(1939-02-11) Madeline's Unwanted Kissing Tutors
Details for Madeline's Unwanted Kissing Tutors
Summary: Worried about Madeline's reactions to Angelus and Nell, Ulysses gives Madeline a lesson in bullies. Somehow, talk still comes to kissing. We won't ask how if you don't.
Date: 11 February, 1939
Location: Owl Tower
Related: Takes place immediately after Ulysses and Madeline leave Bicycles and Brooms

Madeline trails after Ulysses, quiet as they walk, and more subdued than her usual bouncy self. By the time they arrive at the owl tower, she has her blanket wrapped around her shoulders, and her book hugged to her chest. She looks up at the owls in their roosts - wondering if any will come down to visit with them.

He walks for a bit, and eventually Mr. Sniffles struggles a bit until Ulysses lets him go. He does so, and continues to walk, not really seeming to mind the cold that much. Then again, those robes look warm. Eventually, though, he turns around, even as a few of the more social owls come to check out the newcomers, hoping for a treat.
Once he stops, he leans against the wall, and just stares at Madeline a moment. "So… Madeline the Melancholy… what did Nell do to you that's got you so upset at her?" Stern demeanor? Solid 8.5 from the judges. Reading the situation properly? Let's call that one a disqualification.

Madeline blinks. "/Nothing/," she answers. "Nell's great. It's not her fault that Eibon's such a good liar. He's a /jerk/ you know. A real jerk. I dunno why he insists on pretending when he really- He let Lucretia Black call me a mudblood, you know! Let her come into the train car, where I was watching a bunch of stuff for other Gryffindors, and she called me a mudblood, and told me to leave, only I /couldn't/ because everyone told me to watch their stuff and when I told her to talk nice or leave, Eibon has the nerve to tell /me/ that /I'm/ being rude to his friend! That I was being /rude/!" She kicks an owl pellet in irritation.
"He's a lousy jerk who'll treat you nice when it's just you and him, but as soon as there's some pure-blood he thinks he needs to show off for… And it's usually Black! He probably wants to… snog her or something."

"And so you weren't standing, taking way too long with your tea, ignoring Nell, because you were upset with her for talking to him?" Lys crosses his arms, looking at the girl. "And you're not possibly holding one single, poor decision against him? Black?Yeah… she pretty much is going to be like that. But I've not seen him take on the same attitude."
He then looks at her, actually kneeling down to get on her level (the boy IS a bit tall). "Maddie… have you ever confronted him about it? Talked to him? Or do you just stare and grouse and ignore people who are daring to not take your side in a one-sided fight?"

"I /did/!" Madeline insists. "And we made up and everything. I mean, mostly. But I never should have left Adam alone with him and Black because… well. He was mean again! And it wasn't /her/ being mean and Eibon letting her! /He/ was mean to Adam, and Adam was crying!" she insists.
"So I went and talked to him /again/, and- well. He said I have no manner, and he's not gonna let me drag him down into the dirt. He acts nice, Ulysses, but he's just horrid!" There's tears streaking down her cheeks now. "He really is," she insists. "He's just a liar about it. He pretends he isn't."

Ulysses frowns again, and nods… and looks at her. Remember, Lys… she's /11/. "So you. You get to be better than him. Show him how it's done. How he's missing out. You don't have to like him… but you can still be better."
He then holds a hand out to her, a little smile coming back. "Let me tell you something about bullies. About people… well… a lot like how I used to be. And sometimes can be… be glad you didn't see me with Garrett." A twist to his grin, then, "They /thrive/ on negative reactions. If he's really how you describe him? Then he is /eating up/ every angry glare. Every sulk. Every look of hurt. It's like a niffler with a gold coin."

"You weren't never," Madeline protests. Rather than take the hand, she steps into his arm, looking for a hug. She /likes/ hugs - and they can be few and far between, when you're away at school with no one you've known for longer than five months.
"I try not to. I mean - mostly I just ignore him, but… but… seeing him being all nice to Nell, 'n… 'n he'd just kissed her hand and declared her his /friend/, when it ain't like he even thinks much of people like /us/."

The hug is given, and freely. And it's a practiced one.. too. Big brother and father, Lys has been. There've been more than one shed tear, more than one knee kissed better in his time. And it showed, "Oh I have been. And I am, squirt. But people have to deserve it. And you don't."
"So be a friend to her, and let her know in private. But don't let him get the better of you. Or he wins."

Madeline nods silently, leaning into the hug gratefully, and letting out a quiet sigh. He is /not/ a bully! Why would he say he's a bully? It's puzzling to her. "I'll talk to her," she agrees quietly. "And I try not to let him get to me, it's just… I didn't like seeing him with Nell like that."

There's a chuckle that emits from Lys, and he allows her to remain in the hug as long as it seems she needs it, "Well… it's called flirting. And some guys do it to express interest. Others… because it's a game." Again, voice of experience. "That's a concept I'll ask you not to have me explain to you.. since at your age you /really/ don't need to know about it yet because all guys should be gross when you think of them like that. Suffice it to say that I'm sure it was an act on his part."

"Seriously gross," Madeline agrees under her breath. She enjoys the hug a little longer, then pulls away, wiping at her eyes. "Thanks, Lys," she'll add with a smile - smaller than usual granted, but it's a smile.
She and Ulysses are alone in the owl tower - her with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, and a textbook in her arms, and Ulysses kneeling to get down to her miniscule height.

Variel pauses on his own assent as he catches voices he recognizes. He resumes, a letter under one arm, and continues up, turning to peer at the pair occupying the belfry of the owl tower, unsure if he's interrupting something.

With a bit of a laugh, Lys nods, once again reaching out to ruffle Madeline's hair, "Keep thinking that way, squirt, least-ways for a while. It'll save you a world of hurt and annoyance in the long run. But I'm serious. You can't let people get to you. You have to be stronger than them. It's the best way to beat them at their own game. Got it? And you're welcome."
At the sound of footsteps approaching, he stands back up to his full height, looking over to see whom it might be, and a smile is offered at Variel. "Weasley." He respects the boy, but also doesn't know yet if first names would be appropriate.

"I try not to," Madeline agrees. "I mean, that's why I'm always /nice/ to Black. Plus…" and here the girl smiles. "She really /hates/ it when I'm nice to her." Does that make it /mean/ to be nice to Lucretia? She's not really sure. Still Who can find fault with her for smiling, and waving, and offering to help with stuff?
She turns to see who is coming up the steps, pulling her blanket a little tighter around her shoulders. "Hi," she greets Variel casually.

"She does, you know," Variel says as he mounts the owlery floor from the stairs. "Hate when you're nice, I mean. She gets all stiff and cranky. She doesn't snuggle so great when she's like that, but it's- not a cruel sort of revenge. I kinda like it when you poke her with niceties." Variel looks about for a school owl without something to do, and attaches his letter- or tries, as the one he picks objects by fluttering madly until it can fly away. "… be that way!" He harrumphs a bit and hunts for another. "Ulysses, we oughtta talk, I think. Probably. Madeline, you can stay. Don't mind you hearing."

A brow raises as he looks to Variel, and Ulysses takes a look at both present. It can't be /too/ bad, if it is something the first-year can hear. So, a slight grin offered, he leans back against the walls of the tower again, paying no mind to what might be rubbing off on his robes. "All right, Variel," there. First names. "Hit me."

"I knew it!" Madeline practically crows. She /does/ hate it! "And - see? Who can mind when all it is is smiling and saying hi and telling her I'll help. My mum always tells me when someone's mean to you, to be nice back to them two or three times." Her mood is greatly improved now, though she looks curiously between Ulysses and Variel. What are they going to talk about…?

"I need to know something about your family. Extended," he clarifies, lest Ulysses drop into super protective mode. He's seen it, and it's great, but he doesn't think it'll be conducive here. "See, there was this party over the weekend? Well, friday night, really. And nothing happened, but there was a lot of talking?" Variel realizes he's rambling and abandons his hunt for an owl to turn towards Ulysses. "Does your cousin Ilsa have someone I ought to be talking to about maybe sorta courting her? Like, officially?"

"Ewwww!" Madeline interjects with a giggle. More of /that/ sort of stuff!

"Oh, stuff it, you're still a midge!" Variel quips playfully, though there's a touch of nervousness to it all.

The brow remains raised… and frankly, if it's not immediate family, he's more a 'break them if they break her' sort of protecter. And honestly… who has time to track the mating habits of every bloody Selwyn out there? He chuckles, "Another in my family you wish to protect, Variel? I might just make you an honorary brother, if you keep this up." That should be an unexpected answer.
"I'm not aware of anyone specific… she's a pretty lass, and there have always been tails wagging after her." Is his response, "If I do discover anything, though… perhaps we should make it a duel warning."

"No, I'm a Squirt!" Madeline counters with another giggle, sticking out her tongue playfully.
Wait- oh great. Now Ulysses is /never/ gonna lay off it!

"I'd consider it an honor, truth told, though your brothers are about past needing particularly protected. I heard Elric humiliated Alphard and got away with an apology." He grins a touch, though it wanes a bit at the end. "… duel warning? If I hurt her like, d'yeh mean?"

"Yeh've been a midge since we've met, midge. Yeh can be midge AND squirt. Squidge. Yeh! A Squidge." Variel nods sagely.

Ulysses chuckles. "No. Dual. As in the two of us ganging up on whomever is making eyes at Ilsa." A pause. "Unless that would be you." A pause. A blink. "You meant you're looking to court her." He's really doing well for catching on to things quickly here. "Her parents. You're a good sort. Don't exactly see eye to eye with you on the purity side of things, but that's more political than the size of your character. I'll not stand in your way." A pause, and then a grin. "You might want to stock up on pillows, though, should you break her heart."

Madeline groans. "I'm not a squidge!" she protests. "What's a squidge, even?"
And then she blinks up at Ulysses as he finally catches on to what Variel means. "What /else/ is 'courting' supposed to mean?" she asks with a laugh, giving Ulysses a light push.

"Uh. Yeh. That'd be me." It's not so much a "well duh" statement as a half-nervous one, as he catches on. When he reacts alright, he nods a bit. "Alright. No older brother or whatnot about, might take exception to someone squirin' his little sister about Hogsmeade on weekends, then? Just parents?" Which, let's be honest, are the major stumbling block to any such involvement. He nods at Ulysses as well. "'tis political, too. Not personal, barring the ones I'd like to see strung up outside the ministry, tasting their own medicine for what they did to Rosseau's family, to Proudmore's." He glances at Maddie- he knows the topic never feels very good for her. "I think I know a squidge I might be able to hire to stockpile some couch-ware for me. And, squidge, a squidge is a midge squirt. So, in short- YOU."

The smile he offers Variel is genuine. "Well… you didn't ask about Dora. Which, well, we all know how I feel about the thought of her dating." Which is patently unfair. But don't tell him that. "I believe she has an older brother, Edgar… but that would be more a worry during the summer holidays. Mostly it would be her parents. But… frankly, Variel… you've known pain. So I know you wouldn't give it to another willingly. So I've no right to step in your way. And you have honor. Nor many here on this campus have that."
It's plainly stated. And coming from Ulysses… a severe complement.

The smile he offers Variel is genuine. "Well… you didn't ask about Dora. Which, well, we all know how I feel about the thought of her dating." Which is patently unfair. But don't tell him that. "I believe she has an older brother, Edgar… but that would be more a worry during the summer holidays. Mostly it would be her parents. But… frankly, Variel… you've known pain. So I know you wouldn't give it to another willingly. So I've no right to step in your way. And you have honor. Not many here on this campus have that."
It's plainly stated. And coming from Ulysses… a severe complement. (repose)

At the mention of 'stringing' /anyone/ up, Madeline looks down, shifting uncomfortably. "I hope they catch 'em," she mumbles quietly. She doesn't know what else to say about /those/ evil and hurtful people.
"And I'm not a squidge," she protests.

"Bit small to be anything else, aren't you?" Variel gives Maddie a smile, trying to bring her back from that line of thinking. He's not looking to damp her down. His eyes go back to Ulysses. "Alright. I'll get on that, then. Sorta got to, I suppose." Why? Why would he have to get on that immediately? Why, indeed?

And Ulysses definitely catches that, at least. Some things the predator can smell a mile away, "Perhaps worried that someone will find out that you acted /before/ declaring your intentions, Variel?" A sly smile there, all teeth. He should have them sharpened. It's a subtle shift in demeanor. He likes the boy… but there's an edge to him… honed by years of pain, stress, and loneliness.

"But just the right size to be a /Maddie/," the girl asserts. "Or Madeline the Magnificent, even. Ilsa's the Illustrious, by the way." Because that matters. Really.

"Illustrious Illustrater, perhaps. She said she paints." Variel glances at Ulysses, shrugging helplessly. "Well, which would be worse? Declaring to the girl and finding out the parents don't approve, or going over her head and declaring to the parents only to leave the girl herself cross? Which way would -you- go, anyway?"

"I'd go neither," Madeline mutters. Eww, eww, eww.

The look Ulysses gives Variel then is one that is a touch unreadable, "I'm sure my reputation precedes me. Frankly, I don't bother with either. Not enough time in the world for it anymore." A shrug, followed by another grin. "I'll be watching you. And checking in with her. And no doubt hear glowing reports."

"He's Weasley the Warmhearted," Madeline reminds Ulysses. "Of course it'll be fine. But I'll kick him in the shins, for you, if he messes it up," she offers cheerfully.
"I like Ilsa, too," she adds for Variel's benefit. "She's nice."

"She's more than nice, Maddie." Variel's grin is… it's not unnatural, by any means, but his smiles are so infrequently this sincere and easy. "She'd make a good friend for you, squidge. She's got a big heart, open ears and just the right amount of temper." He doesn't have to say what he's thinking for Ulysses to catch what every red-blooded boy enamored of his paramour thinks after that statement- 'and the fact she's gorgeous doesn't hurt a bit.'

"She's a Selwyn lass," Ulysses says with pride. "Best hearts. Best breeding. The best. Is all there is to it." No small amount of familial pride there at all, no. Even he knows the draw of the women in his family. "But it takes more than just a small effort to catch, much less earn, their hearts. Be ready for a challenge, boyo."
Finally, his attention goes back to Maddie. "Don't worry, squirt. I'll never call you a squidge. And he's right about Ilsa. She gives good hugs, too."

"Evanses are pretty good, too," Madeline supplies brightly. "And I know he is. Ilsa's a real good sort! You can tell. She treats everyone real decent."

"Well, I mean." There's a tone to his voice that says that he, at least, thinks she's as enamored with him as vice-versa. Maybe he's even right. "I know she's gonna be work. But it'll be worth it. She's worth it. If you're not willing to work for a girl, what're you doing with her, right?" And then Maddie chimes in and he laughs aloud, grinning at his younger friend. "Oh, right, then, I'll make sure to let Adam know. "Evanses. Great hearts. Great for-" He dissolves into cackles before he completes the pattern and the lewd joke to go with it, unable to seriously consider Madeline in such a light.

Madeline's eyes widen. "You can't tell him that!" she squeaks.

Ulysses can't help but snort at Variel's joke, either. Slapping his knees, he looks back at Variel, "Ya keep that in mind, there's gonna be no problem between us." Then, a serious look at Madeline. Despite his own previous encouragement to her to keep considering boys as gross, he can't help but add, "But why not? We must make sure the boy understands how to be a proper boyfriend, and all." He looks over at Variel, "Might have to hire him a kissing tutor, too… make sure he's properly trained."

"Ewww! Gross! No! He's not a boyfriend! He's a /guy/ friend!" Madeline protests, kicking at Ulysses' shin lightly. "Weasley the Wicked and Ulysses the… un… un… unabashed!" she declares. "I meant like… my Aunt! And my older cousin Margret!"

"Me, wicked? You're the one assaulting another student! I'll soon set THIS to rights!" Variel flicks his wand from his sleeve into his hand. "Behavuro!" He pauses when- obviously- nothing happens, then shrugs and looks to Ulysses. "Sorry, chum. No spell to make squidges act like squirts." He snorts and nods at the kissing tutor, as well. "Definitely. Who do you think would be down to teach Adam how to kiss?" He's clearly lining something up to tease Madeline into being a little jealous.

Lys thinks on it a bit… a hand going up so he can tap a single finger against his lower lip, "Well, clearly she wants her aunt or Cousin Margaret to do the job… but I'm not sure that would be appropriate. Possibly Davies or Dashur from our house… you know… getting experience from an older girl and all…"

"No one's kissing Adam!" Madeline insists. "He's just /eleven/! That's gross!"

"Davies or Dashur, yea- bet either of them'd like to. Adam's got appeal, after all." Variel's just talking, now, he's got no actual concept of an eleven year old boy having appeal. He makes a big deal out of being surprised when Maddie protests. "Nobody? Well, I mean, if you say so, but you'll have to do all the practicing with him yourself. If you really want to…"

A hand reaches out again to ruffle Maddie's hair, as Ulysses considers the next bit of bait. "Clearly we're going to need to hold the ladies back, if she's wanting him for herself. But you know, once it gets around that he's experienced… it's just going to get harder…" Snort.
Standing up, Ulysses places his hands on his hips, leaning back until a series of pops emerge from his spine. "But it's late… and I have studying to do. As much fun as the talk of 11 year olds kissing might be."

"I'm not kissing /Adam/!" Madeline exclaims. She lets out an aggravated sigh, then adds, "I need to finish my Defense Against the Dark Arts reading, anyways. You're both /terrible/."

"Of course I am. I'm Weasley the Wicked, Variel the Villainous!" V grins and waves his housemates towards the stairs. "Fine, fine- you are both of you, dismissed, We no longer have need of your assistance." He grins, muffling a snicker, and rises to finally snag an owl. The names on his envelope are, unsurprisingly, Mr. and Mrs. Selwyn, with an address that Ulysses does not call home.

Ulysses nods, "Come, Miss Madeline the Maligned and Maladjusted! I'll escort you homewards. And since you're not kissing Adam… well…" He leans over, puckers, and makes, of all noises, kissy-noises. Not a big brother at all.
It doesn't last long, however, as he straightens back up, looks over at Variel, and offers the young man a playful punch to the shoulder. Well… mostly playful. Perhaps he doesn't know his own strength. "Good luck with that, Variel."
And then, to Madeline again, assuming she hasn't fled in terror. "Shall we?"

Madeline hasn't fled - she's given Ulysses a good /shove/ instead. "/Ew/!" she exclaims at him. She makes a face, and sticks out her tongue - but does indeed accompany Ulysses back to the common room, her blanket still around her shoulders.

"Appreciated, Ulysses. Maddie, until another time. Good luck with the Defense homework." With that, Variel turns back to securing his letter, leaving the pair to wander off as he chuckles without shame.

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