(1938-03-20) Hufflepuff Holmes
Details for Hufflepuff Holmes
Summary: A handful of Hufflepuffs play detective, trying to figure out the meaning behind the mysterious message in the Hogwarts mirrors some weeks prior. Also, Briar talks about leaving school, but Xander and Claudius won't hear of it.
Date: March 20, 1938
Location: Hufflepuff Common Room

Common Room, Hogwarts Castle

Briar is seated close to the buffet. A couple of small plates stacked next to the flower pot of her famous Tiger Lilies. They seem to be particularly hyper at the moment. Which has nothing to do with the fact that some brownie crumbs fell into their protein water potion while Briar was enjoying her fourth brownie while chopping up the raw meat on the cutting board before her. Hack! Chop! Saw! With the mindless snacking between each cleave with the big butcher's knife that she's wielding like there's someone in mind as she hacks.

"You know, there are much cleaner ways of murdering someone." Xander Tully chimes in as he comes out of the boys' dormitory, injecting his usual cheery topic into the atmosphere. "Of course, if you have enough of those lilies, I suppose that would be a good way to get rid of the evidence."

Briar just gives Xander a playful psychotic smile, complete with bizarre partial crossing of the eyes. Then she melts into a chuckle and sets the knife. "But not quite as tactilely satisfying." She gives a little wink and then reaches up to 'skitch' the 'chin' of one of her pet blossoms. "But of course, they aren't just pretty faces."

Xander chuckles, moving up beside her and setting down the book under his arm on the buffet (well away from the knife and meat). He eyes the tiger lilies curiously. "I think it makes them even more beautiful. Most flowers just exist. But these ones are really alive." He smirks, glancing down at the meat. "Is this what happens to Hufflepuffs who lose too many house points?"

Briar had paused in the chopping to smile and watch to make sure he didn't lose a finger to them. "That's why I love Herbology. You get to create and nurture and prune and reap. The whole cycle of life within a year. It's better than having a pet, because it comes back to life the next spring. But these beauties. They get spoiled. I won't let them die." She shakes her head and baby talks at the dancing stretching nipping plant. A glance is given to the meat, "Sacrifices for House Excellence must be made." It is poetic that the one person who's lost the most points for the house this year is exactly who she was visualizing chopping up.

Xander pulls up a chair, taking a seat at the table. "I get the sense that you're not entirely joking. Just let me know if you need help with the body." His grin fades as he sobers a little. "But seriously, is everything alright? You seem really agitated lately."

Briar's own smile fades when he gets somber and points out how she's been coming across lately. "Oh well, you know… Kaiden Sykes." That in her book covers everything, the need to cleave meat, the half-jokes about it being the house misfit everything that agitates her to this sort of level can in fact be easily wrapped up into two words: Kaiden Sykes. "Sorry if I've been coming across like that though. I really don't want to let him get to me like that."

Xander nods slowly, putting it all together in his head. "Oh…yes. You two were together, right? Hey, don't worry about it. You're allowed to be human, you know." He smiles encouragingly. "He's not causing you problems now, is he?"

Briar gives Xander a 'puhlease, do you not know Kaiden!?' expression and then verbalizes, "The boy breathes trouble." She then proceeds to breath in while saying, "Teeeeeeee." Then comes the exhale of, "Rouble. With the ever present pain in the tush on the side. I just don't understand him. He says he wants to at least remain pleasant with each other, but every time I show some semblance of friendship, I get swatted and grumbled at. He's like a caveman when it comes to communicating. When we were friends and then together I could understand what his grunts meant. But now I'm clueless and he's getting even more trouble-tastic.

Xander cannot help but chuckle softly. "Trouble-tastic? Do all Americans talk like you?" He sighs, shaking his head. "Sorry that you're going through all that. I guess I don't really notice all the trouble from him. Wait…is he the one that chased Evans around with a sword?"

Briar grimaces physically when she's reminded about the Gabby-Sword thing, "That was Exhibit A for my realization that my boyfriends an asshole." She smirks, "Nope, I speak in a dialect all of my own. I like making up words to befuddle the ultimate starchy Brits, like trouble-tastic. They just pop into my head. From the great nonsense beyond." She giggles to that. "Enough about me and my horrid taste in romantic partners thus far. How are you Xander?"

Xander shrugs, "Starchy." He tries to keep a straight face, but it doesn't last long. "Actually, I'm bothered. Did you see the mirror message?" By now the entire school has heard about it. Even those that didn't witness the ominous, threatening message that appeared in every mirror in Hogwarts some weeks past.

Briar frowns looking just as bothered suddenly. "That. Yeah. Creepy. I thought for a second someone might have enchanted the mirrors to be some sort of Wizarding TV. But it just felt so real, like you were right there, and not even in the really good movie way. Then I thought I was dreaming, but then poor little Erica came in screaming and crying. Poor sweetheart, she really is truly homesick."

Xander nods, frowning at the thought of Erica upset. Though other than that, he doesn't actually look all that disturbed. "I'm wondering about the Muggle woman, whether she's still alive or not. The entire thing was just…strange. I know Headmaster Dippet said we had nothing to fear, but that message was meant for somebody. I figure it had to be somebody here at school, if it was sent here."

Briar nods along, obviously she's thought about this as well and came to similar conclusion. Her shoulders give a slight shudder and lift as a chill goes up her spine and she even closes her opened cardigan as if it would keep her warmer. "So much for being one of the safest places in the world."

Xander shrugs. "Isn't it, though? If that man in the mirror could come here to hurt the person he meant the message for, he would. But he didn't. He had to find his or her Muggle sister and threaten her." He taps his chin thoughtfully, "If the sister is a Muggle, then the person he's speaking to must be Muggle-born. That should narrow down the possibilities some."

Briar smiles just a little bit watching him go into Sherlock mode. "That should. I don't really remember it very clearly. Was there any distinguishing features, like red hair, or green eyes?" Briar knows a bit of genes through the splicing and hybridizations she does with her plants. Such as certain colors put together will have certain child blooms. Seems she's trying to put this to test on human genetics.

Xander furrows his brow thoughtfully. "Not that I can remember. It was really dark, and the colours were…sort of muted. It was all very foggy, like a dream. But maybe someone else saw something that I didn't."

Briar is sitting at a small table that's tucked in a corner close to the buffet table. A couple of small plates stacked next to the flower pot of her famous Tiger Lilies. They seem to be particularly hyper at the moment. Which has nothing to do with the fact that some brownie crumbs fell into their protein water potion while Briar was enjoying her fourth brownie while chopping up the raw meat on the cutting board before her. Said chopping has been set aside to chat with Xander who's joined her across from her and as far away from the meat and knife as he can. "Yeah, sounds like some investigating would be needed. I could maybe try to get ahold of records on who's a Muggle-Born. Like you said, narrow things down."

Claudius enters the common room with his bag hung haphazardly over his shoulder. He looks around the room for a moment and then spotting the two sixth years he makes his way over towards them, as they do happen to be by the buffet table as well. "Hullo," he greets sounding as cheerful as possible as he takes a glance at the flowers on their table… and what looks suspiciously like brownie water.

Xander nods toward Claudius. "Ho there, Simperton. How about you? Did you see the mirror message? We're playing detective, trying to sort it out."

Briar gives Claudius a big warm smile. "Hey there Gladiator." Her American sensibilities makes calling him Claudius too starchy and calling him Claud too insulting so she defaulted to calling him by a nickname that his real name evokes in her brain. She does glance towards his bag, the Prefect in her pondering just what creature he might have hidden away in there that he's sneaking in today. But unless it moves, barks, mews, or gives any other something living inside evidence she'll keep from questioning him about it. "Yeah, trying to see if anyone else got a better look at the hair and or eye color of the unfortunates in the vision. Trying to narrow down who the message was for."

Claudius narrows his eyebrows a bit and slow shakes his head. "No I didn't. Fortunately, from what I've heard it was pretty awful." He give Briar a sideways glance at her unusual name choice for him but then chuckles as she looks towards his bag. "Nothing in the bag today, 'sides books. Don't want to lose any points for our house." He then adds, "Did you both see that message, then?"

Xander nods. "Yeah. It was fairly disturbing," he says, not sounding remotely disturbed. "We even saw the man cut the woman with this enormous curved knife. You could tell it wasn't faked, either, with the way the blood ran."

Briar gives Claudius a proud smile and even a wink and then gets back to chopping up meat, notably to Xander less angst ridden chopping is happening now. She's just cutting up meat, not imagining it is her ex-boyfriend this time. Then she takes a pile of the chopped up meat and bids both of the boys. "Could you two take the meat one piece at a time and drop it into the potion? Just wait for the fizz to settle down and when the meat's all dissolved and the water is clear again, add the next piece?" There are a few bottles of said potion gathered at the base of the Tiger Lilies pot and above her chopping board. "Would appreciate it, they look like they are getting hungry."

Claudius nods as he takes a seat at the table. "Is it safe to touch with our bare hands," he asks. He never heard of putting meat into a potion before but who is he to decline a prefect asking him to do something. As he starts searching in his bag for something to handle picking up the meat with he says, "So is it true that the lady cut in the mirror was a Muggle? That's what a group of Slytherins were saying. They seems to think it was grand."

Xander frowns. "Figures that they would. Yes, she was a Muggle. At least that's what the man in the hood said." He plucks up a piece of meat, dropping it into the potion. "This is how you feed them? I thought they actually ate it."

Briar points up to one of the larger blooms at the top of the plant, the bloom is rather notoriously fierce and everyone knows to keep hands away from that particular blossom. Indeed as she points it's giving tiger like growls and snapping at her finger. "That is what happens when you feet them the bits themselves. Just ask Claudius, it's like Zookeepers feeding the predators more kibble like food, because when they get actual meat, it gets their instincts going and makes them more wild. So I devised this potion to give them the what they need from both water and the meat. It was originally used with moon calf manure. To make water fertilizer water and not have all the stink. It's worked quite well." She gestures to the plant that is thriving rather nicely. But then it's talk of Muggle slicing and Slytherins thinking it's grand and once more there's bitter motives behind the harder more vicious chopping of the meat. "Give me their names, I'll report them gladly."

Claudius looks up and watches Xander just pick up a piece of meat and drop it into the potion. He slowly lets his bag slide to the floor as he waits for the piece of meat to dissolve, the fizz to settle, and the water turn clear. He then picks a piece up and drops it in as well. His attention turns towards Briar as she explains the plant. He grins a bit and says when she mentions Zookeepers, "Well… to an extant. We try to keep them on a diet as close to what they'd have in nature themselves. Though I guess plants might be a bit different in that regards." His eyes widen as Briar chops with more ferocity. "I don't know their names. I overheard their conversation in the corridor between lessons. They were walking in front of me." He chews on his lower lip glancing between both the older students. "You don't suppose it was a trick, maybe? You know, just something someone did to frighten everyone."

"The blood wasn't a trick," Xander insists. "That much I'm fairly certain of. It looked very real to me. I can't imagine someone actually cutting a person just for a prank."

Briar takes a deep breath. She opens up another bottle and slides it before Claudius so he can have a bottle of his very own to plop meat down into. "I hope that it was a trick, but Xander's right. That had to be some serious special and or magical effects to pull that off. There are some sick and twisted people out there. So who knows, that's what makes it a mystery, right?"

Claudius smiles at Briar as he uses the bottle to gather up hunks of meat. He listens to what they both say and he nods, slowly. "I 'spose." He looks between both the sixth years and asks, "Do you think the message was for a student? Or one of the professors?"

Xander moves his book to his lap, keeping it will away from the fizzing, dissolving potion. "No idea. But how many Muggle-born professors are there? Everyone knows Viridian is. I'm not sure about the others."

Briar's eyes go a little wide, "A professor!" She snaps and points at Xander. "Viridian!?" Who is rather famously a Muggle-Born she nods and then squints trying to think of anyone else. Thankfully she's not being reckless with the cleaver and has paused chopping while they are being animated in their mystery solving attempts.

Claudius drops another chunk of meat into the potion. His gaze going back and forth between the fizzing potion, Briar, and Xander. He continues to chew on his lower lip, "Could be. Only muggle-born professor I know of. I wonder if he has a sister… but if it was him, you'd think he'd leave Hogwarts and try and find her," he adds. "He did write that book on curses and countercurses."

Xander smirks, nodding to Claudius. "Too true. I don't get the idea that Professor Viridian is the sort of man to take something like this laying down. Have you ever seen him get angry? It's chilling, especially knowing the kind of power he's got. He's a genius with a wand."

Briar smiles, "And with eyebrows and a goatee like he has, you know he's got a mirror or more in his quarters. Huh." She deflates a little. "I'm not very good with mystery solving it seems." Thinking about who is, who wanted to be an Auror for a whole five seconds has her looking a bit glum again.

Claudius leans back and grabs a small bun off of the buffet table. He breaks off a piece and starts chewing on it, saving his lower lip for a moment. "Well it could still be him. He did write that book but he'd have had to make enemies along the way in order to learn all that. I guess it'd come down to if he had a sister or not." His glance between the two sixth years, as if he expects either one will have the answer to that.

"I don't know," Xander muses. "I don't think I've ever heard the professors talk about their families. Suppose someone could be brave enough ask. That would be an awkward conversation, though."

Briar gives a little awkward forced laugh pointedly at Xander. "I'm not even willing to draw straws on that one. I like not having one out of my two NEWT Professors thinking I'm even more of a 'Yankee Barbarian' than they already do. Thanks - No." She winks and smirks to take any actual edge that was in her voice a moment. "Fear the Professor of Greenliness. Uhn-uh."

Claudius continues to munch on the bun. "Awkward, indeed. Excuse me Professor, you wouldn't happen to have a sister being tortured by a mad person, who may or may not be angry with you for something in the past?" He shudders a bit. "I suppose at least some of the staff would've seen the message, I betcha they're working these same questions out."

Xander nods in agreement with Claudius, but lifts his brow in surprise at Briar. "You're only taking two NEWTs? So…I'm guessing Charms and Herbology. Why just two?"

Briar smiles, "Cause I am a massive slacker. The two get what I want to do with my life done. You don't need to have NEWTs in much to be a magical florist. Shi—" If Claudius wasn't around she'd not school her swearing like a sailor self, but she is good about not being a bad influence on the younger students. To cover up her almost curse she makes a voice like the gangsters in the movies of the time talk. "I don't even need NEWTs shi(see)." She chuckles and shakes her head. "It's why I've been thinking this might be my last year here." Teenage girl Post-Break-up wanting to be as far away from the Ex as possible syndrome.

Claudius finishes his bun and turns his attention towards the Tiger Lillies. He's half-listening to the conversation about NEWTs. He drops another piece of meat into the potion.

Xander frowns. "But you're a Prefect. You can't just leave. You help keep our House in line."

Briar chuckles and smiles rather sweetly at Xander. "That's very nice of you to say." Though she can't help but hear a lack of anything more personal, but what does one expect from the Ghost King? "The only thing I really did of any use was help to keep Kaiden in line as much as I could. But now it's like he's acting out just to spite me, so me going would probably help in that matter. There's tons of other prefects still Xander. I'm sure I won't be missed."

Claudius attention shifts back to the two sixth years and away from the plants. He tilts his head a bit and offers up, "Well who knows, you could be made Head Girl. That'd be pretty fun I'd imagine."

Xander gestures to Claudius indicatively. "See? You have opportunities. Plus, you may not need NEWTs to be a florist, but if you want to be the best, you should be the best educated. Besides, you would be missed, Crocker. Forget Sykes. There's more to Hogwarts than him."

Briar smirks and reaches out to give Claudius' shoulder a grateful squeeze. "That's a nice thought, but I'm pretty sure Lois will be getting Head Girl next year. She really deserves it." Then poking her tongue out at Xander she complains, "It's not /just/ about Sykes, much as I'm sure he'll think it is. It's more that I've got dreams that I want to get to. You know? Even before we got together I was thinking about not doing NEWTs. Be my own boss. Not have exams and tests. You guys I'll really miss, but that's really all of it. Though what Beery plans to do next Christmas is mind blowing! So it would be a shame to miss it."

Claudius smiles sheepishly at Briar. His eyebrows raise a bit, "What's Professor Beery got planned for Christmas? Some sort of exotic plants to decorate the castle?"

Xander sighs. "See? You can't miss out of Beery's…thing. Whatever it is. Just think of everything he can teach you. Your flowers will be even more incredible. You'll get orders from all over England." He nudges Briar with an elbow (carefully…not while she's chopping meat).

Briar laughs and really does seem moved and touched that they are trying to talk her into staying. "All very valid. Thank you fellas. I would tell you - but then I'd have to kill you, Arts Club knowledge only." She winks at them and then leans over to grab up another brownie. If they won't let her run away from her woes, she'll just chocolate them to death!

Claudius chuckles. "Can't have that. This castle spreads secrets faster than a Sluggy (his own term for the Slug Club). Loose lips sinks ships." He tilts his head. "Strange saying, even if it does make sense."

Xander smiles and stands. "And I'm sure your version of whatever he has planned will be the best. So that settles it. You have to stay." He gives her a lopsided smile, tucking his book up under his arm.

Briar taps her nose and then points at Claudius. "See, the Gladiator gets it. Settled huh? Well if you put it that way. I'm staying!" She cheers lifting her hands (that she makes sure are knifeless) above her head and pumps them about in a cheer like fashion. "You off Xan?" She noticed him collecting up his book. "If you want you both can pour the potions in now. Watch the fruits of your labor. Just don't lean in too close."

Claudius gives Briar a smile. "Glad you've decided on staying. I bet ya you won't regret it." He glances at the potions, then towards Xander as he stands up and tucks his book under his arm. "Don't want to see how these potions work?"

Xander shrugs, "I can stay long enough for a good pour." He takes up one of the potions. "Right into the soil? They're not going to nip my hand, are they?" He nods toward the tiger lilies.

Briar smiles and shakes her head, "Long as you don't offer them up like they were sausages you'll be fine, yes, just in the soil." She claps when the poitions are poured in and the flowers dance happily as their roots drink it all in. "Speaking of Beery, I was going to help him with some Mandrakes that didn't get re-potted properly." Silly fainting underclassmen!

Claudius grins as the flowers begin to dance around. "Excellent!" He looks up towards Briar and shakes his head, "Make sure you wear ear protection… though giving your love of herbology you already know that." He chuckles and picks his bag up off the floor, slinging it over his back. "Well see you both around! I should get started on an essay for Muggle Studies. Elevators and the false sense of flying they give."

Xander grins at Claudius. "Wicked. See you around, Simperton." As Claudius heads off, he glances back to Briar with that crooked grin. "He's a good kid. So…are you serious about staying?"

Briar watches after Claudius and smiles nodding proudly. "On a whole most of the Badgers are, it makes me proud to be one." Then she looks up at Xander and shrugs her shoulders. "I can't say for certain. Wish I could… but I just really want to get out on my own and do it. We were making plans on doing it together. But now…I just want to make sure it gets done and prove that I don't need the additional help. I know it's prideful and impulsive. But I just have never felt like I clicked here. I'm tired of bad people getting worshiped and being villainized myself for trying to stand against that sort of attitude and behavior. Sick of bashing my head against a solid Hogwarts wall as it were."

Xander sighs sadly. "Then the bad people win, and we get more people in the world like that creep in the mirror. Sorry, Crocker…but you've got a voice, and it's needed. You're here to do more than make beautiful flowers. The flowers are amazing, but that's only side of you." He shrugs abashedly. "That's how I see it, anyhow."

Briar lofts up both of her eyebrows at Xander, looking genuinely surprised by everything that comes out of his mouth. "Wow, that's the first time I've ever been told that. Thanks Xan. It's nice - surprising but nice to actually feel supported in my values. I seem to be the minority around here. I guess I just wasn't hanging out with the right people." She gives him a warmer still smile as she takes a minute to just look at him, as if seeing him in a different light.

Xander shrugs and smiles. "So start hanging around with the right people…or the people that need to hear you. Honestly, I never gave much thought to Durmstrang and their purist hate until I heard you talking about it. Just wanted you to know that I appreciated that. It made me think." He pats his book. "I've got to get this back to the library. I'll see you around, Crocker."

Briar smiles and looks like perhaps she could very well blush just a little bit, she really is stunned that he made a difference. "Thank you for listening. Say…do you maybe want to sit together during dinner? Like you said, maybe I should start hanging around the right people."

Xander pauses before heading out. "You…want to sit with me?" Though he's hardly a pariah, it isn't uncommon to see him sitting alone. People just don't appreciate his usual topics of conversation. "Um…yeah, that would be fantastic." His grin broadens, and he turns twice toward and away the door before finally remembering he needs to get to the library. With a hasty wave, he steps out.

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