(1938-12-18) Pringle's No Perseus
Details for Pringle is No Perseus
Summary: In a sudden burst of honesty, Esther and Medusa see eye to eye, after the older student reveals why the toilets are unusable
Date: 1938-12-18
Location: Slytherin Common Room
Related: Basking Before the Fire

Esther is left reflecting while she stares into the fireplace, until Peyton slips off to bed. With a fond goodnight, the girl slides off warm, blanketed armchair, before she gets to the young Black cousin, and shakes her awake. Nightieclad, she walks Lucretia down to the girls dormitory, escorting her in, before she makes her way back out to her chair, and secretes herself back into it. She finds her coffee - Lukewarm. And sips it with a sigh. It's at least midnight now.

Remaining in his own chair, Grayson just turns another page of his book, looking briefly up at Esther as she returns from being a good little cousin, before looking back down at the dusty old tome in front of him, surprise on his face quickly schooled as he stretches once and then lets out an affected yawn, though his eyes are much too alert for him to be sleepy. Maybe he's bored.

The external door to the common room opens and Medusa walks in with a group of girls and an annoyed prefect. She yawns and shoves her hands into the pockets of her coat which she had thrown on over her dressing gown. On her feet are her wellies, in fact she looks more dressed to go outside than to the toilets. Making her way over to her sofa, the Slytherin Queen uncerimoniously flops down on it, lying down and resting her head on her folded hands. "I swear that man is an arse."

"I've started my bathing times for first thing in the morning." Esther responds calmly, acknowleding the Queen's entrance with a nod. Otherwise, she remains a blanketball in an armchair, however. "Being escorted by prefects is frustrating even before they started to get upset about it. Is there nothing that can be done, Medusa?" Esther is of course, talking about the Bathroom situation. Plus, it would mean that she could spend less time in nightie and blankets, which would be great.

"Which man? The prefect?" wonders Grayson dully, not looking up from his book, the Slytherin boy still clad in his robes, his wand being used as a bookmark for the moment. Eventually, he lifts his gaze up to look over Medusa, then tilts his head. "Malfoy," he greets her.

"Pringle," answers Medusa in part. She opens and eye and looks at the boy, "Weaver." Drawing in a yawning breath Medusa then answers Esther. "Pringle got himself into a spot of bother before the Halloween feast. He caught me in his office, I was only there to wait for him and ask for some advice but as I went in I saw someone running off. Whoever that student was they left him some sort of mocking gift which he claimed was from me. So he strung me up in ropes and chains to try and torture a confession from me, but of course I didn't break." She tucks a bit of pale moonlight coloured hair behind an ear. "Then touted me off to Sluggy for punishment. Sluggy took away points but Pringle wanted a week's detention. Anyhow, the headmaster intervened and said the points were punishment enough because there was no proof I had done the other. As retaliation Pringle has kept the girls toilets in here locked up since." Her eyes open and she tilts her head so she can see Esther, "I've gone to Sluggy and he just wrings his hands and says he keeps asking Pringle, who keeps swearing that he's working on it."

Esther listens attentively. And the look of horror on her face seems to grow. It's a story she hasn't heard before. "I… I'm sorry, Medusa." For her part in it, which was of course non-existant. Her hands are gripping eachother tightly beneath the blankets, as she teethes upon her lower lip. "I had no idea. I wish I had /something/ of… Any kind to offer in return." The girl bites harder. There's even a part of her that wants to hug the heir tightly. It's matched, by the part that doesn't want to die horribly.

This has the Weaver boy's attention, him closing his book and listening closely, tongue working in his cheek as he watches the Slytherin Queen for a long moment before settling the book aside on the small table. He looks troubled at the story, but doesn't offer any words himself, his lips tightly pressed, watching Medusa before looking at the hearth.

"It's alright Esther, but thank you anyway. I didn't get the worst of it, Douglas did. The ropes and chains left marks on me and he got very angry, decided to take the detention for me. Pringle wouldn't have it and decided he was going to make us both suffer." Despite being a Malfoy Medusa does not have the usual wan or even ghostly complexion but one of healthy pinkness, however as she recalls the events of October she lives up to her name as her skin pales. "When it became clear what Pringle's intent was Douglas pulled out his wand and threatened him. Flint couldn't counter that, not really and I'm not sure he cared to. It's one thing to prevent the niece of the chair of the board of governors from having an undeserved punishment and quite another to -" she swallows thickly. "Two weeks. Douglas got two weeks torture at the hands of that madman. Every day after lessons he'd have to go in for hours, weekends too. I hate him, I truly detest Pringle and when he dies at the hand of some former student who's mind he has broken I will not shed a tear."

That's too much. Esther's freed from her blanket prison, upon hearing the story. So much for monsters, revenge, or sacrifice. There's a soft girl with an innocent heart underneath all of it. Assuming she's not struck down in some way, shape or form, Medusa is about to get a teary-eyed hug from the slender Lowe.

The emotion behind the story, Medusa's words, it just has Grayson swallowing a little and keeping his eyes on that roaring fire, though his hand clenches around his wand, chest rising and falling as he brushes his knuckles over an eyebrow, rather than under his eye, wetting his lips needlessly. "I'm sorry," he finally, finally says, but it might be too quiet to hear, especially with all the tearful hugging going on, or the violence that might follow.

Caught up in her own reverie Medusa is startled by Esther's offer of affection, but she accepts it in the way it was intended. "Thank you," she says, patting the younger girl on the back. "I try not to think about it or bring it up in front of Douglas as you can imagine. But that…that's why the toilets are locked. With luck Pringle might tire of his game over the holidays, or then again he might hold out until I finish my exams." Medusa moves her feet, giving Esther space at the end of the sofa so that the younger girl might sit. "This place…it's full of battles you have to fight. Against yourself. Against other houses. Against teachers. What you never expect is that there is an underlying evilness to it. Pringle has a list of names on his wall of students he regularly tortures; purebloods, halfbloods, mudbloods. He uses magic on them, stupifies them so they cannot move and then uses spells which cut and dig into them, fists and physical instruments of torture." Her voice takes on a decidedly more bitter tone as Medusa goes on. "Then the chains are removed and you are set outside the office, sent to find your way to Madam Spleen who gives you pain potions to ease the burns and heal the cuts but they never think about the way it damages you inside; in your heart and your mind."

Esther is almost clinging. It's a hug of utmost sympathy. No stand-offish nature, just a sincere offer of human support for several long seconds, until the suggestion that she should move is 'accepted', and she sits at the end of the Sofa. "I… Why, Medusa? Why do you tolerate it? How!?" The importance of her questions might not be lost upon the Queen, as Esther's teary eyed questions. Without her blanket, it's easy to see how tense the girl is at the sound of the injustice. Her nails bite into her palm viciously, her small hands curled into tight fists. The girl is an activist, after all.

There's really not much else Grayson could offer here, keeping his gaze on that burning fire, though he's obviously still listening, hand moving to retreive his wand and clutch at tightly.

"There is not much which could be done. Who would care? The teachers know what he does, even the nice ones like Beery." The herbology professor and head of Hufflepuff house is Medusa's favourite teacher. "The governors know. Our parents know. Pringle is merely the latest in a long line of sadistic torturers. While certainly there are more of us than there are of them, they have decades of advanced knowledge of magic we cannot even fathom." Medusa tugs her Gryffindor hat off her head and drags a hand through her hat squashed hair. "The only real way to change it is to change who sits on the board and then get a more sympathetic headmaster. Maybe somebody like Dumbledore. But even he doesn't stop what happens."

Esther shakes her head. Does she not want to believe? Or doesn't she believe at all. "Numbers mean something, Medusa. Enough students - Enough purpose - And anything can be stopped. If nothing else, we can send a message." A message. Hers suddenly seems insignificant in comparison. "A message that this can't be tolerated. That this can't be allowed." She bites her lower lip. "… That we're worth more than that." She's stayed on Pringle's good side. But her belief in Medusa's words is absolute. Her confusion grows, though, with every moment.

Esther's words afford her a dubious glance from Grayson, and a look back towards the hearth. He remains silent, beginning to twist his wand around his fingers as he watches the flames bitterly.

"Esther, this isn't a easy battle," warns Medusa softly. "And not everybody can afford to fight. Both Douglas and I have a lot to lose if we get into anymore trouble this year. Our entire future is at stake." Her gaze flits to Grayson. "You are very quiet Weaver. What are your thoughts?"

Esther… She sighs, slowly. "… Medusa… You've lost a lot already. Douglas, too." The girl bites her lower lip. She then looks at Weaver, her cheeks flushing bright red. He's heard all of it. He might as well hear some more. "I've got… I've got a lot left in me." That's a strange way of volunteering. But Medusa would know the girl so well already - That she has something of a young fanatic on her hand, a girl who believes with her whole heart and soul. An idealist.

"Not quite sure what you're asking me, Malfoy. Yeah, I think it's bollocks," Grayson agrees, looking towards her. "I think it's bollocks nobody will stop him," he goes on. "I think it's bollocks that it happened to you. What else can I think? That we're going to stop him?" he wonders, looking between both girls, shaking his head. "I'm a realist," he mutters. "All I know is I have to keep my head down, like I've always done, and not be interesting or important."

"This is a battle which will take years of planning and each move will require finite precision, Esther. Not one to rush into." Medusa shifts a little so that she is half sitting, half lying on the green leather sofa. "All of it is bollocks, Weaver. The whole lot of it. You are right there." Her mouth twitches with amusement when he outlines his plan for success. "So you're not power hungry like Peyton or Marcus or even Jenny Solomon?"

Esther's voice takes a hardened edge. "You're a /coward./" She calls him out. "What about your children, Grayson? What about your friends? What if Medusa was someone you could actually give a shit about?" Esther bites her lower lip again. It's a nervous habit. The mention of Jenny has her tighten all the more. Anger flashes briefly, but it's hidden behind sorrow. "Ambition be damned."

"Important people either die or go mad. I don't plan on doing either of those for another, I don't know, seventy, eighty years. Give or take half-a-decade," the Slytherin boy says with a shrug of his shoulders, looking back at his wand and watching it. "I'll be around, sure," he supposes, with a lift of his shoulders. "But I'm disinclined to fight any battles unless I have to. You were right: we're only students. The professors here aren't here because they couldn't hold a job anywhere else. They're here because they've got powers we can't even fathom right now." He looks to Esther. "What do you want from me? Look in the mirror, Lowe. We're only children."

Medusa lightly nudges Esther with the toe of her rubber wellington boot. "I am not saying to never fight Esther, just that it isn't a battle which can be won while either of us are here. It needs," she pauses and draws in a slow but deep breath, "it needs doing, however. But not rashly. Not without forward planning and knowing who all the pieces in play are." Grayson continues to amuse the seventh year. "A solid plan, Weaver. I tend to not stick my neck out unless I know what the likely outcome will be." Most of the time anyway.

"And because of it we're deaf and dumb?" Esther seems incredulous. "I'm sixteen years old. At what age am I entitled to fight? What spell do I need to know to care?" Lowe is certainly passionate. Dangerous, some could say. "As soon as you have a voice, an opinion, you're entitled to it. Sometimes," She glances at Medusa. "You need to shown you're wrong. Or learn what to do with it. But I would rather be struck down for my belief, than believe in nothing." A strong sentiment.

"And now you've shown I should've kept my bloody opinion to myself. I'm sorry I'm not going to be apart of your crusade, Esther. Got my own problems to deal with, they're not as important as yours, they're not as damaging as Malfoys, but it's what I've got." Grayson rises to his feet, gathering up his books and tucking them under an arm, shaking his head as he begins to stalk for the boy's dorms. "I'm going to take a step back. I'm really sorry about what happened. But I can't do a damn thing about it."

The look Medusa gives Grayson makes it clear she isn't judging him even if her fellow sofa sitter might be. "Goodnight Weaver." The Malfoy turns and looks at Esther. "Tell me what happened with Jenny," she says as soon as they are near enough alone. "I thought she was your good friend?" Medusa doesn't elaborate where she got this news from, the girl is known for having her spies.

Esther shakes her head. She's dismissive. Her belief system won't let her think any other way. Some things are more important than the self. The change of topic, so abrupt, catches her flustered… And actually brings all new tears to her eyes. "…I.. I did too. I was wrong." Of course, that's not going to be the end of it. Esther just needs some time to breath. Gather her thoughts.

Another yawn escapes Medusa, but she makes no move to leave the sofa. "Tell me about her. I know she hates me for some reason. I cannot say I know her at all really. Tell me who this snake in the grass is."

"… Jenny… I don't understand her. She's charming, pretty, funny…" Esther bites off her sentence there. Not a friend. "She played at being my friend, gained my trust, and then tried to bait me into apologising to Alphard by implying it would discredit you." Esther sighs. The hurt in her eyes is obvious. "And when it wasn't enough, she pressed the issue. So I gave her the apology she was after, and her friendship back." Esther looks down. "… I know she doesn't like you. Thinks you have an ego. That you're on the way out, and it's in her best interests to hasten it." The girl doesn't like what she's saying. It leaves an obvious distaste in her mouth. "Marcus, Peyton, Silas and her were all discussing it a few days previously."
A sigh. "… I don't know what to think about her. I feel… Manipulated. Like she played with my feelings because she could, took what she needed and will come back for the rest later, if she can." Heartfelt honesty. That's what they'd discussed, right? Esther bites her lower lip again.

"She doesn't sound like she is worth your time, Esther," Medusa says it quietly, trying to comfort the younger girl. "I…this as I am now is me. You've seen enough of me to figure out that much at least. But in the light of day there is the facade, that part which is more Malfoy than Medusa. Genevive Solomon doesn't have that, at least not from what I can see. She is grasping at straws, trying to find her place in the world. Trying to pretend to be someone and something she is not." Her mouth quirks into a grin. "You might be a bit of an oddball Esther, but you have convictions. I withdrew my support because I could see that all of the things you were being caught up in were going to do you nothing but harm. Not because I dislike you. I do," she nods here, "truly believe you would have been better to make an allegiance with Alphard. For all his bluster and posturing he does have a caring and gentle side. He'll deny it of course, but I have seen it. So too has Andromena and you know what, she is more clever than all of us."

Alphard liked his sleep, which was why whenever something ruined it, he inevitably turned into a complete grump. He was muttering under his breath as he stumbled zombiefied out of the boys' dormitories, dragging his feet and biting down on his knuckles to stifle the worst of his yawns. The hand not being used as a chew toy was carrying his leather bound notebook. Shuffle, yawn, shuffle, grumble. His hair was a tussled crowd's nest, and his black PJs looked rumpbled on his lean frame. The buttons of the top piece were half undone, revealing pale skin and no hair on his chest. The latter was causing him some worries. What if he never developed any? The horror! In his current state it was going to take him a few moments to even realize he wasn't alone, let alone take in any details.
Douglas pages: I am at your disposal.

Esther bites her lower lip harder. More aggressively. "… I don't believe she ever lets it down, Medusa… I think to her, the game is as real, as important as breath." She shakes her head, and sighs. "Alphard is… I couldn't be his friend, Medusa. You see Pringle as a monster, I see Alphard as a larva… And in the name of stopping him, I'd plans beyond description. But no more." Esther's sad smile crosses her lips. "I don't hate him, so much, anymore. There's a bigger evil out there. Alphard and I… I can trust that you know what you're doing." And then the zombie-bully himself stalks the corridor. "Cousin. Sit, please." Esther rises from the couch slowly, still looking like a bit of an emotional wreck, as she speaks to Medusa. "… Thank you for talking with me, Medusa. Would you…?" She gestures to the kettle, as she begins to go about he process of making beverages. Getting her wand first.

Medusa reaches out to stop her, "Esther, sit down. You're nobody's servant. Alphard isn't even awake enough to handle a drink right now. Look at him, bless him." She cannot help but chuckle a little at the sight of her friend, for she does consider Alphard a friend for all his blustering at her at times. "I meant what I said yesterday, focus on what is important to you and your future. Jenny Solomon is a fleeting blip on the horizon. She'll move on to her next target soon enough and frankly she's foolish if she thinks she can dethrone me. Who would back her amongst the seventh years?"

Alphard slowly blinked a couple of times, trying to determine who it was who was addressing him. On recognizing Esther his lips twisted in an instinctual grimace of dislike. "Ugh," was his guttural greeting. Medusa got what was, in his current state, considered something far warmer and friendlier: "Uh." Then he was collapsing into his usual chair infront of the fireplace, curling up like he was about five rather than sixteen.

"It's… A peace offering." Esther bites her lower lip. "I'm not his servant. Never his friend." The girl seems alright with that. "But… I've spent two months planning something dreadful for him. And for me, it's a start." She nods to Medusa. "I… I think you would be unwise to underestimate her. I don't doubt that she wanted to use me for something more… And I don't doubt that she's far more dangerous than she looks. If she's recruiting… Who knows who she'll get next." She returns to her preparations. "Medusa…. You should get some sleep. Tomorrow will be busy. Perhaps we can talk more then."

"She is welcome to try." Medusa rises to her feet, tucking her hat into her coat pocket. Just as she looks set to get to bed another prfect on a round of toilet trips comes in and is followed by a familiar little owl. "Horace!" With a sigh Medusa holds her arm out for him to land on. "I'd better go let him out. I'll see you two later." With that she trudges tiredly towards the door, roping the prefect into accompanying her.

Where was his wand again? It took a couple of seconds worth of rummaging before he actually managed to produce it in his sleepy state. With a bit of graceless fumbling he got it into his hand, then waved it about with an: "Accio blanket!" Because he wasn't leaving his curled up spot for any reason in the world. A great big blanket flew across the room like an unholy spirit, then wrapped itslf up around his sprawled frame. He sighed contently.
"Bye," to Medusa. Then, as things gradually started to catch up to him: "Why're you talking about Jenny?"

The cup is put down beside the man slowly. Esther says nothing of it's presence or of her own, retreating to the safety of her own couch with a freshened coffee, and wrapping herself in her blankets. She returns to firewatching for now. Her book can wait. No answer.

Alphard ignored the cup she put down infront of him, remaining bungled up beneath his blankets and content to stay that way. Even just putting out a hand to reach for something was beyond his current capabilities, curled up like a baby in the womb. Peering past half closed eyelids, he watched the fire, too.

Oh yes. They're cousins alright. Esther is content to watch the fire for the longest time. Curled up beneath her blanket,s she's lost in thought for now.

Not a word. Like she wasn't even there. Though the fact that she was, was probably the only reason why he hadn't allowed himself to close his eyes completely and actually drift back into sleep. Instead the tiniest band of obsidian shone with reflected light of the fire. The only real sign of movement was the steady up and down of his chest. The rest of him was completely still.

Fifteen minutes pass in silence. Eventually, Esther withdraws her Living Art Charm book, and looks over it to Alphard. "Why aren't you in bed?" The wild-haired girl lookw across at him, curious.

"Because I couldn't sleep."
"What were you and, and, and aaaaand-" he failed in his epic struggle against the oncoming onslaught of the yawn. There was a long break and a lot of shuddering all over, before his jaw finally decided to no longer dance on the floor. "And Medusa talking about?" Most of it had been a blur. He'd barely really caught the tail end.

"Stories." Esther answers simply. "Decisions." She looks up from her book, and adds. "Memories." An entirely unhelpful answer, but he has her distracted from her book for now.

"That was helpful. You're just a-a-a," again he yawned, and this time it came with a growled out: "Bloody hell!" He sniffed once, too, then rubbed his nose annoyedly. He was not going to get sick before the holidays. It was not acceptable. "A fountain of insight, Esther."

"Medusa told me what happened with Pringle, around Halloween." Esther admits. Watching. Waiting to see what Alphard says.

Alphard head was drooping, and it was only with a start that he returned to limited wakefulness again. "What? Oh." His mind caught up again. Shuffling around beneath his blankets he tried to get back his comfortable sensation. At some point some cool subterranean air had managed to slip in beneath his blanket. "Well?" Prodding for the story. "Something about love poems, wasn't it?" He remembered the rumors. And Douglas ending up on the rack.

"I'm not in the mood to recount." Esther murmurs from behind her blanket fort. Either he doesn't know, or doesn't care. Either which suits her fine. "I guess we just cleared the air. We've both said some offensive things in the past little while, and it was time we found a resolution."

"Always the same with you," Alphard said with an eyeroll, but didn't expand on exactly what it was that was the 'same'. Instead he shifted around in his chair so that he was l eaning against the opposite side. The one furthest away from Esther. A clear sign he was done being social. If one could all it social what he'd been.

Works for her. Esther returns to her book, reading in the flickering firelight.

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