(1939-02-05) Can't Spell Trust Without
Details for Can't Spell Trust Without;
Summary: Silas and Esther talk about Trust. Both tell a deep truth to eachother… But does it help?
Date: 1939-02-05
Location: Slytherin Common Room, Hogwarts

It's well after midnight. Well after bedtime. Even for Silas. But he was up. Or, rather, he had been up. A few books around him, and one draped over his chest, the boy, still in uniform, is fast asleep on the floor, leaned up against one of the smaller chairs. Wrapped around his head is Mephistopheles, Jenny's cat, as well as one other at his side, and another curled in the circle of his lap. His hair, recently groomed by the first cat, is in abject disarray, standing up in places where it never should have

Esther comes from the girls dormitories slowly. It's been a long sleep for her, from dinner until now, but the girl rises with a gentle yawn and goes out to the common room. In her nightie, yes, but there's an addition visible through the thin material - A detailed lace bustier, to join the bookbag, her uniform folded into it, and her blanket dragged behind her. It's not unusual for someone to be passed out in the common room, but Silas… Well, that's different. Still, she's silent. Taking her time to set up a blanket to settle into when she's done, placing her bookbag to the side. Walking infront of the fire, taking in a slow breath.

A slow step forward. Her hand withdrawn, tossed onto her blankets. And then light steps, onto her footsteps. Dancing in the firelight, alone. Practicing? Or just enjoying herself? Her face is serene, eyes closed. She's relying on her memory of the commons to keep her from bursting into flame or hitting anything.

It's not without reason that this uncommon occurrence has happened. He's been busy, so very busy. New friends, new alliances, more time spent with old friends as well, and if rumors are to believed, the resurgence of a friendship many had thought had passed away. Regardless, he was asleep, but the arrival of another human, moving and spinning, does do something to disturb the cats on him, which in turn serves as a wakeup call.

Silas opens his eyes, slowly, and looks over, watching Lowe dance for the moment. And then, as he watches her in the firelight, and what is shown through the thin nightie as a result, he chuckles, and in an amused by friendly voice states, "Sometimes, Lowe, I think you are more Nymph than student."

Esther's steps make the quietest sounds, gentle impacts of bare feet that continue up until there's the disturbance of the voice. "Silas." She responds, bringing dance to a sudden, abrupt stop. From tips of her toes to flat feet, she turns to look at Silas. "Sometimes I wish I was. There's nothing to think of save your feet and presence, and oft your partner, when you're lost in the dance." The girl frowns. "… Not alliances. Friends, enemies, and those lost somewhere in the middle. How're you tonight?" The fire warms her back. When it's not enough, she'll return to her nest.

There's a bit of an uncomfortable grunt that escapes Silas as he moves his head again, only to have Mephy latch around it, awake now and wanting to groom again. It is only with a practiced, kindly effort of removal that the little cat doesn't turn into a flyig ball of rage and claws, and only that because Silas sets him on the floor again before he's had enough time to react. Then the other two are kindly dismissed as well, "Apparently serving as a cat-absorber, from the looks of it." He watches her sit, then, and nods, "Sometimes, the game becomes far too much the reality, doesn't it? But there is so much more, so much we gain from it, that I think the hurts, the pain… the rest of it all becomes worth it." He looks back at her, "And you?"

"Worth it." Esther tastes the words… And finds them wanting. "Real People, in reality. I think… By and large, the greatest evils in history have been worth it, or at least might have been. Worth it never really considers what's right." The girl muses. Silas always catches her at her most thoughtful. She smiles though, the expression looking… Awkward. Uncomfortable. "I think I take that thought too far. Who was the last person your game hurt, Silas?"

Silas looks back at Esther, head quirking to the side. "My game? I frankly don't believe they have I don't play many. I work to help people, and step aside when they don't want it. The only person I've ever hurt, that I know of, is Jenny. And that…" he smiles, "is something just between her and I."
He then looks at her directly, "Why, have my games hurt you, Esther? Or was the question more rhetorical?"

"Rhetoric." Esther answers simply. "I don't feel hurt." The girl returns to her nest at least, shifting her wand before she settles back into her chair, and pulls her blanket close. "And don't worry, I'll not spare the curiousity." The girl is a little cold on the subject still. "Sometimes I forget the way your nature plays. I try not to play games, and yet mine still hurt others. It is a great mystery."

There's a look on his face then, before he stands up from the floor, groaning, and actually twisting his back so that his spine emits a chorus of audible pops, before sliding up on his own chair, looking over at Esther in her nest, "Well… sometimes we don't intend to play actual games. Sometimes they're not games at all. We simply act on instinct… and then forget to weigh the possible consequences of our actions. Selfishness seems to be one of my own great failings. When I have hurt others the most, it's because I think either of myself first, or that I know what is best for them."

"I try to do nothing more than what I think is for the best." Esther responds simply. "… With one notable exception." The incident with her cousin on the rooftop. "Enjoying a life that's a beautiful tragedy. I've done that to myself, though, so I've no-one to blame." Esther continues to muse. "… Which leads me to wonder. What do you think of me, Silas?" The girl asks.

Silas is quiet, and his answer is equally so, "Before I answer that, Esther, do you wish my honesty, or kindness?" And that should say quite a bit. Everyone knows Silas is one for truth, and truth alone. To offer truth or kindness would suggest he fears the truth will hurt, and possibly badly at that.

"The Truth is often cruel - Never malicious." Esther quotes easily. "… I'm not so vain that I'd ask a hard question without being prepared for the worst answer. I've been called a monster to my face. Accused of being a dark witch behind my back."

Silas nods, and offers a smile to Esther and he stands, walking close to her own chair, her nest, and crouches beside it, "It may not be malicious, but when I know the truth to be cruel, and when I do not wish it to be a weapon, I still ask, and then I offer it. This way, I'm in striking distance, so you know that I at least value you when I say these things."
He gathers himself, "I think you're lost, Esther. I think you do not truly know what it is you want. In life. In friendship. In alliances. In love. That you reach out, and sometimes grasp on to the first person or idea or thing that offers you some sort of definition in that. Love is an integral part of that lack, though. It resonates in your relationship with Medusa. With Genevieve. With Alphard. With Myrus. With how each of those has either fallen apart or broken. I'm sure there are more that my own connections to the grapevine fail to grasp."
He looks back at her, "You trust no one fully. You will sometimes give more, but at the slightest prevarication sever that tie. You may think that you give all your heart… but you hold so much back that when something comes that shakes that foundation, or perhaps seems stronger, that the things underneath you crumble to dust."
He looks at her, "This is the story I see when I look at the story of Esther. A lonely young woman who wants to be part of this world, but who cannot wholly release herself to it. I don't know how much I have the right of it… since she has told me she's not my friend, that she cannot trust me. But it is what I see from my vantage on the outside. No monster. No Dark Witch."

Esther controls herself well. She doesn't strike out, although she does… Withdraw a little from the words. There's a look of shock that settles in, grows more intense with every word. A gentle moistening, but no tears. The blanket tightens around her when they hit home. "The world hurts, Silas. And every time I try to challenge that feeling, I'm reminded of it." There's far more that's not known by anyone. Not Medusa. Not Myrus. No-one. "How do you challenge it?" Her voice soft. Small. No bravado, or pride to hide behind. Defenses down.

"To answer that, Esther, I'm going to tell you a story. This will give you information most others don't have. Information you might choose to use against me, or run to hand over to Medusa, although I count her an ally, and hope she does me as well." Silas moves then, grabbing a chair to sit in right next to her, and once he does so, offers a hand to her. No attempt to touch, no insistence, but it stays there, taken or not.
"I offer this story, because it might just show you how similar we are… and where our paths diverged. It is a long one, though… so I'll let you prepare, mostly because it centers around someone I know whose name causes you a bit of pain, but also because I think it will give you some perspective as well. Because I'll say here and now that I still love her… with all my heart… and that it's important to what you and I are discussing right now." he offers, waiting for a response.

Esther shakes her head. "There's no reason why I'd sell you out, Silas. No debts unpaid." Esther's weird about that sort of thing. The girl takes the offered hand, gently, and watches the older student closely. Carefully. "You may begin, when you're ready."

When the hand is taken, Silas closes his own around it. His touch was likely different, somehow, with its intent to comfort, rather than take. A simple connection, and nothing more. But important as well, the meaning there in his eyes.
He starts the story. "I am the son of a man and woman who hate each other. Marriage by design, not intent. I was the only product of their union, and since then, they have never so much as touched each other. I grew up thinking, believing that love, romantic, brotherly, or companionable love, was a thing of fiction and foolish romantic hearts. Until this most recent holiday, I never imagined that parents would share a room. That they could actually love each other."
"I was raised, not by my parents, but by a maimed woman. A Hufflepuff, actually. She tried to teach me about many things… lessons I ignored until recently. The importance of touch, and how we're taught to avoid it, until it becomes something only associated with sex and physical intimacy rather than human connection. About the value of truth, although I latched on to that once I learned how little my parents valued it. About how to treat other human beings. But I still refused to accept love."
He sighs, "Until a Head Girl took the time to challenge my beliefs in October… I would have gone through life never thinking anything different. People around me would have been just tools. Allies. Means to an end. And that's why I stood back. Until I found I could stand the loneliness no more."
He pauses, "Then I met a girl who was slightly tipsy, out in the middle of Hogsmeade. In a snowstorm. She was pretty. Funny. A touch sarcastic. And she just… accepted me. As weird as I am." There's more, but he waits.

"You grew up in a world absent; where your inspirations were a lack of feeling. A world that's empty, that holds nothing for you. Is that such a bad thing? A state of perpetual tabula rasa, some might consider it almost envious, Silas." Esther's comments are to demonstrate what she understands, but she pauses, to allow him to continue.

Silas does nod, responding first to her, "It was empty, but I was no empty vessel. I was filled with emptiness. There was no room for anything else but a lonely, plodding existence. I had my art, and my dreams, but they were only my own. Without others, true friendship, love… it was all empty."
Once done with that, he continues. "This girl, just meeting me, held my hand as we walked back to Hogwarts. A jest, to start a rumor. But it started something. Something that you witnessed, the day I walked in on you and Jenny having a chat. The day she fell into my lap after I tickled her. I came to be her shield, and her my sword. We first played at love. We acted the couple. Until it started to be the truth. This frightened her, as much as it awoke an intensity within me that also frightened her."
"We fought. A lot. I kept talking about forever, and always, and ignored every hint she gave me that I was asking too much. She pushed me away, and I kept standing there taking it. Because I realized I was beginning to understand love… but I was feeling it too deeply. I was… possessive. I hurt her."
"One night, it was too much. I got what I wanted… and it drove her away. Three days, she was gone. I thought I'd lost her forever. That I'd driven her away. And then, retreating to my family's estate in France, I found her."
"But a week after we returned to school, she turned to another. We fought again… because she'd found the one way to push me away. The one way to break my heart so that I couldn't refuse to let her go."
He pulls the hand she holds away only slightly, to turn it over, scars showing on his knuckles, no longer an angry red, but still young enough to not be pure white… the kind of scars left by punching stone so hard, several times, that it's a miracle he didn't break the fist. "That was the start of the week where I didn't smile. You even may have noticed it. I know others did. I actually made first years cry. I was cold. Alone. Empty once again, and wondering if I should just lock it all up, shut everyone out, and go back to being that cold, empty boy again. Because I was toxic. A destroyer. Someone whose selfishness pushed everyone away and turned kindness to cruelty. I nearly made Adorabella Selwyn cry, of all people. That's how dark my heart became in that time."

Adorabella. The girl has only made one impression on Esther, and it was poor. It's not lost on her how quickly relationships sour after people 'get what they want'. "Which way do you lean, Silas? Architect of your own destruction, or victim of your past?"

Silas turns his hand back over, and looks squarely at Esther again, "I am my own architect, Esther. I have always been. My past was a backdrop that I chose to frame myself in. I simply let others define it for me, until I realized such. It took Adorabella, and some kind words from her, for me to realize that. That my happiness as well could only come from myself… and from how I perceived my world. Then I could analyze what had happened between myself and Jenny, in a new light. Why she moved on."
"More has happened since. I've had to reach out. Find new friends. Find new alliances. But I also reached out to old friends as well. To the point that Jenny is one of them again. Albeit in a new light. And more, perhaps, as we both grow to understand who and what we are becoming."
"The point, though, and you caught upon it — our destruction is of our own making, Esther. As is our making, remaking, and ultimately, our love. That is what I have learned. We can choose to blame others when pain strikes us, or learn to see what we've done to create it in the first place. Because if we are alone… if others have left us… if our world is so much poison… it is of our own creation."

"Our world, Silas, is a potion that is mixed by us all. I'm sick of looking for reasons to smile. Sick of searching for causes that bring me joy. I'm sick of looking out through the same eyes, and forcing myself to gloss over the parts of the world that don't 'make me happy.'" Esther's voice is cold. Unflinching. It's her turn to be honest. "I come from a world of doubt and sorrow. One parent who wouldn't care, the other who sought to shape me like a lump of dough, regardless of my feelings. A witch who knew just what she could do with a will and a wand, what marks would fade, what spells could be used and how best to use them. The one companion I had forbidden from my side."
"I had one friend for my first four years here. One. I never tried to change anything, until this year… But I did. I wanted more. And when things turned romantic, and then difficult, he abandoned me. In her efforts to make things better, to help me trust the world, Medusa accidentally put me in conflict with my other cousin… A conflict that ended when I attacked him in blind rage. And for my part, was forced by a 'friend' to watch as he disarmed, and then crippled my cousin. His health was taken as a whipping boy for my servitude. So I lied. I committed horrible deeds to please the man who held my cousin under threat, tormenting an innocent boy while acting his friend. I found love in the arms of the man I was trying to protect, and support. Acceptance. Right up until I began planning to kill the man who had hurt him." The final words are said with a terrible finality. But it's not over.
"My ruse was discovered. I abandoned playing the monster, and chose to play enemy. I found a new friend. A sweet friend. Who I thought I could trust with my feelings, my fears. Medusa retracted all of her support when she learned I wouldn't jump to her command, and do what she asked, and for some reason I cannot fathom, my new /friend/ decided that her needs, her wishes meant more than that which she'd been entrusted with, and used them, used /me/ to deal a blow against Medusa and reduce myself to nothing. I hated. More. I no longer planned, nor wanted. I longed to end my tormentor."
"I had support. I had love. I had a kind word to answer every time I expended hate. And despite those who cared for me, seeing through the fog that I'd created, doing what they could to see through it all, it took HURT to bring me back to my senses. It took Medusa, calling me out on what I'd become. It took Myrus, holding me in the moonlight, whispering to me that he still loved me no matter what she, or anyone thought." People have been missed, obviously. "… It took Zayn. Who wouldn't let the fact that I wanted, that I needed to believe the worst in him change his believe that there was a good person in me - Who would love me, but not accept when I let myself… When I let the world, down. He held me, late one night, and I could feel the question in his mind; not if I loved him, he knew… But if there's a good person inside of me too." A pause. "I lied, Silas; because I /want/ it to be true." There's a sad shake of her head, and her hand retreats. Pulling her duvet up a little, to mask her face. "The world… Hurts… But I just… Want it all to be better." There's no sound, but the gentle tremors probably give it away.

He takes it in, listens, and Silas nods. With the duvet over her head, she won't see it coming, but even through the face she can feel a kind hand touch her cheek through the fabric, and a thumb move over her eye, as if to wipe away a tear.
"In the end, we are who we are. We do what we do. What remains, is either truth, or a fallacy. And that final piece of the puzzle is what gives us pleasure or pain. Who you are, Esther, rides on that alone."
He's quiet for a moment then, the hand moving away again. "I cannot speak for any of the others. I can't even speak for Jenny, other than that I believe I know her heart, and while even I can see the possibility of cruelty there, since I know the capacity exists in my own, there is more to the story than that. And there is much you've assumed of her, without seeing both sides of the coin."
His hand goes back to the arm of the chair. "Comfort can be had. Love can be had. But until you accept Esther. Until you banish the monster and set aside the machinations of the parent that tried to control you… until you can embrace Esther, and see your own path to happiness… you will continue your current cycle."
Hopefully, she can see the point of this insight… and in it, why some have said he should take the throne next year.

"All we have our our own perceptions." Esther seems to have enough control of herself to speak whole sentences. "Perceptions and context. I don't /have/ to know the context. I don't /have/ to understand what everyone else meant, when no-one cares to understand what I did." It's a /very/ petulant position, but somewhat relevant. "… I stick by what I said last we met, Silas…" The girl finally concludes, lowing her blanket after wiping her eyes. Yep. Red-rimmed. "… I'm learning."

"And if your perceptions are wrong, Esther? If your interpretations are faulty?" Silas sighs, "You are the architect of your own destruction, then. Truly. Because when it comes to the finality of things, you would prefer your perceptions over anything else. Over trust. Over truth."
He stands again, "You said you thought I'd always been kind to you. That you wanted to get to know me. I've given a story to you. A large one. One that properly defines me. And yet even with that. With my being truthful to you, with my not holding back my perceptions, my not playing games with you. Still you hold to this refusal to trust. I listened, Esther. I heard. And I do understand… as best I can. Must I call you names or accuse you to prove it? I can only say that there are two sides to each of our stories."
He looks at her, "And therein, you show that you're learning the wrong lesson. I can't, won't force you to that."

There's a long pause then. "… I'm learning to trust you." Esther finishes her sentence off. "… I'm learning when to trust others." The young woman keeps her blankets pulled tight. "And I'm always… Always, seeking the truth, where I can deal with it. But… Any attempt to change myself so rashly would be dishonest… Would guarantee I'm to be hurt again. It would be a lie. I'm not saying that I don't want to change… But these things take time. And waking up a new person is just as bad as remaining who I am. If not worse."

Silas pauses then, and nods. Better. He walks close again, and leans against the side of her chair, "Sometimes, waking up a new person is a freedom, too. Knowing that the past is past, and that you can change… that you can become better… that you can BE someone better for yourself or someone else. It's freeing, Esther. Knowing that I could stop wondering if I'm good enough to deserve someone's love, and just accepting what they are able to give me… that in the end the world will go on even if they don't… that's freedom."
He then kneels next to her chair again to get back on her level, "That's what I've learned. The words were given to me, and I share them now: in the end, the sun still rises every day. For me, that is important because I love the way the sun looks at dawn, filtered through the lake and into our dorms. That beauty is there for us, every morning. It doesn't matter if my heart is breaking, or if I've found love again, or if someone has betrayed me. The sun still rises. That beauty renews each and every day."

Esther shakes her head. "Waking up a new person is erasing the whole substance of who you used to be. Ester," Said definitely, without the 'h,' "/NEEDS/ Wilheminia. It's not pretty, Silas, it's not nice, but where I've been makes up an integral part of what I am. How I view the world. And while I know that needs to change… I know I need to stop seeing monsters in shadows, enemies where there are none, I'm never going to accept that there's not people in this world who won't do me harm because we both know that's a fallacy. I'm trying… So hard, to open myself completely, to /one/ person." There's a pause, and a /heavy/ sigh. "But.. It ended up being you."

"Change isn't instantaneous. The new you isn't a completely new being hatched overnight," Silas offers, reaching to take her hand again, if she'll let him. "It doesn't have to be extremes. It can be a single aspect. Or part of one. It could letting go of one part of you that always wounds. One part of you that doesn't trust."
He smiles, "For me? The most recent one was looking at something and having to have it be MINE just to have it. To have to fix something broken by explaining and understanding it… rather than just holding it and letting it heal itself. Herself." Another grin.
"But I'm pleased you trusted enough to open up to me."

"It's a wonderful dream, Silas. But the only trust I offer to some people is to be as I've known them to be. There's more reasons to be ashamed of what I've done. More reasons why I can't trust myself. Reasons why I /need/ Zayn, and reasons why… I trust him to love me no matter what." Esther bites her lower lip. Savagely. "And… That's one kind of trust that I accept might; hell, probably /will/ be broken one day. But the reward in giving it is so great."

Standing up, Silas goes to the pile of books he abandoned, and the shoulder-bag that is nearly always with him, In it, he pulls out a small piece of paper, and a pencil. He looks at Esther for a moment, smiles, and draws for a moment in silence. It takes only a few minutes, and then he's walking back to her, lightly placing the drawing in her lap.
It's rough… he didn't take much time with it… but it's clear. Esther's head, asleep, with a sunrise as a backdrop. "A reminder, then. Until you dare to dream again."
He then smiles at her. "I don't judge you for Zane. Or any of the others. It's your life. But I can offer suggestions. Love. Release the past when you can. Learn, and hopefully, rebuild bridges. The ones you can."

"Some bridges got burned for a reason, Silas…" Esther pauses, midsentence, for a soft, "Thank you. But sometimes, what they link to just isn't safe for some of us. Some people are bad for others; even through no fault of their own." The girl continues to worry at her lower lip. "I still… Thank you for your honesty, as well."

Silas smiles again, and this time moves to put a hand on her shoulder. He's a touchy guy. It's part of his nature. "I didn't say all bridges. And you're right… not all can or should be mended. Even the ones I'd like to see." He gives her at least that much.
"But some, burned in anger… may still be rebuilt, and the resultant link can be even stronger."
A yawn. It's late… and he /had/ passed out in here. "I should be going. But… you're welcome."

Esther's bare skin is only shielded by a thin sleeve that doesn't even cover her entire collar. Contact with it has her shiver, albeit briefly - The girl unusual about touch beyond her hand. One can only be a victim so many times. "… Goodnight."

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