(1938-10-15) (In)gratitude
Details for (In)gratitude
Summary: While on the roof, Augustin sees Alphard slip, and he rushes over to save him. How it ends is seen differently by both boys.
Date: 1938-10-15
Location: Roof Top, Hogwarts

Class have only just let out, and the first thing Augustin did was rush up to the roof. Why, you may ask? For the clear air, because someone did something in his last class which stank horribly. Other children can be seen gasping for clean air from windows, or loosely gathered in the courtyard, waving their hands before their faces with expressions of disgust. "Ugh," Gus mutters to himself, flapping his robes to get fresh air circulating through his clothes. "What was she /thinking/?"

There was only so much time in between classes, so he had to be quick. Being quick at the stomach turning heights of Hogwarts' roofs, of course, was not always the most wise proposition. He was looking for something. Exactly what he didn't give any indication of, but every time he spotted a gargoyle or any other sort of Gothic statue that littered the great castle's edifice, he was there. Crawling over the crenelations until he was half hanging out in empty air, while his pale features stuck as close to the stone faces as he could. Squinting. Squinting. One in particular was hard to get close to, so he eased further out over the stone structure. One expensive Italian leather shoe went off the parapet stone floor, for balance, extending straight out behind him. He leaned further still. A little further.. a -little- further, and then the second foot started to slip.

Well, it's not every day one sees a Slytherin crawling around the cornices. Gus does a double-take and stares at Alphard. "Wha…" he asks quietly, half to himself. He squints, turns his head, watches young Black reaching for… well, whatever it is that he's reaching for. And once he starts to slip, a startled gasp is wrenched from Gus's throat. "Watch out!" he cries, rather foolishly wasting a second as he fumbles for his wand. Then once it's free of his sleeve he hastily points it at Alphard and shouts, "WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA!" Except, oops, it's too late, and the spell zooms over Alphard's head, skittering uselessly away into the atmosphere. "NOOOO!" Gus screams, and runs over, expecting to see a dead Slytherin on the paving stones far below.

"No..no.. no.. no.." Alphard started to protest when he realized that he was sliding forward and off the roof. Instinctively he started to wriggle around, trying to shift his balance back to the right side. It wasn't working. He went for his wand, only to find that in his awkward (and forward tipping) posture, he couldn't reach it. "NO!" There was a gut wrenching moment where he was in free fall, where he stared down at the pavement far below and imagined what a cruel fate it would be if Alphard Pollux Black was taken from the world. Taken before he could remake it into a better place. Taken before he had even touched a girl's breasts. He'd really wanted to do that for most of the year.
What saved him was his natural athleticism, and the fact that as a Beater he'd learned to react on instinct. Somehow his arm had swung behind him, -just- managing to catch the ledge with the tips of his fingers. "Ooophf!" He hung there, wide eyed. His feet tried to catch a ledge. There was no ledge. "STOP SCREAMING AND HELP ME ALREADY!"

Augustin wastes no time at all, and simply braces himself against the stone, leans over, and grabs Alphard's wrist in both of his hands. "Hurrrrrgh!" he grunts, heaving back and up with all his might. He's a strongly-built lad, is Gus, so with enough straining he should manage to get the other boy to safety. "What… in blazes… were you… DOING?!" he demands, all out of breath and red-faced.

His other arm swung up, frantic fingers digging into Augustin's wrist with a desperate need to survive. Once he got up close enough to put his arm properly over the ledge, the massive strain on Augustin's arm was gone. From there on he could crawl the rest of the way over by himself. Not that he let go of the other boy, mind. Sometimes a bit of human touch did wonders. Even if it was some Hufflepuff he barely talked to, normally. With a flop he was safe, crumbling down into safety, flat out and panting. "I don't see.. how.." Gasp.. "That's any of your.. err.. your business. BESIDES! You startled me! It was your fault!" It didn't sound very convincing even to himself.

Gus collapses with his back against a parapet, winded himself. He shakes out his wrist where Alphard's fingers gripped so hard. "That'll bruise," he mutters to himself. He gives the other boy a surprised look. "Startled you? /My/ fault?" he asks, his volume rising with every word. "Bollocks! I saved your worthless life you lying little bint." He huffs and crosses his arms. "This is what I get for preventing a Black from falling to his death. Baseless accusations and rank ingratitude. Next time," he says, glaring at Alphard, "I will let you /fall/."

"I wasn't going to fall to my death! I had everything in order, alright?! I had my wand and I.." Eventually he trailed off, frowning as he struggled to draw said wand. It had gotten tangled, and it took him a bit of effort before finally his robes wanted to release it. Not exactly winning testimony, something even he was forced to belatedly admit: "Fine. Perhaps not the wand.. but I'd.. uhm been able to pull myself up." Mumble, grumble, just a bit of whine to it. "Oh, whatever. THANK YOU! That make you feel better?! I still think it's your fault. Why didn't you just cast a spell, anyhow?"

"Yes, actually, it does," Gus says brightly. He gives Alphard a Cheshire grin. "I know how /hard/ that must've been for you, to realize that you are, in fact, in my debt for saving your life." He shakes his head. "/Not/ my fault. You were pulling some fool stunt and you slipped. It was your own fault, Black, admit it." He shrugs at the last question. "I did. You fell too quickly. Perhaps the weight of your sins was tugging you faster toward hell, /I/ dunno." He rubs his wrist again, which is starting to show some signs of the bruises Alphard's grip caused.

"I DON'T OWE YOU MY LIFE, DAMMIT!" Alphard roared, because that was the sort of debt he was not going to owe anyone. "You -helped- pull me up. Which I admit was.." he paused, chewing on different words and finding -all- of them distinctly indigestible. In the end he settled for: "Useful. So.. thank you for not being -completely- useless. But if it had been left in -your- hands, obviously I'd have died! I mean, a levitate spell is -first year- stuff!" His hands were still shaking, which he tried to hide by clomping them one on top of the other.

Gus weathers the shouting with that same amiable grin. "Oh, yes, you do," he says. "Come on. Let's go ask a professor about it. They can be an objective third party. We'll just tell them the facts. You were climbing around the cornices and poking amongst the gargoyles for some mysterious unnamed purpose. I was standing here minding my own business. You slipped and fell. I wasn't quick enough to catch you with a Wingardium Leviosa, but I did rush over and grab your arm, and pull you to safety before you lost your fingernail hold and plummeted to your death." He stands up, dusts himself off, and looks down at Alphard expectantly. "Come on, then. Let's go ask."

"The Professors are biased against me. I don't know why, but they are. I think it's because of Half-Blood bias. You know how jealous Half-Bloods get." He frowned, brooding over the injustices done against him of late at the hands of the horrible faculty. "Anyway, I don't see any reason at all to go to the Professors about this. I slipped, partly because you startled me, but I still had a hold. I've been in worse spots," not exactly true, "on the Quidditch field, having to hang onto my broom by my fingertips. I'm used to it. Now you didn't -have- to help me, so obviously I owe you -a- debt. But definitely not my life!"

Augustin snorts, clearly not going along with this. "Quidditch doesn't count. There are professors there to keep children safe. The only one keeping you from certain death just now was me." He shakes his head. "I. Did. Not. Startle. You. Prat. You didn't even know I was there." He raises his eyebrows and stares Alphard down. "We can ask someone else, then," he says. "Since you're so afraid of the professors finding out about your little stunt. I can just hear them now. 'But Mr. Black, /why/ were you slinking about the rooftops? What were you searching for?'" Gus knows he has the boy. And he grins. "Oh, I know. Another Slytherin. How about… Lillian?"

"Exactly. I didn't know you were there until you startled me. I'm not -afraid- either, I just don't think that they're particularly good impartial judges of anything at all. Except Professor Slughorn or Professor Black. Or Headmaster Flint. And besides, there's no point in bothering them with what was just a small accident that went perfectly well. -Partly- thanks to you, but only partly." He got up to his feet, dusting himself off as well. His nose wrinkled when he spotted some tears in his robes. He sighed. "I'm never going to admit you saved my life, so you might as well leave it be. You helped me. Be thankful I'm noble enough of spirit that I acknowledge the debt. What were -you- doing up here, anyway?"

"Noble," Gus sneers. "Right. And I'm the Minister of Magic." He shakes his head again and turns away dismissively. "Airing out my robes after someone spilled her potion and stank up the place. Ask anyone. /I/ have nothing to hide." He starts walking away. "Wait 'til I tell Lil what happened up here," he says, just loud enough for Alphard to hear him.

Alphard looked down the length of his nose at Augustin, frowning. "Not exactly the most gracious way," because he had been so very gracious about all of this, "of accepting someone being in your debt. But fine! Thank whatever you like. You didn't save my life, so I'm not going to pretend you did just so you can feel better about yourself. And hey.. wait!" A quick few steps brought Alphard to catch up with Augustin. "Exactly what are you gonna tell her?" He could just imagine how any story was going to sound if it was repeated in the Slytherin Common Room a few times.

"The truth," Augustin says. He doesn't stop walking or even look at Alphard as he proceeds toward the stairs.

"Good." Because obviously Alphard's version was the truth. How could it be anything else, when he was the one speaking it? His strides trailed off, leaving him standing still while Augustin continued on his way. "Anyway.. uhmm.. thanks? I'll see you around, Rousseau."

"Unfortunately," is Augustin's reply. And off he goes.

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