(1938-12-09) Potions Without Potions and Wizards Without Wands
Details for Potions Without Potions and Wizards Without Wands
Summary: Esther and Gage finally get a chance to talk alone. Esther, as part of the debt she owes the boy, brings him up to speed on where she's at, and pledges to return his wand. The Reckoning is far from at hand, but Esther seems to be pushed towards some kind of end-game… At the end, it's revealed that she still has a friend.
Date: 1938-12-09
Location: Library - Hogwarts Castle

Esther's brought her own books up to the library - This one is a heavy tome on Potions; 'Pragmatic Potions.' While most would be in Hogsmeade on a Sunday, Esther's morning is spent with her nose in a book, her wand in her left hand, tapping down haft them tip on the table in a rapid succession of movements. A quill, and her parchment are out as well, a few quick notes drawn on the scrap of writing material. 'Erumpment/? Potion. Exploding potion.' She continues to go down the page, her eyes scanning with the kind of speed brought on by a sudden realisation… Or an intense fear.

Gage would totally be in Hogsmeade right now if he could. But alas… he's trapped. He' got personal tasks to keep him busy at least. The eyes of any portrait in the library turn to him as he steps into the library, eyeing him and causing the boy to send a look around. There's no wand dangling in front of him, so when the boy lifts his hand as if to grab it, he snorts when he remembers. "Shit," he mutters to himself. He carries a single book in his hand, but he suddenly stops near Esther's table when his eyes fall on the older student. Gage shifts on his feet, biting his lower lip as he considers, but instead of managing to say anything he just locks his gaze on her as he ponders.

Who is swearing? Esther looks up, her hand quickly coming up to cover the notes on her parchment so far. The girl spies… Gage, of all people. The lack of wand isn't noticed. "Hello there." She finally speaks. "… Do you care to come closer?" Without Elizabeth, he's less intimidating. It may hurt to look at him… But it doesn't cause the same kind of self-loathing that her former-friend does. Her hand uncovered her work, that lovely phoenix feather quill returning to tap gently against the page, leaving another one of a thousand dots on it.

Her motion to cover her notes brings Gage's attention to it, and his dark blue eyes flick to her parchment. But Gage shifts nervously as his eyebrows furrow, still considering. It takes a moment even after the offer for him to inch closer, but he lets the book in his hands fall to the surface of the table when he does approach. "Let me 'elp," he mutters. Yea, he's not dropping that.

"You look upset." Esther notes, her eyes returning back to her book. A woman posessed? Just just timebound. The words are much clearer up this close. "I'm sorry if I seem pre-occupied… I just realised this morning that I have…" A pause. "Eleven days, before I'm past the point of no return… I'm not ready for my endgame yet. Not by a long shot. I need time." She half-rants to herself, and then puts her quill down altogether. "I'm sorry, Gage. That was terribly rude. How are you?"

The quiet boy just stares at her with furrowed eyebrows, thinking and forgetting that he can speak. A confused look flicks over his expression as Gage watches her. He shifts on his feet, briefly ponders first, and then asks, "What does dat mean?" His eyebrows crinkle when he's drawn to a few thoughts. His eyes drop to a chair as he considers sitting, just so that he can minimize his height, but his nervousness gets the better of him and he simply shifts in his position. His shoulders barely move a he lifts them, answering her question with a shrug. Thinking, he's silent, and then utters lowly, "Afraid. Black said…" And he swallows, his shoulders rising again. He lets out a breath before he suddenly asks quickly, "Do yer want 'elp a group over de 'olidays?" His voice, already low as usual, is even quieter.

Black. The name causes her gentle tapping to stop immediately. "School breaks. It seems that I will be attending a function with mine dear Cousin - Alone with a mad dog without any time to prepare." Alphard. "I could use a hand, perhaps. But first;." A pause. "What did Alphard do this time?" She asks, "Come, sit." Small though she might be, she's a force for calm right now. His wand isn't visible, but that's nothing too unusual. Esther's been known to hide hers fro mtime to time.

Gage shifts on his feet again, looking down to the table. "Well," he starts, but pauses and draws out a breath. His eyebrows lower, twitching lightly. "Eibon," he says, stops a moment to consider, and adds in, "Noalan Eibon." To clarify a little on which one, one of Esther's year and housemates in fact. "Talk ter 'im if yer want ter 'elp rescue Dippet." There. Duty done. "'E's gatherin'… people 'e can trust." His eyebrows wing upwards as he locks his dark blue eyes on Esther again. Yea, trust - he's darn sure he can trust her. He looks from her to a chair, and after a moment of pondering, he does find himself sitting, deciding it would draw less attention than someone standing by the table. One corner of his lips can't help but twitch in amusement as she asks what Alphard did. There's - is that confidence? - that flickers over the boy's face. Apparently that he was able to put up a good fight with the sixth year gave him a little of that confidence. But then his stomach lurches and he's back to fearing. The crosses his arms over the table and he rests his head over top of them, biting his lip as he thinks for a moment. Then, deciding it's too important, lifts his head to say quickly, "Please. /Please/. Can yer /please/ keep 'im away from Dweedle?"

"We'll see." Esther answers the offer /very/ simply. "It might be worthwhile. I need people I can trust." A pause, as she looks out from underneath her wild mane of hair, glad the boy has finally sat… It's true, she trusts him too. Nothing like crying as you curse someone to inspire trust. "I can't promise anything about Elizabeth… I will try, but there's little to nothing I can do." She pauses. Or is there nothing she wants to do? Monster. "My cousin is aware that she hurt my feelings… If not aware of the circumstances why. He /cannot/ become aware of it, Gage. If he knows that I…" A pause. A clench of her fist. "If he finds out that I told her everything, my game is up. I will be alone with him. Unarmed. For two weeks. And he /will/ destroy me."
"None of which tells me what he did." She speaks, after taking a fortifying breath.

Gage retreats back into his silence as he lays his head in his arms again. He's pulled back to his thoughts, saying nothing for a good moment. He could very well be done talking, done with this conversation, as he withdraws to just himself. When the boy sucks in a breath and releases it, he lifts his head up and turns to lock his dark blue eyes on her again. "Jist tell me what ter expect," he decides, his eyebrows scowling in all seriousness at the situation. "Oi can stop it if Oi'm dare." Can he? Can he really? Damn, doing well in a duel with a sixth year has brought out some spirit. Of course, the staff hasn't retaliated yet - and he's not stupid enough to think they won't know. It's not an option to go after his friends. Speaking of friends… His eyes narrow as he scowls, regarding Esther. "That's feckin' shit," he grumbles. "If dare wus…" he hesitates but continues on, focused, "…some kind av item… sometin' Oi can share wi' me friends…" He shifts in his seat, struggling a little at his words. "Sometin' ter let me knu if dey were in trouble… Oi wud come stand in de way for yer." Yes, he's looped her in as a friend. His hand lifts to his chest - curling his fingers into a fist around nothing. "Black's jist a bloody coward. Took me wand 'cause 'e's afraid Oi'll attack 'im again."

"Black isn't your biggest problem, Gage." Esther bites her lower lip, as if in thought. "Let's say you attack Alphard again. Let's say you defeat him. What of Silas? What of Medusa? What of Marcus? What of every member of Slytherin who is obliged to stand with him, against you, then?" They're a family unto themselves. "Alphard is mine. You're a brave lad to take him, but… A lad nonetheless, to think that any battle you begin will help the war." It's said kindly, despite how offensive what she said could be interpreted. She pats him on the shoulder. "That's not to say there's nothing you can do… Just to say that brute force will create far more problems than it solves. Would you like to know how to help this best?"
It's clear that she has a plan. Probably has all along. Since she first saw her love's hand, crushed under his impeccable heel.

Gage snorts, eyebrows rising together. "One step at a toime," he mutters out before thinking about it. Alphard has his wand - and he's going to get it back. His dark blue eyes stare at her for a moment of silence. His mind is drawn into his thoughts while he keeps his eyes on her, listening to words that have been said to him in the past, and the corner of his mouth slants just a little. "Oi'm nae alone either." His eyebrows furrow and he adds in before he can stop himself, "An' neither are yer." He turns his head to stare down into his arms, considering silently before he snorts as he lifts his head again. "We've a party ter go rescue Dippet. Loike bloody 'ell we can't be 'elpful." He pauses to think, brows knitting together. "An' Oi'm a Dragonite." He's taken Myrus' club quite seriously.

Esther holds up a fine-boned hand. This close, one could see that she's less skeletal now, which is nice. "One thing at a time. Firstly, we get your wand back. Secondly, we keep Elizabeth safe. Then Dippet." She states, "I will speak with Alphard about your wand. We're… Not on the greatest terms at this point, but I can probably wrest it from him." A pause. "…I need some things from you, Gage. And like last time, I need more'n I've right to ask. Dragonite, or not." Myrus' club. Another thorn in her delicate, slender side. How much could Gage really know?

Gage listens to her silently, withdrawing again into his thoughts as he says nothing for a while. But there are a lot of good thoughts there, and the smile flicks briefly against his lips, even if it barely lasts a second. When his eyes become less distanced and more focused, he nods his head slowly. "An' she's gonna stay safe," he utters strongly, his tone fierce and absolute at that. But he looks at her with raised eyebrows, a look of surprise flashing in his eyes as he mutters, "What?"

Esther holds up a finger. "One. You let me get your wand back. When you receive it, you /never/ raise it without direct threat. Bait Alphard. Challenge his ego. Belittle him. Rather than face a duel, he involved a prefect. Rather than crush a 4th year, he was required to put in effort. Never. Use. Your. Wand. First." A pause. "Two. Elizabeth cannot know any of this. Not that you and I spoke, not that I helped." Her tone is a little mournful. They aren't friends, anymore. Third finger. "Three. When Alphard goes down, he goes down hard, and takes no-one with him." She holds up four, and then places it gently on his shoulder. "Four. I don't know who. But someone else is going to need to be very… Very brave." She's used the term before. It didn't end well.

Gage is silent as he locks his eyes on her, eyebrows furrowed as he listens to her. He frowns, shifting in his seat, but he nods his head slowly. He'll definitely remember her words, but to test that memory when Alphard starts pushing his buttons again? Heh. His eyebrows crinkle together as he frowns, but he responds to her second point with a small rise of his shoulders. That's kind of what he does best, after all - saying nothing. He's completely silent until she's finished, and even after for a while, his eyebrows knitting together. His eyes widen as his eyebrows lift at the last part before they lower again. "What do yer mean? Naw." He frowns as he turns to look down into his arms, still crossed over the table.

… Esther lets her words sit for a few long seconds, before she continues. "It's not a question of whether or not it's going to happen, sadly. It's a question of who it happens to." She gnaws on her lower lip for a moment. "… It's a necessity. One I hope you'll forgive me for." She states. Her hand drops from his shoulder, and she adds. "… The other thing. Myrus… Myrus cannot know that I will be Alphard's guest over the holidays, if that is what comes to pass. I… I might yet tell him myself."

Gage stares down at his arms with a scowl, thoughtful, and uncertain on how to respond to that. He swallows deeply. He doesn't like that, and anger bubbles in his stomach as it flashes in his eyes. His left hand closes into a fist as he sets his jaw, just going over his thoughts. It's not Esther that he's angry with, of course, and when he shifts his head and brings his gaze to her, he bites his lip. Oh, how he wishes he could just fix everything so no one else has to suffer. "Oi don't loike it," he suddenly hears himself mutter. "If dare wus another way…" His eyes turn back down to his arms before he shifts, sitting away from the table and stuffing his hands into the inner pockets of his robes. He's fisting something with beads when he pulls out his hand, and he pushes the chair from the table to stand. Without a word lowers his left hand down on the table in front of her, setting down a simple, not very expensive, beaded bracelet before he withdraws his hand away without it. "Oi wus… gonna send it wi' an' owl." He shifts on his feet, and his eyes lock on the surface of the table. "Ter show dat yer 'av a friend." He bites his lip nervously. "Oi shud go."

… Esther looks at the bracelet for several long seconds. It takes some time before she reaches out, covering it with her hand. "Life isn't like that, Gage. Thank you."

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