(1938-11-18) Compromise on Black Monday
Details for Compromise on Black Monday
Summary: It's time everyone found out just how much Esther will sacrifice to achieve her goals. Also, Myrus and Alphard are here.
Date: 1938-11-18
Location: The Great Stairwell

It was monday morning, bustling to classes and whatnot. Myrus spent all day saturday and sunday morning and early afternoon cooped up in his room other than to come out to eat. And even then he wasn't talking to anyone really when he came out. A forced smile, if Esther saw him, she would know that smile. It probably had something to do with the letter he got from his parents Saturday morning.. and the fact that Scarlet had been asking around through her little network about family situation with Elizabeth Dweedle, if anyone knew. At least that was the word on the breeze.

Myrus was coming up the stairs from his early morning care of magical creatures class. Have to get up early to feed the critters. He had a smile on his face, very much going against the 2+2=His-sister-is-evil plan to make his life miserable for hanging out with a halfblood girl. 'He could do better than that… -much- better.' Was a comment she made at one point, probably on purpose so Esther could hear.

… Esther could care less what Scarlet has been saying. Her puritanical cousin was long ago told exactly where her opinions on Esther's 'few and far between' friends could go. It's Myrus that has her fuming. She's climbing down the stairs, stepping quickly when she spies Myrus. "What in the hell were you thinking?" She says the first words a little loudly, with a little too much distance between them, attracting a little attention. She makes the landing, pointing a slender finger at Myrus - Her voice dropping when he's close enough. "I thought we'd agreed to play nice, Myrus."
Her own weekened was more sedate. No Hogsmeade. Painting. Mild bouts of insanity. Drunken Queens. Awkward, new emotions. "Because otherwise I wouldn't have started my morning with a smug member of the most noble house of Black gloating about Myrus Lowe." Oh yes. She's pissed -It might not show in her voice, but to bring it up like this… Even semi-publicly?

Myrus stops as he's called out, many heads a-turnin to see what the commotion was about. Ah, Lowe stuff happening… again.
Myrus sighs when she points at him and talks of playing nice. "Play nice with whom~?" The melodic tone in that last word was- Oh. Black.
His happy face drops to the floor as gloom replaces it. "I had almost forgotten about that scenario playing out. Thank you for dredging it up, Esther. Anything else I can help you with this morning? And…" he eyenarrows up at her, "Remember when we agreed as kids that pointing is rude?" Something happened. It was more than obvious. He was…. glowing.. before she brought up the Black thing. And.. it still kinda held true even after in his tone.

The glow she's fairly certain she understands, as a potential contributing factor. But Myrus' happiness is not as important to her as his safety. Esther's finger drops, not even remotely flushed - The normally shy Slytherin glares at her cousin. "Don't you turn this back on me, damnit." She's invested in this. Deeply. "Black is a problem of the first order; do not think he will hesitate to carry out his threat." She blushes faintly - She's done something! "And I cannot make it hard for him if you're becoming so easy to dislike. And I cannot pacify him if you're busy tossing rocks." Her cheeks are lightly flushed.

Myrus raises his voice. He hadn't raised his voice to Esther- Um.. ever. Nor was he so volatile emotionally as these few beginning months of his fifth year.
He starts at her, "And if not to cast stones, what do I do?! SIt back and wait for you to be forced to play nice with Myrus the lynchpin waiting to be plucked to ruin your happiness?! Muck on that, I say!" He didn't like being the one used to hurt Esther emotionally. Not one bit.

Esther's response is as immediate, and teenaged as one would expect. Who cares if she's sixteen, she's still young and impulsive. "Because for once in my life I don't want to sit in the damned corner and wait for things to pass me by - And while you're in the line of fire that's all I can do!" She steps in, close. Unable to stand over her younger cousin, she's trying to force him to her will by strength of gaze alone. "I will not let you get hurt again. But /I/ deserve a chance at happiness too. And if the cost of it is that you bite your tongue, you can give me at least that much."

Myrus works his jaw a little bit as she returns fire just as well as he did, but he wasn't having it. HIs voice lowers as he points at her, just as he mocked her earlier for. "You~" he moves his hand and arm to poke her in the forehead, "Seem to forget that I have this little thing called trying to defend myself. Or other people. Why do you think I stepped in when-!?" He catches himself.
He reaches to cup a hand on her shoulder and guide her to a corner of the landing as it catches a flight of stairs downward, and he would start walking attempting to guide her with him. "-when -this- happened?" He holds up his right hand in front of her. "This isn't your fault. Stop telling yourself that. This is a symptom of the disease.. not the cause." Was he suggesting something in there?

"And so we'll stop antagonising the cause, and the symptoms should subside, until we can /violently/ remove the cause." Esther's vehemence is commendable, reaching up to grasp her cousin's hand, and pull it off her shoulder. "He /will/ find out. And he /will/ punish you for my insolence. The harder I can make that, the easier it will be the treat it." She stares into his eyes - Going for a softer approach this time. "Don't make me go through this again. Let me fix it. Help me fix it."
Fixing it. The same words he heard her use the other night, out past curfew. "Please."

Myrus looks up for a moment, thinking. Then he returns his gaze to her. "Fine. But if I'm not antagonizing anything, and he comes after me with blood in his eyes, don't expect me to just lay there and take it." Maybe a little harsh coming from him.. maybe moreso directed at her, so close a comparison to the roof that night as he lay there under the full body petrification charm when Alphard stomped his hand.

Alphard was going solo this morning, rather than dragging along his entourage of Slytherin goonies. Which was a pity, really, because there was that bespectacled fifth year mudblood standing on a landing all by himself, looking confused and uncertain. Normally the perfect victim for a bit of post-breakfast bullying. But without an audience to appreciate his wit, what was the point in telling the kid that he looked like the bastard child between a slug and a pile of vomit? None, none at all! Besides, people were more likely to stand up for themselves when it was a one-on-one, and then it would escelate until Alphard was forced to choose between risking point penalities or letting things slide. He hated letting things slide. Better to just keep going and only throw the boy a contemptious look and a sneer.
Which was must the same expression he gave Myrus and Esther when he finally spotted the two Lowes not very long after.

Esther looks like she's just been slapped - Her eyes lose focus, and the breath slips free from her lips as the full force of the words land. She doesn't say anything for the longest time, just looking hurt - Until the movement catches the corner of her eye. She dosen't say anything further to him instead, forcing a look that looks less like someone she truly cares about just hurt her, and far more neutral - Getting into the way of the older Slytherin student. "Black — Alphard," She corrects herself. Unusually. "I need a few minutes of your time… If you're willing." She seems a little bit nervous - But she's taken the precaution of having her hands visible, and her wand away.

Myrus, amazingly, stays quiet as he daggers his eyes at Alphard.

Alphard's forward momentum gradually slowed until it was a lazy cruise in the direction of the Library. With D.A.D.A cancelled this Monday he had a few extra hours to himself that he'd intended to put into studying. All time put into preparing for the first Quidditch match of the season had left him still somewhat behind. Or, more to the point, barely catching even. He liked to be ahead. His coolly superior gaze slid from Esther to Myrus, then back to Esther again.
"If you must, dearest cousin, then how could I deny you?" But he wasn't stopping. If Esther wanted to talk to him she would have to keep up with him rather than him stopping for her. Their relative status had to be upheld, after all. His whole bearing suggested that she was some little peasent girl come to grovel for an audience with the king.

Esther seems happy enough to ignore Myrus right now. She might for a while too, as punishment. "I'd rather not discuss it so openly, cousin." The word is /hard/ to say. She's been denying it since she found at, at least through omission. She matches his pace as effortlessly as she can possibly manage - Walking side by side, her eyes forward, not on him. Not adoring. She's determined for this to be almost businesslike, so she doesn't stab him in the chest. "You have my word that I won't try anything stupid… Again." Her concession has her blush, and bite back anger. He'll take it. She knows it.

"Oh, //fine." His tragic sigh was meant to convey just how much she was imposing, and by extension, just how generous he was being to go along with it. "Where did you have in mind, then, Esther?" Her blush and promise earned her a bent little smile and a sideways look. He murmured: "And that's good to hear. I never gave up on you, you know." Which was just more proof of his generous spirit. Right? He hadn't even moved a hand for his wand. Though that might have been more to do with the fact they were in public rather than any real sign of trust. "First step is to acknowledging your mistakes, anyway. From there only good things can happen."
From afar, Myrus nods.

"Exactly." Esther's lips are set in a firm line. There would be no doubts, no illusions that she's 'happy' about that situation, no matter what kind of bent she put on it. "I'm not picky. An empty classroom, even a quiet hallway." Sacrificing your pride should be a private thing. "Thank you." For not giving up on her. The words feel like acid, burning her tongue, as she walks with Alphard.

An empty hallway it was, one with arched stone windows overlooking the school grounds. As they pulled away from the more congested stairs and halls, the older boys's hands innocently came together. Which assured that despite his relaxed and sublimely nonchalant manner, his fingers were within easy reach of the hilt of his wand. Like many students, he liked keeping it in the sleeve of the opposing arm. With a languid motion he leaned in against a stone crevice, his eyes fixed out the window with idle boredom. She'd never quite be allowed to leave the periphery of his vision, though.
"This quiet enough for you?" And if it was, the suggestion was she let spill whatever she had in mind.

"Very much so." Esther manages, standing opposite. Her hands are together as well, but folded over one another, almost penitent. "I… I confess that I very much want to exact revenge;" A dangerous topic, "For what happened. It… It goes without saying that you have insulted my family." Before he can bite, she offers something of a compromise. "Although the insult I caused was greater. Not only by… Well, attacking you, but because I was so busy being angry about what happened to my family, I neglected what nearly happened. To my family." A telling glance at Alphard. She seems to be offering something of an olive branch. "But it brought to mind the question, how do I keep Myrus safe, when you have no reason to preserve his health? I can only hope that there is some way that you could hold /me/ accountable for my mistakes… As I will no doubt make more than a few in the time we're in Hogwarts together."

"I fail to see how I have insulted your family." There was a bite to his denial, his face drawn in a disdainful expression. "So no, it doesn't go without saying. I have nothing at all against the Lowes. Oh, you might not be one of the Sacred Twenty Eight, but the Lowes have always had the right ideas." His eyes narrowed, a flash of white teeth visible beyond his sneer. "You on the other hand, said some rather unforgivable things of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Fortunately for you, I'm willing to extend forgiveness regardless. Assuming you apologize properly, humbly, and without any bloody reservation. Better make me believe you, though. Then perhaps we can talk about other.. matters." Like her question of how to preserve Myrus' health.

"You attacked an unarmed man, and crushed his hand." Esther's gaze is level. "As a symbol." Her ability to back down is already being tested. Just how much would she sacrifice. "But. An apology is owed. And I…" She bites on her lower lip firmly, giving herself a few moments to think and breathe. "I apologise. I have said offensive and untrue things about the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. I have no defense to offer, nor adequate provision for restoration save my humble and full apology." Surely she's screaming, inside.

"I might have broken his flesh, but I didn't sully his name. And it was his mistake for lowering his wand after attacking me unprovoked." The words slipped out like a slithery cool snake, curling about them. Looking for a vulnerale spot to sink its venom into. "It only takes one side to start a battle, but it doesn't end until both sides lower their weapons. Besides, I could have done worse. I have done worse." Was he bluffing? The boy drew closer, and there was something malicious alive in his dark eyes. "And if he keeps up his attitude I will do worse. But that's between him and me, I suppose. What's between you and me.. cousin.. if that I'm not sure I believe you."
He'd reach out, to touch her cheek with his hand and tug her face until it was facing him directly. SO he could look into her eyes. "How sorry are you?"

The touch to her skin makes her crawl. She's initially resistant, too, but the tug turns the occasionally petulant Lowe until she's facing Alphard directly. There's truth in it, as she speaks. "More than you'll ever come to understand. Cousin." His words have put a little touch of fear into her eyes, although whether it's for herself or Myrus is another story. "Myrus is an idiot." She states simply, "He shouldn't have been involved. And he should know better than to bait you. I can bring him in line… I /will/ bring him in line. Please, Alphard." Her gaze never leaves her older cousin, she hopes the strength in it, how direct she's being, can only help. "He is still my flesh and blood, as are you. I want no further harm to come from this conflict."

"Alright." With that simple word he let her go, and the invasion of her personal space was gone. He withdrew to look ou the window. "I know about wanting to protect your family. Honestly I would've respeected him for his little stunt if he hadn't been such a twat about it. Plus, he did scream like a little girl." Because of course Alphard was always stoic about his own injuries. Anyone who suggested there might've been more than a few few tears shed over the years, especially when mum was near and a spoiled kid wanted a nice warm hug to make things better, they were lying!
"I believe you. How about this? I'll leave him be if you can control him, and if you do something public to help your image in the right way. Join the Magijugend. And.. there's this mublood. Pathetic little Ravenclaw with glasses. I think his name is Hearty, or Farty, or something like that. Your cousin'll know him; he tried to stand up for him the other day. Do something nasty to him, somewhere public, to cement for everybody just where your loyalties lie."

Esther's silence is so telling. She gazes out the window. Her fists clench, and unclench slowly, and how she controls her breath is almost audible. "You know I cannot do that." She manages to say, her voice… A little quiet. It's obvious he's having an effect on her. "… I don't believe in what they believe… And I won't become someone I'm not, just to keep you away from Myrus." There is the point. Right there, are the two things that she's not willing to give up so easily. "I'm… I'm not going to become like you, or Mother wants, Alphard." She continues to use his first name. "I cannot do these things.. Or rather, I won't." She exhales slowly. Consequences?

"I supose that at the end of the day, Esther, your loyalties just aren't very deep?" Alphard seemed both unconcerend and unsurprised. He was even wearing a small little smile, bemused and cruel all at once. "You feeling good about yourself is more important than blood or friendship. In the end you're just another spoiled and selfish little girl. Ah well, what a pity. At least you apologized, so this wasn't a complete waste of time. I'm glad we had this talk. It was.. illuminating."

"My loyalties… Are also deeper than you know." Esther directs it out of the window. "I wish I could give you what you want. But it is not who I am to do so. I am in no position to make such promises." One delicate hand rests against the windowframe, fingers curled around the edge. "I could offer a compromise. I would… Attend a meeting of the Magijugend, as your guest. In return for being held accountable for my own actions." And letting Myrus fend for himself. It's a poor second.

"A final offer, then: You don't have to join the Magijugend, merely attend some of our events. As many as I desire for you to attend. Perhaps you'll even be won over, who knows?" With a shrug he pushed himself off from the window sill. His bookbag was slung over his shoulder as he walked, apparently deciding they were done. "But you do something bloody cruel to that kid. I want him either humiliated or crying. If you need pointers, ask your new best friend forever. Medusa knows all the tricks of the trade. But no more negotiations. It's that or nothing."

Esther stays silent. She doesn't say yes or no. She merely holds onto the sill, looking out over the grounds, the way the early morning light seems to touch everything, except this corridor. Except her. A shiver passes through her, as she's left with a horrible, horrible choice to make. And whether or not Alphard knows it, a rapidly ticking clock over her.

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