(1938-11-30) Unholy Alliance
Details for Unholy Alliance
Summary: Alphard and Medusa seek Lucian out in an unlikely bid for his assistance.
Date: 30 November, 1938
Location: Groundskeeper Area, Hogwarts
Related: Magijugend Bonfire Night Party, Proud-roar Scares the Queen
Characters
MedusaAlphardLucian

Arranging playdates is easy, usually. Alphard was easier to convince when it came to getting him to come along, Lucian…not so easy given their recent difficulties. What it boiled down to was a note appealing to his prefecting side: Lucian, we have a problem that needs an honest prefect who wouldn't let their personal opinions get in the way. Please help. - MM. And just in case that didn't work Medusa used her network of spies to tell her the prefect was down near the groundskeeper cottage patroling. "He should be around here somewhere, Alphard."

Alphard was looking at Medusa like he wasn't entirely sure how he had been convinced to let her come along. Or why Lucian had been the good choice to start with, perhaps. It was sort of a risk one came to accept - or at least be used to- in dealing with this particular Malfoy too often; sometimes one ended up agreeing to things before really thinking them through. Not that he would ever admit that out loud.

He trudged along, hands in his pockets, his usual airs of supreme arrogance somewhat muted. Leaving him more just an averagely full-of-himself youth.

When Lucian received the note, he didn't exactly take it in the spirit of the dutiful prefect, and alarmed a couple of Slytherins in the common room with an exclamation of "Bollocks!" But he obviously had to know what Medusa was up to. So off he went to track her down, getting the word from some housemates that she'd been seen heading toward the vicinity of Ogg's hut. As he descends the sloping hillside from the castle, Medusa's platinum locks stand out brightly among the muted colours of the landscape below. But she's not alone. Lucian narrows his eyes suspiciously as he draws nearer. Surely she wouldn't bring him along. Anyone but…Alphard Black. Shit. Lucian scuffs his shoes as he gets closer, making his approach plenty noticeable. His hands are in his pockets, his face a mask of prefectly neutrality as he greets them with cool politeness, "Malfoy. Black."

Medusa didn't expect Lucian to be glad to see her so is pleased for the neutrality rather than a scowl. "Lucian, Alphard has a problem which he came to me about. We talked it over and I suggested he speak to you. You have always been a good prefect and took your position seriously which is partly why I suggested you. The other reason being that you take duelling very seriously." With that she steps aside and gestures for Alphard to go ahead. Your turn Black.

"Perhaps it'd be better if jus-" a moment of second thought squashed with the arrival of the prefect arriving. He turned around, and mostly kept his grimace hidden behind a mask of aristocratic cool calm. It was a tricky thing to do while also huddling a bit against the chill of late November, with puffs of white coming out of his mouth with every breath.

"Proudmore."

He sighed. He grumbled. He looked everywhere for a moment. The skies. The hut. Hogwarts. His own nails. They were polished and gleamed like mother-of-pearl. Finally he looked at Proudmore again, again with a suffering sigh. "Well. See. Last year this would've been such an easy decision to have made. But this year… well. Some things are more important than just.. me." Did he sound entirely convinced at that? No. More like the statement had to be dragged out of him. "Edwards 'called me out'; in his own words. To do battle with him outside of Hogsmead, tomorrow at 4PM, unsupervised and without any rules or supervision. He insisted, infact, even after I pointed out the illegality of it. I didn't actually say I accepted, but he'll have heard my reply like he wanted to hear it. I'll admit that putting him in his place would be.. nice." More than nice. There was an eager little gleam in his eye just at the thought. "But.." He shrugged.

Lucian crosses his arms, assuming a firm, almost military stance. He nods, listening with a Very Serious furrowed brow. "I see. So, let me make sure I'm understanding this, Black. You need me because you know you can trust me to do my duty as a prefect, and because I try to live by a code of honour, which is all kinds of wrapped-up in my devotion to duelling. Funny, it seems to me that my duty and honour are the very qualities you previously stuck your nose up at me for. And you, Malfoy, won't even speak to me until you need something from me. Again, counting on me to play the part of the trustworthy prefect, when you couldn't even trust that I'd never lay a hand on you. Life is full of interesting little twists, isn't it?"

When Lucian takes that line with them Medusa looks crestfallen. She really had thought he would be able to put personal matters aside and even promised Alphard as much. "This isn't about you and I, Lucian. This is about a younger student needing help. Someone who is trying hard to do the right thing. Julian is trying to manipulate Alphard into breaking school rules so he will get expelled." Her hands twist together. "My feelings about you are personal and have nothing to do with my opinion of you as a prefect and your dedication to the rules of the school." She takes a breath and gives Alphard an apologetic look.

"Is that what you think? I respect honor, and I respect duty," Alphard told Lucian with a sneer, unable to help it. "The things I turn my nose up at are your all too Gryffindoresque hypocricy and Holier-Than-Thou attitude. You wield your supposed honor and duty like a peasant's cudgel, instead of just carrying with silence." He sniffed with derision.

"Anyway, what matters is that you're Slytherin, a Prefect and you're a Magijugend. He's trying to double cross me. There was a witness to his challenge, Musidora Lovegood. If I hurt him," like he admittedly wanted to, "then I'm sure it would somehow get to Faculty anyway. It would come down on me. I have a future I'm not going to risk just for one moment of satisfaction. I told him he should've stuck to the Duelling Club. He should've listened. Funny thing is that all of this comes from him thinking I'm the one who pulled that Animudblood prank on Hart." He smirked. "Almost wish it had been my idea.. but I've been staying out of things."

"Oh, no," Lucian shakes his head at Medusa. "This is very much about you and I, and Alphard and I. I'm more than a little bit sick of being everyone's punching bag for doing my job, but only until they actually need me for that job. So you'd better believe I'm going to savour the moment." At Alphard's retort, he smirks. "Ahh, there's a bit of the Alphard we know. No, before we get to the matter of Edwards, we're having this out, so you fully understand the help you're asking for. Black, you don't know the meaning of the word 'honour'. You're a thug, and you bully your way around this school thinking it makes you someone important. You're the one who could stand to learn the value of silence. You have no idea the amount of crap I stand by and keep my tongue about, for the sake of keeping the peace. I even tried to make peace with you, but…oh yes, that's right, you took the 'holier-than-thou' stance, trying to act like you're above me. That sounds a lot like Gryffindorequse hypocrisy to me. Sounding familiar? Take a hard look, Alphard. Try imagining life as a prefect for one bloody day, and the decisions we have to make that make short-sighted loudmouths like you hate us. That's my job, and I do take it seriously, whether it means pissing you off, or coming to your rescue. Are you starting to get a clue?"

Medusa just looks mortified, not because she fears whatever is going to come out Lucian's mouth in fact she fully expects a torrent of abuse to be flung her way since he has now flung one at Alphard but because she is the one who suggested Alphard ask the prefect for help. All she can do is look at Alphard and say unreservedly, "I am sorry. I clearly gave you bad advice. It doesn't sound as if he wishes to help."

"I have more honour than you!" Alphard growled, hand come out of his pocket to point an accusatory finger. "I would've accepted your bloody apology if it had come with the faintest stupid hint of acknowledgement! But nooooo. Instead of admitting you were being a vidictive little shit out of jealousy, bloody threatening me, you made it all about how you'd tried to protect me from Viridian. I don't accept fake apologies only designed to let you snuggle your way back into Ria's bosom. Which I know you have. Not as smooth and subtle as you think you are, are you? Now if I was a real prick, I'd meddle in that. But I have this code, you see. This honor, that places loyalty to my friends above even ruining your smug happiness."

He took a shuddering breath, eyes glinting of malice and his Black temper threatening to claw its way free. "Anyway. YOu have it wrong. I don't bully my way through this school thinking this makes me important. I am important, thus I get to bully my way through this school."

Lucian rolls his eyes at Medusa. "Do you only ever hear what you want to hear, Medusa?" He shakes his head, eyes shifting to Alphard. "Again, you want me because I'm supposedly honourable and trustworthy, but you accuse me of lying about my reasons for quashing your little display at the feast." Lucian tucks his hands back into his pockets, lifting his brow in a smug display of superiority. "Which is it? Can I be counted on, or am I full of shit? I admitted I handled it poorly, but that wasn't good enough for you. Do you really think Viridian wasn't about to hex those flames on your costume into something a little warmer? Think about it. The man wrote a bloody book of revenge spells. He's the mentor to the Mud Club. You're an idiot if you think he wasn't seconds away from transfiguring you into a guppy. Even if he wasn't — which he was — I didn't want you stirring the Mud Club into a frenzy, either. That part was legitimate, and it was my effing job. My words to you, not so much. But again, I apologised for that." He shrugs. "Not much more I can do there."

The girl is doing her best to keep control of her emotions. She dislikes emotional outburts, they're so uncontrollable but the pressure is building. "I heard you espousing your dislike of Alphard. I did not hear anything about wanting to help, perhaps I missed that in all of the dick waving."

Alphard sent Medusa a small glare. "I never wanted you at all. I came because you're a Slytherin, a Prefect and Magijugend, and you're always so bloody wrapped up in the Duelling club. Get over yourself. Medusa might think you're a 'good' prefect, but I just think you're a smug one. You could've been the most corrupt lazy bastard in the school, though, and those three qualities I listed earlier would've still been enough for m e."

"Whatever. Have you said everything you wanted to say? Because I want is for Edwards — Mr Wants An End To Violence And Fear — to be caught red handed trying to start an all-out violent battle with other students. I wasn't even fishing for the oppertunity, but he gave it to us."

Lucian levels an even stare at Medusa. "You did miss it. But then, listening isn't really your strong suit, is it? Alphard, you're a twat and a hypocrite. But because I am a good prefect, I'll do my job, and because I'm a Magijunde, I'll stand by you. But do everyone a favour, and stow your ego for five minutes. So tell me about Edwards. What exactly did he say? Don't embellish. I need specifics."

"I think I'll leave you two to it." Medusa shoves her hands into her pockets. She is already dressed for Hogsmeade. Her role in this mater was to be a go between but then it doesn't seem as if she is needed. Medusa makes move to leave, turning towards the direction of the gates.

"Quite. Glad you got that out of your system, Proudmore," Alphard said mockingly. This time the look he gave Medusa wasn't a glare so much as just a faint eye-roll. He did lift his hand in a semi-wave of farwell, though.

"Alright. As far as I remember, and no I didn't write it down, so exact will have to be a fluid term: He said he was calling me out. Out past the village, since it was Hogsmead Weekend, at 4pm. I could bring a second, if anyone would stand with me, and we'd not be limited by any Duelling Club rules. I replied that we're not allowed to duel outside of the duelling stage, with a prefect or faculty in attendance. I asked if he was advocating breaking the rules. He replied something like.. there'd be no real satisfaction with prefects or faculty watching." He shrugged. "But don't take my word for it. I'm sure it'll be possible to make him repeat his terms there."

Lucian doesn't give Medusa so much as a second glance, but does offer a coldly polite, "Malfoy," as she goes. His attention is on Alphard, mentally sifting through every word. "Mmhm. He's proposing not only breaking school rules about duelling, but you said past the village? That's another violation, leaving Hogsmeade. You said Lovegood witnessed this. You think she'll tell the truth about it? Julian's her housemate, after all."

"She's not just his Housemate, but his girlfriend," Alphard said with a shake of his head. "Her telling the truth is a gamble. I suppose it depends on how it was presented to her. Someone coming her to her in the hope of averting people getting hurt, asking 'why' Edwards would make such a challenge? There you might have an in. I strongly doubt she'd volunteer information that could hurt her 'beloved'." The sarcasm was thick at the end.

Lucian sighs heavily. "Brilliant," he says facetiously. "Well, there are a few ways I see to go about this. First, I go to Julian and just warn him off. But then he gets away scot free. Second, try to squeeze a confession out of him or his girlfriend. Again, probably not going to happen. Third, report him to Professor Mopsus. He'll see through any lies Julian will tell. But again, just a threat means minimal consequences. If you really want him to fall hard, we've got to catch him in the act."

"I know. I've thought about it." He looked glum. "Him getting away scot free isnt an option. I haven't given up an oppertunity to smash his face.. for nothing." His gaze flicked in the direction Medusa had taken. She had obviously played some piece in restraining his initial impulses.

"Catching him in the act is the only real way to make it stick. I'm not sure how the best way to do that is, though. You arriving with me is one way. They'll assume you're my second. I'll ask him to clarify his conditions.. that way he'll be admitting to it. Better still would be if there was some way to summon faculty there."

Lucian shakes his head. "Edwards is in Duelling Club. If he knows me at all, he knows I'd never go in for a duel like this. But we could get a professor to show up at the right time. Flint's probably too busy, but he seems pretty friendly with Lestrange and Professor Black. Isn't he like your grandfather or something? Anyhow, there is one other option. I could be there…just hidden. I can do a decent Disillusionment Charm. I had to learn it to work with hippogriffs."

"Great Uncle," Alphard said of Professor Black. "He's a great man.. sort of the head of the family, you know? I've never," he showed a moment of uncharacteristic humility in admitting: "uhm, been able to bother him easy." Even Alphard could be in awe and intimidated by someone, apparently. Looking away he cleared his voice and ran his fingers through his hair. "But Blacks do stick together. Yes, him or Lestrange would work. I think I'd prefer Lestrange. Less.. obvious nepotism." And he wouldn't have to risk his Great Uncle's displeasure if something didn't go exactly as planned.

"You can?" Then he wiped away any sign of being impressed. Lucian Proudmore did not impress him. "That would work, though."

Lucian manages to restrain himself from smirking when he gets a whiff of Alphard's trepidation about his great uncle. Not that he can really blame him. Sirius Black is a formidable presence, even just passing him in the halls. "Might not hurt to inform Professor Lestrange anyhow," Lucian shrugs. "But he seems the type who'd be impressed if we handled it ourselves, with all his talk of self-reliance and excellence. But Disillusionment isn't true invisibility. If he does see through it before I hear a confession, we'll need a backup plan. For one thing, you'll need to act surprised. But it would probably spook him, and then the best we could get him on was leaving Hogsmeade."

"It is his good friend that Edwards is petitioning to have removed from his post. Well, technically I suppose that if it was ever taken seriously, Professor Lestrange's job would be gone, too." Since Lestrange now occupied the DADA role. "I don't really know if he's a man who'd take that personal."

He rubbed his chin, thinking. "You know, you did join the Magijugend. I'm not entirely sure at all that Edwards wouldn't believe you'd be my second. He does think we're all bloody monsters. But.. I guess I'd have to come with someone else instead as my 'second'. That way you being there could just be.. I don't know. Searching for Hippogriff that went missing?" Alphard shrugged.

Lucian smirks. "That's not a bad cover story. Though even if he didn't buy it, you're right about me being in the Magijugend. He'd probably just think I was there to back you up in things went sour." He levels a serious gaze at Alphard, "Which I would." He sighs, shrugging. "It's up to you how you want to handle it. I'll back your play. I don't fancy Edwards getting away with this. Just, whatever you do, don't actually get into that duel. We have to bust him before anything actually begins, or you'll risk being in just as much trouble."

"Alright. Here's what I think we should do: You hide under an Disillusionment Charm. If you're caught, I'll be proactive and just smirk, and say he didn't really expect me to come without Magijugend backup. Then I'll tell you to just stay out of it for now. He'll probably have expected me to cheat, anyway." He sneered when he said it. "Which, if it was an actual duel that I'd accepted, I wouldn't. Shows what he knows. Proper duels are part of our sacred culture, and the forms must be followed." All with a nose-in-the-air sniff.

"Second, a note for Professor Lestrange. Explain what's about to happen, say we wanted him to be aware of what's going on, so there's no confusion that we're going there to actually duel. Let him know when it happens, too, incase he does want to show up."

Lucian lifts his brow, mildly impressed at Alphard's regard for the sanctity of duelling. But better not to verbally acknowledge they have something in common, lest Alphard turn his nose up at it just to spite Lucian. "Sounds like a solid plan. You'll have to talk him into openly admitting his intentions. If he does spot me and still confesses…well, he'd be an idiot, but that's his problem. He might feel cocky because we're outside the village, too. But I'm pretty confident that Flint won't let us get into trouble for that. Maybe a point loss at most. But it's worth it to stick it to Edwards."

"Provoking Edwards into doing stupid things is one of my specialities. I'll talk him into confessing," Alphard said confidently. "At worst I'll give him the impression we're on, without actually saying so. Then I'll simply let him attack me. Beneath it all, he doesn't have the dedication to the moment required to actually finish someone. Whatever he does sling at me, I can take it." Not Alphard enjoyed being hurt. At all. But he was a Beater. Making mistakes while intercepting bludgers was an occupational hazard. He could take an injury if he had to. For the Greater Good, right? "It'll be worth it. Oh, and the note to Lestrange.. just before we leave." To mnimize the possibility of say, Lestrange going to Mopsus, Mopsus catching Julian.. and it ending with just a warning.

"Alright then. Give me the actual location, and I'll be there waiting under Disillusionment." Lucian looks back to the castle, the first sign of preparing to leave. "Black, listen. Obviously, we've just proven we can work together. Pretty effectively, I'd say. I know you don't like me, and you know I don't like you. I doubt either of us was planning on inviting the other over for tea, anyhow. If you can live with that, I think we'll be making both of our lives easier if we just leave all the past rubbish in the past. We don't have to be friends, but we can at least be civil from now on." He lifts his brow inquisitively, offering a hand to the younger boy.

Alphard supplies the exact location.

The initial reaction to Lucian's second attempt at bridging their vast gulf of mutual dislike was a derisive sneer. Yet slowly it transformed, his porcelain fine features twisting into more of an exasperated grimace instead. He sighed. Looked at the hand for a second longer, then finally pulled his own palm out of the warmth of his robes and took it.

"Fine. In the spirit of Slytherin and the MAgijugend.. fine." His grip was fairly solid, but but he wasn't trying to do the expected teenage grip-fight-of-dominance. His mother had taught him better. Now if she'd only also given him a concience… "We're good, whatever that means."

Lucian returns the handshake with his own firm grip…prepared for the struggle for dominance, and a little surprised it didn't happen. "It just means we shock the hell out of everyone by actually getting along," he smirks, hoping the notion of surprising people will appeal to Alphard. With another glance to the castle, he shrugs and starts back toward it. "See you around, Black."

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