(1938-10-02) Another Playing Piece
Details for {$title}
Summary: Medusa tries to collect another playing piece, only to determine honesty is the easiest way to proceed. Later she engages in a brief verbal tussle with an irritant and a few others drift in as she drifts out.
Date: 2 October 1938
Location: {$location}
Related: Final Year, New Game
Characters
GeraldMedusaDouglasBriarJanetteNiko

Great Hall Courtyard

A large rectangular area with roofed walkways along the outside, with benches to sit and arched open-air windows to give a view outside. The walkways lead off to the Viaduct to the east, and the path down to the greenhouses to the North. Inside these walkways is a central open green square just outside the doors leading in to the castle, with a couple of larger benches to give students a place to sit.

—-

Later afternoon and classes are over. Students wander the halls and corridors more freely now, many chattering aimlessly as they travel in small herbs, while others wander alone, lost in thought or at the very least, hurrying to join one of those said herds. And then there are others less concerned with social status and the number of herdies they can manage. Those like Gerald, who for the moment can be found slumped on the ledge of a breezeway window, lost in his potions text.

Having spent a while studying already Medusa was in need of some fresher air than the Slytherin common room can provide. The tappity tap tap of her heels announce her arrival but she is far from the only student who wears a pair of shoes with a heel on them. What sets her apart from others is the way younger students start to freeze and then suddenly duck out of her way. As if this were a commonplace occurrence Medusa ignores it. Her gaze is more welcoming not quite the gorgon's stare as she looks around the courtyard. A ghost of a smile dances across her mouth as she spots a particular prey she had attempted to circle yesterday. One hand lightly looped around the wrist of the other, Medusa, walks with her arms behind her back and heads in Gerald's direction. Just as she nears him she stumbles, falling into both him and the wall, "Oooooooamph…"

It was said to him a few days ago, 'Sometimes you just can't be fully prepared for what life will dump into your lap.' Never before have truer words been spoken. Gerald is not prepared for the tumbling blonde, so as she lands his own body reacts. The book is dumped into the floor of the walkway, and his arms reach to both catch the falling student and defend himself from the same. In the end, all he manages to do is keep himself and her from tumbling through the window. "See nothing good comes from shoes that make you work for it." It's really all he can think of to say outside of the immediate 'please don't eat me' response she seems to summon.

To say Medusa paws at Gerald to keep from falling would be wrong. She strategically places her hands so that she doesn't fall further and doesn't fall out the window, nor does he. Said hands go one to his shoulder the other to the back of his waist. Once able to stand stably again the seventh year raises her head and turns wide eyes on Gerald. "Are you alright," she asks breathily, presumably from the danger they had both potentially been in. Her gaze drops out the window and the Malfoy girl looks even paler than usual, she swoons a bit into Gerald once more. "By Merlin that is a long way down."

Gerald is….an idiot. Maybe he just has no eye for deception? Maybe he's just shocked from almost falling to his possible death?! She's not the only one that looks remarkably shocked for the next few split seconds. "You know you're the second girl to almost knock me out of a window in two days? I'm starting to think someone's put a price on my head." It's a joke, but he mumbles it none the less. "Are you okay?" She looked shocked after all! And what type of crazy person stages these things?! He also glances downward to the floor near her feet, pleased to see his book.

Removing her hand from Gerald's back Medusa uses it to push her hair back off her face. She nods as she turns to lean back against the edge of the window, her other hand coming to rest against her still heaving chest. "I like excitement sometimes but that was far too exciting even for me." With a soft self deprecating laugh she looks up at him. "Are you?" Her gaze follows Gerald's and she spies the book, "Your book." Leaning down she retrieves it for him, even going so far as to brush it off before holding the potions book out for Gerald to take. "Why would someone want to push you out of the window? Break some girl's heart?"

She MAY have gotten away with her ploy, if not for that line. He does take the book back, but not without a sudden and then stern arch of his brow. "Now I know you're full of it." He manages with a small, dry chuckle. "But for the sake of ruining you're cute little play, sure. I broke her heart, and she tried to shove me to my death." He pauses before offering his lips a lick. "Actually she tripped kinda like what you did back there, and I caught her..that time it was with a little more grace though." He does straighten his back, and despite his firm gaze, he relaxes back into his typical calmness without much effort. "I'm okay though, yes." He finally adds with a sigh. "Wanna tell me why you tried to shove me out the window now? I defend you too much yesterday? Not enough? You looking for another chance to talk down to me? I'll be in another window in about three hours." He manages a grin as he watches her. And BOY does he hope he's right.

Medusa rolls her eyes with panache. She has very expressive eyes. "I did not trip on purpose. These shoes are very expensive. Do you think I want to damage them for the sake of bumping into you?" One hand curling around the edge of the windowsill she raises her foot and reveals to Gerald the damaged state of one of the heels of her shoes. It isn't fully broken but it will need some work. "But if you want to think so little of me go ahead, everyone else does and none of them even know me." She sounds rather disappointed that he would think she would put either of them at risk for something so petty as an insult. "If I wanted to call you names Gerald I would not need to go to some elaborate ruse."

Gerald chuckles, nodding gently, "Then accept my deepest apologies. I shouldn't have umped to conclusions." He sighs as he sends a glance back toward her shoes, frowning at the damage. He's not a shoes expert, but he humors her with a frown before he leans back, cracking the book open again. "I'm not going to explain how your behavior warrants that response from others..but I will admit that I am very happy that you are okay." Since Gerald refuses to make eye contact with pretty girls it's fairly easy to try and lose himself in his book again.

As if Medusa Malfoy were that easy to shake, as if she were some Hufflepuff third year. "Well you did and it hurt my feelings a little," she says quietly, but loud enough for Gerald to hear. "I was coming out this way because I have a headache. I've been trying to study all afternoon and I can't seem to focus." Her gaze drops down to her hands, hands which are curling into fists in front of her as she leans against the window. "I wish I was a sixth year still, not having to worry about exams. I wish I could do it all over and study more." Medusa sighs heavily.

"Well I'm very sorry." He counters as quickly as she speaks, "My intentions were never to hurt your feelings." He lowers the book to watch her, his lips licked again thoughtfully before his gaze leaves her. "If you want help, Medusa. You only have to ask." Beat, "Not that I think you'd take help from a lowly sixth year Cornfoot." Yup, he remembers her words, but he doesn't seem horribly put out by them. "I'm pretty smart though."

She is slow to lift her pale head as if she doesn't quite believe Gerald's offer to be genuine, or perhaps she is just processing it. When she does raise her head Medusa levels her gaze on his, not bitingly but searching to see if he is playing some angle. "Truly? I could use the help. I got into a spot of bother with my parents for last year and I have to do well. I cannot be the Malfoy that graduates with bad grades." She half turns then, hand moving back to the windowsill as she turns into Gerald, facing him. "I would be grateful Gerald Cornfoot if you would tutor me in potions. And I would promise to never speak ill of your name again in return."

Wow…even he looks mildly shocked when the request comes..free of insults or snide remarks. He even waits a moment perhaps giving time for the other shoe to drop on the conversation. Eventually he seems ready to move on with it. He offers her a lazy nod, "You don't have to make promises to me." He allows as he closes the book, "I'll help you. Because it's the right thing to do. You shouldn't have to barter for help." He watches her, though he seems..tired suddenly. As if the weight of his new plans is settling in. "Meet me in about an hour? We can start. I want to change..and eat."

Medusa nods. She isn't going to tempt fate. Where shall I meet you and what should I bring?" She seems genuine about wanting the help that Gerald is willing to offer. It cannot always be about being mean. Sometimes it has to be about getting things done that need to be done and she needs the grades. There is no more avoiding the future for her. It will arrive and do so quickly.

—-
Later that evening in…

The Hogwarts Library consists of books filling shelf after shelf in a large sequence of twisting corridors that culminate at the hallowed Restricted Section. Books that cover a variety of topics no muggle could ever dream of, from Potions to Magical History to all manner of obscure, fantastical and abstract magical disciplines and creatures. Amazing as all these are, what knowledge is held in the restricted section is only spoken of in whispers. Books float across from one shelf to another, rearranging themselves back to where they belong as students never return them properly. Tables are positioned at reasonable intervals to provide students with a place to consume the vast knowledge found here, or to study whatever assignment they've waited until the last minute to complete.
—-

At the aforementioned time in the aforementioned place Medusa waits for Gerald. She has snagged a table near the potions section of the library - as per the instructions - and has brought along her textbooks as well as some wider reading material, self-inking quill and parchment. She isn't working yet but people watching instead. The side of her head rests against an upturned palm, elbow on the table as her gaze tracks a pair of younger students who walk past. It is a bit later now, after dinner but before bed. The library is quieter and the light is provided by flickering lanterns hovering above each table.

Right on time, not a second past the hour, Gerald pushes through the doors of the library. Without the restrictive robe to weigh him down, he moves with a lazy stride. One of someone perfectly comfortable within his own skin. Even if, apparently, he shouldn't be. Spotting the sullen princess he sighs before forcing himself on. "Hey." It's not the most verbose greeting but it does the job as he finds a chair and sinks down into it.

The smile that Medusa turns on Gerald is dazzling in its brightness. "Hello." She gets up and moves her chair a bit closer to his then pulls a few books over. "I wasn't sure what to bring so I brought everything." Which is not exactly true. She got a younger student to carry it all up from the dungeons for her but Gerald wasn't here for that so it doesn't count.

Gerald returns her grin with a smirk of his own as he watches her get comfortable. "Well..is there a particular place that you're caught on, or is it just the whole big thing?" He reaches to flip her book open and give it a glance, "We can move from there. Shouldn't be hard."

"I actually like potions," admits Medusa, "but the ingredients can be hard to remember. I need some kind of trick." She flips a few pages in the book and points to a particularly difficult potion they had to learn towards the end of the sixth year. "This one is quite hard. Thirty ingredients seems a lot when I have to also rememer the quantities."

Gerald nods as he leans to eye the page, "It is a little much, yeah." He pauses a moment, reading over the page a few seconds before he sits back. "It helps sometimes to attach it to something you enjoy doing. Like..putting on makeup. There has to be steps to all…that."He motions toward her face with a small chuckle, "Apply the same manner of habit to it. Or, another way is to apply a 'thought' or 'target' to it…mentally only. Like, for a shrinking spell, imagine someone really big who you would like to shrink. Or a silencing spell, to someone you'd love to shut up." Apparently, he may do that, judging by his expression.

Medusa turns her head and looks up at Gerald out of the corner of her eyes a sly smile lifts one corner of her mouth. "You are a surprise, Gerald. A pleasant surprise." Sitting back in her chair she looks at the page in the book once more. "So I could imagine who I would give this potion to and that will help me remember the ingredients and quantities needed?" She sounds a bit dubious but he is the better student than her.

Gerald shrugs a should but he compliment does draw a faint smirk back to his lips. "People by nature tend to be surprising." Yup, no credit taken, he lowers his eyes back to the book as he runs her words back through his mind. "Yes, I guess that's what I'm saying. But, it's a pretty terrible way to remember things. People are the most motivated and even the most capable when they're acting out of revenge or malice.. That's why bad people always seem like they come out ahead." Ahem. He smiles though, shrugging a second time. "And sometimes it's just nice to see the outcome in your head, when you actually get it right." He pauses, "And what I'm saying is to imagine these things..not to do them.." again, a grin, this one wider.

"I clearly have not got ahead so I must not be a bad person," says Medusa smugly. She pulls a piece of parchment over and picks up her quill. "I would never use this potion on a person. It seems cruel." Even for her. "Now some of the other ones….maybe." She flips a few pages and goes back to a much easier potion that can make hair stop growing. "This one would be funny."

"Clearly you aren't." Gerald echoes her with a small chuckle. He also laughs, with less restraint, as she points out the potion. "I hope you're thinking of someone outside this group." He adds with a sigh, "In fact, remember that I'm helping you when you start mixing stuff. I have enough against me. I don't need to be bald too."

Douglas ambles into the library, looking around like some sort of tourist to a new country, which, in essence, he is. He snatches up a floating book at random, which gives an indignant shake at its rough handling, and heads for a seat, turning the chair round to sit back to front on it and thumping the book down in front of him.

Medusa is taking her studies serious this year. No really. She will not finish out the year with abysmal grades. She is focused. Focused! "No," she says to Gerald with a laugh, "you would not look very good bald at this age. But I can think of a few others. In any case I will save that for later." She flips back to the more difficult potion recipe they had been looking at. "What if I thought of it like a puzzle, with each one being a piece? I like to solve puzzles much more than remember lists."

"A puzzle would work. I'm terrible at them, but if that works for you that's all that matters." Gerald reaches to absently tap the book, though his attention wavers for a moment as he looks beyond her toward the other side of the table to the newly arrived student. It's only for a moment, and he snaps back just as quickly once Douglas is seated. "And I appreciate it. I like my hair." Again, he taps the book, "Now, focus..being pretty wont get you good marks."

Douglas carefully settles his book in front of him, adjusting it to best pillow position, before pretty much flopping down on it, arms folded, and cheek resting on his arm. "Depends on the teacher," he adds to that last, cracking open one eye to watch the pair. "If I was a teacher, I'd give all the pretty girls better marks."

Medusa glances over at Douglas. She knows him well enough, as well as she wishes to, given that they have had classes together for seven years. "Douglas, you will never be the teacher because teachers have to study and your book is upside down." Gaze dropping down to her book she begins to draw out a puzzle on her parchment, turning each ingredient into a piece. "Do not mind him Gerald. I think he came in here by mistake."

Gerald chuckles as he watches her draw, nodding. He seems ready to speak when Medusa turns her attention on the newly arrived, drawing Gerald's with it. He chuckles, but he also reaches to tap the book again, "That's..not nice." He chokes, trying to hide the small snicker that threatens to break free. "Don't be a harpy. No one likes ugly." And judging by his tone, he doesn't mean physical ugly.

Douglas half grins at that, adjusting the book to sit more comfortably under his arms. "I'll never be a teacher because I don't want to stay cooped up in this bloody place forever, more like. Exams are for people who have… y'know… ambition and things. I've got a job lined up, why do I need to study?"

"Being your father's dogsbody is not a career which will entice women your way, Douglas." Medusa doesn't even look up from her work. She is getting into this idea of turning tricky things into puzzles and works in silence for a few minutes, her moonlight pale head bowed over the parchment.

Douglas yawns widely, shaking his head. "Got a job at the ministry, Malfoy. You keep working on your…" he pauses to crack an eye open and glance at her book "…potions. Good luck with that. Besides, women want me for my wit, charm and sense of humour, not my career prospects."

Having reached the end of her attention span Medusa is able to return Douglas' taunts. "You have a job at the ministry? You with your grades? Doing what? Sweeping the broom closets?" She sets her quill down and crosses her arms over her chest as she levels her cool biting glare upon the other seventh year. "Oh yes, I have heard about your women. Strange freakish little girls who look like all the fun was scared out of them years ago. Tell me, does she actually get color in her cheeks when she pretends to laugh at your humorless jokes?"

"Which one?" Douglas queries, raising a brow. "The Snowsnake? Oh yeah, she blushes up a storm. What, are you jealous?" he asks with a grin. "You want to add your name to my list?"

Wow. Just…wow. Gerald was doing so well at keeping her pacified, distracted and nice..ish. Now, her arms crossed and her scowl back in place, Gerald can merely sigh heavily and slump back in his chair as the two begin to spit their taunts. For now he remains silent, lifting his eyes toward the ceiling. He'll wait out the storm in his chair….being remarkably quiet. It's a self-preservation tactic. Don't knock it!

"You keep a list? How tacky." Medusa just shakes her head and picks up her quill again. "And yet I am not entirely surprised. It is a very you thing to do." Because Medusa doesn't keep lists or collect things or people. Not at all. Nor does she have a string of boys who look hopeful and at the same time angry whenever she crosses their paths.

Douglas stretches out comfortably. "I'll put you on the 'maybe' list," he offers with a half grin, clearly amused as she gets more icy with every passing comment. "I bet you scrub up all right, when you make an effort."

Still silent, Gerald allows his eyes to fall back to the conversation. They move between the two, though he does send a sigh her way as he watches. He even looks ready to speak when Douglas AGAIN chokes him back, and he turns a subtle, wide-eyed look of 'SERIOUSLY' back toward him. If it wouldn't disturb the rest of the room, there's the distinct look of someone seconds from simply slamming their head into the table. If they don't know it yet, it's the look of someone deathly allergic to drama.

The thing about being able to dish out insults is that you have to be able to take them and Medusa can take an insult. She doesn't even bat an eye when Douglas insinuates she might not be attractive at that moment in time. Medusa isn't bothered because she knows it is not true. Everything about her appearance is likely calculated to garner attention of one sort or another. "Gerald, what do you think of my notes?" She slides the parchment she had been writing on over to the sixth year to view.

"Passing notes, now?" Douglas mocks cheerfully, settling down once more and closing his eyes. "You know you should read those out to the whole class."

Gerald looks..exhausted. Already. He does drop his eyes toward the parchment as she slides it over for him. He eyes it, and manages to hide most of the amusement that it causes. "That's very good." He admits with a small, lazy nod. "Maybe you found your way. You think it's going to help?" He lifts his eyes to send her a small glance, though Douglas and his tease earn a glance from him seconds later. "It's just her notes from Potions.." No, he's pretty much outside his area of comfort in this conversation.

Medusa's gaze flits briefly to Douglas, wordlessly leveling him with her gorgon stare. She turns her head towards Gerald and lowers her voice to murmur something to him then pulls back the parchment. Reaching out a hand she turns pages in the book, flicking through them until she finds another difficult recipe. "I would like to try this one next."

"Shhh," Douglas insists, grunting as he settles in to sleep, right there where he's slumped. "This is a library, remember."

Gerald smirks, nodding gently at the whisper. He also releases the parchment to allow it to be pulled back. "That one's tough, it's a good pick." He then slumps against the table, crossing his arms over it as he leans to rest his face against an arm. All the better to watch her work. "Do you have these exchanges with everyone you come across?" It's off topic, but he's seeing a pattern! Douglas also gets a chuckle. "You know I got confused for him twice yesterday? I don't see it."

"No," says Medusa as she starts to work. "Sometimes people are intimidated and feel the need to speak the way he does. Douglas and I have been like this for seven years. Nothing will change it." The talking helps a little, somehow, keeping her attention half divided between work and conversation as Medusa draws out another puzzle for her to piece together. "Oddly enough we are somewhat similar, Douglas and I. Neither of us are brilliant students. We have had a fair few detentions for not being focused in lessons. However, I am not going to rest on my laurels or the Malfoy name. I do not have some cushy nepotistic position waiting for me at the end of the Express ride home."

Douglas props his chin on his hand, drawling lazily, "Nobody cares what marks you get, don't you get it? A pass is all you need once you're in the real world. So why break your balls to try to get top marks when you could be out making something of yourself instead?" He waves a hand vaguely. "Look around, man. This place is amazing, once you get outside the walls and open your eyes. Why waste your time cooped up in here over a dusty cauldron?"

Medusa looks over at Douglas and the look she gives him is sad and pitying, not the usual sharp stab she sends his way. "You and your family might be content with that Douglas Macmillan but that is not how the Malfoys are and it is never how they will be. I will not shame the hallowed name of Malfoy by doing anything less than my best. Since you have no intention of studying why don't you run along and find one of those simpering girls who are on your tacky little list." She thrusts her chin up in a haughty manner. "I have work to do."

"Maybe I'll just wait until you've finished working," Douglas suggests, grinning crookedly. "I'll put you on the shorter list, the one with the girls I actually fancy."

The smile she gives Douglas is fast to skip its way across her mouth. "The difficulty is, Douglas, I don't fancy you." Returning her attention to her work Medusa puts quill to paper once more. Shoo boy, you have been dismissed.

"In denial," Douglas insists, settling back into his book to nap. "Besides, you know that just makes it more of a challenge, and I love a good challenge."

Gerald just sits, head down, and attention on Medusa's quill…it's just easier this way.

Briar has a couple of underclassmen Hufflepuffs with her. She exchanges smiles with Mrs. Patil, the kindly librarian before leading the students to a table. Once they are all settled and their places reserved she then leads them one by one to the index to help them find the book they need most. The others gathered, perhaps namely Medusa all receive smiles of greeting as they are passed by.

Yes Medusa Malfoy is in the library and yes she is studying. In fact she is studying with the help of Gerald while Douglas, at the other end of their table, tries to use a book for a pillow. The Slytherin seventh year checks over her uniquely made notes and smiles, pleased with her progress so far. She leans over to murmur quietly to Gerald.

Niko comes quickly, making obviously too much nose as Mrs. Patil gives him a quick, "Shh!" he puts a potion book on a table, and quickly, ignoring the shh, starts to go through books in the Library, grabbing various potion books, looking rather hurried as he starts to stack the books, before bringing back about four back to the table he picked, opening them all, he notices Douglas, and offers a quick two fingered wave as he starts to dig through all these books, obviously looking for something.

Ghostly girl sneaks into the library. She carries five huge books in her armful. Even if it is heavy enough and it looks like that the books will fall down soon, she walks straight and gracefully, sweeping all the dusts with her Slytherin cloak. She looks around, trying to find the empty seat.

Douglas gives a vague grunt of recognition and a nod, then yawns once more and settles in to sleep, eyes closing. "And by the way," he adds in a low murmur towards Medusa, "if I wake up bald, I will hunt you down."

Medusa rises to her feet and gathers up her books, quill and parchment. She looks around and finds a younger Slytherin student, a first year by the look of him. "You, carry my things." The boy jumps to do her bidding eagerly and earns himself a pat on the head from the pretty girl. Smoothing out her robes she nods politely to Briar and gives Niko a passing glance. As she starts to leave Medusa trails her fingers through Douglas' hair and leans over to whisper something to him.

Briar lips purse overhearing Douglas' threat, oh if it weren't for the pretty little 'P' for Prefect badge she's wearing she'd be tempted! Tempted to make Douglas bald just to watch him hunt down Medusa. But she's a good prefect…but for her occasional American Sailor's mouth. So she smiles and silently applauds the first year Badger she's working with when he finds the book he wanted in the index. Grinning proudly she escorts him into the shelves.

Little firstie in tow Medusa and her rather oddly quiet - unheeled shoes, somebody ask Gerald no really! - make their way out and presumably to the dungeons.

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