(1939-01-15) It's a Girl Thing
Details for It's a Girl Thing
Summary: Lucretia happens upon Gerald puzzling over a puzzle box and offers her help. Leoric joins them and Lu decides that the puzzle is very obviously a 'girl thing'.
Date: 1939-01-15
Location: Clock Tower Entrance, Third Floor, Hogwarts

The clicking, ticking, rotating, and swinging of many gears and wheels provides this room with an unusual charm. A giant pendulum, about three feet wide and at least two stories tall, swings in the center of the room, counting the seconds, while the stones that line the floor and wall echo faintly.
The massive doors to the clock tower are typically left open during the day, and closed during the evening, so that students may use it to pass in and out of the castle. The floors near the massive, wooden doors are usually marked with mud, but the remainder of the room is kept quite clean. A single stained glass window, which stretches nearly all the way to the clock's face near the top of the tower, provides most of the light for the room. Although, when light is needed, the walls bear several candelabra sconces.
A covered stairway, to the right of the front doors, leads up to the clock's face and its many gears. The door to it, however, is usually locked and barred.

Wednesday. In just 74 short days, it will be the most well known (and possibly dreaded) day of the week, thanks to bad commercial work and a horribly dubbed camel. Still, in 1939, it's not much better.

Outside the weather drums on with the same steady stream of winter wind and cold, unshakable chill, while inside Hogwarts the walls manage a surprising ability to keep it's students warm..or at least warmish.

Classes ended but a half hour ago, and students have made no small chore of tucking away school books and making quick with plans, some moving in small herds to other parts of the castle while others, not unlike Gerald, have still not settled into much of anything. For now he can be found, slumped against the staircase, his attention on a wooden puzzle box, which he gives a rather violent shake to. "Stupid thing."

With a scarf muffled up around her face, woolly hat pulled down over her ears and a purpose to the measured and determined cadence of her stride, Lucretia walks through the clock tower. She's heading towards the cliffs rather than back into the castle and she has a small leather case tucked within the curve of her arm. Its not until she's almost fallen over Gerald that she actually notices him, her attention focused as it is completely and wholeheartedly in the direction she's walking.
"Oh! Oh!" There's an almost stumble as the toe of her shoe catches against the toe of his and a quick flinging out of her free arm. She's not a heffalump by any means, nor is she generally clumsy, but caught unawares even she's not going to prevent herself landing in a heap on the floor. How embarrassing.

Gerald smirks as he spots the smaller Black as she shuffles (at an alarming quickness) toward the exit. It's not until their feet collide that he becomes aware of the situation, but he acts quickly, reaching to slip an arm in front of her, twirling her around and back to her feet again in a swift and rather easy move. It's easy if you're friends with Ebi, at least. "Whoa Bitty Black." He chuckles, his attention shifting from the box in his off hand to the girl in his right. "That've been a pretty nasty fall then. You okay? There a fire I need to know about?" a glance goes to the leather case as well before his grin deepens and he leans closer, dropping his voice. "You've embarked on a new career in smuggling then have you?"

Lucretia wobbles a bit, cheeks flaming as Gerald rescues her from what would most certainly have been a pair of skinned knees and the loss of her dignity. "Arrgh! I didn't see you there!" Hat skewing where its slipped over one eye, she clutches his arm and steadies herself further. "Oh FUDGE it! How embarrassing! I'm so sorry!" Everything is an exclamation, which underlines how agitated the third-year is and after ensuring she's not going to continue to overbalance, nor flop in a helpless-damsel-in-distress style against Gerald, she pulls herself back a step and straightens both hat and robes. And case. "Smuggling? Golly no! I was going to sit on the cliffs and work on a piece of music. I'm in need of inspiration. See?" And just so Gerald does see, she unzips the case to show some parchment and a quill, the former prepared for muscial notation. A breath as she offers it for him to look at, and a drift of her eyes to the puzzle he carries. "Ohh. You have a puzzle?"

Gerald grins, peeking over the parchments with a small laugh. "Well look there. Aren't you the creative little delinquent." He's pleasantly amused no doubt. The mentioned puzzle also gets a glance before he nods and offers it over. It's a simple box, consisting of several hinges, knobs and divots…but its shut, and it won't budge. "I do, I'm beginning to think it's spelled closed though. I found it over the holidays, and expected that I'd figure it out. I'm feeling dimwitted by the second." He admits with a smirk. "Son of curse breakers my ass." He shakes his head lightly. He also gives it a shake, causing a loud rattling sound to emit from it's belly. Perhaps that's the cause of his persistence.

"Where did you find it?" Lucretia asks as she zips up her case, instantly captured. "Did you find it at home? At school? May I have a look?" A hopeful glance is given the older boy before she loosens her scarf from about her neck, apparently having second thoughts about continuing out to the cliffs. "I love puzzles and am quite good at them. Honest!" A small bounce is given on her toes and she peeks up at him from beneath a dark fringe of lashes, offering a smile. Her smile is magical in the way it dispels previous embarrassment, lights her face and dimples both cheeks. Its also disarming. Its as if its pulled from nowhere and there's a small lift of her brows. "Please?"

It's exactly what his little cousin does. And it sucks. Gerald sighs heavily, rolling his eyes at the small 'omggimmie' move that has suckered him for the past /year/. Blasted adorableness. "Finefine." He allows with a mock-groan. It's handed over easily. Though, true to his word it's spelled shut..or glued. Someone made sure it wouldn't open. "Ya know..it's not nice to play off your cutness to get your way. it's cheating."

Lucretia flashes a grin. "Who says I did that?" Hugging the box in against her stomach she sits herself on the very same step where Gerald had been when she'd near fallen over his foot and she lays her case across her legs, making a natural worksurface on which to place the puzzle box. But not before she's lifted it to one ear and given it a shake in a mirroring of what Gerald had done. "This is so exciting! What do you think is in it? Do you think its a key to something? Treasure?" Her nose crinkles at the end with the anticipation of being allowed to have a try at the box and she places it neatly in the centre of her case-come-worksurface, simply looking at it for the longest time. "I expect you've tried the opening charm on it, haven't you?" Which is rather a naive question to ask, but it simply does need to be asked.

Gerald snorts, "Never considered it." He returns sarcastically. Yes, he tried, and the look he offers her, with a quirked brow and a partial smirk, says as much. He also crouches down near her, his arms folding over his knees. "I dunno what's in it though. The lady I got it from didn't either. She found it buried. She said in the desert, I honestly figure she found it buried in something she stole. But who am I to judge?" He's fine with playing into0 her childlike fascination. It's refreshing, to be honest, with the week he's had.

Lucretia smiles again, her eyes meeting with Gerald's for a moment when he hunkers in front of her. "In the desert? Really? I mean… it could contain something incredibly rare or precious. Which desert? The Egyptian one perhaps? The Sahara? Oh goodness, imagine if it were! Perhaps its a clue to a hidden pyramid where there's some amazing burial that's never been discovered yet." She lifts the box to her ear and gives it another shake, encouraged once more by the rattle from within. "A Pharoah's!" As ever, Lucretia's imagination runs wild; fuelled no doubt by tales of muggle history and the mystical magic that surrounds that ancient culture.

Leoric comes down from the floors above, a book on Tarot reading in his hands. He looks faintly disdainful, but… considerate, though curious more than either as he flits down the staircase, peering down at the two from a floor up.

Gerald just laughs at the younger years excitement. "Or..it's a rock." He grounds her with for the moment before his eyes lift upward toward the incoming Leoric. The book is also spied, and draws a similar look from the sixth year. "Oy, Tarot?" The tone in his voice says he'd sooner slit his own throat. "There's better things to read."

Lucretia tilts her head back when Gerald greets someone. She can't see who it is, so it necessitates a complete tipping back of her head, the bobble of her hat touching the step above her. She squints, getting an upside down and probably highly unflattering view of Leoric. At least its not Angus, given Angus wears a kilt. "Selwyn! Come see what Cornfoot has. Its a puzzle box with something in it…" She stops to draw a breath, rights her head to look at Gerald and shakes her head. "Its not going to be rock! Not unless its got some runes or something etched into it. Its been magically sealed inside here and… and…" And she gives the box another quick shake before turning it over and over in her hands, fingers feeling along edges for any bumps or nicks the older boy may have missed.

Leoric heads down as called, smiling slightly at Gerald's point. "I know, but the older students saw fit to hold a Tarot reading- worth looking into what they were trying to do, at least. I've much more reliable methods of divination." He tucks the book under his arm as he comes to a stop beside the other two, peering at the box studiously, looking it over for anything he might be able to discern, to pick out.

Gerald laughs, "Now there Black, it may be a rock. And someone may have had a really fine sense of humor." Something in his tone hopes it's a rock. "Besides, it's sealed. And maybe it should stay that way. maybe it's not actually a puzzle box at all. Maybe someone was just an asshole and made a box that looks like it opens?" Always the optimistic guy, isn't he? Leoric manages to distract Gerald easily, "They did? Who?" He doesn't seem shocked something else has gone on without his knowing. Gerald is pleasant lost a week behind everything that happens at Hogwarts.

Lucretia's mouth puckers, her chin walnutting with the small pout that's forced by the forward thrust of her lower lip. "Oh." A world of disappointment is held within that one word and she frowns at the box before holding it up to eye level. "What do you think, Selwyn? A complete hoax? And why were you playing with tarot cards, they're as awful to attempt to understand as divination is!" A small shudder is given before attention returns to the box. "But…" she continues, "… it still could be special. Everything has the potential to be special until proven not so. Don't you think?"

"Worse than Divination, I'd say, Black," murmurs the young Hufflepuff, leaning in to peer at the box himself, examining it carefully. "And it was Rowle, from what I hear, and I think Malfoy- but that's just speculation. I didn't attend their reading." Leoric plants a hand on Lucretia's shoulder to steady himself as he leans close to examine the box. "I think it's worth pondering, whether it opens or not. The lack of an answer doesn't make a riddle not worth consideration."

"I can't see any clues as to how to open it," Lu says, a natural hunch of her shoulders given with the press of Leoric's hands. She huffs a breath and holds it up for him, tilting her head back once more. "You take a look, or…" and she hesitates, sudden mischief just showing in her expression. "You could ask the cards for an answer?"

"I'm not going to consult a bunch of poorly-drawn cards for answers to anything, Black. It's research, and you know it." A hand tangles loosely into a few locks of her hair and tugs lightly, as if to silently proclaim her a brat. "But. If it's alright with the owner, I'd be glad to examine it."

"I don't know anything," Lu says, continuing to hold the box aloft. She twists it about, half-teasing Leoric whilst waiting for Gerald's permission that the other boy might look at it. "Also… " And her voice tails off there, the small tug on her hair just cutting off her words with a wince and a teensy yelp of protest. The way she protests would make a person think she'd just had a fistful of hair yanked out. "OW!"

"Serves you right," quips Leoric, reaching in to lay his hand over hers and turn the box. But don't worry. I hear the Brat Boggart only strikes when certain young women mouth off to their friends." He grins mischjievously.

Gerald chuckles, "Be nice you two," he decides, standing again as he watches them. The request is met with a nod as well, though hesitantly. "Finefine, but it goes with me. I bought that for someone. I can't very well sucker a favor out of her without the trinket, can I?" He watches, perhaps not closely enough. He eyes occasionally drifting up the stairs.

Lucretia squints at the box then squints at Leoric. She might have misheard or she might have misunderstood, but shortly after the squint of her eyes, they then go wide. Enormous even. She stares at Leoric and when Gerald acquiesces, she releases it to his care. "You… don't really think that there's a boggart in there, do you? We've not even begun studying the boggart-banishing spell as yet."

Leoric smiles as he's berated to behave, straightening and removing his hand from Lucretia's shoulder. "Ohh? Bought it for someone, did you? Care to say who?" The boy tilts his head curiously, watching the older student.

Gerald grins, "I do not." He returns with a laugh. "And have my business babbled all over? I'd sooner take my chances with the box." He folds his arms over his chest, though he seems pleased with the two younger years interest in the puzzle. Particularly Lucretia's.

Lucretia hops to her feet once she's passed the box to Leoric, a twist given of her scarf around her neck to muffle against the cold once more. "If its a gift for a girl, I think its a wonderful idea. If I was given something like that I'd be thinking of new ways to try to open it every day and therefore I'd be thinking about the person that gave it to me every day too. I might be cursing them also, but its just so terribly clever." A breath and an almost ill-concealed impatience that bubbles over. "Oh give it back here Selwyn. Its a girl thing! I bet that nobody can open it but a witch."

Leoric turns the box in his hand, studying it closely, peering at its angles and faces and corners, and especially the markings. "I doubt it's charmed to open only for witches. Though that'd be a clever enough charm." He offers it back, presuming he finds no interesting marings or otherwise.

Gerald just laughs, watching the two silently from this spot near the steps.

Lucretia takes it back. Intrigue etches a line between her eyes and after just staring at it for a full thirty seconds longer, she passes it back to Gerald. "Maybe its best just to never be able to open it," she decides. "That way the mystery is kept intact. And what could be more fun than a mystery? Its like looking at the stars and making up stories about them; nobody can ever truly prove you wrong. Right?" And with the utterance of that last word, she glances to her fellow astronomer, a small shoulder bump given Leoric as she does.

"Right. I'd like the prestige of figuring it out, but I don't want to ruin that mystique either." Leoric watches Lucretia hand the box back. "So when do we get to find out who your lucky lady is, Cornfoot?" He steps up, more side by side with Lucretia.

Lucretia chews on the inside of her cheek, eyes intent upon Gerald. She'd never have the nerve to ask him herself; not because she's a girl, but chiefly because she's only a third year. That does however mean that she's also the annoying curiousity of a third year and she's absolutely not going to cover her ears and lalala through any answer.

Gerald laughs, taking the box back before it's dropped into his coat pocket. "It's nothing like that." He allows easily, "It's just a thank you. And a bribe to do something for me this weekend..while I somehow bumble through a date with Rashley." This he finds amusing enough.

"… so the gift is for someone you -aren't- going on a date with. Hm." Leoric sounds… intrigued. It's not clear what he's thinking exactly, but he seems to be trying to unravel things.

Lucretia's mouth twitches at one edge. She can't help it. The twitch becomes a smile and she coughs suddenly so that she can bring a curled hand up to cover it. She's that age, just on the cusp of boyfriends and flirting herself, yet not quite there, that she can find amusement in the situation. And yet - somehow still be intrigued. "I'm sure you'd not bumble through anything Cornfoot. If you like, you can practice a few 'date type things' on me before the day. Things to say and questions to ask. Compliments. It might help you."

Lucretia - so generous.

"Right." Gerald allows towards Leoric, laughing faintly at the idea. "It sounds worse than it is." He admits, "Fine. It's for Eibhlin Shine." He allows, solving the mystery for the two. "She's been helping me deal with some stuff. And I was hoping that she could help me out with something that needs doing during my date with Lea." All solved! No mystery, except for WHAT he's needing. That seems to be something he wont offer. But he grins, mostly toward the girl, "Sorry Bitty Black, Alphard would kill. Even if it was just rehearsal. But that's very sweet."

Something about the exchange has Leoric looking very amused indeed, but he says nothing. He remains quiet, listening to the other two speak, exchanging offers, perceived threats, explanations- a good time for an observer, surely.

Lucretia lifts her shoulders, a smile on her face. "I'm sure he wouldn't. In fact, Alphard would probably clap you on the back and thank you for keeping me out from under his feet. I only offered to help you out though, so if you've someone to do that already, then its not a problem. No need to apologise." Like the rejection, she seems to take the nickname that Gerald has bestowed upon her in her stride. A glance to Leoric, then back to Gerald. "Also, I'm not sweet. I'm mortified that you'd think that of me after all my efforts to build a reputation to the complete opposite."

Gerald sends Leoric a grin and a roll of his eyes before he reaches to try and ruffle the girls hair. "You, are brilliant and adorable." Says the older classman, despite her words. "And very scary and very malicious." This part is added with a groan toward the other boy. Hint hint. "I should probably go. I need to find Shine, and I need to find Malfoy…who is imporrible to keep up with."

Leoric seems to be counting on his fingers as Gerald extolls Lu's virtues. In the end, he seems to fail to find anything to contest and simply shrugs, accepting his judgment of Lucretia and watching to see how she reacts to the hair ruffle.

Lucretia nosecrinkles, tilting her head away. But its a little too late. Her woolly hat slides off her head and the ruffling is effected. "Guh. I hate it when people do that." There's a grumble as she retrieves her hat and tugs it firmly down over her ears. "Oh. And if you do get into that box, will you pretty please tell me what it holds?" Despite the hair ruffling, she appends the question with a glorious smile.

"Of course I will." Gerald laughs, perhaps at her behavior as he ruffles her hair. "You'll be the first person I tell. How's that?" The other boy gets a small wave as Ger turns on his heels. "Have a good day both of you. Be good." This is however, directed toward Black.

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