(1938-11-03) Spiders and Bunnies
Details for Spiders and Bunnies
Summary: Alphard and Andromena spend a day in Hogsmead. Alphard can't quite decide what's wrong with the Three Broomsticks, but something isn't like it's supposed to be. Oh, and there's a panic attack.
Date: 1938-11-03
Location: East High Street, Curious Creatures Pet Shop, The Three Broomsticks.

"…You cannot be serious!?" Andromena demanded of Alphard with a greatly amused, if slightly disbelieving laugh. He had, in his own unique way, asked her to come to Hogsmeade with him. Having no real reason to decline, Andromena had acquiesced to his demand with only minimal resistance. They walked side-by-side, with her slim arm loomed through Alphard's own as he regaled her with a particularly rousing tale as they entered Hogsmeade. She rarely came on her own, so the chance for a day out actually had its appeal to the Rowle girl. As they meandered down the path, Andromena let her eyes wander, darting back to Alphard now and again while he spoke.

"Am I ever not serious?" Deadpan though his voice might be, he couldn't make a perfectly blank mask out of his features. Crooked humor bled through the cracks, his lips curling and his eyes shining. "Would I ever embelish or lie? Salazar forbid!" His own eyes were also walking their surroundings. A couple of other students caught his attentions. Or more specificly; their attire did. He rolled his eyes, murmuring: "Are you seeing that? What is this, 1910? Look at that ugly frock. Must be a pass-me-down from her grandfather. What do you wager that all she wears is woolen sacks when she'd out of school uniform?"

Her nose crinkles up when she spies the girl Alphard has commanded her attention toward. Not quite so wealthy as the Black family, the Rowle clan was certainly not destitute. A little book nerd Andromena may be, but her other love is fashion. Good grades meant that mummy and daddy would be more inclined to purchase their daughter whatever it was she happened to bat her lashes at - leaving her with a substantial wardrobe. "I would just die," she informs her companion in that oh-so-serious teenage girl tone of voice that said /she/ at least firmly believed that declaration. "Clothing is an important aspect as to who you are, and how you want others to perceive you." Sniff. "Just like one shouldn't walk around dirty and with your hair mussed." Yet people actually /did/ - like they didn't even care! Baffling.

"Yes, exactly. If you want other people to treat you with respect, then have some respect for yourself and dress the part." And anyone who didn't was really just asking for Alphard to pick on them. They were practically begging him, even. With a cruel snicker he drew breath in, then loudly called out to the victim of their attentions: "Looking real good there! Though I think there are laws against going through people's trash!" He got some glares in return, though they made no impression on him. He was moving on.

"I'll give you that, you do always look good."

She tossed her hair behind her shoulder with flourish. "Noticed that, have you?" Andromena says teasingly. Girls liked to hear that sort of thing; she was no different. She chose to focus on that, rather than the glares that Alphard earned them. By saying nothing she was still complicit, which was something for the girl to think on. "You know, Alphard," she said airily. "The first thing I ever noticed about you was your shoes. They were /so/ shiny." Andromena did not venture to give him a time frame, since it could be potentially embarrassing for her.

"Isn't that half the point in making an effort? For people to notice?" Alphard asked her with a roll of his eyes. "I'm just giving you your due, not waxing on in lyrical tones about it." As they walked he considered the various little stores in the quaint little houses. There werne't that many places that had such a pile-on of wizard commerce. When it came to shoes he had some strong opinions: "I hate it when people neglect their footwear. They'll put all this thought into their clothes, then wear some old stinky things. Yuck. Have some style. These.." which weren't the polished dress shoes he often wore at school, "are italian leather." Brown, suave, all class. Probably cost a small fortune. He had no shortage of pairs. "My favorites this month, I think."

"Did I accuse you of waxing lyrical?" Andromena asked him with a rather generous huff. She was good at giving him those. In her opinion, however, he did wax on about his damned shoes. Truth was, though, as far as men's footwear was concerned, they were pretty swanky. "See any place you want to go in?" Andromena asked him after agreeing that the current pair of shoes were indeed worth his while.

"It was implicit in your smug little hairtoss," Alphard replied with a bump of his elbow into her side for extra effect. "You'd think nobody had ever noticed before." Though there was a touch of mockery in his tone, it wasn't cruel so much as just lazy playful. With a grunt he nodded, and pointed towards the Curious Creatures Pet Store.

"The hair toss was for fun!" She yelped as he elbowed her. Delicate little creature that she was, Andromena faux-whined that he would kill her if he was not careful. "Ooh," she chimed excitedly as Alphard directed their path. Andromena was rather fond of animals, so despite whatever intentions Black had, she would be content to look at whatever creatures were currently in stock. "Anything you're looking for in particular, Alphard?" she queried as they drew nearer to the shop.


"Not really. Perhaps a treat for Merwyn," which was his owl, named after that evil medieval wizard Merwyn the Malicious, creator of evil hexes and jinxes. As they stepped in, he looked around with just the faintest suggestion of exitement. Apparently he hadn't taken Care for Magical Creatures just because it was one of the easier Elective subjects. Detatching himself from Andromena's side, he drifted over to one of the cages, eying the price tag until a dark scaled snake slithered up to preen infront of him. "Whose a pretty little a snake?" He coo/hissed at it, grinning.

Andromena follows Alphard to the snake, then goes just slightly beyond him to peer into another cage. "Yeah," she agrees at length. About the treats. Her hand reaches up toward the glass, but does not touch it. Just hovers there, fingers quivering before withdrawing. She would never smudge the glass, but that's not really why she had raised her hand in the first place. There are few things more alluring than the notion of being able to touch strange and, well, curious creatures. "If you could be any animal, what would it be?"

"Black mamba. They're quick, vicious and super poisenous." He leaned closer to the snake, eying it with a mixture of intrigue and healthy wariness. After all, snakes were snakes, and it didn't do to forget their nature. "Or perhaps a shark. A big white shark. The king of the oceans. I actually sort of like that even better. You?"

"Huh," she muses after he mentions sharks. "If it were to be a sea creature, then I'd choose a killer whale - orcas. They're smarter and eat the livers out of sharks." He grin is decidedly devious before she abandons whatever she had been gazing at to move on to another. "Otherwise, a big cat of some sort. Graceful, elegant, powerful. But it is just so hard to choose any particular one, you know? Not a lion, though. I like them well enough but I don't like the notion of sharing my man." Whatever lurks in her second cage proves to interest her more than the first, for she remains there, peering downward.

"But they only stick to cold waters, you know?" Of the orcas. "Be a shark and you can enjoy the nice warm tropical waters as well. But yeah, no. I wouldn't want to be a lion in a million years. Don't you agree, pretty?" He asked of the snake, who seemed to have lost interest in him. With a shrug, Alphard continued to survey the inventory. "If I was going to be a feline, I'd be a tiger. Nobody ever messes with the tiger."

"Right," she agrees with Alphard, nodding. "Mysterious, too." Her brows had knitted downward. "Would you look at the colors on that," Andromena exclaimed, pointing. "I've never seen something like that on a spider before." It was a shockingly blue tarantula, big and hairy as they tended to otherwise be. "It's…neat looking, after a fashion." Bugs were, naturally, disgusting to her. When the tarantula skittered forward, despite being separated by glass, Andromena gave a jolt. "I want to find something cute," she grumped, rubbing her upper arms.

Alphard went stiff, not realizing just how close he had gotten to the big spider until Andromena pointed it out to him. Then it was suddenly right there, in face height. He drew a slow and shuddering breath in, trying his very best to look cool and calm and collected even as he manouvered sideways and away. Not for a split second did his eyes leave the bug. Not even to blink. "I.. yeah. what? Cute? I spotted a.. blue.." he cleared his voice. "Blue bunny earlier?"

"Blue bunny?" She repeated, completely oblivious to Alphard's reaction in regards to the spider. "Actually, I have a fondness for rabbits." Andromena informed him absently, peering this way and that to determine the best direction to take in order to find the bun-buns. "Here," she gestured. "I think they're over there." A snake slithered upwards as she passed it by, tongue flickering and black eyes watching the pair of them unblinkingly. Silent witness to Alphard's suddenly pale face.

He was going to avoid that particular aisle in the future, and it took him several backwards bound shuffle-steps until he dared turned his back to the tarantula. Even then his nerves were all a-whack, the fine hairs of his neck and his arms standing up in sharp attention and his whole body tense with fight-or-flight adrenaline. "Yeah.. uh.. there." As they reached the fluffly blue rabbits, he dared a glance behind him. The spider was finally out of sight. IT hadn't slipped free of its glass cage, and wasn't skittering after him. Thank Merlin.

Well, Alphard Black, thank your own personal star, because Andromena Rowle squealed with delight over the rabbits. And why? Because there were little baby bunnies to be seen! Meaning the young girl remained ignorant of his curious turn of personality. She scooped one up, its dark blue nose twitching before its face was snuggled into her neck. "Oh, you're just so soft!" Andromena cooed, gently stroking its head and long, floppy ears. "Here Alphard, give her a pet." Andromena held it forward, but only just so - because she rather liked cuddling it. "Hey…something the matter?" She at last questioned, though unable to think of a reason Alphard should look the way he did. "Well…it /did/ smell down that one aisle, so I don't blame you."

Alphard wrinkled his nose. "Smell?" He asked, looking from Andromena to the bunny, to Andromena and then back to the bunny once more as it was offered in his direction. It took him a couple of seconds to catch up. "Uh. Yeah. It was bad." Because he wasn't about to admit to having had a minor panic attack over a caged spider. In retrospect it was silly, anyway. Next time he saw a spider, he'd just squash it. That was what he promised himself. Tentativly his hand reached out, running over the bunny's head. It was a surprisingly calming exercise; as if all that soft fur beneath his fingertips was leeching out his fear.

The bunny watched Alphard; it too had black eyes, but they were much larger and far less chilly than those of the snake. Andromena watched him, too. Slowly, ever so slowly, she extended her arms further out so that Alphard might have an easier time petting the creature rather than try to work his way around her chin, neck and…elsewhere. For its part, the baby bunny was quite calm and docile. "I don't think I could get one, though…my cat would get quite jealous." Said without much further explanation.

Realizing that he was looking far too entranced by some stupid little bunny, which wasn't much in keeping with his tough-wizard reputation, Alphard withdrew his hand. By that time his hand and arm had gone nillywilly all over Meanie, though, but purely by accident! Nonchalantly he pretended like nothing, looking away. "Yeah. Couldn't get a snake, either. Merwyn would try to eat it. I guess that's another reason not to be a snake if I were to be an animal. Lots of birds like eating them. I want to be top of the foodchain, not having to worry all the time."

Swallowing, Andromena glanced away. It wasn't anything, really. Just the bunny as it happened to squirm one way or another. She gently set it back down with its litter mates. "That was my thinking as well. Sure, rabbits are pretty adorable, but how long can they expect to live? At least a tiger is beautiful /and/ powerful." One last stroke of that velveteen ear, and then Andromena drew away. "Birds can be intriguing in and of themselves, but I cannot say I am very fond of them." What with all their squawking, rampant pooping, and shedding of feathers. Owls liked to regurgitate, too. Blech. "So let's find a treat for Merwyn?" Andromena went to take his hand, stopped herself short.

"Merwyn's a good owl," Alphard said, defending his pet! "Smart, brave, and no rodents are safe within a thousand miles. I wouldn't mind being a bird.. I mean, flying is one of the best feelings in the world. Up in the skies, clouds floating by, wind whipping your face? Mhmm..!" Then the hand move came, and it was obvious that he hadn't missed it, because his gaze licked down to eye those slender digits of hers. Slowly, agognizingly slowly, his yes crawled up the young girl's arm, then fixed on her face. He lifted a brow that said: 'really?!' "Yeah, let's. You can get something for your cat, too." With that he headed for the owl treat section, and there was no hand holding on the way.

His look appeared to go unnoticed. She had been able to ignore his pawing, and so it would seem that she'd ignore that particular expression, too. Her hands remained firmly affixed to her sides as they went in search of treats for their respective pets. Afterwards, she awaited him as he paid for whatever little pellets that Merwyn would latter gobble up. For Apollo, special catnip had been procured.

Alphard paid for the catnip, too.


"I always liked the Three Broomsticks," Alphard said cheerfully as he stepped into the pub with Andromena. He had a little bag carried with him, which contained both of their pets' favorite little snacks. Gentleman like he was, he hadn't burdened the lady with dragging the stuff along everywhere! With a content sigh, he undid the front of his outer fall robes, revealing a stylish grey blazer beneath, emblazoned with the Slytherin emblem. He had a shirt beneath it, and his silk tie was a Slytherin green. He didn't immediately notice the subtle shift of the place's atmosphere, heading straight for his usual corner-table.

Following beside Alphard, Andromena peered about the interior of the Three Broomsticks. "I have only been here a few times before…" Because why should bookish little Meanie ever venture here on her own? Only once they neared the table Alphard had chosen as his own did Andromena undo her own robes. A scarf with her house colors obscured much of the top she wore, due to its length more than anything else. Andromena seated herself, clasping her hands before her on the table. "Don't know…guess I thought I shouldn't come in." As an absent confession. Alphard could do what he chose with it.

Oh, she thanked him for carrying her item, by the by! She wasn't an ingrate.

"Oh? Why is that?" It was asked while he arrogantly summmoned the attentions of the waitress on duty with a look and a flick of his wrist. Calmly his robes were discarded, folded up and then neatly placed on the seat next to him. The side he hadn't left open for Andromena to slide into. The middle button of his blazer came free, too, which was a sign that he really was ready to relax and enjoy himself. "We'll have two glasses of a nice burgundy, thank you." And of course he was going to order for her, too.

Because the only bar she had ever been into before in her life had been in the company of another, and eve then she had felt so very, very out of place! Older girls were there, dressed in a flashy, provocative manner Andromena could only, if she dared admit it to herself, dream about emulating. And that wasn't all…"Huh? Oh. I just always thought: it would be silly to go in there alone. You'd just look pathetic if you did." Off came the robe, and the scarf, to be neatly folded and tucked off to the side. Now that she was not quite so bundled up, Andromena proved to possess an actual figure other than just slim! "Then I'd think about my dad catching me, wondering why I wasn't studying."

"Nonsense, Meanie. I go in here alone all the time in Hogsmead weekends. Of course I'll go with others, too, but I don't see why I'd have to be in some company to enjoy a nice glass of wine and a bit of atmosphere." Speaking of atmosphere, his eyes finally found that recent addition; the piano. There also seemed to be different drinks listed on the drinks menues. He squinted at them, trying to read them over the distance and in the murk. Was it just him, or were there fewer of the regulars, too? AT least it was still fairly thick with students, as always. "You can't always be studying. The brain needs time to relax, recouperate. I'm all for good grades, you know that, but I'm not going to run myself ragged and deprive myself of the finer thngs in life!" With a clink, the two glasses of rich red wine appeared infront of them. Alphard paid.

"Thank you," Andromena said demurely, fingers curling gently about the stem of her wine glass. She had protested him paying for her cat's treat, but he hadn't paid her any mind. No use fighting him about it now, surely. But it made her feel…Well, it wasn't important. She took a sip. Thought a moment. "Yes. I know. Now, anyway. Just that before this year that's all I ever worried about." Fear of a parent, or parents, could be a powerful spur indeed! "What's that face for?" Andromna asked him suddenly, deciding to change the course of their conversation. Didn't help that he gave her the opportunity to do so.

Alphard brushed away the thank you with a shrug. It was how he had always been; open handed with the coin in his pocket. As long as someone was on his good side, not having to pick up any bills was a perk of the friendship. Delicately he picked up his glass, rolling his fingertips along the gentle slope with an air of decadence. The wine was swirled a couple of times before he took a tentative sip. It passed muster. "Mhmm. Well.. I'm not advocating disappointing your parents. But there are levels of obedience and respect. I mean.. we have passed our O.W.Ls. Technically we're adults." He took another measured sip of the wine, not rushing. It obviously wasn't about being drunk for me. "I don't know. Something has changed. No matter. Here, to good grades and fun times!" His glass lifted towards hers with the toast.

*Clink* went their glasses, and she echoed his toast. Good times indeed. An important lesson for anyone young or old, but especially parents, was that to lean on a child for too long or too hard would likely see them break; rebel. To be sure, some just caved in to their constant demands on how their life ought to be lived, stumping about in a dull daze and never quite enjoying anything they encountered. Andromena had vowed never to become one of those. "My father likes to say," and here she did her best attempt at sounding gruff and deep. Not very spectacular. "I'll always be your dad, you can be eighty and I'll still treat you like a child." She puffed her cheeks out while simultaneously rolling her eyes before taking another sip.

His laughter rolled out over the table as Meanie did her impersonation, an easy and melodic sound quite the opposite of his usual cruel and heckling laughter in class or in hallways. "That's good," he praised her, eyes glinting while he watched her over the lip of his glass. With a slight head tilt he took another little drink. "My parents aren't so bad. They just want me to be successful, and have done everything in their power to make sure I had all the advantages." And in the process spoiled him rotten, and filled his head with a massive case of meglamonia. "But.. while I do intend to make them proud, it'll be on my own terms. I decide my future."

"I can admire that," she informs him with another raise of her glass. Andromena had shared in his laughter, feeling quite at ease. Couldn't be blamed on that burgundy, either. Not yet anyway. "So what /do/ you intend to do with your future, Alphard?" As he had mentioned, they could have technically ended their school term with last year's O.W.Ls, yet here they both were, and would be again next year. Truth be told, Andromena liked school life, even if Alphard had referred to it as prison before. Andromena set her wine aside for the moment, crossed one leg over the other and then fussed with the hem of her skirt.

Alphard too reclined, his lean frame rippling backwards with a lazy stretch and preen until he was the very picture of aristocratic decadent pleasure. He kept sipping at the fine wine, small little drinks that were slow to make any dent in the content. A bit of shaggy dark hair was brushed free from his forhead in an idle and subconcious matter. "Well, first step is to join the M.L.E. Be an Auror Initiate.. then Auror. Then once I have a reputation, I'll probably run for Wizengamot. I'll reform the Ministry, make it like it should be. You know, without so many of those people." For once he couldn't be bothered to put too much venom in his voice when talking about mudbloods. He was too comfortable. "Honestly my mum is a bit worried about me being in the M.L.E. She'd rather I do something a bit safer, but.. That wouldn't be me." Because he was such a brave and heroic boy!

"Mother's will always want something safer for their children, so you cannot blame them over much," Andromena says with an air of nonchalance. She too, nurses her wine. It was rather good. No surprise. Alphard had the money to back up his tastes - which wasn't an observation made in envy. "I think it will be a good fit for you," said she with an intent look up and down his person. "But if I had been forced to guess I would have assumed you might pursue a path in politics." Her shoulders rolled in an easy shrug. "Anyway, the world needs right-thinking people in all walks of life."

"Like I said.. eventually," Alphard murmured with a contemplative bob of his head. "I'm sure I'll end up in the Wizengamot after a while. But while I'm young I want to do something active, you know? Chasing down rogue wizards or Dark Creatures." He stifled a little yawn, then took another drink, somewhat heavier this time. Half his glass was gone, abruptly. "So are you going for healer because you want it, or because your parents want you to?"

Swish-swish went the wine in her glass as she swirled it about. Her dark eyes stared into the equally dark liquid for a moment, and then in an abrupt manner, Andromena downed the contents in a single gulp. A soft thump, the glass being set upon the table. She leaned forward, arms crossed over its surface while pinning Alphard with a decidedly direct gaze. "It used to be," there was nothing in her voice. It was just flat. A sort of deadpan honesty one doesn't doubt. "But it's rather too late to change my course curriculum, don't you think?" Andromena looked away then, hand flicking dismissively on her dainty wrist. "Anyway, I still thinking helping others is a noble calling." And she knew not what else to do.

"There are lots of other oppertunities for someone with good grades and witching talents. You're taking some of the hardest N.E.W.T.s, and it's not like most of the students actually know what they want to be. They just pick whatever subjects they like, and they'll still end up with a job. It's not too late to find something else. Though.. then I'd not get the pleasure of you nursing me back to health after my wickedly epic battles against evil." The boy's dark eyes met hers as he talked, offering up his sympathetic views in a friendly tone. Well, the last part had perhaps been more wicked than anything else. "And.. sure. Yeah. Everybody respects a healer." A socially acceptable, even desirable, job.

The rather dreary mood that had settled on Andromena's shoulders suddenly took flight and she was laughing again. "How could I have forgotten?" Yes, yes, a chance to play silent heroine for the rugged, yet dashing crime fighter. Andromena supposed there was something daydreamy in that. "Don't mind me," she asked Alphard, all sweetness. As a sixteen year old, was she not allowed a spot of gloomy angst now and again? Besides, it was not as if she was actually moping. Maybe it was the wine. She'd decline a second glass if the suggestion came up! "I can't have some other girl getting to hear the accounts of your epic, breath-taking battles while she draws you back from the brink of death! And if you don't have me, you're just as likely to get some wretched crone that wouldn't be half as interested anyway."

Alphard would offer a second glass. Or three, while they talked and the time slipped away, until curfew drew closer and it was time to leave. In all that time he still couldn't figure out exactly what about the Three Broomsticks that was bothering him. Perhaps because he'd mostly spent all his time focused on Andromena.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License