(1938-10-28) A Big Pill to Swallow
Details for A Big Pill to Swallow
Summary: Lucian comes to Ria, trying to get a grasp of her purist philosophy.
Date: 28 October, 1938
Location: Hogwarts: Entry Courtyard and Grassy Knolls
Related: Stuck, What's In a Name?

It's midafternoon, on a relatively dry Sunday. Lucian sits on a bench in the entry courtyard, cupping a handful of seeds. When Odin, his pet crow, flaps back to his shoulder, he tosses out another pinch of them, and the bird flies across the courtyard to snap them up. That he happens to be here while Ria has gone out for a walk, knowing that she'll likely pass this spot is surely a complete and utter coincidence.

The cold weather is making these walks much more difficult and unbearable to have on a regular basis, so Ria may as well take the opportunity now to enjoy them. The tapping of her shoes can be heard coming from the stone steps of Entry Hall, and the hood of her robes is pulled way over her head while, she delicately wiggles a pair of black leather gloves over her fingers. There's something weighing on her brow for the prefect looks extremely irritated. It was likely the sight of the Slytherin hourglass having dwindled down to 5 pathetic emeralds and she is not. happy. about it. So she stomps her way through the courtyard, pausing only when a crow flutters into her path and looks at her with a tilted head. The two stare at each other a while, Ria mainly feeling a sense of familiarity toward the bird only trace its owner back to a blonde boy over at a bench, irritated look still remaining on her face when she nods at him in acknowledgement.

Lucian is a master of subtlety, and fully engaged in the facade that he and Ria are still at odds. So, naturally, he gives her a big, goofy smile when he sees her…then remembers to scowl. "Oh…hey, R-…Sykes. Don't worry, he likes you, remember? He won't peck." But, knowing Ria's opinion of "dirty" animals, he tosses a few more seeds to lure Odin away from her. But he's not letting her get away too quickly, so he rises and approaches. "So…going for a walk?" Master. Of. Subtlety.

Ria can tolerate Odin's presence enough to not be bothered by him. "I am," she gives one last tug to the gloves on her hand and looks around the mostly empty courtyard to see if anyone can see him approaching her. "How convenient of you to be here as I step out," she says dryly. She knows of your creepy ways Proudmore! She is not pleased! "There's a nice area down on the grassy knolls that I quite like. I will be there," she says in a cold tone, no invitation given, and no good bye. She simply walks off, leaving the information there for Lucian to do with it what he wishes.

Grassy Knolls, Hogwarts

The Hogwarts Campus grounds are expansive and just how much so becomes very clear in this area where grassy knolls spread out for over a square mile. Just vibrant green groomed grass densely covers the small hillocks and spans of flat areas. When the weather is right many a picnic blanket - often sporting House Colors - can be found spread out here and there for picnics, studying, socializing or simply rest and relaxation watching the sky above.

Well, since Ria obviously didn't want company on her walk, Lucian heads back into the castle. Oh, except he comes out the other side of it, and heads straight for the grassy knolls where she indicated she would be. He had pondered another Disillusionment Charm to really keep himself out of sight, but he has long suspected that the windows of the professors' offices and quarters are enchanted to see through such magic, and decided against it. As soon as he glimpses Ria, he hurries his steps to catch up to her.

Ria takes her sweet time strolling over the castle grounds as if nothing bothered her at all. She never rushing into anything unnecessarily and will leave all the running to the blonde boy. And once she's reached a fairly low dip between two knolls, she pauses there waiting for him, fingers laced behind her back. Her eyes spot him coming over the peek of a hill, and even she can't help but give a half smile when he rushes to meet her. "Took you long enough. Were you picking some flowers for me along the way?" she smirks, half-kidding but also sounding somewhat like she expected flowers.

"Well, you know, I had to stop and take a nap first," Lucian fires back, but he cannot help a grin, especially seeing her smile. He sends a wary look back toward the castle, where the highest spires and parapets can still see them. "Merlin, I want to kiss you…" He swallows hard, fighting the urge…and asking himself why. "I…um…I talked to Medusa. About the Magijugend." He opens his mouth to say more, but balks, eyeing her curiously for a reaction.

Luckily enough, Ria keeps a respectable distance between the too and the material of her hood shrouds over her head. A snicker is earned from his brief quip and with a platonic enough nod she acknowledges his want with, "I will take that." Fingers still entwined behind her back, her brows raise in a bit of interest. She blinks expectantly, waiting for him to continue, "And…?"

Lucian pushes his hair back out of his face. Medusa is right, it's gotten floppy. "I'm trying," he sighs. "I've realized something. I've been working my arse off for years to get where I am. But, as pleased as I am about where I am, I have no idea where I'm going. That's the big difference between you and me. You have a purpose. I know you've tried to tell me this, but…I guess it's sinking in."

Ria eyes his golden locks and indeed it's gotten long. But sexier. Even though she won't say it out loud, her eyes may say it a bit for her. Quietly, she listens on staring straight at the boy with continuous coolness on her face. "Bingo," is all she really says, "Did you need advise from the gorgon to realize it? I've been telling you have aimless you've been since we've met." Of course, up until they started dating she's told him mostly via insults and they've watered down ever since.

Lucian snorts at her, but he doesn't deny it. "She didn't tell me so. I just sort of figured it out. The thing is, I've been feeling it for a while now. Over the summer, I looked at my future and saw myself on the Fawley Farm. Don't get me wrong, I like working with the 'griffs and everything. But…it just sort of went on forever. I'm not used to not having some kind of goal in mind. I supposed I just never figured out a goal past graduation." He hooks his thumbs into his pockets and gives a shrug, ambling closer to her. "What is it that motivates you? When you really examine what you're doing, how do you know it's right?"

"Oh I know you did," Ria grimaces at Lucian's farm boy dreams. "I'm sure you learned a lot of good lessons there that you could have otherwise not learned at home. But what a waste you talent would be on a farm." She shakes her head at the idea. Ria ponders on his question though, pursing her lips as she comes up with an answer. "Recognition. I suppose, when it comes down to it. Acknowledgment of my excellence. Of course I have to actually be excellent in order to get it. But I'm not interested in a widespread variety of attention. Having everyone fear me is all well and good, but I really want it most from a certain kind of people. That's what matters to me the most and the rest can go to hell," she explains. "I was a late bloomer, Lucian. I had no trace of magic ability in me until the few months before Hogwarts letters went out. My parents thought I was a squib. They were embarrassed and were planning to do away with me. I've never felt more powerless in my life. I vowed that I would never be that pathetic ever again, and that I'd prove everyone wrong by being much more than what they expected of me. I want everything I do to make waves, so that its never known that Ria Sykes was ever a pathetic peon. That's what feels right to me."

Lucian listens with an expression of bewilderment. He'd never heard the story of her being thought to be a Squib. Suddenly, their long friendship, her sympathy for his situation in spite of being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, it all made sense. "I love you," he blurts out. "I mean…well, I do mean that I love you. But I had no idea you'd gone through that. I get it. I feel exactly the same way. I mean, I showed magic early, but I still felt powerless all of my childhood." He moves closer still, gradually closing the gap between them. "So how did we end up so different on the blood status thing? And don't say it's because of your family. You're too intelligent to have simply accepted their thinking without eventually deciding for yourself."

"Well you can't necessarily divorce the two concepts, because I don't blame my family for the decisions they were ready to make regarding me," Ria gestures to herself with a gloved hand. "A non-magical child doesn't belong in a magical world. You can't expect someone without magical ability to adapt into our environment and at the same time you can't expect our environment to make amends for all non-magical folk. My family would have had to make sacrifices to keep me around in the same way the wizarding world makes sacrifices to integrate Muggle-borns and half-bloods into our culture. We've already lost a sense of who are, the kind of distinct identity our grandparents had and those before them."

Her hand then extends forward to Lucian, continuing her explanation, "Your situation is different. It's due mostly to the flaws in today's wizarding society — classism based on who can be the most pure, based on who has the most clearly marked and distinct family trees. That value is held so high that anomalies and children who fall between the cracks like yourself are immediately discarded. Society is so occupied with documenting their blood, that they forget you're pure and that's what matters. You're a victim of this system, and you've suffered so much because of it. So I don't blame you at all for not understanding why purity matters when you've been treated so terribly."

"But can't you see? This infection of Muggledom within our world … that's what's caused our society to be so strict and unnecessarily obsessed with family lines." The look in her eye is imploring, as if every fiber of her wants him to see this. "The Malfoys, the Blacks, the Flints, the Notts, the Carrows — all Sacred 28 families are considered 'sacred' because there's this threat of Muggle life diluting our world. It's gotten everyone in a panic and rightfully so. We're clutching onto our culture so hard its cracking within our fingers. But the solution isn't to simply integrate dirty blood into our world, because we'll lose it anyway. We need to return to the way things were, where magical and non-magical folk were separate. And we need to dig our heels into the ground and do something about as soon as possible. We're already losing ourselves. And I do mean ourselves, because you're a part of it too. You're pure and if the wizarding world wanes away, you'll lose who you are too."

Lucian crosses his arms over his chest, listening…no, hanging on every word, carefully sifting through everything she is expressing in his need to find something there to hold onto. Something he can believe in, to fill this looming void in his future. Can she be right? Through a chain of cause and effect, has the mixing of magical and Muggle blood been the root of wizarding society's rejection of him? Of his father's embarrassment over his bastard son? The very thought of his father and the slings he has suffered threatens to ignite the fires of his righteous anger. But Ria's voice, pleading with him to understand, keeps him grounded for the moment. "Alright," he says slowly. "That makes some kind of sense. So, what's to be done about it? Take the mudbloods' wands away?" It's the first time he's ever used that hateful term. "Kill them?" The second option is delivered as plainly and matter-of-fact as the first, as if doing such a thing were perfectly within his ability to commit…and as Ria knows, it is.

Ria has kept still in her place, not moving forward or stepping backward, merely watching him take it in and quietly awaiting his reaction. His question makes her raise her chin a bit and taking deep inhale she shrugs. "It would be a process that could take a while to abate for sure. To me, the step that makes the most sense at the moment is establish and hierarchy, elevating those who are pure and place them in a position of control over muggle-borns and half-bloods so that the threat their threat isn't as great. Give us enough time and security to grow our numbers, so that we're not dwindled down to a mere Sacred 28. From there who knows." And there's the truth of it. "I don't have all the answers Lucian. At this point in time, everyone's got ideas, but they'll only remain ideas if we don't even start." She been dancing around his last question though, thinking of a ways to answer it. "Naturally when there's a change in order, you're going to be met with resistance. We got a taste of it at Durmstrang, and that might be the worst of it but I don't know Luc … I don't know what will happen."

Lucian does move closer, entering her personal space, if only so she can still hear him as he lowers his voice (but not only for that reason). "But if it came to that…to battle…we'd have to be willing to fight and kill — and die." He nods solemnly, taking it all in. "I need time to think about this. I get what you're saying. It's…a big pill to swallow. I'm trying, Ria, and not just for you. You were right when you said I need to do this for myself, too. I don't want to graduate and end up stuck on the farm. Even if I like it…it's still being stuck, and I'm tired of having no say in my destiny." He looks straight into her eyes — he's not consciously trying to give her his baby blues, but he really can't help the emotion behind the look. "You'll help me, won't you? Regardless of what happens between us…help me. Push me, like you always have."

And the two prefects, are standing rather close almost cheek to cheek but distant enough where they look like good friends sharing a secret. Ria's hands are still laced behind her back, remaining calm lest anyone be watching. But her eyes blink and stare into the distance over his shoulder while Lucian's words pass her ears. "Of course it is. I knew from the start that this is something Ria Sykes can only drag you so far into," she nods understandingly. "If I could, I would give you the world Luc, and let you take what you want from it. But rarely is that option available to anyone. We all have to choose at some point." Her head turns, eyes meeting his as well perhaps not as emotive as his, but there's something soft there. It trickles down to the smirk on her lips. "I'll always push you, and keep pushing you till you're good enough. Until we're both good enough. And you know me, things are never good enough, so you'll have to put up with my pushing forever."

Lucian finds his smile again, a dash of cocky grin mixed with adoring tenderness. Forever, she says, and it lights up in his eyes. "That's what I'm aiming for," he says quietly. He begins to lean in, just half an inch, but stops himself. "I know you want to kiss me as much as I want to kiss you. But…I'll let you save face this once." His smile turns into a teasing grin. "Just don't forget that I'm coming for you, Ria Sykes. You're my girl. This is all just another obstacle, and there's nothing we can't overcome together."

Even Ria looks sort of expectantly at Lucian's lips the closer he draws near. But when he stays himself and gives that annoying grin instead, she looks the other direction with an amused smile and simply says, "Ass." As the wind begins to pickup, the Slytherin girl pulls her hood farther forward on her head to block the cold bite. She then looks at her hands, to delicately pull the gloves back down on her hand once more. "Make your decision first. Find out what it is you want, and then we'll see if I'm your girl," she says, wiggling those pretty digits of hers, covered in leather. "Until then, I am everyone's girl and no one's girl all at once."

Undeterred, Lucian laughs. "Keep telling yourself that. But you're mine, and I'm yours. I'll prove it, one way or another. Listen, I have a plan for how to handle your father. But I need to figure all of this out first. I'll have a decision for you. Soon." He dips his head to catch her gaze again. "I love you. We'll talk again soon." He reaches a hand to touch her arm…a friendly gesture to the casual observer, but the way his thumb caresses through her robe is definitely more than friendly. With that, he turns and moves away across the grassy knoll back to the castle

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