|Scene Title||Motivation and Messages|
|Synopsis||Bean takes a few minutes to go over schoolwork in the common room before his next class. He leaves with vital information and a bit more 'homework'.|
|Location||Slytherin Common Room|
|Date||October 09, 1995|
|Watch For||Dumas, foreshadowing and snake-talk|
|Logger||The BAD WOLF herself|
Lunch is over, and Julian has a few free minutes before he has to head out to his next class. It's Charms, so he's timing things just right. He doesn't like to be late to Flitwick's class, but doesn't want to get there too early, either. He sits down, and grabs his Charms book, going over the homework reading one last time, hoping to catch the small nuances of the text, wand tapping idly on his knee.
He's not alone. There's a portrait above the fireplace that sometimes has a very stern, silent man standing in it and sometimes has a rather large black snake. Today it has neither. Today, looking down on the younger boy she'd once leant a book to, is a witch that would be wholly familiar to Bean - though it may take a moment. Despite the familiar black school robes - trimmed in silver and green - and the familiar rumpled uniform on the familiar shape with the familiar face, this girl is for a moment a stranger. It's only when shadowed brown eyes drop to try and catch his gaze and the soft smile tugs upwards at her lips that the true identity shows through what had been a cold and closed off expression. "Hullo, Bean," she greets him softly, not looking to draw attention beyond his. "It's been a while, eh?"
Julian is startled, a little, but has learned to corral the startle instinct and master it completely. "Siobhan. It really has. You're … dead?" That's the conclusion he's learned to draw. He's got the empirical evidence: Sio in a painting. "But that's not your picture." And he's got other evidence. Sio's not supposed to be in that painting. Charms, both book and class are instantly forgotten. "What's wrong?" He stands, moving to see her picture, to try to see the expression on her painted face. "Something happened?" Obviously. He's still new enough to the world of magic that the impossible happens every day. He frowns. "Wait." He's thinking. And looking off toward the stone-wall-entrance as second nature. Making sure they stay alone, possibly.
Siobhan is, for the moment, silent. She watches the expressions flit across Julian's face and through his voice. She lets her gaze stray across the now-forgotten classwork and feels a pang of pain in her chest that is reflected for just an instant on her face. Nostalgia is a cruel and heartless muse. "No, it's not my picture." She lets the other statements fall unanswered where they will. He is a snake; if he's as capable as she suspects, he can connect the other dots himself. She gives him another moment of silence when he looks to the stone wall that serves as their common room entrance. A long, lean white shape slithers from her collar and drapes itself around her neck and shoulders, content with the two fingers stroking over its head. Funny how the seraph seems to have grown, despite the complete lack of change in Siobhan's physical appearance. Fingertips stray over a smudge the color of dried blood on her collar and then fall away from petting her companion. She's given him long enough. "Many things have happened," she responds with yet another cryptic answer, but soon a touch of her old grin warms her face. "And I need your help, if you're willing." And discreet, but she leaves that unspoken.
It takes a few minutes, but his mind starts to wrap around something. "Can they do that? Can someone put another person in a painting?" The academic part of his mind is intrigued. The survivalist is worried, slightly, but the snake in him (which is most of his psyche) perks up at the question. "Yeah. If it's somethin' I can do without getting into too much trouble, I'll do it." What 'too much trouble' is seems to be flexible, luckily for her. "What do you need me to do?" He hears something and turns, watching a couple other students heading out to classes. He crosses his arms, adopting a stance of relaxed boredom until they're clear, then he turns toward the portrait eagerly again. "I'm on the job." He nods sharply. "Well, if I can." There's always a qualifier.
Something rather like approval lights her warm, brown eyes. Siobhan always knew this child was far more intelligent than he liked to let on. She inclines her head ever so slightly, her jaw clenched as she takes a moment to … rearrange her thoughts. His agreement is a true relief, but it's that ever-present qualifier that brings out her grin in - not full force, but stronger. For just this moment, even her eyes seem to shed their shadows. "A few things, actually." None of which should get him into trouble at all, so long as he's careful. "How good are you with rumors?" Ah, gossip; the fuel on which Hogwarts' conversations thrive.
"Are you kidding?" Is this a trick question? "Did you hear about the one flying around about Mrs. Norris and the funny cheese?" The little Snake beams as he as much as claims a rumor that flew around the school for several weeks. "What kind of rumors, though?" Because that will decide who to tell first. Bean shrugs. "It's a gift." He giggles, for some reason invigorated by the challenge she presents.
The sound of his laughter mixed with his eagerness sparks something in Siobhan that seems to add strength to her stance and a kinetic energy to her words that was missing before. "I did hear, yeah." Her smile turns just a bit wicked. "Did they ever find the culprits?" The next question sobers her, though it doesn't drain the little spark that's started to reanimate her. "Your last Defense professor was carted out of here by a Healer, back to the mental ward of St. Mungo's." She doesn't make it a question, but she also doesn't say how she knows this for sure. "Death Eaters entered the castle undetected this past June, bringing in a dead child and cursing another student." Another non-question, but softly spoken. "Voldemort has returned and is gathering his strength." She lets silence fall for these things to settle into the space between them. "These are all three facts, and yet no one speaks of them. No one talks about them. No one asks about them." And there are some important questions posed by these three facts, but she doesn't insult his intelligence by naming them. "And they need to be talked about. If the students are to be safe at all - " from both sides, she doesn't add, " - or even have a chance of safety, then they need to know what they're up against." It's a familiar mantra - the reason for last year's Moody's Army, in fact - but she watches his reaction carefully, all the same.
As his upperclassman mentions the rumors she wants spread, Julian's stance changes entirely. His expression tightens, lips set in a thin line. "I think it was those Lion twins, actually." He dismisses the cheese incident with ease, now that there are 'real things' at stake. Snakes are extremely good at appraisal, and he's had more time in type than most. At least with this skill. He strokes his chin like an old man, considering how best to spread these rumors. "We've got someone filling in from time to time for DA, but she just has us read the books." He frowns. "It's next to useless. But there are warm arses in the seats, so no one complains. But, yes, Professor Mac was taken outta here by the man in the white suit." It's a muggle expression, and he's not sure she'll catch it, but as the bulk of his brainpower is focused on this problem, he cares little. "It's like they want us to forget the world entirely while we're here. Which is a lovely thought…" Sarcasm, thy name is Legume. "But completely impractical." He agrees wholeheartedly with her. "That was the Alumni Weekend, right?" The dead child and the cursed student. Two plus two still equal … "You're the student. Not dead then. Cursed. Wow. And since you're still there, it must be something that isn't that common." He nods. "I think I can manage this. Just be annoying little Bean. Nobody notices the little one too much. Just forget about it, kid…" He mimics some adult. "But it gets them to thinking." Something strikes the little Snake. "What else? You said 'several things'?"
"It makes you wonder just why the Headmaster had him teaching in the first place, doesn't it?" Siobhan keeps her voice innocent, but employs Bean's own tactic. Now that question - one she specifically wants asked - is in his head. His conclusions about 'lovely thoughts' so entirely mirror her own that Siobhan has to take a second and make sure it was him that said it. However… "Books? Books?" Her expression goes through a range of confusion, shock and then a rather terrifying anger. "They truly are useless." And when she spits out that last word, she sounds strangely like their former Head of House. Sio winces when he puts her own situation together. "Don't spread that one around." About her being cursed into a painting. "My l - " She almost slips and says life. "My existence depends on that staying a secret for now." He can be creative with the curse, twist the details or just leave them out. He's smart enough. "Two more. The first is easy enough." At least it should be, she hopes. "Start branching out into the other houses, into the students from Beauxbatons. Make allies, even if you can't make friends." Though friends would be ideal. "The other three houses will band together easily enough, but if the snakes are left out in the cold…" She trails off. Bean's been around long enough to know that an abandoned snake will find another source of power - something else to keep it safe. "Make those connections. Tell Rene to do the same. The older years probably won't listen, but the firsties might. Whatever you have to do, make those connections. Can you?"
"Mum's the word." Julian can do that. "I will not mention that." He crosses his heart with his wand, showing one possible history for the movement. He understands the importance of survival, and can be counted on to assist in hers, just as she's assisted in his from time to time. "You sound like Snape there." He snorts, glancing around again, making sure he isn't heard. "I can try. I know we do spend time with some of the other houses. I can play innocent for them, too." The small boy act works very well. He nods. "And the last?" This one might be the deal-breaker, so to speak, so he waits expectantly.
"Thank you, Bean." And there's heartfelt gratitude in those few simple words. Siobhan may have gotten a little more paranoid about keeping certain things closer to the chest, but that doesn't stop her People Sense from knowing when emotions are needed - in this case, the kid's willing to keep her alive with his silence; that earns some serious gratitude, right there. And the last… "I…" There's a pain in her eyes that someone without the close ties of family would be hard-pressed to understand. "I need you to write a letter to my brother, Jack." The cursebreaker who lives and works out of the offices in Hogsmeade. "I need him to ask Da if they can pull strings to get a Ministry official to administer NEWTs." Since, you know, she didn't get the chance to take hers. "Whatever else you say - and however you say it - " She's leaving it up to his discretion, and if that doesn't spell trust… " - you must tell him these exact words." Sio pauses there, giving him a chance to grab a quill and parchment if he needs them. "Even winter's kiss has no power here. The sum of all human wisdom will soon see blackened petals bloom again; Wait and Hope."
Light dawns in little dark eyes. He catches the idea. "Gotcha." He sits down and scribbles the saying out exactly, repeating it to her verbatim. This little one's mind is a very deep and intense place. "That sounds very familiar." Where he might have heard Dumas on the street, Merlin only knows, but it appears he has done. "Okay. So. To summarize, Spread rumors, which we do anyway." Finger ticked. "Spend time with other houses, showing them that we're not complete arses. Which we do anyway." Another finger ticked. "And inform your brother that you aren't quite as dead as rumors appear, but not in a way that anyone else would understand." Third finger ticked. "That about right?" He glances around again, keeping aware of his surroundings. "And also, mention that you need to get your tests, and how to do that." He nods sharply, scribbling it down on the paper. "I can do that, Noble." He stands smartly, saluting sharply, mainly for effect. "Yes, Ma'am!" It's meant to cheer her up. "Hate to take orders and run, Siobhan, but I've got to get to class…" He sighs. "I'druther talk to you, but needs must." He gives a small smile, and goes to gather up his things.
Siobhan rolls her eyes good-naturedly at his mentions of 'we do anyway' and lifts her hand to ruffle his hair. The motion is aborted halfway as she remembers that she can't. She hasn't forgotten something so basic in weeks, so the fact that she does now is a bit like a punch to the gut. The little white serpent lifts its head to rub against the side of her neck in a silent show of affection. The salute and the saucy reply pull Sio from the dark places her mind had started to wander and she makes a shooing motion with her hands. "Go on, go on. Can't lose any points over tardiness." She's teasing, obviously. "You'll see me again," she assures him before tacking on a cryptic, "Sooner than you might think." She watches him gather up his things, but a sound off to her side has her head jerking to the left, off to somewhere beyond the frame. "Use Henrik." Her owl, who should still be in the Owlery. "He's not very nice, but he'll make sure no one but Jack gets it." Hands that look oddly mis-shapen - are her fingers stunted? Or missing? - she tucks the little serpent back into the neck of her robes. "And if something comes up and you need me…" She doesn't sound like she would be surprised. Circumstances of late have been dire enough that not much is out of the question anymore. "The man in this painting knows how to find me." Just because 'Zar doesn't speak doesn't mean he won't listen. She nods and turns to go, ducking back into the frame just long enough to toss him a wink and a grin that would be playful if it weren't so … predatory. "And you'll find I can move very quickly." And leaving him to mull over that little nugget of information on his way to class, she is gone; as if she never had been in the first place.
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