(1938-12-17) Generous Apology
Details for Generous Apology
Summary: As per her agreement, Esther comes to make an apology to Alphard. It's not as bad as she thought it was going to be.
Date: 1938-12-17
Location: Slytherin Common Room, Hogwarts Castle.

It was still morning in the Slytherin Common Room, the nest of snakes yet to be emptied for the day's classes. With winter break so close, there was an electric restlessness in the air. There was a lack of inhibitions, a spark of anarchy in the students as they finally saw an end to endless study hours. The younger students were chasing each other like crazy little guinea pigs, making squeaks and squeals and laughter. The older kids might play it cooler, but the same spirit was in them, too. Alphard was squatting with a group, playing gobstones. It was surprisingly age-diverse, considering how the dark haired boy usually wrinkled his nose when younger students tried to be social with him.
"EWWWW!" Someone just got squirted at, which immediately provoked a loud cacophony of laughter from the other players, and the pointing of fighters.

Esther emerges back into the common room. She's relatively silent, as she sheds her bookbag, leaving it by the door, and pulls her robe tightly around herself. Short, shallow breaths, as she tries to accept just what it is she's about to do. Slow steps, as she makes her way to her tall, dark haired cousin… To tap him lightly on the shoulder, and ask him. "I… I owe you an apology. A surrender." It's her normal speaking voice. And takes EVERYTHING to maintain it. "… How do you want it?" She asks. Part of her wants to know just how painless this might have been, for anyone else.

Esther's shoulder tap drew his attentions, and that of the rest of the players. Initially there was a bit of surprise in his eyes when he found just who was trying to grab his attention. Then it passed, his features taking on that characteristic cool arrogance he was so very good at projecting. He stretched up to his full height, subconciously broadening his shoulders and chest in the process. The instinct of a bully; making himself as big and imposing as he possibly could.
"Yes, yes you do," he agreed, making no attempt to hide the smugness in his voice.
"Oh, it doesn't have to be so hard. Just say you're sorry for conspiring against me, for being an ungrateful and snide little brat, for failing to live up to Slytherin's standards. Promise you'll keep in line from now on, that your challenge of me is at an end. Then bow your head and look contrite, and all is forgiven." He shrugged, as if it was nothing much he was asking for.

Of course there's suprise. One doesn't go to war lightly. But when your own allies so soundly desert you, what other options do you have? Esther bites her lower lip for a moment. She's tiny, compared to him, and the way she pulls her robe inwards makes her look even smaller. It's /clear/ to everyone watching just how little she is. "I spoke with Genevieve Solomon," Annunciated clearly. "And she helped me see the error of my ways, Alphad. I'm sorry - For conspiring against you," Her cheeks are flushed. "For being an ungrateful, and snide little bra, and for failing to live up to Slytherin's Standards. I will keep in line from here on out, much as I can, and I will challenge you no longer." Her head bows. Esther looks contrite.

The scorecard should read. Alphard - 1, Jenny - 1, Medusa - 0, Esther - -2.

Alphard wore a victorious and shit-eating grin, of the sort that told every Slytherin present - if they'd somehow failed to hear Esther's words - what had just occurred. He reached out with fake brotherly affection, intending to put his hand on the top of Esther's head as she dipped it low in public contrition. Then he'd even draw her in. A hug enforced by the sinewy hard strength of his encircling limbs. Where most young wizards really had no reason to be particularly athletic, Alphard's instinctual (and some would say extremely petty) need to physically dominate on and off the Quidditch Pitch, had seen to it that he was.
His lips made to all but brush against her ear, a soft little purr of black silk caressing her with cruelty. It wasn't meant to be heard by anyone else. "I don't believe you for even a second. But play nice, and I don't care what you think or what you're up to behind closed doors. I'm cutting my losses when it comes to you. You're destined to be a nobody, when with time you could've been something."

Esther shrinks, but it's only a little. Her robe is pulled tight, and then released when Alphard's hand approaches her. Control. Deep breathing. Thankfully her hair has her face covered as she's steered in, and ends up in a hug. She has to return it, too… For appearances sake. Esther is, as always, slender. Not physically fit, just underweight. And as she's pulled in close, she expects the cruelty - Although so close to her ear leaves a shiver.
Her own voice rises, just barely competing with his. "We might not agree on all things, dear cousin… And I may still make choices, say things that upset you… But I started something that I never, ever intended to let get this far out of control. So, do I?"
Esther pulls back slowly. It takes a lot of mental fortitude not to tear away completely. "Do I have your forgiveness?" She's still within arms. And within arms reach. Just the last few words had to be public.

"I wouldn't indulge your need to upset me, Esther. You can only say sorry so many times." Pat, pat on the head went his hand. Her initial withdrawal he'd stop, just for pure bastardly need to stick it. But after a second's worth of resistance, she was allowed her freedom. His arms fell away and the gap kept growing.
"Because we're family, Esther. Because you showed enough wits to do as Jenny advised you. Because, in the end, you're the one who started this, and I never really wanted to have to make your life a misery. Yes. You're forgiven. Just remember what you've promised." He started to turn away from her, a half smile of disgusting satisfaction warping his handsome features. His gaze ran across the room, pointedly resting on every single one present to make sure they all knew: In the end even the craziest rebels had to crawl back and beg forgiveness.
Then, in a fake absent voice, he added: "Now just repeat all of that at next meal, so the rest of the school knows Slytherin is whole and united."
"We can scratch the hug, though."

The first moment of resistance causes Esther to evaluate just how much she wants peace. She can still get to her wand, if she needs to - But then she's allowed to pull away, and offered another bite of the collossal shit sandwhich. She remains silent as he offers her his 'forgiveness', remaining contrite. Downcast. His final words are met with another slow nod. Of course she'll do it. Anything in the name of peace. And may Jenny forever remember the price she paid for it. "… Thank you, Alphard." The words are pushed out. They hurt, just as much as any of this.

"You're welcome, Esther. It's like I like to say." Actually it was like Riddle liked to say, but Alphard was happy to steal credit: "Pure-Bloods and House Slytherin needs to stand together. It helps nobody to hold onto grudges when someone obviously wants to make peace and mend bridges." His back was turned to Esther by now, because he was once more hunching down infront of the gobstone game. He'd do a couple of rounds before leaving for his classes.

She wants to correct him. But it's too soon to push her luck. Esther walks back to her bag. And then she's gone. Soon, it'll be Breakfast. Time for an apology.

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