(1939-01-19) The Problem with Pure-bloods
Details for The Problem with Pure-bloods
Summary: After a moody dinner, Madeline vents her frustrations to a more sympathetic target.
Date: 1939-01-19
Location: History of Magic Classroom
Related: Art Club, Book Club, Fight Club and Madeline and the Pureblood Picnic
Characters
AdamMadeline

After giving her friend /some/ time to eat his dinner, Madeline appears at the Hufflepuff table, tugging at his arm insistently, thought without much in the way of explanation. She waits until he's getting to his feet, and then dashes out of the Great Hall, and up the stairs to the first floor, where she bursts into the first classroom. She starts to pace in the aisles between the desks, her hair freed from its braids this evening, and her eyes looking a little puffy and red.

"I hate it!" is the only light she has to shed on the situation.

Adam was about to help himself to some more food when Madeline showed up to whisk him off to history classroom. Though he resisted at first, he abandoned his meal at his friend's insistence, hurrying out the Hall and up the stairs after her. He stands at the front of the classroom, confused and concerned, as he watches Madeline pace. "Me too," he says. "The stories are interesting, but the professor always makes it sound so boring."

Adam's response gets the girl to stop and stare for a moment. "Not the class!" Madeline finally exclaims, though she does vent some frustration by aiming a kick at chair. "Ugh!" She starts pacing again, but this time she at least /tries/ to explain. "It's the- the- the…" Purebloods? Oh, her Uncle would get so cross at her! "What do they /want/ from us?" she says instead in frustration. "It's /impossible/! Even the nice ones!"

Adam is at a loss. He bites down on his lip as he watches his friend, not sure of what to say without knowing what she's on about. Her attempt at explanation sheds some light, though he still hesitates. "I don't know," he answers at last. He steps towards her, his brow furrowing with further concern. "What happened, Maddie? Who's upset you?"

"Everyone," Madeline mutters, reaching up to brush the back of her hand across her eyes. "Last night - after you left - Elric Selwyn was dancing, and this really beautiful bubbles were coming out of his wand - all sorts of colors, and then Alphard Black came in, and Elric - he's so stupid! - he made all the bubbles go around Black and they popped and covered Black in paint in front of everyone!" … yeah. Kinda like they'd been talking about at that party?

"So Black tried to punch him in the face! Only I was standing right next to him, so then here's Black coming at /me/, it almost looks like, and I got scared! And then Tarquin Bulstrode yells at Black to stop acting like a /Muggle-born/!"

She's crying now as her frustration bubbles over, gesturing widely with her arms in frustration. "Like it's a bad thing! Like it's an insult! And I'm standing right there, and Bran too, and we both- we can't even do anything, because then they're just think we're proving them right! And… and… and… I hate it!"

Adam, worried that he might be included in 'everyone,' keeps quiet and listens as she tells him what happened in the club room after he left. He can't help himself - when she says how Elric covered Black in paint, he starts to smile. But it disappears right away as she goes on, and his eyes grow wide instead. He's about to respond when she bursts into tears, and he stands there for a moment, struck dumb. Then, not knowing what else to do, he walks over and tries to wrap his arms around her in a comforting hug.

"I hate it, Adam," Madeline repeats leaning into him while she cries. "I just hate it. Even the nice ones! They don't get it."

"I know," Adam says, his voice quiet and sad as he holds her tight. "I hate it too. They talk like that all the time, even in Hufflepuff. It's horrible." Her frustration and disappointment causes tears to spring to his own eyes, but he holds them off.

"I tried to explain it… To Silas, and Leoric, and… and… Bulstrode," Madeline laments softly. "He didn't even say sorry!" she adds more explosively. "He's not sorry. He acts nice, but he… he… and they're all like that! They're not sorry!"

She's getting agitated again, so she pulls away to start pacing. "They think they're better than us, and that we have to prove them wrong, and I'm just eleven!"

Adam stands where he is when she goes back to pacing. He runs a hand hastily across his eyes and then shoves both hands into his pockets. "They don't think there's anything to be sorry about. They think it's just the way things are." He stares at the floor. "If I tell them I want to be something incredible, like a curse-breaker, they tell me it'll be really hard for someone like me, but that I can prove everyone wrong if I try hard enough. Why can't I just try normally, like anyone else?"

"That's what I mean!" Madeline agrees, her voice still laced with frustration. "Even Silas doesn't get it, I think. And he's really, really nice. And then Leoric goes and makes a /joke/ that they might not let us finish school. That they might kick all the Muggle-borns out. And they both - Leoric and Silas - they tried to tell me that it probably wouldn't happen, that it was really unlikely, but… It's not a joke.

"I just wanna learn magic." She stops pacing now, and rubs her left arm up and down her right anxiously.

"Me too," Adam says, hopping up to sit on one of the desks. "They might think it's a joke, but I always worry about getting kicked out of school. I love this place even with all the horrible people, I don't want to leave. And that Silas did seem nice. He gave you those frog cards and had that really neat idea about finding people good pets." He hesitates and looks at her. "D'you think there's a chance it might happen? Us being kicked out for being Muggle-born?"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "I dunno," she admits. "They said… they said it would have to be an order from the Ministry, and it would probably be something like, 'for their own safety, can no longer attend Hogwarts' or something like that. And they both - Silas and Leoric - they said it'd be really unlikely."

Adam nods. "Unlikely," he murmurs. "That means it's still possible, though." He frowns at his knees. "What'd they mean 'for our own safety'? From the other students? They can be horrible sometimes, but they wouldn't actually hurt us, would they? I know Lucretia Black wanted to, once, but that was my own fault. And her friend held her back anyway."

"I don't know," Madeline admits, though she frowns at his words. "When did Lucretia try to /hurt/ you?" she asks. No, she's not pleased about this little revelation.

"On the train ride back from the holidays," Adam says. "I asked how everyone's holidays were, which was stupid of me, and she lunged at me. Pretty sure she wanted to hurt me. But I had it coming, all things considered." Of course, he couldn't have known about the attack on that party over the holidays.

"Oh," Madeline answers, then lets out a sigh. "It's still stupid of her. It's an innocent question." She lets out a sigh, and then moves over to sit in the chair of the desk Adam has sat on. "Sorry to dump on you," she announces suddenly. "Just… no one else gets it. They're not Muggle-born." Well. The /other/ Muggle-borns get it, but they're not her best friend.

"I was just trying to be friendly," Adam says with an uncertain shrug. He glances over at his friend when she sits down at the desk he's perched on. "It's okay," he says with a smile. "I hate it all too. Sometimes I even wish there was a school just for Muggle-borns. But that's stupid. We're wizards just like everyone else here. What's it like in Gryffindor? Same attitude?"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "Yeah," she admits quietly. "I hoped… I thought maybe it would be different in Hufflepuff, but I guess not. They make everything so hard." She reaches up to wipe at her eyes. "I wanna see my parents. And my Uncle. And I… I really, really wish I could bring Sally to school."

"There are some really nice people in Hufflepuff," Adam says. "Like Dora. And Bran! Bran's like us, so I'm sure he gets it too. But the purebloods like Leoric Selwyn and Tarquin Bulstrode can say some really mean things sometimes, even though they act like they're being nice about it." He looks at his friend curiously. "Who's Sally?"

"She's my dog," Madeline answers, looking at Adam in surprise. "I never told you about Sally? She's a really good dog. You'll meet her when we got game shooting. She flushes out the birds for us, and fetches them, too."

"Oh!" Adam says. "I knew you had a dog, just didn't know the name." Unless she told him and he forgot. What kind of dog is she?" He looks a bit more cheerful when she mentions going game shooting. "I'm really looking forward to that. I wish it was summer already! It'll be nice being away from people who care that my parents aren't wizards."

"Oh, she's a springer spaniel!" Madeline explains, her usual cheer starting to leak back in at this change of topics. "She's soooo sweet, and she's such a good dog. Her muzzles all white, with this white stripe that goes up her head." She traces a line from her nose to the top of her head. "With brown on her cheeks and her eyebrows, and black around it, and on her ears. And a bright white belly. And brown and black spots all over her in funny splotches. You'll like her!"

"Neat!" Adam says, nodding his head up and down. "Bet I will! I love dogs. My uncle has one on his farm, one of those collies that they use to herd sheep. Haven't seen her in a year and a half now. Hope I get to go back this summer. Oh, you should come too! You can meet my uncle and my cousins and see the farm and everything!"

"That'd be fun!" Madeline agrees, smiling now. "Do they… get to know? Your uncle and your cousins? My cousins don't get to know. But my grandparents know, of course. At least, my dad's parents. On account they already know because of my uncle."

"Yeah!" Adam says, smiling back at her. But he hesitates at the question. "I… don't know. I haven't seen them since the summer before last. I wasn't allowed to go last summer, and I only found out I was a wizard then. Oh, I hope they get to know. It'd be a shame having to hide it from them. I'll have to ask Mr Umbridge, he'd know."

"I think you probably aren't supposed to tell them," Madeline suggests quietly. "But you should ask Mr. Umbridge, anyways." Whoever that is. He must be a wizard.

"Sorry if I ruined your dinner," the girl adds suddenly.

"No, I guess I'm not," Adam says with a frown. "They're still Muggles, even if they are family. That's stupid. I should be allowed to tell anyone I know." Mr Umbridge is the man who helped transition Adam into the Wizarding world - she met him in the cauldron shop over the summer, though she might not remember his name. Adam looks at her in surprise. "You didn't ruin it! I was mostly finished anyway. I hope I was, er, some help."

"Yeah, but… that's the whole point of a secret, Adam," Madeline responds with a hint of a giggle. "You can't just tell everyone you know! I mean, my Uncle didn't tell me that he's a wizard until I found out I was going to Hogwarts! He was there to tell me, and show me some magic. It was great."

And then she reaches out to give her friend a light push, adding, "'course you helped. I just needed to- I guess I just needed someone who /gets/ it."

"I know!" Adam says, defensive. "Don't you think it's silly, though? That he wasn't allowed to tell you even though he's your uncle? My uncle's great! I bet he wouldn't mind that I was a wizard. He knows I'm a bit odd already!" He grins at her when she pushes him. "I get it. Sometimes I'll just go somewhere else if people start talking like that."

"Well. I couldn't really go anywhere else, because… because I still wasn't sure if Black was going to punch Elric in the face or not." Madeline leans in to add, "I drew my /wand/. I was ready to give him the tickling jinx, you know. If tried it again. I'm glad I didn't have to."

She frowns before adding, "But I didn't have to because they got Black to stop because they told him he was acting like a Muggle-born. And then today they're telling me it's okay to say that if they have to. Because they were trying to protect someone." She lets out a sigh. "But even if they say it for a good reason, it's still not right, is it?"

"You drew your wand?" Adam says, looking at her in alarm. "On Alphard Black? Maddie, that's really dangerous! He could've really hurt you if he wanted to. He knows way more magic than both of us put together!" He bites his lip as he watches her friend, then shakes his head. "No. That's a stupid thing to say. What's it even mean, 'acting like a Muggle-born'? We don't act any different, do we? Unless they mean not acting like a prat."

Madeline lets out a snort at the last part, and nods in agreement. "Yeah!" she agrees. "No prats here!"

She sobers up before adding, "I know. I know it wasn't smart. But he was coming at me, and I was scared, and I never pointed it actually at him, but I just couldn't let him hurt someone and… and I would have ended up with my head in a toilet for a year and a half if I'd done in." She lets out a sigh. "Silas yelled at me to put away my wand… so I did."

Adam can't help but grin, but he doesn't do so for long. Instead he looks relieved. "Oh, he was coming at you," he says, understanding. "Well, that's okay. You made it sound like you were threatening him!" He shakes his head, expelling a breath. "I know you're much braver than me, but that… that would've been crazy!"

"I was standing right next to Elric," Madeline explains. "When Black came at him. So I thought- I mean for a second, it seemed like… It was pretty scary," she admits, looking sheepish.

"I bet!" Adam says, his eyes wide. The story alone scared him, so he can't imagine how his friend must have felt. "I'm glad I got out of there when I did. Although… I guess it wasn't very nice of me to leave you there."

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "You didn't know. And I was there with Silas, and Bran, and Adorabella." What could be safer, right?

"Yeah," Adam says, looking uncertain even as he nods his head. "Yeah, that's true." He kicks his legs back and forth in silence. "Oh, wasn't there talk of starting a book club?" he then asks. "They mentioned it right as I was leaving. Did anything come of that?"

Madeline nods her head eagerly. "Yeah! Adorabella's starting it! I put my name. I said I'd show them my science fiction books! I think there's lots of kids signed up, already. There's a paper in the club room. You should come!"

"I want to!" Adam says. "I don't read a lot. I only have one book, but I've read a few of my uncle's. Someone, I think it was Tarquin Bulstrode, was reading these books about a curse-breaker. I really want to read those!" He hops off the desk. "So I have to sign up for it? Let's go do that! I don't want to be left out!"

"Adorabella doesn't seem the sort to leave anyone out," Madeline agrees, pushing herself to her feet. "But we can go to the club room and put you on the list. I put Shazi Shafiq on, because I know she loves reading. We're trading books, you know!"

"Great!" Adam says, beaming at his friend. "I'm just worried it'll get too full and there won't be any room left." He heads for the door, eager to hurry over to the club room. "Oh, that's nice! Don't think I've met her before. What kind of books?"

"I think they're wizard science-fiction?" Madeline asks, sounding uncertain. "I haven't read it yet! But it said something about Mars! The Mars-King, or something! I can't wait to see what wizard science-fiction is like!" She makes her way out of the classroom, ready to dash through the halls with Adam. Why do things at a walk if you don't have to?

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