(1939-01-11) Wheels Within Wheels
Details for Wheels Within Wheels
Summary: Medusa summons Silas to talk about their plans for succession, she feels out his overall aims for the position, should he be able to take it, and warns him of possible competition. Then, Medusa allows him to sit in on a Magijugend interview wit Variel. At the end, a certain Head Girl breaks up the party.
Date: January 11, 1939
Location: Chamber of Reception, Hogwarts

This small, square room off the Entry Hall has been tucked into a corner, out of the way and rarely used. The first years first make it here from their climb up from their boat ride across Black Lake at the beginning of term. The smooth stone walls are lit by a lamp hanging overhead, with two sconces on each wall. There's barely even any furniture here, a few padded chairs and small, polished tables scattered around the edges where students sometimes meet to chat or study out of the way of the castle's bustle. Within the eastern wall of the Ante-chamber is a well fortified door that leads out to a large courtyard that acts as an exit to the eastern portion of the campus grounds.

There are a few quiet places in the castle where Medusa likes to go and work away from the demands of being the defacto social head of Slytherin - away from being on show as a Malfoy always is. This little used room off the entry hall is one of them. Even so she has been known to keep a sentinel at the door and send them off with messages. One such message was delivered to Silas, requesting his presence and making it clear she wished to see him alone. Sans Solomon. There are books spread out on the table and a tea set which she is obviously using as there are a cup and saucer next to one of her books.

Without Solomon. An interesting proposition, but not one that was totally without possibility. The attachment at the hip of the two, after all, was only figurative. And so, stealing away once he was able, Silas headed where summoned. A slight smirk crossed his face upon seeing the sentinel, but he headed past with plenty of confidence. His tone is almost playful once Silas enters. "You summoned me, Malfoy?"

Medusa doesn't look up right away, she instead finishes what looks to be something she is drawing rather than writing down. A moment, maybe two pass before she looks up. "Sorry, I had to do it before I forgot. Thank you for coming, Silas. Please sit," Medusa gestures to one of the other cushioned chairs at her table. "Would you care for some tea?"

Silas waits silently after his initial greeting, although his eyes certainly stray to whatever it is Medusa is drawing. Once the offer to sit is made, he does so, leaning back in the chair. "Think nothing of it, Medusa. I've been known to get lost in drawing more than a few times myself, so I've no room to complain. And, tea would be lovely, thank you."

It is no secret that Medusa is not the brainiest student to ever grace the school, but she was bright enough to get herself into five NEWTs; the same five which healers and aurors take. What she is doing is drawing little pictures related to the concepts she is studying in transfiguration, her most difficult subject. With a nod she reaches for the pot and pours out a cup of tea for Silas. "Milk?" There is no pot of sugar, indicating she herself doesn't take sugar in her tea.

Silas himself had to keep it to three, although the symbols, even if a year ahead of his current studies, are familiar enough to him… and he shares a certain lower aptitude in the study as well. To the offer of milk, he simply shakes his head, "No, thank you. I'll take it plain, if you don't mind." Another smile is offered as he leans back once more, a quick eye inspecting his cuticles as he waits for her to properly address the reason for the summons.

The cup and saucer are set down in front of the boy then Medusa allows him to take a drink. They are British after all and tea is important, well Silas might be only half but it is his better half as far as she is concerned. She herself takes a sip of her own tea. "I wanted to speak to you. I know you are one who prefers a more subtle method of inspiring change and behaviour in others. I am uncertain if such a tactic will be the most…effective next year should events like what happened at the Sykes' ball continue to take place."

The boy takes a long sip of the tea, a ghost of a smile crossing his lips at the play to decorum, setting his tea back down once done with that. "If they should?" He offers back as a rejoinder, "Frankly, I think it almost certain that it was merely the opening salvo in a far more prolonged campaign. But yes. You are certainly right that my tendency toward the long game may not be as effective. It's been something on my mind ever since this last weekend, if I must be honest."

"I prefer the long game as well, but then I am an avid chess player." Medusa sips her tea. "Tell me what thoughts have been crossing your mind? I know you have ideas, you always have ideas. If you didn't you wouldn't be Silas Melifula."

Silas chuckles at the statement, but nods, "Well… many of my thoughts I must, by all rights, keep to myself. But with growing tensions, my campaign of Kindness simply doesn't have the power it might once have." He smiles, "I know some dislike my predilections for bridging between those who would otherwise be at conflict, including those impacted in the current political climate, but I truly think fostering that mindset, and being more… assertive about it in the coming months… will be necessary. Especially if we want to avoid seeing a repeat of what happened at the gala in the halls here."

Medusa breathes in deeply. "Yes, we need to try to ensure the school is kept as safe as possible. But more so, you must also think of your own long game as it were. You need to ensure that you are making the right contacts for your future. Which, I know makes me sound a bit like your parents but I do not mean obsessively so. You must instead think about what it is you wish to do in the future. Where you wish to go. I foresee it becoming harder and harder for moderates like us. We may have to hide our natures more and more." Or do as Medusa plans and live out of the limelight.

Silas shakes his head, "Trust me. You do not wish to sound like either of my parents. And I am nothing like them. That is certainly a long-standing aspect of my own long game." He looks at Medusa squarely, then, and asks, "If this is about the fact that I do not wear the Eye when my parents do, and have already been labeled due to certain first-years I've taken under my wing, that damage is long since done." He tilts his head, "I wear many masks, Medusa, as do you. But moderation… neutrality… the challenge notwithstanding, it's the only light available to some when all they can otherwise see is extremists. I'm not about to let difficulty stand in the way of that."

She laughs bitterly. "Wearing the Eye doesn't save you from torture it makes you as much of a target as anything. My brother is a high profile man and he is not a supporter of Grindelwald but he was tortured. I could careless if you wish to join the Magijugend or not. This," she gestures between them both, "is bigger than that. Slytherin house is more important. It must survive the coming storm. To do that it needs a hand to guide it. But I need to know you have a plan Silas - something that goes beyond being nice to little snot factories and softly spoken chin stroking Gryffindors. I need you to give me something so I know my support of you is well founded. There are other candidates, others who want the throne."

"Yes, Medusa," Silas looks back at her now with his trademark smile. "They want it. They plot and scheme and play out their little machinations to try to convince you that they are the best to succeed you. I will take it, if it is handed to me, and will use it as best befits the station. My plan, however… is Unification. Slytherin is strong in its purity, but divided at its core. By a mixture of hatred and fear, petty rivalries, bullying, and manipulations. You see my attention to 'snot noses' as being nice. I'm creating bridges for them… a long game with a common thread of connection. They see me, an upperclassman, treating them all the same. They can take the steps to follow in that."
He pauses, taking another sip of tea, before he continues, "Alliances with Gryffindors, our natural adversaries… it is the same. By bridging between the houses, by connecting with those who are otherwise at odds with each other, I provide a gateway to unification."
He looks directly at her then, "My ultimate plan, at least for this house, would be to pave a way for every member to be a bishop, knight, rook. No longer pawns. Change the game entirely. I'll have little time to do that myself, of course, but I can set the foundation."
A pause, the smile never faltering, "Is that direct enough for you?"

Medusa gives him time to lay it out for her, all the while watching and listening. "And what will you do if the one at your side causes greater division? Or becomes a liablity because of the choices they make or their personal demons?" After taking a sip of her tea she says, "I know that people feel Douglas is my biggest weakness. His problems, however, have not caused me any thankfully. But his problems are fairly small in comparison and not as likely to because he is not a Slytherin."

"That would depend on who, what, and why, and I'm interested in whom you particularly mean. If it's Solomon, I think the both of you have certain prejudices that might cloud the mind." This offered with a cool grin, "Or, if we're referencing Esther, there is room in kindness for a firm hand, and even a clenched fist if needed. Just because I do not let evidence of my capacity to anger show does not mean it does not exist… and cannot be used to make what needs be happen. I simply hold those plays in check until they are needed."

Waving a dismissive hand Medusa says, "I am speaking hypothetically. For all I know you secretly fancy Morgana Rashley and are merely pretending with Genevieve Solomon because she is not illegitimate." A faint smile crosses her features at mention of Esther. "Esther is an interesting one. She despises your Solomon, you know." Setting her cup aside Medusa states, "Let me be frank. I do not care about Solomon because caring implies thinking of her and I do not. She, however, has some sort of minor obsession with regards to me for some reason. Why, I do not know nor do I care to find out. She seems to think she can overthrow me this year and make me….I don't know, cry or pull my hair out or end up like Janette Abbott." This time she lives a shoulder in a shrug, "Whatever it is she is after is unknown to me. But she could become a problem for you if she seriously tries to take on someone bigger and more powerful than both of you."

Silas laughs, "You /are/ keeping rather tight tabs on me, Medusa. I'd almost suggest you fancied me, if I didn't know better." No flirtation in that, but it seems tinges with enough jest to be mere play, "But no. Morgana is a friend. And illegitimate or not, a good one." He then smiles, "Esther, is multilayered. She doesn't truly despise Jenny, she hates her. And loves her, simultaneously, which sharpens the pain. She took a slight and expanded it to betrayal, and doesn't truly understand how she feels. But… she is manageable. However, someone like her, if she became too dangerous… well, we all know how things ended with Janette."
He then smiles at the mention of Jenny, "I don't know why you didn't try to bring Solomon closer to you, once you realized this apparent 'plan' of hers. It's what I would do, were someone intent on sabotaging me. Put them directly in my eye, and either persuade them, or defuse any chance of power over others they might have by proving myself the better." Hr frowns, "A danger to me, I can handle… but I believe that she is, ultimately, true to the House… and that with gentle care will be persuaded to see reason should she seek to carry personal grudges too far. For that, I have faith in her." He smiles, "And she has had enough influence on me to bring me to this place… where I wasn't even a month ago."

"Esther is fragile," Medusa concurs, "on that we agree. I had hoped her relationship would temper that some but in truth he is even more wild than she is. Even so, there is something about her which I find intriguing." Leaning forward Medusa tops up her own tea and then his from the ever warm pot. "Simply put I did not make attempts to bring Solomon closer to me because she is not a threat to me. I am not in this position because I care about how strangers think of me. I am a Malfoy, I have been under public scrutiny and seen jealous schemers try to come after me all my life. In six months time I will leave this place forever, that is what I am thinking of. My own long game." Leaning back in her chair again she sips her tea. "Do you really want the position, Silas? It is often a lot of bother. People coming to you to solve petty squabbles. Demanding attention. Help. Dealing with correcting their stupid behaviour and mistakes."

Silas matches that lean in, "I am not you, Medusa. But like you, I do care about this House. And its members. I care about the path they tread. And while I've not had to endure the attentions a Malfoy would have, I believe myself to be strong enough to handle it. Because I actually want to help. And that is what it comes down to… the position is less about you, or me. It's about the House, and what is best for it. So it's not about if I want it. It's if I'm best-suited for the job or not. And I don't think someone who wants the power for power's sake would be best to take it."

"No, I agree. I didn't want it for power, though it does give you some power. I wanted it because I looked at everyone else in my year and I realized none of them would be able to do it. None of them were strong enough." Flicking a hand towards her book, she carries on, "I am not the smartest when it comes to academic work but I am good at other things. You will have moments where you have to be cruel, that it comes down to the best thing for Slytherin House always. I think you have it in you to do that. I hope you do because I look at the rest of the sixth years and I find them all lacking."

Silas is silent for a while, smirking a bit, "For all our differences, Medusa, I think we've more an common than even I was willing to put paid to. Like I said, there is room in kindness for a clenched fist… sometimes, a sharp tongue or flattened hand is all that some will respond to, until you've broken them and they can respond to a greater kindness. I understand this more than I think many expect."
He reaches again, picking up his cup, and finishes the last bits of it. "Few understand, too, that the King is perhaps one of the weakest of the pieces on the board overall, second only to pawns… dependent on his court for defense… only able to move a single square. To want to be King, to desire it, is to show no knowledge of the game whatsoever." He holds out a hand, "But I'm willing to take on the burden."

"Excellent." Medusa sets her cup and saucer aside then reaches over to shake his hand firmly but not in some egotistical way of trying to show her strength. "We will need to spend time together starting roughly around the end of the spring holiday so I can show you certain things which are known only to the reigning monarch. You must begin gathering allies and make your play. Despite what I think of you there will be others who want to press for power because they think might is right."

The shake is meant to be symbolic, as it stands. Silas smiles as he recovers his hand, and nods, "I would welcome any suggestions you might have, of course. I do have allies, but if you have suggestions for relationships to cultivate, I am willing to listen. You do, after all, have more experience than I, and I'm not afraid to lean on the expertise of others." He pauses, "And my I ask who my competition might be? I assume Black and Carrow would be clear frontrunners. With Black's recent heroism, he'd be a tough competitor if I'm not able to get him into my corner." A smile, "Although Jenny would be a good resource on that end."

"Alphard indeed is in a strong position, but Carrow also although not quite the heroic figure." For some reason Medusa's lips twitch with amusement. "My advice is find out who would back their bids. Who would provide their power base because as you rightly said a king is the weakest piece, he only succeeds in surviving if he has troops to support him."

There is a knock at the door and the sentinel pokes their head in. "Ah," Medusa says to Silas, "I believe my next appointment is here. You can stay if you wish, I think you might find an arrangement with this party useful."

Variel enters the room with a quiet thanks to the Slytherin student standing outside the room. He takes a moment to glance around the room, his expression faintly nostalgic. He catches sight of the other two quickly enough- after all, first-year nostalgia only lasts so long- and he smiles out of one side of his mouth. To the perceptive, there's a faint hint of tension leaving his form. "Malfoy, Meliflua- you're both looking well."

Silas looks directly at Medusa, "I think I have just the socially-adept ally to gather some of that information for me." And then comes the new entrant… who Silas actually knows, well enough. He stands, and offers Variel a smile. "Weasley… I'm happy to see you well and whole. Coursework hasn't given me time to personally offer my well wishes, but I hope you at least know the intentions were there."

The two of them are seated comfortably at a table, drinking tea it seems. "Do come in, Variel." The use of his first name rather than surname giving Silas a clue as to Medusa's own opinion of the Weasley. She closes her transfiguration book and sets it aside to clear more space for the Gryffindor to join them.

"No worries, Silas- I'd prefer to hear of people offering condolences to the people who lost more than their naivete in the attack. I haven't held late well-wishes against anyone yet- no matter how clumsy-" He remarks with a warming smile tilted towards Medusa, with no malice in the words and a conspiratorial hint suggesting he isn't referring to her directly, but another with whom they're acquainted- "and I won't be starting with my friends," he finishes as he takes his seat, though not until after Silas. He'd been there first, after all. "Thanks again for agreeing to see me about this, Medusa."

Silas takes his seat again, watching Variel for a moment, "Regardless of loss, Variel," clearly first names were acceptable here, "there is something to be said when you've received ill based on inaccurate assumptions on the part of zealots. And that I am glad to see you doing well from." The offer to stay is clearly being accepted, and curiosity takes hold.

Taking her wand from the table Medusa taps the tea tray and another cup and saucer appear as if by magic. Her blackthorn wand is tucked away before she begins pouring tea for Variel. "Douglas, bless him, he doesn't really listen to the wireless and ignores gossip. He didn't mean to put his foot in it. He knew about Mrs Russeau because Augustin is his best friend and obviously he knew about my brother." Lifting up the small jug of milk she inquires of the Weasley, "Milk?" A glance to Silas' cup tells her she needs to refill it next. "Variel is hoping to join the Magijugend and I am going to conduct his interview."

"Not even a bother. I know him well enough to see he didn't mean a thing by it. And no milk on the first cup, but thanks- I rather like to taste my first cup for the tea. After, though," he trails off, admitting that he likes a well-doctored cuppa as well as anyone. He nods confirmation to Medusa's statement, for Silas' benefit.

The admission of Variel's reasoning for being there brings a rise to Silas' brow, considering what he knew of the young man's predilections before the events of the Gala. Clearly something has changed here, "An interview. Now I'm truly curious." His hand goes to his empty cup, and once Variel's is filled, he offers his own for refilling, no milk needed. "I shall endeavor to be as quiet as a mouse."

After setting the cup and saucer down for Variel, Medusa refills Silas' empty cup and tops up her own tea, to which she adds milk. Then out comes the notebook she uses for Magijugend interviews and a little pencil. "As you well know there are three questions which you will be asked, what you say and how you say it are of equal import. I note down answers but also general behaviour. Then I submit my report to the headmaster and he decides if you are suitable for the group or not." Taking a pause to sip her tea she then questions, "Are you ready to begin, Variel?"

"I'm not particularly worried about it if you feel like chiming in, Silas- keep in mind that you're on Medusa's good graces, though, not mine, so take my preferences with a salt lick of three, mm?" The last word drowns in his tea as he sips it, sighing pleasantly. "I'm at your disposal, Medusa. Whenever you're ready."

Silas offers a slight chuckle again, leaning back in his seat, "Hearing your answers will be informative as it stands, so I've no intention to alter or waver them with my own." He sips his own tea, tipping a wink off at Medusa, and says nothing more.

Medusa begins with the first question, "Why do you wish to join the Magijugend, Variel?" She watches him, looking for signs of a reaction that can be noted down. It is with some annoyance then that she reacts herself to the knock on the door. Her sentinel opens the door and allows an owl to fly in. Said owl might be familiar if either of the two boys were known to spend more time with the Malfoy or indeed with her usual Scots counterpart. "Horace!" Horace lands unceremoniously atop Medusa's head and drops a note onto her lap. "Silly bird," Medusa mutters affectionately and from her pocket finds a little biscuit for the owl. "Go ahead and answer Variel." A quick glance at the note has her face turning bright - fire engine - red.

Variel responds, "Because I want to help protect our society from any further attacks, from within or without. The divide between our society and those we've allowed into it was rather starkly revealed to be far greater than I had myself convinced previously. With that realization came a decision to find a way to help shore our society up against the continuing dangers threatening it- standing with Rashley while she spoke on the steps of Saint Mungo's was the first opportunity I found; this is another."

A quick response is scribbled back and the door opened by Medusa so the owl can head off. Her face still red she takes a fortifying sip of her tea and then writes down Variel's answer and his mannerisms. "The second question is easier. Please, Variel Weasley, can you tell me what your blood status is?"

Variel had leaned forward and fallen somber when he answered the first question. He's sincere, but it's clear talking about it brings him back to the events that spurred the request to reapply. His words are thoroughly sincere. "Pureblood, by way of Avitus Weasley and Athena Weasley nee Mulciber." The answer comes easily from Variel's lips, something with which he's completely comfortable and familiar. Which he should be, of course.

With a faint nod Medusa writes down his words, not even bothering to look at Variel when he answers that question as she feels certain of the answer in any case. However, the third question is more serious and so she looks at him silently for a long moment before speaking. "Finally, I want you to think carefully before answering this. Please, do not answer with emotion based upon what happened to you - emotion which might fade once the heat of the moment has too, so to speak. Instead weigh your words and answer with what you know to be true." All that advice given she enquires, "What is your opinion on teaching magic to half-bloods and the Muggle-born?"

Variel takes his time. It's something he's thought over, that he feels comfortable discussing. He gathers his thoughts before speaking aloud.

"I'm no longer comfortable with allowing magic to be taught to those not fully of our society. The problem is mixed loyalties, and it's one I don't know -how- to resolve, but -needs- to be resolved. My only hesitation to saying that we should simply stop teaching them is that hundreds- thousands- of magically talented half-blood or Muggle-born out there without the training to keep themselves under wraps threatens our secrecy. That said, while I don't personally see a way to resolve the conflict between handing people who might turn our magic back on us and leaving them out there like time bombs to expose us, I'm confident there -is- a solution and I want to be part of it. There's no way of telling which of them is going to attack us out of spite or misguided responsibility and doing nothing is… irresponsible at absolute best."

This would be the question Silas wanted to hear the answer to, even though he didn't know precisely what to expect. His own countenance remains relatively silent, as it did during the other questions, but a slight lean forward might give him away. He remains silent, however, looking now to see Medusa's reaction.

For all that Silas might be looking for it, Medusa has done enough of these interviews to know to give nothing of her own thoughts away. "Thank you for your interest, Variel," she says after noting down his answer with care. "I will send this off to Headmaster Flint straight away." In fact she gets up to open the door and hand her report over a moment later, only to be greeted again by the owl. Back is the fierce red blush as she reads the new note sent to her. Another hastily scribbled note is returned before she looks back at the two boys. "Can I do anything else for either of you?"

Variel watches the owl flutter in and drop off its note. He delicately clears his throat. "No, I rather think I'd best free you to any other, ah. Responsibilities. Might be lined up for you this evening. You've been generous with your time already, and I'm thankful that you made some for me. I appreciate it."

With a shake of his head, Silas also responds, "No. This has been most informative, actually. I appreciate you both for allowing me to sit in." He then looks back to Medusa, "As always, your suggestions and input are greatly appreciated. I've much to mull over." The owl's second appearance gives Silas only the slightest bit of pause, but he's also wise enough not to comment on it.

So, Morgana had a bit of resistance at the door, however she isn't about to let some wimpy Slytherin boy get in her way of going to her favorite hiding spot. However once she is through and sees the gathering and Medusa looking all official she pauses. "Oh, I didn't know there was important business going on. I can sod off else where." She says, gesturing toward the door.

"No, it is quite alright. I have another engagement it seems." Medusa rises to her feet, collecting her things but leaving the tea tray. "Come and sit. Chat with Silas, I know you two are friends and Variel is a nice one too." Looking a bit flushed and somewhat distracted she tries to shove her quill up her sleeve rather than her wand and pokes herself in the arm before she realizes her mistake and corrects it.

Silas also stands, "And I, alas, have business elsewhere as well. Namely, with a grumbling stomach, and finding a remedy for it." A look is given to both Variel and Morgana, "Although I trust I'll be able to seek out the both of you later."
At that, he stands, excusing himself, giving each a nod as he heads toward the door.

"If you weren't all doing it with smiles, I'd think I must have frightened you all off," remarks Variel with a faint grin. He honestly doesn't seem bothered, though.

Clearing her throat quietly, more to cover her embarrassment, Medusa slips out of the room.

Morgana looks around as everyone starts leaving and especially at Medusa's behavior. "Well don't let us keep you." She's not quite sure what is going on, but she'll question her future roommate later. When Silas also gets up to leave, Morgana nods her head. "Yes, I am sure I'll be around, some where." She says to Silas. "I would like to speak with you when you're free, and available." Nodding her head to Variel. "I think it was me, nothing ruins a private meeting like the head girl."

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