(1939-02-07) Composition on a Cliff
Details for Composition on a Cliff
Summary: Sybil takes to the cliffs to work on a sketch when Ulysses, out for a walk, happens across her. Wind threatens to ruin everything, but Uly saves the day.
Date: 1939-02-07
Location: Cliff Top, Hogwarts

Rough cliffs of dark gray and black basalt rear up almost straight up from the depths of the Black Lake to support the southern walls of Hogwarts Castle and the Clock Tower Entrance into the castle's Third Floor. The cliffs form a natural wall almost a hundred feet high with many a crevice and hole dotting its face. The lower ranges of the cliff are constantly wet thanks to condensation from the lake, the higher reaches on the other hand house a few scraggly scrub pines and varied bushes stubbornly in their home cracks clinging against the pull of the winds.

Today is glorious. Its more than glorious. A dark grey sky is mirrored in the lake which has so frequently of late been nothing more than a heaving dark maelstrom- the only movement today the tiny white horses that tip windblown ripples where they meet the base of the cliff. And its on top of that cliff that Sybil's set up camp today; an absence of wind allowing her to sit on a rock and work on a sketch propped in the angle of thighs and knees.

Warmly wrapped in a thick black cloak and with her scarf wound about her neck, her concentration is fully on the vista before her as her hand unconsciously sketches in charcoal. Its a very loose and abstract rendition, rather like the version of herself today. Hair piled messily in a screwed up bun atop her head, a few tendrils flittering at the nape of her neck; the tickling apparently not distraction enough that she needs to brush them away. She's engrossed. Completely engrossed. And humming. Humming with a remarkable lack of an ear for the composer's tune.

For Ulysses, the called for less sitting, and more time outside. The snowfall that had ben pressing them recently finally abated, which meant he could excessive outdoors. And so it is that, bear where Sybil sits, on a more defined path, his footfalls clearly audible even as he catches sight of his cousin, and slows.
He's dressed warmly as well, although he does seem to depend a bit on the heat of exertion to warm him, although even he wears gloves along with the standard uniform. Finally coming to a halt, he stand there a moment, chuckling, and begins to make his way over, eyes looking at what Is being drawn.

"Hello, Ulysses," Sybil says, lifting her head with the edge of one palm to her eyes to shield them from hair that whips her face. "I wasn't really expecting to see anyone out here today, though on reflection I suppose I'm not that surprised as the weather's let up a little today" Fingers curl over the edge of her sketch pad and she places a few more sweeping strokes upon it with her charcoal before shifting to the left. She pats the ground beside her. "Did you want to sit for a bit? Around the curve in the path the wind is stronger and if you aren't already cold, you will be then. I have a thermos of chocolate with me, if you'd like some?"

There's a moment's hesitation, as he weighs one distraction against the other, but in the end he decides to take the offer, smiling a wee bit, and taking the offered space. As he gets closer, there's a distinct smell of activity to him, although thankfully it's a clean one… the young man is meticulous about his personal grooming, if nothing else. "I wouldn't mind at all, actually, and a little bit of chocolate never hurt anyone…" Although, as he sits, he looks over at her with a slanted grin, "I do wish that you would just call me Lys, though. Ulysses just seems so formal, for family."

"Lys, then," Sybil smiles, setting her sketch down and trapping the edge of it carefully beneath her rump to prevent it blowing away. Retrieving the thermos, she unscrews the cup from the top, then the lid, and pours a half a cupful out. She passes it to him. "I spiked it with a little cinnamon, I hope you like it. It just gives it a little kick on the way down. Careful though, its pretty hot. I nearly burned my mouth on it earlier. See?" She tilts her head, fingers snagging hair from her face so he can see the slightly swollen lower lip. "Doesn't hurt now, but I was cursing like a sailor. Its lucky you weren't ten minutes or so earlier."

With a warm smile, Lys takes the offered cup, taking a careful sip, although he can't help but chuckle at the thought. The cup is passed back to her before he responds, true sharing, before he actually responds with a grin that is a bit more devilish, "You poor thing. It does look like that hurt. Although I'm personally saddened that I missed the show. Sounds like it could have been entertaining." He goes to pat at his side, recalling that he doesn't have his shoulder bag. "Curses. I actually have something for that in my bag, but I left it in the dorms when I went out running."
And of course he does. Considering a certain young sister's tendency to break herself at any given opportunity.

Sybil laughs. "Oh I've done worse. Far worse. You should see the time…" She halts herself. "Actually no. You shouldn't. It wasn't pretty." She quells her laughter in order to blow across the top of the chocolate, then takes a careful sip, eyes blinking with the steam that rises. "I was just saying to Ilsa after you left us last night how glad I was to have you hovering over us like a would-be protector. Its nice. Dora's very lucky to have you, though I confess- I also said to Ilsa that I was glad you weren't able to actually enforce anything on us. You know- vet my boyfriends and stuff like that." There's another smile, her eyes just meeting with his over the rim of the mug before she lowers it and passes it back.

His eyes narrow, just a touch, at the confession, but he nods, "Family always comes first with me, Sybil. And I'll be protector to any in the family, close or distant, who want it." A smile there, "But Dora… she's a special soul. And I know my gender. So many would try to crush ir, or take advantage of it."
He looks back at her then, "And besides, both you and Ilsa have fathers, and brothers, to do that for you. Dora… has only me." Sure, there are her younger brothers too… but there's a touch of truth to it. "Doesn't mean I wouldn't flatten a boyfriend's nose for you, should he decide to get inappropriate. You'd just have to ask," he notes, a tinge of a smile returning on it. "With that little grin of yours, I'd assume this means your little machinations in the tower bore fruit?"

Sybil nosecrinkles, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "I do have older brothers, though thankfully they've now left Hogwarts. This is my first year without them and its nice to be able to breathe." She teases Ulysses a little with that, hinting at what Dora must be going through, adding. "I might keep in mind what you say about flattening noses however. Girls like to keep their own personal heroes tucked up their sleeves for those times when a simple no just doesn't work." Her smile deepens, dimpling her cheeks and she lifts a hand to yet again tame hair that appears to have a will of its own as the wind picks up once again, silvery tendrils dancing around the edges of her face. "I do, however, promise not to rely on you overly much, though. You must be stretched thin enough with everything you're coping with as it is. It must be exhausting having to handle your family finances as well as keep everything running smoothly."

Lys bristles a bit, looking back over the edge of the cliff, catching the hint quite easily, "She's never complained… hell, I don't even dare talk about next year… when I won't be here for her, without eliciting a bit of panic from her."
Slowly, both hands go to either side of, touching the ground as if he were stabilizing himself, "I manage. I have for three years. Making sure we don't spend to much, trying to give the three of them their freedoms, letting them still be children for as long as I can… I don't care if she's sixteen… or they're 15. If I can give them just a little longer…" It was, after all, something he was denied.

Sybil watches the tension in Ulysses, then leans over, a gentle touch of her hand to his arm. "Its alright to loosen your grip just a little, Lys. You can't do everything and be everything to everyone. At least, not all the time." A squeeze is given with her fingers and she dips her head forward, seeking eye contact with the older boy. "For instance, when did you last have fun? You should have fun, everyone should. Are you putting your name forward for the Divination Class Valentine's Event? You should if you haven't already. You never know who or what you might be led to."

The tension grows for a bit at the touch, although after a bit of time, he lets it go, and his own hand, on the opposite arm reaches over to touch hers back, the three fingertips making contact rough, hard, and calloused. "Somebody has to be there for them, Sybil. Father can't. He's gone. My mother couldn't. Theirs… she just sits there, vacant… as if father's death destroyed everything she cared about, and us children were left there to rot. Now… it's really all I know. Everything I do, it's for them. That doesn't really leave much time for me."
He looks about, "It's not that I don't have distractions. I have the Dueling club. Athletics club. My runs. Sometimes I can sweet-talk someone into going a few rounds with me. So…" He snorts at the thought of Valentine's Day. "And find out I'm linked to some muggle-born third year? I think not."

Sybil listens seriously, until he gets to the bit about muggle-borns. "I know," she says, a small giggle just threatening to break through the serious tone with which she tries to speak. "I'm rather hoping that they haven't allowed them to put their names forward, because with feelings being heightened and tensions bubbling over between some of the Slytherins and others, it could lead to a lot of students getting hurt." She pauses, pulls her legs up and wraps her arms around her shins, resting one cheek on her knees, the hint of residual amusement still lingering in her eyes. "Your brothers are growing up though; I've heard that Leoric is even dating now."

"Aye, I've seen him with that little Slytherin slip." Lys responds, "And good for him, if he's happy." After all, while he can be controlling, the boys are always a bit more… free from his influence. "It's not as if I am against my family dating. Or having lives, after all. I just… look after them." He watches her curl up like that, and a brow raises a bit, "Were /you/ thinking about joining that event? Testing to see if this new beau of yours is a proper fit?"

Sybil laughs, the sound dancing briefly in the air before being tugged away on a gust of wind. Warm eyes settle on Ulysses, mischief crinkling the edges. "Well it would be rather nice if we were led to each other, but dates and dating is such a fickle thing. He's invited me on a date already, so it'd be absolutely horrid if we don't get on and then get paired. Well, not horrid, that'd wouldn't even come close to describing it. It'd be mortifying. If we did get on well though, and were then matched, well - that'd be proof positive don't you think that divination really works?"

Sybil hesitates, then adds, "There's so many doubters out there, don't you think?"

The return smile that Ulysses offers is kind, but there's a tinge of ingenuousness to it. "It would at least give I a bit more credence, I guess… but it also just play on lucky happenstance." He frowns, "I'm sorry, I know it's a subject that interests you. I just… I'm not a big fan or believer in destiny or fate. Call is self-preservation… but neither have been precisely kind to my immediate family."

"Its not for everyone," Sybil admits, rubbing her cheek against her knee. "I know that to many its not a science at all; its just a bunch of slightly weird and socially inept witches and wizards sitting around, staring into crystal balls and uttering a load of mumbo jumbo that may or may not be accurate. Its fine." A small roll is given her shoulders, a shift in her position to stretch her back out and she holds out her hand so the chocolate can be passed back. "A friend once said to me, you need to just let it flow around you. Its like a shadow half-seen in the corner of your eye. You turn to look at it, you try to see it, and its gone."

For a moment, Lys simply watches her, although the cup is taken once more once the hand is outstretched. And he nods, "I don't… discount it. Honestly. I just think that so much of the future is unwritten, and that things happen. There's just enough out there to say that a part of it works, at least. But… Leoric is also into it… and it's important to him ,as well."

Sybil takes a mouthful of the chocolate, it being sufficiently cooled now that there's no danger of scalding or otherwise. She nods. "And, don't you think that it would just all be a little boring were everyone good at the same things? Imagine a world filled with people who were brilliant at everything. Plus, I confess, divination tests me a little. As you kind of said yourself, there's no right and wrong of it. Its not like mixing a potion where if you make a misstep, it blows up in your face. Its subtle. And gentle. At least, it has been so far. I'm still waiting for my first violent or painful one."

"It would certainly have far less complications, I think. But it also would be boring," Lys offers in return. As he does so, a cold wind climbs up the cliff off the lake, fluttering robes and hair alike. He shivers just slightly, but continues, "For me, the challenge is what makes it for me. I've known I wanted to be a curse-breaker since I was 10, when I first picked up a Thorne novel. Danger, pressure, and Galleons." He grins, "Quite a bit of potential for the latter. "

"… And I suppose that for you, the latter is pretty important," Sybil says gently. "Curse-breaker, hmm? That's aiming high. Then again you've always been a high achiever, so why not? Such a fought after choice of career, and in lots of ways a little romantic too. All girls want to date curse-breaker's. Did you know that? You'll have half the single witches dogging your every step, you'll have to work hard on your apparating skills if only to avoid being caught." She reaches out to snag the edge of Ulysses' cloak where it flaps in the wind, rescuing it so he can trap it against his side. That she's teasing him is without a doubt, but its a tease without malice, something designed to draw him further out of himself.

He does laugh at the first part of the tease, "It is, actually. My family… our resources are limited. Father was the sole breadwinner of the family. When he died… that was the end of it. I've… given up my summers to try to put a little more in there… but school for four of us costs. Trips to Hogsmeade. Trips to London for the holidays. In truth, I've never seen that balance go up. So… yeah."
At the rest, he shakes his head, "Romantic, eh? Well… mayhap then I'll actually have time to think about that sort of thing, then, take advantage of it. Definitely not the case currently." He lifts up a leg, trapping the bit of robe with a grin,

"Nobody would deny that you've done a good job with your finances this far," Sybil says, smiling once more at her cousin. "I don't think I'd have a clue where to start were I to suddenly find myself in your position." There's a sudden shiver as the wind gets under her cloak and she wraps herself more closely in it, giving her scarf another turn about her neck. "Centaurs' tails but its cold out here today, I must have been mad to come up here to draw. My fingers are so cold now that I don't think I'll be able to hold my charcoal again." She tucks her hands inside her sleeves and hugs herself into her knees, her voice muffling as she does. "Ever…"

The sentiment is appreciated, and he looks at Sybil with a kind nod as she gives it. Then, without even thinking, Lys looks at his own hands, quickly peeling off his gloves, and handing them over to her. Dragon-hide, and pre-warmed. Sure, they're a man's gloves, and thus large, but still there is no hesitation as he hands them over, "C'mon," he says, pushing himself up and ofering Sybil a hand to do the same, "Let's get you back inside, then, before you start losing fingers."

Sybil laughs, slipping the oversized gloves on before taking the offered hand and pulling herself to her feet. "Oh!" The shriek is brought about by the sudden flurry of papers at her feet, her sketches getting whipped into the air by the wind and blown over the cliff's edge. "OH! Oh NO! I worked so hard on that too!"

It's in that moment, that a little bit of the man he'll become shows. Even though it's a simple series of charms, he actually shows a poise and grace that may just explain a lot. Worried that she'd try to go after the sheets herself, Lys actually pulls slightly on Sybil, pulling her closer to him as he begins to cast a series of accios at each paper, starting from the furthest down, to the closest… each coming to a halt before him, where she can grab them.
It actually would make for quite an interesting picture.

Sybil had been about to do just what Ulysses had in fact feared she might, started to hurry after the papers. Seems she's not the sort to be intimidated by height, no matter the drop, and her wand is already getting pulled from her robes. She's too slow, far slower than Ulysses is, and his hand is pulling her back even as he's casting spells and rescuing her work. "Shit. SHIT! Thank you Lys," she gasps, her veneer of correctness just breaking down enough that she swears. Her own hair whipping around her head to complete the dramatic picture, she takes the pages gratefully from him.

There's a chuckle there as Lys listens to her, "Shit indeed," he says, offering a soft laugh. He doesn't seem to mind at all. "You're welcome, Syb." A shortened name, and a smile of affection to frame it. "Now let's get you back indoors, shall we?"

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