1995-12-03: One Turn Widdershins

Participants:

Cianan_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif Avery_icon.gif Merrick_icon.gif

Scene Title One Turn Widdershins
Synopsis Siobhan takes some free time to brew. First Cianan, then Merrick and Avery interrupt the silence.
Location Potions Classroom
Date December 03, 1995
Watch For Cianan's interrogation techniques, a sore leg made better and twin-cant.
Logger I am the Bad Wolf

Sunday afternoon is cold, a steady snow falling to cover the ground in a blanket of crisp white. Most of the castle's occupants are either outside enjoying the first snow of the season or holed up near a blazing fire with something hot to drink. One of the few exceptions is the young Defense professor, who has commandeered the empty Potions classroom. The benches and tables have been pushed back to the rear half of the room, leaving a larger space at the front. Currently that space is occupied by three very large cauldrons, all of them set to simmer slowly over charmed flames. At a larger table than is used for class, Siobhan - in jeans and a soft-looking crimson jumper - is dicing dried ginger and humming quietly to herself. Draped over the desk set aside for the professor is a napping Q, looking a bit worse for wear.

Frolicking in the snow has never quite been Cianan's cup of tea. That, and the fact that he pulled a muscle during his morning run assures that the young man stays inside during the rest day - wandering the halls with a mug of hot drink in his hand. He pokes his head into the potions classroom on the chance that his sneaky cousin might be there. And lo, she is there! "Afternoon, clothes' snatcher. How's things?" With his leaning against the entrance, it'd be hard to tell just yet that he's favoring one leg over the other.

Startled, Siobhan looks up sharply, her knife held aloft mid-dice. "Siobhan the Clothes Snatcher…" She frowns as if mulling that over, but since it's Cianan, she relaxes enough to resume chopping while she works. "Dunno if I like that. Not a good ring to it. Now 'Sio the Snatcher' I could get behind. Very 'Jack the Ripper'." Once the ginger is diced to her satisfaction, Siobhan takes the bit off the very end and pops it into her mouth, sucking on it to test the flavor. "Mmm, perfect." Because rather than go with what the textbook says to check for with regard to ingredients, Sio has her own … practical ways. "I am brewing," she offers - redundantly, since it's rather obvious what she's up to. "And you?" The diced garlic gets scooped up in two handfuls which she gradually drops into the middle cauldron before stirring four turns clockwise, one-half turn widdershins.

"Think you might have to kidnap more then clothing to qualify as Sio the Snatcher though." Cianan offers, wrinkling his nose at the way she just pops a piece of ginger in her mouth to suck on. "I'm… done with my homework. Taking a break before I poke around in the library." See, a true Ravenclaw right here. "Brewing standard potions that need stocking, or something a little more fun?" He's a nosy kid yes, and he inches into the classroom to head for a stool he can sit on.

Going from left to right, Siobhan points at each of the three large cauldrons in turn. "General healing brew - works on most anything up to a moderate injury so long as you take it within half an hour. Then Calming Draught and Pepper-Up." Sio is sneaky; she answers the question without actually answering the question. When the middle cauldron turns a satisfying shade of lavender, she grins in triumph and returns to her work-table. Reaching for her set of silver scales, she measures out seven measuring-stones' worth of scarab beetles into a ceramic bowl and uses a pestle of the same material to begin grinding them into a rough powder, watching him move into the classroom. The grinding makes a rather nauseating crunching sound. "A break, huh?" Crunch, crunch. "Bit far from the tower for a break isn't it?" Her gaze narrows on his slightly favored gait, but she doesn't remark on it just yet.

Cianan is learning though! "Yeah, that tells me what you're brewing but it didn't answer my question." he points out dryly, leaning against the table when he's taken a seat on the stool; arms folded across each other lightly. "That sound is enough to make someone hurl their breakfast." He sips at his nice, safe, hot cocoa for a minute while contemplating a suitable true but equally vague response to her last question. "Uh-huh. But the extra walking… it's like exercise, right?" He's even got a dimpled smile to feign innocence with. "Heard there was some older guy hangin' round who has no memory."

Siobhan makes a non-committal noise. Just because he caught on doesn't mean she has to explain herself. Good effort, needs time to hone interrogation skill set. She can see the grade, now. Bright red ink and everything. "Sure, but limping like that's a good way to exercise one leg. What do you plan on doing about the other one, hmm?" Crunch crunch crunch. Apparently the noise does nothing at all to Siobhan. Or that might have been the cause for the earlier humming. "There is a patient recovering from a curse that comes in for assistance a couple times a week, yes. His name is Mister Peate."

Progress. Cianan knows that she knows that he knows she didn't answer his question. And that, for now, is totally good enough. He definitely needs more practice! "The other'll work itself out. Just a pulled muscle." He acknowledges the limp, making it sound like totally no big deal. "A curse? What kind of curse?" Whatever the guy's name is, Kee doesn't seem to want to know. Specifics scare him, lest they trigger something. He prefers the nice, safe generalizations for the win thanks!

"The kind he needs help to recover from." Obviously. With the beatles crushed into a rough powder, Siobhan lays the pestle on the table and moves to the far left cauldron, sprinkling in four generous pinches of the stuff and then sidling to the far right cauldron. "You ran with a pulled muscle?" Three pinches are sprinkled into that cauldron and she slides back over to the first, repeating both processes until the bowl is empty. "Or did you pull it today?" A wave of her small willow wand raises the flame on the left and middle cauldrons before she stows it back in its holster and steps around the table to come have a closer look. "Which part of the leg?"

"Thank you, Captain Obvious. Not sure what he'd wanna be doing hanging around the school if he didn't need to." The next look Cianan gives Siobhan clearly suggests he thinks she's a little touched in the head for the idea he would have run with a pulled muscle. "If you won't let me wear old clothes…" beat, "… I'd have to be an idiot to think you'd let me run with a pulled muscle." he points out, tapping fingers idly against the mug. "Happened later on when I was stretching to go out for a second run." he admits, gesturing towards the back of his calf when she asks where and is close enough to see.

Touching her forehead and dropping into a surprisingly elegant sweeping curtsey, Siobhan rises from it grinning at her cousin rather like the Cheshire Cat. "You're more than welcome, my dear sir." Cheeky - it runs in the family. "Now, let me have a look at this leg of yours." There's a strange wince when he gestures to his calf, but Siobhan shows no hesitance in lifting the offending limb. Gentle fingers lightly prod the muscle through the fabric of his trousers, waiting for the twitch or hiss of breath that indicates pain. "You learn surprisinly fast." Frowning, she grabs his shoe and gently rotates the ankle, checking for a fracture just in case. "It's a family thing. We're worse than a wolf pack or a lion pride. We bicker and scrap among ourselves, sure, but we take care of our own." Which is probably where she learned her whole 'Mother Wolf' thing.

Doing the mature thing in response, Cianan resorts to sticking out his tongue when Siochan gives her own cheeky reply. "You've hurt your calf before, eh?" he guesses, expression tightening with pain when she pokes the muscle and rotates the ankle. Even done gently that shit hurts, yo! "They're all going to descend on me like a pack of rabid hyenas that like to hug and cheek-pinch when I have to meet them all… aren't they." The downside of family. "Owowowow, careful with that ankle. So I was wondering; how well will meditation help me with my uhm, you know, seeing shit."

When Cianan's seemingly insatiable curiosity strikes again - this time in the form of a question that strikes too close to the truth for comfort - Siobhan's expression tightens and closes off. "You could say that." After all, her calf did get hurt! She's … just not the one that did it. When he winces and protests, she stills her motion, instead sliding both palms up underneath the fabric to press them flat against the skin, wrapping around the leg. "You do know what my patronus is, don't you?" she asks dryly, her lips twitching even as she closes her eyes in concentration. Just a single sliver of a thread is all she needs; tugged from her inner sun, she splits it, feeding the magic down both arms with the strongly-enforced intent of Heal. And suddenly, it's as if liquid sunshine somehow manages to creep inside the bone of his leg, that gentle warmth relaxing muscles and tendons even as it repairs them. Moving from the bone outward, that heat slowly pushes outward until it fades away as a mere tingling heat on the skin. Mission accomplished, Siobhan pulls her hands away, patting his shoe once before returning to babysitting her cauldrons. "I … really don't know, Kee." She frowns, stirring the right-hand cauldron as she thinks. "Divination really, really isn't my strong point."

Cianan just grins impishly when asked if he knows Sio's patronus, not actually answering her question because he's focused on how she's doing magic without her wand. "How're you.. oh hey, now that is really cool. Well, warm. But you know what I'm getting at. That's not the usual healing magic is it?" Once her hands have drawn away, he swings the leg freely back and forth testingly. And with a bright grin. "Nice." is admitted, not even grudgingly. "I guess I'm going to have to ask Professor Trelawney aren't I." What kid in his position would be comfortable with that, really. How about.. none? "Maybe there'll be something in the library I can use to help."

"Not really, no." Siobhan makes six turns widdershins on the left-hand cauldron and then nods, satisfied with the lime-green shade. A wave of her hand and all three flames snuff out. Only after what looks like it was probably a thoughtless motion does Siobhan remember that she should have had her wand out for that. Oh, well. Maybe he's too busy testing his leg to notice. Right, she should be so lucky. "I'm not sure Trelawney would know any more about it than I do." Careful not to speak ill of any colleague, Siobhan is nevertheless unable to suppress the disdainful sneer that curls her lip. "But it's like Jethro says." She leans back against the edge of her work table, watching the three cauldrons cool. "Everything's tied in together in the body. It's all connected. So when your body is fit, your magic improves - when your mind is organized, your magic improves. Since being able to See is a kind of magic, it makes sense it would follow the rest of the pattern."

Cianan gawks a little, cause yeah he totally saw that flame extinguish without a wand. "Not many people can do that, can they." He doesn't specify what, but he's pretty sure she'll know what he's talking about. When she says the Divination teacher probably doesn't know any more then she does about it though.. that kind of cracks him up. First, he snorts a bit, and then his lips twitch. And then… he laughs. Loudly. "Organized mind, better mind magic. And this Jethro… he's going to help whip us in to decent shape, I take it." While Sio works on meditation and organizing of the mind. And like any teen, he's kind of moody at times, so it shouldn't be a surprise when he goes from all laughing to all serious and thoughtful.

Siobhan takes a moment, giving Cianan a long, hard stare. "As far as I know, only Professor Snape, Professor Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort and myself," she agrees with him quietly. Her tone is grave enough - solemn enough - that it's clear she is trusting him to come to the appropriate conclusion and keep that information to himself. Call it a leap of faith. The laughter catches her off guard, but she can't really dispute it. Trelawney is … well, it's rather an old school joke by this point. "Oh, that was stupid of me. Sorry, Kee. Jethro is Special Agent Gardener." The American guy who leads their morning workouts and whose hobby is seeing how many times per spar he can land Siobhan on her arse. That guy.

Cianan meets the gaze of his cousin and just nods. Enough to indicate that he understands. And, despite repeating gossip at her to find out if it's true… understands how to be discrete. He says nothing more about it. "Oh yeah, that guy. I know who you mean. He seems… military enough to mean it." And to knock poor Sio on her arse a few times to make a point, which Kee fortunately keeps to himself. "I'm just looking forward to not feeling like I've been trampled every morning. Anyway…" he tilts his empty cup to indicate a lack of drink. "I'm going to wander back toward the great hall. Thanks for the leg. And, .." he shrugs, plucking at his jumper. He'll never say that one out loud. But it is all much warmer and more comfortable.

How can Cianan possibly leave the classroom when there's suddenly a blockade? It's roughly shaped like two halves of a whole, neatly colored in alternating red and green (and, by far the largest percentage, grey). Merrick hesitates, waiting for Avery for a moment, but he was the one who actually needed to talk to Professor Noble… So he's the one to clear his throat first. "Ah, S— Professor Noble?" Not just a student anymore, he chides himself. Cianan gets a nod of recognition.

Siobhan frowns. "Try meditating every night right before bed. If that helps, I may have an idea." But, like most snakes, she keeps her cards close to the chest until it's time to play that hand. She watches him stand and pluck at the shirt. There's a hint of smugness to her expression, but it is more than outweighed by affection. "You're welcome." He doesn't need to say it; Siobhan's a Slytherin. Speaking of snakes… "Hey Merrick, Avery." Over several years of association, Siobhan's come to terms with this particular lion, but after the past few weeks, even Avery gets a wary sort of look. "What do you need?"

"I have no idea, Professor," says Avery politely, giving Siobhan an easy sort of smile. "I was just walking with Merrick and he said he needed to be in here, and so I came along. I don't, actually, know what it is he wants. Forgot to ask." Or forgot to care: she doesn't seem to be bothered even slightly, or irritable, or even really affected. She's just sort of — there. Letting Merrick take the lead for once.

Cianan nearly runs in to Merrick on his ostensible way out, and comes to an abrupt halt; a moment of stark fear on his face before he flickers back to calm neutrality. Odd, that. "Sounds reasonable, Professor. I'll let you know how well it works." he promises, switching to the formal in front of other students. "H-hello Merrick. Avery." he offers, another step or so away from the door.

Oh, hey. This is cool! The Ravenclaw is afraid of him! But Merrick is too well-trained to let his glee show on his face, at least. If he walks slightly further into the room, Avery's bound to follow, and if he walks on this exact path, that's carefully calculated to leave her standing next to Cianan, ostensibly pinning him into place, while he's close enough to address Siobhan. Professor Noble. Right. "Ah —" Merrick drops his voice, along with his nerve, and barely manages to catch the latter. "I was wondering, Professor." A vast amount of effort is required to keep his voice from squeaking — not because of the subject, but because he's standing to close to her. "I've seen you, and a number of students, in the mornings, running around outside the castle — why?"

Avery gets a strange, half-concerned-half-suspicious look. Siobhan is not used to a passive Avery. She glances at Cianan's aborted escape attempt and almost intervenes, but once Merrick's question is out, she quickly reconsiders. Tapping her wrist against her hip, she flicks the willow wand that drops into her palm. The door swings shut behind the two students, sealing all three of them in. A few more flicks place silencing and perimeter charms on the doorway; one final flick leaves a trace of sunshine as a signature - in case Professor Snape happens to wonder why the door to hs classroom is shut, silenced and mildly warded. "I suppose you've seen us because you've actually paid some attention to the world around you." Siobhan, deliberately obtuse. Considering that she shut and warded the door first, there must be a point. Brown eyes raise to meet Cianan's and then flick towards the door in a silent Stand guard order. Nonchalantly, Siobhan then tucks her wand back in its holster and starts decanting the potions into small glass vials - approximately one dose each. "Why do you watch us?"

Okay, Merrick, that's admittedly kind of creepy. Avery has to agree with Siobhan's wariness here, although it has nothing to do with her being passive. She's only being seemingly passive because she's tired and has nothing to contribute — as soon as Merrick makes that comment, Avery's calm detatchedness is gone. "Oh, Mer, seriously? You're spying on people now? Is that why we're here? You know that's creepy, right? Don't do that anymore." Not like she's waiting for the answer to scold him, but she does seem to be waiting for the answer period — she's back to looking at Sio.

Cianan casts a half-glare at Merrick when he is boxed in like that. But hey, he's standing beside a cute girl now and what's not to like about that? The question he asks though - that makes his eyes widen a little, concern shading his expression when the door is magically shut and locked tighter then Fort Knox. Dutifully, he nods back ever so slightly at Sio and leans against the door frame quietly. For a moment. Avery's observation on her brother's creepiness causes a sound suspiciously like a choked back laugh. "Yeah, Mer, it's creepy." he adds.

Cue Merrick spluttering, and casting a tremendously betrayed look at Avery, before spinning back to Siobhan, blustering. "I — I am not watching you! I have observed you! It's not like the lot of you are going around hiding, is it! And just because I like to drink my morning tea outside where I can enjoy it — !" So maybe he spends a little bit too much time around Gryffindors, or at least his sister; maybe it's that he's fifteen. He takes a deep breath and reminds himself he's Slytherin, and tones it down, pulling himself up to his full (incredibly short) height. "Do you answer me?"

With a single nod of approval to Cianan, Siobhan shifts her attention first to Avery - at whose comments she snickers - and then to Merrick. At first, she seems simply content to enjoy his discomfort, to bask in his splutterings - after all, she has vials to fill. However, when he draws himself inward and looks to be shifting toward the dignity demanded of his House, she gives him her serious regard. Unfortunately, he errs too far to the side of arrogance and something swift and dangerous flashes behind Siobhan's normally warm brown eyes. "There are two men in this world to whom I answer. You are not one of them." Her stance shifts and she watches him like the cobra watches the hare. It's an expression the older snakes - those who've lived with Siobhan and with her particular method of keeping order within the Nest - know very well. It screams DANGER WILL ROBINSON better than any klaxon siren.

"Maybe you should just always have tea with me now," Avery tells Merrick in a mildly comforting tone. "Because I think you're annoying the professor and that is really not the best way for this day to be going. Ask something actually related to class or we can leave, okay?" She's patting him on the shoulder, though — there's a smile spared for Cianan and an awkward apologetic one for Siobhan, too, before her attention is back on Merrick.

"Uhm, not to butt in or anything here…" But he totally is, apparently, seeing clearly that Siobhan is about to rip Merrick to shreds if he makes one more wrong move. "But maybe you should try something like, 'I'm just curious. It seems an odd group. Maybe it's something I'd like to join…'" Cianan points out in an even tone, quite unable to stifle a smile when Avery turns one his way. "Aren't you curious, Avery?" he wonders then, fixing his gaze on her.

The best way of describing Merrick's expression, after Siobhan snaps at him, is 'meep' — but for those who don't follow, he's as transfixed as the deer about to be run over by the lorry bearing explosive rounds. And then swallows, once, and draws strength from his twin, and doesn't spare a glance for Cianan — nothing personal — but he doesn't back down, for all that he looks a hell of a lot meeker. "I didn't ask if you answered to me," he points out very softly, "only if you answered me. Because you hadn't, and I'm aware that it's silly of me to expect a straightforward answer. I've been spending too much time aboveground, perhaps. So if you would, Professor Noble," and he doesn't slip, there, even a little bit, "please tell me if I should take my tea with my sister, or if perhaps I should take it earlier or later in the day, if there's something in your group that might interest us." They come as a unit, of course.

There's some distant part of Siobhan that is amused by the fact that the Ravenclaw gets it quicker than her fellow snake. When Merrick manages to make his approach more meek without backing down, however, Siobhan settles very quickly - even going so far as to offer him a flash of grin. "Tell me, then." She stoppers the last vial of lavender liquid and moves on to the lime green. "Avery-and-Merrick." Because they're one single unit, of course. "When this war comes knocking at your door, what kind of answer will you give?"

Should, therefore, Avery-and-Merrick have only one answer? Unfortunately, while it is likely so, it's Avery who actually speaks. Although that wouldn't be all that surprising to anyone who really knows them — Avery speaks, but Merrick is always there, has her back, holds her up. "War is wicked," she says. "War, in and of itself, is wrong. But when a battle faces you, your only choice is to fight it, because to run away is simply to bring shame to yourself and danger to others."

"Not to mention frequently leaving you dead." Merrick's mutter would be lost in a crowd; in the nearly-empty potions classroom, it's audible enough.

Cianan is content to watch the byplay going on, gaze flicking amongst the others for a moment. It's the word that to run away is to bring shame and danger that makes him look away. Pretending for a moment perhaps to double check that she's nobody in the vicinity. But Sio at least will know better. And he leans his head back against the doorframe, distinctly uncomfortable for the time being. And quiet. But that's not so unusual.

After drawing in a breath, and wishing he'd thought before speaking so clearly, Merrick adds: "If a war comes knocking at our door, we will fight, and we will fight against those who seek to do harm to those we love and care for. Whosoever those might be." He's proud enough, after all, to put the truth before what sounds poetic; poetry is Avery's demesne. Which is to say: Merrick really doesn't care who you are, but if you fuck with Avery, you're going down.

Sometimes, Cianan, silent support is the best there is. Faced with those two answers, Siobhan seems satisfied. She works with an understated efficiency and has soon filled all the vials meant for the lime-colored brew. On to the red one, then. "The group you've seen running and training physically in the mornings is one that had its birth last year after the attack on Hogsmeade. Over those months, Moody trained many of the students in offensive and defensive battle magic. The group that works with me is learning much the same, except that he geared his lessons toward fighting Death Eaters specifically. I will teach you how to survive no matter what side you feel you must choose. I will give you the tools to make your own decisions based on what you believe, rather than on prejudice, fear or pressure." It's almost a conversational tone, but there's a watchfulness about her that belies the tone. "Does that … 'interest' you?"

No matter what Merrick's initial response is, even if it's to want to hang out with people like Siobhan and Claire Sutton and not to actually take it seriously, Avery has to stop and seriously consider it. Not because it doesn't, at first blush, interest her. But because it sounds like a major commitment, and those should really be … adequately considered. So she takes her time, glances a few times at Merrick and him taking his time, looks to him for confirmation — there are exchanged eye-movements between the two and nothing else — and then turns back to Siobhan with a satisfied little smile. "It does, Professor."

Still quiet, Cianan glances up at the Professor while Avery and Merrick do their weird twin eye-communication thing. See, cousins can do that too. Except, it's not as subtle since he arches an eyebrow questioningly. And when the answer is given he just nods. Lalalalala. No, he doesn't keep looking at Avery. Not at all.

Merrick wants to say something like, 'That's a very gracious offer to someone it looked like you wanted to bite the head from, a moment ago,' but he doesn't. He has learned at least a little bit more grace than that, of his own. He's smiling, too, although his glance rests on Avery for a long moment longer, before he, too, is looking at Siobhan, with only the merest of a flicker of a glance at Cianan and the way he's pointedly Not Repeatedly Looking at Avery. "When and where should we be, to show our interest?" is his version of saying 'yes please'.

Siobhan so very rarely strikes, so it's understandable that her even throwing out a warning is enough to throw people off. The fact that she didn't have to strike to get him to fall into line - without backing off, to boot! - means he's smart enough for her to deem worth her time. "Come run with us in the morning. We meet in front of the castle at 0630 sharp. Times to work on spell-work will be filtered through you all and you can follow either Bene and Rene or Ron and Harry to find the right place." A pair from each House. "I don't have very many rules. The utmost of them is secrecy. If someone asks about the running, that's easy enough. Jethro and I are getting students fit. But if the wrong person finds out that I'm teaching you battle magic regardless of side? I could end up dead or worse." And she'd rather like to stay alive, thanks. "While working with us, you have no side in this war. You have no House. You will treat those in training with you with respect, you will follow orders and you will work hard." She folds her arms over her chest. "It won't be easy, but you will come out of it a cut above most anyone without MLE or Death Eater training."

And when Siobhan says 'MLE,' Avery lights up. Everyone — where by 'everyone' in this case we mean Merrick, but also a few of her classmates she actually gets on with, like Lavender and Parvati — knows Avery wants to be in the MLE. So of course now she's looking even more eager and excited than before. "We really, really appreciate the opportunity, ma'am. And have always been very good at secrets," a quick flash of a smile at Merrick, "so have no fears, please."

"You have to run extra if you're not there on time." Cianan points out, finally saying -something-. "And no, I don't know from experience. But I do know someone will find out the hard way." Wait, what? Of course, he goes and ruins sounding all mysterious after that by practically mooning over the Gryffindor girl when she lights up. Man, someone's in trouble.

Merrick notices, all right. And probably Siobhan notices Merrick noticing, whether or not Avery does, because after all Avery's busy beaming at the thought of having a jumpstart on her MLE training — but Merrick's smirk gets wiped away, for the most part, as he mutters something softly about how now Cianan is going to have to worry that he's gone and given them ideas.

Something about the way Avery phrases that just cracks Siobhan up. Bracing her palms against the table, she tips her head back and lets a laugh bubble up from her throat. "I don't think I'd know how to live a life without fear anymore, Avery, but thank you. Your reassurance is appreciated." When the last of the vials is filled and the red liquid gone from the last cauldron, Siobhan taps out cleaning spells on all three and shrinks them before reaching up to stow them in a neat row on one of the shelves. On her way back, she gestures to Cianan that he can step aside and lifts her right hand to run that palm down the wood of the door. The magic sealing them in and others out dissipates like smoke on the wind, leaving the wood feeling warm, but nothing else. "Kee's right, so don't be late. Best get an early night of it, hmm?" And that seems to be her dismissal, turning to carefully stow the vials of potions into a small case one by one. Every so often, however, Cianan gets a searching look, as if Siobhan is fighting a battle inside herself. Silent support is so often underrated, but so incredibly useful. Perhaps in her long-lost family she'll find a valuable ally.

"Oh. Well. Of course not, Professor, I meant — as regards our abilities to keep secrets, not in general, that would be kind of absurd." Avery at least seems like she's in a good mood, now, for all that her entrance into this scene was scolding Merrick for being creepy because he was watching people exercise without their knowledge. "Thanks — both of you. Really." She shoots Cianan a wink as she links her arm with Merrick's again, and says, "We probably should be going off to give Horus a quick fly around before getting to bed, yeah?"

Cianan leans back away from the door when he sees the silent signal, just sort of pressing his hand against the wood curiously after the spell is lifted; interested in the fact that it's warm afterwards. And if Avery beamed at the mention of MLE, he lights up like a muggle Christmas tree when he's winked at. "See you two in the morning." he murmurs, stepping aside so that the two of them can pass by. Before he leaves, he gives his cousin a grateful nod of his head and one of those half-assed salutes. Of course he's an ally. She brought him into the family didn't she? He won't forget that!

"I promise you have nothing to fear about us telling secrets of anything at all to anyone who can understand us," Merrick says cheekily, arm taken, as they walk toward the door. The cheeky part, of course, is that this is in twin cant — and therefore pretty well unintelligible to anyone in the school. Even Padma and Parvati, Fred and George have their own cants, not the same one! "Have a good night, both of you," he says in the Queen's English once again, letting his hair fall forward to hide his grin, and then takes off to find his owl.


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