(1938-12-06) Stand Your Ground
Details for Stand Your Ground
Summary: Elizabeth and Gage take a walk outside on the training grounds, but they keep getting interrupted by Blacks. Alphard successfully baits Gage.
Date: December 6, 1938
Location: Training Grounds, Hogwarts

The book tucked under an arm, Gage pushes the door open to step outside. The chill doesn’t bother him all that much, but he does stop just as he exits. He looks to the side at Elizabeth, biting on his lip as he thinks for a few. When he looks out ahead, he opens his mouth to speak. After a second of stammering, he swallows and says quietly, “It nehds a giant Christmas tree.”

Even with her winter cloak, Elizabeth doesn't favor the cold. The chill seems to make her shiver unconsciously as she steps a little closer to Gage. The small glance from the boy pulls her eyes up to him, sharing a quiet glance and after a short moment of stammering, manages a sentence. A small smile flits across her soft lips as she glances forward, over the grounds. "It is rather empty." she agrees quietly, her breath visible in the chilly air. "I helped decorate the tree in the Great Hall. Just a little."

Gage stares out of the grounds as he imagines what it would look like with a tree – with brightly glowing lights and decorations. Then he lets out a sigh and lowers his eyes to the ground. He frowns for only a minute, until he lifts his head and glances at Elizabeth. He nods slowly in response before his eyes drift again and he starts walking again. He’ll walk for a while before he says, his voice low, “De last toime Oi decorated a tree wus wi’ me mom.” His eyes lock on the ground as he walks, closing them for a minute as he inhales and releases it.

As Gage begins his pace, Elizabeth quietly falls into step with him. The pain that he feels as he mentions his mother, the last time that he decorated a Christmas tree with her, there's no word that the girl could say to comfort him in that moment. She hasn't lost either of her parents. Not even a close relative that she can think of. So there isn't any way for her to comfort him with words. Instead her free arm reaches up, turning to gently hug the arm that holds onto her hand. At a distance, they might even be mistaken as a couple.

Gage stops walking altogether as she moves closer, hugging his arm. For a moment he just stands there, looking somewhat dazed to say the least. His mouth opens, but no sound escapes him before he closes it again. His lips flick out weakly and he shifts, a slight turn of his shoulder so that he can look at her better. And he just stands there, slightly tense, yes, but not pulling away. When he finally speaks, he asks lowly, “Do yer believe dat ‘tis really nae possible ter bring someone back?”

The fact that Gage comes to a stop when she hugs his arm, it makes Elizabeth hesitate, pausing a moment longer before loosening her hold, arm falling away without releasing the hand that holds onto hers. His words pull her gaze up at him, a small frown in her delicate brow before recognition flickers through her pale eyes, behind her frames. It was a hard question, giving the girl a short moment as she bites at the inside of her bottom lip. "I think… that it doesn't matter what I believe." Elizabeth says softly, trying to say it as gently as possible. "If it was possible, and your mother was brought back… What do you think she would feel? Would that be what she wanted?" Her soft lips part with a short pause. "If she was a loving mother… then she would want the world for you and your brother. Bright futures, successful careers, and loving families. Every mother wants that for her children…"

From behind one of the large archway columns that surround the grounds, a dark-haired girl steps. Dressed in full wizarding robes that are neatly drawn around her slender frame, there's nothing disheveled or out of place on Lulu; not even a hair. She might be only a third year, she might be only fourteen, but she carries herself with the precocious confidence of someone much older. "Merciful heavens. Why is it that I'm continually falling over canoodling couples?" There's the smallest uplift of her chin as she regards the older pair with a hint of coolness in her expression, and wherever it was that she was headed, seems temporarily shelved. That she might have misread the situation doesn't even occur to her.

Gage bites down on his lip, regarding her quietly. He shifts on his feet, eyes on her as she first begins speaking, but then dropping his gaze to the ground and closing his eyes. He has to draw in a deep breath, releasing it slowly. He’s heard that before – doesn’t particularly like it – but he’s heard it before. His shoulders rise in a silent response, head shaking slowly. His fingers curl around her hand a little more snugly. When he eventually speaks again, his voice is weak and a little rough – already fighting with emotion. “’Tis why Oi first decided ter attend dis school,” he shares. “But…” He trails off, thinking, and just when he’s about to say more he catches another’s voice. His head lifts abruptly, dark blue eyes widening as he glances quickly at Elizabeth, and then towards the girl who spoke. “Oi- Oi- What?” Embarrassed, he steps back, pulling his arm back as his fingers uncurl around Elizabeth’s. Eep!

Elizabeth blinks her pale eyes towards the sound of the voice, caught by surprise it seems, but it isn't until the words are spoken that she begins to flush. Even in comparison to how chilly it is outside. And it doesn't help that Gage so quickly (instinctively even) released her hand out of sheer embarrassment. But was it because of her or the fact that they were caught? Elizabeth takes a small breath, but dips her chin subtly. "We weren't 'canoodling'." she corrects, her voice casual. Though whether or not they're a couple? Who's to say.

Lucretia looks pointedly at the tugged apart hands, the smallest uplift of her shoulders given before she brings her eyes back up to look first at Elizabeth and then at Gage. "You should try beneath the bleachers in the Quidditch Arena, apparently it’s -quite- the place to go. At least if you're Douglas." A pretty smile is given the pair, and though her cheeks dimple disarmingly it’s difficult to say whether it’s genuine or not since the warmth of it doesn't quite reach her eyes. She does, however, spot the pinkness that just paints its way over Elizabeth's cheeks. "You're blushing. How terrible." And with that keen observation she turns on her heel and heads back the way she came.

Gage swallows heavily, shifting his hands through the air apprehensively, as if not sure where to hold them. Eventually, he decides to stuff them into his pockets, his head dropping as his gaze locks onto the ground in front of him. He bites his lip nervously, but Lucretia’s ‘advice’ causes more anxiety, shuffling uncomfortably on his feet as his mouth gapes. “But Oi- Oi did nae mean-“ He swallows, his eyes shifting to peek out of the corner at Elizabeth, muttering, “Sorry,” before his gaze locks back on the ground.

Lucretia leaves before there's much else of a reply, seeming content to have the last words on the matter, her retreating form soon disappearing. The flush still lingers in Elizabeth's cheeks as she spies a glance at Gage out of the corner of her pale eyes, hesitating as Gage apologizes. "It's okay…" she says quietly. "I think she was just teasing." Regardless, her flush deepens as Elizabeth shyly turns her gaze away from him. "Not that… I haven't thought about it…"

Gage shifts again on his feet. His eyes lift, glancing to Elizabeth before drifting around the grounds and back down. “Oi wus jist- Oi don’t-“ He lets out a sigh. “Oi loike yer friendship,” he decides. His eyes lift briefly to her only to lower again. “Oi- Oi never want ter lose it… by ‘urtin’ yer.” He shifts on his feet.

Elizabeth is quiet as she listens, the silence stretching after. She hesitates before murmuring. "That's fine. I don't want to lose your friendship either." the young woman says softly, before her eyes look up to meet his. "But you haven't been acting like it. Friends don't normally hold hands, and you haven't told me clearly that you don't like me in a romantic sense. If you don't, I understand, but if you think that you might have some formed some feelings for me…" Elizabeth exhales a soft breath, pressing her lips together as she glances away. "If you do then you shouldn't run away just because you're afraid of hurting feelings. That sort of risk will always be there."

Gage’s eyes lift to her only to, again, look down as he swallows nervously. “Oi- Um- Ah-“ he lets out on a breath, biting down on his lip. He turns his head, shifting his eyes along the ground to look the other way. “Sorry,” he mutters quietly. His arms tense as he tightens his pocketed hands into fists. He stares off at a distance with his head bowed, his eyebrows furrowing as he thinks, and he slowly shakes his head. “Oi don’t knu…” he mutters weakly. “Oi loike yer as much as Oi loike Jewel. Clayworth,” he corrects himself, all said rather quickly before he bites down on his lip, closing his eyes tightly. He doesn’t know what that means though. But he swallows as his stomach lurches apprehensively.

Elizabeth is silent as she watches his expression, the struggle that's visible on the surface. He never wanted to hurt anyone, and this sort of situation means that there's going to be feelings hurt regardless. Exhaling a soft breath, she takes a step towards him and lifts a hand from inside of her winter cloak, touching his chin to guide his eyes towards her own pale orbs. "Those sort of feelings, even for more than one person, is natural. But you shouldn't wait too long, okay? If you mislead either of us for too long… more people will be hurt and you could lose multiple friendships that way." Elizabeth tries to give him a small, understanding smile. "I'll try to stay your friend as long as I can, but I will not tolerate being toyed with. Both of us deserve more than that." The hand falls away, and the bookworm takes a step back again, putting a comfortable yet friendly enough distance between them.

Alphard was in a mood. A pleasant mood. A mellow and content place, the sort that he very rarely found himself in. As entered the Training Grounds he surrounded himself with a quiet hum. A melody that had been playing in Hogsmeade when he'd been there, the most popular wizard tune of the holiday. Christmas was becoming, and who didn't find that something to be cheerful over? He had his hands stuffed deep into his robes' pockets, and there was a knitted cap drawn down over his head. It was black. It had the crest of his House on it. As he breathed, he was weirdly transfixed by the way it puffed out in front of him in little white clouds. It took him a moment or two before his eyes focused on the young couple. On the tender gesture. On the soft words. His head tilted, watching with mild predatory interest.

A nervous expression crosses Gage’s face when her fingers touch his chin. But her hand could have been a vice for all he was capable of resisting, dark blue eyes locking on hers. His eyebrows furrow, and he listens to her without a word, his stomach lurching more with apprehension. His brows knit as confusion flicks in his eyes, pondering and going over his thoughts, taking in her words as he always does. Even as she takes her hand away and she steps back, his gaze watches her for several seconds. Then he finally drops his head as he releases a heavy breath, at a complete loss of words, just not sure as he swallows. His focus on Elizabeth and on the ground, he doesn’t notice that the sixth year is nearby yet.

His pensive look isn't surprising, so Elizabeth just gives him a small, quiet smile. Eventually he'll have to go after something wholeheartedly, but maybe she isn't it. "I'll root for you regardless what you choose." A part of her quietly breaks, but she doesn't let it show. Gage feels bad enough as it is, she's never wanted to burden him in the first. Her breath is visible in the chilly winter air as exhales softly, glancing past the Ravenclaw boy to see Alphard. And surprisingly, she gives Alphard a pleasant smile. "Salutations."

Normally Alphard would have come with his commentary already, but temporarily something stayed his mocking tongue. Instead he remained where he was, an unobtrusive watcher in the background. His humming had stilled almost completely, now mostly a thing in his mind. Though occasionally he did let out a soft little sound to accompany his own personal musical score. Perhaps he was just feeling like giving young love an honest shot. Why not? He must have a heart somewhere..

"Dweedle. Hart. Look at the pair of you. My heart all but flutters for your tender little affections. So sweet! The touch.. the awkward sigh.. the brave front. Marvelous." Alright, so perhaps he'd just been waiting for the right moment to mock.

Gage has much he’s thinking about, but when he lifts his head to look at Elizabeth, mouth opened to speak, he doesn’t get anything out before she greets someone. Gage casts his gaze toward the person he’s greeting and he snorts, a scowl instantly deepening his features. Well, whatever he was going to say is gone. But all the same, Elizabeth’s calm greeting has him looking admirably over at her, calming his own frustrations as he lets out a breath. “Yer are bloody perfect,” he mutters before he can stop himself. And his eyebrows twitch at Alphard’s mocking words. His eyes squint, casting a glance toward the older boy, his jaw sets. And he turns to face Alphard. “What did yer do ter Edwards?”

Behind her slender frames, Elizabeth flicks her pale gaze to Gage for a pause. "Please don't say that." she murmurs. She isn't perfect, nor does she want to be compared to the other girl, the other one he said was also perfect. Besides, he's only saying that because it benefits him. And mocking or not, a small chuckle escapes from Elizabeth as she shakes her raven head in reply, her attention on Alphard again. "You and Lucretia, I swear. You two are so adorable with your mockery." she chuckles again, lightly and genuinely amused. "Thank you though. If you think that I'm able to interest a boy like Gage, maybe I would even have a chance with someone like you. But, alas, that isn't the case this time." Elizabeth gently rolls her shoulders with a casual shrug, still with a faintly pleasant smile.

"Is she?" Alphard asked wryly, turning to give Elizabeth a very slow, thorough and immensely doubtful look over. "I'm going to have to disagree there, little buddy. Not too pretty. A massive attitude problem. Oh, and let's not forget that she's about as interesting as an old sickle. But then again, who is to say she isn't perfect for you, eh? I mean, it's not as if she could aim any lower." There was a cruel laugh at the suggestion she might have a chance with someone like him. He didn't even worthy it with a proper answer.

"Anyway. Edwards? You don't really want to know. And I wouldn't want to ruin your moment by delving into it."

Gage turns his scowl from Alphard and it fades into a sheepish look as he looks to Elizabeth. His eyes lower to the ground, and he shifts uneasily on the ground. “Oi- Sorry-“ he utters out and swallows. He sucks in a breath and lets it out heavily before he’s looking up at her again, eyebrows winging upwards. “Yer wrong,” he hears himself uttering out quietly, but it takes himself a second to register and he quickly turns his eyes away from her. “We don’t ‘av ter be ‘ere. We can-“ Never mind. Alphard just pushed the right buttons. His hand twitches as it lifts to hover in front of the wand dangling in front of him, but he doesn’t touch it. “Watch what yer say aboyt ‘er.” He glowers angrily at the Slytherin. “Take it back.”

Elizabeth exhales a small, slow breath through her nose as she calmly lifts a hand from under her winter cloak, placing it on Gage's shoulder while her eyes remain forward, steady on Alphard. Her expression never changed. "It's alright." she reassures her fellow housemate. "He's just the type that judges a book by its cover. To each his own." The hand falls away, disappearing again. "And he's just trying to get you angry after all, because he knows he can." Her attention momentarily lingers on Gage, before looking back to Alphard, her expression a quiet one. "It was a pleasant walk, but I think I must excuse myself to go indoors. It's quite chilly out here." Elizabeth gives Gage a small but reassuring smile before she turns away, her steps leading her back to the castle, and the mention of 'hot chocolate' could be heard under her breath.

"Take it back? No, I don't think I will. You don't want me to lie, do you?" Alphard gave a thoughtful little scratch of his cheek. "Though since we're on the topic of lies and taking things back. I suppose you wish you'd taken back your silence. You know, regarding who actually pulled that funny little prank on you. See, Edwards thought it was me." He snorted with good humor, even as malice played in his eyes. His voice transformed, no longer mocking. It was a friendly little drawl. Soft. Intimate. "Felt it was just one step too far, humiliating his little pal. He felt the need to challenge me to an illegal duel. You asked what I did to Edwards? I didn't do anything. I just took advantage of your actions, and then I let him do all the damage himself. Aren't you proud of yourself, Hart? Heh. I should be thanking you, really. It'd like we planned it together." Alphard trying to make Hart angry? Heaven forbid.

"Toodles, Dweedle. You know, I think I'm going to head inside myself. Like she said. It's a bit chilly."

Gage’s heart skips a beat when her hand touches his shoulder, a breath escaping him as he hears her words. He clenches his teeth together, slowly nodding his head even as his stomach bubbles angrily. “All-Al’ roigh’,” he manages to mutter through gritted teeth, his hand twitching but lowering, and a single step is taken to head towards the castle. Except that once again Alphard paralyzes him with his words, a gasp escaping from the boy and his eyes widening. “It wus…” His fault? The boy swears, swallows, and when his eyes start to glaze over he forces himself to spin away from the sixth year. Not a bloody crybaby! He starts walking, but his hand lifts to pull the wand up and over his head, just gripping the handle in his left hand. The spell that he casts is not at the Slytherin – it’s directed down in front of him at his feet – a wave and a flick, his accent lost for the spell as an agitated snake pops out onto the ground, hissing as it wiggles. Gage stares down at the serpent, inching around it cautiously. “That way,” he mutters as he points towards the Slytherin. Not that the animal listens to him at all.

"Don't be shy. You summoned it, I'm sure you're quite interested in being well acquaintanced." Alphard's own wand was out; he had reached for it the moment Gage had plucked his free. After Julian's hex, he was somewhat paranoid. The thought of having his knees reversed again anytime soon was not on his list of things to experience.

Sneering, he set his spell to work: "Wingardium Leviosa." To levitate the snake up, so it was harmless to Alphard and then to flick his wand at Gage. To send the agitated snake flying straight into the Ravenclaw's embrace.

Only the snake didn't lift at all! Alphard frowned at it. How bloody embarrassing.

Gage is certainly cautious as he inches around the snake, but he’s not afraid. When the serpent is between him and Alphard, his wand is pointed down at the hissing, threatening serpent. A glare and a grunt escapes Gage, snorting, but seconds after Alphard tries to cast the levitation, the boy says, “Oppugno,” as the tip of his dark wooden wand points at the snake. It certainly lifts to fly through the air, but the poor snake barely gains any momentum as it’s blasted. Gage freezes with his wand in the air, cringing as his eyes start to prickle. Magical conjured snake or not, it’s still an animal and he can totally mourn it. Of course it only fuels Gage more as he sucks in a breath.

"Bombarda!" Had been Alphard's response to the snake coming his way with malicious intentions. As the snake flew into pieces, its vulnerable body wrecked completely by the massive force crashing into it, he showed no sign at all of bleeding heart syndrome. "You dare fucking attack me, you filthy little mudblood?" Alphard hissed. More than anything he was infuriated by the fact that he had failed in his attempt to put the boy in his place. Just neutralizing Gage's spells wasn't a victory.

"Expelliarmus" No more playing around!

Gage snorts, his wand already in the air. He’s already made this stupid move to attack, probably already going to be in trouble, like hell he’s backing down from the sixth year. “Deflecto!” Gage says as he twirls his wand, eyes squinted and eyebrows creased, sending a spell right back. His dark blue eyes are full of anger.

Gage swings his arm again, pointing it towards Alphard as he says, “Locomotor Mortis.”

"Deflecto," Alphard snarled, slashing the incoming jinx away with a vicious sideways motion of his wand. There was a visceral snarl on his lips as he took a step forward. His dark eyes were fixed on Gage, full of black fury. The impertinence of this fourth year! And it was frankly embarrassing that he hadn't been able to crush him yet.

The first time failed? Alphard didn't bother with creativity. He just snapped his wand for a second: "Expelliarmus!" He was going to get that bloody mublood's wand one way or another. He grits his teeth. Let's see how many times Gage could block!

“Flipendo,” Gage states again, left hand flicking his wand at Alphard. He doesn’t take to defending this time though, but tries sending a spell to knock back the Slytherin. Of course, no sooner does he send off the spell does his wand slip from his grip. He makes one attempt to snag the string attached to the end of the wand, but he misses it and the wand is flung away from him. Gage’s fists curl, and his teeth clench together, and he snorts as he stands defiantly before the older student. “Take it back.”

Alphard was knocked back when Gage's spell hit him, but he remained on his feet. There was a cruelly victorious sneer on his face as he saw that his opponent's wand hand was empty. With a grunt he shook himself, loosening his shoulders, rolling his head slowly this way and that. His wand was aimed straight at Gage's chest. "Who are you to be demanding anything of me, you pathetic little worm? You attacked me. You. The boy who is already half a step from being expelled. You who threatened me in public. I have witnesses, and all I need do is call them, you ignorant shit! Expelled! Wand broken! Is that what you want? Forbidden to do magic, living like a Muggle the rest of your broken existence. Take it back? I take nothing back. You are nothing. And she's nothing but an ugly little Half-Blood who will soon know humiliation herself. As if being with you wasn’t enough."

Gage glares at the wand defiantly. Though there might have been a fearful flicker in his eyes, what with the wand aimed at his chest. For a moment, his imagination causes his breath to stop, coming out in a single wheeze. Until he mentions Elizabeth again, and he inhales deeply, his fists tightening at his sides at the threat. Now there’s real fear as it washes over his face, a gasp escaping as his eyes widen. “Naw,” he utters, his shoulders shaking. “Don’t. /Don’t/.” Yea, he’s begging. “Go ‘ead, is dat what yer want? Git me expelled then. Jist leave ‘er alone.”

The Slytherin boy laughed, a cruel contemptuous laugh. One that masked how dreadfully close he had come to losing this little battle with a fourth year. A FOURTH YEAR for Merlin's sake, almost sending a snake to bite him dead. Best not to think about that. It might bruise his ego terribly, and it was already fragile from Julian getting that jinx through his shield. Even if Alphard's plan had technically gone through without a hitch. His wand remained steady, at the ready. "And what are you going to do to defend her when you're expelled?" He asked mockingly. "Tell me, Hart. Are you a man of your word?" Curious thing to ask, wasn't it?

Gage’s stomach felt wobbly, sinking and making him feel sick. He can feel himself shaking, and his misty eyes let a few tears slip down his face. There’s no answer to Alphard’s question, instead Gage demands again. “Don’t. Go. After ‘er!” he says fiercely, and on the last words lunges at the older student – wand at his chest or no.

"Petrificus Totalus," Alphard said it calmly, without a rush. The spell slammed into Gage. With a snort he shook his head, watching the effect of the full body-bind curse wrap itself around the boy. "That was stupid. What on earth did you think you were going to accomplish without a wand? We're wizards, you dolt." He sighed, then continued on past Gage who was probably flopping over by now, to where the disarmed wand had landed. The tall youth smoothly leaned down to pick it up and pocket it. "You can come asking for it when you've had a chance to think things through. Between you and me, I really don’t want to go to the prefects, or the Professors. Doing it with Edwards was a necessity, you see. I'd rather not make a habit of it."

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