(1938-12-13) Secret Exchange
Details for Secret Exchange
Summary: Elizabeth makes a deal with Alphard to get Gage's wand returned to him.
Date: December 13, 1938
Location: Library - Hogwarts
Related: Stand Your Ground

The very last of Elizabeth's classes have ended for the day, and the rest of the castle seems to be very eager to get to this very special hogsmeade. Students shopping for those last minute gifts to take home to family members or exchange with good friends before they part for the winter break. Naturally, the Library is rather deserted; and while she has changed out of her uniform, she does take advantage of the fact as she peruses through one particular selection of books in one aisle. Books that have nothing to do with magic, but rather languages. Dictionaries translating words from one language to another. She peruses slowly, pale eyes scanning thoughtfully as the young woman lifts her own chin to shift her gaze, loose raven locks faintly falling from her slender shoulders from the motion.

Alphard had his own reasons for being in the Library, all of which had to do with something planned for Hogsmead. There was the faintest hint of skulkiness about the way he stalked between the aisles, as if he didn't necessarily want a whole lot of attention to what he was up to. At the same time, the Slytherin boy really wasn't the greatest at passing unnoticed. He had that way about him, an arrogance that just bled into everything he did. The fact that there were hardly anyone left, made his presence all the more notable. Unlike Elizabeth he hadn't changed out of his school uniform, either. It was pristine, as usual.

Her fingertips lightly pull at the top of the spine on one of the books that caught her eye. Italian. The book is freed and she looks over the cover thoughtfully. It was one of those moments then perhaps that Alphard appears at one of the aisles, searching for something as well it looks like as her eyes watch him for a pause, thoughtful. "Is there a subject I can help you find?" Elizabeth offers politely, though she wonders if he'll even accept the gesture at all. Still, she's curious.

Alphard's eyes snapped in Elizabeth's direction, a narrow eyed look full of suspicion. "Oh, it's just you, Dweedle. What? No, no. I know where it is." For a moment he held onto his frown, but gradually it was wiped away. With a shrug he straightened out of his slightly hunched over skulky positure, transforming instead into his usual arrogant nonchalance. His hand stroked along the dark wood of the nearby bookshelf, before he leaned against it. Arms folding over his chest. Looking cool. The sort of cool that he had probably practiced infront of the mirror to achieve. His critical gaze swept over her. "What are you doing here, anyway? Not out taking advantage of the last Hogsmead? Frolicking with your sweetheart?"

Elizabeth watches him quietly, carefully. Absorbing his movements as Alphard seems to gather himself. The silence stretches between them and he leans against the bookshelf, posturing for her. The corner of her lips couldn't help but tug with a small smile. "Well, in case you hadn't, I figured I would offer. Just in case." she murmurs, dipping her chin with a small nod to him. As if she were the actual librarian instead of just a student.
The curious questions earns a faint frown, but after a pause Elizabeth exhales a small breath. "Researching. I have an interest in languages, and I thought I might learn another over the holidays." she replies, simply put. It's clear that she isn't showing off, but simply being honest. Since he asked. "And we aren't attached in a romantic sense. He isn't interested in me in that fashion. However, now that you are here, I do wish to speak to you on a matter regarding him."

"How awfully kind of you," Alphard said.
"Just picking it up over the holidays, eh?" From his doubtful expression it was clear that he had absolutely no faith in anyone just picking up a langauge over the holidays. He might have said more about it, too, except for the other topic being much more interesting: "Seems awefully protective and moon eyed for someone who isn't interested in you in a romantic fashion. Come on, Dweedle, even a blind man can tell the little puppy is drooling on your toes." He made a sound halfway between a mocking snort and a chuckle. "Ah. Well." With theatrical flourish the boy dipped her a playful bow. "By all means. I am all ears to the lady's entreaties."

She decides not to go into details about her learning abilities right now, as Alphard was having too much fun at her expense, but Elizabeth isn't phased by his taunting. There's even a little bit of sadness that's in her eyes, if only for a moment. And despite his mockery, a small and genuine smile tugs at her soft lips. "You don't have to try so hard, Black, it's just you and me here." The book is cradled against her chest as Elizabeth appears to mentally shift gears, the smile falling away. "The last time I saw you, on the grounds. When I left did something happen between you and Hart?" she asks softly. "Are you the reason his wand is missing?"

Alphard made a brief little eyeroll at Elizabeth's suggestion that he didn't have to 'try so hard'. None the less he unfolded his arms and put his hands into his pocets instead, and turned down one of the aisles. His eyes on the spines of books rather than Elizabeth. The implication was that if the conversation was to continue she'd have to follow after him into a section thoroughly deserted. "Mhmm? Oh. I'm not the reason Hart's wand is missing. Hart is the reason his wand is missing. And not only did he manage to lose it, but then rather than be properly chastized for his stupidity, he came throwing insults at me. Wandless. And seemed to think that would somehow make me want to.. say.. 'help' him retrieve it."

A small frown forms in her delicate frown for a longer moment, her eyes watching Alphard as he turns to walk deeper into the aisles, where they wouldn't be seen as easily by chance. Elizabeth exhales a light breath but doesn't hesitate to follow his steps, listening to his own version of events. Honestly, has he always been such a drama queen? She can't recall noticing before. "I see." she says quietly, her pale eyes watching Alphard's back. "Would you know where it is then? Undamaged?"

"What does it matter?" Alphard asked, slowly turning around to face her once he thought they were truly private. His voice was a coolly dismissive whisper: "I told Hart if he wanted it, he should look for the broken pieces at the bottom of the cliffs. But assuming I said that just because he was being a little shit, assuming I not only know where it is but that it's in perfect mint condition, what does this have to do with you?"

"Because I want to trade for it." Elizabeth answers softly, meeting his eyes but not down on him. "Not wand for wand, but I would hope that there is something I can do for you that you would find good enough for an exchange." She pauses as she watches him, wondering if that had caught his interest. "Over winter break perhaps?" There would be less eyes watching them, she knew that would make a difference.

"That's.. sweet. Really, I respect the attempt at.. martyrdom or whatever it is you think you're doing." Alphard closed the distance between them, his hand reaching out and intending to settle against the curve of Elizabeths' shoulder. He leaned in, bringing his handsome features close to hers. "It shows loyalty, and I respect that. None the less, I fear you have absolutely nothing I want. But how about this? I'll consider your offer, and if Hart's wand does for some reason return to him, you'll owe me one. It probably won't be the reason, but it might just be a contributing factor. That's the best I can offer."

Elizabeth is quiet as she watches him, trying to gauge his reaction though almost surprised when he steps closer to her. Actually touching her shoulder. A faint frown forms in her delicate brow for a longer moment still as she listens, for the last of his words. "Not even my humiliation?" she asks. She would have thought that he would want that at least. And owing him a favor… that didn't sound ideal to her.

"Why would I want your humiliation, Dweedle?" Alphard made a bemused sound in the back of his throat. His eyes danced with laughter. "Oh, dear me. Did we actually believe that because Hart was being overly dramatic, I actually cared one whit about you? I was just playing with your sweetheart, Dweedle. Infact Meanie even said you'd apologized to her, which set things right as far as I was concerned. No, no. You're a nobody. I'll poke fun of you if the oppertunity comes, but beyond that..?" He chuckled, shaking his head. His touch withdrew, leaving a warm imprint behind. "But I'll take a favor. I'm not promising Hart'll get his wand back, but if he does.. you'll owe me. Do you acccept?"

The young woman exhales a small breath that could be mistaken for a sigh. "I know that you were playing with him, Black. You have a talent for pushing his buttons, as it were. And I've never for a moment deluded myself into thinking that you cared, nor do I want humiliation. But if this is an opportunity being offered to you, why not take it?" Elizabeth says softly, quietly.
His hand is withdrawn, and the lingering warmth felt odd. The silence stretches before she dips her chin lightly. "I'm not going to inflict bodily harm, force others into unwilling situations, nor break any school rules. With those in mind, I'll accept. I owe you a favor."
There's a short pause before a small smile tugs at the corner of her soft lips. "And despite your lack of interest in me, I do admit I find you intriguing. For reasons you're not thinking of I believe."

"Because your humiliation doesn't equal the great pleasure I'm taking in knowing a certain Ravenclaw is crying his little heart out over his missing wand." For all the cruelty of that statement, Alphard didn't actually say it with any particular malice. It was instead announced in a conversational tone and with a smile on his lips. With idle curiosity he picked a book out of the air as it floated past him. A moment later it was released again, the subject not having been particularly interesting.
"With all those limitations, the favor necessarily will have to be big to compensate."
"Of course you do, Dweedle. But try to keep your crush to yourself. You're not my type." Pat-pat on her shoulder, as he breezed past and back towards the more used section so fthe library.

"There is nothing to compensate for. And you're intelligent. I'm sure you have something in mind already." Elizabeth murmurs lightly, almost as conversational as Alphard had been talking about Gage. He pat her on the shoulder in passing. "That's it, right there." she says quietly herself, though whatever it's about is dismissed as she glances over her shoulder at Alphard's back. "I don't want to end up owing you this favor for a lifetime either."

"A good reason to make sure it hangs over your head for a while, then," Alphard smugly delivered. "Anyway. Since you're feeling so bloody concerned with that crybaby Hart, and I'm feleing particularly generous right now, I'll give you some advice. Let the kid drown himself, because he's too stupid to live. He'll walk from one disaster to the other until something breaks him utterly, because ultimately he knows he's unworthy of being here. So he self sabotages. Take his little collaboration with Esther Lowe. You have to hate yourself pretty bad to be drawn into that lying two-faced bitch's treacherous schemes. And who does that to a 'friend', or lets a 'friend' do that to you? All supposedly to impress me, when I didn't care about Hart more than I do about you. All so very pathetic. You still owe me a favor, mind, but yes: Detatch yourself while you can.
"Cared about Hart, mind. Now I've rather gotten the taste for seeing him cry." Shrug.

"Six months will be long enough." Elizabeth says softly. "If not by then, the owed debt if voided." His next words give her pause, silent even longer before her pale eyes are drawn forward again, the book in her arms held against her. "I know." she murmurs even softer still. "And I can't do anything about it. I just wanted to do one thing for him." The sudden mention of Esther makes Elizabeth frown with honest confusion, pausing before she turns around to face him. "'Collaboration'? What are you talking about?" Were Gage and Esther doing something that she hadn't even been aware of?

"You didn't know?" Alphard asked, sounding vaguely surprised. He shrugged. "Somehow my cousin convinced him to let her pull off that Animagus prank on him. They were in on it together, so she would get some Slytherin traction. For a while there she was going for popularity. Of course that collapsed once I saw through their little act. I suspect she'll find some new use for him, though, and I expect he'll think that the girl who calls him a pathetic mudblood in the Slytherin room, is still his friend. Like I said, he's an idiot. It's not too late for you to make better acquaintances. That you're a Half-Blood doesn't mean you have to look to the mud. Aspire to be better."

Her confused frown deepens as she listens. Elizabeth exhales as she quickly shakes her raven head, "What would he have to gain from it though if that were true? And if that's the case, why would she be so guilt-ridden that Lowe would repeatedly apologize to me? For something she did to him." None of this made any sense to her. But then again, people normally didn't.
Silence stretches before she releases a longer breath, looking a little tired as she glances away. "I find it funny that you chose that word. 'Mud'." Elizabeth murmurs, "It was by chance that I talked with Goyle a few days ago in the courtyard, just a few minutes before Crabbe came and accompanied him to the lake. When they were leaving, she asked him when it was that he started playing in the mud. To which he replied, 'every now and then, we have to get a little dirty, if only to remember what it feels to be clean.'."
The girl shakes her raven head to herself. No spite or hatred from being personally attacked, just a quiet bit of sadness. "You might say that, Black, but they're just words. Pretty words, ugly words, they all turn out to be the same."

Alphard didn't seem to care much for the why, and offered no speculation. Just a disinterested shrug as he continued to walk. Though he hadn't picked up the book that had brought him to the library in the first place, he was moving for the exit now.
"Don't be an idiot. You'll never be my equal, it's true, but that doesn't mean you have to align yourself with the cast offs of our society. Like Hart. It's a fallacy to think that just because you can't reach the highest top, you shouldn't at least try out the view from halfway there. But have it your way. I can't say I ultimately really care one way or the other. Have fun in the library." He made a little finger-waggle wave of farewell.

"Genuinity, honesty, and loyalty." Elizabeth murmurs softly, repeating words that's she's spoken before. "I don't align myself with anyone. And your definition of the highest point is slightly different than my own." A faint smile tugs at her lips for a pause as she hears his retreating footsteps, before she turns to glance over her shoulder at him. "And Black. Thank you." It may have been just a business transaction of sorts to him, for both of them, but he still listened. Still accepted a trade. Elizabeth gives him a small nod before she smoothly returns to the aisle she had been just a moment before, debating yet again if she should choose one language over another and if so, which one.

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