(1939-01-27) Something about Salacious Stranglers
Details for Something about Salacious Stranglers
Summary: A first year, a fourth year, a fifth year, and a seventh year share common room time after dinner. It sounds like the start to a bad joke… because it is. Alliteration takes a heavy toll.
Date: 27 January, 1939
Location: Gryffindor Common Room

Madeline is in the common room! She's on the couch, as a matter of fact, but whereas most would /sit/ on the couch, or lie on it, Madeline is handing off it upside-down, with her legs and her rump on the couch, and her head resting on the floor. She seems to be considering a book from this angle - but as to why, your guess is as good as anyone else's.

Creeeak. The doorway from the seventh floor opens to admit the redheaded Weasley brother, leaving him to step in and shut it behind himself. He drags himself up the stairs and slings himself on a couch, dragging a pillow off the end and smothering himself with it.
s apparently a little gender-confused.

Ulysses learned a long time ago, when it comes to the 'fairer sex', ours is not to ask why. Ours is to ask 'do I really need to know the answer to this question?' Or something to that effect. Regardless, the older student was actually making his way into the common room from the dorms, and sees the little one in her strange position. An evil grin crosses his face and, from this angle, he wouldn't be seen immediately.
*wooooooosh* *thunk*
A wrapped chocklate frog lands squarely on Madeline's chest… croaking and trying to jump even still within the packaging.

Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-THUMP: thus enters the Shazi. From her dormitory, specifically, carrying a book in one hand and a little cellophane bag in the other. This is how she announces herself, beaming generally: "Helloooooooooo. Hello, Selwyn. Madeline what are you reading, is it good, can I borrow it when you're done."
No greetings for Variel? Nope! Because she makes straight for his couch, plopping in unladylike fashion besides his poor, pillow'd face. "Variel," her tone is quite affectionate; one hand pushes lightly on the pillow, though whether it's to shove it off or shove it down is unclear. "If you're going to suffocate yourself, at least go do it properly in the Lake."

"Wha'-" Madeline starts, lifting her head to see what just plopped onto her chest. "Ooo! A frog! Great!" She pulls it off, dropping it on the ground beside her book. "It's a book on doing art kinda stuff with charms, Shazi! It's just from the library."
And then she's all giggles as she adds, "No drowning in the lake! It's too cold for that! Besides - /I'm/ the one with the merpeople obsession!" At least she knows it.

Variel grumbles underneath the pillow a moment before lifting it. "Let me die in peace." He places it down again. Lifts it again. "And warmth. Mad Maddie's right- I'd freeze before ever I drowned. I thought we were friends." Back down again. Then it's up again and under his head and against Shazi's thigh. Reasonable compromise.

Lys just stands there for a bit, chuckling. Since one couch is already taken, the older boy leaps over the couch Madeline is not-sitting on, and plops down on the opposite corner. "Oh my. Canoodling. I see canoodling." He points at the two on the other couch, grinning all the while.
A grunt soon follows, as he remembers he's supposed to be surly.

"Could be canoodling," allows Shazi, who permits the pillow (and accompanying head) with great aplomb. "Could just be here to accompany his passage into the afterlife, after Variel suffocates himself." She takes advantage of circumstances to reach down and scruff his hair, before gesturing grandly at herself. "I think I'd be a great spirit guide, don't you? I'm mournful and solemn as anything." Please note: this is said in a chirping voice, with a grin that is audible.
To Madeline Shazi adds, a bit after the fact: "Arts charms! Always useful."

Variel says, "Nope. There's a pillow. We're clearly being perfectly appr-" And then the hair scruff. "… I think I just heard my alibi wailing as it died. Well done, Shazi, you've murdered our excuse." He moves not an inch from where he is, nor does he actually protest anything. "If you want some help, Maddie, I've got a few of them under my belt. The art charms, that is, though I've a better hand for the domestic charms, truth told. Did you know they actually refuse to teach the drying charm to boys with a record of lewd behavior?""

Madeline lets out a dramatic first year groan. "No canoodling! Not in the /common/ room! That's just… ugh." She lifts her head to watch Variel curiously. There's cheer in his voice again - that's good, and it earns a broad smile from the girl - followed by a puzzled expression. "Why wouldn't they teach it to them?"

Ulysses snerks at Variel's protestation, and actually offers a grunting bit of laughter at the mention of the drying charm, "Don't I know it." Ahem. Then he settles back into the chair, "Well, Weasley, since you're no longer considering the afterlife, I should tell you that it's a shame you left when you did the other night. You could have seen Rashley catch me on a shoulder, and once right under the chin. Granted, I had her on her back at least once, but she was surprisingly tough for a beginner."

"This is barely canoodling," proclaims Shazi, with dignity. "Heavy on the 'can', perhaps, but you will notice there is barely any oodling." She pauses, and considers the mysteries of language, while absently giving another light hair scruff. "Or maybe that should be 'ca', and 'noodling' - hm!"
She's distracted by this for a moment, and it consequently takes Shazi a second to catch up on the turn the conversation has taken. "Why wouldn't they -" she starts to echo Madeline, and then illumination dawns. "Oh! Right." She tsks her tongue. "Boys are so wretched. Don't know how you live with yourselves."

"/What/?" the Madeline asks in innocent confusion.

Variel says, "I can show you, Madeline," Variel says, without moving his head. He's still staring straight up through closed eyelids. "Ulysses, be a chum and find something to look at in some direction roughly opposite of Madeline, would you?" He clearly has no intention of looking himself, and is counseling Lys to look away- heck, he might get to do this."

Grumbling a bit now as his own bit of story gets washed away in talk of drying spells, Lys rolls his eyes, but nods, shifting so as to look away. Solidarity, or sommat like that.

"What? Why?" Poor Madeline is still completely baffled by this - and she's also still slightly upside-down, with her head lifted up off the floor so she can consider Variel in confusion.

Shazi is not (despite occasional appearances) an idiot: her braced expression suggests she has some guess how this is going to go. But she is a tolerant soul, and pretty well willing to do anything for a laugh; thus, she does nothing save roll her eyes (very dramatically) at Madeline.

"Arificus." Variel's wand- vine, an odd wood to make a wand- flicks up and towards Madeline. Warm air- like a windtunner-hair dryer sort of deal- rushes up around her in a whirling swirl. Unfortunately. So does her skirt.

Madeline lets out a startled squeak, and suddenly tumbles out of her seat to land on the floor in front of the hearth by her book, tugging her skirt down. She has /no problem/ with climbing trees (or shelves) in a skirt. But it seems flipping her skirt up is too much, even for her. "That's terrible! Boys do that to girls?! How mean!"

He can't help the laughter that results. Even if Lys didn't see the results (and seriously, he wouldn't have wanted to with a first year), he could feel that rush of wind and heard Madeline's response… and thus the laughter comes out. He gives it a second before he turns back around. "He said they don't teach it to boys who would be known for misusing it."

"Aren't they the worst?" Shazi laughs - but it's a sympathetic one. "Makes you wish they let us wear trousers! And let's not pretend, Selwyn, that the louts don't sometimes still learn how…" Tongue cluck!
A wicked gleam passes over her face. "Here, lemme revenge your honor for you, Maddie -" Shazi reaches for the Pillow Of Chaste Separation, and yanks at it - intent on doing a little light Variel smothering.

"There's lots worse someone can do to a girl. Reducto the skirt, Engorgio their blouse- you'd be surprised how little a blouse covers when it's four times the original siHEY!!" Variel's educational diatribe is interrupted by a jerked pillow, dumping his head into Shazi's lap as she prepares to make like a befreckled female Kevorkian.

"Varieeeeeeel!" Madeline squeals, covering her face with her arms. "That's just hooooooorrible. That's it. He's not Weasley the Warmhearted anymore. He's… he's… Weasley the, umm, Worrying. Or… something."

With a look to Shazi, Ulysses remarks, "Well there has to be a reward for industriousness, doesn't there? For studiousness? And frankly I agree with you. Trousers show off far more anyhow." A wink is tilted at Shazi, and another chuckle at the ensuing mayhem.

"Weasley the WICKED!" Madeline chimes belatedly, bursting into giggles.

"Weasley the Wicked indeed," says Shazi the Smotherer, beaming affably as she holds the pillow down and ruffles it for a few seconds, before lifting it and knocking it to the side. Variel's poor hair! First that, and now she's taking advantage of their position to ruffle it FURTHER. "I hope you're not talking from experience, Variel. And you, either, Selwyn."
"Also," Shazi adds, with a freckled nose-wrinkle at Ulysses, "ew. Of course boys would think that about trousers. Madeline," she continues, with a solemn expression, "never start fancying boys."

"I'm not wicked!" protests the redhead as the pillow leaves his face post flailing and muffled noises. "I'm Weasley the Warner! I told you ahead of time so you'd be prepared and I am NOT talking from experience! I am a perfect Scottish gentleman and I've never done any such-" He cuts off and eyes Shazi flatly, tucking amusement into his eyes as the girl with the boy in her lap instructs someone else to never fancy men.

Ulysses tries to look innocent and fails miserably. "Don't listen to her, Madeline. Just don't fancy cads and philanderers, and you'll be perfectly fine." Another grin at Shazi, "There are plenty who prefer that type to go around anyhow."
Leaning back, then, with his hands laced behind his head, "And I'll not speak to any experience or lack thereof. There's a lady present." And he offers a slight nod to Madeline, his tone playful enough.

"Nope. Today you're Weasley the Wicked. Tomorrow you can be Weasley the Warmhearted again. Ooo! Shazi, you're Shazi the Shiny. Okay?" Madeline kicks her feet idly from her new position lying on the floor.
"And I've got no plans to start fancying boys! That's just… blegh. Better to have friends, I think. /Loads/ better."

"Oh ho, I think I smell an insinuation, Selwyn!" Not that Shazi seems terribly upset to not be classified a proper lady, mind you. (It's not like she acts like one, let's be real.) Her expression an exaggerated face of sorrow, she makes an especially hammy gesture at herself: "I'm just heartbroken. My sorrow is as vast and wide as the Lake we're going to suffocate Variel in."
Speaking of whom - she merely grins down at him, the corners of her eyes wrinkling. Her hands still, one remaining comfortably perched on his head; the other, vaguely primly, in her lap. "That's a solid policy, Mads. Stick to it! Don't let anyone dissuade you. And - oh! I like Shazi the Shiny. That's just perfect, honestly. Shazi the Shiny it is."

"Why do you keep calling it suffocation? It's freezing, followed quickly by drowning, which is technically totally not the same thing because there's FREEZING WATER IN MY LUNGS." Variel huffs and shifts in place a touch, apparently getting comfy as he grumps. No move is made to evacuate Shazi's hand from his hair. "Shazi the Strangler is more like it, as long as we're using whatever breath-denial murder terms we like today!"

"I can insinuate all day with the best of them, Shafiq," Ulysses grins, "But you shouldn't feel so bad. Not everyone's built to be a lady, really." His tone plays off well with hers, since there doesn't seem to be much malice in it. And really, casting off that title just helps. Then you can have fun."
He then looks back to Variel. "You're not protesting half as much, or as pitifully, as you should be, Weasley." And from there, he looks to Madeline, "And where's my name? You've given one to each of my siblings… but I stand here.. well… sit here un-titled."

Variel says, "That's because that's you. Ulysses the Untitled.""

Ulysses snaps back playfully, "Variel the Vapid."

"The lake is really, /really/ cold right now," Madeline agrees solemnly. "Adam fell in, too! But I made sure he got back to his common room alright."
"Umm. Hmmm. Ulysses the… Unusual?" Madeline supplies uncertainly. Ulysses the… the…"

Variel says, "Selwyn the Salacious!""

Ulysses retorts, "Weasley the Witherling!"

"You say po-tay-toe," Shazi says, placidly, "and I say po-tah-toe." She leans back against the coach, eyes half-closed. "As for Shazi the Strangler - well, now you know why the other boys all run away, don't you." The girl gives his head a light, comforting pat.
"Face it," Shazi adds. "There's just nothing flattering that starts with a 'u'. Useless, Uncouth, Unseemly… And any Selwyn could be Salacious." A pause. A gleam of wickedness darts across her peaceful face. "Ulysses the Unicorn."

Variel turns his head, resting his cheek on Shazi's thigh. "What the heck is a witherling, Selwyn? You're making that up!" Blue eyes roll up to glance at Shazi for a long moment before returning to their duties keeping an eye on Selwyn.

"Ulysses the… uuuuuseful? Ulysses the ummm… understanding? Or, uhh… upright?" Madeline is really concentrating on this one. "Vowels are hard. But with U you get all the un-words!" This, of course, launches Maddie into a fit of giggles. "Unkempt, untidy, unkind, unhappy, unfit! Gosh, can't use /any/ of /those/ ones! How come you can be unhappy, but not unsad, or unangry? Seems a bit silly." She's laying on her back on the floor now, staring up at the ceiling as she ponders.

There's so much he could correct in Shazi's claims. Falsely, but he could correct it. But there is one thing he can properly correct, "Except for Dora." Simple and plain, and without the playful banter, either.
Then the grin reappears in a moment, "And a witherling, Weasley, is either a derogatory term for a weaker opponent, or a withered, decrepit person. I think it fits."
Then, a grin at Madeline. "You could try working with Lys instead. It might work better, Although Ulysses the Unsavory has a ring to it."

A solemn moment in the midst of ridiculousness: "Except for Adora." Shazi nods seriously at Ulysses. "Agreed." Because the whole SCHOOL knows Adorabella is, well. Adorable.
Shazi shoots Variel a lightning-fast grin, the light pressure of her fingers in his hair momentarily deepening. Her conversational attention flicks to Madeline, though. "Well, why can you be inept, but not just ept? Language," declared sagely, "makes no sense. We should all communicate in mute gesture." Shazi wouldn't last five minutes as a mute.

"Selwyn, I heartily disagree, but I'm just far too infirm to complain right now. Perhaps after my mid-morning nap we can resume this scintillating conversation." Variel feigns a yawn and winks up at the grinning Shazi, lips curving into a grin. "Shazi, you'd be in a corner sobbing silently and flailing about, desperate to get someone to pretend to listen to you for a few minutes.

"I'm ept at climbing," Madeline remakes with a giggle. She likes that. /Ept/. "Lys the Lawful," she muses. "Lys the Lethal!" she adds with a giggle. She loves her little naming-people game. "Lys the Logical, Likeable… ummm… Loveable? Oooooor! Lys the /Lunatic/!"

Ulysses just shakes his head, chuckling all the while, before tossing a pillow at Madeline from where he sits. It's hard not liking the little sprat. "Coulda gone with Lion-Hearted… but no. Lunatic it is." He then stands, "Well… some of you lot may wish to be layabouts, but I have a workout to get on. Maybe I can see about getting the Head Girl to try punching me again," he grins at Variel with that, for whatever reason. "You canoodling suffocators have fun, now…"

Variel says, "SuffocatEES, thank you very much. G'night, Selwyn!"

"Lys the Layabout!" Madeline calls helpfully.

"Hah! That's what you think -" poor Variel is getting ruthlessly removed from cuddle times, as Shazi starts to rise from her seat. She does pause to ruffle his hair one last time: it's like she has a vendetta against good grooming. "I just remembered - I haven't even started my reading for Potions tomorrow -" Shafiq, Shafiq, this is why you keep bombing that class "- so I'd better follow Selwyn in taking off. G'night! But here! Watch! I can do it quietly."
She gets all of halfway up the stairs before there's a sudden, loud "Lys the Lord-Help-Us!" Five seconds later, it dawns: "FINE, maybe I can't!"

Ulysses calls back one last time before he's gone, "Lys the Lambastic!" And then, he's gone.

Madeline takes the pillow that was tossed at her, and puts it under her head, considering Variel for a moment in silence. "I don't /know/ Ulysses very well," she admits. "What /is/ a good adjective for him? Maybe Ulysses the Upright…?" She does remember him helping to defend Adam when he got turned into a bird…

"Maybe… Ulysses the Unrelenting. I think he'd be pretty terrifying if he ever really thought someone meant one of his siblings harm." Variel sits up with a sigh. "Worst cushion ever. What sorta proper cushion -walks off to study Potions-?!"

"One that wants to pass her exams?" Madeline hazards, with a thoughtful tone. "Unrelenting isn't always a nice word though, is it? I don't want to give anyone a name they don't like… that wouldn't be nice."

"… Weasley the Wicked," Variel reminds drily with a pointed- but not unamused- glare.

"Well, yeah, but… That's a /joke/," Madeline points out. "We both know you're Weasley the Warmhearted." She smiles, adding, "You're happy, tonight. I'm glad."

Variel takes a moment to consider, then nods slowly. "Yes. I am." He smiles gently. "Shazi helps. She was working to help me cheer up even before I split with Elizabeth. She was always super respectful, though- she didn't even -ask- if it'd be okay to be interested until after."

"That's good," Madeline says firmly, even if she does still feel kind of bad for Elizabeth. "I like Shazi. She's really nice. She's letting me read those magazines from your father, and some other stuff, too, and I'm letting her read my books, and we're both gonna be in the book club together, when it gets started."

"She -is- really nice. She's sorta like a freckled you with a different nationality." Variel smiles. "And a bit more acclimated to things, too, I suppose. How are you coming with that, Madeline?"

Madeline shrugs her shoulders. "It's still hard, sometimes. But I still like it here /a lot/, and uncle Perry sends me a letter, and sometimes a little sweet, every week at least. And I get stuff from my parents, too. And I think I made friends, sorta, with Tarquin Bulstrode, and he said he'd speak out if people were being cruel about Muggle-borns, which is nice."

Variel nods and grins crookedly. "Tarquin's good people. He, Lys and I are all going to be Curse Breakers. I'm hoping we show Alphard Black up something fierce. He could use a few servings of humble pie."

"Alphard Black is scary," Madeline agrees. "And he's being mean to Adorabella, I think, and Tarquin does too, only I don't know what, or why, or how, or why Adorabella went /with/ him - you saw it! Me and Shazi, we both gave her a way out!" She frowns fiercely. "I don't like it at all."

"I don't either. But we've got to be careful how we extract her, or he'll just dig his claws in harder. She's… trapped or protecting something. We don't know which." Variel grabs his pillow and lies down again.

"I was trying to be careful," Madeline says uncertainly. "I mean, I wanted Black to think it was just some silly firstie who got too excited about something. You know? Instead of him thinking that I was trying to take Adorabella way all on purpose like."

Variel says, "You did a good job, Maddie. That's how it came-" Variel yawns and squirms, settling in without thinking about it. "- across.""

The child beams brightly, pleased that is worked. "I was in some plays, you know, in my primary school." Madeline giggles, then adds, "Should I get my blanket for you again?"

Sadly, our hero has drifted off to whatever dreams await soulless redheads in the land of Nod.

Madeline shakes her head, and runs off to fetch a spare blanket from a cupboard somewhere. She tucks Variel in, then gets back to work with her charms book - this time without the hanging-upsidedown-from-the-couch study method. More blood to her head hadn't helped like she'd hoped.

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