(1939-01-18) Arts Club, Book Club, Fight Club
Details for Arts Club, Book Club, Fight Club
Summary: Bran fulfills a promise to show Adam the basics of photographic film development. After other artistic types arrive, the conversation wanders hither and yon, until eventually landing on a new, unofficial club. And then everything ends on a sour note.
Date: 18 January 1939
Location: Club Room
Related: And We're Off to the Races!

A Bran-player side note that the 1930s-era photographic development process described herein is really simplified, and makes no pretenses for historical accuracy!

Here is the great thing about a magical school. Sure, many Muggle schools have art clubs. Some of them even have little dark rooms for their photography-loving students to utilize: photography is kind of a big deal in 1939, after all. But no Muggle school is going to be able to make the arts club room (literally) magically come together with the wave of a wand, much less get away with having a little curtained-off area to serve as a perfectly functional dark room. But this is Hogwarts, after all. And with most of the older students away in Hogsmeade, some of the remaining student body has grabbed the club room for creative use.

Bran would normally be amongst the older students enjoying Hogsmeade's charms, but today, well. He's sent out an invitation! The Fifth Year is sitting in full view of the door, perched up on a table top. He's carrying out some light conversation with a would-be potter, a young Ravenclaw who is making a… let's just assume that's meant to be a dog. Possibly a lion? It's something quadruped, anyway.

Adam races along the corridor and bursts through the door to the club room. "I'm here!" he announces to the entire room, panting and out of breath. His eyes find Bran at his table and he hurries over. "I'm here! Am I too late? Have you developed them yet? I came as soon as I got your message!" Only then does he realize that Bran's in a conversation with someone else, and he stops. "Oh, sorry. Hi! Is that a tiger? Neat!"

"It's a crup, I just haven't done the tail yet," says the would-be sculptor, her expression faintly offended. Bran, hopping down from the table, takes a moment to intervene. (He looks slightly surprised at the announced species himself. Probably he thought the same thing Adam did.) "And a real nice crup it is." No matter who they are, or how wide the age gap is, there's a certain TONE that comes up when an older person protects the feelings of a younger one, isn't there? "Your mam will love it. Here, let's leave you be to finish it…"

First conversation smoothly ended, Bran favors Adam with a faint smile - and the camera, raised. "Na. Got another roll done and drying in there -" he nods at the curtained-off 'dark room' "- but I thought you might want to help with the ones from the broom race, aye?"

Without further ado, the older boy starts making for the curtains, gesturing for Adam to accompany him. "Don't go yanking on the curtains too hard," Bran offers as a warning, before holding back the curtain. The little makeshift space proves to be awash in red light, with an odd musty smell. Strips of film are hanging from a line above, and there are no small number of mysterious pieces of equipment arrayed. "There's a bit of magic to help out, so we don't have to be as fussy as we would if we were doing this the Muggle way - but that'll only take it so far, like."

Adam squints at the sculpture and doesn't see the crup. "Oh, yeah!" he says anyway. "Very good!" But when Bran suggests they get on with the developing - the real interesting stuff - Adam forgets all about the girl and her tiger-crup. "Yes!" he says as he hurries after the fifth-year. "You got one of me in the race I won, didn't you? And one of the crash? Did you get that too?" He peers into the dark room before taking a tentative step inside. "Wow," he says, amazed. He's never been in a dark room before, Muggle or magic, and the red light and the strange smell along with the odd equipment he doesn't recognize all seem quite fantastical to him. "How come the film can be in red light but not normal light?" he asks, keeping his voice hushed as though they were in a library.

"That's how they make the film to act, it is. Doesn't react to red light." Bran's voice doesn't change - but he's not exactly a loud speaker to begin with. He sounds faintly pained as he confesses: "I got it explained to me better, but I couldn't follow the science bits," for this particular passion, a year or two longer in Muggle school would probably have been helpful! "… Only I know it's not all like that. There's a bunch of types of film. There's an old type of photography done on glass plates, even. They're a treat to work with, but fragile." As he talks, Bran starts to open up the camera (a fiddly process), holding his hands so Adam can see it. "This is something called 35 mm. The cassette, that's the holder, is called a 135. If you're using a camera, you best know what type of film you need!" In fact, the film roll that pops into view as he opens the camera is essentially the same as the most common analogue film type several decades into the future - though fresh technology in 1939.

"That's really clever!" Adam says, listening with rapt attention. "Everything looks so strange in here. It almost feels like magic! But it's not, is it?" He stands right next to Bran as he watches him open the camera, completely fascinated and forgetting that the older boy likes his space. "Do the numbers mean anything, or are they just special names?" he asks, staring at the device. Though cameras aren't strange to him as they might be to non-Muggle-born wizards, he's never had the chance to see one up close or learn anything about how they actually work before.

"Not yet, it ain't." There's some bottles off to the side that look distinctly POTIONESQUE. "And the numbers have to do with the sizes, they do. If we had a ruler here, you'd see - the film's just exactly 35 millimeters. Not sure why the cassette's called a 135, to be strictly honest. Something Kodak, they make it, decided." With the film out, Bran sets his camera - gently - off to the side. "Now, then. That curtain nice and shut?" He takes a peek, and is satisfied - and gestures for Adam to follow him towards a set of low tubs with a simple roller system set up. This is where the potions bottles are. "There's fancier ways to do this, like, and I hear they do it faster at places like the Daily Prophet," the older boy observes, before taking a small hand tool and neatly cracking the cassette open. "But we're going to give this film a bath in the developer the old fashioned way, with the rollers to keep it from getting manked up. That's where you're going to help me."

"It's also," adds Bran, with what passes for a flourish in his tone, "where Wizards do it different than Muggles. This is developer potion! It's what allows for movement. Put some gloves on, mate," there are a few pairs on the table with the tubs, conveniently enough, "and we can get going."

Adam checks the curtain from where he stands and nods his head. "Looks like it! The cassette isn't 135 millimeters too, then?" he asks as he follows Bran over to the tubs. As he listens, he looks over the potion bottles, curious, and then the tubs and roller, before looking up at Bran. "I get to help?" he asks, his eyes widening. "Excellent!" He finds some gloves, pulls them on, and positions himself next to Bran, ready to do whatever he's asked, even if it is drudge work. "What do I have to do?"

"You," Bran should clearly recruit himself an assortment of Firstie workers, they're so obliging, "are going to take this film," a long, curly strip, dark as night, "and move it through these baths of developer potions, using the rollers." It's a sort of basic belt mechanism. "This timer," it's an egg timer that's on the table, but at least it's a magical egg timer, with an amusing tiny top hat for inscrutable reasons, "will tell you when to roll the film from one bath to the next. At an even pace, mind you. Too fast or too slow, we ruin the film." And so he hands the film over with solemn aplomb, then points to a little hook on the roller. "Get it right there, like. And then set the timer off, just tip the hat; it's already on the right amount of minutes."

"Okay!" Adam says, though his initial excitement gives way to nervousness. Though the process itself sounds simple, and the instructions clear, he worries about the timing. He doesn't want to ruin the film, after all, and he's abysmal at Potions class, which requires a similar sort of precise timing and following of directions. His face screwed up with determination, he takes the film from Bran, being gentle, and sets it up as told. Then, with an uncertain glance up at the fifth-year, he tips the hat and starts the timer.

"Be just fine, you will." Bran's tone is kindly. "Just roll it through into the next tub each time the timer dings, reset the timer, and all's well." Easy for him to say, he's not the one in charge of the developing process. In fact the older boy takes the opportunity to put a bit of space between them (big surprise, there), fiddling with one of the long film strips hanging overhead. There's a comfortable silence for a few minutes. And then, quite suddenly: "Your head bothering you at all from that tumble the other day, mate?" Right on the heels of the question comes the timer's jolly little DING!, the sound accompanied by the timer doing a clunky little backflip.

Adam makes sure the film is well settled in the first tub and then watches the timer with a tight grasp on the table. He looks as though he's ready to spring into action the second the timer rings and, concentrating on his task, doesn't even notice that Bran has moved away. After the quiet, the question startles him, and he looks around at the older boy and opens his mouth to answer. But the timer rings and he jumps. "Oh! Um…" He spins back to the tubs, frantic after his lapse in concentration, and starts rolling the film through to the next tub in a hurry. But right away he remembers to go at an even pace, and he slows down with a nervous laugh. "Er, no, it's fine," he says after he has the process under control. "Was a bit dizzy after, but had a quick lie down and felt much better. Did it look bad, the crash?"

"You're doing fine." Bran's quiet voice has a reassuring note to it. If he's at all concerned for the fate of the precious evidence (of hilarious tumbles), left as it is in inexperienced hands, he's not showing it. There's a light rustling as he unclips a few hanging strips and starts laying them out for examination. "More funny than anything else -" Bran sounds faintly apologetic to confess this "- once we knew you two weren't badly off. We'll see how it came out in the photograph. Real hard to take good shots of people going fast, it is." After a moment's musing, he adds: "I'd sooner go into portrait taking. Though that has challenges of its own, like." Another DING! and a timer flip.

Reassured that he isn't messing the whole thing up, Adam proceeds with more confidence as he moves the film into the next tub. He glances over his shoulder at Bran and grins. "It was rather funny, yeah," he says. "I hope it comes out well! I'd like a copy, and I bet Maddie'd like one too." This time the timer's ding doesn't surprise him, and he turns back to the roller to continue the process, biting down on his lip. "What's difficult about taking portraits?" he asks. "Isn't that just people standing still?"

More rustling, as Bran continues gleaning the dried strips from the drying lines. "Well." He's silent for a moment, entrenched in thought. "Ever noticed how sometimes you see a photograph and it really 'catches' the person - and other times, it's like a stranger wearing a person suit, is it? That's what I mean. All of us, our expressions are always changing," says the guy who mostly makes varying shades of :| faces, "our posture, all that. And in person it all adds up to make us who we are. But you take a picture, and you must be catching someone's whole being in a split second, if it's Muggle style, or maybe a second or two, if it's Wizard. It's easy to take a picture of someone, but it's real hard to get their portrait. Not on purpose, like." Another DING! There's just one more bath to put the film through, and the pictures are starting to be visible, albeit seen in negative.

Adam looks as though he's enjoying himself, even though it's supposed to be drudge work he's doing. He's in a curtained off area of the club room - a makeshift dark room, complete with dull red light, chemical smell, and strange photography equipment. With the film in the next tub, he turns to listen to Bran, confused at first. "You mean like taking a picture of a person's personality?" he asks as he starts to understand. "Have you done it before? Taken a person's portrait?" He turns back to the tubs when the timer tells him to and starts rolling the film through to the final bath. "Hey, I can see the pictures!"

Bran isn't a loud speaker, but his voice carries easily out of the little curtained off space. There's not many people in the club room: after all, most of the older students are still down in Hogsmeade. "Sometimes I have. I'm still learning. I have a ways to go before I'm ready for next year, though -" And… DING! "There! Put it through the roller once more, and we hang it to dry. Safe to open the curtains now, it is -" Because ugh, potions smell.

And thus Bran reaches over to pull back the curtain, revealing the whole setup to the room at large, lit as it is in red. Because the final product may be magical, but photographic film itself starts off playing by the rules of, horrors, CHEMISTRY and the LIGHT SPECTRUM.

Adam does as he's told and puts the film through the roller one final time. He looks around when Bran opens the curtains, surprised to find the club room there. After being there for a while, it had started to seem like they were in a completely separate room, an almost magical one. Now, mixed with normal light, the red light doesn't look so strange. Grinning to himself, Adam takes the film and hangs it up with the rest of the drying film and then waits as Bran busies himself with something else.

"…but I'm not part of the club…" Silas offers as a sort of passive objection, his just barely carrying past the door to the club room. Currently, he's being half-dragged there by an ever-enthusiastic Dora. Seems the two had passed in the hall on the way to the room itself, and she'd seen him with his satchel and painting supplies, and the invite was given. Consideration that he might say no? Probably not.

As the two enter, however, the objections seem to be at best superficial, given the smile on his face. "I mean, I'm sure you all have projects and stuff… and I'll just be getting in the way." A look up, as the movement of the curtain catches his attention and he sees… something he doesn't recognize at all.

"It's alright," Dora was murmuring, with her satchel draped over her shoulder to bounce in against the curve of her hip as she walked. "Honest. I think, to be fair, it's one of the least judgy clubs that there could be and the people," In so much as Dora ever spoke to people or people noticed the incredibly short Hufflepuff, "Are incredibly welcoming and you never know, you might like it." Ever hopeful, those dark eyes peered up and out from beneath her lashes with a smile that was as guiless and as inviting as she promised the club to be.

"You won't get in the way, either. Really. If the chorus," where she hides like a mouse in the back, "Were practicing then…maybe but there's no rules that say you can't just come in and see what you think about it. I've some film I need to develop anyway." Film that she was particular about, each and every one of her images developed in the potions required to render them living with the application of the proper charm.

"What do you think?"

Dashing through the halls is Madeline, dodging older students with a called out, "Sorry! Excuse me! Nice bracelet!" or other such cry. She's a bit out of breath when she arrives at the art club - a club which, coincidentally, she doesn't belong to, either. She looks around, her eyes searching for Adam and Bran - though when they land on Adorabella and Silas, she waves to them cheerfully, as well.

Adam looks to the door when two more students arrive, and gives them a friendly wave. He recognizes Dora, who he's spoken to before, and though he isn't as sure about her friend, he includes the boy in the wave and smile. Then he sees Madeline and he leaves Bran to his work and hurries over to her. "Maddie!" he says. "You came! Bran let me help him develop the film, it's was so amazing! It's drying right now." He looks over at Dora and to her says, "Did you say you were developing film too? Neat! What'd you take pictures of?"

Most first years recognize Silas by sight, although certainly there are a few who don't know he. After all, he can't have helped or tutored every one. That, and his House causes a select few to avoid him on principle.

He looks over again at the developing station with a raised brow. Although once Adam mentions what he was doing it sets in. Ah, yes. And then a look back to Dora and those eyes peering up and him, and the smile grows wider. "I trust you. I've just… never been the club type." He looks down at his own satchel, "Seems to be a bunch of photographers here tonight, though. Might be odd man out."

Of course, Madeline's madcap entrance earns a chuckle from him. He waves back, and actually asks, "Madeline. Do you ever slow down, or are you stuck at lightning all the time?" The question is playful, teasing a bit.

"Just things," Adorabella replies to Adam, clutching her satchel in a little harder against her side. "Just pretty things. They're nothing special." But they're hers.

It's easier to focus on something else, rather than trying to defend her treasures. Dora doesn't even pretend they're art, because she knows they're not. They're just…hers. Silas was easier. "I'm not…I'm not big on…things either but…it's..fun? I guess it's nice because you don't have to be all, one thing. It's just kind of a bunch of people who all have different interests in the same hobby and happen to share a space. You're not odd," she reassures the boy, whilst trying not to start worrying herself due to the crowd.

"Allo Maddie," the Selwyn greets, with a smile that's as warm as it is cheery. "I ought to have those pictures for you later."

"Lightning, of course!" Madeline replies with a giggle. "Well. I /try/ to slow down for classes." But that's about it. Her gaze goes to Adam, and she lets out a disappointed sound. "I /missed/ it? You developed the photos?" she asks, some of the aforementioned lightning energy draining out of her. "Oh… drat. I didn't mean to be so late."

Adorabella's words bring some of her bounce right back, though. "You're developing it today? Can I help? I want to see how it's done! Pleeeeeease?"

"Oh, okay," Adam tells Dora with a smile. He was just curious and didn't mean any harm by the question. He turns to Madeline and nods his head up and down. "Yeah! Well, just the film. I put it in a bunch of potions and rolled it through this roller thing and then hung it up to dry. All by myself! Come look!" He tries to grab his friend's arm to drag her over to the developing area where he left Bran.

"Be letting me know if you need help with the development, Selwyn. All the equipment's ready to go. We'll be having to ask for more developing potion before long." Bran is back from his side task (specifically, dumping out old developing potion), and favors the Sixth Year with a brief wave and smile. He's not quite where he'll need to be to do it professionally, yet - but he's a dab enough hand. There's a more tentative nod after this, directed at Silas.

"Sorry, Evans." Bran flashes the girl an apologetic look. "Next time? I should have waited until I had both of you… only there's been a lot of people asking for those pictures, like."

Silas notices Dora's defensiveness about the photographs, and turns a questioning glance at her when she pulls away from the others while they talk about it, but doesn't pry. It's a weird reaction to see from her, certainly. However, at her reassurances, "Oh, I assure you. I'm quite odd. And it's not something I'm ashamed of" He grins, and peels away slightly to find a chair and table to set his stuff at. If he's going to be around art… he's going to make art.

He looks again at those in the room, as if thinking of something, and then snaps his fingers. He rummages in a side pocket of the satchel and pulls out a small package… about the size of half a deck of playing cards, and then calls out, "Hey, 'Maddie', I remember we talked that day at the sweet shop about these, so, catch!" And the pack goes sailing toward her, aimed enough that it'll not hit her, but be easy enough to catch if she tries it.

Madeline lets Adam drag her towards the film, to demonstrate his and Bran's handiwork, peering curiously before her attention switches to Bran. "Well. It's my own fault for ending up late, really. I got caught up." She was helping Chastity again - the other first year had finally finished her charms assignment - a bit late - and it had needed more edits then Madeline had anticipated.

Hearing her name for Silas, she turns, surprise registering on her features as she catches the package tossed at her. "Oh! You found them, then? /Thanks/ Meliflua!" she says brightly - hoping she used the right name. /He/ was calling her Maddie but - well - he was older than her, so… "I think he just gave me his chocolate frog cards," she whispers loudly to her friend, starting to open up the package.

"There's the film I developed hanging up there!" Adam points out, beaming with pride. But he looks round when Silas tosses something to Madeline, and his eyes widen when she suggests what the package might be. "Wow, really? Lucky! I love chocolate frog cards! The pictures move and they always have really interesting information on them!" He then turns to Bran. "So what do we do next?" he asks, eager to learn more. "How do I get an actual photograph I can take with me?"

Sooo many people. So many conversations. So much. Taking a deep breath, Dora steals herself to deal with it, rationally without looking for the closest excuse to leave. And…she follows after Silas, taking a seat next to him and settling her satchel in her lap.

"Well I don't find you odd," she very quietly reassures the boy and then glances towards Ward. "It's okay Bran, I brought my own. I don't like to waste anyone else's." And thruly, her pictures were as simple as the girl herself was. She had a tendancy to come with pictures of things like the corner of the castle wall, or the topside of the look out over the forest, with all its broken slats or the blooms in the garden or a spilled flowerpot or her frog.

"We wait, Adam." Bran doesn't mean to sound dour as he says this, but the effect is nevertheless somewhat… noticeable. He can't help it he was born this way :| And then the explanation, delivered more gently, and with a purposeful hint of humor: "Needs to dry, that film does. Won't take too long. I can show you some pictures I've gotten transferred and had one of the others charm -" oh ho, he's still learning how to unlock the motion part himself, it sounds like "- while we wait, if you want." The Hufflepuff jerks his shaggy head towards a satchel, patched and worn, half-vanished in the shadows of a table.

Bran tosses a quick side smile at Adora, the glance then broadening to (vaguely) include the rest of the group, out of general politeness. "Did I tell you about those? I forget. They're of the early calf during the holidays. Real cute lil' thing."

There's a smile on Silas' lips when Dora chooses to sit next to him, and it widens even more at Madeline's excitement, "The Newton Scamander one, and the Ignatia Wildsmith cards may be a little more… loved. Adelaide may have… investigated those two a little much, but you're welcome to the set, or to trade them if you have doubles." No question, then, what the boy thinks of Half-Bloods at this point. And the name thing goes uncorrected. She'll figure it out eventually. The rules could take a series of novels in themselves, some times.

Then a look to Dora, and he leans over, whispering lightly to her where the others can't hear, before going back to his satchel and bringing out a bit of cloth-covered parchment on wood, which he sets on the table, followed by a set of glass-bottled inks, all seemingly black unless you look close enough, and a metal quill. These too get set on the table, each arranged just so next to the covered parchment. After that, a black cloth, set to the other side.

"I hate waiting," Madeline whispers to Adam at Bran's words. But sometimes there's nothing for it. She pulls out the cards, adding towards Silas, "It's okay! I mean - hard to complain about the condition of something I didn't have at all just a few minutes ago, right?" Glancing at Adam, she adds in a quiet voice, "I'm sure he won't mind if we split them? I don't mind sharing."

Towards Bran, the girl asks, "Are those the pictures from the broom races?"

Adam looks uncertain at Bran's tone, but he smiles at the explanation. "Okay!" he says, grinning at Madeline's words. "I hope it doesn't take too long, I can't wait!" He nods his head up and down at the older boy. "Yeah, that'd be great! I want to see! So you don't know how to make them move yourself? Can your friend make them move for us?" He really wants a moving picture of himself. He looks at Madeline, surprised but excited. "Wow, really? Are you sure? I don't want to steal them from you when you only just got them!"

"Oh could I see?" Dora all but implores, those doe brown eyes turning in his direction at the offer. "Uly went with me out to the farm yesterday and I got to see the sheep. They're so cute! Have you ever noticed how they smell like sunshine, sometimes?" The look, much like her question is hopeful and she glances to the empty chair at her side in invitation. "You can join us, if you want." And she'll get around to drawing out her film eventually. Maybe.

Though, when Silas whispers she lends the boy her ear even as her eyes find Adam and Madeline with the kind of protective smile that just goes on for days. And she nods, a small thing at his words, before the assortment of things on the table has finally overcome her ability to keep quiet. "What is it that you're going to do. Paint or?" The metal quill, it's completely thrown her off.

"Waiting builds character, appreciation, and usually the creation of beauty, Maddie. Best remember that! As to the cards, they're yours to do with as you see fit. Trade, share… even eat, if you're so inclined, although they may be a bit stale." Another grin escapes Silas, as he goes back to his work. The cloth is removed from the parchment, revealing a pencil sketch underneath… bare lines, figures… quite a bit of overlap and erased work, but the general scene is of a small, overly-haired cat and a slender ferret, either at play or in mortal combat. The upper right corner has already been treated with ink, the lines given greater definition as a result. Silas pulls the stopper from the largest of the glass bottles, and dips the quill in it, letting the small reservoir fill.

He smiles over at Dora, "I guess you could call it my own form of photography, although mine sadly will never move." And then he's focusing on the lines, a careful hand guiding the quill closely over the penciled lines, starting with where he'd left off before.

"Well, I know how a Living Image is done," Bran's expression turns ever-so-faintly embarrassed as he is obliged to provide Adam with an explanation, "but Charms isn't my best… and I've ruined photos trying to do it, I have. Safer to ask someone else!"

Taking Dora up on her invitation with a nod and a faint twitch of a smile, the Hufflepuff detours to grab up the satchel, and then takes the spare seat. One hand digs for the photos; the other gestures Adam and Madeline to join the older students. "Um. Sheep smell something dreadful when they're washed, I think," that sounds somehow backwards, Bran, "but the lambs are sweet." That was such a non-answer to her question, wasn't it? Because, you see, "I don't know sheep very well." A thousand Welsh stereotypes, crushed in an instant.

And then, the photos, revealed: glimpses of a run-down farm, the photos dominated by cattle. A wet-legged little calf caught in her first steps; pictures of mother and baby together; shots of unfamiliar faces helping with the calf; a few attempted artsy angles. Animal cuteness, not quite professional quality, but very solid.

"I don't mind. I like sharing. And - see? Meliflua doesn't mind either." Madeline follows after Bran towards the other two older students - at a stroll, for once - as she asks towards Adam, "Hey, how's Freckles?"

The sight of the little calf quickly distracts with a squeal of delight, though. "Oh, aren't they just wonderful when they're so little? We had a little foal on my father's farm last spring! It was just great! She's so big now - a yearling already!"

"I'd love some then!" Adam says, beaming at Madeline as they follow Bran over to the two other students. "Oh, she's doing great! Sometimes when I wake up she's asleep on my chest. I think she's really starting to get used to the Hufflepuff dorms." He crowds around Bran to see the pictures, peering over the older boy's shoulder. "Neat!" he says. "Which farm is this? The one in Hogsmeade?"

"It's okay," Dora talks to Silas, whilst Bran explains moving pictures and the smile she gives is, again somehow reassuring as she studies the canvas. "Sometimes things don't have to move, to be moving. Sometimes it's better when they don't. Some thing's can't. And some things..," studying his sketch, all she can do is smile, reaching out with a glance to him for permission to touch the barest pad of her finger along the nearest lines.

"Some things are so very full of life that the lines are the only thing to contain it and without them, the enegry would be lost. It's beautiful," the girl finishes, her voice soft; those big ole eyes rising upwards in his direction as her hand draws away. "You're very talented," she compliments, before looking over at the photos that Bran's drawn out for them to see.

"Well I still think they smell like sunshine." She'd say the same thing about cats, if asked, too. "And Mister Bubbles smells like cranberries, …even when he's been out in the sun."

"Oh it's a farm!" And now? Now she's gushing. "Oh I love farms. I want one, I think. I was begging my brother for a sheep yesterday. And a goat and lookit how precious! Oh Bran those are wonderful!" Dora's informal, her informalness with names knows no bounds. "Oh and lookit the barn!" Honestly it could have been falling down and Dora would have said the exact same thing and meant it, with her whole entire heart. "Is this your home?" Her question seemed to echo Adam's, for all that the context was different.

Silas may have turned just the slightest shade of pink at the complement to his talents, and a smile at her statement, although he nods at the silent request Dora makes, moving the quill so it isn't near her when she touches the parchment, "I'm still working on it. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, which means I can easily spot several areas where I'll need to adjust… but thank you." He smiles at the picture, "That's Adelaide and Mephy. Thick as thieves, those two. Adelaide's the ferret of the two, and has been my pet since second year.

A look goes up at the photos, but it's mostly cursory, to gain context in the other conversation, before he goes back to his own work.

From the photos, Madeline turns her attention to the sketch Silas is inking, and she smiles at that, too. "Oh, wow, I didn't know you could draw!" she exclaims brightly. "It is really good! I draw sometimes, too, but I'm not much good at it. Mostly I just doodle on my parchment in classes when it gets a bit dull, or we have to listen to presentations or something."

"I think sometimes a still picture captures better than a moving one," is chimed in, Bran echoing his housemate. "Better control of what tale you're telling. If you're trying to get the personality of something down, like." The Hufflepuff offers Silas a tentatively friendly nod, and gives the pad a curious glance.

Leaving aside the question of sheep scent, Bran turns his attention to explaining his photographic booty. "Na, Adam. Isle of Anglesey. My home, Brithweunydd." The Welsh name draws out a palpable sentimentality in his quiet voice, homesickness so thick you could spoon it out on toast. His accent, never faint, grows ever-so-slightly thicker. "Thank you, Selwyn." No first names for upperclassmen from Bran, however friendly he may feel towards them! He taps on one photo of the calf, the one showing her mother nudging the wet, bony little thing up onto her legs. "This one was real early, calving is only just really starting. I didn't think I'd be able to catch any of 'em on film - but her mam was obliging!"

Adam glances over to Silas's drawings when the others do. "Yeah, that is really good!" he agrees. "Wish I could draw like that." He turns back to Bran and his photographs. "Oh, you live on a farm? That's great! I like farms. My uncle has one that I get to visit over the summers." He leans forward to peer at the picture of the calf with interest.

"Adeline," Dora repeats the name, tasting it. "Oh you wrote about her! You've just got to let me meet her one day." But the devil cat in the picture was somewhat unfamiliar, for all that the girl thought she might have glimpsed it in the owlery eating the fallen feathers one day. "What kind of treats does she like? I bet she's absolutely spoiled. I've never seen a ferret before, not outside of the petshops. Do they really steal shiny things, like all the stories say?" Dora inquired, folding her hands back in against her lap.

"Brithwe..," nope. That was as far as Adorabella got in attempting to repeat that one. "It's beautiful." And she means it, for all that there was the tiniest hint of a frown at the surname. "You can call me Dora, you know. Or Belle or Bella or Ellie or…well, everyone seems to have their own variation on it. I don't mind. It's the last bit that always sounds so strangery, like we ought to be walking on opposite sides of the halls, heads down and never lookng up." Which was a depressing enough thought.

"You're so lucky." To live on a farm. To be surrounded by the life and the work and the experience.

"Adam's gonna come to my farm over the summer holiday!" Madeline enthuses. "Right Adam? My da's taking us both game shooting - Adam's never been!"

Her attention switches to Adorabella next, as the girl lists off alternative names. "Woooow," she remarks. "Most people just call me Madeline, or Maddie. But sometimes my family calls me Mads. Ellie's a really cute name!"

"Adelaide," Silas gently corrects, chuckling, "I think she'd like you too, Dora. As to treats, her favorite is yogurt drops, and if you get the right ones, not the candies, they're good for the skin and fur as well. And of course, she's spoiled. It's almost a requirement of pets, don't you think? With as much love and affection and joy as they bring us, it's the least we can do to pay them back, I think." And then a smile. "And the stories are true. I'm constantly having to liberate things from her secret stash."

A look then goes to Madeline, "I used to draw like that as well. It's where we all start. It just takes patience, a willingness to wait… and perseverance. I intend to get even better."

Then talk goes back to the farm, "If my personal plans go as I wish, I may be needing to invest in a farm, or farmland at least, of my own." He shakes his head. How he would afford that, and a shop, without his parents money backing him, he'll never know, but dreams are just that.

"It is," says Bran, with a sigh. There's a sentence that starts in a rapidfire stream of Welsh and ends in a faint flush and a "- sorry. I mean I miss it. School's nice, but I'm looking forward to being done with it. Going back for a while, be with my family. Even if," his tone is faintly gloomy, "I'm not as useful to them as I might be, being away so much and focusing on other things." I.E., magic.

He's silent for a drawn-out, dour moment, and then gives himself a brisk little shake. "But enough of that. What would you want to be farming, S -" hesitation, before Bran tentatively settles on "- Miss Bella?" Is that better… or worse? Bran doesn't linger on it, casting a curious look at Silas, then turning the next question on Madeline. "What does your family farm, anyway, Evans?"

"You can call me Adam," Adam says to the others, though he doubts anyone cares what they call him. "Yeah, that's right!" he says to Madeline, his eyes lighting up when his friend reminds him of their plans. "I can't wait! It's going to be amazing." He grins round at the others. "Seems like everyone here likes farms or wants a farm," he remarks. He looks to Silas, curious. "Why d'you need to invest in one?"

Madeline giggles quietly. "Willingness to wait? That must be my problem then," the girl answers, before telling Bran about her family farm. "Oh, we mostly grow crops. We have a few animals, but those are for us and our neighbors. See, we keep a few pigs, and our next neighbor, she has a few sheep, and we trade them pork for mutton or wool - it works pretty well. We have chickens too, of course," what farm doesn't? "and a few horses, like I said. It's a great farm. Dad bought it after the Great War."

"Oh sorry," the girl turns pink when she apologizes and her fingers curl in against the bottom of her satchel, hugging the top of it in closer to her stomach where she sits. "Yogurt drops." Another little piece of information committed to memory, "Oh but I think that pets are wonderful." Which was why Mister Bubbles was currently lounging in his habitat rather than riding around in the front pocket of her robes, at the moment.

"They're just like people really. And like some of them, speak a different language than us." Though something of that smile comes back, when Silas talks about her stash. "I wish I could see it." But it's probably in his domitory, in his house, where she can't go. And again, that hint of pink returns with Madeline's compliment, "Thank you," is readily offered, before a flicker of concern touches her face at Bran's apology.

"I'm sorry that it hurts you so," the gentle words are offered, along with her touch; feather light against his forearm but meant to convey understanding - compassion.

"You'll be home soom enough and helping them more than they'll know what to do with, with everything that you've learned. I'm sure of it." Such faith, such genuine faith shows there in her eyes. "I don't know that I want to farm though, so much as just…have a place for everything that needs a place. I don't want anything to eat." Dora didn't eat anything that could look at her and talk, "Just…strays or things that people think no longer have a purpose, things that need a home. I want…," her voice turned small, almost disappearing beneath the conversation of Adam and Madeline, "..I just want to be able to give them a home." And instead, her eyes turn towards Silas, for his answer.

Silas swaps the quill back to his left hand so that his right can lightly squeeze Dora's own forearm, but like she does with Bran a moment later, "Worry not. It's not exactly a common name, but frankly, it's the uncommon ones that are the best, if you ask me."

He listens to the others, but when Adam's question comes up, he smiles. "It's not exactly common knowledge. After all, I'm Slytherin. Everyone expects us to interested in politics, which is fun and all but I'd never want to make anything more than a casual hobby of it. Or dueling. Or Justice work, or whatever." He smiles. "I want to raise animals. Not just any… but pets. There are plenty of vendors, but most of them just worry about the breeding and lineage… and trust the training to spells or the owners themselves. People don't worry about imprinting or getting the right pet with the right owner. Sure, the bonds typically grow anyhow…"

He chuckles a bit, looking down at his parchment a bit, quill back in his hands, but he continues talking, "Choosing a pet should be like choosing a wand. Where both find each other and the fit is perfect. I want to help wizards and animals alike have that." A pause, "And that means raising them in something other than cages in the back of a shop."

Bran's expression is a testament of Incredible Awkwardness at Adora's words of compassion, to say nothing of her touch. With great manly effort he resists the urge to twitch his way out of range, but it's a near thing. "Aye, well -" He clears his throat, and seizes upon alternative topics with the desperation of a drowning man.

"Pigs! I like those. We have a pig we're raising. For the -" start of a Welsh phrase, before Bran catches himself and translates to "- Pig Club. Don't have pictures of him, I think -" Bran shuffles through the photographs, revealing various others (of people, rocky countryside, more cows, a tractor half-swarmed by would-be mechanics), but, alas, nothing of the pig.

He listens to the talk of stray farms, and pet farms, with interest… and maybe just a touch of rural bemusement. (Why would you raise animals if not for FOOD or WORK? It's what they're for!) "That's a real nice idea," he decides, finally. "Both of those ideas, I mean. Magic pets and strays, or any kind of animal?"

Adam looks at Silas in surprise. He'd been nervous about the older boy precisely because he was in Slytherin, but when Silas gives his reasons for wanting a farm all of Adam's uncertainties vanish. "Wow," he says. "That's terrific! What a great idea! I never thought of it like that. I got really lucky with Freckles, thanks to Maddie - or at least, I hope I did. It'd be so nice for people to have a place they can get a pet they really feel connected to. How'd you come up with the idea?"

"Those both sound like great ideas!" Madeline enthuses. "I would love to visit those farms! Wow! If- I mean, /when/ you get them started, I can come visit, right?" she asks eagerly. "Me and Adam both? What if they were in Hogsmeade? That'd be even better!"

Dora turned pink at Silas' compliment, at least, she took it as a compliment. That she was a lovely shade of pink said so. And his light touch earned a small but warm smile in his direction.

"I think it's a fine dream, wanting to raise animals. To help people. They don't always bond and if they do, sometimes it's a forced one with magic and other times people just get tired of them, the new wears off and something pretty and new and young and still tiny and small is there to be a distracting, stealing away the love. Like with Mister Bubbles. Only now he has me." Her smile turns fond at the mention and then, Bran's confused her.

"You have a Pig Club? They're interesting creatures. Did you know that a cucumber is the only thing they won't eat? My grandfather raised them once and he'd eat anything too, except cucumbers. Said he wouldn't, because the pigs wouldn't. I always wondered if there was something to that." Her look was thoughtful then, but then Dora smiled at Madeline.

"Of course you can! I'd love to have you…if I get too. My family all want to go off and be curse breakers and have me along with them to mend their hurts. I want to find a spell to put legs on a house, and then just…expand every portion of it on the inside so that I can have my animals too." But that will never happen.

It had been meant as a complement, as simple as it had been. Silas continues to work on his line-art, the quill occasionally dipping back into the inkwell to refill the reservoir. "It's just a dream for now. I'll have to work, and hard at that, for it." Since he's no guarantee of help from his parents.

He then grins over at the others, "And of course you all would be welcome. What's the point of someplace like that if people didn't come to visit?" It felt good to talk about it, though. Not exactly prime common room chat, this.

"I did… not know that. I don't like cucumbers myself. Don't blame the pig." Bran looks for half a second like he's about to say something else, and then does not, falling comfortably silent. (In fact he was about to explain what the aforementioned Pig Club would be for, then decided against it, on grounds of 'making other people in conversation sad, possibly to point of vegetarian tears'. Silence is golden.)

"Those are good dreams." Bran hesitates, and then adds: "Sometimes feels like there's too many good dreams out there to follow in a lifetime, doesn't it?"

"Yeah, I want to come too!" Adam says, agreeing with Madeline. "To both of yours!" He beams at both Silas and Dora and then looks at Bran, grinning. "I know! I want to be a curse-breaker and an Auror and a Quidditch player and a dragon tamer and a Healer and… and…" He looks around for ideas, having run out of his own.

Madeline stares at Adorabella as she talks about magicking a house to have legs. "You can DO THAT?!" she suddenly exclaims, bouncing on her toes. "I want one of those! Teach me how! WOW!"

And then to Adam, she adds in protest, "/I'm/ going to tame the first dragon, though. Remember?" Madeline reminds her friend. "/And/ I'm going to learn Mermish. And I'm going to go underwater to find lost ancient magical treasures!"

"Ah, so you added dragon tamer to the list," that is Tarquin's voice, the words said as he enters the room, just in time to catch what Adam says. He offers an indulgent smile to his fellow Hufflepuff, before clear hazel eyes regard the rest of the gathering.

"And there you are," he also says, when he sees his cousin. "I've been looking for you," the words directed at Dora, as his gaze then falls on the boys next to her. He arches a brow, studying those sitting next to his cousin. "Meliflua," he offers in greeting to the Slytherin. "Reese?" The voice is more tentative there, looking for confirmation that he got it right. He walks further into the room, making his way to Dora and as he does he looks at Madeline, then at Adam. "Looks like you found yourself some competition… or a girlfriend." A pause. "Or both."

"Ewww! No!" Madeline promptly cries in protest.

"I'll help you if I can," Dora promises, offering Silas a smile. Her attention though, seems to be on watching the way he draws, those bright eyes focused on every motion of his fingers as if in watching, she could figure out how it was done.

"I like cucumbers when they're pickles," Dora responds to Bran, without looking up. Though at Madeline's exclimation, Dora looks up. "There's a wizarding university on legs," she informs the girl. "Great big chicken legs. It's called the Baba Yaga University and it moves around all the time, that's what gave me the idea," Dora admitted, before the sound of Tarquin's voice has her head snapping towards the door.

"Tartar!" No sauce. The sight of her cousin draws a measure of relief to Dora's eyes that hadn't been there before and she noticably relaxes. "You're here! Come see the pictures! And Syly's drawing! Come sit!" Where the invitation is made with the girl all but rising so that she can offer him her chair.

"… But what would you do with a tame dragon?" Trust Bran to ask that question. And follow it up with this objection: "I mean, they eat no end of sheep and deer and things, they do, and it would be awful expensive, and there's barely anywhere you could put one without Muggles seeing it, like."

Tarquin's appearance has Bran looking up, confirming the guess at his last name with an amicable nod. "Afternoon." His attention starts to drift towards the photographs before him, though he does pause to hide a chuckle at Madeline's outrage.

"Nuh uh!" Adam tells Madeline. "I am! I'm going to go look for dragon eggs in the Forbidden Forest, and when I find one I'll raise my own tame dragon!" He grins and waves at Tarquin when he arrives, but his attention turns quickly to Bran. "You fly them," he says, as if the question were ridiculous. "Obviously!" Then he makes a face at Tarquin. "No!" he says. But before he can protest further, he hears his friend's vehement denouncement. "HEY!"

Silas' attention was on his drawing when the new voice came in, and for a second he's stock still… a force of habit when even lightly startled, rather than jerking and ruining the project. The quill lifts up, and is set to the side of his work, and he looks over, seeing a familiar face from his Transfigurations class, "Bulstrode…" And then Dora gets up. He looks over at her for a moment and smiles. "You'd be welcome to," is the short answer he can give before the talk starts again.

"Why can't we go to /that/ school?" Madeline asks with wide eyes. "I wanna see it!"

But then she's off and arguing with Adam. "You can try," Madeline replies, sticking out her tongue at her friend - her eyes gleaming with challenge.

"There's a forest - near my da's farm - where I could keep it!" Madeline adds towards Bran. "I'm sure it'd be fine." …riiiiight.

"What?" she adds in a quiet aside to her friend. "I mean - you're /not/ my boyfriend. That's just… eww. We'd have to /kiss/ and things. Yuck."

Madeline's reaction causes him amusement, and Tarquin extends to her the same kind of indulgent smile he usually offers Adam. Dora's reaction to his arrival, garners a smile from the Sixth Year Hufflepuff. "I'm here," he agrees and nods when she invites him over to see the picture, offering a smile to Silas, figuring out that's who she's referring to as Slyly. The offer of her chair, causes him to arch an eyebrow. "I don't want to take your chair away, so only if we share," he says to her, before sitting down, and waiting for her to join him.

He nods to Silas at his greeting and smiles at the invitation, chuckling as he sees Adam's reaction to Madeline's protest.

Glancing at Madeline, he considers. "Well, you could defer the kissing until you're both a little older, if you wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend," he gently teases.

"I know!" Adam quietly tells Madeline, though he sounds just a touch hurt. "It's just, you didn't have to sound so repulsed!" He looks at Tarquin at the older boy's suggestion to his friend, and his mouth opens and closes as he tries to think of something to say to that. But he can't think of anything and his cheeks flush with embarrassment.

Bran opens his mouth to raise SEVERAL sensible objections to the Firsties' draconic schemes. SEVERAL. And then he thinks about it. And he closes his mouth again, and returns his attention to the photographs. It's not like they're going to get their hands on a real dragon egg anyway, right? Right.

"Nothing wrong with wanting to wait on that sort of thing." Meaning kissing, etc. "We have our whole lives for worrying about it." Bran only sounds faintly sanctimonious about this.

Madeline responds to Tarquin by sticking out her tongue, and then turning back to her friend, her brow knitting in confusion - and perhaps a hint of worry. "I don't think /you're/ gross," she protests. "I just think…" and here she shrugs her shoulders, "kissing you is gross." She reaches out to hug her friend unexpectedly, while adding, "I think you're /great/."

Silas can't help but join in the teasing, "Although there's nothing wrong with it, either… but let me tell you.. nothing is more important than being friends, you two. Nothing. All the other stuff, plenty of time in the world, like Reese here said."

A look goes to Tarquin as he takes Dora's seat, and offers to share it with her. A quick hand moves the parchment just a little bit away from the two, as well as his chair a moment later.. A good friend, then. And shared seats means limbs akimbo.

"Me too," Dora agrees with Madeline, still offering a smile Silas' way for his acceptance. It warmed her eyes and her smile put dimples in her cheeks. But at least she managed to go no further than standing behind her chair to retreat from the conversation. She waits, rooted to the spot and remembering Silas' advice from earlier.

Even Dora's nose wrinkles over the notion of kissing and whilst her head bobs in agreement to Bran's words, she's quick enough to claim a space in her cousin's lap tucking in small. There were …well, Adam was all but the same height as Adora, she really doesn't take up much space.

"Don't tease them like that," she implores the boy, before smiling at Sy again. "Have you met my cousin? I mean, I know everyone sees each other, but really met him? He's a wonderful person. He's going to be a curse breaker." Compliment and introduction added, "And Syly, Tartar, do you know him? He's a wonderful person and very talented, not just with drawing but with children and animals, too. I bet he even likes to read." Hint-for-common-ground-hint.

Adam looks at Madeline in surprise when she hugs him. "Oh," he says. "Well, yeah, that would be gross. Who wants to kiss anyone?" He glances round at the others, though, still a bit embarrassed by their teasing. So he focuses on his friend instead, managing a small grin. "And I'm not great, I'm amazing! How many times do I have to remind you?"

"At the very least, you'll have someone to join you in all those things you want to do," Tarquin says to Adam, but stops his teasing there. He nods his agreement with Bran. "That we do. And may they be long and fruitful," their lives. There is that indulgent smile, when Madeline sticks her tongue out at him. "That's very sweet," he says, of her hug to her friend.

When Dora settles in his lap, he wraps his arms affectionately and protectively around her. "Fine, I'll stop teasing too," he says to Dora, unable to resist his cousin. Glancing over at Silas at the introduction, he arches a brow, amused as he looks at the Slytherin. "Is it true? Do you like to read? Other than the crazy amount of books they give us for class?"

"Yeah, well, when's the last time you called me /magnificent/?" Madeline counters, grinning at her friend. That all seems to be settled, now! … Good then!

"I read, too!" Madeline suddenly exclaims to the others, turning away from Adam. "Shazi's loaning me her books and I'm loaning her my books! It's gonna be /great/!"

"I wish sometimes we had a Literature class," Bran ventures, grabbing upon the change in topics with interest. "Like a Muggle school would. I don't know about Adam and Evans," he gestures at the pair with a flick of his hand, before folding it and its mate in his lap, "but there's no end of Wizard books I never had a chance to read before. And vice versa for them as were raised by Wizards. It would be nice to be, well, encouraged to read. For more than just practical matters."

"Magnificent?" Adam asks, feigning confusion. "Don't think I've ever called you that." But his grin betrays him, and he turns to Bran. "Oh, that'd be great! I wish there was a class like that too! I want to read those books about the curse-breaker. I forgot his name. He knows!" He points to Tarquin. Then he glances sideways at Madeline and announces, "Actually, I just remembered I need to finish some Potions homework. Thanks for showing me how to develop film, Bran!" He offers the group a quick wave and turns to leave.

Silas nods at Dora, "We're in Transfigurations together." Referring to their NEWT courses, and one of his weakest subjects, were it not for the Conjurations connection there. He nods, slightly, in regards to reading. "Love it, actually. I'm actually," he grins, "A bit of a collector. I love fiction, primarily, if I'm reading for pleasure. Currently I'm reading the fifth book in the Cornelius Malfoy mystery series… but that's mostly because I'm waiting for the next Thorne novel to finally come out." A shy smile crosses his face, and he focuses again on his drawing.

Before the boy can slip away, Madeline gives him a light kick in the ankle. "That's the problem!" she tells him. "Geeze. Madeline the Magnificent. Is it really that hard?" Looking back towards the upper classmen she adds thoughtfully, "And Silas the Stupendous. And Bran the… umm… Bountiful? And Adorabella the Awesome. And, umm…"

The door opens and Elric skips inside humming a happy tune. The hyper blonde pauses when he sees everyone gathered here. Upon spotting Adorabella he smiles brightly at her and practically bouces in that direction. He spins around clearly full of energy and once he is close to her throws his sister a dazzling smile wrapping her in a hug. "So my dearest sister has found me an audience then? And here I thought I would be dancing alone again!"

"I…," Dora begins, clearly having to give her words a lot of thought as she looks about the sea of scattered faces. Dora doesn't…like attention but this, "I have an idea." Though, her voice as she continued, began to grow in confidence. "Why don't we start a book club? For everyone. No blood status involved just people. For anyone and everyone who likes to read and we can discuss our favorite books be they muggle or wizard and learn more about each other in the process. What do you think?" Slowly, face by face, Dora looks at them all. "If I made a sign-up list, would you join?" Inquired, biting her lip with the question, the hesitation in her tone.

It stayed too, until she caught sight of Elric slipping in and Dora's smile bloomed all over again, leaning beyond their cousin Tarquin's lap, to wrap her younger, if the same height as her, brother in a squishy tight hug. "Ricy!" Dora ruins everyone's name. "I missed you! I wondered where you'd been hiding. Of course you don't have to dance alone." Promised, kissing his cheek. "And I wanted you to meet Adam, I was thinking you could help him with Quidditch and flying?" Suggested, gesturing towards their housemate, who was about to retreat.

"Ow!" Adam complains when Madeline kicks his ankle, though he isn't hurt in the slightest. He heads for the door, but talk of a book club distracts him, and he says, "I like that idea!" His attention back on the group, he nearly bumps into Elric. "Oops, sorry!" he says, peering up at the fourth-year. Then he hears Dora's words and, after a glance to her, nods his head up and down. "Yeah! I love flying! I really want to learn to play Quidditch properly. Can you, please?" He gives Elric a wide, pleading smile.

"Wait! Bran the Brilliant!" Madeline suddenly exclaims. That's much better!

And then suddenly there's talk of a /book club?!/ "Ooo! I'm in! Put Shazi in, too! Shazi Shafiq!" There's no way she'd turn it down!

After lifting a hand in good-natured farewell to Adam - with a promise, aside, that "I'll round you up to help me get them transferred onto paper, right, mate?" - Bran turns enough to raise an eyebrow at Madeline. "Bountiful? Brilliant?" At least he looks amused. More amused than the circumstances warrant, in fact. "Better than Bendigeidfran, I guess." His tone suggests there's a joke there. He doesn't explain it. Jerk.

"I… like that," the Hufflepuff ventures, after ruminating over Dora's idea for a long minute. "I'd like a book club." Bran nods, once, firmly. "Reading's a good way to put yourself in someone else's shoes, like. Makes you think. Could do us all a world of good to get that going."

"Aha, a Thorne fan… great taste," Tarquin offers approvingly, of Silas' choice. "I love fiction myself, adventure novels, mostly," he admits. "Jebediah Thorne," he calls out for Adam's benefit. "I've been re-reading the whole series again," he says to Silas. "Just finished book twenty-one."

When Elric makes his entrance, it's easy to see where he's going to, and with Dora in his lap and his arms wrapped around her, he let's them fall to her waist instead, so that she and her brother can have their hug. "Elric," he greets his cousin with a smile. The idea of a book club makes him thoughtful. "That's an excellent idea," he says to his cousin. "I'd certainly join, and make time for it," he smiles at her. "For you and well, I love reading."

"Muggle fiction?" His tone actually suggested that it hadn't really occurred to him that they might write, too. Blame it on the upbringing. He smiles, "I might be inclined to show some interest in that. I don't think there's been anything of the sort suggested here."

A look goes back to Tarquin, "The Case of the Caged Heart will always be my favorite, personally, although I know some felt it went a little off track. I was just so… unique. It made him more likable, to my mind."

And then Elric came in. And more hugs ensued. Perhaps the entire Selwyn clan would make an appearance before they were through. Silas smiled, and with all the side-chatter, went back to his drawing, the line-art nearly half done now.

Elric looks to Adam with a happy grin. "You want to learn quidditch? Well then I would be happy to help you with this. I play Beater position myself so if you are interested in that position as well I can help you train your skill at wacking things. Even if you don't want to be beater you can still be my flying buddy." He smiles and looks around somewhat sheepish now. "Book club? Can we walk while we are reading? Thats realy the only way I can read for more than ten minutes straight…Though fiction and drama novels are fun to read at times still I need to be moving." He nods sagely and kisses Dora's cheek as well before he pulls back spinning around again.

"Fantastic," Dora replies, before finally opening her satchel. Like the small short person she is, she's perched on her cousin's lap and currently, deep in thought with a quill. Her writing is slow, all the I's have to be dotted just so, after all but eventually, she's sorted out her thoughts enough to have it look proper.

The parchment of course, is slid onto the table, before the whole group and her quill follows it, "Feel free to sign up. We can meet every week, or every other week and discuss out favorites or maybe even act them out or just..whatever we feel like. You can lead the discussion on your favorite series!" Though, her grin turns crooked at her brother's suggestion and she smiles at the way he twirls away. "You can walk if you want to Elric, nobody's going to stop you." Wink.

"Yeah!" Adam tells Bran. "Yes please!" Then Elric agrees to help him learn Quidditch and he throws an arm into the air. "Yes! That's great! I'll try anything, I don't know what I'm good at yet. Except flying. I'm great at that! But I have to go finish some Potions homework now. I'll find you another time. Thank you!" Grinning broadly, he heads for the door and leaves.

Loose sweatpants and a loose baggy sweater were a far cry away from Alphard's usual smart sense of style. But then he hadn't popped into the Club Room because of a need to show off any new threads. After his last game he'd realized that he just wasnt big enough of a beater. This had to be remedied. It took him a second to realize he wasn't alone, at which point the tall slytherin boy made his most dramatic and suffering of sighs. "Ugh. Art Club at it still?" Critically his eyes passed over the crowd, assessing just who were actually present. "That's just.." Irritably he drew out a pocket watch from his pants, and eyed the time as if searching for cause to howl injustice. How much time could one Club claim, anyway? Anything connected to Quidditch was by definition more important. Much more important.

Perhaps it's no surprise that the eager little firstie is the first to take the quill, hastily scrawling out her name in messy writing. Just below it she writes 'Shazi Shafik.' Look, they're lucky she spelled the first name right. …she'll tell her housemate she signed her up later.

"I'm sure glad you thought of this!" the girl says to Adorabella brightly. "It's gonna be fun!"

"We could make lists of what we come up with," Bran suggests, his brow furrowed under his shaggy brown hair. He pauses a moment, then offers, tentatively, "I could help a bit with Muggle books - and reading more Wizard books is something I could stand to be doing. Wouldn't mind getting good advice on those. Real intimidating, even knowing where to start." Engrossed in the topic, he is entirely oblivious to anything that isn't Book Club Business. Might as well go ahead and reach for the quill to sign up!

Tarquin keeps his arms protectively around Dora, but giving her enough slack to move around and do as she needs to. When the parchment is produced, he eagerly signs it. As Adam goes to depart, he offers the boy that indulgent smile, glancing up then at Alphard's arrival.

Technically, Tarquin is not a member of the Art Club, but, that's not stopping him from being there and serving as Dora's blanket. "Black," he offers a polite greeting to the Slytherin and fellow Sixth Year.

Turning to Dora he considers. "This reminds me, I have something for you, it's at the dormitories, remind me about it, before we turn in for the night."

Now there's a bit of a war inside the boy… curiosity over a whole new (to him) field of books to read, versus expressing something akin to interest in them with a housemate in earshot. He's not a member of the club, either, but it didn't prevent his presence either.

He looks up to Alphard, a stopper going into the open glass inkwell he was using, before he starts to clean his metal quill. The smile he offers is a bit warmer than typical, yet honest. "Black! Well met." He looks to Dora, and her parchment. Clubs had never been his thing… but this was books. And so his name was added in his neat, simple script.

After writing her name, Madeline offers cheerfully, "I can suggest Muggle books, too. Science Fiction ones at least - that's mostly what I read." As Silas starts putting away his inks, the girl goes over to his canvas, to peer at it curiously. "Woooow. That really is looking really nice, Meliflua! You must be /so/ patient! Are you going to color it afterwards? Or just do the lines?"

Elric nods abesently to his sister and skips over to sign his named on the list. Spinninga way he begins to move quite gracefully flowing into a graceful dance that uses both his arms and legs in an equal show of grace an skill. It looks exhausting truth be told and yet he keeps the rythem easily his moves in perfect sync wit each other. He deftly draws his wand and waves it about merrily as part of the dance. As the wand is waved colored bubbles of ever shade imaginable start to fill the air floating around him as he dances.

"Yes!" Dora agrees, though with so many wonderful suggestions and ideas, it's hard to say just exactly who her excited little exclimation is for, suffice to say that it lights up her face and honestly, with all the interest the girl was already blushing about the ears. She could hug everyone! Even Alphard! …alphard?

There was a moment, a very long, doe caught before the angry jaws of a wolf moment before the girl managed to squeak out a greeting, "Alphard." Rats! Even with people like him, her informatity rose to the fore. At least she hadn't shorted his name yet. "Would you like to join the book club?" There is no need to be rude, even Dora can not manage being rude, though she pauses in her invitation to watch her brother do his little bit of magic and then..

"There's going to be books and acting and…ohmygoodness. I know! I know exactly what I will do. I'm going to write Mister Diderot," the famous Dillorous Diderot, "And see if he can come speak to us. I'll…well, I'll have to see about getting permission or he will, from the school and if he can't come, we'll just go to him one weekend! Or see if he'd come to the school gate, since not all of us can go to Hogwarts and and and," Dora was all but babbling all over herself. "Maybe he'll speak!"

Oh that's right, she'd been inviting Alphard. Blush. "Er…does that sound like something you'd like? I remember your costume..," even if it had been in questionable taste. "And there'll be books and fun and acting and snacks and…you're more than welcome to join us."

"Meliflua," Alphard answered Silas' greeting friendly enough. Some of that good nature carried over when he continued with a: "Blustrode, Selwyn," by which he meant the Adorabella version. On said girl dark gaze lingered just a moment, if only because of her cousin's protective wrap-around. When it wandered on, the other Selwyn only got a casual look over. Fourth years just didn't warrant named greetings, nor did muggle-borns like Bran and Madeline. Both of whom Alphard pointedly ignored.

His gaze snapped back to Adorabella. "A book club. With.." and here he made a pointed gesture towards Madeline. "Muggle books?" By his contemptiously sneered expression, the very thought appalled him! "I think not, Selwyn. Besides, I never really saw the point in reading fiction. But thank you." And the fact that she had mentioned his halloween costume couldn't help but make him preen. Just a little bit. In that superior way of his. "Ah, that costume. Won't be matched anytime soon, I don't think. I do a bit of amateur acting, you know. Such a pity the Arts club is so filled of.." he didn't continue.

"Who's Mister Dider-" Madeline starts, before something else catches her eyes. Ooo! COLORED BUBBLES! She dashes towards one, reaching out with her hands, and trying to catch it gently. "How do you do that? Can you teach me? Will I learn in one of my classes? That's just /great/!"

With his name signed (for better or for worse, but almost certainly for tea and mystery novels), and a glance at the clock, Bran begins to silently collect up the photographs of earlier, sorting and stacking them neatly. "I bet the Headmaster would allow a famous author to come and speak to us, sure," the Hufflepuff observes, voice mild. "I think I've heard of him, but never read anything of his - what sorts of things does he write?" He's not even going to spare a glance over at the… person in sweatpants to whom their erstwhile club leader is speaking, though he does take a moment to watch Elric's impromptu performance, expression somewhere between 'impressed' and 'utterly bemused'.

The mention of muggle books garners a dubious look from Tarquin, but Dora's enthusiasm keep him from sharing any doubts. At Alphard's words, he gives Adorabella a reassuring gentle squeeze.

"Reading isn't for everyone," he does say, amiably enough. "And neither is fiction, I suppose," he adds. Still, his expression doesn't disagree with Alphard when it comes to the muggle books. His signature remains on the parchment, however, and he shows no sign to be taking it back any time soon.

"Asking Mister Diderot to come sounds like an excellent idea, Dora," he tells her with a firm nod.

Elric looks to Alphard breifly and continues to dance around waving his wand this way and that as he directs the bubbles twoards the grumpy Slytherin. The fact that the boy adressed his sister so rudely has him ready to deliver a bit of payback. The bubbles around Alphard start popping and splattering splashes of color all over his clothes if he isn't quick enough to dodge them. Just then Elric finishes his dance and sweeps into a dramatic bow. He smiles at Madeline sweetly. "Its a trade secret of mine. Its very useful for adding color to an other wise dull day…still maybe I will teach you if you really want to learn?"

Once his quill is cleaned, it goes back into his satchel, as do the various glass inkwells Silas had laid out. The parchment stays on the table for the moment, portions of it still needing to dry. He looks back at Alphard, chuckling, "Who knew they had it?" A simple enough question.

A look goes back to the others, and he just stays quiet otherwise for now, although he winces as the younger Selwyn makes a classic younger-year blunder.

It was people like that. The far away ones, the distance ones that most needed someone to reach out to them, Dora knew. They needed hugs and assurance and help, because surely, somewhere along the way all that distance made them lonely. So while Dora might have…winced at the disdane she heard in Alphard's tone, she still kept smiling right at him as if she could smother him in kindness and goodwill from a distance.

"He's…well he's amazing," Dora answered first Bran. "Surely you've heard of The Adventures of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Magicus in the Ancient World. And his books only get better and better, but he doesn't just write fiction. He's written several academic pieces as well and he's just so very very talented. I would /love/ to pick his brain and maybe beg him to do a reading."

But Alphard had forced her to contain a measure of her excitement and it was impossible to miss Tarquin's silence nor what it meant. She knew what it meant. She knew too, he was just too polite to say it in front of her and hugged him for it.

"There will be more than just one type of book, Alphard and you know, you could suggest some of your own. I bet you could even convert a few people," she attempts to tease. "Besides, Art club isn't just, well it's not like other clubs. It's like…everybody has an interest in an aspect of a field. So not everyone mingles together all the time, you just, find the group in the group that fits you. Your housemate here, was thinking of joining, perhaps the two of you could join together." Had Silas been? That's certainly how Dora took his continued presence. Whoops.

Madeline watches wide-eyed as the bubbles burst all around Alphard, clapping both hands over her mouth to keep herself from laughing at the sight. Oh, that wouldn't be kind, and it wouldn't do to antagonize /Alphard Black/. Not if he's been putting Cillian's head in the toilet!

And then Elric is offering to teach her, and she turns towards the older student. "Oh, yes!" Madeline says eagerly to Elric. "Could you, please? Is it terribly hard? It just looks so wonderful, and I think it'd be so much fun! I could keep it a secret, if you like. How to do it. You didn't even use a spell word, did you? I always use a spell word when I do magic."

"What in the HELLS do you think you're doing, you little bastard?!" Alphard roared when Elric's bubbles went floating in his direction, popping off with bloody splashes of color. Though he'd jumped back awkwardly - being surprised would do that - he hadn't been nearly quick enough. The result was a whole rainbow splattered over his left sleeve and shoulder, with some pink on his cheek as well. He radiated shocked outrage. This was not done to Alphard Pollux Black, damn it! Not the scion of that Noble and Most Ancient of Houses!

"I'm going to get you for that.." In contrast to the increasingly murderous rage in his eyes, his voice was little more than a hiss. Rather than drawing his wand, he moved forward with just the threat of blunt physical violence instead, very much intending to swing a punch straight into Elric's chin.

"I actually mostly read poetry and devotionals," explains Bran, by way of excuse, and with the subtlest note of… is that self-mockery? It might just be self-mockery, as if to say, what does he look like, an adventure novel-loving Gryffindor? "But I'm willing to try this… Magicus book, sure. Do you think that -"

Oh. There's a fight about to break out. Bran draws a breath through his teeth with a hiss, pausing with his hands in midair, still full of photographs.

"That's enough, Black," Tarquin suddenly says, firmly, standing up and holding onto Dora, pushing her behind him and onto the chair they were just sharing. Unfortunately, he's not fast enough to try and intercept. "He meant no harm." The Bulstrode heir says of his boy cousin, in a matter of fact tone. His voice firm.

"What kind of example do we of good blood show, by lowering ourselves to this? To fighting like muggle-born, due to a silly accident?" That's his family Alphard is threatening, and Tarquin doesn't deal with with family being threatened.

Elric eeps as the boy charges him trying to hit him. He quickly dodges to one side and sticks his leg out to trip the boy with a playful grin. He doesn't stop there though and waves his wand creating more bubbles all around the angry snake. He then rushes quickly for the door laughing the whole way as the bubbles he just created start poping around the Black heirs face, hair, and clothing. The blonde peeks his head back into the door and waves to his sister before he is off racing down the halls at top speed with years of practice of 'brother evasion' aiding his speed and skill.

And then suddenly Black is coming at her and Elric, and Madeline's hastily backing out of the way. "Black, no!" the little firstie cries - as if that would sway the man in the least. She draws her wand - though she's not sure what she's going to do with it. "Leave him alone!" she calls. Tarquin's words gets a flicker of attention - and a frown. Heeeey! Fighting like Muggle-borns?

Elric lets out an eep as the boy charges him trying to hit him. He quickly dodges to one side and sticks his leg out to trip the boy with a playful grin. He moves further away backing towards the door not waiting to see if his tripping actually worked. Looking sheepish he considers his options and then looks over his shoulder as if considering running away. He turns his wand over in his hand and seems to think over what to do next tapping his foot against the floor as he thinks of what to do.

"Even Muggle-borns wouldn't punch someone over high spirits. Punching a lady's brother in front of her, no less." Bran's voice is quiet, and carefully, carefully measured. But that's all he's going to contribute, even if the subtle twitch of his cheek suggests there could be plenty more where that came from. He's content to sit, and watch, and wait.

Silas stands immediately upon seeing Black advance upon the boy. He's not as fast as some, and he'd be useless in a fight to boot. However, he can do damage control, "Madeline Evans, put your wand away now." Snapped. No room allowed for argument in his tone.

"Black. Alphard." His voice is raised, loud. There we go, grab his attention with a bit of informality. "We don't need this. The House doesn't need this. And if Mister Selwyn takes a moment to think about what the blazes he's doing, he might realize just how foolish he's being. About whom he's challenging. And if he's intelligent, he'll walk away now as fast as his feet take him."

That's her brother and all Dora can do is just, stare in shocked horrified silence, all the color draining from her face before it started turning a blotchy shade of red. The girl half stumbled when Tarquin stood and hauled her up with him and then dumped her in the chair and because everyone's up in arms now and on their feet and Dora's short, she stands up on the chair.

"Elric Alan Selwyn," that is her 'Mother' voice and the mousy Hufflepuff even has her hands on her hips. "You apologize to Alphard this instance and Alphard," ohMerlinohMerlin, her courage was deflating by the second and it might have looked like Dora settled a little more firmly in behind her cousin, "Please please, don't hit my brother. I'll..well, I'll owe you or do your homework for a week in well, no that probably wouldn't work but I'll owe you." Wasn't that what his kind traded in? Favors?

Mistimed punch and trip to follow sent Alphard stumbling forward like a newborn foal, all wobbly legs, overbalancing, spinning around and looking anything but graceful on his feet. Tarquin's words got to him, though, pouring ice cold water over his increasingly out of control rage. Like a muggle? Abruptly he straightened out. "Muggles don't have the bloody monopoly on punching. But you're right, perhaps I should.." draw his wand out instead, which he did. It was an elegant piece of wood, held deceptivly light in his hand. "Settle this some other way. I have a few ideas. Would that please you, Blustrode?"

Annoyedly he looked towards Silas. "Well, I didn't ask for it. He did. Unless the litt-" at which point Dora was also getting into it. He sniffed. "Fine."

"And I won't tell the Prefects that you tried to attack him." Adorabella added, which honestly, was asking rather a lot coming from her.

Madeline looks at Silas, and then at Black, before putting away the wand she had been holding, pointed at the floor. "He frightened me," she girl says quietly in explination. And who could blame her? She was Muggle-born, and she'd been standing right by Elric when /Alphard Black/ came right at her.

Without a sound, Lucretia slips into the room, drawn by the sound of commotion from within. A few words to some of the students has her up to speed on what's happening and she pushes herself to a ringside vantage point, eyes locking on those involved, but mostly upon Alphard. Unlike the others, she doesn't try to interfere or stop him, this is Alphard and its more fun to just watch things as they happen.

"It's at least more civilized," Tarquin says to Alphard, although his own hand rests on his belt, where his wand is kept. "But still unnecessary. Elric, do as your sister says, apologize," he tells the other Selwyn. He nods to Silas and his snapped command to Madeline. "What happened here was an unfortunate accident, nothing more," the words are spoken, to the group at large.

"So how about we all calm down and returned to our regular activities," he offers, with a thin lipped smile. He steps toward Dora then, protectively, a shield ready to take anything coming at her.

If there is one thing Elric fears its Adorabella in 'mother mode' He shuffles his feet and frowns at the floor tucking his wand away and looking at his sister with wide pleading eyes as he tries to get his point across. "But Dora…he was rude to you…why should I apologize? I didn't hurt him…His face and clothes will wash off just fine. It was perfectly harmless unlike his own actions which might have broken my nose…" He can be rather convincing at times and the way he speaks is borderline manipulative in its own way.

"Selwyn," Bran says, mild as milk, "you should do as your sister tells you. Honor your family."

After a moment the Hufflepuff adds, lightly, "And we're done with what we can plan of the Book Club for now, we are. Arts Club's been monopolizing the club room long enough. Probably best be scurrying anyway." Bran's voice is as gentle as a lamb, and doesn't quite match the grim undertone of his expression.

Prefects. Alphard of course felt that he should have been made one. It still irked him to have been overlooked, when he was such an upstanding and elite performing student! It would have made his bullying a lot easier, too. Ria could get away with just about anything, while he had to dance around to avoid being caught red handed and dragged off for discipline. Life was so terribly, terribly unfair. Being born to wealth and privilege had no point if it couldn't also be abused.

He stood straight backed, arrogant and imperious, as if he wasn't wearing sweat pants and a matching loose grey top, and as if he hadn't moments ago looked like a bumbling fool.

A Muggle-born with a wand out, while a Black was angry and raising fists, just not a good combination. Silas steps closer, and moves to put a hand on Elric's shoulder. "You disrespected him. A simple spell or not, you did it clearly to do so. And, frankly, were in the wrong. And had you not had a bit of unheard of luck, we'd be carrying you to the infirmary right now. So be smart. Apologize, and walk away."

Then the hand squeezes a little more firmly, and he whispers to Elric, although clearly some will hear it, "Do not be fool, Selwyn. Don't escalate things. Walk away."

Madeline remains tensely rooted in place - apart from the others, and watching anxiously. At the sight of movement, her eyes flick towards Lucretia - and she battles the urge to groan. That's not helpful! Having Lucretia Black show up, too!

Lucretia knots her fingers behind her back and pushes her way a little closer. Its taken her a moment or two to realise that the twin that's causing a rumpus is Elric and not, in fact, Leoric. With that realisation there's a look of complete and absolute relief on her face. It shows only briefly though and is quickly schooled away, half-obscured by a hand that lifts to tuck a bit of hair behind one ear. With that tuck comes a quick scan of the room, and since Madeline's eyes are on her, she notices her immediately. She returns the stare, but with the addition of two fingers pointing at her eyes and then at Madeline's. Snake eyes.

The door opened- and didn't close. There were things to do first, and all of them were observing. Leoric's eyes rake across the scene, flicking from each participant to the next, building what must have happened from postures, murmured words, expressions, tones. First conclusion- Elric had made SOME sort of mess. Two, he'd apparently messed upon Black, who was… posing like a boxer? What sort of wizard fought with his fists? But there were voices of reason, both of them, apparently, photographers. Interesting coincidence, that. No need to tangle the knot further. Leoric shuts the door and moves inside without speaking.

Oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh. Dora took a deep breath and then another deep breath and then reminded herself that it didn't look particularly grown up, half crouching behind Tarquin like than, even standing on a chair as she was and then she remembered that she was standing on a chair and red clear up to her ears, slowly came down from it.

This..well, honestly, Dora looked almost as unhappy as Alphard did. "He is a Black," Merlin forgive me, "We are Selwyn," and just as much a part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, not that Dora would be adding that out loud, her tone said enough. "This isn't how things are done and you..just, apologize." Even if Alphard was a bully and did terrible things to people. "He just, he needs someone to care is all and not enough people do, so now would be a good time to start showing him how things could be different." Had she really just? Yes, yes she had. "Apologize. Please."

But of course, Dora believes firmly in leading by example. "Alphard," Dora began, "I am sincerely sorry," and still somehow managing to talk straight, "For any embarassment that you may have suffered on behalf of the Selwyn family and I am sure that Elric will echo my sentiments."

Though the girl added, under her breath and in Elric's direction, "Don't make me tell Uly." Of course, the girl's seventh year brother was just as likely to blame Alphard…but Dora didn't want it to resort to that.

Madeline meets Lucretia's gaze, pondering her options - and then suddenly settling for smiling and waving. There.

"I'll walk with you to the common room, let's go," Tarquin tells Dora after nodding to Bran, leaving no room for argument and putting a protecting hand on her shoulder. "I'd never stop hearing about it from Ulysses otherwise," he adds, smiling at the girl and as in way to try and lighten her spirit some.

He nods his thanks to Silas, and his eyes then fall on Alphard. "Black," he offers as way of farewell and also to indicate there is no ill will toward him. His tone polite, respectful and dignified as always. Spying Lucretia, the Bulstrode adds, "and Black," along with a smile. And then he waits for Elric's apology, so he can take Dora out of the room, nodding however at her apology. "There, an apology has been offered," he remarks to Alphard.

Elric looks around for sympathy and when he sees none coming his way he lowers his head. He sighs and realizing he is beaten looks up right at Black meeting his eyes without the slightest hint of fear. "My sincerest apologies then. I disrespected you and I am truly sorry. I don't like people who are mean to my family…and…I overreactted." He seems sincere and turns to go nodding to his brother and smiling weakly as he tries to make a hasty exit out into the hall.

Oh look. There's Leo. Abandoning her stare-out with Madeline, and also the smile and the wave, Lucretia gives the girl one last deathly glare then turns to head Leoric's way, bumping his shoulder with hers once she's close enough. Bump. Apparently close enough now that Elric needs to pass her as well as Leoric, she offers the former an encouraging smile. "Well done. You did the right thing there Elric." Lucretia can be so nice at times.

Bran shoots Tarquin a lightning fast smile of deep approval. There is a slight nod to accompany it, in the low-key 'thanks, bro' way of teenage boys. Yes. PLEASE. Take the sweet idealistic girl who just started a bloodline-neutral book club out of the room! Bran can't offer to do it (in this context, in this company, with his blood).

On the other hand, Bran can rise from his seat, collect up his things, and pace lightly over towards Madeline. "Want me to walk you towards your common room, Evans?" he offers, kindly. 'Towards', obviously, not 'to', being in a different House.

The look on Alphard's face was a mixture of scepticism and disbelief. Had she really suggested that he was unloved? Him?! He was the jewel in his mother's eye! Had a girlfriend! Had friends and was popular! At least in the manner of the mean rich kid who may or may not be paying for it. None the less he accepted the apology with a tiny little dip of his head. Like a King acknowledging the petition of a grimy little peasant girl.

"You're lucky you have family with actual brains," he told Elric with a toss of his head. Finally spotting Lucretia, he brusquely nodded in her direction. Someone's favorite cousin was not yet completely forgiven.

Lucretia offers Alphard a glorious smile. She'll be forgiven soon. Obviously.

Madeline looks around the room, and looks at who's leaving - and simply nods. Staying /here/ wouldn't be safe - and she knows it. "I'd like that. Thanks," she answers, moving to walk with him to the door, and out. "Have a great day!" she calls brightly to those staying in the room. No reason not to be polite. Once out in the hall, she leans in towards Bran to whisper, "I was thinking of using the tickling jinx," she confides. "I mean - if he tried to hurt him again. There's noooooo way he'd ever forgive me for that!" She was glad it hadn't come to it.

Seeing that the younger boy was not about to be murdered any time soon, Silas takes a breath, offers a silent thank you to Alphard as he turns away, and once Elric actively moves away from them to leave the room, he turns back a look to Dora, worried… partly because she'd insulted Alphard as well, although he'd be less likely to react in the same manner.

Frowning now, he walks back over to the table, to put the cloth back over his parchment and pad, and works to put the two back in his satchel. Bran was right. It was time to leave now.

Ohhhhh, the art of the poker face. This was a talent developed by those with need to hide things found from those trying to do the finding. In this particular case, it does Leoric the favor of keeping his immediate and welling amusement at Alphard's expression from coloring his own. Adorabella had just delivered a more cutting remark than the boy was likely to have experienced at any point in time- short of "no allowance this week," anyway- in such a manner as to utterly and completely preclude any sort of direct retaliation without immediately painting Alphard as a COMPLETE git. And hadn't meant to in the slightest. Clearly his smile is meant for Lucretia and his brother as they pass and take up a spot beside him, irrespectively. Elric gets a clap on the back and a nod, Lucretia a mirrored bump. It wasn't conversation time just yet, so he stood with the younger Black and waited for the social atmosphere to settle a touch.

It's a good thing Madeline whispered her words. Now there will be no context for those still inside the room, as they hear Bran's dour intonation: "Evans. Don't ever, ever do that."

And Tarquin returns Bran's nod, in a 'I got this' kind of way, as he then glances at his cousin, the female one. The two male Selwyn get a faint look, but they seem to be doing alright.

"Time to go, Dora," he offers to her gently, along with his arm. Chivalrous to the end.

"But I can't just let him /hurt/ someone!" Madeline counters as they walk, keeping her voice quiet. Can't stop a Gryffindor.

Meanwhile, Adorabella has absolutely no clue that she'd been insulting at all. It's in her face, that genuine naive guiless innocence. The hope that he'll feel better. Be happier. Can't he see the olive branch? Can't he see her willingness to be his friend! And she looked, as she came down from that chair, she looked…it was obvious like a girl about to go give a hug to make everything better. Because…that was clearly how the world worked.
And then there was Silas clamming up again and the look she shot him was one of mixed confusion because she hadn't done anything wrong! So why was he…and Tarquin was there, offering his arm and the girl's shoulders slumped in resolution. "Well, I'm still writing Mister Diderot," she announced and then, took an all too deep courage gathering breath, "And Alphard is still invited to join the Book Club if he wants too or the Art Club. And..," all the breath seemed to leave her then, "And I'm still sorry. I can help you go wash the paint off, if you like?" Helpful to the last, even in the face of a (monster is a harsh word) misunderstood 'bully' who just needed hugs, even…if he could probably eat someone like her for breakfast. Which may or may not have been why she took Tarquin's arm, just to be on the safe side, not that she thought Alphard would do her violence, that would be mean but…manners. Safety. Okay, so he intimidated her just a little bit. It showed.

Lucretia's attention remains on Elric until he's safely out of the room and out of harm's way, before she turns back to Leo. "That was close," she says, a genuine smile given him. That his twin wasn't currently lying in the infirmary with jellified legs or covered with fur or something far worse is a miraculous outcome and everything is so terribly right with the world once more. Alphard gets a smile, despite her not yet returning to status of 'favourite cousin' and on hearing Dora yap on about hugs and love, there's just the smallest lift of her brows. The shoot up behind her fringe and she leans just a little towards Leoric and murmurs quietly, "I do hope she doesn't try, Alphard hates being hugged in public."

"Like I said, I don't see the point in fiction," Alphard told Adorabella as she took shelter within the protective sphere of Tarquin. "And while I have an artist's soul," could he sound more pompous when he used that phrase? "I already have Duelling Club, Quidditch as well as the MAgijugend to fill my time. I just don't have the time to waste."
When she called attention to his color splatter, he grimaced, eyes running down his arm to take in the damage. "Ugh. No. Thank you. But I can clean myself just fine, Selwyn. Well. If you're all done with the club room, I'm going to make use of it myself." Though perhaps he should take a trip to the baths first. But then someone might stael it. No. He'd squeeze in a quick little work out session first.

"Si dovrebbe davvero parlare in italiano o qualcosa del genere se non si vuole essere ascoltati," comes Leoric's reply, the smooth foreign tongue slipping from his lips easily. As Tarquin works to ease Dora from the room, he works to catch her eye. To her, he offers a quiet, "toujours la mme, chre soeur," and a brief tuck of his hand around hers. "I'll see you in the common room before bed, eh?" He shares a smile with both of the cousins before turning his eyes back to the room, watching- perhaps appraising- Alphard quietly.

"The room is all yours, Black," that is Tarquin's voice. Not that it was his to give in the first place, but might as well just make it clear that the Art Club is done with it. There will be no hugs, because Tarquin is keeping Dora very close to him. And now that everyone seems to be going on their merry way, he turns to Adorabella.
"Let's go," he urges her again, now with her on his arm, ready to walk out of the door. "Meliflua," he offers in farewell to the Slytherin.

His belongings safely stowed away, Silas takes the time the others spend talking to get it all put together and then to follow behind Tarquin and Dora., asking, "Actually, do you two mind if I walk with you at least part of the way?" The crisis averted, he too wanted out.

Tarquin smiles at Silas. "I think Dora would like that. It's fine with me," he says.

One must wonder if Esther was late to the meeting of the Art Club deliberately, or if this was just happy coincidence that she caught her favourite club as it was coming to an end. Regardless, the girl wanders in with her bookbag by her side, phoenix quill in one hand and a small square of parchment in the other. A gentle nod to those passing the other way as she enters the Club Room, as the Hair looks around at whoever remains.

"Persone ottenere infastiditi quando non capiscono quello che dico, e mai mi dispiace per quello che dico sia." Lucretia responds to Leoric before a polite smile is given his departing family. A smile for Dora, another for Tarquin. A tiny lift is given onto the balls of her toes, just to emphasise her height, or lack of it, and she tucks an arm through her friend's. "Did you want to go and find Elric? Make sure that he's alright?" This said as Esther enters the club room and the older girl gets an immediate greeting from the diminutive Black. "Esther! You missed everything."

No more Arts Club. Alphard in his color splatterd training wear made sure of that with a definitive wave of his hand, transforming the room into Athletics Club material. And Esther's belated arrival wasn't going to matter one iota. This was his territory, now! He gave The Hair a dismissive look, no actual greeting, before marching over to some of the weights so he could start pumping iron. He might be a wizard, but in Quidditch one couldn't cast spells. And he needed to be an even bigger and meaner Beater by the time next game rolled in.

"So it seems." Esther responds in the most esoteric way she can come up with. "It's not the meeting I was the most excited for this year. Besides, it created quite a stir… I had time to finish off two paintings that have been craving final touches." Two paintings that she'd not work on without some guarantee of privacy, no less. "This would be the Selwyn boy?" She gestures to Leoric, with a kind smile to both Lucretia and her 'friend'. "Well met." With an incline of her head.

"Okay," Dora replies, Tarquin's hold keeping her anchored though she would have helped the boy and those dark eyes were full of far too much compassion when she looked at the Slytherin boy. "I'll talk to you tomorrow." Would she? It depended on whether or not she worked up her nerve, "Or in class on Monday." Because it was perhaps a little better to extend her deadline.
And then, her attention was turning away, back to her cousin as she collected her satchel. "We can go. Please and…thank you." Another hug, while she kept her gaze away from the girl who hadn't wanted her around to begin with and courted trouble with the Prefects. "And it would be nice, to have you walk with us, Syly," Dora added, before offering a wink to her brother. Her face hadn't entirely returned to its normal glow, but it was at least not welling up with sadness, either. "Have fun, Leo." Whilst a pointed look conveyed that he himself have a care.

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