(1938-11-11) Paintbrushes at Dawn
Details for Paintbrushes at Dawn
Summary: Silas ventures into the common room at the break of Dawn to find a disheveled Esther working the night away on a painting. Talk of art, interesting Gryffindors, and alliances ensue.
Date: November 11, 1938
Location: Slytherin Common Room

The Slytherin commons room is a low-ceilinged, dungeon-like affair illuminated during the day by a multitude of greenish lamps and a roaring fire which also works to partially ward of the perpetual chill of the dungeons. The common room is filled with low-backed, black and dark green leather sofas and armchairs accented with buttons that create dimples deep in the upholstery. For the decorative carvings of the dark wood cupboards, the columns, the mantelpiece, and other architectural details of the room run strongly towards snakes and skulls motif. All these details combine to create a quite grand atmosphere with a touch of spooky and cold.
Day or night the enchanted windows are filled with an eerie green glow from the water on the other side. Occasionally the Giant Squid and other residents of the Black Lake will swim by the portals. Over all the common room has a sunken ship feel, though is oddly enough also gives a strange cozy sense as well.

Long after the lanterns grew dim and the other students went to bed, Esther rolled out of hers and snuck downstairs, with her easel in one hand and a roll of canvas in another. She might have heard that Medusa and Douglas were no more, and perhaps even a whisper that someone was blaming her, but she's got something more important on her mind. That whisper though, had been enough to convince her to go straight to bed. The young woman has been awake since 4am, but only now is sunlight beginning to show through the black lake, into the common room… Revealing the wild-haired, strange girl standing with a brush before her 'masterpiece.' While working through the night, she's stripped down to blouse and skirt only, almost unheard of for the young woman.

Dawn. Silas is one for punctuality… as soon as that first ray of light peeks over the windowsill, he is already up, dressed (in morning robes, no less… none of that silly nods to Muggle clothing required of him when out and about in the rest of the school grounds) and ready for the day ahead. His hair is is already made immaculate, as always, and he slides into the common room with a silent gait afforded by bare feet.
Draped across his right shoulder is a sleepy puff of white, black beady eyes only opening long enough to presage a massive yawn. He stops, though, when he sees that the common room is not its typical silent, empty self, but rather there is someone at an easel. His typical half-grin firmly takes its place, and he steps just a bit closer, attempting to see the work itself… a polite sniff used to announce his presence.

Esther's hair couldn't be less immaculate. She smiles, looking satisfied with the first coat of paint. She smiles though, looking peaceful now that she's all on her own. It's quiet, though, so the sniff has her yelp suddenly, spinning on her bare feet to look at Silas in sudden, obvious shock. "… Don't…" She mutters, biting her lower lip as she turns to look at the painting again. Making sure it's still there, before she's facing Silas again. "… Sneak up on me like that. What're you looking at?" It's obvious, but still.

If one were prone to think negatively of others, it might be easy enough to assume that Silas' widening grin would suggest that he took some pleasure in the sudden shock Esther showed at his approach. Of course, it would also likely be a fair assessment. His head tilts slightly to the side, apparently disturbing the white ferret on his shoulder enough that she uses a paw to pull the corner of his collar over his head, and snorts.
"I hardly feel that I snuck," he offers quietly, "but my apologies if I disturbed your creative process." He looks back over at the painting again, "I like the choice you made with the sight lines. Obvious, yet not typical. I always prefer realism, myself."

The commentary puts her at ease. This isn't someone who wants to destroy her - So maybe Medusa hasn't thrown her under the bus yet. The young woman bites her lower lip for a moment. "I apologize. That was forward of me. Thank you for the feedback, though." Her brush is put down, a gentle touch of the canvas and a soft sigh. "If only I knew it had a home, now. What could you possibly want to be up at dawn, Silas?" She inquires, looking much more relaxed. The Ferret gets a quick smile, too.

Silas has never been known to be one of the more sinister types. Quiet, plotting… a known associate of Medusa, but also many others, including those of mixed blood. If he has a game in play, he plays it far closer to the vest than some.
"Dawn? Early to rise, I've always said. Too many opportunities are lost to sluggardly habits, so I make a point not to have them. That, and it means I'm already awake once it's time to get to classes." A hand idly reaches up to tease the fur of his shoulder-rider, eliciting a raw chuckle from the recipient, who shifts to burrow even more into the nape of his neck. "And don't worry about offense. There is none to take on my part. It seems, however, you seem slightly defensive. Is all well?"

"I heard rumors. But they're nothing unusual." Esther isn't unheard of to have done 'something' to humiliate herself, though. "Apparently Medusa and Douglas are having problems, which means that this," The painting, "Might not have a home anymore." She shakes her head sadly. "Gonna finish it though. Have to, now that I've started. I guess I'll just keep it, once it's done."

"Rumors," Silas points out, "may often have a kernel of truth to them, but they have life because those who wish the worst feed their own life force to it. If Medusa has detached herself from him, there is naught to be done." He moves over to one of the chairs, sitting down slowly on it, allowing the ferret to note the change in position and slither down to his lap. Apparently she does not share his love of mornings, as she seems asleep a moment later. "So was Douglas the inspiration, or intended recipient of the work?"

"Recipient." Esther states simply, walking towards a chair nearly. She clambers onto it though, sitting on the back with her hands in her lap, her long skirt good for decency. "I mean, I met him. He's…" She blushes suddenly, the memory causing her to become shy for a bit. "He's interesting. I guess I didn't expect a Griffindor to be so troublesome." She's not helping the rumours either.

"There is no shame in being interested, Esther, although there may be folly behind it, especially if you are looking at one whom the Gorgon has or had her eye on." This too is said matter-of-factly. His eye turns to the girl, and Silas decides for a moment to offer a bit of kindness, "The House draws those of strong character. Not always good. Not always best, but strong indeed… and those with the Lion's heart can be quite attractive. Not everyone can be cunning or decisive. Some work just as well wielding their wand as mace. But where there is fire, there is flame." Another pause, "You fear Medusa's response to you, don't you?"

"I… I don't…" Esther struggles for a moment. "I'd never date…" She tries to find the right words, but she really can't. "I'm not 'interested.'" She finally manages. "Even if I was, it's impractical. I wouldn't waste my time on hopeless dreamings." She frowns, her cheeks still red from the accusation. "I guess I always pictured them as noble… But yes." She looks down, at her knees, smoothing her dress with both hands. "Nothing happened. There are no feelings. But…" Medusa inspires a kind of fear in her that she had during her first year here. "… Yeah…"

Silas chuckles openly, although there seems to be no malice behind it his smile reaches directly to his eyes as he leans back, "Again, interest is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as one does not allow it to alter our actions, our plans, or intelligent action. The young man is well bred, and aside from his foolish blusterings with Nico earlier this year, seems to be even marginally level-headed. I've no idea why he'd interest a Malfoy, but I'll never claim to be an expert in matters of the heart when one allows it to control things." He lifts his hands defensively with the last bit. "Well, know this: I know we barely know each other aside from the occasional passings in the common room here, but if you say nothing passed between you and Douglas, I for one see no reason to believe it anything but the truth. So there is one less possible set of lips to pass along the lies."

It's not unusual for someone to pay kind attention to Esther, she still flinches a little at the chuckle. The girl hides behind her massive curls, closing her eyes for a few long seconds before she speaks. "Thank you… I don't… Particularly understand them either. They've got more in common than they'd ever've admitted though. I know that." She frowns, looking at Silas and his ferret again. "I admit, I hadn't expected anything like this from you. It's a pleasure to meet you, at last." 'Meet' suffers from emphasis.

"Not all of us seek only to determine ways we can manipulate others," Silas offers in an offhanded comment that seems pointed in itself. He grins, "I've found that a deserved kindness often gets me what I want far quicker than playing games. With your new alliances of late, it would behoove you to recall that."
He then leans forward offering his right hand… the cuticles of which could use some attention, given that at a closer inspection they show the long-standing staining of charcoal… another artist, perhaps? "It's nice to 'meet' you as well, insomuch as to go behind vague memories of an awkward little firstie from my second year."

Esther nods slowly, taking that hand slowly, wrapping it both of hers. "Alliances?" She doesn't seem to understand what's being put into motion all around her. Her eyes notice the charcoal staining, and she adds. "I think I've come a long way from there. Maybe not all the way from there… But still. I don't… I don't want to make alliances, I don't want to get involved. The things that're happening all around me; I want no part in them." She sighs, and looks out of the window, as dawn becomes more and more apparent. "Do I get a choice?" She asks rhetorically.

The hand she takes squeezes back, not unkindly, as Silas considers an answer, "You can couch it in whatever terminology you want: friendships, alliances, networking, social building… in the end it doesn't matter. Life is a process of creating alliances, burning bridges, and living with what happens. The only alternative is to completely sequester yourself from all others… which is a lonesome existence. And even that will be denied you for the time you are on Medusa's board… in her notice. At this point your choices are to embrace it, ride along with it, or flail against it." Guess Silas doesn't believe in the rhetorical.

Esther bites her lower lip, and sighs again. She sounds worn, already. "So, that's a 'no'." She concedes. "I guess…. I guess I'll make the best of a bad situation then." She releases the hand at long last, and eyes the charcoal. "Now that you've spilled my heart all over the ground, can you help me change the topic to the carbon buildup on your hands?" She tries desperate to change the topic.

Silas is actually taken aback a bit of her reaction, offers as a response, "Sadly, the truth also carries with it a sharp edge. I am truly sorry if I cut you, there." The smile falters as he looks to his hand, "You don't know? It seems every first year Slytherin and Hufflepuff in the castle knows by now." A pause causes him to shake his head, "although I assume with Miss Heatherthorne's recent heartbreak at my hands, I'll be getting less requests from her House."

"I… I don't talk to people too often." Esther admits, something of a loaner after all. "I've been… Probably more social this term than I've ever been before." She frowns a little bit. "So maybe it's a story I have to hear again. Although this time, you're telling it."

Silas offers another chuckle, and leans back again in the chair once more, before continuing, "The short of the little love story is that I was asked by young Mr Alistair, our own firstie, to draw a sketch for him. He led me to believe that it was for his mother. It was, in actuality, to gain the favor of a young Hufflepuff firstie, Miss Heatherthorne, whom he wanted me to draw a picture of the two of them for him. The problem was, the two were caught in the rain, and I saved them because they got turned around in the squall. The young miss decided to turn her affections to me instead, and I had to let her down gently." He then turns his gaze back to Esther, "All this to explain that I'm a fair hand at art as well, although I've no talent whatsoever with paints as you do."

"Commissions at Hogwarts are never easy." Esther shrugs. "I'm not so much of a sketcher. My skills lie with paint - It's a much more fitting family portrait when we're all smiling, after all… A photograph isn't always so obedient." A sad smile crosses her lips, and she threads her fingers together. "A painting is what it's told, what /I/ want it to be and how /I/ want to remember it…" At least, hers are. "Perhaps there'll be a time and place for collaboration."

"Ah, see… you and I differ somewhat there, however, in that I believe it realism regardless of my own desires," Silas counters, "There is a challenge in the finding and expression of the beautiful within something so chaotic as reality… and that's what I seek to dra—-" And then it happens. Feet on stairs. Gabbing voices, male and female. The rest of the House is awakening, Silas turns to Esther, "Perhaps this portion of the conversation could be kept to another chance encounter?"

Esther nods, sliding off the couch and tapping her canvas once with her wand, before rolling it up and collapsing her easel. She's an adept when it comes to it. She turns, offering a smile to Silas, as she speaks. "I have an idea for it; but I'll await seeing you at dawn some other day." She seems far more confident, as always, once she learns to relax around someone.

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