(1939-02-22) Taking Time Off
Details for Taking Time Off
Date: 22 February, 1939
Location: Gardens, Hogwarts

It's been a quiet day. For once, Ulysses is doing something that he hasn't in some time: taken a day off. No school. No homework. No responsibilities. It's driving him absolutely batty, although it would take a herculean effort to get him to admit it openly.
For now, he's sitting idly on a bench in the gardens, of all things a notebook in hand, as well as a pencil. The tip scratches idly on the paper as he writes, his face one of pure concentration.

Ilsa has retreated to the gardens, a favored spot when she is in need of a quiet place to think. She strolls along the path, her boots crunching upon the snow-covered ground with each step she takes. The Hufflepuff appears lost in thought, gaze unfocused… until she notes movement and turns to find that she is not the only student here. Normally Ulysses's presence would draw a look of delight, pleasure at seeing her cousin, but for some reason today, a hint of guilt and apprehension flickers over her features. "Oh. Hi, Lys."

For once, Ulysses doesn't snap to attention when he hears the approach. Instead, whatever thought he was focused on is finished on the page. Then, only have he slips the pencil between the pages and closes the notebook over it does he look up, a light grin on his lips, "Afternoon, Ilsa!"
Then, a pause, as he repeats her greeting, "Wait.. 'Oh. Hi.'?" A playful glower.

Ilsa's nose wrinkles, although a smile appears. "That did sound rather lackluster, didn't it? Here, let me try again." She pauses, twirling to face away from Ulysses for a moment before turning back to face him. "Afternoon, Lys!" At least this greeting is uttered with more enthusiasm, although there's still a glint of worry in her eyes. Settling onto the bench beside him, she shakes her head apologetically. "It's not that I'm not glad to see you, it's just… I've had a lot on my mind," she admits, her words formed slowly. She's determined not to let this be one of those times when she blurts out whatever is on her mind without thinking it through first. Focus, Ilsa!

A bit of a laugh on his lips, Ulysses stands as she twirls, and at the moment it ends, moves to grab the young woman by the waist, spinning her again. In a bit of a playful mood today, it would seem. "There. That's much better." As she describes her distraction, his eyes narrow a bit, "It's not Variel, is it? I told that boy he'd have to behave himself…"

Ilsa giggles as she is spun. Once she is facing him again, she leans in for a hug, impulsively wrapping her arms around him. "No, no, no. Not Variel," she hastily reassures. "Things with Variel are wonderful. He's been so good to me." Her words trail off, lips pressed together. Ulysses's playful mood makes it even harder for her to divulge what's on her mind as she fears ruining his mood - even perhaps his entire day.

The hug is accepted with grace and gusto, the laughter still there on his lips as she praises Variel, "Good. Just let me know if it doesn't remain that way. I count the boy something of a friend, but you know that family always comes first with me. But until then, I'm happy for you."
Disengaging from her, he returns to the bench where he was sitting before, "So what's on your mind then, cousin?"

"I'll let you know. I can't imagine Variel intentionally doing anything to hurt me, so I think all is well," Ilsa assures with a fond smile. Her expression fades into something much more solemn as she sinks onto the bench beside him. She inhales, exhales, remains silent for a long moment before finally turning her gaze upon her cousin. "I've been sworn to secrecy, Lys. And I really can't imagine what's worse - you being angry at me for withholding information that is very important, or Dora being upset with me for betraying her confidence… Either way, /someone/ is going to be upset with me."

Oh yes. Mention Dora, all goes serious. Especially Ulysses. His eyes narrow as the smile quickly fades. "Secrets. With Dora." Like with her lying. Her keeping things from him. What now? "Ilsa, dear… I would never ask you to break a confidence without good reason. But if there's something eating at you like this… don't you think it's better if you tell someone who can help her? You know Dora… she can never hold a grudge, or anger." Manipulation… since it's well known that he is /more/ than capable of it himself.

Ilsa drops her gaze to her hands, which are fidgeting nervously in her lap. "Well. I- I know. It's something serious and when I promised I wouldn't tell, I didn't realize what it was about, of course. I'm afraid she'll never trust me again, that she'll think I plan to run to you about every secret she tells. But I'm ill-equipped to handle this. And I want to punch that stupid boy in the face, so I imagine you would want to, too…" She pauses, glancing to Ulysses and quickly starting at the beginning.
"Okay, so… Dora said Black set her up on a date with one of his cronies. Thomas? And she said that he was nice at first, but then things changed. He… he wanted to snog her and got upset when she didn't want to. I don't know how long he pressured her, but he eventually got angry, pushed her down, and left." Her expression grows more and more agitated as she tells the story, her entire body tense with anger by the end. "She made me promise not to tell you or involve Black. But Thomas? Thomas is going to learn never to mess with her. Ever. Again."

A gentle hand reaches out, taking Ilsa's for a moment, if only to stop the fidgeting, and to offer a touch of strength. Ulysses listens, quietly, not interrupting, and even staying quiet for a bit at the end, in case there was anything more.
He considered the thoughts for a moment. He'd known that there was something between his sister and Black. She'd claimed he was a friend, had insisted. Dora was lying now, but would she about Alphard? He shakes his head, dismissing it. The real issue, however, was, "Thomas." The word dripped off his lips with a venom that would scare just about anyone who knows him.
"I'm glad you brought this to me. And I'll make certain Dora never knows. In the end, she'll be the one to tell me, and then I can work on making him pay." Simple words, "Pushed her? For refusing to kiss. On a set up, first date."

Ilsa seems relieved by Ulysses's promise that Dora will never know the source of the information. "Thank you," she murmurs, reaching out to slip her hand into his if he'll allow it. She nods solemnly, witnessing his anger and simply letting him work through it. It's certainly no less than she expected. "What a prat. Awful. I think she was very caught off-guard, scared. She said she didn't care what happened to Thomas, just that I didn't tell you or involve Black. Thomas needs to be taught a lesson and I want to help however I can," she adds firmly. No one messes with her family and gets away with it! "And the way she was concerned about Alphard finding out that I knew, or the possibility of my blaming him… I think there's something more going on there, but I've no idea /what/."

Even angry, there can be gentleness to Lys, and so when she moves to take his hand when he touches hers, Lys doesn't even think about it. He nods, still clearly seething, "Black… he has his games, and he can be cruel… but I think many ascribe ill intent to him where none exists. He likely meant well, and didn't think of the consequences." Such as setting his sister up on a date… at all.
"But yes. Thomas will pay, and dearly. No one hurt my Doe." He shakes his head, "Dora," correcting himself.

Ilsa wrinkles her nose as her cousin defends Alphard Black. "Maybe. But I don't like what I've heard of him, and I certainly don't trust him." She grows quiet for a moment, taking a deep breath to calm herself. Ulysses's hand is given a gentle squeeze, a sort of gesture of solidarity as he talks about Thomas. "Yes, he will pay," she agrees quietly. "You tell me what to do, Lys, and I'll do it. No one should ever think they can take advantage of Dora, ever." Thomas should have known better than messing with a Selwyn, Adorabella most of all.

"There's clearly more here than we can see… but I'm still willing to accept Dora's assurances about him. For now." Ulysses sits there, thinking, "You did right by coming to me." Even if it was causing a rise in his blood pressure. His hand squeezes hers back. "I'll need time. To consider." To get him alone and rip out his spleen. "But I'll let you know, once I've thought of something."
Hogsmeade weekend was coming… just a week away. And there were plenty of places to lie in wait for someone… and he /was/ a fair hand at Dora's handwriting…

Ilsa exhales a slow breath, nodding to Ulysses. "Alright. Good. I do feel better now that you know. I was going to try to think of some way of making him pay all on my own, but… well, subtlety isn't my strong suit. And if you had found out some other way and learned that I withheld information from you… well, I knew how upset you'd be, especially when it comes to something involving Dora." She gives his hand another light squeeze before releasing it. "You just let me know. Whatever it is, I'll be up for it."

Ulysses offers a laugh that is a little less kind than his earlier one, "You really should be careful what you offer, cousin. You know I have a bit of a reputation… you might not like what I come up with." And frankly, he tended to do this sort of thing alone. The boy would pay, and dearly… but it would be his hand that dealt whatever blow was coming.
"And I appreciate that you told me. I would have been very upset, knowing that you kept it from me. This… this is Dora. She needs protecting, especially from boys like that. Making an example of him will let others know just how dangerous that sort of thing is."

"I know. But there is little I would not do for Dora. For you, for Tarquin, for any of you. Nothing is more important than family." Ilsa's words are uttered firmly with complete conviction. "Yes. They need to think twice before ever attempting to mess with her. Dora is a special girl, one of a kind. It's just as well that there's a whole pack of Selwyns ready to protect her."

"She's… an innocent. And I would preserve that… as long as I can. Because it's part of what makes her special to so many people," Lys offers, his tone cooling, becoming less heated, "I don't mean it in the strictest sense, of course… but I would hate to see people like him tarnish her trust."

Ilsa lets her gaze drift out along the garden, her expression contemplative. "Yes. She's so sweet and giving and good-hearted. There are those that would take advantage of that… and she wouldn't see it coming. That's what scared me most. As for Thomas, it would be for the best if he decided never to step foot near her again."

The chuckle that Ulysses emits now is a touch evil, "Oh, he'll know. I might spend some quality time with Pringle afterwards… but he'll understand. I assure you of that." He then straightens up, "But! Enough of plotting and pondering. Is that all that's been on your mind of late?"

"Ugh, Pringle," Ilsa mutters with distaste. "Still, it'll be worth it if Thomas gets the message." Letting the topic drop, she leans in to rest her shoulder lightly against Ulysses's. "Mostly just that. There was also a letter from my father, about how I shouldn't bother with silly courtships that won't mean anything in a few months' time anyway. That I ought to be spending all my time and energy on my classes if I'm ever going to make something of myself." She frowns, a hand swatting at the air as if to push away the topic. "But that's just Father, I guess. There's no sense in telling Variel. I don't want him to think it's anything personal against him. And my mother was quite pleased for me, at least."
Ilsa falls abruptly silent, sneaking a sidelong glance toward her cousin. "I'm sorry. That must seem so silly when you have as many worries as you do. You've so many responsibilities, Lys, school and family and otherwise. I'm not sure how you do it."

"He's a good boy, and long as you two aren't taking it too seriously, to the detriment of your studies, I don't see where your father is coming from. But even I would look at you crossways if you let it impact your grades." An arm slips around the younger girl's shoulders then, as Lys looks back at her, "He took the chance of displeasure when he made the decision to tell your parents he intended to court you. It's not a bad thing… but it was a chance taken. You should appreciate that."
At the mention of his own responsibilities, "I've been told, by a few now, that I take too much on. That I'm too controlling of them all. Would you believe that?"

"Of /course/ I don't intend to let my grades slip. I won't get so distracted that I forget my studies, even if I might want to some days," Ilsa teases. As Lys's arm circles around her, she leans in to rest her head on her cousin's shoulder. "Oh, I do appreciate the risk he took. I think it was very sweet of him to write to them so quickly. Lots of boys wouldn't even think to do it. I just don't see the need to tell him of my father's response. I'm used to his disapproval… I'm also used to ignoring his demands." She flashes a sudden, mischievous grin.
"Believe that people have said it? Yes, I can! You do take on a lot. As for being too controlling, I think you're just… protective, cautious, that's all. You felt that you've had to be. There's nothing wrong with that."

"Say that the twelfth time it's no a good idea to go practice Quidditch instead of studying, or when you can't make Bott's Beans into lunch." Leo speaks up as he approaches, grinning playfully at his brother.

"A father's demands do have their place in the scheme of things, Ilsa," Ulysses offers with a grin, his free hand going to lightly muss her hair for a moment, before hearing his brother's interrupting voice intrude.
"Oh yes," he replies back with a grin, "Because you're bound to be able to play professionally with nothing but Trolls on your OWLs. And need I remind you what happened the time Elric thought to do the same with Fizzing Whizbangs?" A whole day and night in Mungo's, that's what.

"Not my drill sergeant of a father," Ilsa grumps, eyes rolled up toward the sky. She does cast Ulysses a faint grin, ducking her head as he musses her hair. "Big brother's demands though… they should /always/ be followed." This stated teasingly and with exaggerated volume as she notes Leoric's arrival. His remarks amuse her, the Hufflepuff's grin widening. "Making Bott's Beans into lunch? What could be wrong with that?"

"We had peace and quiet for ten minutes, that's what happened." This from the twin on vigil beside his dopey brother's bed. "And nothing wrong with beans! Not like they have aftereffects or anything!" Leo comes to stand with the pair, looking between them. "So what have interrupted, pray tell?"

"Conciliatory commiserations, and circuitous conspiracies, actually." Ulysses grins back at his brother, arching a brow at the look he gives them both, "What else when family comes together?" He doesn't break from the closeness, however, "Other than that… just your big brother taking a break for once. A whole day. No school work. No clubs. Nothing I don't want to do, just for myself. I realized I needed it."

Ilsa laughs, glancing between the pair of brothers. "I think that's exactly what's to be expected when family convenes. What's to happen now that there are three of us? Get a few more Selwyns to gather in the gardens and we just might decide to take Hogwarts by storm," Ilsa teases, waving cheerfully to Leoric as he approaches. She glances toward Ulysses with a mock stern look. "As you should. When is the last time you took a day off? Can you even recall?"

Leoric says, "I don't know about him, but I can't remember his last break. He's pretty fuddy duddy most times. You'd be surprised th e sort of internal debates that arise when he's trying to plan a family gathering." He nudges his brother gently. His siblings might nkt have caught the way Uly seemed to have blown all his own spending money shortly after one of them had a little extra for a Hogsmeade weekend, but Leo is sharp and has a head for numbers. He knows the score."

"You should listen to your cousin, Leo." Lys says with another grin, "And I know it's been a while. Probably too long. And I'm making up for it now." Then a look at Leoric, "Fuddy duddy? Do I even want to know the origin of that term?"

Ilsa grins at Leoric's remarks, a brow lifted. She straightens up to study Ulysses appraisingly. "Fuddy duddy, hm? We'll have to remedy that. Ulysses Selwyn can loosen up and have fun too." Uh oh. There's a glint of mischief in the fifth year's eye. No doubt plotting.

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