(1939-09-19) Cat & Mouse
Details for Cat & Mouse
Summary: Abraxas finds Hattie and lays out plans for continuing their not-so-friendly game of chess in Hogsmeade.
Date: September 19, 1939
Location: Hogwarts, Charms Classroom

Hattie hangs out upon the spiral overlooking the Charmitorium, her wand hanging at her side as she thumbs a page over in her text, brow wrinkled in concentration.

"Wilkins!" Malfoy calls out, after leaving charms class, and another cheerful day biting his tongue so hard it bleeds around Professor Viridian, "Good to see you again."

Hattie snaps her book shut with an audible pop. "Malfoy," she greets him, turning around. "Likewise, I'm sure. Had much success, down there?"

Abraxas exhales explosively through his nose, and then shakes his head, "Never, but any day without loss of house points is a good one." He walks over and leans against the first row of desks. "How about yourself? Not bitten by any screaming plants or anything lately?"

"Oh, lets not jinx it, shall we?" she says, and threads her wand into her sleeve. "Besides, the little dears give lots of warning. And digits are cheap. But I did have a … memorable encounter with a bespelled biscuit." She rubs her jaw tellingly. "Are you going with the group to Hogsmeade after breakfast tomorrow?"

"Who would spell a biscuit?" Abraxas asks, with a snort, as he puts his books down and taps his fingers against the polished wood of the desktop. "I think I likely will, yes."

"Someone who thought the softening charm would counter-spell the hardening charm." To his admission of plans, she says, "Good! Good. All work and no play, what?" Hattie says, and slides onto a bench, to look smaller, boring. "Looking more forward to the lake visit, myself."

"Mmmhmm. Well, we get a nice view of the lakebottom from the Common Room." If anyone ever wondered what it was like living in Hogwarts' basement, there's the answer. "Isn't the softening charm for when someone falls?"

"Do you, really? I mean, I know about the placement, but obviously, I've only seen in drawings, and they make it look… dark. What with the depth, and all." Hattie nods to answer his question. "Or rather, when you know where someone is about to land. I think it must have been confusion on account of the naming. I'm not sure what you'd call it, though, to make it clearer."

"Yes. There are windows that look out on the bottom of the lake. It's rather homey, if you don't mind the damp now and again." Malfoy says, with a bit of a smirk. Besides, it's filled with people just like him, why wouldn't he like it? "The soft-landing charm, or a charm to make stale bread fresh? I think the latter would be more transfiguration than charm, wouldn't it? Though I suppose there is a charm to turn vinegar back to wine."

"Defermentation," Hattie, denizen of an almost literal ivory tower agrees. Possibly she is trying not to think of other things that like living in the dark and dank, like fungii and teenage boys. "You can use it on other things. Gets a bit dodgy, though, if you cast it on anything … meaty. Or so I hear."

"Mmhmm. I'm sure. Since meat isn't fermented in the first place. Anyway, it best be a long fall, if you plan on softening. So what happened when it was cast on a biscuit?" Asks Abraxas, still tapping away.

"Sausages are. Some, anyway." Wilkins says mildly, not looking up from the table. "Have you ever seen someone's jaw bounce like a jack-in-the-box? It was…" she bows her head to look back into her text, "-very unpleasant? Chewy, I expect. I think it was the sound that was the worst part."

"That sounds distinctly unpleasant." Abraxas comments, drolly. He shakes his head, though no doubt there are ideas going through that platinum-haired head of his. "Have you given any thought to what I proposed?"

Hattie says, "Of course."

"As I would expect of a Ravenclaw. But not exactly a gushing expression of support." Abraxas counters, with the usual little half-sneer that passes for a smile.

Hattie pages over, "You don't think I'd drag my self through the *mule-literature* strewn hallways to tell you, if I knew anything of significance to benefit me-you-but-mostly-me? Malfoy, you wound me deeply." Hattie exhales a little heavily.

"Oh, and do you have something to share?" Abraxas asks, with a tilt of his head, "A show of good faith, perhaps?"

Hattie says, "I HAD things to tell you. Truly interesting stories of the goings on in my aegis of interest. Much better than the little small-talk we've been having." Her eyes go cold as day-old tea. "But then my motivation, who can say why…" Hattie reaches into her satchel and lays out one of Eibon's pamphlets on the table between them, holding it down with her open palm, "-quite wavered. I suppose I MIGHT have become distressed that certain parties may not be entirely in earnest in their dealings with me."

"Who are you going to listen to, Eibon or me?" Abraxas says, with his best charming smile as he turns the pamphlet around with a single finger. "As I said, you have the choice as to which side of your heritage you choose to follow. Choose wisely, and the Wilkins can be pure again with good matches." Well, by the legal definition, though one supposes that Abraxas might secretly feel the mud never washes out. "Eibon can't even survive in his own common room, do you think he speaks for the Magijugend?"

Hattie lets her glare soften, and sink away. "I meant Naolan Eibon, not his … charming brother," she murmurs, but leans in. "Listen, Malfoy. I will get you your information. For my brother's sake, if not for my own." In reality, Hattie probably could not care less brother's ambitions in regard to Purist society. "But I'm not bringing you just idle gossip. I don't expect you'd care much unless it were the goods. And as with some potions, it takes time to wrangle things into the right place."

"Mmmhmm." Abraxas says, nodding along as he continues their little dance. "Well, fine. I'll stand you a butterbeer during the Hogsmeade weekend, and we can talk more about it then." He quirks a lip, "Ah, yes, the ambitious little brother. Well, at least he knows the winning side." And a goodly dollop of self-loathing.

Hattie swallows bitterness. "I think you'd better let me buy my own butterbeer," she says. "Having a pint with me in public… what would your people say?" And it does hurt her to say. More than she expected it to. But she directs her eyes back to her hands and her book, and she says, "I'll see you on in the village."

"My people will say exactly what I tell them to say." Abraxas bristles. Besides, only a few real snobs like him and the Blacks would take any notice of being in the company of a half-blood. "Or is it you who don't want to be seen with me?" He tilts his head, looking offended just a tad.

"I'm sitting here with you now, aren't I?" In spite of the threats and the insults, when all she wants to do is run and hide somewhere, where futures and honor and family are not at stake. She's still sitting. "I'll bring the chess board for the table. I haven't see you at club, anyway. You still play, don't you?"

"I do. I haven't heard of any meetings." Abraxas picks up his books, and gives her a more genuine smile - he's learning to pretend to be nice more often, now. Perhaps his cousins are teaching him something. "I'll see you there, then. Oh, and clean your shoes, Wilkins, there's already enough mud getting tracked through the halls around here." Oh, wait, he ruined it. "Ta." he says, and then turns to depart.

After he's left, Hattie puts her forehead on her hand, left to consider the "right side" and her muddy little shoes and where and how carefully they have to tread. She touches her wand to the center of the eugenics pamphlet, and then swishes and flicks over it with an angry little hiss: "Wingardium leviosa," intent at sending it into the bin.

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