay. I'm not really proving I'm worthy if I fall apart every time things don't work out for me, am I? I'm sorry…I know I've put you through a lot. I'm just…really…lost." For once, she's navigating this sea of emotions with a clearer head. "All I know is that I want to be with you. It just feels…right. So, it's like anything in life. I have to work for it." She watches Ophelia carefully as she lays out her feelings.

Ophelia nods, smiling a little at the comment about being lost. She sobers to listen to the rest, worrying her lower lip thoughtfully. Slowly, as Phae finishes, she nods, "I suppose… that makes sense." She's blushing now, her cheeks and the tips of her ears going pink. "And I'm sorry too. You aren't the only one who's never dealt with something like this. I'm sure I could have handled everything better too."

Hephaesta tentatively reaches out a hand, offering it to Ophelia. "Whatever happens…I want to be your friend. I will," she swallows, "I will try really hard never to let this ruin that. But…I have to be honest. I want more. I've….I've never wanted this from anyone before. Not a boy, not a girl…not anyone. It's a little scary. I don't know what I'm doing. But I do know how to follow my heart, and that's always worked for me before."

Biting her lip harder this time, Ophelia nods and takes the offered hand and squeezes it. She sniffs, fighting back tears, and replies, "And you know I'll always want you to be happy. Everything I /can/ give you I will always give you. I may never forgive myself for not being able to give you what you really want. But I will do everything in my power to make up for that."

Hephaesta squeezes right back, and her voice cracks a bit, fighting her own sniffles. "Just…please tell me that it's not impossible? That…maybe…just maybe I might have a chance? I know I don't right now. I hate it…but I know. But maybe if things change? Can they change?" She's managed to find a thread of hope again, and this time she'll follow it to its source to see what's actually on the other end.

Ophelia shakes her head as she watches Hephaesta, "I don't know, I really don't. I… as I was trying to say before, you are both… equally amazing to me. I just don't know that I can love two people at the same time. If I could… " She reaches out with her other hand, getting close enough to touch Phae's cheek before she drops it again.

Hephaesta's eyes widen, mouth parting in astonishment. Even with that almost-touch, her eyes flutter closed and a tiny sound that could only be described as a sliver of pure happiness escapes her lips.

Ophelia sighs, a long and drawn-out sound, her eyes turning slowly to the table and then closing as well for a moment. Carefully, she pulls her hand from Phae's and wraps both of hers around her mug, which she lifs and begins drinking deeply from.

When the touch doesn't come, her eyes slowly open, and she tries her absolute best to keep her face neutral, hiding that stab of pain. She lowers her gaze to their hands as they part…another stab. No, Phae. Don't show it. Don't go down that road again. "I…I don't know if I'm going to the Hallowe'en dance." Her tone is somber, low, as she finally tries for that subject change.

Ophelia takes a few more swallows before setting down the mug and nodding. "Ah, I see. Of course. Ahm… do you usually do anything for Hallowe'en? Carve pumpkins or anything?" She keeps her eyes on the remains of her drink, staring hard in order to keep hidden just how conflicted she is starting to feel.

Hephaesta takes a sip of butterbeer. "One year my family made a haunted house. But gremlins got into some of the mechanical monsters, and we had to destroy them before they ate anyone." Another quaff of butterbeer. It's going to take a lot of butterbeer to drown her woes.

Thankfully, when everyone left so early, they left a few untouched mugs on the table! Ophelia finishes hers off and takes one of these, one corner of her mouth lifting in an attempted grin. "That sounds like fun, actually. My parents tried to celebrate a few times. But it usually ended up in some philosophical argument about the meanings of the holiday and which was the most relevant to us."

Hephaesta tilts her head curiously. "Are all the holidays at your house like that? Or was it something specific about Hallowe'en?" More butterbeer is good. Both the smooth sweetness, and the smidge of alcohol are ever so soothing.

"Not all of them, no." Ophelia takes another drink, "Christmas tends to go well. And new years, when we don't try too hard. Birthdays, as I mentioned, tend to be a bit of a mess. We, ah… tend to forget them." She glances at Phae, managing now a wry grin.

Hephaesta gives Ophelia a smile. "I won't forget yours. Not ever." Remember the party! Phae practically tries to think the words right into the ginger's brain. Remember how much I am willing to do for you!

"But I might forget yours." Ophelia points out. Her grin wavers as she looks briefly into Hephaesta's eyes, and she has to quickly look away again to keep it in place. "So just… be prepared. I may not be able to give you something as spectacular as you gave me." She reaches up to touch one finger to the pendant, "As a gift or as a party."

Hephaesta shrugs, shaking her head. "It's okay. I don't really like big parties. Too many people. My mother always tries to throw these gigantic ones. She's been talking about my sweet sixteen for years. I think I'll probably just crawl in a hole and die the day before my sixteenth birthday."

"When is it?" Ophelia turns her chair to better face Phae's, a little more comfortable now with the new conversation. She tucks her feet up under herself as well, though she keeps her shoes on and makes sure to keep her coat between the soles and her dress.

Hephaesta drinks up, nearly done with her mug of butterbeer. "The 3rd of May. I'm…young for my class." She winces a little at revealing that, not wishing to draw attention to the age difference between them.

"That makes sense, you being so smart and everything." Ophelia smiles, her tone a little lighter as she begins to relax more. "What /do/ you like to do for your birthdays? Something like what Ajax and I always did?"

Hephaesta blushes, a smiles involuntarily curling her lips. "What…what did you and Ajax do?"

Ophelia chuckles, "Just something small. We'd get a cake together, I'd open the things from my him and from home, and usually he'd worm his way into singing for me." She rolls her eyes, "I was always so afraid he'd draw attention, so I would try not to let him. He usually likes a party. His birthday is right after Hallowe'en, in fact."

Hephaesta smiles. "Really? We should throw him a party, then!" The last party was such a smashing success, she's getting quite excited about the prospect of another. It seems Phae has some of her mother in her, after all.

Ophelia nods, "We should, yes. I'd like that." Something more normal, more friendly-like, could not be better for her right now. "I'll make up a list of the things he likes… maybe we can even get Theodore Dupont to come… "

Hephaesta tilts her head. "The Slytherin captain?" Phae's only real knowledge of Theo involve Quidditch, and attempting to formulate plays that would baffle Theodore's.

"Yes, um, you know. Because Ajax likes him and all." She is looking worriedly at Phae when a thought occurs to her, and with a frowns she adds, "Unless he's dating Ria now. Though I really thought she was with that Proudmore fellow… "

Hephaesta blinks. "Ria? I don't think she's dating anyone at all. At least that's what she told me." She shrugs, "But that means she's not with Theo. So I guess we can invite him. Do you think he'll come?"

"Do you know him?" Ophelia looks over, surprised and impressed. "Ah, yes I think so. He loves quidditch and all, and since Ajax's father is part owner of one of the professional teams, they've bonded over that." Her grin is a little sad, as she thinks about that more than she has before.

Hephaesta shakes her head. "I've met him. My family knows his family. But I can't say I really know him. Still…maybe I could get Ria to ask him." The prospect of asking Theodore herself is a little intimidating. She tilts her head at Ophelia, instinctively reaching out a hand for comfort, but thinking twice about it, and for a moment it just hangs between them stupidly. "Um…does…does it bother you that he's spending more time with Theodore?"

"No I just… worry." Ophelia watches the hand, hesitating as well, then reaching out and taking it. "Ajax doesn't really care that much for quidditch himself. And I worry that he will… pretend to be someone he isn't in order to keep Dupont's attention."

Duly. Noted. Don't pretend to be something you're not, Phae. "Yeah. That would be bad." She ponders for a moment. "Still, if he really likes Dupont, being interested in what he's interested in is a way to show him he cares…isn't it?"

Ophelia nods. "Oh, certainly. As long as he remains tru to himself, in the end. But I shouldn't worry about that with him." She chuckles, "He's always been better at staying true to himself than me. I've gotten better at it, but it was a struggle for me, before."

Hephaesta gives Ophelia a soft, adoring smile. "You're wonderful as you are." She squeezes Ophelia's hand, almost swooning at the contact.

Ophelia grins helplessly at Hephaesta, "I'm beginning to suspect you'd say that even if I were a werewolf, at this point. But its getting late, we should head back to the castle soon. Do you want me to get a couple of bottles for the walk back?"

Hephaesta nods in affirmation. "That would be grand. And you'd be the most amazing werewolf ever." Her face lights up in a giggle. It's remarkable what a genuine laugh can do to to bring out a person's inner beauty.

Ophelia looks up, also laughing, but the laugh fades away a bit in the face of that bright smile. For a couple of seconds she just stares. When her smile starts back up again, its more of a surprised grin really, and her voice is quiet, thoughtful. "You should do that more often, you know. Come on." Pulling on Phae's hand, she starts toward the door.

Smile more often. Duly. Noted. Phae's heart practically bursting with glee, she limps along happily with Ophelia, hand-in-hand.

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