(1937-12-30) Heartache, Hubris, and Hormones
Details for Heartache, Hubris, and Hormones
Summary: Julian opens himself to Eibhlin and gives her a belated Christmas gift.
Date: December 30th, 1937
Location: Library

The holidays had ticked on by and the snow was surrounding the castle. It had driven even the most cool-blooded students indoors. This wintery day, though, for some students, would be left for studying. Others… well. Some things weighed more heavily on the minds of others than studying. Julian, for example, has a lot on his mind. Sitting there in one of the more quiet and secluded parts of the library, he seems to be feigning reading at a textbook… his eyes skimming over it. It's a first year equivilant text… Far from holding his interest in the slightest. But in the off chance that someone wanted to try and interrupt him, he wants to at least look like a typically studious student…

Opting only for the sweater vest and tie with the oxford shirt today as far as his uniform is concerned, and with his hair combed appropriately… he looks like the typical British gentleman sitting there. Every so often… he'll check a small, silver pocket watch, before looking toward the front of the library to scan his eyes over the door.

Evie would've found something peculiar tagged to the Dormitory entrance for the Fifth Year girls. It was a letter - enchanted, of course, so that if anyone besides Eibhlin Shine were to open it, not only would pock-marks begin to appear on their face, they would also sprout a beard. It was simple.

"Eibhlin, I would like to take the chance to talk to you as soon as I can. Can you meet me in the Library this afternoon, around three-thirty? I'll be in the back. I will understand if you don't come. Regards, Julian."

Time was ticking on. Three-thirty was approaching.

There has been a lot of decision-making in Eibhlin's world as of late. A lot of decision-making that she is not very fond of. In a flurry of the past few months she has gone from avoiding intimate relationships to having to balance friendships and would-be suitors. It's terrifying and upsetting, but she's also a very focused and logical young woman. She has to handle things like an adult. She can't just run away- she won't be her father.

It's just a moment or two before the requested time that the redhead steps into the library. The door is pushed open smoothly and she steps through, clutching a few books in hand. Perhaps for the image. Perhaps with intend to actually study. Perhaps she fears he will have decided he does not in fact want to meet her. She's dressed in a navy skirt and a white blouse, socks visible to be in Ravenclaw colors. She approaches slowly, feet scuffing gently on the floor.


The sound of footsteps was enough for Julian to actually close his book and refocus his attention completely and totally to what had just approached him. "Eibhlin." Placing his mundane textbook aside, he sits up just a bit in his chair, taking a deep breath. He's composed, cool. Measured and calm. The proper British Gentleman at this point. "Would you like to join me?" His invitation is merely for the sake of those that could be watching. Other students… the Librarian… Anyone, really. Eibhlin was a prefect and she has an image of sorts to maintain. He watches her carefully as he asks her… perhaps trying to gauge her reaction to his words, or his eye contact.

Despite his cool demeanor… a lightly audible gulp would be heard after his question.

There is no Prefect badge upon Eibhlin's breast today, but it is true that one must maintain their image. No need to let something slide and have a second year assume that they can get away with things even when the badge is worn. The redhead studies Julian for a moment before lowering into a seat. It's clear she's trying to keep emotions under wrap, but not which emotions she's trying to restrain. Just that she's working hard at keeping a cool, clear composure on the surface. "I received your letter." Obviously.

As Julian studies Eibhlin, he lets his eyes meet her's… more than once, and for more than a second or two. He can sense there's an attempt to reign in how she feels. Putting his finger on that, though… It's hard to say. As she sits, he nods quietly at her note about the letter. "Obviously." He is slightly teasing in his remark… not realizing he's mirroring her thought on the matter. However, his face remains set. And as he begins to speak again… he makes it a point to make eye contact with her, his eyes attempting to lock on. It's an unspoken communication.

"And… what do you think I asked you here to talk about?"

Though he may try to make eye contact, Eibhlin seems unwilling. Sure, it's caught here and there, but not for any extended period of time. The teen takes time arranging the books she has brought with her. Transfiguration texts, primarily, but there's also a small, soft-cover book with a plain white cover. Hands splay against the worn wooden surface of the table. "I… well, it could be any number of things."


This could be perhaps the first time Eibhlin's seen Julian actually pause in a sentence. He's usually quite articulate, after all… well spoken. As a gentleman should be! However, this is the first time he stumbles. And doing it in her presence probably makes it no easier for him. He picks up on the unwillingness. Where is she looking, though? He tries to follow her line of sight to see where her eyes go.. but not much. Instead, he just takes in a deep breath.

"… I saw you on Christmas Eve. With him."

That was probably the quietest Julian has ever spoken, as well. It was almost eerie. Behind Ajax, Gareth, and a few others in their year… Julian was quite a loud Ravenclaw. He continues to watch her for a moment, before glancing toward one of those books… The white one in particular. He doesn't recognize it as a standard text. Taking a deep breath, Julian finally looks toward her again. "… I left. I couldn't begin to consider talking to you or facing you then."

There's a tightening of Eibhlin's jaw. An uncertainty in the cant of her head, the way her fingers press into that wooden surface. She's quiet for a time, remaining still. Where does she look? Some point on the library table between them. Not at a book, a person, or even off into thin air. Just the whorls of the natural wood.


Evie being uncertain what to say is nothing new. She lets the single syllable fall flat, lapsing into quiet for a moment. "I… only recently realized… that you must feel something for me. Beyond, well… friends." She swallows, looking a bit more pale than usual. "This is… not easy for me. I've… I've been trying to think of how to tell you, but… I guess there was no big reveal."


The gentleness becomes sharp. Julian's voice is quiet still, but he holds up a hand after her explaination, taking a deep breath. "You… needn't apologize." His expression remains stoic, calm… but wavering. His cheeks have flushed and he absolutely fights to keep his voice even. "You're human… you're also your own witch," he explains gently, shaking his head. "You can make decisions in that realm just as readily as anyone else… And obviously, I misjudged… where it was you wished to take our relationship."

It's at this point that the young Ravenclaw begins to gather books up… stacking the two or three heavy tomes three high. He then looks back toward Evie quietly, tilting his head and taking a deep breath. "Do you think we should say anything more at this point? I think… you made yourself clear just a moment ago." He waits, calmly, still seated in his chair…

There's a slight flinch from Eibhlin, the words cutting deep. She takes a deep breath and stares more solidly at the table. Not daring to meet his eyes at all. There's a twitch of her arm, as if she wants to raise it, but she doesn't. Must have just been a muscle twist. The teen does sniff a bit, but that's surely the weather.

"I… thought you had just been friendly… I… how…"

Did her voice waver? Surely it's just the difficulty of what's being said. "How would I have known? Until…" She does not expand on what it was until. She just continues: "I did not think anyone saw me that way."

"… Until I wanted to hold your hand when we were last in Hogsmeade t'gether?" Julian's voice is soft, still, as he finishes her thought. He looks toward her, hearing the sniffing… the odd wavering in her voice. She's not about to cry… is she? "… It's a simple matter of the fact that I apparently moved too slowly for you. Obviously." He's still measured in his response. "I— you were the first girl I've even considered trying to court. I didn't know how to go about it." He just shakes his head, then…

His voice may remain steady, but his mental composure does not. Small teardrops begin to hit the table… he couldn't hide that. Even she would see them. "If that's what you want, I'll respect it. I'm a gentleman." Another small stream of tears come forward… his voice is almost a whisper. But so calm… it's scary.

There was that. Much like what happened with Donovan, Eibhlin tried to write it off. Put her head in the sand and pretend nothing happened. But if she's learned anything over the Holidays, it's that you can't do that. She just hadn't been able to sort things out fully yet. What to say. How to say it. Now it was too late.

Arm finally does rise and rub across her eyes. Eibhlin still hasn't looked up, but there's another sniff. "I'm sorry, Jul," she finally manages, voice creaking. "I… had started to notice Dale, but… I wasn't sure what to do about it. Then you held my hand and I wasn't sure what to do about that either." Shoulder's slump.

"I still don't know what I'm doing." the last spoken so softly. "Everything from my birthday until a few days before Christmas is… so hazy. I get headaches if I think about it too hard."

"… I had got you a gift."

Julian begins to reach around behind his chair, gently standing up as he does so. "I don't… get as much money from home as a lot of people do, so usually, my gifts aren't so… grandiose. But… I remembered your birthday was this month, too. So… I figured I would tie in everything on Christmas Eve. Your birthday, the holiday, and… well. This was going to be my way of asking you."

As he begins to dig in his bag, he remains standing… placing the bag on the table. Once he seems to have found whatever it is, he slides the gift out. It's a two-toned color wrapped box with a red bow… green and blue. Would she pick up on where he got the color idea? Who knows… but in any case… he places the box lightly in front of her. Then, books are placed in the bag.

"Merry Christmas, Evie." As he says that, he quietly shoulders his bag… "And happy birthday."

Taking a deep breath, he reaches toward her… and in one fell swoop, leans forward, hand going behind her head. He makes no qualms about it… he presses his lips to hers. It's only for a couple of seconds… but it is a kiss. One which he is behind, as well. A legitimate kiss. Once it's done, and over with, he remains close for a second… and unless stopped, he'll begin to take a step back.

"I'll probably join some others up on the Astronomy Tower on New Years Eve for noisemakers and the like," he tells her quietly. "It'll be nice." Such an… odd statement. And, unless stopped, he's beginning to move toward the checkout counter.

Now… as for the box! It's slender, rectangular. Not completely elongated, but it's not too bad. Once opened, it will be found to contain a bracelet. It's ornate, with various runic scriptures engraved into what appears to be silver. Not -overly- expensive, but he has to have been saving on it. The runes are various affectionate translations… did he have this made in Hogsmeade, or could he have done it himself? The crowning ornament of the bracelet, though, is the one pennant hanging from it… a replica of the Milky Way Galaxy. Not just some little rinky-dink thing, either - it's a legitimate, glowing and swirling replica. Stars burn, shine brightly… extinguish… giving the charm a soft twinkle. Inside is also a letter.


I am so excited that it's Christmas! I am glad you decided to stay and that we'd be able to spend more time together. I'm horrible at transposing the thoughts I am putting into this letter, though, so please bear with me.

Evie, I am wanting to give this to you as a token of my affection toward you. Over the last five years, I have grown to appreciate you more and more as a friend… but as of late, I've realized that you are becoming a very talented witch, and on top of that… a stunning woman, full of wit intelligence that I absolutely find enthralling. You are, to me, an amazing young woman, and it's not every day that one like you presents themselves. There are no other Eibhlin Shines in the world. That is why I want to ask if you would be willing to be -my- Eibhlin Shine, and go steady with me as your boyfriend. I do hope that you will consider this heavily, and that you will return with a positive answer.

If so, I would like to cordially invite you to a quiet little party of two - you and I - to ring in the New Year at the Astronomy Tower at the stroke of midnight. Included will be a set of noisemakers and possibly some fireworks of questionable legality within the castle… of which otherwise, a New Year wouldn't be perfect. I hope that you will wear this bracelet that night, as a sign of your decision.

I look forward to what you decide with a bated breath.

- Julian"

Depending on how fast Evie is to move on the box, Julian may or may not have made it to the corridor by now. In any case… it's not impossible for him to be stopped.

All of this and the only girl that Eibhlin is remotely comfortable around to stay during the holidays is Gabby. The very last person she's likely to talk to about troubles as these, especially after the incident with Jackson. Her hand reaches up to Julian's shoulder in the wake of the kiss, but falls away when he pulls back. She's left looking a little dumbfounded and still on the verge of tears. The box is stared at once placed before her and it's with shaking hands that she pulls it near.

"You… you… no, no." The words are quiet enough that he may not even hear. She does not move to get up, nor to open it. Instead, she stares at it, hands on either side of the wrapped box. The redhead swallows, trying to keep things at bay. Keep herself in check. "And… I thought… OWLs were going to be the most difficult thing to deal with this year."

The touch after the kiss was like a fire. Julian had flinched slightly… but not out of negativity. It was someplace he wasn't used to being touched… at least, not by someone of the opposite gender. He would stare at her. Then move on.

And as it turns out… he wouldn't make it far. Not far at all, not without hearing her words. His eyes close and tears stream as he breathes. "I didn't want the gift to be a wasteful purchase," Julian remarks softly… "… and the emotion that's behind it is still there. I… just want -you- to be happy. If it's with me… I'll be elated. If it's not… then so be it," he states softly, turning back around… and moving back toward the table. It's possible there may be a small number - maybe one or two people - peeking around bookshelves to see what's going on…

He slips down, bringing himself to eye level with Evie again… and unshouldering his bag, he just remains there, at her side, squatted. Not knelt. Again… there's contact. His hand is on her shoulder. "… The kiss was what I was going to do when I gave this to you, as well." He gulps a little, laughing. "Or… at least, once you opened it. But…" he shrugs. He looks toward her… then the box.

Though she looks at him now, Eibhlin does not see him. Tears blur her gaze and waver the color of her eyes. The redhead's hands fall to her lap, bringing the box with them. "Oh Jul, I'm… I'm not worth it," she finally manages, fingers toying with the ribbons and wrapping. Like she wants to open it, but she's scared to. "I… I wanted to talk to you, to see you, but for a while there, I… I guess studying got to me." She slumps a bit, "Please don't stop being my friend."

"Please don't say that about yourself. It's unbecoming."

Reaching his free hand up, Julian quietly wipes at her eyes, shaking his head. "I won't ever stop being your friend and I will be -right there.-" Looking her in the eye, he quietly lets the hand that had wiped her tears away cup her cheek just slightly, holding her face. His own tears are -there.- But his voice is so quiet and so… different right now. "You -are- worth it. I… I had hoped that I wouldn't be too late. That… maybe I could sway you." He breathes in. "… I don't know what happened with O'Hara. I don't -care- to know. He's one of my mates," he whispers gently, "and in time, I will deal with that. But I… I tried my hardest to just walk away after giving you this." He pauses. "Does… that make me a bad person? That I'm trying to… actually… do that?" He watches her… His hand hasn't moved from her face.

"… I won't just… give up on you, though. I tried. My mind nor my heart would let me."

There's a slight shaking of shoulders. Almost a shiver. Eibhlin's brow furrows slightly once more as Julian speaks. She listens, though. No interruptions. Nor does she speak right away. The redhead takes a long breath. "I… don't think you could be a bad person if you tried," she says finally. "I just… I don't know how to handle all this. Not yet." When it was just Dale in her world, everything was easy. She knew which way was up and which way was down. Ever since the few days prior to Christmas though, her world has been tumbling.

"I just pray you'll open my gift." There's a light touch at her cheek still. Julian watches her, breathing in and considering this. He looks to her, then, as he says that. "Consider what's inside. And… if you need to find me, I'll be there. I'm never far away. I promise." Julian smiles, then… almost ruefully, as he looks to her.

"… Evie. Will you do me the honor of at least kissing me?" His hand falls from her cheek, then… and he looks to her. "I… kind of stole that one," he tells her quietly. "… I would… wonder, if it could be a mutual one." He gulps, then… breathing in.

"I'll open it," Eibhlin assures him, Irish brogue thick with the tears she's been holding off. In spite of those shed, that stain her cheeks somewhat. The question, however, brings her pause. The teen looks to her hands, falling quiet for a long moment.

"Not right now." The answer finally comes in a soft breath. "I… I don't think I could do it or you justice right now. It… wouldn't be fair to you." She considers for another moment before looking up. "Soon. I promise I will, but I want to… be in a better state of mind. Right now, I fear, I'll feel like I'm just pitying you or myself and that's not right."

There's a quiet smile.

"That is why you're worth it."

Julian's hands quietly slide to hers… and for a moment, he squeezes her hands with his. "I'll wait. Patiently, and quietly." It may or may not be the response she expected. He only holds onto her hands for a moment or two, though… long enough, perhaps, for her to squeeze his in return. But after that, he will gently pull them away. Reaching into his pocket… he quietly takes out a handkerchief, offering it to her.

"You can keep it," he offers to her, "I've got… a million of those things. I don't know how I ended up with so many." He then looks to her properly… tilting his head. "… I will await your decision." It's a little cryptic. "And… the invitation will stand." He then begins to stand, and gently hefts his bag again. This time… it's straight to check-out. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars.

There is a faint squeeze of his hands in return. Eibhlin can offer that much- it's not too telling in one way or another. A sign of support, perhaps. Or understanding. She accepts the handkerchief and soon begins to dab at her eyes with it. "The invitation?" She does not halt him to learn more, soon deducing it's something she'll learn of soon. There's a glance to the box that now rests in her lap and once Julian has left, she begins to gather up her own things. Perhaps to find a more secluded spot to study, away from prying eyes and gossiping mouths.

Back in her dorm, settled in bed, Eibhlin opened the gift. She had warred with whether she would do so tonight or not, but ultimately decided that if she did not do so right away… she might never have the nerve again. The box is carefully opened and there's a sharp intake of air as the bracelet is revealed. The redhead lifts it slowly, looking it over with a sense of awe. Tears well up anew, but this time (as she's the only one in the dorm at the moment) allowed to fall freely. With shaking hands, she places the bracelet back in the box and reads the included letter instead.

When she finishes reading, her hands fall to her lap. The parchment crumples, marring otherwise clean and careful folds. She stares at the bracelet for a time before packing everything away and tucking it into her trunk. She'll close the curtains on her bed to lapse into a restless sleep.

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