(1938-12-18) Mother Leaves an Impression
Details for Mother Leaves an Impression
Summary: After a day of avoidance, Silas and Genevieve talk about the newest wrinkle in their "arrangement", namely, the fact that there are rumors of his betrothal to another. Sadly, this does involve some physical atonement…
Date: 18 December, 1938
Location: Serpentine Maze

Once past the Potions classroom the dungeon passages quickly start twisting and turning, doubling back on themselves and in general becoming confusing enough that someone without an intimate knowledge of their workings tends to end up right back where they started. As if the complexity was not enough the dungeon passageways are ill lit by guttering torches as well as being eternally chill. At the bottom edge of some of the walls found in the dungeon are carved with slithering depictions of snakes stretched out along the floor. In one dead end the snakes are carved up the corners of and edges of the dead end. On the flat of the dead end wall which there is a bas-relief of a man in medieval robs with a point goatee and a bald head. Most of the mans features have long been worn down. Dewy condensation glitters on his stony bald head.

The click of Jenny's boot heels announce her presence long before she actually arrives, the sharp corners and twisting turns of the maze enough to alter precisely which direction it is that they're coming from. But the steps are off, produced from the faint bludger induced swagger that colors her general graceful gait. The dimly lit passage way plays with the shadows as well, so that what's only a faint bruise against her jawline looks far worse as the darkness dances against her skin like some log lost lover. For all of it, however, she navigates the murky space with the ease of one long familiar.

Today, many have avoided Silas. His ready and constant grin have been gone… for the most part his expression being grim at the best, furious at the worst moments. Even first years who would have normally approached him gave him a wide berth today. News had spread, and every accusatory… and even pitying… glance has only served to further ruin it.
But he's been alone. Dreadfully alone… and the conversation with Morgana the night before had only somewhat assuaged it. That he had seen neither hide nor hair of Jenny since the morning before tugged at him, though. He'd tried to find her. He'd even found her once, at the pitch… and had just watched… until the loneliness of it had forced him to walk away from even that. So, he retired for a while to the chill of the maze. He knew it like every Slytherin knew it, knew the ways she liked to go, and so was waiting for her, face at least downcast for the moment, when she walked around a corner.
It was likely, however, that she'd notice him first, even if he heard her steps.

It's a funny thing, watching Jenny on the pitch when she's upset. The pain becomes a type of therapy. Watch too long, or with a close enough attention and it becomes apparent that she's off, repeatedly, on purpose. That it's timed to the collision of the bludgers. That she's actively trying to be hit and more, succeeding. It's like she wants to be hurt. She had. There were no words to explain the satisfaction that had come from that. None at all.
But at least there was contentment. At least it cleared the mind and that had worked, until she'd gone to speak with Alphard and the boy had applied a little more insight and care than she'd given him credit for possessing. So it's an almost cruel twist of fate that it seems her very thoughts have conjured him, for all she did was turn the corner and…there he was. For a moment, one easily missed with the way his face was downcast, there was a plethora of emotions in her eyes and they ran the gauntlet, joy because his presence seemed to bring it instinctively, the wash of sadness that came on its heels, the bright flash of anger and then, the way it washed away into nothing.
"Sy?" The blink came natural, pure Jenny, if she'd not been in her current mood, "What're you doing skulking about the maze?"

"It seemed the thing to do?" Comes Silas' reply. A hint of the intended humor comes along with it, and for the life of him he tries to smile, since the statement is so absurd, "In truth, I've been hoping to catch you, before we get to be seen by prying eyes and willful ears. I knew you had to come down here at some point, after you were done practicing." A shrug.
"And frankly, because you're about the only person I think I could handle being around right about now."
When he finally looks up, recognition flares. He sees the bruise, how she carries herself, and recalls the odd cadence of her walk, and instantly all other emotions but concern flood his face, "Are you… okay?" What a stupid question… but about the only one he can manage.

"Well why wouldn't you want to be around anyone else? You're the nice one, after all. People actually like being around you, you know." It really was an interesting day for them, both for differing reasons but the intent was the same. Except..except she was being given credit for something the Queen couldn't manage, but also somehow painted the villain and he, well, he'd become a villain too, hadn't he?
Though the girl looks perplexed, for the sudden wash of concern on his face and affords him the kind of grin that's crooked and smug all at once. "I'm brilliant." The unsettling part, is that at least as far as he's suddenly so concerned about, she is. Absolutely perfectly fine. "Nothing a bit of sleep and a bit of ice won't fix. That or a hot soak." At least she hadn't broken anything today.

The words sting. Enough so that he closes his eyes, turning his head to the side as he tries as best he can not to allow the emotions that he's feeling… emotions that he fears she'd assume focused on hers. "I'm glad you're doing well, Jenny. I heard about Esther, whatever that false show was."
He swallows. Hands clench for a moment. It's a range of emotions he doesn't ever let show, "I don't want to be around anyone else because I frankly could care less about what anyone else things of me… only you right now. Because of my mother. Because her letter. Because of her…" he goes silent, mentally reaching… the boy who is so careful and considered about what he says, reaching for a word until one he never, ever uses comes out instead, "because of her fucking games."
Now how's that for a bit of a shock?

Well that was…unexpected. "The girl's insane, but she's appeased Alphard. Honestly? She'll never realize just how big a fucking favor I did her, by making her do that. Why? Because I know how he thinks and I know how it would have ended for her if she'd pressed. I spared her. But there'll be no thanks for it. Which is…good, I suppose, because I ask for none." And that was that.
It's his reactions, the way his hands clench and then the words that are spilling past his lips that confuse her and then? Astound her. Silas cursed!!! And Jenny? Well…
"Perhaps it'll feel better after a little bit of sleep, hm? A little rest, some time to reflect? To let the ah…intensity of the emotion fade a little?"

Silas laughs, and although it's not derisive, there's no humor in it. "I thought it would last night… and after almost a day around again, left to my thoughts. But no. I don't think so. Not until I can excise all this…" He clutches at the sides of his robes instinctively, and for a moment his chin even quivers.
"Bile. That's the best word I can think of now. I needed…" He shakes his head, verbally stumbling, as if whatever play is going on here behind the scenes has truly unseated him. "I wanted to talk, to you, because I do have to pretend… but…"
He closes his eyes again, hands going to cover his face while he takes in a deep breath, tries to steel himself. "My mother hurts people. She'll never send a howler, or drill you down in public. No. She crafts a weapon out of another human being and sends them after you like some exploding toy. But she didn't just hurt me. She hurt you. She did something to hurt you just because I happened to defy her. She even hurt that annoying little," a growl, then, "All to score a point against me."

He's upset. It shouldn't…please her to see him so rattled. That should not be satisfying. Shouldn't be, but is. Oh how it is. Even the way he tugs at his robes, the way he struggles for his words and tosses his head about. The way he struggles. Good.
"Your mother didn't hurt me, Sy," Jenny replies, when the boy's finally spent himself enough that she can get a word in edgewise. "Honest." She's not even lying. At all. Not even a smidge. "I promise." See. Truths.
"Is the bile all out yet, or is there more?"

It's the truth of it, as it were, that seems to unsettle him even more, and he takes the final question as if it were a slap to the face. Silas stands there now, agape. And then the walls come up. Instinctive, face slipping back into a familiar mask, even if tinged a bit with red, "I… guess it has to be. I'm sorry… I didn't mean to appear so weak."
His hands clench again, and this time she may hear the crinkling of paper as one fist hits his side. "You must think me an idiot, to go on so. Again, I'm sorry."

"I don't think you appeared weak," again, it's not a lie. That is perhaps the sad part. "I think you appeared human and worried, concerned and upset and fretful and bothered. But those things don't make you weak, Sy. And it isn't as if you are the kind of person that let's those things control you so you won't end up becoming weak just because you've had a bad day or two." It's funny, the way she can do that. It surprises even her, how that bit of reassurance works, because it was reassurance. Silas is not a weak person. There is nothing to be gained from letting him believe it.
"Nor do I think that you're an idiot, Sy. If I thought you an idiot, I wouldn't have spent so very much of my time hanging around you, now would I? Do I strike you as the kind of person who associates with idiots?" At that point, the chit even stuck out her tongue. Not completely totally playful, but a glimmering at least, closer in that moment than any of those since she'd happened upon him.

Silas takes a few more calming breaths, and continues to steel himself. She may say these things. She may mean them… in her own way, but the truth, the bare truth that he had showed her, had been dismissed. Unwanted. He was expected to cast it aside… and that confused him all the more.
"I feel, very much in pieces right now, Jen. I don't know what I think, or know, right now." He says then, his voice evening out. "If you've been left unscathed by this," a pointed look goes to the bruise on her face, "then more's the better. At least one less person has been manipulated and wounded by this damned letter."
He pulls the letter out of a pocket in his robe, looking away again. The thing has been poorly-used. Crushed, reopened, crushed again. He looks at it. "I had thought this foolishness had died when I told mother and father what I thought of her, all those years ago," he being so old and all. "And now I had to break her heart. Again. Because I refuse to lie to someone, to string them along, or use them. Even she didn't deserve that." He then chuckles, but it's cold, for him, "At least we know I have a talent for something now."

How could he not know what he thought or felt? Particularly what he felt. Who said something like that? Especially who said something like that after she'd told him, plainly, that he'd been the one that she was thinking out. But he's confused. He'd told his parents years ago what he thought about some girl he was promised to and now he's feeling bad because he had to break her heart? Some girl he'd never been with? Some girl, who risked nothing at all to be around him and HE FELT BAD?!
That she was quiet was a testament to what was going on in her head and the way he looked at her, only had her lifting her chin in defiance as if proud of the marks that were settled there. Fuck his letter. And fuck his superiority too, while he went prattling on about how he refused to lie or string people along, to use them. Somehow that made him better than her? Better than anyone else? That made her bad? She'd had a good reason for doing what she did. Twin-fold, certainly. Esther had asked to take her actions back and she had protected Alphard, because it's what team mates did. That didn't fucking make her a bad person.
And she'd promised him that she wouldn't walk away, that the'd always try to pick up the pieces or some such, but at the moment the only thing she could remember was that she'd made a promise not to walk away.
"If I were you, Silas Adrian Meliflua, I would shut up right now, because if you don't, then I'm going to do my damnedest to break your jaw."
So much for keeping it all in.

For all it's worth, Silas actually does. He stands there, for a moment a flare of anger crossing his face. That side of him that he's been warring with, the hatred he has for what his mother has done. All the things he wants to pour out to the one person he thought he would be able to. The heartache of having to swallow it down. And then it sours. The mask breaks again, and even as he tries to match her defiance, he can't hold it. He's never had to before.
And, perhaps, perhaps that's what he deserves. But in that moment, as things break and try to rebuild in front of her, a single teardrop that he quickly wipes away. And then, with a voice almost too soft he squeaks out, "Then do it." Break him. It would be easier than this judgment.

There are some things that one simply does not invite temperamental, upset women to do. Or perhaps, Jenny. Whether it was the sight of the tear, or the invitation, which was checked in her mind as the kind of calling out that suggested she wouldn't do it…Jenny did. It was simply consideration that had it a little higher than strictly his jaw, so that it was his cheek she aimed to connect with instead.
"That's for not telling me you were promised to begin with! And for not clarifying your half-assed attempt to tell me that you were. And for implying I'm a terrible person because I used Esther's friendship and because I haven't told him, never mind that I tried to. I don't deserve being guilted over something, least of all by you and particularly when you haven't the faintest idea of all the details and especially in the wake of you promising that you'd never judge me AND, because you waited until now, until all I do is think about you every stupid day, until it hurts to know that I'm avoiding you, until I regret all of the other idiotic things I've done, until I think I love you, to go and make me feel horrible about it all."
Huffpuff, disgruntled glower that just had absolutely no hope of being a glower at all, because it was impossible to mask the affection in her gaze. "And don't you ever tell me that it's okay to hit you when I'm upset again, Merlin's balls, that hurt!"

Silas is not a big boy, at all. Nor does he know how to take a punch. The blow, which he does nothing to avoid, rocks his head back, cracking it into the wall he was leaning against. He sits there, dazed, as finally he hears her express the anger she denied.
Trying to recover. Trying to shake off the pain of the blow, both mental and physical, he becomes confused, "Esther? You mean her claim of you being responsible…?" Because he'd had no part, or knowledge, of that conversation. He'd left the room when she suggested it… and hadn't seen Esther since.
He tries to shake his head to clear the cobwebs again. "I'm not, Jen. I'm not. I don't… I didn't mean to imply…" his hands clench that letter again, crumpling it once more, "It's lies. Their plan. Rowena didn't even know. No contract. They just pushed her to think…"
And then those last few words click, and his face is in his hands, the letter allowed to drop to the ground.

"Yes, I mean her claim. I was." How could he not keep up?! But she didn't sound as upset as she had before, in fact there's hardly very much temper left in her at all. Surprisingly, that was decidedly therapeutic. Even if she is nursing her hand and gently brushing her thumb across her poor swelling knuckles. He was a lanky boy. He didn't have the softest face.
"And you might not have meant to imply it, but it happened and now it's done and uhm….," oh dear. What was he doing now? Why was he cradling his face like that?
"You're not crying, are you? Oh gods, please don't cry. I'm sorry I upset you. Please don't be sad, Sy? Please. It's okay, I promise it'll be okay. I'm not mad anymore, or at all even just…I really have no idea how to fix you when your like this but you promised that we'd neither walk away so you can't and," she was reduced to babbling, having crouched there beside him, a skinny arm draped out across the curve of his shoulders as she tried to decide whether or not she should just hug him or try and hold him and let him get it all out.
Her free hand took the letter though, not to look at, just to take away from him, to keep him from dwelling on it or someone else from finding it in case that it was forgotten where it fell. "….but if you could please stop going on about her bloody feelings, that might help keep things smoothed along." Rather than fanning cooling embers in an entirely different direction. "It sucks, but she's young and the world hasn't ended. So stop acting like it has." Provocation. It worked with fixing Esther once.

"I'm not crying," Silas replies, oddly enough with a far more even keel to his voice, "My face hurts like hell, but I'm not crying. I'm just cursing myself for a fool." He takes a deep breath. "I'll explain. Later. It it helps, she's a vapid, brainless, deadweight little nit. I can't stand her."
He pulls his heads away, and looks directly at Jen as she gets closer. "I'm far more worried about YOUR feelings. About how this impacts you. And I can only apologize for the implication."
He then weighs his words very carefully, thinking it over, "If I'm promised to anyone, Jen… it's not her." And then he looks her straight in the eye, and offers a smile, meeting her gaze with an eye that's already beginning to swell. The movement makes him wince, "We're gonna say that I stepped onto the pitch and a bludger hit me… right?"

"Well you shouldn't have told me to hit you!" Jenny complained with a whining note to her voice. And it was a whine. Like a puppy dog. "Why did you do that?! You can't just…I listen!" As if it were somehow his fault that she took him seriously. "And okay fine I was upset and I am sorry," the girl flopped down properly on the floor there beside him, wiggled in as close as she could get.
"My feelings are fine." And they were now. Oddly, with Jenny some things really were that easy. "Unless there's some other nasty surprise lurking in the shadows for tomorrow, in which case, we'll deal with it tomorrow." That one had a pleading note to it. Before she quieted, simply listening. If there was some strange sort of flutter with the words though, or the smile that came, it was that for now, she kept to herself.
"I told you that you shouldn't try and help me practice," his lie confirmed. "But! But but but, I've still got some of the potion left from when the bludger broke my jaw a couple of weeks ago. It'll put that bruise of yours to rights in no time. I'll just run in and slip it back out to you, please? It's the least I could do, I feel bad enough and that looks… Oh Sy, I'm so sorry!"

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