(1938-12-18) Basking Before the Fire
Details for Basking Before The Fire
Summary: Peyton, Grayson, Lucretia and Esther discuss just what discussing the future may hold. Lucinda emerges for a rummage. Lu falls asleep, and once Peyton has gone to bed, is escorted by Esther back to the dorms. Esther and Grayson look to be settled in for a long night…
Date: 1938-12-18
Location: Slytherin Common Room, Hogwarts
Related: Pringle's No Perseus

This close to the witching hour; though really, what isn't a witching hour at Hogwarts, the common room is far from crowded. The green glow from the enchanted windows provides enough illumination for those still struggling to study, but overall the shadows have claimed the night.

They haven't claimed Peyton though; the Fifth year is settled comfortably on a couch near the fire, a high-necked forest green nightgown spilling about her figure - her princess complex most assuredly extends to her choices in sleepwear. She isn't sleeping though, she's got a cup of tea in one hand and a circular disk in the other, about the size of a dinner plate and filled with what looks like glossy, multi-hued pebbles. She idly turns the disk this way and that, as if trying to read some meaning into the patterns that form.

It wouldn't be unfair to say it seems like Esther's been avoiding people. In fact, the Witch has been going to bed immediately after dinner, and waking up around his time - The young woman descending into the common room from the dormitories in her nightdress, wrapped in a blanket. Her bookbag is whether her, her robes carefully folded up with it, so as soon as Curfew ends she can sneak away. Peyton is earned a somewhat dubious smile, but still a smile, as the girl makes her way before the fire as well… Using her blanket to shield herself from the fabric, and still leave enough to curl up with, she settles into an armchair, pulling her legs up and wrapping herself.

Though he's been here a while, Grayson Weaver's good at being unnoticed. By being boring. Of course, he's no stranger to his fellow Housemates, but he's always been pretty quiet. That isn't to say he's the sort who doesn't socialize, for a boring boy, he seems bored all the time as well. There he sits, still in his uniform, mostly, seated on one of the armchairs and watching the fireplace as it roars. His wand is being spun between his fingers, though with practiced care.

There's a quiet step on the stairs as a third-year follows Esther down from the dormitories a mere half a minute after the older girl. Looking like she might have slept but briefly, Lucretia's hair is sleep-mussed and falling darkly over half her face. Smothering a yawn she follows the slink of a large silver cat over to another of the vacant chairs that are drawn close to the fire. That he claims the squashy comfort of it before her merely makes her smile, a nudge given him so she can curl up in its cushions. "Hell—o." The one word is offered through a yawn to those already here, an arm snaking around her cat to pull him into her lap, rather like a large, floppy and boneless cushion.

"A bat's wing. No, it's more like a mountainside, I think," Peyton muses. "Yes, a mountainside." Sounding pleased with her deduction, Peyton consults the fat divination text-book spread open at her side, no doubt sourcing the meaning behind a mountainside-bat image. The quiet arrivals of her quiet Housemates get nary a glance from the Fifth year, her sea blue gaze fully distracted by the secrets of divination unfolding before her. Possibly.

"Cocoa. In a moment." Esther promises Lucretia, allowing herself her own cute yawn. "Hello, Peyton." She manages afterwards. Perhaps not the girl she'd been expecting, or dreading seeing. But it's still a familiar face. "You're looking as wonderful as ever. Sometime you'll have to tell me your secret." Tearing her away with conversation.

And then there's a sudden sneeze, and Grasyon lifts a hand up to rub at his nose. "Allergies are working double today. Only two things can make me sneeze like that. Cats," a glance is spared towards Lucretia's little feline friend, "or bollocks." His eyes settle on the disc Peyton is using, before they finally flick to the textbook she's using as a source.

"Bless you," Lu says to Grayson, offering the older fifth-year a quick smile. A protective stroke is given Gaston and she snugs herself deeper into the warmth of her armchair. "You and your cocoa are getting to be my downfall, Esther. I think that its half the reason I keep waking up of late; I just know I'll be rewarded for it." Tucking the edge of her ancient dressing gown more comfortably around curled legs, she looks over to see what Peyton's doing. Divination however is really not a thing that she's ever understood however.

"I'll bet you've been waiting ages to use that one, Weaver." Peyton says this without looking up from her book, a faint smile turning up the corner of her lips. "I give it a two out of ten; why don't you keep yourself busy figuring out the significance of those numbers while I actually do something meaningful with my time." She sets the disk on her lap then, looking up at the sound of Esther's voice.

"Plenty of rest and a minimum of stress," she informs the wild-haired girl. "It takes committment, around here." She gives the disk a brief jostle, and it rolls off her lap and across the floor like some ridiculously oversized coin, coming to a stop at Grayson's feet. "Go on, give it a shake," she dares him. "Expect something heinous, I've practically got my fingers crossed," she says, a poisonously sweet smile appearing as she looks over that way.

"Maybe my nights alone are beginning to drive me insane, and I'm desperate for the company." Esther kids, of course. Peyton is given a flattering smile, before the slight (And slightly clad) Esther rises from her blanket nest, and wanders away from the fireplace. Kettle tapped. Cocoa prepared. Coffee prepared. Cream. Sugar. Delicious. "Anyone else thirsty?" She inquires quietly, finishing off the drinks for herself and Lucretia with three gentle taps on each mug.

"What can I say, Crabbe," Grayson wonders whilst looking down at the disc as it rolls his way, obediently seizing it up and turning it towards him, watching it. "You know me, it takes me ages to come up with my material. Numbers makes the world go 'round, though, magic or not. For example, if we're doing Potions and you put too many snarfberries in, you're probably going to have a silly potion. Still, reckon," he allows, "I'll give this disc a whirl." He shakes it a few times, then stares. "…Amazing. I see you."
"I'm fine, thanks," the boy adds Esther's way.

Lucretia grins at Esther, running the hand that's not fussing her cat through her hair, pushing it back and away from her face before pulling it forward over her left shoulder. Was that a giggle when Grayson looks for a meaning in the disc? Surely not. "I have more faith in numbers than in interpretations of things that might or might not be," she says to the boy. "Its like dreams or nightmares; what could mean something to one person might mean a whole lot of other something to someone else."

"Ages," Peyton agrees with Grayson, eyes still on the disk in his hand. "Numbers are a fact of life, a constant. The mind is more clever than we give it credit for; it's easy to say two plus two is four, it's a different thing entirely to find the meaning in things indistinct. Divination is an art, I wouldn't expect you to understand. Just tell me what you see." And then he does, and she rolls her eyes. "It's clearly showing you the manner of your imminent death."

"Please?" she says, turning her attention to Esther for a moment. "Black, extra sugar. I'm going to be up all night working on this project; best make it double extra sugar if you could be so sweet?" she asks, returning Esther's smile with a fond one of her own.

"And we called it 'Magic'." Esther interrupts the debate between Arithmancy and Divination rather simply, easing a cocoa in Lucretia's lap, and preparing Peyton's drink. "Divinations takes set methods, and allows us to interpret the results. Arithmancy allows us to interpret methods, and sets results. I'll take all the hints I can get, but if you want to know the future, the only real way is to live to see it." Esther sounds positive despite all this. "The bottom of my teacup made me miserable, and I couldn't justify changing the numbers. I swapped to coffee long ago." It's a joke. Perhaps a mildly esoteric one. With a drink so sweet it could almost pull off a high-necked forest green nightgown, and her own coffee, she returns to her chair - Pausing only to give Peyton's drink to her.

"You're naked? My death has to do with you naked? Also, you're very queerly shaped," Grayson notes, staring into the disc and then looking up at Peyton, shaking the disc a little. "Are you wearing a corset under there?" He shakes his head and looks back down at the disc, letting out a low whistle. "Bloody hell. Really, I mean, you'd never guess by looking at your face, Crabbe." He looks over towards the third-year. "You're very opiniated for a midget," he teases, and it's hard to guess if it's a compliment or not, but he turns the disc towards her. "Isn't this weird?"

"Thank you," Lu says to Esther, hugging her cocoa in the curl of both hands. Easing her legs a little so that Gaston slips deeper into the cradle of her lap, she takes a cautious sip and peers at the disc Grayson holds her way. "I suppose that I could play the mute and never have an opinion, but I might pop from the effort of keeping my mouth shut. Not, I don't suppose, that there aren't those that would cheer such a thing." Leaning over the arm of her chair, she does make an effort to see what Grayson is seeing in the arrangement of the pebbles, but it all just looks a jumble to her and so with a small furrowing of her brow and the tiniest uplift of her shoulders, she admits defeat. "It looks more like a giant squid to me."

"You do not see me naked," Peyton tells Grayson hotly, her cheeks turning pink and her expression shifting from amused to irritated, and she motions for him to return her divination tool, fingers grabby-handing in his direction. "Crass, crude; most assuredly lacking in chivalry," she informs him, as if reading him his Miranda.

"Accepting her drink from Esther for the time being, she sets her cup of cooled tea aside in favor of the dangerously sweetened coffee, blowing a soft breath over the dark surface. "You cannot escape divination; the truth lies in all things; from the curl of your hair to the dance of the flames - tea leaves are simply a subtle medium." She goes back to silently demanding her toy from Grayson, one hand outstretched imperiously.

"Lucretia, please stop saying such things. No-one worth listening to spends their time crushing others." Esther directs a glance at Grayson, before returning it to Lu. "We build others. Our friends, and our enemies. To make them into better people, to build better futures." She's taking on an almost Riddlish edge. If only she spoke of the glory of Slytherin House somewhere in there. Peyton's banter earns her a sweet smile. "Oh, but I don't know it. I've just stopped looking for answers." A sip of her coffee, and she swaps herself back up again.

"That's what I'm saying," Grayson replies to Lu. "Squiddish. It's like she's a… what's the word? I wasn't paying attention in class that day." Still, when Peyton makes grabby-hands, he tosses the disc her way, a well-aimed toss that's mostly underhanded and gentle enough that it won't hurt her if the disc hits her in a bad way. He does exchange glances with Esther, before exhaling at her words. "She started it," he says in mock sulkiness, before leaning back in his chair. "Numbers make more sense. Numbers don't lie."

Lucretia nosecrinkles sleepily at Esther. "Yes, Esther," she says, another mouthful of her cocoa taken before she sets its aside. Sleepy. So sleepy. There's another small yawn and she hugs Gaston into her. And that might be the last that the others hear out of her for a while, her eyes closing. Of course, she'll claim she's only resting them, she's not falling asleep. She's not.

"Esther," Peyton laughs, slipping into familiarity and using her house mate's first name, "You flip flop between views faster than a glamered mirror. I dont mind this outlook though; stick with it a while." She smiles again, then deftly catches the disk when Grayson throws it back to her. "Thank you," she says primly. Studying the shapes that have formed in it since it last touched his hand, she points out, "A wand, and a broken circle. One signifies a focus on tasks at hand, the other a plan laid but not yet executed," she says, without having to consult the book for such simple signs.

"Whatever you're up to," she says, "I want no parts of it." She stretches subtly, her back arching before she settles back into the couch cushions comfortably. If she is wearing a corset, which is unlikely, it's certainly doing its job. "What are your plans this holiday, Weaver? Friday frees us from the castle," she reminds him, as if anyone could forget.

"Either which way, you're interpreting /something/. That's what makes it an inexact science." Esther notes that Lu is falling asleep. A mental note is made to wake the girl and put her to bed soon. Esther shrugs a little to Peyton, and smiles again. "They're all related, I promise. Situations are fluid, Peyton. May I?" She holds her hand out for the diskk. "I haven't looked into my future for sometime. Might be I'll see something recognisable."

"You're looking into *your* future? Wouldn't that be a wee bit difficult? I mean, you know too much about yourself, you wouldn't be able to make an objective observation. It'd be more of an inexact science than Arithmancy is," counters Grayson, leaning back and watching the two Slytherin girls while looking over towards his own books nearby, grabbing the top one, which is a book on Charms rather than anything else.

Peyton holds onto the pebble-filled disk. "Weaver is right," she tells Esther. "You can't go about trying to cast for yourself, it interrupts the flow of connectedness when we stretch to find truths - and even subconsciously, anything you saw would be a stretch of some sort." She casts a doubtful look toward Grayson when he reaches for the textbook. "Don't try anything funny," she warns, mildly enough. "And way to ignore my question," she adds, giving him a hurt look, complete with lower lip quiver - but only just slightly.

"An objective read isn't much better." Esther responds calmly. "Sometimes looking into your own future can tell you far more about yourself than what's around the corner, anyways." The girl settles into her couch, pulling her blankets up further. The conversation has turned, and she's dropped interest in it.

Lucinda sneaks down the hall, a bleary cast to her eyes as she rubbed her face. She yawns deeply, stepping into the outer arcs of the light cast the roaring fire. She hesitates, when she notices a bunch of folks sitting around in the middle of the night. Cinda walks a bit closer, a little further into the firelight. She crosses to a sofa that, thankfully, no one is using at the moment. The girl is dressed in night clothes, a long black gown that is full and billows around her feet. The top has a collar and sleeves with green lace decorating the black sleeping gown in a demure way. The material hides her non-existent curves is lots of well tailored black velvet. Warm winter dugeon jammies. On her feet are a pair of slipper similar to toe shoes. This sleepy girl continues to dig in the sofa… seeming to search for something.

"I've got no plans. Was thinking of staying in the castle," Grayson says back to Peyton, finally answering her question, though his eyes settle on her lip quiver and then he gives her this exasperated look. "I'm not in the mood for the whole song and dance about how my grades are, what I'm up to, that sort of thing," he says next, while peering over towards Lucinda at her arrival, then looking back over towards Esther. "Well. You'd know more than me," he concedes.

"Working on being mysterious, Weaver?" Peyton asks blithely, but for all her casual words, there's no denying a certain curiosity in her tone all the same. "Anyway," she says, after a moment's pause, "Alyssa wanted me to even out the number of boys and girls going on her ski trip, after she invited Jenny I invited Silas. We're one boy short, though since she wants to invite all the girls herself personally, we'll probably wind up needing more in the long run." A clarification then, "So don't feel special. I just figure it beats staring at Hogwarts walls over the break, and you'll probably tumble at least once, which I would pay to see. So - you in?"

Esther remains wrapped in her blankets, cuddled into her couch, staring at the fire.

The girl continues to look in the sofa, for once her long wispy blonde hair is down and allowed to hang to her shoulders due no doubt to the late hour. Lucinda hrmms softly, her side is to most of those gathered but she turns as she lifts one of the cushions on the couch and peeks under with an exasperated sigh… After a pace she turns once more, now facing everyone, she slumps onto the sofa she tore apart. "Weaver," She remarks with a curt nod when she faced the boy across a distance. Cinda crosses her arm and purses her lips- a gesture which seems to uninvite further conversation so she may stew. She only glances sidelong at the girls after they speak of ski trips. The only comment their adventures recieves is a raised brow.

"Sure," Grayson says lazily, and it's hard to guess if he even heard the question, because he flips the book open and has began peering at some of the numbers within. "Slughorn," he greets Lucinda, rising his gaze to her and watching her for a long moment before he looks towards Peyto, and then back to the woman. "…You're not invited, are you?"

Peyton spares a glance at the blonde fourth-year, but she's a fourth year so her attention immediately drifts elsewhere. "I don't know why I bother talking to you, it's like talking to a brick wall," she tells Grayson, and she shifts in her seat to rather purposefully offer him her back, since she's being ignored. It's petulance, through and through. "Esther, I know things outside of academia and vengeance are hardly your cup of tea, but I really hope you'll say yes when Slughorn invites you." Referring of course to Alyssa the fifth year 'Slughorn' naturally. "I wouldn't say anything if I didn't expect you to say no, but I do - so consider this my official 'you-owe-me'."

"Oh, I probably should have been but I think someone heard early on that I wasn't interested." Intones the soft spoken girl. Cinda has a direct delivery that lacks any intention to sugar coat. She smirks to a wry effect. "I'll be home for the Holiday, in London with my family. Da is catching a port key back from Ballycastle on Christmas Eve so I don't see why I'd want to be anywhere else." The simple shrug, honest and proud. "Although I hope you lot all have a gas." Lucinda remarks with that same short restricted smile. Her greyish blue eyes flit over Grayson's face and then drift to the fireplace.

Peyton receives a sad little smile. "Would be that I could. I'll be spending New Years here." And without an apparating license, she'll be staying here. Esther's answer is left at just that. Part of her is suprised that word hasn't already got out. The other part of her takes it as some small victory. She's not been fully betrayed.

"Oh, I probably should have been but I think someone heard early on that I wasn't interested." Intones the soft spoken girl. Cinda has a direct delivery that lacks any intention to sugar coat. She smirks to a wry effect. "I'll be home for the Holiday, in London with my family. Da is catching a port key back from Ballycastle on Christmas Eve so I don't see why I'd want to be anywhere else." The simple shrug, honest and proud. "Although I hope you lot all have a gas." Lucinda remarks with that same short restricted smile. Her greyish blue eyes flit over Grayson's face and then drift to the fireplace.

"Shame," replies Grayson, as he looks between the women and then down at his book. "Well. I've never went skiing before. Always assumed it was a Muggle thing," he says, with a brief glance and smirk up to gauge Peyton's reaction. "I suppose I'd be willing to try it, though," he comments next, with a bit of a shrug while leaning back in his chair and shrugging his shoulders as he flips a page.

Lucinda yawns again, rising to her feet and barely excusing herself as she mummbled a g'night and headed back to bed. Lost thing apparently left unfound.

"It's at the Slughorn estate in the Pyrenees, why would she need an invitation?" Peyton reminds Grayson. She doesn't speak to the younger girl publicly, but she has no problem speaking of her, it seems. "Anyway, as lovely as it's been to see all of you this late night, especially you Esther, outside of the dorms, I really should go get my beauty rest. Bathing in the blood of First Years only gets you so far," she quips. Joking, one would hope. Gathering her things, she adds, "Let me know if you change your mind Lowe, spending the holidays without any family around sounds abysmal, even if they do drive you a bit batty."

Esther sighs a little. "It's been wonderful seeing you too, Peyton. I'm afraid this came about with little enough warning. We'll see what fate makes of it, though."

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