(1939-02-09) Coming Home
Details for Coming Home
Summary: Following a failed attempt to thank Ignatius for the replacement sweater, Lucretia is filled with self-doubts and seeks solitude. Leoric works to break down her defences. (This log takes place immediately following 'Misplaced Thanks' and the sending earlier in the week of a letter from Lucretia to Leoric in which she breaks things off with him.)
Date: 1939-02-09
Location: The Great Hall, Hogwarts.
Related: Misplaced Thanks

Braziers that hang by chains from the beaks of griffin gargoyles that line the walls where they meet the high vaulted enchanted ceiling offer warm illuminating blazes. Four long tables are evenly spaced with the heads of the table at the north and south of the room. Each table has a cloth runner down the center and a plush rug underneath of the different House colors indicating to which house the table belongs.
The most westerly table is the Slytherin table. Beside them is the Ravenclaw table. The Gryffindor table is then between the Ravenclaw table to the west and the Hufflepuff table which is the most easterly table. One other table along the northern wall up on a dais for the Professors to sit at and look over all four of the other tables. Also on the dais is one lectern gilded in gold with an owl spreading it's wings at the top of the lectern. Candles line the tops of the owl's wings to illuminate anyone speaking at the lectern. A stool like protrusion comes out of the lectern as well as that's where the first years sit when they are sorted.
There are three sets of doors in the Great Hall. The main exit and entrance that leads to the Entry Hall is a large set of double wooden doors carved with vines and flanked by high stone pedestals each set with a small brazier above the stony 'H' carved in the pedestal. On the eastern wall is a much smaller door just next to the dais that's attached to the antechamber the first years come up from the lake through. Lastly one other door is set into the northwest corner behind the High Table.
As always high above within the obscured stone and wood cathedral like buttresses and crockets the outside weather is reflected in an illusion with all the sound and visuals of the weather, just without the actual effects of it.

Its after supper, somewhere around eight in the evening. A few students cluster around the tables in the Great Hall, mulling over books, exchanging gossip or gathered in groups to play gobstones or whatever the latest game is that's doing the rounds. Not so Lucretia. Lucretia sits on her own at one end of the Slytherin table, a mug of hot chocolate that's well on its way to being a mug of cold chocolate abandoned before her and a grim look on her face. Perhaps thats why none of her friends sit with her. A 'piss off' aura clings about her like a second skin.

Leoric has to take a few moments to locate Lucretia. Normally, she's got a coterie of younger students hoping to cling to her coattails long enough to get a little prestige. As it stands, she's isolated and it's just hard to think to look for her there. When he finally spots her, he pauses, taking everything in. He peers at her cup, notes the lack of steam, and moves to claim a fresh cup and a plate of biscuits. This he brings over to her and sets down beside her before sitting himself, house be damned. He reaches over, intending to take her cooled chocolate and replace it with the fresh cup.

Lucretia glances up when Leo's shadow falls across the table. She's about to object, about to tell him to go away… but then there's nothing. Her mouth closes and she stares blankly at him, eyes dark and unreadable. Many would take that as a warning sign that the girl simply doesn't wish to talk, then again, perhaps Leo isn't one of 'many'. This might be evidenced by the fact that after the chocolate gets replaced, the girl reaches for one of the biscuits and dunks it into the drink, leaving it precisely long enough before transferring it to her mouth.

Of all things, Leo sets about drinking her cold chocolate, just to help her keep up appearances. He does a dunk of his own, not even a grimace as he makes his way through the stuff. He seems content to sit as quietly as she does, drinking cold chocolate, keeping her company even in her surliness or misery, whichever it might be. The warning signs go unheeded, though Leo himself wards off anyone thinking to take the opportunity to poke barbs at either of them with stern glances backed by steady eyes. Lu's going to get the time to herself, as much as she likes.

"Thank you," Lu says quietly, a little of the ice leaching from her voice when she eventually looks back up to Leoric. "Tell me, Leo. Am I a horrible person? I try not to be, but I'm failing somewhere. Despite Iggy's recent behaviour, I went to thank him for replacing my sweater but he brushed me off. Your sister too. I always thought Dora and I were friends, but you should have seen the look she gave Ignatius when I turned up; it was one of pity. She probably doesn't think I saw it, but I did. She couldn't even manage to say hello to me, just packed up her things and left. What have I done to turn her against me? Or do you suppose that Iggy has been telling her how much he hates me being the millstone around his neck? Our families have always been friends, but five minutes with him and her sympathies are firmly with him."

"You're welcome." He gives her a moment to put her words together before responding. "I don't think you're horrible. You're not the nicest person ever, but that side typically only crops up when it's provoked by meanness or one of your beliefs. From what I've seen, Ignatius is acting a whole lot more awful than you, but they're both in the art club, I think. They might be better friends tham I knew. I don't know why she's acting like that around you; maybe Brother told her about your letter. If she was upset with you, she'd just leave. She doesn't like confrontation." Leoric gives a bit of a snort. "And he's got no room to be calling anyone else a burden."

"They were flirting," Lucretia says, another bite of her biscuit taken. "Which is fine, I'm very happy that Ignatius doesn't feel he needs to live like a monk as that'd be a lot of pressure on me. He didn't say I was a burden either, that's just the way he makes me feel. As for being the nicest person ever, I know I'm not. Nor would I wish to be. Nice people get trampled over and destroyed and I'd never want to be that person." Her head dips, hair falling forward to curtain her face so that her next words are spoken into her mug, rather than to the boy opposite her. "I meant what I said in my letter though, this whole relationship thing is horrible, I don't know any couples that are happy. Not even my parents."

Leoric sits still, silent for a long few moments, listening to her explain and speak. Finally, he offers a simple, "We were happy." It sits in the air between them for a few moments, then he continues. "If you think being together is going to make you unhappy, I'll just make you happy without holding your hand or whatnot. You need to know what it feels like to be cherished. Your husband should cherish you. Even if maybe he doesn't love you… I think he could still cherish you. You deserve that much."

Lucretia exhales, sending a puff of steam upwards from her mug. Eyes closed, she lifts her head and eventually refocuses them on Leoric, expression unreadable. "Why would you want to do that? Dating a Black and dating a Slytherin are two things that are going to bring you a lot of trouble and I don't know that you really understand that. You're a very nice person Leo, there's probably more of Dora in you than you realise, even just now in the way that you were just so reasonably defending her. Reasonable and nice. Those aren't really qualities that fit with who I am." Fingers touch to the pendant that glimmers against her black sweater and she manages a ghost of a smile, if somewhat rueful. "Even in matters of blood and our views on it, there's a gulf between us."

Leoric looks back as she explains, lays out reasons why he shouldn't want to be with her. He listens to them, one at a time, not interrupting. When she finishes, touches her pendant, gives that whisp of a smile, then he responds. "Because I remember holing up to eat sticky buns and cocoa on the roof. Because I remember the little nook of a crevice where you compose that you shared with me. Because I remember the look on your face when I let you think I wasn't going to buy the chocolates with the rose frosting. Because when you're not too busy thinking about being a Black, thinking about being a Slytherin, you're Lucretia, and Lucretia is a -fantastic- person I want very much to spend time with. I'm not nice. Ask my housemates. Most of them wonder why I'm not in Ravenclaw. I'm nice -to you.-

Leoric sits back as he finishes what he's saying. "… at the end, Lu, it's what you want that matters. If you want to be self reliant and unattached and invulnerable, you're going to be. I can't -make- you do anything. I'm just making an offer."

"I…" Lucretia can't speak for a moment. A jerky lift of one hand to her hair to anchor it behind one ear, and then the tiniest wobble of her lower lip as she bites it and looks away from Leoric. "I forgot…" she says simply, her voice cracking somewhere in her chest. "I've been so busy being who I think I'm meant to be, who others expect me to be, that I forgot who I was. Forgot what makes me happy." She presses the heel of one hand to first one eye and then the other and looks back to Leo. "I don't know that I want those things, its just what's expected of me and it terrifies me."

"You know the nice thing about expectations?" Leoric shoves his chair against hers and settles back down, putting an arm behind the younger girl, simply looping it around her waist. "They only matter when people who care are around. You're expected to be able to take care of yourself, to be untouchable, to be unassailable- you can be, if it's your duty. But you don't have to be that all the time. Even if it's just when we're on our own, you can just… be Lulu. The sharp as a knife, violin-playing, playful, laughing, adorable girl who smiles at silly candies and blushes when a boy holds her hand. Wear your armor if you need to, I'll even help you put it on- but I'll help you take it off, too, when time comes. That's what I meant, when I said you were hiding all those times. You put on your armor, but with me on the outside." He squeezes gently. "… thinking that would be too lonely, even for a tough, clever Black."

Lucretia leans immediately into Leoric's side, something suspiciously close to a sniff given when his arm curls around her waist. "I hate you Leo," she says, finding the edge of his chest with her cheek. "You have a way of making things seem reasonable when I've already worked out in my head the way they should be. I think Alphard is wonderful, but I don't think I have what it takes to be just like him, nor Medusa. Medusa can look a certain way at a person and they just wither." Her hand finds his and she laces her fingers through them, her head dropping so she can look at the way that they mesh together. "I like the way I can be myself with you and I like that you like me for who I am. I'm sorry for the letter and I'm sorry if I hurt you. Its been a horrible week and I really don't deserve to have you talking to me still, let alone liking me."

Leoric just smiles, and says, in the most tender of manners, "Shut up, Lulu, we're snuggling." There's not a drop of malice, just the simple disregard for her need to apologize. She's where she ought to be, as far as he's concerned, and that's good enough. Five words said all that. He may as well have up and said, "Hush, Lucretia- you're home now." But neither of the pair is really mature enough to think of that phrase. He settles his arm around her, making her comfortable against him as he reached over to steal a dunk from the hot cocoa in front of her.

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