(1937-10-02) Et tu, Brute?
Details for Et tu, Brute?
Summary: Leander, Ria, and Lucian meet to make their vow - and are interrupted by Ripley, necessitating drastic action…
Date: October 2, 1937
Location: Forbidden Forest
Related: Suspended, Slytherin Scheming, Dark Deals

The forest is dark and silent even during the day, large trees looming up high and clustered close together to create a claustrophobic environment. From time to time a sone light manages to find its way through the thick canopy to light a spot on the ground like a miniature spotlight suddenly appearing in an abandoned theatre. Take even one step off the few narrow dirt paths that crisscross the labyrinthine confines of the forest and thick undergrowth starts to pull at trousers or skirts. From time to time the silence is shattered by animal calls or barely broken by the almost inaudible murmurs of the leaves and branches swaying in a stray gust of wind. Light sources be they wands, lanterns, or other objects, necessary even during the day, barely seem to penetrate the murk amongst the forest's tree as if the shadows were swallowing the light.

As always, Leander is prompt. As soon as his classes finish for the day he makes his way out to the forest's edge, picking the same path he'd taken the last time he came this way - which was when this whole sordid affair began. When he reaches the exact location of his scuffle with Ria, he leans against the large boulder she'd been sitting by originally, his hands going to his sides while he waits. He's in the shadow of a large tree, nearly invisible from the field leading to this place, so he quietly turns his dark eyes to the way he'd taken to get here and watches.

Lucian walks over the grounds, side-by-side with Ria. There is silence between them, but not coldness (at least not from Lucian…Ria's always a little cold). It had taken Ria a bit to locate Lucian, as despite that he'd mentioned practicing in the club room, he wasn't there — the room being occupied by the Domestics Club (and a very angry Engorgio'd blackbird with singed feathers). When they come around the boulder and Leander comes into view, Lucian gives the other boy a curt nod.

Silence indeed. And while its not uncharacteristic for her to be brief of words, Ria seems to be a bit off this evening. She made wrong turns on the way without really thinking, and she perhaps ran into a couple things. It seems like her mind's been somewhere else since this morning. "We're all here then," she says curtly to Leander. "Let's get this over with."

Once the other two Slytherin students have made their way over, Leander doesn't waste any time with pleasantries. He takes several steps towards them and nods to the pair, replying to both Lucian's gesture and Ria's words. "Good. Yes, let's." He reaches up and pulls his right sleeve down, then pauses. "As the one who proposed this meeting, I offer to make the first Vow. But I have a condition." He gives one of those smiles that doesn't quite reach his eyes. "The first query of the vow will be worded: 'Do you, Leander Fox, agree that the following conditions of this promise shall go into effect only when a like vow has been made by Aria Sykes?'." He lets the sink in, then motions towards Lucian. "Not that I don't trust you, Proudmore. It's just a precaution."

Ripley sneaks up as he saw Lucian and Ria together. He makes his way close in order to hear the three speaking and does his best to not be heard or seen as the three begin.

Lucian holds up a hand, "Just a minute. I've been thinking about this. Ria, you don't-…" He stops, tilting his head as if he heard something. His wand comes out and he moves to put himself between Ria and the sound. Wand at the ready, he moves toward the trees, peering suspiciously.

"So long as you specify a clause that friendship does not violate the vow," Ria frowns at Leander. How dare he insinuate that she wouldn't keep up her end of the deal? But she glances over at Lucian when he asks his question and automatically draws her own wand when he does as well. "Is someone here, Luc?" she whispers, listening close to the movement in the area and eyeing the area by the trees. Nothing. She can't sense anything.

Dark eyes narrowing at Lucian's words, Leander suddenly turns when the other two seem to get all jumpy. His hand goes to his wand as well, though he doesn't withdraw it just yet; instead, he simply peers around at the forest, eventually focusing on the pair in front of him with a frown. "A bird, or something similar, most likely. Shall we do this?"

Ripley is in the trees standing stock still as the three of them pull wands and Lucian even looks in his direction. His hood it up and in the darkness he hopes this is enough to keep him from being seen. As Ria speaks of friendship violating the vow, his brow does quirk up a little but he still does not move.

Lucian ventures just inside the treeline, looming dangerously close to Ripley's hiding place. Just two more steps, and he'd be in plain view. But Lucian shakes his head, backing away. "Probably just a rabbit or a puffskein." When he returns to Ria and Leander, he continues with his point. "Ria, you don't have to make a vow at all. It's simple. Leander vows, and one of the conditions of the vow is that Ria holds up her end of the bargain. If she breaks it, Leander is off the hook."

Ria is too tired and her mind to preoccupied with a million thoughts for her too care too much. Perhaps a rookie mistake. And when Lucian waves it off, she disregards it too. A cold breeze flows past making her pull the hood on her robes over her head, but she doesn't put her wand away just yet though. "I'm fine with that," she shrugs at the idea and says to Leander, "I'd rather not have to risk my life avoiding your brother."

After waiting until Lucian has finished his circuit of the area, Leander frowns and considers his words. "Very well. You may change the first condition of the Vow to reflect our decision. Either way, if Miss Sykes reneges on her word, her position becomes untenable." His face sets in a grim visage of determination, and he moves towards the girl, extending his bared arm. "Let's do this."

Lucian nods, more than happy to remove any possible risk of death for Ria. Keeping his wand drawn, he waits for them to clasp before laying the tip of his wand on their joined hands, focusing his will and intent into sealing the forthcoming vow. It is an ancient form of magic — the sort that is easy to use, but comes with a terrible price. He nods to Ria. "State your terms."

As Lucian comes so very close to him he holds his breath and does his very best to not move even a hair. At Ria's words, he frowns a good bit and a fist balls up. His breathing does increase slightly as he listens to what is going on. He's unable to not stop himself as he speaks up, "Whoa there." And then comes around the corner, "If any vows are being made that concern me I think I should know about them." He speaks with his arms crossed across his chest. His eyes flicker between Leander and Ria and he slowly shakes his head.

Ria rolls up her own sleeve gently and takes Leanders hand in her own like a handshake. A solemn look on her face, she opens her mouth to state her said terms, until another makes his presence known. And with wide eyes, she turns to see its Ripley. "What're you doing here?" she says, releasing Leander's hand and holding her wand again to the ready. "Luc, I thought you said no one was here."

His expression set into an unreadable mask, Leander waits for Ria to name her terms so that the ancient binding magic can do its work. His brother's voice causes him to cry out in surprise, and his hand also goes to his wand, his expression first shocked and worried, and then dark. He casts a baleful look at Ria and Lucian, his lips peeling back slightly from his teeth as he does. "You were followed," he says accusingly, then turns back to Ripley. "Sorry, Rip. But I have to do this." His wand comes up into the air. This is, after all, a guy who will attack at the faintest hint of his instinct piping up, and who proposes Unbreakable Vows at the tender age of sixteen. Still, he would never hurt his own twin. "Confundo!"

Lucian lifts his wand from the clasped hands to Ripley once he steps into view. But Leander acts unexpectedly! Again, he moves to interpose himself in front of Ria, but in a more supportive position, giving her room to act (she's a duelist after all!). Knowing that Prefectships and much are at stake, he takes a cue from Leander, joining in the efforts to befuddle his rival. "Confundo!"

Ripley looks between Leander and Ria and an expression of pain flashes across his face, "Both of you…?" He says and it's then that his brother pulls his wand and goes after him. Still, he moves quick enough and sends out a shield that blocks it. Too bad there are two more people and Lucian gets past his defenses and hits him. He winces and looks up, not from pain but just incomprehensible. Then a growl comes to his lips as he quickly loses some of his wits about him and shakes his head.

As soon as Ria sees Leander move to the offensive, she holds a hand out saying, "Wait, Leander. No!" And she gasps, seeing that she couldn't stop it. She jumps again once more when Lucian follows suit. Pausing for a second, she realizes she's in for it now, and finds she's unsure of what to do. So she simply follows along. "Stupefy," and a red bolt of light heads in Ripley's direction. She looks over to the other two snakes with a scowl and snaps, "Are you two -bloody- mad?!" Immediately she heads off to the side whispering things like "Cave Inimicum" and "Muffliato" and bursts of translucent but subtle light form shields around the area. "I'm going to lose my -prefectship- because of you two imbeciles."

Once his twin is knocked out cold, Leander pulls up a hand to his forehead and sits there briefly. Oh, this is perfect. "Ripley, why do you have to be so damned persistent?" With a sigh, he looks back down at his twin, and flicks his wand again. "Incarcerous." As the magical ropes surround his brother, giving them more time in case he wakes up, he looks over to where Ria is casting her security charms, then over at Lucian. "Proudmore, you Ennervate him to wake him up. This won't work when he's out. Then Sykes and I will both hit him with the best Confundus charms we've got. In that state, it'll be easy to convince him he climbed up a tree and fell out on his head, and imagined anything else he saw." His lips thin into a straight line. "I need to know whether you to plan on going through with this Vow now or not."

Lucian sighs, looking to Ria, "We just saved your Prefectship, and mine." He arches an eyebrow at Leander. "With as bull-headed as he is? You think a few more Confundus charms will do it? You're the Charms genius. Do a Memory Charm on him. Make him forget all of this. You know this will blow up in everyone's faces if he has even a hint of a memory about this."

Ripley begins to stir, coming back to the world and feeling it all crash in around his brain. He looks up and sees the three as he struggles to sit up and regain his brain, with his robe all curled around him and holding fast it is hard, "I heard you all. I saw you all." His voice growls out, "I get up, I leave here and nobody knows about this. Slytherin doesn't have to hurt more." He grins a little bit, "And you all owe me a favor? If anyone asks, I will take the blame for the whole damn situation." He's blinking and trying hard to focus on the people and fight to get out of the predicament. "Because I am not going to stop…"

Ria finishes her protection charm in case a professor or any other wandering student floats by. And she's ready to volunteer obliviating him, until he wakes up. With a deep sigh she turns to the others and says, "I'm not going to wipe his head. If we're making a vow regarding him, he ought to at least know. I told you this from the beginning, Leander." Crossing her arms she narrows her eyes at Ripley and asks, "What -favor- do we owe you? And make it quick. I want this over and done with before someone comes around."

"Proudmore, how can I justify risking that my brother becomes a permanent crackpot?" Still, there's a hint of indecision in his voice. Leander scowls, his attention drawn to the spectacle of the waking Ripley, and stares at him with a mixture of pain, guilt, and stern resolve. "This is to protect you, Ripley. If you'd just had the sense to stay away…" The boy shakes his head and looks at Ria flatly. "We need to decide what to do, and quickly."

Lucian snorts. "Like hell I'm going to owe this weasel anything. You should have thought about this before you came snooping around after us, Rip." He looks to Leander and Ria. "You heard him. He's not going to stop. I told you, he's too bull-headed. He'll hold this over us until graduation. Just do everyone a favor and make him forget the last few hours. He'll think he took a nap that lasted too long." He gives Ripley a knowing look. "This is for your own good as much as ours.

Ripley looks to Lucian and then to Ria, "I just want a date." He says and then shakes his head, "If you feel like I need to forget all this, all I want is a date. An honest chance at something instead of all this stuff going on behind my back. Give a boy a chance. I want Lucian to teach me how to be better at magic." And then a look to his brother, "You. I don't know about you. After all I have done for you and this is what you do??" He shakes his head and looks to Ria, "I just want a chance."

Ria groans and runs her hand over her face in frustration. Too many people making too many demands all at once. It's hard to fulfill them all! Looking at all the members of the party she sighs heavily and gives in just this once. "-One- date. That is all, and then we're done. But we still make the vow right now," she insists. "When it's all said and done you shut up (she points to Ripley) and you shut up (she points to Leander)." And then she turns to Lucian to say, "And you shut up too. It's one damn date. You'll get over it." There doesn't seem to be anymore room for argument in her mind. She only wants to assure her secret is safe.

"No. No vows until after the date." Ripley speaks up. "Having a vow before it doesn't give me a chance now does it." His eyes flash about.

Stricken by Ripley's words, Leander staggers back briefly. But after listening to his twin and Ria, he scowls, his back straightening again. Lucian's comments cause him to raise his wand again… but then, slowly, he drops it, his resolve wavering.

Lucian growls at Ripley, "You're not making the terms, Fox!" He marches over to Ripley, crounching and gripping one of the ropes to lift him a few inches off the ground. "Fine. If they can't see why you need to be Obliviated, I'll do it my way. It's simple, really. Anyone ever finds out about this, you bleed. I don't care if it's you that tells or not." He drops Ripley, and walks back to Ria. "You want to go on a date with him? Do what you feel you have to. I have no hold over you. Just remember who it was that stalked you here and blackmailed you into that date."

Ria groans at all this indecision, and she throws her hands up in the hair with exasperation. "Men! You all suck," she growls, getting on her knees next to Ripley. "Do you know what the most -ridiculous- part of this all is? Neither of you -ever- asked what I wanted from all this. And when I -told- you what I wanted, you both failed to respect it and leave it alone. Interestingly Leander is the only one who asked. And he's going to -give- it to me. There are terms, but he's going to give. me. what. I. want."

She puts one knee on Ripley's chest, and her left hand grabs hair at the hairline above his forehead to hold his head down. "You only have two options. One date or your memory is gone. The -point- of these vows is that you and I -don't- have a chance, because that's -my- end of the deal. And if I don't keep up -my- end your brother won't keep up his." Her free hand moves to point the wand just between Ripley's brows. "So pick one," she moves in threateningly close to his face. "And if you don't, I'm going to interpret your answer as obliviate." Yes, he did choose one crazy bitch to like.

Ripley looks to Ria and swallows hard, "But… This afternoon. You…" He thinks for a moment and then sighs, "One date."

After watching first Lucian and then Ria move in on Ripley, Leander loses the mildly-panicked expression that has snuck across his face and steps over to the other three. "We're almost out of time. Rip, there is no choice. There will /be/ a Vow, today." He doesn't want his brother to end up as a gibbering idiot, but he recognizes the necessity to satisfy the other two - especially Lucian, who might pose a serious threat to him if he feels he's been cheated after sticking his neck out. "Two, in fact. First, Ripley will vow never to speak of this day to another soul - for both his protection and ours." He's well aware that Lucian is unlikely to spare his twin if he's not assured of his silence, so this is necessary. "Ripley will furthermore vow to forever give up on Miss Sykes if she refuses him after this one date." The Slytherin boy pauses, thinking, then continues. "Next, /I/ will vow to keep my silence, if and only if Miss Sykes turns down Ripley forevermore after their one day." He pauses, looking at the three of them - especially the male Prefect.

Lucian scowls at Ria's suggestion that he hasn't respected her wishes. "It's too complicated, and too many loopholes. But, whatever. You all figure it out. I just came here to be your Bonder for a highly illegal spell, remember? You know, helping out a friend and respecting your wishes and all that?" He gives Ria a pointed look that betrays a bit of his frustration with her. "Whatever happens, what I said stands. If Ria or I suffer consequences for this, you do to." He isn't specific about who 'you' refers to this time, but his eyes do flicker between both of the Fox twins.

Ripley takes in a deep breath and looks up to Ria. For a long moment he looks into her eyes and then simply says, "Do what you want to do. I will agree with it whatever it is. Just want you to be happy." He finally resigns and smiles a bit, "I wouldn't speak of this even without a vow. I want Slytherin strong and you all strong. For God's sake…" He keeps looking to Ria, "Do what you want to do or tell me what to do. I'm in your hands."

Ria frowns at Leander's suggestion for a new arrangement and she rolls her eyes as if to say 'those are total shite, you dim clot.' And then she mutters something only audible to Ripley before, looking him in the eye before giving a decisive and cold, "Obliviate." And once she's certain it's taken effect, she then gives him a stupefy to knock him back out. Just to be sure. When he falls asleep, she rises once more to her feet and adds, "What a -sucker-." In reference of course to Ripley's pre-memory wiping speech. And turning to the others she puts a hand on her hip and says, "Can we get this done now?"

The sight of the memory charm being used on his brother causes Leander to snarl, and for just a fraction of a second he raises his wand as if to strike… but then a look of relief floods him and he drops it back to his side. The boy looks down at his fallen twin and shakes his head. "Never would have worked, but I had to give him a chance." After a moment he looks up at Ria, his face blank. "You may have turned out to value him more than I expected - enough to endanger yourself - and then I wouldn't have minded him being around you so much. Clearly, however, my original assessment of you was correct." He holds out his hand to the girl and looks to Lucian. "Finish this."

When Leander starts to raise his wand, he nearly gets Stunned himself, Lucian's lips already parting to speak the incantation. But, with it all over with, he just shakes his head at Leander, his scowl communicating what a bad idea that would have been. He steps up, once again at the ready to serve as Bonder for the Unbreakable Vow. Once their hands are locked, his wand tip touches them, and he nods to Ria. "State your terms."

Ripley doesn't move. He's on the ground and out like a light. Little birds are even circling his head going 'Chirp. Chirp'.

"I'm still going to give him his stupid date. But I'll still reject him after. Even -I- have some semblance of pity," Ria frowns at Leander, and rolls her sleeves up again, "I only wiped him just to ensure he shuts up about this vow. Don't worry, I was careful. I don't suck at this." Taking his hand once more Ria looks at the conscious twin square in the eye. Her face is illuminated as the liquid fire winds around their hands. "Leander Fox, do you swear that you will keep silent over the contents of my knapsack so long as I reject your brother, Ripley Fox's, advances after one date?"

Leander holds Ria's gaze, his hand clutching her arm perhaps a bit tighter than is necessary, but it's not intentional - the stress of the moment has still has his hackles up. "I do so swear." He doesn't look down as the small bands glow brighter and encircle their joined arms.

Lucian looks to each of them, and once he has Ria's consent he focuses on Leander. "Swear it again. Swear it thrice." He's no Arithmancy expert, but he knows enough to know there is power in numbers, and three is often an important one.

Ria nods at Lucian before turning back to Leander. Her own hands feel somewhat clammy and her heart racing perhaps feeling a small sense of remorse for this arrangement.

After a moment of hesitation, Leander nods. "So I swear twice, and thrice." He glances over at Ria, his brows arching just slightly, and then back to Lucian.

As Leander swears each time, another strand of liquid fire wraps around their hands. Satisfied, Lucian nods, and says sharply, "Done." He lifts the wand away, and the tendrils of magical flame seem to sink into their flesh, binding them invisibly.

Ria retracts her hand back as soon as the enchantment disappears, as if she just touched something hot. She looks at her hand, squeezing it with the other as if to come to terms with the finality of the situation. And then it's back to business. "Lucian and I will leave. You can wake Ripley after we're gone," she says and glances to the sleeping boy briefly before gesturing to her fellow prefect that they should go. And pulling her hood back up over her head, she begins walks off back down the path they came form.

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