(1938-12-16) Friend Shipwrecked
Details for Friend Shipwrecked
Summary: Fresh from a horrible betrayal, at least her mind, Esther looks for some place private to sit and have a good cry. Variel provides a suitable shoulder.
Date: 1938-12-16
Location: The Great Staircase, Hogwarts - The Examination Room, Hogwarts
Related: A Kind Word and a Smoke - Catalyst Event.Talking While Saying Nothing - Where they find eachother later.

Esther comes in from the roof, her bountiful hair flowing as she moves down the staircase like the raging torrent of emotions that she is. It'd be hard to tell with how quickly she's walking, but there are tears in her eyes. Most people would be at lunch right now - So the great staircase is relatively isolated. When she reaches the second floor landing, the girl pauses… Her slender chest heaving, as she tries to hold in the tears. Somewhere. Anywhere.

Meanwhile, Variel's on his way up, carrying nothing but his wand and a thick book of advanced student charms. The sound of footsteps gives him a second of pause- not from fear, but embarassment- he's hunting for someplace to practice his charms in private, but the footsteps are too fast to be calm. So he heads up anyway, in search of what he expects to be a distressed first year, lost and trying to get back to someplace familiar.

Esther turns to and fro, and spots someone coming up the stairs. Fight or flight. And right now, she's already running. She can't break down here. Not like this. Everything is growing all wet and fuzzy to her sight. The girl looks towards the corridor, and turns for it, her footsteps fast and light. She glances at the girls bathroom - No. She can't let them see her either. The examination room is her best bet - The door is flung open, and then slammed closed once she's through it. A moment later, and she's leaning against the wall beside the door. A fist clenched, held up against her heart, the first choked sob slipping free. The young woman slides down against the stone, biting her lower lip against the urge to cry. Poor darling.

Esther is lucky and unlucky all at once. Her luck broke when she caught Variel's attention- neither the sort to back down nor leave a friend in need, the sight of the thick plume of hair darting down the hallway was enough to set him on her trail. In her fortune, however- he's the sense not to yell her name. He catches the door slamming behind her, and catches up quickly enough. The door's opened and shut behind him, murmuring, "Recedito," under his breath as he seals the door to keep anyone else from overhearing, and preventing sound from invading, either. He's a bit out of his element- he's got four siblings, sure, but they're all guys, and younger. He tucks away the wand and sets down his book, crouching quietly beside Esther. "Hey," is the soft lead to his voice. "… what's wrong."

Lucky and unlucky? When Esther notices the door hasn't closed, her other hand is revealed to be clutching her wand - And the delicate tip is whipped in the direction of Variel. Her eyes wide, confused. Adrift in emotion. The heaving gasps slowly fall silent, as her wand is lowered. The girl - Admittedly something of an eccentric - Brings herself to a calm in a slow, controlled manner. It wasn't the breakdown she needed but… It was enough to keep her going. The girl sighs slowly, and gentle wipes underneath her eyes, catching any tears taht might have fallen. Nothing is said, yet.

Variel sits, slowly, even when the wand whips up and towards him. He settles cautiously against the wall where Esther's dropped, watching as she forces herself calm, giving her time without pushing. He watches her sidelong so she doesn't feel stared at nor ignored.

Soon, the only sound in the room is Esther's breathing. The girl sighs, gently, and glances at Variel again. A flush in her cheeks. She feels a little shame. "I…" A pause. "… I'm just so fucking sick of the games." She wears. Unusual for the sweet girl to swear. "… I just want everyone to shut the hell up… Go away and let me be in peace…" She sighs,looking at her shoes instead. Her wand touches the ground, and she presses her hands into it.

"I'll go if you really want me to, Esther, but I'd rather not. You… seem like you could use someone safe to… lose some ballast to. Open up and just go. I don't play games. Y'know I don't. Say what y'need to and it stays in this room an' in my'ead. That's far as it'll go." He reaches over and lightly touches her shoulder, just with his fingertips, gauging whether she's the sort to take comfort at contact when upset or to reject it. "… you want t'tell me what'appened?"

Esther's had physical affection and reinforcement used against her - Her hand comes up swiftly, delicate fingers closing around Variel's wrist and gripping tightly, as if she's about to throw it off… But then she releases it again, and sighs. The girl seems to be running almost on auto pilot… She shakes her head slowly. "… I'm sorry, Variel. I'm just… I'm finding all of this a bit much." She gestures to Hogwarts. The rumours about her might not have escaped his ears.

Truth be told, all he's heard is that she has outbursts. He stays calm, forcing himself not to jerk when she grabs at him, relaxing his hand to gently press his palm to her shoulder when she releases him. "I got that sor'a impression from the running and all. I've never seen you like this before, though, Esther. What happened? What's got you so broken up?"

"I… I've lost another friend." Esther finally admits. "And a great deal of my dignity, it seems." She sighs again. "I'm sick of this. Sick of Slytherin. Sick of never feeling safe" Quite heavy words to say. But with her current situation, who wouldn't be. "… Most of all, I'm sick of people being so much less than what they tell me they are." She places her hand over his. Comfort. She only see's it as comfort.

Variel tightens his fingers when she rests her hand over his, squeezing gently. "Do you want to tell me who quit? Or what over?" He's making sure to stay still and close, stable and present. "You don't really seem the type to do much to earn someone's displeasure that way. What happened, Esther?"

"Clearly I am." Esther responds simply. "Else it wouldn't have happened." She frowns, slowly putting her wand away. "… Just… House business." Alphard. Medusa. Two of her least favourite topics right now, although another name was about to be added to that list. "Either people don't listen… OR they just don't care how I feel."

"Possibly both. One of the strengths of your house, you know, is that everyone's got big, lofty goals- but a lot'a the time, that means everyone's got an agenda. An' I don't mean to be rude, but I've seen more times than not that agendas win out over people. It's that kinda ruthlessness that people associate with Salazar's." Variel keeps his hand gently rubbing at her shoulder. "… you don't hafta tell me anythin', Esther. But I'm not gonna spread it 'round. I just want'ta know why my friend's hurtin'."

"I told you. I've lost another friend." Esther notes sadly. "… And I don't know if I can deal with losing any more. Seems like no matter what I end up playing someone elses game." She slowly reaches up, and places a hand on his shoulder in return. "Variel, I'm sorry." She forces a smile onto her face. One could possibly hear the clunk. "But the last think you need is to know the kind of shit that my housemates dream up to keep ourselves occupied."

"Not worried about me, Esther. Worried about you. I'm fine. If you don't want to talk, s'fine. Just… like I said. Worried about you." His smile is small, but genuine. "Besides. I have an idea of how things go. I do see some of it from the outside." There's a moment of quiet, then a simple, heartfelt, "I'm sorry y'lost a friend, Esther. I wish y'hadn't. I can tell it hurt."

Esther brushes herself off, and slowly pushes herself to her feet. "There's machinations at work I shouldn't disturb… They may be cruel. They might use me, and toss me aside… But it might just make for a better future for the house." She bites her lower lip. "For the Greater Good." Grindlewalds words. Bullshit. A flash of anger returns to her eyes, before she forcibly supresses it.

Variel climbs to his feet as well. "You don't believe that. And I'd bet that no matter what happened, it wasn't "for the good of the house." Something happened, for whatever reason, and it cost you a friend, and a lot of your trust in your house, feels like. That doesn't strengthen the house, and Grindelwald's creed doesn't stick very well there- your whole house is already pure." He keeps close, avoids moving too much. "I want to offer insight or something, Esther, but I don't really know what happened." He shifted a little to help keep himself in the middle of her vision. "All I've really got for you is myself, and the reassurance that no matter how badly your housemates treat you, it's not gonna change my opinion of you. I'll still be your friend." He caught the flare of anger, and reached back up to gently take her shoulder, turning her more fully towards himself. "Hey. Relax…"

"Trust. In Slytherin?" Esther's laughter is honest, ableit brief. The girl seems to have perked, although her eyes are red-rimmed. "Some day, Variel… I'll have to tell you the full story. But… I have to attend to. If I miss lunch, poor Tom will starve, and that wouldn't do him any good." A sigh. Possibly the only person in house she could trust, these days. Sweet, kind Tom Riddle.

"That'll have to do, I suppose. See to Tom, then, make sure he gets something to eat- and you, too. I don't want to look silly for leaving that little bit of stretch in your waist and bust." He grins teasingly. "It'd ruin the full picture- beautiful robes only fit one beautiful girl perfectly. So take care, alright?"

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