(1937-10-01) Dark Deals
Details for Dark Deals
Summary: Ria finds Leander in the greenhouses, and he proposes a very weighty bargain to her.
Date: October 1, 1937
Location: Greenhouses, Hogwarts
Related: Suspended

Leander has had a lot on his mind lately, not the least of which is Ria's request to speak to him in private. He hasn't been avoiding her, but he hasn't exactly sought her out, either. He's currently hunched over a group of strange, mewling long-thorned plants with disturbingly humanoid 'faces'; the Slytherin boy is holding a dropper of dark liquid in one hand and slowly dripping bits of it into the plants' mouths. As much as he hates Herbology, this place is good for thinking. It's quiet, since not many students come to the greenhouse save for when they need to do coursework, and quiet is exactly what he needs to sort his thoughts out.

A shadow of a person appears behind the transluscent glass door of the greenhouse. Its silhouette takes the form of a young girl with her hair neatly coiffed into a bun. The figure takes its time twisting the knob and the door swings over with a quiet squeak to reveal it's Ria, and judging by her expression she's all business at the moment. Slowly, she shuts the door behind them to allow for some privacy. Upon spotting Leander, her eyes never leave him and she greets him with a cold, "Leander. Heard you'd be in here."

The Slytherin boy is absorbed enough in his task that he jerks slightly when he hears the sound of his name; a single drop of the brown liquid falls aside and lands on the wooden platform that the plants are sitting on, where it immediately begins to burn a small hole in its surface. Leander puts the dropper aside and straightens up, turning to face Ria with a carefully guarded expression. "Aria, I know you're probably not interested in an apology, but you have one anyway." He pauses, merely observing her, then adds: "Which leaves only what you /do/ want. Which is?"

Ria's eyes narrow with irritation when the boy calls her by her name. She makes no advances toward Leander, instead choosing to stay in her own spot with her face and body hiding under the shadows of a tall plant. "First, you do not call me Aria, ever," she says, leaning against the door and crossing her arms. "Second, I want and feel that you -owe- me your silence. Even if you saw what was inside my knapsack, I want you to un-know it. You never saw what's inside in the first place. You have no clue. Understand?"

The Sixth Year stands quite still, taking in the girl's words without so much as a flicker of change in his expression. "Miss Sykes, then. And in fact, Miss Sykes, I am willing to completely ease your mind concerning the contents of your knapsack. I will offer to make an Unbreakable Vow to you, and we both know there is no better assurance for you than that." His dark eyes burn with intensity, although his face remains otherwise impassive. "For your part, you will vow to rebuff any advances by my brother. You're dangerous and I don't want him getting mixed up with you. And I would elect Lucian Proudmore as our Bonder, unless you have a better candidate in mind." Leander allows her to absorb all of that, and then an uncharacteristically bright smile forms on his lips. "You're a Slytherin, so I'm sure you understand. And surely, a girl like you has enough suitors to see that the benefits vastly outweigh the downsides."

Ria seems rather pleased with the 'Miss Sykes' option. It's formal, distant, and slightly reverent. Or at least that's how she chooses to interpet it. But she takes a moment to internalize the offer, her eyes remaining narrow with thought. And she seems almost skeptical until a sneer spreads on her lips. "How adorable," she coos mockingly to Leander. "You must be your brother's keeper. Do you change his diapers when he soils himself too? Oh no, perhaps you wipe after him when he spits up. No, no. You sing him songs to sleep. Precious. Just precious." Identical twin dynamics are just so much more interesting than her own. "And did Lucian inspire any part of this arrangement? Furthermore, how does Ripley feel about you meddling in his love life?"

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Leander=deception Vs Ria=awareness
< Leander: Failure Ria: Good Success
< Net Result: Ria wins - Solid Victory

For his own part, Leander simply allows the girl to sink her claws into him. He feels he's earned the verbal lashing from his Housemate, so he waits until she's finished flaying him, and only then does he speak up once more. "I chose Proudmore because I felt that, as a Prefect, I can trust him to follow his duties as Bonder. Also, I've heard rumors that he's interested in you, so he has no reason to disagree." It's a clever way of answering without answering. As for the last question, he simply frowns. "That's not important."

Ria groans and rolls her eyes when Leander lists Lucian's merits as a bonder. She doesn't buy it one bit. "Oh please, spare me. What did he do for you to create this arrangement with me? Did he offer to spare you a beating like the one you got from Theodore, and, I suspect, my brother as well?" She remains under the shadows, still crossing her arms, though her brows raise at his answer to the last bit. "Not important? Really? You don't find that your own brother's feelings on this matter aren't important whatsoever? That's rather callous of you, Leander, considering that he's your twin. Your other half." And she would know a thing or two about being twins.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Leander=deception Vs Ria=awareness
< Leander: Good Success Ria: Success
< Net Result: Leander wins - Solid Victory

"Please. I don't capitulate to petty threats," Leander hisses. And this time it's his turn to sound disgusted. For just a moment, a devious look flits across his otherwise slate-blank face, but he quickly covers it up. "Proudmore isn't threatened by Ripley. He wants him away from you to keep /me/ away from you. He considers me dangerous and wants to ensure that you don't suffer any further threats to your safety or pride." The faintest hint of a frown traces his features. "As for Ripley, he looks out for me in his own tough-love way sometimes… but sometimes he's so headstrong and optimistic that he doesn't know danger when he's looking it right in the face."

With a bit of a scowl, Ria considers his coverup for Lucian, which is fairly believable. And while she's still not happy about the fellow prefect's role in all this, at least she doesn't want to kill him as much as she did a moment ago. "I see. So keeping you away from me is tied with keeping me away from Ripley," she frowns. "I fail to see how -I'm- the danger when -you're- the one who attacked me first." But she takes a deep inhale and an even deeper exhale, thinking over the terms in her mind one more time. "My one condition is that if he chooses to befriend me he may do so. I won't risk my life trying to avoid someone whose company I enjoy. I have no problems rebuffing your brother. I do it anyway. But I don't feel right about his family scheming behind his back. Unfortunately, he's not my problem. So fine. When do you want to do this?"

Leander considers this briefly, then nods. "Fine." After all, he has doubts about whether his brother will maintain a platonic friendship with someone that he has romantic feelings for, so for him it's a bit of a moot point. "Perhaps you're right, but that doesn't change my opinion of you. I do feel I owe you my silence, but I don't believe in making dangerous bargains without extracting my pound of flesh, Miss Sykes, as is proper." The Slytherin boy leans down to gather up his things, then straightens and thinks quietly for several seconds. "Tomorrow, after classes. We'll meet at the edge of the forest where this all started. It's only appropriate. And I trust you'll be discreet about mentioning this to my brother, or I might have a catastrophic slip of the tongue about your magical activities."

"I'll be discreet alright," Ria says, standing upright from leaning and moving forward to Leander. Her gait is slow and lazy as she takes her time, shoe in front of shoe until she is only a foot away from the boy. "It's a shame. Despite his tough-love as you say, I don't think Ripley would ever create impossible barriers around you and Lois Pym." Her lips twist into a sinister sort of smile, and her eyes narrow with glee creating a perfectly mixed paradox between her nature and her naturally angelic features. "She's cute, Leander. And fairly smart too. Even -if- she's typically Gryffindor. Just make sure you're not doing something to make Ripley so cross with you that he'll see vengance through her…"

While Leander's face has remained more or less impassive up until now, at the mention of the Gryffindor girl his lips suddenly peel back into a hostile snarl. He takes a small step of an inch or two towards Ria, then another, the half-snarl still present. "Don't go near her, Sykes. Or suffer anyone else to. If you think I've been callous before now, you and those you care for- like that Hufflepuff twin of yours - don't want to find out what I consider to be /truly/ cold." He remains inches from her briefly, then his expression suddenly goes blank, and he sidesteps her and moves to the doorway of the greenhouse, one hand going to its knob. "Be there tomorrow." Flinging the door open, he steps outside and into the cool evening.

Ria's snaky grin only grows wider in response to his reaction. And she steps out of the way so that he can leave. "Sweet dreams, Mr. Fox," she says, wiggling her fingers in a girlish wave. Watching him storm off, she does nothing but snicker out loud. She'll be there.

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