(1938-12-29) Agreeing to Disagree
Details for Agreeing to Disagree
Summary: Lu and Variel bump into each other in Flourish and Blotts and realise that there is a fundamental point of disagreement between them.
Date: 1938-12-29
Location: Flourish and Blotts Bookshop, Diagon Alley

Flourish and Blott's is the premier bookstore for anyone purchasing books in preparation to attend Hogwarts. The bookstore's two stories of walls are completely lined with shelves, most of the accessed by a rolling ladder with the exception of the back wall which has a loft attached to it that can be reached by climbing a graceful curving staircase. The open floor space in the middle of the store has freestanding bookcases that house the newest releases as well as the books currently assigned for the present year at Hogwarts to make them as easy to find as possible.

Its mid-afternoon and Flourish and Blotts is doing a brisk trade. That lull between Christmas and New Year has seen students coming and going in order to pick up new books in preparation for their return to school; one such being a certain Lucretia Black. Standing near the section that contains books pertaining to all things potions, she appears to have propped herself comfortably with one shoulder edged in against the shelves behind her, the other hand open with a beautifully illustrated book resting in the palm of it. Its not a huge book, its almost pocket-sized in fact with tissue-thin pages edged in gold.

Variel moves into the shop himself, beelining for a comfy loveseat tucked in a nook. One of the few around the store, this one was the nearest, and had space for two. Variel took advantage to simply sprawl a bit; all the running around Diagon to get ready for classes again was a little exhausting.

"Hello, Weasley." Apparently Lucretia hasn't missed the red-head's entrance to the shop, head lifting from her book to fix him with her eyes. Peeling herself from her spot against the bookshelves, and clasping her book to her chest, she takes the necessary steps over to the loveseat and looks down at him. "Are you here with someone?" A quick glance is given around to see if anyone familiar was spottable before the slender dot of a girl perches herself on the opposite curve of the seat to Variel. "I never did quite get these seats. Aren't they the most awkward of things?"

"Lulu!" Variel's voice carries warmth, and he pats the cushion beside him. "Yeah, I suppose they'd be awkward if you didn't much want to be close to the other person. They're for. Y'know. Sitting close. You can stay up if you like." The redhead leans his head back. "Not here with anyone, not even Clever today. Just me, getting out of the cold and pretending I don't need to look for more charms manuals to beat myself about the head and shoulders with."

"I suppose that even snakes have their limits when it comes to shopping," Lucretia replies with a smile, settling herself into the other half of the oddly shaped seat. Like Variel, she tilts her head over the back of the upholstered chair and looks first at the ceiling and then over at the sixth-year. "Really, if you're needing to beat yourself about the head and shoulders with books, you're probably reading the wrong ones. Charms are wonderfully interesting and I can't believe you said that." A hint of amusement just threads her words as she says that and her eyes crinkle with teenage mischief as she awaits his reaction.

"It's not a matter of -interesting-, Lulu, it's a matter of internalization. Dark Defense is easy, it's visceral and really got a sort of oomph to it. I just… got a hard time getting the right mindset for charms. I get the theory easy enough, but putting it together isn't anywhere near as easy as Dee Ay Dee Ay or Apparating or Runes. Not for me, anyhow. Been working my tail off." He'd splayed his arms over the back of the chair- if Lulu felt mischievous, she could tuck against him and force him to deal with her proximity. "And the advanced stuff is no joke."

"Well isn't that sort of what I'm saying?" Lu returns, her chin walnutting a little as she tips her head sideways to regard her friend. "Find a book with a way of presenting things such that it interests you, and it'll make it more palatable. I do understand what you mean though, I don't think anything on earth could make me understand divination; all that guessing and interpretation, its hardly factual. I like facts." Blowing a breath out, she leans a little further back and encounters the length of Variel's arm draping the back of the chair. With a grunt she turns and pushes it off. "Merlin's beard, you have uncomfortable arms." A flick of a hand around the back of her neck and she scoops her hair from her nape, releasing it thereafter so it spills thickly down the back of the seat. "Would you like a sweet Weasley? I found some exploding slugs in one of the shops. They're nice."

"They're only uncomfortable because you're usin'em wrong-" Variel retorts, reaching over to loop his arm behind her, curling it around her back to the nook of her waist, letting his forearm press there as his hand rests on the cushion, tilting her against him. "They're not pillows, they're more like sashes." He grins; it's brash, but not at all restricting. "Wouldn't mind a sweet, thanks much! As for the book… been looking. Been over the ones I could find in the library, and been scouring shops since break started. Not much luck in finding a kindred soul, though."

"I'd have thought it a little difficult to use arms wrongly, they're quite basic things really," Lu says as she fetches a crumpled bag of sweets from the folds of her cloak. "And if you even so much as think of taking advantage of where your hand is and tickling me, I warn you - I play dirty. It comes of having an annoying brother." Splitting the top of the paper bag open, she holds it out for Variel to help himself to a slug, the marshmallow-looking sweets squirming in the bag cutely painted the colours of the rainbow.

Variel plucks a slug with his free hand, leaving the other curled around behind Lucretia. "Lu, if I was going to take advantage of where my hand was, I'd think of something more interesting than tickling you. Give me a little credit, mm?" Variel grins as he pops the slug into his mouth.

Lucretia laughs, takes a moment to select her own particular slug then follows suit and sucks it into her mouth, teeth nipping the end so it disappears with a bright explosion of pink sparkles and smoke. "Seeing as I'm thirteen and you're practically ancient, I'll trust you to neither tickle me nor do anything gross." A pause, a pause in which she closes her eyes and does in fact just allow herself to lean a little more companionably into Variel's side. "And so you know, I don't often give people credit for anything. This though, this isn't too bad. You could offer this as a service for homesick firsties at school."

"I do try to be accomodating," replies the redhead, grinning. "And thirteen's only a couple years back. Maybe too early to care about boys, though- either way, won't take advantage." He rocked his head back a bit. "I could, couldn't I? Wonder what the going rate is for a thirty minute cuddle…" He chuckles at that. "Say, Black. You want to help me with something? I could use some perspective."

Lucretia swallows her slug down and licks her fingers before scrunching the top of the bag closed and pushing it back into her cloak. "Perspective on what? I'm not sure what perspective a third-year could give a sixth, though I'll give anything a try." Pulling her legs up, she tucks them under her, making a comfortable curled up ball of herself in the curve of Variel's side.

Variel helps the curling, moving his hand to accomodate her legs, letting his fingers curl over her ankles as the most convenient place left to place them. "Alphard was a lot of help with this. My idea of what's important when it comes to matters of blood seems sort of odd. I'm talking to people I trust to share their perspectives on things. Like, for Alphard, you probably remember he mentioned that blood purity's got more to do with culture than potent wizards. Which I completely agree with. I was hoping to hear your take in more detail."

"I'm not too sure I entirely follow what you're asking," Lu says, tipping her chin up so she can watch Variel's face as they talk. "Some of our most skilled wizards are not pure-blooded. That doesn't make them being part of our society right though. Its not wrong to protect ourselves from muggles, its the necessary thing to do. You do agree with me on that, don't you?"

"I do. It's why I encourage Evans to spend as much time as possible with her uncle and on proper wizard pursuits instead of…" He makes a bit of a face. "I know her family's got cleared by the Ministry to know about things, but it's still a danger. Evans is still trying to walk both worlds; all I can do is try to encourage her to leave the old one behind. There's nothing but envy and risk where she came from, and we can't afford to get found out before we're ready to step up and take the reins, you know? I don't want to see anyone getting tied to any stakes or hanged or… any of those barbarous executions the muggles use these days." He let out a long sigh. "I know some proper part-bloods. Ones raised by wizards, who live with wizards and who are just part of our world. That's what they should be aiming for, not… trying to straddle worlds like that. It's astonishing that they can't see the divide's too big."

Lucretia quiets whilst Variel speaks, the young witch pulling in her lower lip over her teeth and alternately sucking and chewing on it. "Half-bloods are not so bad as mudbloods, but their blood is still dirtied by their connections to muggles. They might choose to live their lives in the wizarding world, but what if something were to happen to their muggle relatives? Something that they knew they could help with, so did and in doing so exposed us to problems. Its a weakness. Its not their fault, its something anyone would do. Family is family and blood ties are blood ties. The mistake was in allowing this to have ever happened in the first place and further mingling of wizard blood with muggles should be prevented. I don't have the answers as to how, but I want to be part of the 'solution' to it and so I intend to apply for membership to the Magijugend on our return to school."

"I've already applied, actually," Variel offers. "I know that the whole impure thing is a huge sticking point, but for our culture as a whole, I think we sort of need that tension. You've seen the kids of privilege that coast through everything, never apply themselves and then laze about on the family's dime, I'm sure. Having half-bloods and such around- they're usually more driven, and that urges competetiveness. It gives us something to strive against constructively, without- say- the tension of a war or something costing us precious friends and family in the meantime."

He thinks a moment. "Do you know Dweedle, Lucretia? She's got a muggle grandfather, but her parents are both wizards. She grew up with them and doesn't have any connections to the muggle world, and her grandkids will be pureborn again, providing she and they marry well." He studies the ceiling a moment. "That's about exactly what we want them aiming for, don't you think?"

"I've seen the ones that coast. Yes. But shouldn't that be how any society works?" Lucretia says quietly, pulling her legs in closer so her arms can wrap her shins. "Not everyone could, or should want to be, the brightest and the best. There's room for all abilities. I do know Dweedle, if only a little, and I agree that she's hard-working, clever and all those things that are to be admired in a witch. The fact does and always will remain though that she's not of pureblood and will always be regarded with suspicion and distrust. True, she might well find somone of pure lineage willing to marry her, but that still won't change her own muddied past. Its there. Its in her. She could turn on our world just the same and just as sure as any muggle or mudblood." A breath. "I know you'd like me to think differently, I just can't."

Variel nods a bit. "I appreciate that you're at least willing to talk about it, though. Even if it's deep seated, Lulu, it's more open than some. And it's easier to deal with knowing that it's a deeper conviction you hold and not just a blind sort of "ew, muddies" sort of kneejerk. Some people react that way, the same way that some people blindly welcome them in without thinking about how dangerous they can be. If your position is thought out and considered, then I can respect it. I don't have any respect for blind prejudice, for or against." He tilts his head towards the ceiling again. "I don't agree with you about Dweedle, though. I'm not trying to convince you, mind- I know you're kinda set in your ways on this, convinced like. But I think she's as for us wizards as any of the purebloods. If she had more contact with her muggle relatives, I'd be way more concerned- much as I like Evans, I'm not sure she's going to fit in here. She carries a lot of their world with her, and it's going to be a problem for her, even if not for us. It's hard to trust a witch loves their world so much. But she -is- enthusiastic about our world, so I'm a bit hopeful she might come around given time." His eyes flick to Lulu. "… I know it feels like it'd be easier to kick them out and be done with it, but we need the witches and wizards we can really trust. We can't afford to throw away any potential, loyal allies. Parta why I'm nice to everyone. I don't let them think things are gonna be easy, or that their heritage isn't going to draw a target on them, but I want to make sure that, for the ones really dedicated to walking away from all that and throwing their lot in with us, that there's -a- place- even if it's not as gleaming and shiny as they might like."

Lucretia hunches her shoulders, mulling over what Variel says. "The way I see it," she says eventually, "Is that allowing muggle blood into our world is like allowing an infection in. Infections infect and its as simple and as terrible as that. Soon it will be hard to know who is pureblood, who is half and who is muggle-born. It weakens us and leaves us as vulnerable as any sickness does. If it were me, I'd not teach them how to control their magic; how to control it and to perhaps ultimately turn it upon our world." A pause as she gathers her thoughts. "Weasley, would you marry a muggle? A half-blood even? Would you allow that threat to endanger your own family? Your family's future through your children? Unless you can answer yes to that, then you don't really have an argument as I see it."

Variel makes a face at the idea of marrying a muggle. "I don't have anything against them individually, but I don't really care to get to know muggles. It'd be like spending time with someone who can't use stairs. Like, can't tell they're there, even. And you can't TELL them about the stairs, because they might tell the others about the stairs, and there's no room upstairs for them. But muggle-borns, and half-bloods..?" He thinks for a long moment. "… if I was really impressed by one, I think, yes. I wouldn't want to involve myself with one that was wishy-washy, even a little. I don't mind being nice to Evans, for example, but I'd never even consider marrying her the way she acts, even if we were of an age. She's the sort that'd want to take us camping the muggle way, to show us how it's done- like… it's something special, instead of just sort of backwards. It'd be like saying we should walk around in the rain without a parasol or a coat, saying it like it's just a different way of doing, and not… well, like I said. Backwards."
"Wouldn't want my kids learning muggle ways, is what I'm saying, I think. A proper witch, I could think about marrying, blood or not. But I wouldn't want my kids thinking there's some sort of glamour to doing things all the wrong way round."

Lucretia giggles. "Yes. So very backwards." She giggles… then pulls it back, the rest of what Variel said apparently only just registering. A rub of her face is given and without particularly commenting on his sentiments she extricates herself from both his arm and the seat and stands, turning to face him. "You're what I call 'good people', Weasley. I just… Just…" A dispirited shrug is given of her shoulders and she takes a step away, eyes drifting from his to lock on something in the middle distance. "I… should go."

Variel blinks a moment as Lucretia pulls herself away, tilting his head a moment as he plays everything through. As he does, he comes to a bit of a nod. "… I think I can gather. This isn't an accusation, Lulu, you're entitled to your opinion, but I'm guessing you think I should put more weight on blood than just culture, right?"

"If purebloods like yourself continue to see no harm in marrying those of impure blood, then what we have is lost," Lucretia says, a sadness to her voice. "I don't know how I can explain it more simply than that. You're clever and you're intelligent Weasley, but you'd knowingly push things along that road. How can we possibly survive?" Complexion paler than usual, her eyes return to his, her voice cracking a little under the strain of this knowledge. "Don't hate me for my beliefs, but you'll have to forgive me if I try at every turn to dissuade you from yours. You can swat me aside, but you're my friend and I won't give up on hoping you'll choose blood over… whatever else."

Variel stands and moves to offer Lucretia his hands. "Lulu. I told you earlier that as long as what you believe is something you've thought about and reasoned through that I'd respect it. Truth be told? I'd be excited to have a back and forth. I -want- to hear what you think about my beliefs. I -want- you to do your best to change your mind if you think you've got the right of things. And as long as we can keep talking it through without taking it personal on either side, Lulu- nobody needs to do any swatting. And who knows? Maybe one of us will convince the other. I'm in the middle, after all- it wouldn't be much of a move for either of us to take up the other's ideas. So we're still friends, and talking calmly about all this isn't gonna change that."

Lucretia wraps Variel in a sudden and tight hug. "Good." Its just one word, quickly spoken before she peels herself away and disappears amongst the myriad rows of bookshelves.

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