(1941-07-05) The Meaning of Friendship
Details for The Meaning of Friendship
Summary: Samira and Anson discuss the meaning of friendship. And a possibly psychopathic werewolf.
Date: Tuesday, July 5, 1941
Location: St. Mungo's
Plot: Zoanthropy Epidemic

No curtains offer seclusion for the witches and wizards filling the Magical Bugs ward. Instead, those showing a broad range of symptoms from bright green spots to uncontrollable yodeling, are kept behind glass walls that turn smoky grey to provide privacy during a healer's visit. These days, the ward has been filling up with witches and wizards with goldfish gills, frog-eyes, and hawk talons. And, tucked into a quiet corner of the ward, one young girl sits with massive kitten ears.

The cat ears sprouting out of Samira's dark curls are enormous - a light, sandy color whit white tufts of fur sticking out. The other lingering traces of her sand cat transformation are the black markings around her eyes - a bit like an Egyptian queen of ancient times may have warn. And the short sleeves of her St. Mungo's nightgown show the pair of stripes encircling each of her arms, just above her elbows.

Samira rests propped up on a few pillows, reading a rather old looking book. The text appears to be just a series of elegant ribbon squiggles - Arabic to the trained eye. Beside her bed is a massive bouquet of flowers. The armchair is currently unoccupied.

Anson Abbott's golden eyes are unchanged by the amount of alcohol he consumed last night, but the impressions are evident elsewhere. His normally-handsome features are drawn and haggard, and his brow is knit, as though fighting off the constant throbbing of a headache. His tufty cerulean hair is slicked back off his forehead, not tumbling forward as it usually does. A Bubble-Head charm surrounds his face as he walks in, causing light to distort oddly across his features. He takes a moment, in the doorway, to take in the various afflicted Witches and Wizards throughout the room.

Spotting Samira in the corner, he walks that way, absently pausing to rest his hand atop a surgical tray for a moment as he pauses to swallow hard. He continues on, settling down into a chair alongside Samira. Taking in her various affects — starting with the eyes and working his way down — the cobalt-haired boy grins wryly. "Hello, Samira. I hear you had a tough few days of it."

Samira's massive kitten ear flickers. Sharply, she lifts pale green eyes and fixates on Anson's iridescent feather-hair. She stares at it, fascinated, until he at last settles in the armchair at her bedside. Closing her book, she offers a small nod. "I'm recovering. Thank you," she says in a soft, quiet tone. She pauses, studying him with her unblinking stare. "How are you, Anson?"

"Hungover," is Anson's too-sharp answer. He takes in a breath, looking a bit queasy for a moment before continuing. "Sorry. A bit hungover." His voice is milder this time. He looks over at the book for a moment, tilting his head to one side. "What's that you're reading?" Anson is trying for a conversational tone, but the attempt is strained, lacking his usual charm and confidence. His golden eyes blink rapidly a few times, and he reaches up to rub at his forehead, just barely stopping himself before he penetrates the Bubble-Head charm.

"It's from my family. A gift," responds Samira. Though she answers, and doesn't try to hide the book's cover, she doesn't reveal the book's true nature. Instead, she studies him. "I didn't know you'd been affected as well. Has it been hard?"

Another blink of the golden eyes. "Hard? I suppose. There's a lot to get used to. But the hair is lovely, so there's that." Again, Anson reaches up, as though to run a hand through his hair. Again, he stops himself just in time, frowning a bit. His gaze flits again toward the book, but he seems to dismiss it for now. "I hear you ran afoul of the Hit Wizards. You rebel."

A slight ghost of a smile quirks on Samira's lips. "No. I was here when I changed. It was the one chasing me who ran so afoul. The stunning spells were meant for another." Averting her gaze, she takes up the cup of tea on her bedside table which had been hidden by the massive arrangement of roses.

The good humor — always strained — drops away from Anson's features. "Yeh. I heard that too." The words are curt, and he looks away from Samira, glaring over at the roses. "Who sent those?" Again, he tries to modulate his tone. And again, he fails. The Gryffindor is in a sullen mood, it seems. He closes his golden eyes and, when he speaks again, his tone is somewhat more pleasant. "Quite a few roses. You've an admirer."

Taking a sip of tea, Samira watches him from over the rim. "Mm. Another gift." She tilts her head, staring at him. "It is lovely hair. You have been fortunate in your lingering effects." She brings the tea to her lips once more, but then pauses. "Are the effects so hard that you've taken to drink?"

"No." Anson doesn't elaborate, looking away from Samira. He clears his throat quietly, screwing his mouth up to one side before he speaks. "You were with Oberon Lestrange, right? He's the wolf everyone's so scared of." Sardonicism — and something very close to hatred — drips in his voice. Anson closes his eyes for another long moment, grimacing.

Samira blinks at last when Anson mentions Oberon Lestrange. Her gaze averts, for but a moment, before fixating on Anson once more. "Hasn't been caught yet. But he should no longer be a wolf, yes?" Though she doesn't outright confirm it, she speaks as if he already knows the truth.

A hint of self-loathing in his voice, Anson says "It's my fault he turned. I pecked him." He looks over at Samira for a few moments, guilt evident on his features. "I'm sorry about what happened to you. That's my fault as well, I suppose." He reaches up as though to rub at his face, then stops himself. He's having a hard time stopping himself. "If I'd thought about it, Id've known it was contagious."

Samira studies him a moment before slowly shaking her head. She pauses, closing her eyes and tightening her hands into fists until the dizziness passes. "Not your fault." She opens her eyes, fixating now on his luminous, golden eyes. "The healers didn't even know. And if it hadn't been a- a wolf… it could have been another creature." Though she falters slightly, she maintains her composure well.

"Something worse, probably," murmurs Anson. He interlaces his fingers on his knee, frowning over at Samira. "Something like a basilisk, with those eyes of his." He looks down for a moment, then shakes his head. "Nah, I'm sorry. I know the two of you are good friends. I just can't like the lad, myself." His expression grows rather wry. "And I won't forgive myself if someone did get seriously hurt because of what I did."

"I haven't heard of anyone else hurt," assures Samira in a quiet tone. Gaze lowered, she sips the last of her tea before simply setting down the empty cup on the bed next to her blanket-covered thigh. "I'd rather not speak of it further," she adds, closing her eyes and resting her head back on her pillows. But she doesn't necessarily want him to leave. She adds, "You are the first Gryffindor to visit me. Not counting healers." She peeks over at him. "I thought you didn't care for Slytherins."

"People keep saying that. I hate Antonin Dolohov, I hate Oberon Lestrange, and I hate bullies. Doesn't mean I hate every single Slytherin." Anson sighs and shrugs, leaning back in his seat. "I was in the recovery ward when you were brought in. I knew you were here. My guess is, most of the others haven't even heard." The golden-eyed boy blinks. "But I came, mostly, to ask you a question. Are the two of us friends, Samira?"

"It depends on what that would mean to you. It can mean such different things. Tell me what it means to you, Anson," says Samira in a faint, quiet tone. But despite the exhaustion in her voice, her eyes shine with keen attention as she studies him.

It's impossible to tell whether Anson is staring at Samira, or at something past her shoulder, but he doesn't blink away from the attention. "Friendship is simple," he says after a pause. "I trust my friends. I help my friends." Another pause, fraught with significance. "And they trust me. And they help me." He spreads his hands slightly, palms-up. "Does that sound about right?"

"Yes. Then… I don't suppose we are, if that's what it means to you. Do you trust me? Truly? And I can't help you. Can't. How would I?" Staring at him with those unblinking, pale-green eyes, she smiles softly. "But it was nice to see you, Anson. I'm sorry if I didn't give the answer you were hoping for."

"You'd tell me the sort of boy Oberon Lestrange really is. Why he'd slice me to the bone of my wing." He nods over to the roses. "And then send you flowers." It's an intuition, a guess. "Do I trust you? Enough to say this, and risk it getting back to him." Anson stares at Samira for a moment as he rises. "I haven't forgotten. He's become my newest project." A pause, and his stony expression softens somewhat. "Be careful of him, Samira. Am I the only one who sees that he's a monster?"

Samira coughs - or was it a faint, single laugh? Eyes closed, she lifts her brows in a serene expression of relaxation. None outside the glass room would be able to tell they were having anything more than a pleasant conversation. "I need tell you nothing." She peeks over at him. "I am his friend. Though not as you'd define it." She pauses, studying him. "He should /not/ be your project." She closes her hands tight as they rest upon the book in her lap.

"I'm sorry to hear you say that, Samira." Anson rises to his feet, rolling his neck from side to side, exhaling. "With that sort of friend, you must be pretty lonely." He glances out the glass panels, taking in the room. "I'll leave you be. Tell your friend I said hello." He moves toward the glass panels, pausing before exiting the small recovery cell. "Samira? When you change your mind and decide you're quits with him, I'll help you. You only need to ask." The Gryffindor ignores her warning — or at least pretends to. "I hope you feel better soon."

Samira lets her eyes drift shut, maintaining a calm expression of serene detachment. But she opens a fist to wave her fingers at the departing Gryffindor. "Thank you, Anson. It was nice to see you," she says in a faint, but pleasant tone.

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