(1938-12-22) The Huff about Hufflepuffs
Details for The Huff about Hufflepuffs
Summary: Niles and Madeline have words. Variel helps patch things up and then heads off to tea with Madeline and Elizabeth.
Date: December 22, 1938
Location: The Magical Menagerie, Diagon Alley
Related:
Characters
NilesMadelineVarielElizabethEmily

There are /so many/ things to see - and Madeline is having a lovely time meeting /all/ the animals. She'd admired the tortoise already, and studies the poisonous snails with interest. At the moment, though, she was peering into the intelligent black eyes of one of the crows. "So - you can use them just like an owl, right? To carry your messages?"
"That you can," the girl's Uncle agrees. Both niece and uncle are dressed in Muggle clothes - Madeline in a skirt an waistcoat, over a warm sweater, and her Uncle in a brown suit with a shirt, tie, coat, and matching hat. "I need to get some things for Avi - you have fun looking about. Alright?"
"Of course!" Madeline says brightly, without removing her gaze from the raven, while her Uncle wanders the store, picking pet supplies off the shelf.

Niles steps into the Menagerie with his mother, who wrinkles her nose at the combined smell of all kinds of animals. "I'm going to look at the ravens," the boy informs her as she goes off in search of whatever they came here for. Niles is dressed in sleek black robes that are a bit more fancy than the ones they wear at Hogwarts. His hair has been neatly combed, and his cheeks are a bit flushed from being out in the cold. He approaches the crows and scowls at the girl wearing the Muggle clothes, not immediately recognizing her from behind.

At the sound of footsteps behind her, Madeline turns - and finds herself looking right into Niles eyes, surprise registering on her features. "Oh," she says simply, taking a step to the side - to allow him to come closer to the raven cages as well, if he'd like. "Umm - Happy Christmas, Avery. It's nice to be home, isn't it?"

Niles averts his gaze when she turns, and steps up to the ravens as well, but he pauses when the girl wishes him a happy Christmas by name. He turns his head towards her and his eyes widen slightly in surprise. "Oh, hello," he says coolly. His eyes dart around the shop before returning to her. "Yes, it is. You didn't bring Muggles in here, did you?" He doesn't wish her a happy Christmas in return.

Madeline rolls her eyes at his question - but she makes sure she's looking at the birds first - not at her fellow student. "I'm with my Uncle. He works at the Ministry," she explains - her tone going from slightly hesitant, to slightly /terse/ instead.

Though he's about to turn to the birds as well, Niles stares at her when she answers. "Your uncle works at the Ministry?" he asks quietly. His eyes narrow, and he looks around the shop once again as if expecting to see a striking figure of great importance. "How come you didn't mention this before? What department does he work in?"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders, without looking back at Niles quiet yet. "I don't know - it didn't come up. He was a Ravenclaw - he always teases me about how disappointed he is I'm in Gryffindor. Not that he really minds. He always takes me to do all of my shopping." 'Always' being all of twice now - once before the school year started, and again today.

"Oh, a Ravenclaw," Niles says with a tinge of distaste. "Well, at least he wasn't a Hufflepuff. And you've never asked him what he does at work? The Ministry of Magic is a very important institution, you know." He examines the ravens for a few seconds without really seeing them. Then he looks to Madeline and says, "Where is he? I'd like to meet him."

"Oh, I know what he does," Madeline replies - and here there's a little bit of laughter in her voice. "He lies to Muggles for a living! I think it's hilarious. He gets a real kick out of it, too. We're both /real/ good story tellers - my Uncle and me - so it's a great fit for him. And of course he knows what Muggles would believe, or not believe. And what's wrong with Hufflepuffs? They're lovely. There's no need to go making fun of houses - I never do." Not even the Slytherins.
And as for where her Uncle is… She turns, craning her head one way and then the other. "Oh, there he is. Looks like he's getting a new leather glove for handling Avi," she points to a man in a brown coat and hat, near the owl supplies. "His name's Perry Evans."

"He does?" Niles actually seems impressed. "I suppose he works in Magical Accidents and Catastrophes then. Hufflepuffs? Well, they're the House you get sent to if you aren't up to scratch, aren't they? I mean, Slytherin's the best, obviously, but even Gryffindors and Ravenclaws have some acceptable qualities. But I've never met a Hufflepuff that wasn't scum. I bet they have the most Muggle-borns out of all the Houses." He turns to look where Madeline points, and his eyes narrow at the sight of her uncle in Muggle clothes. "I suppose he has to dress like that for his job," he muses to himself. "Introduce me to him." It's less a request than a demand.

Madeline turns towards Niles with a frown, planting her hands onto her hips. "Don't talk like that, Avery," she scolds him. "Hufflepuffs are lovely. They're friendly, and welcoming, and hardworking. They make /great/ friends - and they're 'up to scratch' just as much as any of the houses. I don't stand for talk like that around me, you got it? So if you want to meet my Uncle, you'll play nice."

Niles looks as if he's considering arguing, but he glances over at Madeline's uncle and seems to change his mind. "Fine, I'll play nice," he says. "I'm sure there must be one Hufflepuff that isn't completely worthless. And I've heard they are the most fun to 'play' with." He smiles faintly. "Evans isn't a pure-blood name, though. Is he Muggle-born too?"

"Geeze - if that's 'playing nice' in your book, I think you need to look up the definition again," Madeline counters with a sigh. "And of course he is. He's my Uncle. We're the only two wizards in the family." She watching Niles dubiously for a moment, then lets out sigh. "Well. Do your /best/ to behave - I suppose it'll have to do." It's not like her Uncle isn't well-versed in putting up with this nonsense, too."
"Uncle Perry! My schoolmate Niles Avery wants to meet you!" she calls, leading Niles towards the man - who turns with a leather gauntlet still in hand. Perry Evans has a friendly face and smile as he studies the young boy curiously.
"Avery, you said? Well, hello Mister Avery. In the same year as Maddie? I don't suppose you had the great fortune of being sorted into Ravenclaw?"

Niles's expression darkens briefly. "He is? I expect he's not very high up then. Still, if he works for the Ministry…" He follows Madeline up to her uncle, and he gives the man an ingratiating smile. "Hello, Mr Evans," he answers politely. "No, I'm a year higher than her." His mouth twitches when he's asked if he's in Ravenclaw, but he manages to keep his smile in place. "No, sir," he says. "Slytherin. Is it true that you work in the Magical Accidents and Catastrophes department at the Ministry?"

"Ah, Slytherin. Another fine house - and not even my own Maddie was lucky enough to get Ravenclaw…" Perry grins at his niece, who sticks out her tongue at him in response. "Yes, the Office of Misinformation to be precise. It allows me the rather amusing opportunity to lie for living. Considering a future at the Ministry, Mister Avery?"
While the two talk, Maddie siddles in close to her Uncle, leaning up against him, while the man wraps one arm fondly around his young niece.

Niles nods his head. "Yes, sir, the finest. In my opinion, of course," he simpers. "Madeline was just telling me how incredible you are at your job. It must be very difficult to lie convincingly to such, er, people. I mean, you'd have to know how they think, for one thing." He nods his head up and down again, more eagerly this time. "Yes, sir, I am. I've wanted to work for the Ministry ever since I was a little boy. I'm currently trying to decide which extra classes to take next year. You know, the ones that would be most beneficial?" He turns it into a question at the end, curious for the man's opinion.

"Well, I enjoy the challenge," Perry responds brightly, not rising to the debate. Niles is, after all, a mere child while he is a representative of the Ministry. "And, of course, it's even more crucial that we craft appropriate and well suited stories - given the dire nature of the circumstances in which we're called into use. We have a bit of a friendly competition with the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee, of course."
As for the classes - "Well, that can depend. There's so much varied work at the Ministry. What division are you interested in?"

"Yes, of course," Niles is quick to agree, though he knows nothing about the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee. He answers the question of what he wants to do at the Ministry promptly. "I was thinking either International Magic Cooperation - my father works there, of course, quite high up - or the Department of Mysteries. Of course, no one really knows what they work on, but it must be very important. I'm not sure what classes would be most useful to them. I suppose Ancient Runes and Arithmancy?" He quite clearly wants to sound clever in front of the man.

"Well - if your father works in the Department, wouldn't he best be able to advise you?" Perry asks with some amusement, before offering a shrug of his shoulders. "The Mysteries are - well. A mystery. If you have an interest in Runes and Arithmancy, they could do well for you. You may also consider Care of Magical Creatures, or Divination. For International Cooperation, it could be helpful trying to learn other languages - magical and more mundane. And any opportunities you can find to practice leadership and diplomacy," here Madeline lets out a snort, that she fails to fully supress, "…could be useful. Hrm… the Arts club maybe?"

Niles's cheeks flush with embarrassment. "Yes," he says, "but I wanted your opinion too." He listens with rapt interest to the man's advice, but his eyes flash with annoyance when Madeline snorts. It's gone in a split second though, and his smile never wavers. "Yes, sir. I'll look into the Arts Club. And I'll be sure to improve my leadership and diplomacy skills. I'm planning on joining the Quidditch team. Being captain in a year or two will help with that as well." His eyes flick to Madeline, and he decides it's perhaps best to stop talking to her father before she decides to interject, and he quickly adds, "Well, sir, I'm going to go look at the ravens again. Thanks for talking to me. It's nice to meet you."

"It's challenging to get the Captaincy of one of the teams. Goodluck. And nice to meet you as well, Mister Avery."
Perry's attention turns to Madeline next, as he looks down at the girl with raised eyebrows. He waits until Niles has returned to the ravens before stating, "And /that/ was not diplomatic either, Maddie."
"I know, I know!" the girl responds quietly, while trying to contain another fit of giggles. "But it was just /so funny/."

Niles gives the man another obsequious smile and then returns to the ravens. He stands with his back to the Evanses, his arms crossed in front of his chest as he peers at the birds. But there's something tense about the way he's holding himself, as if the conversation shook him up a bit at the end.

"Maddie…" the man sighs. "Slytherin, huh?" The girl nods. "He's been giving you a hard time?"
"…a little bit. I mean, well, not very much I guess. But he's just- he's… well. He's Slytherin."
"Maddie…" And here the wizard's voice is distinctly disapproving, prompting a frustrated sigh from the girl.
"Don't judge the houses. I know. I /know/. I'm trying, Uncle Perry, really!"
"I know you are, dear. Now - go apologize."
Madeline's eyes grow wide. /Her/? Apologize to /him/? But-!
"Go apologize, Madeline Evans," the man insists sternly.
"…fine. Okay. I will," she relents in a quiet grumble, shoving her hands into the pockets of her skirt, and practically dragging her feet as she walks over to the ravens, to stand silently beside Niles.

Niles, still tense, is staring at one black raven, his fists clenched even as they're tucked under his arms. His face is drawn into an expression somewhere between shame and anger, his eyes hard. When Madeline approaches, he glances sideways at her without meeting her eyes, and then quickly looks back to the ravens. "Oh," he says, clearing his throat. "Hello again."

Madeline stares down at the floor for a few moments. Then up at the birds. Then over at Niles. Then back to the birds again. Yes, look at the birds. It's /much/ safer to look at the birds. "Hello again," she echoes. "Look, I, umm… I'm sorry I laughed, okay? It wasn't nice, and- well. I guess I'm not very good at diplomacy either, so… I'm sorry."

Niles keeps his eyes fixed on the same bird after that one, brief glance at the girl. It hops about, cocking its head at him curiously, but he doesn't even blink. But he does when he hears Madeline's words. "You are?" he asks, still not looking at her. "I mean, good. I accept your apology." Then, perhaps a little colder than he intended, he adds, "Who says I'm not good at diplomacy?"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "I do," she admits. "I mean - the way you were talking about the Hufflepuffs - calling them worthless and all - hardly diplomatic, right?" She looks aside at Niles for a moment, then away again, another sigh sneaking out. "Look - it's tough. My Uncle, he keeps telling me I shouldn't judge people by their houses. I can't hate people just because they're Slytherins. And it's hard - because a lot of Slytherins treat me… really, really bad. No matter how hard I try, or how well I do in classes, it doesn't matter to them. I'm Muggle-born, so they think I'm worthless, and nothing I ever say or do'll change their mind.
"So don't go treating the Hufflepuffs like that. Not a whole house. That's a quarter of our /whole school/ - and they aren't worthless."

Niles's mouth tightens, but he can't exactly argue with that. He remains silent as he listens to her, but his eyes narrow and he tenses up again as he words put him on the defensive. "I don't hate them because they're Hufflepuffs. I hate them because they're Mudblood scum. But you're right, that doesn't make them completely worthless. They can be useful sometimes, even if they are filth. Take your uncle, for instance. So I won't hate all the Hufflepuffs, just the vermin that haven't proven themselves worthwhile yet."

Madeline spins on Niles, her hands coming up to shove him away from her - but she stops with her hands raised to chest height, clenches her hands, and forces them down again, despite the anger still glinting in her eyes. "See? Doesn't matter what I say. Doesn't matter what I do - or don't do. You got your mind all made up already.
"I'm a witch - just as good as anyone at school. I'm gonna get loads of O's and E's - on my NEWTs too, when it's time. And I bet that won't matter to you either. You gotta judge people as /people/, Avery. Otherwise you're missing out. Not by blood, not by houses. You're missing out. I feel sorry for you." That said, she turns to start making her way to her Uncle, who is watching from nearby with a tense posture, and stern expression.

Niles jumps back in alarm despite the fact that Madeline never touches him. There's fear in his own eyes for a second before he forces it away and glares back at her. "I judge people as people," he says quietly. "And I judge Mudbloods as Mudbloods. I'm not missing anything." As she walks away from him, he hisses, "And I feel SORRY for you." He says 'sorry' loudly, trying to make it sound to her uncle like he's apologizing to her, and then he turns and stalks out of the shop to wait outside for his mother.

"And what was that, Madeline Chastity Evans?" …yes, her middle name is Chastity, and she would thank you not to repeat it. "I thought I told you to apologize."
"I /did/!" Madeline counters, while pacing back and forth in front of her Uncle, her hands still in fists. "And then he called me-" She cuts off, and stops in her tracks, only continuing in a whisper when her Uncle came closer. "He called me mudblood scum," she mumbles.
The man can only sigh, and wrap the girl up into a hug. "They're only words, Maddie. I know it doesn't feel like that, but they're only words, and you're stronger than they are, alright?"

There's just been a bit of a fuss in the Menagerie. Two younger students raising their voices at each other - though nothing /too/ untoward was heard. For a moment, it looked like Madeline was going to shove Niles - startling him enough to jump out of the way. Then the two parted ways - Niles stalking towards the door, and Madeline going to her Uncle, to pace, and be scolded, and finally soothed. The man was currently hugging his young niece, and rubbing her back.

"-and if you keep it up, I'm going to buy a cage and ship you back with the Express, instead of taking you when I Apparate home, you silly serpent! Now stay out of my collar!" Variel's voice is raised, presumably at some Slytherin trying to get down his shirt- or wait, that's Clever wrapped around his neck, he probably meant Clever.

Niles pauses at the door to let Variel through, and is about to step outside when he hears his mother calling his name. Glowering, he turns around and marches back into the shop. "What?" he snaps at her. But she isn't having any of his nonsense, and scolds him well enough to leave him staring meekly at the floor while he waits for her to pay for her purchases.

Variel is left standing a bit bewildered at his acquaintances getting yelled at. He glances between the two of them, knowing them well enough that it's remarkably unlikely that both acted out in unrelated incidents, and moves to tap Niles on the shoulder. "Avery? What's the deal, how'd you manage to anger Mrs. Avery? You've a talent for not being aggravating."

"Better?" Perry asks his niece gently - getting a nod in response. The girl sniffles, and tries to surreptitiously wipe tears from her eyes. "It's hard, I know. But you're a tough kid, I've seen it."
"I'll do better, Uncle Perry. I /promise/," the girl whispers quietly.
"I know you will. I /know/ you're trying. It's tricky, but you're going to manage."
For the moment, Madeline seems completely unaware of her friend's arrival.

Niles looks up at Variel, and his face flushes with embarrassment. "Oh, you heard," he mutters. "Well, I was a bit short with her. But it's not my fault. Evans lost her temper with me and was quite rude. So you can understand how I'm a little shaken." He glances in Madeline's direction, and guilt flashes across her face when he catches her hand moving near her eyes. Was she wiping tears? He bites his lip for half a second before smoothing his face into a neutral, if somewhat cool, expression.

"Evans was rude?" He blinks a few times before his eyes flick down at Niles at a slant. There's a touch of disappointment in them, but no surprise, and his voice doesn't carry much reproach. "Only really heard Evans get up in arms over one subject. Do I needta guess what you might've said to pique her into impropriety, or can we presume I've got a pretty good idea already?"

"Now. What do you think? I can't decide between the black one, or this sort of… auburn toned gauntlet," Madeline's uncle remarks, to try to shift his niece's attention onto something else. He holds up the two gloves he was considering buying - to help with handling his owl, Avi.
"The brown one's really pretty," Madeline suggests, in a quieter and more subdued tone. "I like the reddish tone." There's another quick wipe at her eyes, and then she looks around the shop, her eyes locking onto a familiar form. "Oh. That's Variel - I mean, well, Weasley."
"Well, obviously he's Weasley," Uncle Perry remarks. "Housemate, I take it? Weasleys have a thing for the color red - and not just their hair."
The girl nods silently.

"Er, yes, she was," Niles says, and once again his eyes shift towards Madeline. "Um, yes, I think you can guess easily enough. But she was defending them on no basis whatsoever! I still stand by what I said - I've never met a Hufflepuff that wasn't filth. Have you?"

"The Abbots and Fawleys, to name a few? They're sorted in as fast as my family hits Gryffindor. Not to mention Sykes, Rosseau, Goshawk, Quinn and Umbridge, just to name a few from my NEWT classes." Variel pauses and crouches a moment, to help make sure that their conversation isn't overly embarassing to Niles. "Look- you don't have to like her. You don't have to like, or be friends with, any of them. But as much as you might have no interest in making her sort welcome in your personal life, -we-, as a community, need to make them welcome here. We want them in love with our culture and traditions, and while we don't need them thinking that everyone's going to welcome them with open arms, there's got to be a place for them here. There's too many Muggles for us to waste wizards on something like that. Feel free to dislike her and be mean to her if you want- it's a free country- but don't hide behind her blood to do it. You're a clever boy, you can find something else to dislike if you're determined. Besides," he says as he stands, "if you stop using her blood as an excuse to ignore her as a person, might be you find an enthusiastic and talented young witch who's quite responsive to people don't treat her like garbage. Sort of thing an enterprising young schemer might find useful as years go on?"

"Well. Feel free to introduce us once he's done talking with the Avery boy, hrm?" Perry invites his niece. "Now - let's see if we can find some of that feather degunker. You wouldn't believe the messes Avi gets into…"
"He's /your/ owl, Uncle Perry. I'll believe it," Madeline responds - the humor a little forced, but creeping back into her voice.
"Yeah? Well, Avi will pale in comparison with whatever creature you end up with."
"A dragon."
"See?"

Niles listens to Variel. At first he's full of shame and embarrassment when the older boy starts name-dropping like mad; then his eyes narrow with anger as Variel goes on about welcoming Mudbloods into their community; and finally, when the Gryffindor mentions that Madeline might be more responsive to someone who doesn't treat her horribly, he smacks his hand against his forehead. "Oh God," he mutters, his face white. "You're right!" He turns away from Variel and hurries over to the girl. "Er, Madeline? Could I talk to you for a moment, please?" He shoots her uncle a nervous glance and quickly drops his gaze to his shoes.

Variel takes the time while Niles heads off to engage again to flag down one of the storekeepers and have them help him take a look at Clever. He keeps an eye and an ear open for any further fireworks while he does.

Madeline looks surprised and wary when Avery approaches, looking from him, to her Uncle, to Variel, and then back to the second year again. "Not if you're going to call names again," she answers sullenly, while her Uncle's hand finds its way to her shoulder, giving her a gentle and encouraging squeeze. "But I guess… if you aren't going to, then sure." She forces herself to lift her chin, which was threatning to dip to her chest, and straightens out her shoulders.

Niles sneaks another glance up at her uncle as if he's afraid to speak in front of him, but he takes a deep breath to steady himself and then goes on. "I'm, er, sorry I called you a Mudblood," he murmurs to his feet. "And I'm sorry I said those things about Hufflepuffs. I'm sure they're, um, nice… people."

Variel has his attention reclaimed by the shop attendant, and he discusses a few things in quiet tones, finally getting out a quill and scribbling some notes and such while the youngsters talk.

Madeline nods, not really sure what to say for a moment. She bites her lip, then hesitantly offers, "Thanks… Avery." Then, with a small, forced smile she adds, "And, you know, probably not all of them."
"Madeline!" the girl's Uncle protests with a laugh.
"It's a big house! At least /one/ of them is bound to be a jerk! Even in Hufflepuff." You know, statistically speaking.

Niles manages a faint smile, unsure if he's actually supposed to laugh as well. "Yeah, well," he says quietly. "See you at school, I suppose. I've got to go, my mother's waiting for me." As he passes Variel at the counter, he murmurs, "Thanks, Weasley." Then he hurries along with his mother as they leave the shop, giving his head an emphatic shake at whatever she says to him.

Variel shares a nod and a conspiratorial wink with the younger boy as he heads out, turning to stop by the scene of the… well, crime is a bit over the top. Scene of the scene will have to do. "Evans! Suppose this here's your uncle, is it?"

"Yeah. See you at school, Avery," Madeline agrees, before looking up at her Uncle questioningly. He just shakes his head and smiles at her.
"Good enough. Here's hoping you can make friends with /all/ of them."
"Nah, not /all/ of them. Just like with the Hufflepuffs-"
"Don't. Just… don't. Madeline, you are too much sometimes." As Variel approaches, Perry looks towards him, welcoming the young man with a smile. "Yes, Perry Evans. I take it the young scamp has been speaking of me? Nothing bad, Maddie…?" The girl shakes her head hastily. "A pleasure to make your aquaintence, Mister Weasley. And thank you, for whatever you said to the Avery boy."
"Yeah, thanks Variel."
/Variel/ was it? Perry gives his niece an amused and curious look. First name basis with a student so much older than her?

Variel laughs at the look Perry gives his niece. "I know, I know, but there's rather a lot of us Weasleys! Besides, it helps the new students to have something that feels familiar, even if it's just someone they can call by name. Maddie's pretty enthusiastic about… well, everything, even if she does forget she's wearing a skirt from time to time." Variel cheerfully offers that up, fully aware it's going to leave Maddie an embarassed little ball of indignation. After all, her uncle is probably well aware of her proclivities!

Niles is on his way out with his mother. Variel has just walked up to Madeline and her uncle Perry - both of whom are dressed in Muggle-style attire, rather than robes.
"She's been climbing again." This is a statement of fact - and not a question. "We've never been able to stop her. I swear - she was climbing before she was walking."
Madeline simply shrugs her shoulders - after all, what is she going to say? It's all true. "I had my bloomers on."
"Yes, I know, you always have your bloomers on." Perry gives his niece a tolerant smile, then returns his attention to Variel. "It does me good to see such a fine and upstanding young lad is looking out for her. Maybe it /is/ a good thing she got sorted into Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw." Maddie lets out an exagerated gasp at this remark. "Hey - I said /maybe/."

The front door softly chimes when it's opened, the sound of footsteps short before the door is swiftly closed just after. Elizabeth exhales a small breath as she gently rolls her shoulders, shifting the weight of her cloak and attempting to shrug off the slight chill of winter that had lingered still from the cold outside. The young woman is met by the very much cramped and noisy indoors of the Magical Menagerie, walls and floor space occupied by cages, animals, food and toys. A small hand absently, habitually pushes up her round glasses over her nose as she quietly scans the inside of her shop with thought.

Variel's laugh sounds through the din. "Oh, so that's not a new development, is it? I'll keep that in mind!" He grins and offers a slight bow when Perry compliments him. "I'm not one to leave someone hanging out to dry. There were a few times I could offer some insight or advice, and I made sure I did. It's what I was doing a moment ago with Avery- he needs to pick his battles, and alienating clever young witches doesn't really help anyone. There's always someone who won't like a person, but I do my best to ensure that if there's to be animosity, it's honest and open, not hiding behind a pretense of blood. Not deluded enough to think everyone'll always get along, but there's some things aren't worth being a git over."

Madeline stands a little straighter at being called a /clever/ young witch, and beams at her Uncle in pride.
"Oy. Watch what you say - it goes straight to her head, and that's inflated enough as it is."
"Hey!"
"Just telling the truth, love," Perry teases the girl. "And that's more or less what I keep telling her - never judge a person by house, or by blood. You have to judge them by who they are, and what they do. That's the true tell."

In her casual perusing and pursuit of owl treats (not mice) Elizabeth slips into one of the aisles, since there's only two. She blinks her pale eyes one so see it occupied with several wizards, pausing behind the small group and the unmistakable blazing red hair that and only be Weasley. The young woman pauses again, hesitant to suddenly put herself into their conversation. "Variel?" Could it be him? From behind it at least appeared to be so.

"Good advice, that. I think I've seen a lot of people more accurately by ditching those biases. And that's for better and for worse." Yeah, from the tone of his voice, that's pretty certainly Variel, a supposition only enhanced when he turns at his name and spots Elizabeth. He immediately grins, a few weaker freckles lost in a slight rush of color. "Hey! I didn't expect to see you so soon!" As he spoke, a green snake tangled around his neck poked its head up and peered at Elizabeth. "Come over, I'll introduce you."

Madeline peers past Variel to see the approaching student, smiling warmly and welcoming towards her. "Oh, you'll like her, Uncle Perry. She's Ravenclaw, I think."
"/Finally/, someone who had the good sense and good fortune to be sorted into Hogwarts' best house," Perry responds, letting out a dramatic sigh of relief. "I beginning to despair that you didn't know any Ravenclaws at all, Maddie."

A small smile flitters across her soft lips as he grins at her, only to blink again when he urges her closer. "'Introduce'?" Elizabeth asks, blinking again as she looks from him to Madeline and Perry past him. She believes she's seen Madeline before at school… She blinks again, confusion flickering through her powder blue eyes from behind her glasses. "I'm Elizabeth Aurora Dweedle." she introduces herself, since Variel hadn't. "And yes, I was sorted into Ravenclaw, though I don't think that that specific house can be classified as the 'best'. They all have qualities that are to be desired of witches and wizards after all." If Parry had been joking, she obviously hadn't caught it.

Variel chuckles. "I know you mighta met Madeline before, but I figured if you were going to be coming over, probably best to arrange introductions." He adjusts his position to ease beside Elizabeth, helping to keep the conversation positionally inclusive. "And she's being polite, of course." He lets a half-beat pass before finishing, "After all. Gryffindor's the best house. Ravenclaw is actually a close second." His tone is clearly joking.

"See - I'm with Variel," Madeline agrees brightly. "Gryffindors. RAWR." Yes, she says 'rawr.' Are you surprised? It's Maddie. "This is my Uncle Perry Evans, Dweedle. He works at the Ministry where he lies for a living."
"Now you're just stealing my lines," Perry complains, before reaching to offer Elizabeth his hand. "Miss Dweedle. A pleasure to meet a fellow Ravenclaw."

Elizabeth quirks a brow at Variel with pause, though after a moment she allows a small smile as she gently rolls a slender shoulder. "Naturally so, Gryffindors are the best." she concedes. Not that it really matters to her, though it was a amusing to see just how much pride Madeline has for her house. As Perry holds out his hand for her, Elizabeth reaches out to take it, dipping her chin with a small nod and a shake. "A pleasure to meet you as well, Mister Evans." Her hand is taken back and she spares Variel a glance, "I was just getting my owl, Soot, some treats before going somewhere for tea. If you have the time, you all are free to join me, if you wish."

Elizabeth quirks a brow at Variel with pause, though after a moment she allows a small smile as she gently rolls a slender shoulder. "Naturally so, Gryffindors are the best." she concedes. Not that it really matters to her, though it was a amusing to see just how much pride Madeline has for her house. As Perry holds out his hand for her, Elizabeth reaches out to take it, dipping her chin with a small nod and a shake. "A pleasure to meet you as well, Mister Evans." Her hand is taken back and she spares Variel a glance, "I was just getting my owl, Soot, some treats before going somewhere for tea. If you have the time, you all are free to join me, if you wish." (re)

"Oh, is that the little guy's name? He was adorable. I gave him a couple of Clever's crickets before he took off. I hope they didn't digest funny or anything." The offer of tea earns another grin. "I'm game, at least- could do with a spot of tea to settle my stomach."

Madeline looks up at her Uncle at the offer of tea, an eager and pleading smile on her features. He nods to the girl with an amused and tolerant smile, then looks to the oldest of the three students. "Well, if you young people would prefer - and you don't mind taking on the responsibility, Mister Weasley - I could leave Madeline in your care and fetch her from you in a little bit…? So long as she promises to behave."
The little first year in question nods her head eagerly and emphatically, beaming at her Uncle. "Oh, you know I will and I'm never any trouble!"
That comment earns a laugh.
"…Well. Usually not."

Variel gives Madeline a carefully cultivated flat look when she says she's never any trouble. His eyes are amused, though.

A flush of color in her cheeks rises as Variel replies, giving her a moment of pause before she murmurs, "He's tiny, but surprisingly hyper." Elizabeth admits. "But it's good to know he got there safely. Thank you." She glances from him to Madeline and Perry, watching the exchange between them. Even the playful banter before he allows his niece to join them for tea. A slender brow quirks at the promise made, but it's good enough for her. Elizabeth nods. "Then I will purchase the treats, and we can find a shop for tea."

The door to the shop is opened and the young, black haired woman steps to the side as she holds open the door. A young girl, her brown hair braided in two, walks in past her older sister before Adrienne steps in behind Emily and shuts the door. She can't help the sour look as she catches the smell from one of the cages, and turns green eyes to look around the store. Her hand falls to rest on the younger girl's shoulder. "If you know exactly what you want, make it quick so we can get some place cleaner."

"I'm not sure what Snowflake would like best," Emily responds as her hazel eyes dart around. When her eyes land on a familiar girl her age, she freezes beside one section of cat supplies. "Ooh, and it just got filthier," says the child, as if a delayed response to her older sister, suddenly glancing down at her pink robes. "I hope my robes stay clean." She shudders at the thought about being dirty.

"Alright, then- consider her under my jurisdiction." Variel leans down towards Madeline and squints. "-Consider- yourself under my jurisdiction. That means…" He pauses and straightens. "… I'll let you know what that means when I figure it out." Unfamiliar with Emily's voice, he doesn't clue in on what she's saying as anything relevant- a privilege that certain first-years might not enjoy.

Madeline bounces on the tip of her toes as a deal is struck. "You have a galleon on you?" her Uncle asks next.
"/Two/," the girl replies firmly, patting her pocket.
"Alright then. I'll see you at the tea shop. Have fun, you three." The man turns back to making his purchases, taking the gauntlet he had chosen, and continuing his search for the gunk remover for owl feathers. Madeline, for her part, turns to glance at the door - just in time for it to open, and the girl dressed in pink to step in.
"Uh…oh," she mumbles. She will not cause trouble! She will not cause trouble!

Elizabeth lightly quirks a brow at the sound of the bell from the opening door, the voices that follow clearly not liking the current state of the shop. Cleanliness or occupants. But it seems not to completely deter them from shopping here in the least. The corner of her lips tugs with a subtle smile as she turns, a hand appear from under her cloak to reach for a box of owl treats (not mice). Ignoring Adrienne and the dressed-in-pink Emily, Elizabeth approaches the register to make her purchase. After Mr. Evens of course.

Emily turns her head to glance up to her sister when she nudges at her shoulder, catching Adrienne's nod. "Don't get distracted - choose - so that we can head back to the cafe," her sister says. Emily bobs her head in a nod, but she steals another look from Madeline, whispering an 'ew' as she looks over the cat supplies. As she wanders along the section, she says almost off-handedly, "I can't believe they let dangerous creatures out of their cages in this store. Oh, this," she tacks on as she reaches out for a bag of treats. "Snowflake likes these."

"… uh-oh, what?" Variel follows Madeline's eyes and catches the second comment, eyes flicking back onto Madeline when the comments continue.

"Nothing important," Madeline mutters - though she does take a step closer to Madeline. "Just someone else without the brains to figure out /who/ someone is. It's so /tiresome/."

Her owl treats (not mice) is purchased, Elizabeth gets a few coins back in change and as she pockets them under her cloak, she turns her head to glance over her shoulder at her companions, the raven ponytail that sits high on the crown of her head moving with the motion. "Madeline." She says the girl's name clearly, a small hand reaching out from her cloak once more, palm upwards. "Take my hand." It's a calm direction. If there is any hesitation on Madeline's part, Elizabeth gives her a small but gentle smile. If the younger girl does take her hand, she holds onto it in return, gaze looking up to Variel. "You ready?" Waiting long enough for his reply, Elizabeth pulls lightly at Madeline's hand to guide the group outside. So they can go somewhere to have tea.

"Is that it?" The question comes out impatiently. Emily nods in response to her sister. "Uh huh."

"Let's not waste time then." And Emily rolls her eyes as her sister's hand touches her shoulder, and she's guided towards the counter where she sets the bag of cat treats on the counter. "Mother gave you enough, yes?" And Emily nods in answer.

"Yes, yes she did." The child reaches into her robes, taking out some coins as her hazel eyes only idly pass over Elizabeth. The Ravenclaw she doesn't recognize, but would she give her a pleasant smile, it never appears. Instead Emily gapes as she stares at the fourth year offering a hand out to Madeline. Emily cringes as she shudders, shaking her head. Em quickly turns to the counter when Adrienne urges her to hurry, apparently deciding to ignore the child's reactions to the others. The older sister really could care less.

Madeline is more than happy to take the older girl's hand, smiling at Elizabeth - then turning to stick her tongue out at Emily. Her attention returns to Elizabeth as she says eagerly, "Have you ever tried exploding lemonade? My Uncle ordered it for me. It is sooooo good. Wow!"

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