(1938-11-22) Tactician, Gossip, Friend?
Details for Tactician, Gossip, Friend?
Summary: Esther and Douglas are harmlessly bantering, when Alphard enters. Esther is forced to attempt to swallow her feelings and play nice - It's time to Fit In.
Date: 1938-11-12
Location: Hogwarts - Library

The lanterns are burning low. Not to make her name, either - But Esther doesn't seem to mind. The rain outside provides a quiet background noise, keeping the library from providing a deafening silence. She's reading, of course - A heavy, leatherbound tome spread on the table before her. The contents are enough to put even the most seasoned of literary minds to sleep. It's a book on military tactics, of all things, but it seems to have her quite fascinated.

Douglas exhales as he finds a spot across from Esther to plop himself down, potions textbook going out in front of him. He pulls out a neatly colour coded folder and leans back with a look of dread before finally opening the damn book and trying to find his place to continue taking notes.

Esther finally looks up from her book for a brief break, and spots a Douglas opposite her. She goes from singular focus to smile in half a second, reading a few key words before stating quietly. "Ever since that Potions class, you NEWT students have been looking like someone shot your Grandmother. If that's what I'm in for, I'll take my OWLs and go."

Douglas gives her a half grin. "Which class in particular? I'm bloody hopeless at Potions. Always have been. Only took it because my mum insisted, but it's going to be a struggle to even pass."

"I'd offer to help;" Esther smiles kindly across the table, "But an excellent OWL doesn't come close to even a passing NEWT." Her heavy book is slowly eased closed, and the girl rises from her chair, dressed in her uniform as ever. It seems all anyone ever sees her in. "But I /can/ pester, distract, and otherwise make life difficult for you. It seems, if you know my cousin, a Lowe family secret." She crosses sides, indulging her curiousity.

Douglas sets his finger in the book, leaning back easily. "Getting distracted from Potions is what I do best," he admits cheerily. "What's up, anyway? I mean, other than wanting my body, obviously."

"We're agreed about that." Esther smiles, sliding her backside onto the table, to sit just beside Douglas. There's not so much of her body to want, and what little there is rendered ambiguous by her robe. "I took an extra-long bath and had a good, long think about it too." It's unusual for her to be so forward when it comes to teasing. Perhaps it's just a good day. "'Course, I've been accused of worse than wanting. What about you? No sweeping fifth years for nice romantic walks along the beach?" It's getting late at night, and it's raining out. Fun, right?

Douglas shoves his textbook to one side before Esther sits on it. "I thought I'd try a change from 5th years, Lowe. They're starting to bend my broomstick. And I don't mean…"

"Hey Macmillan. Cousin." Alphard looked to be in a fairly good mood today, smile on his face and an easy and confident flow to his strides. He'd just snatched a book on Dark Defense out of the air as it passed him by, but the boy hadn't actually opened it up yet. There had been a lot of hours spent in the library, lately, preparing for the arrival fo the new DADA Professor. He very much intended for there to be absolutely no doubt in anyone's minds who the BEST student of his year was, at least when it came to that particular subject. It should be obvious, anyway, but he was willing to put in the extra effort just to be sure. Sometimes mistakes were made. Sometimes other students tried to steal his thunder.

"Ah. I think you'll find that maybe, just maybe, the thoughts about your body, and the bend in your broomstick, may be linked. All those months of overindulging are finally catching up with you." Esther smirks a little bit. The way Douglas makes her feel is almost completely platonic, like an older brother - Almost expecting him to muss her hair up at any moment. As if anyone could. Alphard's entrance isn't missed, although the smile becomes significantly more rigid. "Hello, Cousin." She offers. "We're discussing Douglas' weight problem. Apparently his broom is getting a bit of a bend."

"Overindulging? I can barely sleep, I can barely eat, I'm pining away, Lowe, just waiting for you to say you'll be mine," Douglas insists solemnly, clasping a hand to his chest. "Another month of this and there'll be nothing left of me. Hey, Black," he adds casually, giving the boy a lift of his hand. "How's it going?"

"You have a weight problem?" Alphard asked quizzically as he looked Douglas over. A sly little smirk appeared as he offered oh so gently out of the kindness of his heart: "You could always come to the Quidditch Field. I'll lose lose a bludger. I don't think I've ever seen anyone run as fast as you, Macmillan. Just need some incentive. We'll get those extra pounds off you in a jiffy!"
"Quite good, quite good. I had an opinion piece that got published in the Daily Prophet this morning." Which he sounded quite proud of.

"I'm afraid I belong to one of my many, many, many other suitors." Esther's reply is suitably dry. Her head tilts a little, as she follows Alphard. Her darkest Cousin is always a suitable distraction, if a decidedly unpleasant one. "And I'm afraid I have a cousin who will aggressively defend my honor. Especially from someone with such ambiguous intentions and morality." A far cry from stumbling, and on the verge of tears that Alphard might be more used to. See what ONE positive person can do for her? His comments make her snicker, even the remark about the Prophet. "Is it bizarre that I could tell that it was you before I read the writers credit?" Eloquent though it was.

"Got a copy?" Douglas queries, leaning back on two legs of his chair, arm slung over the back of it as he turns to pay attention to Alphard. "What's it about?"

"As well as anyone who isn't of the right breeding," Alphard added as if he was the cousin with the aggressive defense of her honor. Perhaps he even believed it. He grinned at her. "Not at all, dearest cousin." Because it was just that good, right? Without hesitation he reached into his robes, coming up with a clipping from the Daily Prophet. He handed it over to Douglas. Oddly enough it wasn't a complete purist froth-at-the-mouth rant. Even if that was how it might have.. possibly.. started, when he'd done his first draft.

Of course he's that cousin. "You have a very distinct style. Unmistakable. Although I'm /very/ suprised at your restraint." Esther seems to have found something she can admire in Alphard. Or she's lying through her teeth. Probably both. "Careful, Douglas. You'll fall, crack your head open and join my other Cousin in Domestic Club." The tease is light, friendly, even if dear Myrus is the butt of the joke.

Douglas nods thanks as he unfurls the clipping to read. "I'll be fine, Lowe. Macmillan's sacred twenty eight. We're an old, respectable family. It's just me who's a disgrace to the good name." He flashes an easy grin, pausing as he reads. "Hey, this is actually pretty good," he admits, impressed. "It's just stating the facts, not like Edwards and his 'waaah, everyone HATES us and real wizards are EVIL' pile of shite."

"I'm hardly some bumbling brute," Alphard told Esther with snobbish superiority. "One must cater to one's audience." And he could be restrained if he wanted to. Or just plain had to. Like how he hadn't shoved - or watched one of his cronies - shove any mudbloods' head into the toilet for days, now. Just so Julian and his group of hug-buddies couldn't come cry foul.
"Thank you, Macmillan. And I know, right? Blablabla.. evil.. blablabla. I'm so afraaaaAAAaaAAaaaaid!" He put his hands to his face and did a wide eyed OHMYGODITSAGHOST expression.

"I can't help but feel you're completely correct. It's why I'm glad to be a Lowe; I've very few expectations to meet." A pointed look is given to her Cousin. She does step in to defend her 'mentor' though, if only a little. "Julian made a heartfelt argument - I think he truly believes what he put to parchment. The issue with a heartfelt argument is that it is always subjective… And is handily dismissed by a well constructed objective one." A pause, "Bias by blood is nothing new anyway - This new background just makes it more visible. People get uncomfortable when that happens." Easily distracted into musing, it would seem.

"Julian needs to grow up before he does something even stupider, all in the name of whatever heartfelt emotion he's feeling next," Douglas opines, shrugging as he hands the clipping back over. "I mean, if you're going to do stupid stuff, at least have a better reason than deciding you're in a picked on minority."

"He also believes his mother didn't abuse him when she chose to let his Muggle dad and his world be his primary influence, rather than the wizard world. Edwards has heartfelt belief in a whole lot of stupid crap." He blew out a quietly derisive snort. "Nor was he so worried about my Magijugend membership that he didn't immediately threaten me when I voiced that opinion. Right here, infact, with witnesses. Really, he is such a hypocrite, and his fellow petitoners are either stupid, hypocrites, or just sheep going along." He was eying Esther thoughtfully as he spoke. Evaluating her performance, perhaps.
He took back his clipping, making it vanish promptly after. "It's easier, Macmillan. Playing the victim rather than taking responsibility for your own life. How hard is it to just assimilate? Leave the Muggleside behind, and accept that you're a wizard or a witch, n ow?"

"It's not even an ideology thing," Douglas agrees. "I mean, either you can do magic or you can't. There isn't some sort of in between thing, is there? So if you can cast magic, you're a wizard. If you can't, you're a muggle. Muggles couldn't live like we do, and we can't live like they do unless we give up our wands. If they want to be muggles, that's not really a problem, but they should just give up their wands quietly and go live with them, not try to push their opinions in our faces."

Ouch. Esther is exposed to the kind of tirade that she's still not ready for. She's steeling herself though, knowing it would come - Her hands tighten, back stiffens, lower lip drawn in and gently mauled by her teeth as she listens. She struggles to find anything that she can grasp, move on with, short or letting something out. She's left… Well, quietly disagreeing, but making herself incline her head as if she does.

"Exactly. Make a choice. Here you are, given this great gift of magic, and instead of embracing it you're trying to dillute it. Either accept it wholeheartedly or give it away." Alphard shrugged, then flicked a look towards Esther. "Anyway, what was it you were saying about Lowe?" Myrus Lowe.

"My other beloved Cousin…" Esther shakes her head sadly, but she's so glad to change the subject. Color will return to her lower lip and fingers while she talks. "Has managed to humiliate himself again. I can understand dating a halfblood; it's his right to choose, but…" She sighs, "Apparently he's still trying to play the field. Upsetting."

Douglas pauses, querying casually, "Did he snog her out in public, then?"

Alphard's snort of bemused contempt said what he thought about all of Myrus' latest. Though Douglas made him chuckle a moment later, eyes flashing with wry humor. IT was just loud enough to earn him a whispered shush. Damn Library and its rules. "Hoping to win, eh?"

"No, just lead her on, apparently." Esther shrugs. "I think Hogwarts would appreicate a day when the word 'Lowe' doesn't come up in whispered conversation." The girl places her hands upon the table, and leans back onto them - A mild stretch, and a sigh again. "I wish my dear cousin were… A little more sensibile. Perhaps not as sensible as my other dear cousin."

"Less creepy?" Douglas suggests in the gap after 'dear cousin were…', grinning. "Brighter? A better all round person?"

"He led her on and then didn't close the deal?" Alphard gave Douglas look. "Too bad there. Seems he's not just messing with poor girls' vulnerable hearts, but you, too. Does he know you've got a bet going? Is he doing his best to sabotage it?"

Esther finds something of Douglas to tap lightly with one hand. "There's no need for cruelty." She states, a little defensive again. "Although… Less creepy I'll concede to." She's heard about the bet, and the topic seems to make her smile a little bit. Which is… Bizarre, but so is she.

Douglas grins, shrugging. "Yeah, I told him about the bet. Said I'd lend him a hand, too, but he's too proud to take advice from the master."

"Macmillan, you're not a master. Most of your lines are so terrible they make anyone who hears them cringe. At least if they have a sliver of self respect." Alpard rolled his eyes, then finally dumped himself down into a nearby chair. His DADA book spilled open. "How on earth you captured Medusa remains a great mystery. Though I'm leaning towards a very powerful love potion." His grin made it hard to say if he was serious or not.

"With how successful you've been with me." Esther points out, tastefully. "I somehow doubt it would help. And if what you say about Potions is true, then I don't think that's the case either. You just got /extremely/ lucky." She smirks, kindly. "And now you're playing off it. Luckily for you, you're cute enough to get away with it without coming off…" She doesn't want to say it. A different word must be used. "Creepy."

Douglas snorts a laugh, leaning back in his seat once more. "Oh, come on, Malfoy's lucky to have me," he argues cheerfully, grin on his face. "She'd be bloody miserable without my awesome lines, Black. They're icebreakers. Anyone who hears them wants to know exactly what kind of bloke's got the balls to say them."

"Don't be coy, now, Esther. Even I'll concede that you were about to become putty in his hands before Medusa got jealous." Drolly voiced, his lips playing with a smile that was part cruel, part teasing. Alright, at least two thirds cruel. He couldn't help it sometimes.
"Is that what you tell yourself, Macmillan? Well, far be it from me to burst your bubble, then. Sure. You're the Master." Wink.

Esther shakes her head, and chuckles. "I'm fairly certain she has her pick of the school, Douglas. You'd struggle to find anyone who would be able to, much less want to, say no." She turns her head towards Alphard, and offers him the same, slightly forced smile she reserves for him. There's always going to be a desire to choke the life out of his body. It does cause her to pause, gnaw her lower lip, and answer. "I can't imagine it would be difficult to pick me up - If only because so few have tried. Perhaps that's how he ended up with Medusa, dear cousin." Blending truth and humour into an answer. "If only you could adapt your ego into charm; you'd be irresistable." She slides off the table, and nods to both. "And with that, I must make my retreat."

"I'll work on it," Douglas promises amiably, lifting a hand as she moves to leave. "But it's tough being humble when you're this good, eh?"

"I'm pretty sure someone will come around soon enough, cousin, now that you're starting to lean the right way and have the right friends." Alphard offered her a small knowing smile, then dismissed her. To Douglas he murmured: "She was talking about you, right?" Because obviously Alphard was full of charm.

He was also already irresistable.

"Must be," Douglas agrees firmly. "You'd never be charming if your life depended on it."

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