(1938-11-16) Snifflepuff to Hottiepuff: Step 1 Acknowledging the Problem
Details for Snifflepuff to Hottiepuff: Step 1 Acknowledging the Problem
Summary: Medusa confronts Augustin, defends Eibhlin's honour, breaks her thumb, makes up with Gus, spills some beans, and gets fed some nasty potions but at least Augustin admits he is a git.
Date: 16 November 1938
Location: Club Room, some corridors and the hospital wing
Related: Immediately after: On the Ledge

If there's one thing the Art Club is good for, it's coming up with new and inventive ways of creating original pieces. Usually involving magic. And so Gus stands in front of a large piece of pine nearly four feet tall, and carefully aims his wand, again and again, and says a little charm that neatly chips off pieces of wood in various sizes. Whatever it is, it looks like it might be vaguely animal-shaped at this point. Perhaps. Gus himself looks awful, with great bags under his eyes and his hair sticking up every which-way, and a grim set to his mouth.

Medusa Malfoy has a reputation - several of them in fact. There are many myths wrapped up in the reality of the legend that she has become that it is rare for people to know the true her. One thing which nobody has ever accused her of, however, is using violence. Cruel words. Social exclusion. Biting sarcasm. Even wandless magic done with just a glare (but only the gullible believe that one). So it is going to be quite surprising that she rocks up to Augustin Rousseau, the best friend of her boyfriend - a boyfriend everyone knows she is devoted to - and greets him with a fist to the face. "That is for treating Eibhlin like a slut!" Medusa has never punched anyone before and makes a rookie mistake; she wraps her fist around her thumb. Thankfully for Gus she isn't wearing any jewelry when she aims to give him a black eye. Unthankfully for Medusa it hurts her just as much. "Fuck!" She shakes cradles her right hand in her left. "Ow! Oh fuck I think I broke my hand. How damn hard is your head Rousseau?"

Gus rocks back from the punch, completely surprised. "YEOW!" he yells, clutching his cheekbone where her fist landed. "What?!" he says. "I treated her like what?! Are you mad?!" He glares at her. "I never did anything of the sort!"

She clutches her injured hand against her chest. "Oh, so you didn't invite her on your first date and then try to put your hand up her skirt?" Medusa glares at Augustin, with two good eyes, eyes filled with suspicion and recrimination. She looks different, or rather is dressed differently than she was earlier in the day.

"What?" Gus asks again. "She said — augh!" He grips his hair in his fists and grimaces. "No. I did not try. I stopped, didn't I? I bloody well stopped. Like the perfect bloody virgin that I am. It wouldn't even have gone that far if she'd stopped the first time she asked me to, instead of kissing my neck and breathing in my ear. What is a bloke supposed to do, but kiss a girl back? She's all, 'Stop, Gus,' so I did, and then she kisses my neck, so I kiss her back, and then my hand's on her knee, and I tell her she better say stop again or I'll keep going, and she said stop again, and then I stopped. So fuck off!!"

Medusa thrusts her hand out at him. "Do you think I broke it?" She sounds a little woozy too as if the pain might be getting to her. Squinting one eye shut she tries to figure out a way through everything he just said. "Jeeze, Gus. You are going to be one hell of a project."

"Do you think I bally well care?" Gus flings back, still angry with her. There is a deep red mark on his face where her fist hit him. "Get out!" he yells, and points at the door. "You're the only reason I asked her out in the first place. Was this one of your jokes?" he asks. "Did she string me along so you could all have a laugh at me? Are you having a good time, telling lies about me behind my back, now?" He stalks toward her, sneering and stops about an arm's length away. "Fuck. Off."

"No! I'm not leaving." Medusa tries to move towards the door as if to stop him from leaving too and falls to the floor. "I feel fun…ny." When she falls faint she has the bad luck of exacerbating her broken thumb by landing with her hand beneath her.

"Oh, for fuck's sake," Gus says, disgusted, angry, and more than a little irritated. He moves toward her, grabs her by the uninjured arm and pulls her up and toward the nearest bench. "Attacking a bloke in your condition, breaking your thumb. Don't you think of anyone but yourself? You've only got a few months to get that down, so you should start practicing now." He gets her settled as best as he can. "You stay here, I'll bring the healer."

Like a limp doll Medusa gets pulled along by her arm. Her eyes open and she stupidly touches her right hand to her head then cries out in pain. Seeing only Augustin she calls out to him plaintively, "Don't leave me." Pause. "Please, Gus. Sit with me until my head is right again." Which, you know depending on you talk to, could be never.

Gus hesitates, glances from her to the door and back again, and then clenches his jaw and joins her on the bench. He sits rigidly beside her with his arms crossed, staring straight ahead. "Are you with child?" he asks her in a tight, quiet voice.

That makes her blink a few times and then turn bright red. "No." She mumbles a little, "…thought I might be…but no." Medusa takes a slow steady breath. "I've never hit anybody before. I'm sorry. I…it made me angry how Evie felt like you thought she was easy. She isn't you know. She's a nice girl." Her foot nearest Augustin slides his way and she gently taps his foot with her welly. "It wasn't a trick. I don't play tricks on you."

"Good," Gus says vehemently at the news that she's not pregnant. He rubs his face and glares at her. "I never thought that about her," he says. "Good grief. And you know, it would be nice for once to have someone stop and remark that I'm a nice guy, wouldn't it?" He sounds bitter. "Instead, the people who are supposed to be my friends make fun of me, leave me alone when I need them most, and leap to the most horrible conclusions they can about my character." He stands up and he has to blink rapidly because apparently from the way his eyes are watering someone is cutting onions nearby. "Are you over your fainting spell, now?"

"I am going to help you, but I need you to sit down because my head is still fuzzy." Medusa briefly closes her eyes and swallows so as to avoid being sick. "You can't rush a girl, Augustin. It can't be all or nothing all the time. Mos- most people aren't like that. They need to ease into a relationship. You overwhelmed her. Took things too far too fast. Were too intense. You…you feel things too much." The last bit she says softly, not as a recrimination but an observation of his inability to control his own behaviour and emotions.

Perhaps it's because she's actually trying to give him advice when she's obviously in pain that makes Gus listen to her. He slowly sits down again, a bit further away from that tapping foot. His arms cross and his jaw juts out, but he's at least listening. "I think she was afraid of really trying with me because she's not a pureblood," he says slowly. "She thinks I can't possibly ever understand where she came from. Maybe she's right, but she didn't even want to give me the chance. I would have tried."

Medusa lets her head rest back but it lolls to the side so she can see him. "I know, sweeting," she says softly. "I think you are right about her fear, but you also hurt her feelings by rushing." She licks her lips and tries to focus her thoughts. "When you were with Lil she never let you touch her and was busy, always putting other things first. So you find Evie and she is nice and beautiful and you go the whole other way with her. You try to do everything at once. Do you see what I'm getting at?"

Gus soon finds that blinking doesn't really help. Must be allergies. He swipes at his cheeks, wincing over the red patch Medusa's fist left. "Girls are nuts," he says a broken sort of voice. He doesn't really sound like he means it, though. "I half wish I liked blokes. Them I understand."

"I don't know," chuckles Medusa, "I think blokes can be difficult to understand sometimes. But I know what girls like." She uses her good hand to reach across her body and pull out her handkerchief, a clean one, from her pocket and offer it to Gus. "I am going to help you for three reasons. And this is me being honest, in agony, and honest." She shifts her injured arm carefully, resting her hand on her thigh. "One, I want to help you because Douglas cares about you and he wants you to be happy which means I want you to be happy. Secondly, because I feel partially responsible for the Evie thing as I encouraged you to explore your feelings for her. And thirdly, because I bet Douglas I could get you a proper snog by the Christmas Feast. He has to work with much worse material. Myrus Lowe."

Gus eyes the handkerchief and shakes his head. "Er, no thanks," he says, and gets out his own. "No telling where that's been." He blots up the tears, and gingerly touches his cheek. "An inch higher and you'd've given me a black eye," he tells her. "Dunno how I'm going to explain this." Then the turns to give her an incredulous look. "You did what?" he asks, his voice sort of monotone.

Medusa turns bright red again. "I can't believe he told you that." She shoves the handkerchief back into her pocket. "Even worse, I can't believe he told me that he told you. He clearly did it to make us both suffer." Speaking of his cheek she suggests, "Woodworking accident? I could say you dropped wood on my hand while I was helping you, after I accidentally poked you in the eye?" She slowly bends her knees. "Or I can start a rumour about you fighting some wizard in Hogsmeade over the honour of some woman? A little old lady…he was trying to steal the purse from an old lady and you defended her."

"Woodworking works," Gus says, nodding. "Just feels like lying about something and involving other, imaginary people, might get messy very quickly." He holds out his hand for hers. "Let me look at it while you tell me all about this bet," he says.

Carefully she slides closer until she can rest her hand on Augustin's leg. "You made a prat of yourself earlier. After you left everyone was talking about it. I said that I could help you become more manly. More in control of yourself and that would help you get a girl. Douglas wasn't sure I could get you to be quite that manly, so I dared him. He has to help Myrus Lowe, who is a bit creepy really, get a snog by the Christmas Feast. I have much better material to work with. At least you know how to snog." See how complimentary Medusa can be? Isn't she lovely?

Gus turns bright red while the bruise on his face deepens more, nearing a faint purple. "I sent her an apology note," he mumbles. "Clearly if she's telling people I treated her like a slut, she hasn't forgiven me." He looks away, but then realizes her hand is on his leg. He gently picks it up and carefully examines it. "I'm no Healer but this looks like it might be broken. It's bending the wrong way. We really should get you to the Infirmary." He sends her a look that's distrustful. "What do you get if you win?" he asks.

"I don't think you meant to make her feel that way, that's the thing. It just did. You have sister's right? Imagine one of your sisters being treated the way you treated Evie? A guy tells her he fancies her. Speaks to her a couple of times, but nothing but chatting. Invites her for a picnic. She goes and it is not what she expects, which is a simple bit of lunch, but instead a very elaborate picnic. And the guy is all over her, kissing her and touching her. On the first date." Medusa is trying to be gentle but also trying to get the point across clearly enough. When he manipulates her hand, despite the gentleness she winces and cries out, "Ow." It takes Medusa a moment of breathing to get her nausea under control again. "I don't know, we didn't settle on a wager. Alphard suggested streaking a Quidditch match but neither of us went for that. Then someone thought of saucy photos but…we've seen each other naked so what'd be the point? At the moment I'm settling for you being happier which makes Douglas happier."

"Alright," Gus says after her cry of pain. "Come on. Put your arm round my shoulder. I'll help you to the Infirmary." He'll stand next to her and try to get his shoulder in place for her. "If she didn't like it… she could have just said so. But she… she seemed like she was fine with it all," Gus says quietly, frowning and looking rather torn. "And I /stopped/ when she told me to." He gives her an entreating look. "I did, Medusa, I swear. I'm not a brute."

Medusa does as he says and puts her good arm around his shoulder then with Gus' help gets to her feet. "I promise, we'll help you feel good about yourself again. I was like you last year. Well not exactly like you." She grins a little, gritting her teeth at the pain, "I was never French." With a breath she leans into him. "But I was lost a lot. Flitting from one relationship to another. Making stupid mistakes without meaning to. Who knew that all along the boy for me was my dippy potions partner?"

"Speaking of being French," Gus says as he starts to walk her out, going slowly so she doesn't get too dizzy. "How do you know I'm a good kisser? It's not like you and I have ever snogged." Once in the hallway he starts to make their way to the Infirmary. And around the corner comes a surprised second-year with big brown eyes and mauve ribbons in her curls. At the sight of Medusa she squeaks and freezes. "You," Gus says, sounding like a boss. "Find Douglass MacMillan and fetch him to the Infirmary. Tell him his girl had a small accident in the workshop, and his best friend is taking her to see the Healers. Quick, now!" The girl turns and flees. "Doug likes you a lot," Gus tells her.

"She didn't say you were bad," admits Medusa. "Besides if she let it go that far before saying no you had to be decent." Her head turns briefly to follow the departing second year, gaze narrowing briefly only to turn back towards Gus when he speaks of Douglas. "I do love him you know. I would be lost without him." Chewing on her bottom lip she whispers, "My parents don't want me to be with him, but please…don't tell anyone. I'm trying hard to persuade them that he is good for me."

"Hm," Gus says thoughtfully as they make their way into the Entry Hall. He catches the narrow-eyed gaze and raises his eyebrows questioningly. "Whatever she did," he says. "Let it go. She's only twelve - how perfect were you at that age?" But he doesn't ask. Instead he focuses on her whispered confession. "Oh, I see," he says. "No, actually, I don't. What's wrong with Douglas?" He sounds proper offended on his best friend's behalf.

"I am. I made a deal with her master." Medusa doesn't elaborate on her cryptic wording. Going towards the stairs she cradles her injured hand against her chest. "Nothing is wrong with Douglas. I adore him. Even his stupid habits amuse me. But to them he's a trouble maker and close to being expelled. I want to write them a letter and tell them how wonderful he is but every time I start…" she sighs, "I…I just get so angry I write a nasty letter and then burn it."

"Her master?" Gus asks. "Is she a valet?" Carefully he turns her toward the staircase and waits a moment for the landing to reach them before ushering her on. "How's your head feel?" he asks her. Then, "I could help you write the letter. Keep it civil, you know."

"My head is better, but my hand is throbbing. Think Viridian will let me out of charms? He's a git that one. Has had it in for me for years." Medusa looks up at Gus, "Would you, help me I mean? It would be good to have someone else look at it."

When she admits her head is better, Gus changes his support - instead of a shoulder under her arm, he instead brings her arm back down next to her side and gently grabs it with his far hand, keeping his near hand braced across her back. Still able to keep her from falling, but letting her have more control of standing on her own feet, as it were. "He's not so bad," Gus protests about Viridian. "I've seen him stick up for a few students who were being bullied."

Medusa is careful not to get too far away. "He sticks up for Muggles a half-bloods. Old families like mine he dislikes. It's fine. Well it isn't fine. He is a teacher, he should be above that, but I'm used to it. Being a Malfoy is complicated."

"He's been nice to me," Gus says. "And I'm a pureblood. My family is quite old, thank you. Listen… if it really bothers you, I could try to say something to him." They're almost to the top of the stairs, by now.

"I'd rather you didn't, all it will do is make you a target for his dislike." Medusa has to stop and take a breath when they reach the landing. Thankfully the staircase didn't move on them. "Besides, it's only seven more months, right? I've put up with it for six years. Seven more months won't kill me." She looks up at Gus. "Thanks though. And I'm sorry about your eye. It does make you look dashing, however."

The bruise on his face is slowly gaining more a purple tinge, and swelling. Combined with his wild hair and the dark bags under his eyes from his hangover, he looks quite the opposite of dashing. He surely knows this, but he smiles a bit at her compliment and nods. "Thanks," he tells her. He starts to lead her toward the infirmary. "Well, if anyone can tough it out, you can," he says. "Word of advice, though… when your children attend here, tell them to be friends with a Muggle-born or a Half-blood right in front of him. Maybe it will spare them his displeasure, if you're so sure it's your name."

"My children won't be Malfoys, even if they look a bit like Malfoys." Medusa is just loopy enough with the pain by now to admit, "I rather hope some of them look like Douglas." She stumbles a little when she realizes what she said and then promptly swears, "Shite, don't tell him that. Great goblin tits, why did I even say it out loud?" She hits her forehead with her hand to chastise herself only to cry out in pain because she hit herself with her injured hand.

"Yes, true, they won't have your name, but you'll still be their mother, so your name will surely follow them," Gus points out to her. He grins. "Oh, I think I will tell him. Eventually. When you're expecting the first, perhaps." He winces when she hurts her already injured hand and guides her finally through the door of the Infirmary. "Douglas should be here soon," he says. "Hello?" he calls, waiting for a Healer to show up and take Medusa from his arms.

As they enter the hospital wing Madam Spleen comes bustling out. "Oh dearies, what happened to you?" She takes in the sight of the pair of them and likely puts two and two together but before she can make four Medusa buts in with, "I was helping Augustin with a woodworking project only I poked him in the eye with a bit of wood and he dropped a heavy tool on my hand. We think my thumb is broken." She thrusts her injured arm out to the nurse.

"It was an accident," Gus adds. "She didn't mean to. And I didn't mean to, either," he appends. He'll pass over the blond bombshell to Madam Spleen.

Medusa is directed to a bed and Augustin is given a bruising potion to take, "It'll help with the swelling, dearie." Madam Spleen pats him on the arm. "Such a handsome gentleman. Even more handsome if you comb your hair, hmmm?" With a smile she then bustles off to find some nasty tasting potion to help with a broken digit.

"Thanks Gus," Medusa says quietly. "Maybe we can get started tomorrow, seeing as it is only Saturday?" Get started turning him into Hottiepuff and not a Snifflepuff. Phwoar!

Gus takes the potion with a nod. Then he turns back to Medusa and sighs. "I dunno," he says. "Maybe I'm just not meant to have a girlfriend. There must be something seriously wrong with me, after all."

"Well not seriously, no. But you do behave like a bit of a git," Medusa says earnestly. "That's just because you don't know what girls want. You're scared of them. Think of me like a helpful fairy godmother." As opposed to the usual Mafia Godmother she tends to behave like.

Gus stares at Medusa, mouth flat, eyes half-lidded, eyebrows up. "Sorry, can't think of you like that," he says. "You're just too diabolical. No offense, really, that's a particularly difficult skill to master." He shakes his head, still looking uncertain. "How can I possibly know that whoever you set me up with will actually like me and not… not just be in on the bet? Some girl who owes you, or is afraid of you, or thinks it might be a laugh?"

"Oh I'm not going to set you up. That's part of the rules. I'm going to help you be less of a git so you can find a girl." Medusa lays back on the bed, cradling her hand on her lap. "I can't pay them, bribe them coerce them with violence or threats." She eyes Gus, "And I can be nice. I am not always diabolical or scheming. Just most of the time."

"Oh," Gus says. "You want to give me lessons in how not to be a git?"

She nods her pale head against the pillow. "Being less of an emotional git will help. You'll feel calmer and confident and girls like confidence. It's really attractive. You won't be so scared." Medusa looks to the office where Spleen went then back at Augustin. "Because I bet that's what you are mostly, scared."

Gus sinks slowly into a chair by her bed and toys with the potion before uncorking it and downing it quickly. He makes a face at the taste and puts the empty bottle on a nearby table. "If I tell you a secret, will you promise not to tell anyone?" he asks. "Maybe Doug, but only if you think he can keep it."

"Of course," says Medusa quietly. She is good at keeping secrets, they're her stock and trade after all.

"Lil and I… we had a deal," he says quietly. "Both of us had parents pressuring us to find a pureblood to settle down with. We figured it would be a good idea to — to pretend. Our parents would leave us alone, we'd get to do what we wanted. But somewhere in there…" he sighs and looks down at his hands. "She said it felt real to her. And it certainly felt real to me, too. But," he raises his hands and then lets them flop again. She already knows what happened.

Medusa reaches over with her good hand offering it to the boy sat beside her hospital bed. "I'm sorry. Parents are a pain. I remember you saying how your family has a history of marrying young. You can't let them push you too much. Standing up to parents is hard and needs to be approached tactfully. That's why I haven't sent the angry letters." Her mouth presses into a thin line. "No wonder you felt pressured and rushed things. We will start tomorrow. Tonight I want you to make a list of all the good things and bad things about yourself. Then ask two people in your house who you get on with to write good and bad things about you. Bring me the three lists at breakfast."

"Yeah, that's weird," Gus says. But he nods. "I'll see you in the morning, then." He stands up and brushes his hands off. His bruise is already looking better - the swelling is going down, at least.

Madam Spleen bustles over and gives Medusa a potion then goes to look at Augustin's eye as the Malfoy girl drifts off. "She's a funny thing," the nurse tells him. "You said that Douglas would be coming for her? Not surprised. She brought him to me each day of his detention, waited around, sometimes for an hour for me to heal him before taking him off to dinner. Never thought I'd see the likes of it from a Malfoy, reminds me of her sister sometimes. Edwarlinda, she was such a dearie."

Unaware she is being talked about and in such an unflattering manner too. That old busy body Spleen spilling her secrets to a bruise-faced Augustin, Medusa is cradling her hand with its broken thumb on her lap as the pain potion makes her feel loopy.

"Funny?" Gus repeats. "Not a word I'd have thought to use, Madam Spleen." He nods a bit. "Yes, Douglas should be here any moment." Medusa is sort of drifting off on the bed nearby.

Thump. The door swings hard open, and an owlet flies in, followed very closely by a hurrying Scot. "Gus!" Douglas calls over, "Where is she? What happened?"

Spleen smiles a little funnily at Gus. "Well she is a Malfoy, dearie." And as if that says enough the nurse leaves it at that. "No shouting, please Douglas Macmillan." Leaving the Hufflepuff to explain the tale she didn't really believe anyway Madam Spleen moves back over to the doped up Medusa to administer a much nastier tasting and pain-inducing potion that will re-knit the bones in her thumb. That done she moves off to deal with a student who has the Magical Mumps and is being kept quarantined in the back.

"Doug!" Gus replies. "Right here. She, er…" he glances at Madam Spleen and waits for her to leave. "She punched me in the face," he says, pointing to his bruised cheek. "She was mad at me for something Evie… I mean… something Shine said." He grimaces. "She had her thumb like this, I think," he says, wrapping his own thumb in his fingers to make a fist. "But we've made up. And she'll be alright."

The nasty tasting potion makes Medusa want to gag but she forces it down with a shudder of revulsion then settles back against the pillows again. Lifting her other hand she gives the two boys a wave and a dopey looking smile. Still dressed for the outdoors and her earlier meeting with Camilla at the Fawley farm she is sporting countryside chic, complete with Douglas' swiped Gryffindor knit beanie which clashes nicely with her Slytherin scarf and wellies. "Heeyyyy."

"What the… somebody teach that girl to throw a punch," Douglas decides, looking over his friend first. "You all right, Gus? I mean, I know I want to punch you in the face sometimes, but still." He puts a hand to his pocket, glancing around quickly before pulling out a small vial for him. "Best I can offer right now, mate." He pats Gus on the shoulder, following Spleen over to look at the other injured party. "Tosser," he tells Medusa, rolling his eyes.

"If she knew how to punch I'd've had the worst of it," Gus says with a ghost of a grin. "Yeah, I'll be alright. Spleen already gave me something. It's already feeling better." He waves away the potion with a nod of gratitude. Then he head-tilts at Medusa. "Did you know, old chap," he says to Doug. "Clad in all that silver and gold, and red and green, she looks positively festive. Downright Christmas-y. Positively exhuding Yuletide joy."

At being called a tosser Medusa's brows knit together, "Hey!" She frowns up at Douglas. "He put his hand up Evie's skirt on the first date." She emphasises the wrongness of this by thrusting up her good hand and showing him a single index finger. "First." Her chin lifts and somehow despite looking ridiculous and being supine on a hospital bed Medusa still manages to look haughty. "I defended her honour." Her chin dips and she beams a smile over at Augstin. "And now we're mates, right Gus?"

Douglas glances back to Augustin with a raised brow and an amused grin. Careful to keep his body between Medusa and his hand, he forms a fist to bump with Gus, winking.

"I — that — I didn't — Oh, good lord," Gus says, putting a hand over his face and dragging it down. "That is not what happened." He looks at Doug and shakes his head. "I only touched her knee. /Below/ her skirt-line. And then stopped when she asked me to." He sighs, and looks at the raised fist of his friend without comprehension of what he's supposed to do with it. "Yeah, Medusa, we're proper mates, now," he says.

"Skirt-line?" Medusa giggles because it sounds funny and she's pain free thanks to Spleen. "You're so funny Gus. Like an old lady is living inside you sometimes." Her eyes widen when she remembers what she was supposed to do tonight and who with. "Douglas, I don't think I can keep our date later unless Spleen lets me go."

"Stick with the other story, Gus," Douglas advises. "It's a much better one, true or not." He turns back to Medusa, Horace the owl deciding this is the right time to waddle over and hop onto his shoe. "I'll find a new date," he suggests, glancing around briefly before leaning to dot a kiss to Medusa's cheek. "One who doesn't punch like a girl. Or, y'know. I'll stay as long as she'll let me."

Gus just gives Douglas an unimpressed look. "I should get going," he says. "I have homework."

"Stay," Medusa tiredly says to Douglas. She even makes room on the wide bed by rolling onto her left side. "You do have homework! Remember," she tells Gus, "three lists at breakfast."

Douglas sits on the edge of the bed, reaching down to bring Horace up onto his arm. "Staying," he responds simply, briefly touching Medusa's shoulder.

"Bye," Gus says, and leaves.

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