(1939-02-04) Owls Fair in Love and War
Details for Owls Fair in Love and War
Summary: Is love in the air? Well, there's definitely poop on the floor. Hogwarts students collide in the Owlery.
Date: 1939-02-04
Location: Owl Tower
Related: Part 1: Prologue
Part 2: The Fight
Part 3: Aftermath
Part 4: Epilogue as well as
En-Gage-ing The Enemy and
Weasley-Sykes Showdown and Solutions To A Puzzle.

Its late afternoon; lessons have finished and dinner has not yet been called. There's a hour or two at most to fill, and it would seem that Sybil has chosen to fill hers by coming to the Owl Tower in order to send some letters home. Muffled against the cold in a warm woollen cloak and with a blue knitted hat pulled down firmly over pale blonde hair, she stands near one of the archways talking quietly to one of the owls. "Okay. Here. But just the one mouse until I know that you've delivered this safely and brought me the reply." The letter she's writing is duly finished with a couple of 'X's' at the bottom and there's a small sprinkle of perfume dusted over it before its folded and placed in an envelope. Perhaps not a letter home, after all.

A cacophony of sounds can be heard echoing through the stairwell leading up to the heights of the Owl Tower as Garrett Sykes makes his way up. He often comes to examine the owls and consider which types would best suit him if he ever decided to commit to a pet. However there was always one problem with owls… the poop!
The noise grows as he climbs up the stairs and enters the Owlery. He's been kicking a frozen owl-dropping all the way up, admiring the snaps and crackles as it slams against the cold stones in vibrating echoes. He could always count on the frozen poop during the winter months, but he didn't count on being with company.
"You!" he nearly chokes on the words. "Gerald's yellow bird? What are you doing here?" He feels stupid immediately after saying it. Of course she's here for the owls. "Uhm, I mean. It's awfully cold this far up." What!? Think! Garrett's eyes look toward her owl and letter. "Good news I hope?" He sniffs the air. "Smells like it."

"What?" Letter still in hand, Sybil turns to see who's spoken, a slight flush of colour to her cheeks from the chill of the air up here. "Good news?" She's so distracted that she almost doesn't remember to feed the mouse to her owl, and its only the persistent nudge of Florence's beak to her hand that reminds her. "Oh. Here." She lifts the mouse a little higher and lets her owl take it from her fingers before handing her letter to the her pet. "It smells like owl droppings here," she says, mistaking what Garrett's said before shoo'ing her owl out of the arched window. "But some people quite like that smell. It takes all sorts I suppose." A tentative smile is given the Gryffindor before her brows pull together, something he's said bothering her. "Yellow bird? What even is that."

The steps [on] which [Anthony] arrive[s], are actually from the bottom of the tower, and going up at a slightly laboured run.

"Yellow hair, living amongst the owls, chirping alongside that sixth-year." Garrett lists the reasons the phrase is so fitting. "It just seemed proper to say so. You disagree?" The sound of another entrant into the Owlery distracts Garrett enough to look away from Sybil and mutter sheepishly under his breath. "I thought it was rather like poetry." The boy watches the new arrival, another boy, older than himself. At that Garrett frowns.
"We were talking about birds up here. Yellow ones." There’s a glance over toward Sybil. "Really, yellow is a noble and," he takes a breath, "attractive color if you ask me. However that's just my two knuts about it." He mumbles again, stepping further into the Owlery and on the other side of Sybil. "I rather like it."

There's more running noise, and some panting, slowing down, as Tony comes up, in his running gear, mud splattered, and sweaty.

"Yellow bird rather makes me sound like some fluffy stuffed doll that a child might find on its bed," Sybil says quietly, a last look given her owl before she turns to Garrett, hands pressing to the stone wall behind so she can rest her rump against them without getting her cloak dirty. "I really do hope you're not saying that I'm some sort of a brainless stuffed doll." There's amusement that just lurks behind her expression, a crinkling of eyes that are momentarily obscured by a drift of silvery blonde hair that ripples across her face with a breath of air that filters through the windows. Anthony's entrance pulls her focus from Garrett however, and a smile melts across her face. "Rowle. Hello. You look nice today."

Garrett's thick brows squirm. "I can't say if you're a brainless stuffed doll or not. I barely know you." With a flourish he turns away and paces to the other side of the room, his robes fluttering behind with a soft rustle. He bites his thumb and thinks for a moment. "That is to say, I could make more insightful judgments if your character, or lack thereof, if I were to know you better. Which I hope to do… know you better. Should the chance for that arise."
The Sykes boy tries his best to stay on task here, despite the dark haired Ravenclaw's disruptions. Wait a minute. That's it! "In fact, we could ALL get to know each other better. You," he points to Sybil. "That one," a gesture thrown at Anthony. "And myself. I rarely consort with Ravenclaw, but why not. Let's all become close friends." A faint smile washes over his confused face. Will that work?

Anthony gives the younger Gryffyndor a faint frown, "Because I happen to be here?" And then Sybil gets a grin, "What? You think horribly sweaty and covered in mud is 'nice'? Or is this a new fashion I've not kept abreast of?"

"I already know Anthony," Sybil says, tugging her hat from her head so her hair spills about her shoulders like liquid silver. A small shake of it is given to loosen it up and she stuffs her hat deep into the folds of her cloak. "Sybil. Sybil Pyrites," she introduces herself to the younger boy after a moment's pause, her name a delicate thing the way she pronounces it, delicate and exotic. Py-ree-tees. "As for you, Tony, there's nothing at all wrong with a man smelling like a man. I rather prefer it myself. It shows a disregard for convention and a security within yourself. Don't lose that. Never lose it."

Garrett paces over to Anthony and offers a cheery old slap on the back. "What? Nothing to it mate. It's a good thing you're here. Who knows what trouble we'd get up to if we were left alone to our own devices?" He beams a boyish smile as bright as a lighthouse lamp, trying desperately to illuminate Sybil and drown her in the glow of his charisma. And then it happens, the most beautiful sound in the wizarding world is uttered aloud. "Py-ree-teez," Garrett repeats in a tone so gentle one might think he was breathing silk.
Back straight, eyes forward, and with a stern bow, the Gryffindor introduces himself with much pomp and formality. "The name is Garrett Wilifred Sykes," he allows the suspense to unfold as he dangles the last bit of his name in the cold breeze of the Owl Tower den. "Essssquire!" He rises back up with a flourish, swooshing his cape, like a mad man. "And it is a pleasure to meet you." Oh, there's the other one. "The both of you." Garrett clears his throat, " And I assure you," he looks to Sybil, " I always smell like a stinky man."

Anthony gives Garrett a look of mild distaste. Then he notes to Sybil, "I've been on a run. I think it's pretty much impossible for me to be smelly after five miles."

Variel strides up the stairs without immediate care for who's present- there's often enough others about. He's three notes in hand, two handed off to post oels in short order. The third he unrolls and starts to read over.

Sybil returns to her lean against the wall, hands trapped between stone and rear. "Sykes," she says, his name coming out as just plain Sykes, the girl unable to throw any sort of exotic inflection upon it whatsoever. "A pleasure to meet you too, though you might want to stay out of Cornfoot's way, he was a little… disturbed by your behaviour at our last meeting." A smile is given, a small bump of her backside to the wall behind before she's distracted by her owl returning, a letter dropped into a quickly reclaimed and outstretched hand. Not looking at the letter, she tucks it carefully away and looks over in Anthony's direction. "Oh believe me, its very easy to be smelly after a run, the trouble is you're just not aware of it because you're wearing that smell like a second skin." And then there's Variel. She waits until she catches his eye, and then there's a smile given his way. "Weasley. Hello. Its not tomorrow already, is it?"
"I'll try my best to avoid stepping on Cornfoot's toes," Garrett says, eyeing Variel Weasley walk into the Owlery. "However I can't say the same for other feet." Just then he kicks an owl poop-sickle over toward the entrance, intending to strike Variel's boot with it. "The only thing that stinks worse than owl droppings," he grimaces at the Weasley. "Is more droppings." Garrett Sykes makes his way over toward Sybil, leaning on the wall beside her. There are no hands to protect his tuckus. He meets the bird crap on the stones like a man, unafraid of anything. "I was just getting to know Sybil Py-ree-tees over here, Weasley. We're going to be good friends from now on. Something you know nothing about."

Variel says, "Hullo, Anthony, Sybil-" Variel's initially warm expression buckles and freezes over, the smile resulting in a frigid scythe of a grin. "-Sykes." He rolls up the parchment carefully. "Good to see you, saves an owl a trip." The skittering bit of frozen droppings bounces off his boot without so much as a glance."

"Mmm," Sybil murmurs, a slight raising of her brows with Garrett's assumption of friendship. "I'm sure we will be friends. Good friends. I should warn you though, that I tend to have three classifications of friends; the unknown, the acquaintances and then the firmly-founded. Its a progression, you see, and one that requires earning." A warm smile is bestowed upon the fifth year, together with the tiniest touch to his arm before she peels herself away from the wall, fishing in her pocket for the box of treats she carries for her pet. Florence gets fussed over beautifully before the mouse is handed over, the rodent being swallowed in one. It'd be terribly difficult to miss the ice in Variel's tone when he addresses Garrett, and though she looks between the pair, she says nothing. At least not yet.

Anthony runs a hand through his hair, pushing sweat back. "Yes. Yes, it's the one thing I rather regret about not being a prefect. Their bathroom is _amazing_! But still, this is the sweat of honest toil." He gives a lazy grin around, "And I'm told it's nice?" That seems aimed to Sybil, as if in confirmation of something that she'd said.

After the Hogsmeade weekend, Elizabeth had found time after classes to make her way to the Owl Towel, holding the front of her cloak a little tighter around her with one hand before she pushes open the heavy wooden door and slips inside. It creaks and clunks deeply as it closes, cutting off the winter wind beyond, the sound whistling above her head where the owls take off from. Brushing her hood from her dark head, a waterfall of raven locks cascades over her shoulders and down her back. It just takes a few steps before she realizes she isn't alone. She blinks at the people gathered here, a hesitant smile faintly tugging at her lips. "Hello, everyone."

"Oh, were you going to send me an owl, after you stabbed me in the back? How thoughtful. A Weasley apology letter I hope." Garrett scowls at the house traitor. "It'd burn so nicely in the common room fireplace." Not even Sybil's tender touch could put the fire out of the Sykes boy's eyes. Although it does provoke a question. "Well, why can't I just jump to best friend? I'm really good at being friends," Garrett insists, looking from Variel to Sybil, to the new girl, to Variel again. "I'm just not that good at making them, it seems."

Variel says, "Not tomorrow yet, I'm afraid. Be nice if it was, I'm to spend some time in very nice company, I hear." He turns as Elizabeth arrives, and forces as much ice out of his expression as possible. "Hullo, Elizabeth." He turns towards Garrett and smiles thinly. "It's an offer of an apology, Garrett. Burn it if you feel like cementing your reputation as a slanderous coward. You'd be best served reading it, instead.""

Sybil rubs the tip of one finger beneath Florries chin, ruffling the owl's feathers lightly before smoothing them back down again. "I already have a best friend," she says gently to Garrett, having no reason to be anything other than cordial to the boy. "Perhaps though, it'd help you to make friends if you didn't tell people that you were going to burn their letters before even reading them?" Her advice is well meant, the girl knowing nothing whatsoever about the relationship between the two Gryffindors and Elizabeth's arrival brings a brighter smile to her face. "Hello Dweedle. Sending letters too? And yes, Anthony. It is nice. But then I believe I told you that already."

Anthony looks between the two Gryffindors, "Whatever it is, can't be that serious, can it? Shake hands, chaps, and make up." And then to Sybil he admits, "Well, yes, you did. But it's nice to hear it said by a pretty girl that one smells nice. Can't fault a chap for trying to get the most from it!"

Garrett extends his hand, wiggling his fingers impatiently. "Let's have it then, Weasley. Although I don't know what's so slanderous in the Selwyns being spoiled, greedy, galleon-hoarding old money fat cats. Or your family being significantly less well-endowed. It's the truth. Nothing cowardly in that. But I supposed the Sacred 28 are noble enough to make up their own definitions on a whim. " The Sykes boy mutters, "It's obvious you've heard nothing I've said and still expect me to read what you wish to say? The Considerate 28. How generous of you."
The Ravenclaw are multiplying and Garrett can't help but groan audibly as the dark-haired boy disregards the seriousness of Variel's transgressions. "Just give me the letter. I'll decide what to do with it after I hear you out. The Sykes are big enough to look past the most egregious slights."

Elizabeth faintly quirks a brow as she sees she may have stepped into something inadvertently, and not owl droppings. She glances between Garrett and Variel as words are thrown about, harsh words which she has no reference for. Her pale eyes glance to Sybil and her expression visibly softens. "Not exactly. I make it a point to visit Soot on a regular basis, in case there's an off chance that I don't receive any mail." She usually doesn't.
However, instead she turns to face Variel and approaches him a few steps, though remains a polite distance. "I apologize for the last words that were exchanged. They were uncalled for." Though she doesn't say anything else as Elizabeth glances upwards, at the many dozens of owls that flit about. She whistles a certain note in a certain pattern, and it wasn't even a moment before the tiny little black barn owl flits down closer, landing on a protruding limb near her and actually begins bouncing quickly with excitement.

Variel says, "I'm afraid you're touch misinformed, Tony, but no worries. Garret will make his own bed." Variel hands the parchment to Sykes and steps back a pace or three. "I've heard everything you've said, Garret- it's just been comprised entirely of malicious tripe. Your cowardice has nothing to do with your pervasive insults, and you prove the accusation even as you try to defy it. What you said about my family just now wasn't slanderous. What you said behind Selwyn's back, no less, was.""

"Can't we just pretend like we're getting a long?" A snort. "You're just going to make it worse." Two blonde haired boys step in from the roof, the one in yellow and black dressed more in order than the one dressed in wrinkled, skewed, and filthy blue and bronze. Gage stops suddenly as he notices other people, scowling and quickly moving the hand holding onto a lumpy envelope underneath his robes as he shifts his eyes away, looking obviously towards just another owl. Don't look at him, nothing to see, nothing to see. The Hufflepuff twin stopping at his side, slightly behind him leans close to whisper to him and Gage's scowl deepens, shaking his head.

Variel says, "It's fine, Liz. It's pretty tame compared to the way others have been treating me recently. Dont let it worry you. we're friends, we can manage a few cross words.""

There's a subtle shift in Sybil's attitude with Garrett's mini-speech. Pushing a fall of silvery-blonde hair back behind her ears, she catches her lower lip with her teeth, considering the boy for a moment. "My mother was a Selwyn," she says eventually, lifting Florrie from her perch with the practiced curve of one hand. The owl's feet grip around her fist and she brings the bird in close, dropping a kiss to the dome of her head. "I hate to say it, because I truly try to think the best of people, but that's awfully rude of you Sykes. I'm surprised that you'd risk insulting so many people with so few words. Surely you must know that the purest of blood families are intricately connected; a web of bloodlines that weaves us all together. Layers upon layers" She doesn't say any more than that however, her attention fixing upon the scroll that gets passed between Variel and Garrett. Perhaps subconsciously, she moves from where she is to walk a pace or two closer to Anthony, tucking herself in beside him as she's often wont to do when a flare of egos is likely to occur.

Anthony unconsciously shifts slightly, so his tall body interposes more between the blonde and the confrontation, "Um, Pyrites, is your business here? I can walk you back downstairs, if you wanted?"

Sybil gives a measured nod of her head. "I think, perhaps, yes," she says to Anthony, then turns and heads for the stairs.

Variel says, "I'm sorry for putting you off by conducting this bus iness here, Sybil. Tomorrow, then?"

Anthony nods once to the blonde, and offering her his arm, and giving a smile to the others, he leads her off.

Sybil gives a quick nod to Variel, together with a smile as she disappears. "Tomorrow. Yes. I look forward to it." And then she's gone from view, her arms tucked into Anthony's - the stairs are slippery don't you know.

"I’ve yelled worse to his FACE!" Garrett snatches the parchment and steps in stride with Variel to close the gap between them. "I wouldn't dare say anything to that ridiculous Selwyn that I wouldn't say two inches from his ugly face. You know that. You know that." Garrett Sykes begins to messily unravel the parchment in his agitation. "But you obviously don't know what the word coward means. You've yet to define it. Although you'll use it as a cudgel to assault my good name sure enough." He grunts, and snorts through a stream wild and heated words while struggling to undo the letter. "Using magic on someone already in the middle of a fight. Some help you are! Hitting me with pillows while there's a fist in my face. I should've thrown you in that fire, Weasley, and left the cushions alone. Cowardice my boot."
Finally he gets the parchment open, unfurls the thing and starts to reading it. His face explodes in a red wash of rage. [The letter is a challenge. A duel, with the loser to offer unconditional apology for the events of the night prior.] "I ACCEPT!" Garrett howls, before crumpling the letter into something practically indistinct from an owl pellet. "But I will NEVER apologize to you Weasley. I hope you'll settle for broken bones instead." The Sykes can't' believe the nerve. There's just no talking to some people. No talking to Weasleys, no talking to… "Selwyn?" He stops short and turns to Sybil.
"Well, not all Selwyns are bad. Not even most. Really just one." He makes a fist over the crumpled letter. "Ulysses Selwyn! But you, you're not even in the same league as him. He should be cut from your family tree. You're the best. He's the worst." Garrett attempts a smile, but he can still smell the Weasley over the owl poop. "Don't mind that, as I Sykes we can come to terms. We're practically family already, Sybil. Just, just let me handle this one thing first." He turns sharply toward Variel again. "You dung eating beetle. When do you want it!?" But before Garrett knows it, Sybil slips away.

Elizabeth pulls the tiny owl into her arms and begins petting it gently, earning several happy coos, though it isn't long before he begins wiggling with barely pent up energy. She doesn't try to contain him in the embrace however, and Soot soon hops onto her shoulder. And continues hopping. Picking at her hair with her beak as if giving the girl owl kisses. She doesn't mind this, though her pale eyes watch as Sybil moves a little closer to Anthony, before they take off together, arms interlinked. Elizabeth smiles absently and glances back to her tiny owl, before noticing Gage and his twin. She's barely able to smile in greeting before Garrett goes off again. Steaming mad. Inhaling a longer breath, she releases it and gently shakes her dark head.

Variel smiles coolly as Garrett explodes. Unlike last night, Sykes is failing to get under his skin. "I put the pillows on you because it was the only way you were getting out of what you'd said to Selwyn that didn't leave your face colored like a bag of Bott's Beans. He wanted blood, I handed him you looking silly as a compromise. Come off it, Garret, it was protection, not sabotage. His fist never found your face and I'm the reason why. Your cowardice is in your maligning entire families to soothe your own precious ego, even while it strings a noose 'bout your neck."
"I challenged you, Garrett. You choose the time. I suggest the club, as it's the only place you'll be able to avoid ruining your school record along with your 'stellar' reputation.

Huh. Well Gage has to thank whatever is happening just now. An opposition? When Gage notices Variel - eyes narrowing at the older boy - he can't help but snort in contempt. None of that concerns him, but he's certainly thankful that he can use that to his advantage and escape before anyone really notices him. So no sooner does he arrive, Gage starts backtracking. He freezes only once, dark blue eyes spying Elizabeth, but he simply lifts his shoulders an inch and continues to back out of the owl tower. Kyte gives a little bit more of a greeting to the girl - a friendly wave and a smile, and a mouthed 'sorry' before he follows his brother out.

Garrett looks behind him so he can show Sybil his guts in the face of dumb Weasel-adversity when he finally notices that she's left. She's gone. And he's now stuck here with Variel as the other students flee from the Owlery. "If you honestly think I would've let that nasty SEL - - err - - Ulysses lay a hand to me, then you're as dumb as you look Weasley." The boy sighs. He'd stumbled upon a priceless yellow gemstone in the heights of Owl Tower and thanks to those menacing Ravenclaw friends of hers and this bumbling Weasley, she's now gone and flown the coop. It's a crushing blow to romances everywhere. With a huff, Garrett tosses the crumpled parchment into a pile of owl scat. "Maybe you really are that stupid, Weasley, and I've been judging you too harshly. Either way, you'll get your duel." He frowns. "Now that you've just ruined my entire day."

Elizabeth picks up the tiny owl from her shoulder again and rubs along the back of his head, earning several cooing hoots as Soot ruffles his wings in a pleased manner. Freeing one of her hands to cradle him in the other, she reaches into a pocket in her robes and digs around a little bit, soon pulling out a small mouse toy that has a spell on it to act alive, wiggling. The black barn owl hoots again and clamps onto the dangling toy, just as Elizabeth idly glances up at the boys again.

"You seemed to be holding your own, Sykes, but I'm in the Club, and I know better than most that a split second of faltering concentration can cost you a blow. I'm not going to let my housemates beat each other to a pulp when I've a wand to stop it- weren't you the one said we're well equipped to settle our issues without fists? So before you go spouting off again about how I 'attacked' you in the middle of the fight again, consider that there was a pile of burning logs just feet from where you fought. If I'd wanted to hurt you, I would have." He pauses a moment as he starts to turn towards Elizabeth, and pauses. "And I'm afraid that I don't look dumb, Garrett. I'm, if anything, better dressed than you- and I don't have to send a letter home to Mummy whenever I fancy a new outfit." He seems to deem the conversation over at that and turns towards Dweedle, breathing out slowly to let him smile at her. "Sorry for that, Elizabeth. Just a spat we're going to see settled."

Garrett laughs out loud. "A Weasley, better dressed than a Sykes? Laughable." The boy turns toward Elizabeth in turn. "Trust me, girl, the only thing that's settled between us is where we want to bury the hatchet in each other’s heads. But I must ask one more question of you, oh gracious and generous, well-dressed Weasley." Garrett wipes his hands and makes for the exit, but he doesn't look back when he asks, "If that Sel - - Ulysses was such a threat to my face, why didn't you cast the magic on him? If only one split second of faltering concentration can cost you a blow why didn't you cost him his? Instead you cost me my pride. And I intend to have it back." Without another word, the Sykes boy leaves the room. The two of them have nothing else they could ever say to each other outside of casting charms.

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