(1939-01-11) Mandrakes and Chocolate
Details for Mandrakes and Chocolate
Summary: Gabriel and Madeline have a chat about some of the fallout of the attack on the Sykes Manor and about the Pirates then the conversation shifts to Muggle science fiction with the arrival of Shazi.
Date: 1939-01-11
Location: Hogwarts' Greenhouses
Related: None.

Hogwarts Castle, Greenhouses

On the side of the castle are the greenhouses where the Herbology classes are taught. Set all in a row the three greenhouses have statues of long, serpentine dragons running along the peaked roofs and are made entirely out of glass. They are home to many exotic and magical plants including some that are extremely rare, difficult to cultivate and maintain, or even dangerous. Greenhouse One is used specifically to teach first year Herbology and because of this it contains no dangerous plants of any kind. Greenhouse two is a multipurpose greenhouse. At times it is used for classes but mostly it's used by the faculty and staff to grow ingredients necessary for classes other than Herbology or even herbs and spices for the kitchens. Greenhouse three on the other hand is used for advanced Herbology classes and houses dangerous and hard to cultivate plants like Venemous Tentaculas, fully grown Mandrakes, and Devil's Snares.

Weak sunlight filters through the glass roof of the greenhouses as the sun starts setting. Somewhere in the middle of all the greenery and from floor level the sound of rustling pages is interrupted from time to time as a red cricket ball flies through the air, bounces off one of the steel pillars of the greenhouse and returns to its starting point.

The greenhouses were a warmer alternative to being outdoors - but they still allowed Madeline to be surrounded by plants. This is what resulted in her being in the greenhouses sometimes - not so much any real interest in herbology. She's got a book in hand, 'Out of the Silent Planet,' by C.S. Lewis, as she opens the door to the greenhouse, hastily closing it before too much cold can in and damage the plants. She takes a deep breath, enjoying the earthy smell, and starts to walk through the aisles, looking for an overturned pot to sit on. That is, of course, until she hears the sound of the ball. "Umm. Hello?" the girl calls curiously, turning in full circle.

*plang* *plang* The ball bounces off the pillar two more times then a ghostly voice whispers from between the leaves and stalks of the potted plants, "Who dares disturb the mandrakes' sleep?" The rustle of pages has stopped to be replaced by the rustle of leaves as someone… or something moves invisibly among the greenery.

"That'd be Madeline Evans!" The girl replies brightly. Mandrakes. She's heard of those. Are they real? What are they? Do they talk? Or is it a student just having a lark? She bets it's a student.

But it could be mandrakes.

She gets down low, trying to look under the raised beds the plants are grown on, looking for shoes. Hrm…

As Madeline leans down to look under the raised beds a small, pudgy humanoid covered in bark and crowned with a head of tall, grass-like stalks dashes straight at her, letting out a high pitched keen and shaking from side to side!

Madeline looks up her eyes widening, as she hastily rises and levels her wand on the approaching /thing/. "Rictusempra!" Can you /tickle/ a plant? Well. If it's walking and keening, she bets so! She backs away hurriedly, eyes flicking left and right as she looks for cover.

Laughter rings throughout the greenhouse but its not the little plant man. Instead its coming from the person holding it as Gabriel topples over backwards still holding the fake mandrake in one hand and clutching his stomach with the other, "That. Was. Marvelous!" he gasps in between bouts of laughter.

"What was that?" Madeline asks, moving towards Gabriel and his plant man now, poking at the giggling student with her foot. She grinning broadly now as she tries to study what the boy has in his hand. "Oh - did you make that? Can I see it? Is it a puppet? How did you do it?"

Gabriel snorts as he's foot-poked,"Oy! That tickles!" Then he sits up and offers up the very much inert and fake Mandrake, "Just transfigured some sweet grass real quick."

"Well, if /that/ tickles…!" Madeline exclaims. She abandons any magical means of tickling the boy - and instead decides to do it the old fashioned way, giggling madly herself. Her wand and book are both dropped in the process - it's not like she needs either of them for the moment.

Gabriel squirms and wiggles until he's able to flip onto all fours and scramble away from the eager little firstie, "Hey now! I don't want a cooties infection!" He scrambles back to the middle of the room where its now apparent he had been sitting with two books, one the standard Herbology book, the other a Muggle treaty on medicinal plants. And he's also taken note of the book Mad dropped on the ground, "You like Muggle books?"

"Heeey! It's the boys that got the cooties! You're going to infect /me/!" Madeline counters, though from her smile, she doesn't seem to care. She picks her wand back up first, putting it away, then turns to give Gabriel a curious look. "Well - yeah. I mean, some of them. I like science fiction /a lot/. This one's new - he's a new author! I heard it was good. I wonder what the C. S. stands for, don't you?"

Gabriel sits back down by his books, crossing his legs like a Red Indian. But he doesn't go back to reading, instead he picks up the red cricket ball that had been flying through the air a little while ago and starts tossing it from hand to hand as he talks. "I really don't know. Don't usually read science fiction. Too much to read for school already. And then there all the practice to be done for the spells. And all the reading to compare Muggle healing techniques and Wizarding healing techniques." Taking a quick breath he continue his rapid fire speech, this time switching to questions,"Are you Muggle born too? Or do you just like Muggle society? Have you gotten in trouble with the Purists for liking Muggle literature? What other kinds of books do you read? Are you keeping up with your studies too?"

"Umm…" Madeline says, her brow furrowing in thought. "Yes, no, yes, LOTS, of course!" she rapid fires back, looking pleased with herself. "Gosh, so /much/ trouble," she adds, plopping down in front of Gabriel. "Especially now after that dreadful party and those horrible, horrible wizards did such terrible things. Didn't they know they would make things worse? They must be terribly stupid." She leans in towards Gabriel, adding in a loud whisper, "Or maybe - well. I wondered if maybe they weren't Muggle-born at all. What if they just said that to make people hate Muggle-borns, because they hate Muggle-borns, too? It makes more sense, almost, but of course if you said that to a pure blood, well, most of them anyways, I don't think they'd react very well to the idea."

Gabriel tosses his ball against the pillar he was using as a target a little while ago *plang* *plang*, "Really? What kind of trouble? Are people picking on you? Have you told the faculty? Not that some of the faculty will help all that much… And that's not all that crazy an idea. Maybe they did do exactly that. I wonder if they have Muggle born or Pure Blood Aurors investigating the case? Maybe its all one big conspiracy to make the whole idea of being mean to Muggle more acceptable to Wizards…"

"Well. Nothing really terrible, you know. Bumping into me in the halls, knocking down my books. Coming into my car on the train and telling me to get out, it's theirs. Stuff like that," Madeline responds, shrugging her shoulders. "One of them threatened to give me antlers, but I think that's because I kicked him, more than because I'm Muggle-born."

Gabriel laughs again after looking Madeline over for a moment, "Feisty little thing, aren't you? Who did you kick? Where did you kick him? And why? I mean, kicking people isn't the nicest thing to do but sometimes they deserve a good kicking." He shows off the ball in his hands as he adds, "Or a swift ball to the head."

"In the shins," Madeline says simply, shrugging her shoulders. "I /am/ a lady." Sort of. "He said - well. He said stuff to Variel he shouldn't have and got him upset. Variel was at the party, you know. And he was-" Here the girl hesitates, looking down at the floor. "He's one of the people that were hit by the unforgivable curse." The /torture/ one. "You don't make fun of stuff like that. And then he says stuff about Mrs. Rousseau and Mrs. Proudmore and - well. Chastity's a /Gryffindor/, and he's right there in the middle of the common room, and what if she'd been coming in through the portrait after me and heard him? So I kicked him. He earned it."

Gabriel nods in agreement then looks a little confused, "Wait… You were in the middle of the Gyffindor common room? It wasn't a Slytherine making all the man comments and earning himself a kick? Really?" He seems a bit befuddle about the idea of a non-Slytherine being a 'bad guy'.

"It was another Gryffindor! Saying horrible things /about other Gryffindors/. I mean - well, he didn't say anything /horrible/ about Chastity, but it would have upset her, and it's bad enough already, losing her mom like that, and we're in the same house and we're supposed to help each other and not hurt each other and he's lucky I only kicked him in the shins!" Madeline lets out all in one breath, gesturing with her book as she rants.

Gabriel frowns a bit,"Well that's not very Gryffindor like, is it? What was he saying? And why was he saying all these things? Is he a Purist too? Who was it? I think I would like to avoid someone like that…"

"Avery," Madeline says, digging at the ground with the heal of his shoe. "He just- I guess Variel repeated something. You know - said the same thing twice without realizing it? So he decided it'd be funny to make a joke about the curse messing up Variel's brain, and it's not funny! And then when Variel said how horrible it was, and how he remembered seeing… seeing Chastity's mom," dead, "and Augustin and his sister crying about their mother, too, and he was all 'people die, get over it.'" She staring determinedly at the floor as she talks. "I wasn't even /there/, and I don't know how anyone can just- With all the tension at school, and poor Chastity crying every night, and… Avery's just horrible."

Gabriel takes a moment to think about all this then finally says,"You know, maybe the Sorting Hat made a mistake. Maybe Avery was supposed to be in Slytherine." Then he smiles broadly and digs through his bag coming up with a bar of chocolate wrapped in golden foil and offers it to Madeline. " I don't know if someone has rewarded you for standing up to that kind of behavior but someone should so here. My friend, Cap'n Cillian makes these and I'm sure he would be proud for you to have one."

"I love chocolate!" Madeline says eagerly, instantly brightening, and perfectly happy to accept the bar. "And I did! Well. Sorta. See, Avery transfigured my book - he put antlers on it and said he'd give me antlers if I ever kicked him again! … so of course I almost went and kicked him again, except my parents would be mad enough at me for kicking someone for being a real jerk, let alone kicking them just for antlers so instead I went and found a sixth year, and /she/ gave me the antlers just because I asked and it was /real/ neat! But Madame Spleen transfigured them off again." Only with all that said will she bite into the chocolate bar.

Gabriel gives Madeline some time to enjoy her chocolate before asking, "So have you met the Cap'n yet? He's one of my best friends here. I'm the Gunny for the Pirates. But you shouldn't say much about that. We're kind of secret club and you can only get in if the Cap'n himself invites you. But I think you would be a good fit from what you've told me." He takes another chocolate bar out of his bag and unwraps it then takes a bite from it before he launches into more questions,"So no one else called him out on the comments? Or helped you out when he started bullying you? Does your book still have antlers? That has to be a funny sight, a book with antlers."

"Cillian?" Madeline muses thoughtfully. "Umm. Does he have the-" she starts to point to her eye, then abruptly drops her hand. That's probably rude. "Well, sure, he's Gryffindor, so we've met, but I don't think we've talked very much. What're the pirates?" she asks - despite the fact that he just said it's a secret.
She takes a bite of her chocolate again before adding, "Well, Variel told him to go jump in the lake - he didn't use those words but he should've - and Shafiq told him off, too. But then they left. So I kicked him for good measure. Me and Avery were the only ones in the commons, then. And of /course/ it still has antlers. A book with antlers! You think I'm just gonna let someone /fix/ that?" She snorts and shakes her head.

Gabriel nods, looking a little more satisfied now that he's found out other people stood up to Avery as well. "Well, that's good. And the Pirates are a club put together by the Cap'n. And yes, he does have an eye patch. We do fun stuff together like treasure hunts, defending Maidens, defeating Villian, and generally making people happy." Not much like real pirates, not at all…

"Well that sounds like fun! I like making people happy. And loads of people need making happy right now." Madeline takes only a little nibble this time before promptly asking, "Got any great ideas for cheering up Chastity? I hate seeing her sad, I really do. I mean - I know there's nothing I can do to really fix it because, I mean, it was her /mom/ after all, but… even if it helps for a little while."

Gabriel chews on some more chocolate as he takes some time to think about this. Finally he shakes his head sadly, "No. Something like that I think only time can help. My father's a doctor and he always says its a matter of being there for people and letting them determine how they want to handle their grief…"

"Yeah… I thought so," Madeline agrees with a sigh. "I mean, it's not like we were close friends or anything before this. But I just want to help. I told her we can be study-buddies, if she wants, and I'd help look over her work for her. I hope that helps."

Shazi Shafiq enters not with a whimper, but with a bang - a literal one, as she lets the door shut indelicately in her wake. She comes down the greenhouse paths with a great deal of bustling, pausing irregularly. There's some half-audible muttering in Hindi: "« Where is it, where is it - »" And then she's nearing the younglings, failing in her distraction to notice them until she's nearly upon them. "Oh!" And then: "HEY have you seen a Fourth Year Herbology book heeeeeeere?"

Gabriel looks about for a moment, as if he hadn't been pottering about the greenhouse since classes were done for the day, then shakes his head, "Nope, no books but ours around. Will a mandrake help?" He holds up what seems to be a mandrake, holding it by its grassy 'hair', except that its not moving of yelling or anything.

"We knocked it out," Madeline offers helpfully, as Gabriel offers the 'mandrake.' "It was being really annoying. Otherwise I would've left it alone. Hi, Shafiq, want some chocolate?" She breaks off a piece to offer up to the older student, before looking to Gabriel to add, "She told Avery off, too."

"HA, has everyone heard about that? I do try not to do that much, I don't like to not get on with people, but he was being a beast to Weasley, who doesn't need it, poor thing -" Shazi dutifully leans down (it's not really a long way down for her) to look at the 'mandrake', her mouth twitching at the corners. "And, bother. Sure it's not in here?" Taking permission as implied, she scans the covers of their books in hopes that hers will miraculously turn up… and pauses, intrigued, at the sight of Madeline's science fiction. "Oh! That looks like a gas, what is it?" An aside: "Chocolate? Yes, and thank you!"

Gabriel drops the realistic little copy of a mandrake and smiles at Shazi, "Well, defending people that are being bullied is always a good reason not to get on with someone. And some people are not worth the effort of getting along with anyway… But wait, I thought it was Proudmore he was being mean to?"

"He was mean /to/ Variel, but he said simply horrible stuff that if Chastity heard- well. I'm glad she didn't." Madeline looks back up to Shazi as she explains, "I was just coming in through the portrait, and I stopped when I heard him being so horrible, but after you left, and he still wasn't sorry for it, I went and kicked him in the shin." And as for the book - the girl simply lights up. "Oh it's great! It's about this man named Dr. Ransom and he gets drugged and put in a spaceship and the men that kidnapped him - they thought he was asleep only he wasn't and he hears how they're taking them to another planet to be used as a sacrifice so he has to escape! It's real exciting."

"Some people just have no sympathy for others," Shazi says, with a shake of her head. "Good on you for kicking him, though don't do it where a Prefect can see you." Having dispensed this terrible advice, she takes a seat besides the two of them. "That," the older girl tells Madeline, with shining eyes, "sounds amazing. Can I borrow it? I'll loan you this series I got for Christmas, it's about an explorer who ends up on Mars and has to escape their god king and this mermaid and dragons and all."

Gabriel arches an eyebrow at the two girls and asks,"Why do you spend time reading about all that? I agree, it sounds like fun, but we have so much real things to have fun with. Mermaids, and hypogriffs, and goblins, and centaurs, and all sorts of other magical, amazing things that are right here, in the real world for us to learn about and experience…" Really, a Ravenclaw suggesting /not/ reading books?

"Because sometimes it's dark out and we're stuck in the dorms because of curfew," Madeline counters. "Or there's a blizzard." Her attention returns to Shazi, grinning and nodding eager. "That /does/ sound great! Sure! Just as soon as I've finished it, I'll give it to you." It certainly isn't like she'd have a hard time tracking the other student down.

"I don't know," Shazi tells Gabriel, thoughtfully. "I mean, school's interesting, sometimes, but mostly for the people in it." She is emphatically not a Ravenclaw. "I traveled a lot when I was a kid, and got used to it - so I get a little itchy-footed being stuck here. Reading about adventures gives me a chance to give that itch a scratch. I know they're just silly novels, but they're fun. I think it's alright to just do things because they're fun, don't you?" At Madeline, Shazi beams, and also points. (In finger-guns, specifically.) "It's a deal, Evans. And Weasley is getting me copies of his dad's magazine - want to borrow them when I'm done with them?"

Gabriel takes another bite of chocolate as the girls talk and once he gets a chance to add something he says,"I can see that. Weasley's father publishes a magazine? What kind of magazine is it? Is it since fiction? I've never heard of a wizard writing or publishing science fiction… Actually, most wizards and witches seem to be really very uncomfortable with science."

Madeline opens her mouth to ask about the magazine - but Gabriel beats her to it. "He never told /me/ about the magazine." She sounds a bit put out.

"I haven't had a chance to read it yet! But I think so. It sounds completely wonderful, I can't wait to read it." Shazi beams at the pair of them. "I can loan both of you it, if you want? It's so snowy and the school's so gloomy - a little fun will do us well."

Gabriel nods, "Sure, I'd be willing to take a look at it." Then he chuckles as he adds, "But then again, there are a lot of fun things to do outside even in this cold, winter weather. We can have snowball fights, after building forts to protect ourselves, of course. And we can go tobogganing. And we can make snow sculptures. And we can go ice skating if the lake freezes…"

"Me and Adam have had some /great/ snowball fights!" Madeline supplies cheerfully. "But as it turns out - it's harder if you have antlers. Just as a warning."

"Nothing wrong with snowballs," is Shazi's serious agreement. "And snowmen. I like building snowmen, personally. It's cold, and I don't like that, I'm used to India where it's warm, sometimes I wish my parents had sent me to school there - only the Shafiqs go to Hogwarts, so of course I had to come here - but that stuff is all pretty fun."

She beams at the pair of them. And then, abruptly as she arrived, she's standing up. "Well! If my Herbology book isn't here, it's down in the Potions classroom. I'd better go and grab it."

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