(1939-02-15) Bittersweet
Details for Bittersweet
Summary: For the first time after his mother forced them apart, Silas and Genevieve talk.
Date: 1939-02-15
Location: Slytherin Common Room

The message, as simple as it had been, had likely been late. He'd worked so hard on it… but had spent most of the day questioning if it were the right thing to do. But he had done it, to the point that, sadly not on Valentine's day itself, but shortly after midnight, Mephy had padded into Jenny's dorm with a ribbon tied around his neck, and within it a single rose petal. On it, drawn with meticulous care, was a dove, holding an olive branch, and the words "I'm Sorry' underneath it. Considering the effort with the ribbon, there would likely be no question who it came from.
It's a Hogsmeade weekend, and nearly everyone appears to be gone… the remnants of the previous day's celebrations being carried out no doubt between happy couples. And Silas wants nothing to do with it. So he's here, in the commons, reading. No smile. No care. Not even a ferret, whose reaction to his recent state has been something of a withdrawl herself.

The unfortunate problem with all of it, was that Silas wasn't the only one who'd had it in his mind to stay behind. Oh, Jenny'd go out later, when the couples have coupled off and the bar was clear, much as she'd done the night before, which…was what led to this glorious moment. Frankly she was surprised he'd managed to hem up the feline to begin with. When her mood had fallen below the level of managable norms, he'd tightened his patrol of her person, rarely leaving her side anymore when she was in the dorms. She'd let the cat keep the ribbon. Mephy always liked new toys.
And it was Mephy who came padding into the common room even now, through the maze work of halls, proceeding his owner, who looked well, worn. Blond hair was pulled back in a pony tail, sweat slick over a gaunt face; while a slim tee shirt was worn with a pair of rather baggy but comfortable pants. The knuckles of both hands were wrapped and the left was nursing the right with an ice pack; akin to the one she had against her ribs. Jenny'd found a club she could live with. Quite possibly it was killing her.

For his own part, the peacock is nowhere to be seen today. Silas' dress is non-uniform, given the weekend, but it's a simple set of robes. Ones he knocks around in when he's nowhere to go. His gaze pulls up once he hears someone coming into the room, and initially, when he sees her, worry and concern wash over his face. He can't help it. These things can't be so easily dismissed.
He almost instinctively calls out in his concern, the question swallowed back almost immediately, in a self-induced fit of doubt. So instead it might sound more like a swallow preceded by an audible vowel sound of some sort. Then? Shame. His book goes down to his lap even as he stare at the spine.

It's…strange. To look at him, when that sound catches her attention, is to miss him. To want him. To hurt. It might be easier, too, if it'd just been a broken heart but there was more than that in it because she'd lost a friend. The Friend. That broken promise hurt more than a broken heart, because he'd taken away her anchor.
"Good book?" The voice is somewhat on the gruff side, or perhaps husky is a better word. Ragged. As she makes her way towards a chair in which to properly collasp and nurse her hurts. Her legs go up over one arm, while her back rests against the other.

The pain from that broken promise is shared, both ways. And if she's observant, she'll see that pain mirrored in Silas' eyes when he manages to look at her. But when she sits, addresses him, he almost flinches.
The book closes, almost a snap. "It's… one I've read before. A distraction, really." He looks up again, "That… looks painful." Concern again in his voice.

"I always found books more conductive to forcing my mind to wander than distracting," Jenny replies, "Hard enough to focus on my NEWTs and -those- books than to think I might have time for others." The conversation was light, though perceptive wasn't perhaps an astute word for her state. She noted the near flinch, it was a full body reaction, but her eyes had an issue with never touching his. She looked past his head, to the back of the chair, or the wall beyond, if looking in his direction became required. But eye contact, it was still a thing of the past.
The ice pack on her knuckles rose though, when he said it looked painful and she flexed her fingers with a wince herself, before resettling the ice. "It's a mite sore, I'll grant. But..I had time. Joined up with Athletics. Who knew there was a whole group of boys like to box and don't mind a girl, given half a chance."

"You always did have the heavier course-load," Silas offers, a bit of a chuckle escaping him before dying a quick death. He does look at her now, forcing himself into at least acknowledging her pretense with an attempt at eye contact, although he doesn't try to make a point of meeting hers when she drives them away.
"Seems they didn't mind a bit. Overenthusiastic sparring partner, or just a little hazing of the new girl?"

"Brains and brawn. Tends to get missed when all people see is the blond," Jenny winked and made the mistake of glancing in his direction. Old habits die hard and for a moment, she met his eyes before she looked away. No more than a heartbeat, but it was enough to be felt. To hurt. "S'okay though. Makes it easier." It made it harder.
"But, this is normal. The sesson ran a little long and I forgot to pad my gloves out." On purpose, because she liked the bite. "Besides, this isn't as bad as last week. I took a hit so hard it knocked me out for a few minutes." Crooked grin.

Silas whistles in between his teeth at that last bit, a a sort of inward hiss of shared pain, or at least empathy for it. "People should know better than to underestimate you. It's liable to get them knocked flat. I at least hope you gave as good as you got."
He sits there, hands idly playing at the corners of his book, searching for something 'right' to say. And not finding it, he simply offers, his voice small for a bit… daring to actually offer a touch of concern, "Just… be careful, okay? I know you're tough… but…"

"Oh no. He won. I'm not a giantess, blokes are always gonna have me on reach and weight, but I'm ropey. I'll survive." She wasn't given an alternative. But she did close her eyes, sinking a little lower into her chair and willing the aching muscles to relax.
It was easier, with her eyes closed. "Yeah. I'm tough. Don't mean I still can't get knocked on me arse," it came with a painkissed little chuckle, resituating the pack against her ribs for better effect. And in the wake of it, let the silence stretch out while she struggled to find words and thoughts herself.
"So..uh..I got you this thing and uhm, well anyway, it won't fit anyone else. So..," the free hand, the one not nestled in ice rose up to her neck, enough to pluck at the thin chain that was around it, so that something small slid free once it was broken and into her palm and from there? It was gentle tossed in his direction. "You should have it."

It comes as a surprise… but if anything, their time together had improved his reaction time. A hand snaps up, and he catches the tossed something easily in his right hand, making a fist around it. Silas looks directly at Jen, again… honestly a bit dumbfounded, enough so that it takes him a moment to think to open his hand and actually look at it.
He does so, silently.

It's a small thing. Simple. A ring. But not the kind of ring that breaks, despite the fact that it appears to be wood. A piece of black walnut, polished to the kind of shine that makes it look copper almost, depending on the light, or a rich shade of brown that's almost black. Though there seems to be absolutely nothing remarkable about it.
Jenny, meanwhile, was fitting the slim necklace back round her neck, devoid now of its treasure. "I should probably go see about taking a soak."

He turns it over in his hand, once, twice, three times. His mouth actually agape at the sight of it. There's a hitch in his throat for a moment, and he closes his hand around it, holding it to his chest for a moment. And then, without thinking, he slips it on to his ring finger… of the right hand, granted, not the left, but still.. the dark wood contrasting with scars finally near-white now.
"Jen." That simple word. That name. And a mixture of anguish behind it. "I owe you an explanation. At some point. More than I gave. I… have to be careful. I'm at a precarious point here." He shakes, his hand wrapping around the ring as he closes his eyes for a moment. "But she won't take this away from me. Thank you."

"It's okay, Silas." There'd been effort into that. Not just the ring that keeps its secrets so neatly on his finger, but in the give of that name rather than the endearment. But his words were enough to carry her hiss of complaint as she pulled herself up from the chair. That she favored her right side and nursed her ribs was no secret.
"I hope that…," and that was the point that her eyes closed and her throat choked up and she remembered a second too late to favor of her ribs, proof that the pain came from somewhere else, entirely.
"Be well," she manages at last. "Be happy."

It stings, the lack of the endearment, but he takes it. The fingers of his left hand, index and thumb, capture the ring on his right, spinning it on his ring finger, "It's not okay, Jenny." He can't back to her full name himself. Not yet. But the voice suggests guilt. And not the self-pitying sort, although assuredly there's some of that in there as well. "But… all right."
He looks back over at her with a sigh, "I will. At some point. Both. Likely once I'm not under her thumb anymore. But I'll survive." He tries to smile at her, his eyes not leaving her, but for himself, he doesn't get up. Doesn't chase. Perhaps he simply can't. "And you, Jenny. I wish the same for you."

"But it is, Sy." And there it slips, her voice crackling as easily as her mask does. "Because it has to be. There are many different kinds of lies in the world. Some are good, some are bad. And some? Some are the kind that you tell yourself, because eventually if you hear a thing enough, you'll believe it and I…," the breath is a shakey thing, but managed. "I need to believe it. I hope that's okay. Because if I don't then I'm going to simply break down and beg. Promise to hide my face or color my hair, or pay someone to make me a stupid polyjuice potion. Or anything. Because I could give up quidditch, I could pick a normal career. And I..," her knuckles popped and cracked, when her fist tightened.
"I can't do that. Because if I do, then I'm going to start crying. Because…because nothing's changed. It's just, it's like that spell, you know. The one they taught us in Charms Class, second year. The one to hide things in plain sight? Aparecium. That'd be all it'd take, to reveal the truth so..so it has to be okay. The world's telling me to stop chasing, to start seeking instead." A wry chuckle at that. "Even Hooch thinks, so. Problem is, I can find the Snitch in a game but…the hell am I supposed to find in life?" That she hadn't had already and lost. She knew exactly where it was. She was talking to it.

He sits there, a long moment. Looking at the ring, at her, and back down again. He misses things… but, sometimes he gets it. Sometimes he catches the hint. "No, nothing has changed. Not a damned thing. Not the things that matter. But…" he spins the ring on his finger again. "But cards have been played that I can't simply ignore. I can't win this battle. Not yet."
Then he pulls the ring off again, looking at it. And, reaching to the side of his chair, rather than his own side, he pulls out the cane. The one she gave him. Something he needn't have had with him at school, in the common room much less, but it's there. He looks at her, at the ring, and nods. "Aparecium," he intones, the cane moving, the eyes glowing as the tip of his wand activates with the spell.
Why not?

"You're going to get your dream, Sy." For that? For that she can smile. Oh there's sadness in it, but there's a kind of pride too. Of accomplishment. And it's all for him. "And you're going to be amazing at it. And it's going to be wonderful. And," the deep breath, there. "I'm happy for you." For a fleeting second, the smile rose just a little, tempered brighter by the depth of her sincerety.
But for the rest, those slow measured strides carry her onwards, towards the dorms. She doesn't need to. She knows the words by heart, because they're hers. Doesn't need to see, to know just how they fade into being. She'd tested it too many times. Worked too hard and cashed in too many favors to make sure it was perfect.
"To Love is the Greatest Experiment," the ghost of her voice echoes a whisper without sound, even as the precise script claims life on the ring on the outside. While, "True Love the Greatest Reward. S'agapo." Claimed that within as Jenny disappeared up the stairs.

Silas could have cried there… at that moment. But there's a bit of a smile on his face as well. "Not yet," he whispers as she goes up the stairs, looking at the ring for a brief moment before he puts it back on his right hand. Where it would stay. Their little secret, perhaps.
He sits there, a moment longer, before reaching over to the side again, grabbing his bag and placing his book in it. The bag then goes over his shoulder, and the cane to his side. He looks at the exit to the dorms, and this time a single tear does fall, although he catches it quickly. "I love you, too, Jen…" is offered in a whisper… and then he simply turns, heading to the stairs out. A walk is needed. Most definitely needed.
But he can at least smile.

Within the timespan of a full minute, the words have disappeared and the ring is just that - a ring.

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