(1937-10-03) Digging Deeper
Details for Digging Deeper
Summary: Leander finds himself being questioned by Lois over his recent behavior, and manages to unknowingly get himself into more trouble than he's bargained for.
Date: October 3, 1937
Location: Armor Gallery
Related: None

Armor Gallery Hogwarts Castle

Unnerving - that's the atmosphere that permeates this room. Empty suits of armor stand guard along every wall here, to either side of every door, across small islands in the middle of the room. All eras and nations are represented, including many that would definitely be unfamiliar to any muggle history book. From the shiny metal of Medieval knights to bamboo spikes of the warriors of the Chinese Dynasties, it's all here. Some of it is practical, some of it is ceremonial, some of it is downright silly-looking to some … but all the empty shells that once housed long-gone protectors silently stand watch around you on every side.

Leander knows about this room because he wandered in here by accident once during his first year at Hogwarts and was seriously creeped out. Since then, however, he's realized that it's a very handy place to come and study - better than the study room itself, in fact, because barely anyone ever comes in here and it's much quieter. The Slytherin boy is seated at a small table off to one side of the room, his back to the door, with a sheaf of parchment and pile of books in front of him and a quill in his hand. He's not writing anything, though; his hand is paused indecisively over the paper, and he appears to be staring off into space, thinking. His expression is… unsettled.

Lois, meanwhile, knows about this room for a simple reason: she's a Gryffindor. The fact that a room full of 'wicked suits of armor' and 'absolutely fantastic weapons' even /exists/ tends to get brought up in the Lions' House, and taking a gawk at it is a thing that tends to happen. Which is incidentally why she is here. "Here," comes the prefect's voice, shortly preceding her pushing the door open, "is /this/ where you little nuisances have gotten off t - oh! Leander." In an instant, maternal annoyance turns to warm smiling. "Sorry, didn't mean to be a bother. You seen any of my wee lambkins running amok?"

The quill continues hovering above the parchment, and Leander's dark eyes continue staring off into space - until, that is, the door creaks open and he hears a voice. He very nearly jumps sideways out of his chair, flinging the quill to the side and spinning around, and his hand momentarily flits down to where he keeps his wand. As soon as his gaze lands on Lois, though, he blinks and stares at her, both arms dropping limply to his sides. "Lois," he says meekly, clearly confused by her question. "Lambk— oh. Firsties? I haven't seen any, no."

"Bother /and/ blast." Lois takes a few more steps into chamber, absently checking her hair using a suit of armor's brilliantly reflective shield. "They've an Astronomy lesson, and two of the little nuisances are mis -" this is the point at which she actually really /looks/ at him for the first time. Bemused concern flickers into place on her face. "… Are you quite alright, Leander?"

"Oh, sorry - I didn't hear any of them. You might try the kitchens?" That was a popular destination for daring First Years back in his day, although he never tried it. Too risky. A slight flash of worry flits across Leander's face in turn when he realizes Lois isn't going to leave to look for them immediately, and he reaches up to run a set of fingers through his thick hair - not something he normally does, given his typical composure. He hasn't yet figured out how he'll handle questions from her, since she seems unusually perceptive about his state of mind… so he opts for a typical Leander tactic: misdirection. Walking over to the door, he peeks around in the hall to make sure nobody's about, then closes it and turns to the Gryffindor girl, sets a hand on her shoulder, and turns his dark eyes on her. Misdirection time. "I'd like to kiss you now."

<FS3> Lois rolls Awareness: Good Success.

"Hm. Kitchens are a distinct possibility." Though she concedes this, it's immediately obvious (from the way she walks further into the chamber o' chainmail) that the teenager has no intention of scurrying off in pursuit of her lost lambs. She watches him approach with a thoughtful expression in her rounded face, absently reaching up to twirl a curl around one finger at the same time he reaches for her shoulder. His suggestion is given judicious consideration. And then, the flat statement: "You're up to something. I don't like it."

Was it that obvious? Apparently. Leander's eyes widen slightly, and then he glances down at the floor guiltily. "Sorry," he offers lamely, his face flushing immediately. "I… I'm not really good at… this sort of thing," he says, waving his hands in a vague gesture that could mean anything from 'relationships' to 'talking about feelings' to 'ancient British architecture', but probably means the former two. "Um, I guess I've just got a lot on my mind, is all."

Judging from the slight widening of Lois's eyes and the faint setting of her mouth, she may have been making a shot in the dark, there, based on a hunch - a shot that just hit its target. She listens to his vague statements in a still, silent sort of way, expression neutral and thoughtful. He is contemplated for another beat, before she calmly holds out the crook of her arm, an obvious invite for him to take it. A nod is given to the table he was studying at: join me? "You know," the girl says, mildly, "if it's anything I can help with…"

As usual, Lois seems to be increasing Leander's heartrate to an unhealthy level, and it isn't helping him to think clearly. This is /not/ where he wanted this situation to go. Still, when she holds out her arm, he can't help but take it, and he slowly walks over to the table at a sort of funereal pace, his expression going carefully blank as he thinks. He pulls a chair out for her and then, after waiting for her to sit and make herself comfortable, does the same. "I… I'm not sure you can, Lois. I mean, I want to tell you, but…" But, you know. He'd be killed by an Unbreakable Vow, and the whole 'I was forced to hex my brother and then watch him get Obliviated' thing would probably be a touchy subject.

That IS a tricky little problem. In possession (as she is) of very few actual facts, but several REAMS of theories, Lois can only furrow her brow a bit as his awkward evasions. Once he's settled in, she leans forward a bit over the table, expression warm, affectionate - and maybe just the tiniest bit 'plotty'. "But what?" Her gaze turns, if anything, just a little more limpid. "Can you tell me if it's about that whole mess with Sykes, at least?"

Leander remains quite still. He's staring at the discarded quill, which is a few feet away from him on the floor, until she mentions Sykes; at that point he looks back up at her. After a moment of indecision, he replies firmly: "Yes." It's not a lot to go on, but it's something, at least. He frowns and continues, deciding to tell the parts of the truth that /won't/ kill him: "It's partially Ripley. He's fallen for Sykes, and I don't think she's any good for him. She's… cold." Yeah, look who's talking. Still, he sounds earnest.

"She's not really a friend of mine," Lois observes, voice gentle, "although I'm sad to hear she's chilly to members of her own House." Her gaze remains fixed on his face, expression unchanging. "But she's always been a good prefect, and I respect her - which is why I've been surprised by this whole affair, you know." Absently she adds, "I stopped being surprised that /you/ were involved once we'd actually exchanged more than five words," before yanking herself back on topic. Absently, her fingers interlace on the tabletop. "… Have you considered playing matchmaker with a girl you think will be good for him?"

"Yes," Leander says cryptically, agreeing in general with her assessment of Ria - although he reddens at her admission concerning his behavior, his lips forming into a slightly petulant frown. "I'm not always so rash." His gaze falls on the Gryffindor Prefect's face briefly, and then on where her hand rests on the table. Cautiously, he moves his hand over the table and lowers it onto hers, his fingers intertwining with hers. His breath hitches slightly and he seems to lose concentration for a moment, but her question about his brother brings his brain crashing and clanking back into working mode. "Play matchmaker? /Me/?" He sounds flabbergasted.

"You /do/ need to learn to stop and think things through, though, Leander." It's a chiding, but one delivered in a gentle tone, and Lois softens the blow with a light squeeze to his fingers. She's quiet for a moment, obviously contemplating /something/ - something serious, even, judging from her frown. But when she speaks up again, it's in lighthearted tones. "Why not? I'm not talking love potions or something." Her nose wrinkles. "Never could abide that sort of meddling with other people's heads or hearts. But if he's interested in the wrong girl, then the best way to handle it is to point him towards the /right/ one, isn't it?"

<FS3> Leander rolls Awareness: Good Success.

Leander nods gravely, glancing down at their interlocked fingers and making an attempt to control the inevitable flush of color when she scolds him. He's marginally successful, though his cheeks do still darken a bit. He watches her searchingly, and arches a brow slightly when she seems to mirror his silent, thoughtful mood. "What is it you're thinking about, Lois?" He curls a finger around her hand and presses lightly on her palm, then ponders over her proposal. "I suppose it's a possibility. Although I'll have to think about what kind of girl I'd consider good for Ripley." Also, mental note: investigate love potions further.

"You." That might be a more clipped answer than he was hoping for; Lois is quick enough to flesh it out, with a hint of a reassuring smile. "It's only that I wish I knew what was going on, really - and I understand you won't tell me, but it worries me. Of course it's not my business, it's just…" It's just that she wants to snuggle the viper's nest to her BOSOM and give them all the motherly love they have clearly been denied! The half-joking answer she actually GIVES: "It's just I don't like you making it /too/ easy for Gryffindor to win the House Cup this year." His hand gets another squeeze as her tone once again reverts to jovial. "Well, let me know! I'm /good/ at setting up blind dates, you know. And I was already planning to meddle a bit on Mabel's behalf, so it won't be much more work to help you with Ripley."

"Ah," Leander replies, surprised rather than clipped in turn. He thinks for a moment, and then frowns, his expression suddenly very serious - perhaps even slightly tortured. Eventually he gets himself under control and clears his throat. "I'll tell you what I can. I promise," he says, making one of his whipcrack decisions to actually /do/ this, though it remains to be seen how he'll manage. Her remark about the current Slytherin point deficit elicits a half-scowl, and it /almost/ looks like he's being slightly playful in turn (at least, whatever scant playful neurons he has are currently working overtime). "Yes, I think I may have thoroughly dessicated our chances this year. Do I get a consolation prize for giving you the head start?" His lips curl up… just a little, and he nods as she offers to help. "I'd like that." It's better than any plan he currently has, by a long shot.

So /that's/ the secret: Lois just needs to learn to make his poor impulse control work for /her/! She leans over to give him a quick peck on the cheek in reward for his promise, an action that requires half getting out of her chair because ha ha SHORT. "Thank you. It's not even that I want to meddle -" LIAR "- it's just that two heads are better than one, right?" Settling herself back in her chair, she adds, serenely, "You get me going to the Halloween Feast with you, of course. Accompanied, hopefully, by my cousin and your brother's /dates/."

Oh, that actually worked? Leander actually smiles a little at the kiss on the cheek, pleased with this minor victory (FOOL), and loses his train of thought until Lois is back in her seat and speaking again. "Oh - erm, yes. You're right, perhaps we'd better work together on this." He lifts his free hand to stroke idly at his chin, thinking. "Mabel and Ripley? Do you think…?" The wheels in his brain turn briefly, and then he nods, his smile remaining. "She's rather pretty." This is said in a: 'she's rather pretty, so Ripley might go for her' way, but alas, he barely has a romantic bone in his body, so he doesn't make this patently obvious.

"Well, I -" You can see the exact moment Lois gets The Thought. It happens the very second her cousin is pronounced 'rather pretty', without qualifiers. Her hand, half lifted to play with her hair, freezes for half a second - and then hastily resumes its course, twining one of her curls with understated casualness. "Mabel /is/ rather pretty," she agrees, mildly. "Of course, I've been helping her with that. I /suppose/ we could try to set the two of them up. We'd all be seeing a great deal of each other, of course."

"Hm, really?" Leander arches a brow at her pronunciation, trying to decipher what exactly the meaning behind the Gryffindor girl's words is. He glances down at their joined hands, and eventually shrugs his shoulders slightly; his smile has faded, since his face has a tendency to return to its cautiously-blank state any time he's not consciously willing it not to, but his gaze goes first to her finger in her hair and then to her eyes. "I see Ripley all the time anyway. And I suppose I don't mind seeing Mabel more, as long as it means I can spend more time with you, as well."

Twirl, twirl - temporary freeze to a HALT at 'don't mind seeing Mabel more' - twirl resumption as he modifies the statement. Lois's warm smile looks just a trifle forced, but she pushes through. "I s'pose Mabel might go for him," she says. "It would be worth a shot to see what happened, if we started… oh, pushing the two of them together a bit. Getting the four of us together, then /we/ go off," subtle emphasis, "and give them a chance to talk." She's silent for a moment, staring contemplatively down at her curl-wrapped finger while a small furrow forms between her eyes. Casually: "Your brother /is/ quite good looking. And charming."

Completely unaware that he's digging his own grave, Leander simply nods to this and continues onwards. "That sounds like a good idea," he says, his voice as mild as hers had been a moment ago. He flushes a little at her suggestion that they break off from the other two, and subconsciously squeezes her hand a bit harder at the thought. "I'd… like that." One of his brows goes up a bit at her rather astute summary of Ripley, although he has no clue why she's bringing it up at this point. "Yes, he is. He's always had an easy time with girls. I wouldn't be surprised if Mabel liked him a lot."

Mixed signals! Hand squeeze says 'yay! Hesitation in agreement says 'time to invest in a shovel, to bury him with'. Lois isn't quite sure what to make of either, and can't quite help frowning - an expression that deepens at Leander's casual agreement with her oh-so-casual summary. "Well," the Gryffindor says, a peculiar note of ferocity underlying her gentle voice, "we'll just have to make /sure/ they hit it off, then, won't we." Abruptly she dethreads their hands, starting to stand, expression still a little unsettled. "Do a little thinking about it. We'll formulate a plan. For now, I'd better go see if I can't find those Firsties."

"Yes… we'll do that," Leander says slowly, clearly lost at this point. No doubt he'll find out soon enough that he's just been digging the hole deeper. He gives her hand one last squeeze, then relinquishes it (albeit somewhat reluctantly), and gives her another smile in spite of his general tendency not to use that particular expression. "Alright. Bye, Lois. I hope I see you again soon."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License