(1938-12-23) Pride and Prejudice
Details for Pride and Prejudice
Summary: Niles runs into Lucretia at Madam Malkin's Robes and unburdens himself about a recent run in with Madeline.
Date: 1938.12.23
Location: Madam Malkin's Robes, Diagon Alley
Related: The Huff About Hufflepuffs

Light makes its way around and over the mannequins in the big display window at the front of Madam Malkin's shop illuminating it without the need of much anything else. At the back of the shop there are three step stools set in front of three trifold mirrors to allow for multiple customers to be fitted at one time. Next to the last mirror there are doors leading to dressing rooms, allowing customers to change in privacy. To one side of the shop a couch and two arm chairs have been set around a pretty little French Colonial style table to provide a resting place for any companions a customer might come into the shop with. On the opposite side of this seating arrangement racks have been lined along the wall to display the shops wares, tasteful little signs reminding shoppers from time to time that all robes and cloaks are self-ironing and self-repairing. Above the racks of robes and cloaks there are shelves of hats suitable for even the most discriminating witch or wizard.

Diagon Alley is full of Christmas shoppers on this cold winter's day, as well as a many more children than usual now that Hogwarts has been let out for the holidays. Niles, who is wearing some smart black robes that are a little fancier than his school robes, sits on a chair in Madam Malkin's while his mother, Mrs Avery, does some shopping. Rather than looking bored, he seems quite solemn and contemplative as he sits staring at his hands, which are folded together in his lap.

Lulu swishes out of one of the dressing rooms, a stunning black and silver cloak that just brushes the floor rippling about her slender figure. "Its absolutely gorgeous. It really is!" Cheeks flushed a delicate shade of pink, she looks a little older than her thirteen years, dark waves of hair pulled back from the sides of her face by ornate silver combs. Twirling in front of one of the long mirrors, she catches sight of Niles sitting on the couches. She flashes him a sudden grin. "Avery! Fancy seeing you here! Are you getting fitted for a Christmas present too?" A breath. "Don't you just love the way the snakes on my cloak move?" Just to show him, she flutters one edge of it forward with a practiced hand, showing off the fancy embroidery that edges the hem; entwined snakes shifting and writhing over the cloth.

Niles comes back to reality with a start, blinking up at the girl addressing him. It takes him a second to recognize her. "Black?" he says, getting to his feet. "No, I'm just waiting for my mother. She's trying to decide what she wants for Christmas, some dress robes or a new cauldron. I expect she'll end up getting both." He looks at her cloak and smiles faintly. He seems a bit put out at the moment. "Yes, it's very nice," he says quietly.

Lucretia's lower lip juts forward a moment as this is clearly not the enthusiastic response that she was hoping for. "Yes. It is. See? It has a black silk lining too, and see this," she points to the crest that's embroidered over the left side of her chest, "…that's my family crest." Unhooking the chain that closes it across the front she offers the seamstress a smile when its slipped from her shoulders and taken away once more before lowering herself to sit beside the second-year, clasping hands between her knees. She tilts her head and looks at her house mate. "You seem quiet. Missing Hogwarts already? Or just fed up with shopping. I know my brother hates it, so I suppose that that's true for most boys."

Niles nods his head up and down in a distracted sort of way. "Yes, I see," he says. "It's very beautiful." He sits down again when Lucretia joins him, folding his hands in his lap once more. He gives her another faint smile. "Yes, well, I can't deny that I'd rather be home right now instead of shopping, but that's not what's bothering me." He sighs and then continues. "It's just that I've just had a bit of a fight with the Mudblood Evans."

"Ugh. That girl." There's a roll of Lu's eyes and a scrunching of her nose that would leave nobody in any doubt as to her own feelings regarding Madeline. "She's absolutely no idea how to behave, and its not just because she's a Firstie, but because she actually thinks she's someone important and worthwhile. Which she's not. I've heard a few people around school are getting fed up with her and she's bound to get squished when we go back after Christmas." A pause. A pause in which she slips an arm around Nile's shoulder and gives him what is hopefully an encouraging hug. "Do you want to talk about it? Sometimes just venting feelings helps."

Niles nods his head in silent agreement, and he smiles when she hugs him, feeling reassured. "Yes," he says after a moment. "Yes, I think I would." He takes a breath, lets it out sharply, and then explains how they were in the Menagerie and bumped into each other while looking at the ravens. "I told her that I hated Hufflepuffs," he says. "But I took it back because I wanted her to introduce me to her father. He works at the Ministry." It turns out her father was not an important figure like Niles had hoped, and Madeline laughed at something Niles said to him, which was very rude. She apologized, but said he shouldn't hate people just because they were in a certain house. "I told her I didn't hate them because they were Hufflepuffs, I hated them because they were useless Mudblood scum," he continues. "Then she got all cross with me, like I'd said something wrong. Weasley made me apologize to her after he reminded me that it's useful to have people we can use, but I still feel dirty for apologizing."

Lucretia snags the lower edge of her lip, pulling it in over her teeth. "Weasley is good people, but from what I've seen of him he does have a certain fondness for Evans. Its a shame, perhaps he's a lost cause so far as the ideals of pure-blood goes. I worry that he's of the nature to turn blood traitor and marry a mudblood if only to prove a point, I do hope I'm wrong though. He's been quite nice to me when I've had occasion to speak with him. Still, I'd not worry overly much about having been made to apologise to her; he's a sixth-year and you can always blame it on that." A quick squeeze of her hand to his shoulder before she generously adds, "I'm going to be having some friends to my home before we all go back to Howarts. You're invited, of course. I won't be asking any mudbloods so you don't need to worry about bumping into any." By any, Lu no doubt means Madeline in particular, and after a moment she does add, "What Weasley said is right though, it is useful to have people we can use, no matter how distasteful it might be when dealing with them."

"Yes," Niles says quietly. "I'm afraid some of the things he said did rather make him sound like a blood traitor. He seems all right to me most of the time, though, and he has a snake for a pet so he can't be all bad. But you're right, and he's right. I wish I didn't have to stoop to the level of such filth, but I suppose some day I'll be grateful I did." He sighs, but seems to cheer up a bit when she mentions having a get-together at her place. "That sounds terrific. It'll be nice to spend a day in good company without having to worry about who you're speaking to. Will it be before or after Christmas?"

"Oh, after. Its Christmas Eve tomorrow after all. It'll give people something to look forward to." She reclaims her arm from Niles' shoulders and pulls a bag of jelly worms from her pocket, offering the opened packet to him. "I'd not say that its stooping really, so much as just ignoring them and putting them in their place when they need it. I'm not even sure that Evans will last the year at Hogwarts, she's forever going on about things from the muggle world, mostly authors. She prattles on about this and that like its something important and she just doesn't understand that nobody's interested in such boring, mundane things."

"Oh, yes," Niles says, giving his head a small shake. "Of course. Sorry, I suppose I'm a bit unraveled at the moment." He smiles at her and takes a jelly worm, slipping it into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. "Is she really? How horrible. I'm glad she's just a first-year. I don't think I could bear it if I had to share classes with her and listen to her prattle all day. I hope you're right. Here's hoping next year is an Evans-free one." Bolstered by their conversation, Niles seems quite a bit more relaxed and happy as he stands up. "There's my mother calling me. Thanks, Black. See you in a few days?"

Lucretia nods, popping one of the worms into her mouth. It wriggles deliciously. "I'll have an invitation sent over to your house, Avery. Try not to let this whole thing with Evans get to you, she's already upset and annoyed quite a few students." When Niles gets to his feet, she does too, helpfully picking a stray strand of cotton from the shoulder of his cloak. "I hope you have a good Christmas. Don't eat too much or you'll have trouble riding your broom on return to the school." There's a quick waggle of her fingers in a bidding farewell before she turns to walk back to the dressing room, apparently its not just a cloak she's being fitted for today.

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