|Scene Title||Platypi and Fairytales|
|Synopsis||Two students discuss current and past events|
|Location||Hufflepuff Common Room|
|Date||June 1, 1995|
[HGW] - Hufflepuff Common Room
The Hufflepuff common room isn't too much different from the other houses of Hogwarts, not that anyone but those in that house would know. The common room has a curved shape to it, almost like the outside of a horseshoe. Just inside the entrance, there is short horizontal hallway with a staircase at each end. Just down these staircases are the dorms for the boys and girls. As you walk directly across from the door, there is a wide arched opening in the wall and you enter the common room proper. To your right just inside this entrance is a bulletin board with notices and announcements pinned to it. At the far end of the room is a large fireplace where a roaring blaze sits in the center surrounded by a mesh grate. Facing the fireplace is a plushy sofa flanked by two poofy armchairs, all containing lots of pillows of varying design. More chairs and sofas are scattered about the room, interspersed with tables for studying. Tapestries and banners depicting the shield of Hufflepuff and the house colors of yellow and black are hung decoratively on the walls of the room. On the floor, covering it almost completely, is a thick rug in the house colors and several more pillows.
With exam time approaching, the Hufflepuff common room at night is much quieter than usual. Most of the students in it are studying, and most of those who aren't are carrying on their conversations quietly out of respect for those who are. Jax is one of the former, curled up in one corner of a comfortable sofa with a stack of textbooks on the table in front of him and a happily purring black cat nestled in his lap. He has a large mug of hot cocoa held in one hand, resting on the arm of the couch, and the cat in his lap forces him to turn just a little awkwardly to read the Potions textbook that is sitting on the cushion beside him. Dali has no respect for study-time.
Kalleigh slips in quietly and looks around one text book tucked under her arm and a fair stack of notes clutched in the other. She frowns lightly at the lack of free corners and begins searching faces for friendly ones to sit by. She spies Jackson and wanders over, squishing in next to him, practically sitting on his feet. It's really the only possible position. Seriously. It also puts Kalleigh suspiciously close to Jax's cocoa, which she sniffs curiously.
Jax looks up with an owlish blink, looking a bit startled — evidently heavily immersed in the book. It takes a second, and then a bright smile splits his face. "There's cinnamon in it. An' a touch of hazelnut." He waggles the mug enticingly in Kalleigh's general direction. A little bit of cocoa sloshes out, and one drop drips down the side to fall on Dali's head. Dali looks up indigantly.
"Oh, I can smell it," Kalleigh coos happily. She looks at the mug, then Jax, then the mug, then Dali, then Jax. "Oh, didya want me to try it too?" She tentatively reaches out for the mug - after putting down her tome and the parchment safely at her side. She inhales the fragrant aroma before visually checking with Jax again. "I thought you'd never have chocolate again."
"'course you can have some." Jax relinquishes the mug to Kalleigh and then wipes the cocoa off the cat's head. "And I /didn't/ have chocolate for for/ever/," the boy insists. "It was more'n two whole /weeks/. 'sides, this is cocoa." Clearly, there is an Important Distinction.
"Oh, see, it would have been /years/ for me." Kalleigh announces decisively - yet quietly. "I once got sick on strawberry jam and I still turn a little green around the gills at the thought of it." She lifts the mug to her lips after she has relayed the important information and then takes a timid sip - judging the temperature, you know.
Jax considers this for a moment, quiet. "I'd die if I didn't have chocolate for years," he decides in the end, just as decisively. "I mean, that's just /unnatural/." He leans over the cat, prompting another indignant look, in order to peer at Kalleigh with intense scrutiny. "Do you really have gills?" He sounds fascinated.
"Do I look like a merperson?" Kalleigh scoffs quietly, flipping her hair away from her neck to demonstrate her lack of breathing holes. She then turns and flashes him her teeth to further prove this. Finally, she drinks down a decent swallow or two of the cocoa before returning her mug to him. "Whatever I may be, I'm mammal through and through."
"Well, you never know 'round here." Jax curls his fingers around the mug's handle and scritches Dali idly on the head. "I've seen people with beaks an' fur an' you may well have had gills from accidentally eating the wrong piece'a candy or something." He leans back against the couch cushion, sipping slowly at the cocoa, and then half-turns on the couch to face Kalleigh. Dali mews a sulky protest as Jax's lap shifts beneath him, and promptly climbs out of it to go attempt to settle in Kalleigh's lap instead. Jax just looks at Kalleigh curiously. "Whatever you may be? Are you something 'sides human?" His lips purse in thought. "Ohmygosh!" Abruptly, he looks excited. "Are you a /platypus/?"
"Lawds." Kalleigh gasps and spreads her hands out to welcome Dali, gently running her hand down is back. "You do have an active imagination. No. I am not a platypus." She narrows her eyes at him before glancing down at his book, lips pursing. "Which test are you studying for?" Her brogue trips lightly over the words, her finger scritching at the cat's ears.
Jax slumps back in the seat, appearing just a trifle disappointed. "If you /were/ a platypus, that'd be real neat," he says hopefully, looking back at his book but glancing askance at her as if he rather expects to find sneaky hints of her platyposity. "This is Potions." His fingers tap against the page of the book. "I /still/ ain't managed to catch up proper and it's been weeks since I got back. M'a bit worried about the test."
"Would it help to look at my notes?" Kalleigh offers up, nudging his feet lightly. "'Sides, it's only our first year. We've got four more before we start testing ourselves for levels and that sort. Don't worry yourself about it too much." Her fingers run down Dali's slides before she starts playing with his tail. "They're not going to kick you out for getting disappeared for someone else's magic-gone-wrong."
Dali purrs happily as he is pet, though his tail twitches restlessly when she plays with it. Jax purses his lips thoughtfully. "That'd be right helpful," he decides, nodding his acceptance to her offer. "And are you /sure/ they won't? I mean, what if I fail /real/ bad?"
"Dunno. Does Hogwarts have summer school?" Kalleigh scratches at the back of her head for a moment, her other hand stilling. When she finishes, she reaches down to snag her notes and turn them over to Jackson quietly. "Here. I hope they're good for something. Potions are okay because they're kind of like cooking."
Jax's nose wrinkles. "I don't think so. 'sides which, my ma's prob'ly gonna make me take Muggle summer school classes over break, so's I don't miss out on /everything/ I'd hafta learn if I was in normal school still." He doesn't sound 100% thrilled about this. He takes Kalleigh's notes with a grateful smile and starts looking through them slowly. "Like cooking?" His eyebrows raise. "I guess it really is. I ain't never thought about it like cooking before." He turns a crooked grin on her. "When I bake cookies they never make anyone shrink."
"Why would she make you do that? Doesn't she think this is a decent enough education?" Kalleigh wrinkles her nose. "I wouldn't let my da do that to me. 'M glad to be out of muggle school." She frowns deeply and turns her attention to Dali and works out her frustration with good belly rubs.
"Well, she's a teacher. She thinks being well-rounded is real important, an' we don't learn everything here that we would there. Like Muggle history, an' math and — stuff." Jax shrugs and pulls his knees up to his chest, resting his cheek against them. "I didn't think Muggle school was so bad. You didn't like it much?"
"Don't like what muggle kids tease about." Kalleigh replies moodily, her voice growing quieter, well into the range she used to speak at as a newcomer. It's barely audible. She lets out a deep sigh and stares deeply into Dali's eyes.
Dali stares back, but only for a moment before he starts rubbing his cheek against her fingers instead. Jax's brow creases with a touch of worry. "Folks wasn't nice at your school? But why ever? You're pretty awesome, you know."
"Doesn't matter at all how you are. Kids are just mean." Kalleigh acquiesces to Dali's demands and rubs at his cheeks. "Terrible and rude. I mean, kids here ain't all that much better, but the stuff is different to tease about, you know? It's a nice break."
Jax's nose wrinkles, a touch of understanding flickering across his expression. "Yeah, people can be real mean sometimes," he agrees quietly. He offers Kalleigh a soft smile. "But then all y'gotta do is, you find the nice ones an' stick with them. Then it don't matter so much what hte mean kids do."
"That's been easier here," Kalleigh admits before scooping Dali up and pulling her off of her lap. She takes her potions book from the ground and puts it in her lap instead. "Do you have a class you like?"
"Oh, I like most classes, even the ones I ain't so great in." Jax shrugs and tucks his legs up under himself, taking another sip from his half-full cocoa mug before offering it to Kalleigh again. "I love Herbology best, though. I got real good at taking care of Muggle plants before I moved so it's pretty neat learning about magic ones. An' I like Charms a lot, and Transfiguration is just /cool/. What about you?"
"Oh, well. Potions is interesting and Astronomy is nice. I find I'm okay with everything else, but I'm not too keen on history. All seems like fairy stories some how." Kalleigh finds her place in her potions book and rests her finger there before taking the mug of cocoa for a sip. "Suppose thats how all these others with more wizard kin than muggle feel about my history. I was pretty good with the kings and queens for a while."
"Astronomy's /pretty/ but then I just lie outside an' stargaze an' forget that I'm s'posed to be learning actual /work/," Jax admits sheepishly. "And I like fairy stories. I mean, I just think about history like it's a bunch of real int'resting tales, and then it makes it easier to remember. Storytelling, I'm good at." Jax shrugs and stretches his legs out in front of him, resting his bare feet against the edge of the table in front of their couch. "Anyway it kinda seems like, muggle or wizard, everyone's history is all the same. Half of it's one war or another, you know? Magic or no magic, we're all real good at killing each other."
Kalleigh looks up at him, her mouth half grimaced. "That's a sad way to look at things. Probably true, but kind of sad." She takes one last sip of the velvety liquid before handing it back to Jackson. "It's kind of why I don't like to learn it. Stuffs depressing enough - what with people talking about dark wizards and wars comin'."
Jax drinks down the rest of the chocolate in a long gulp, and sets the mug aside, his expression pensive. "I don't know. It's maybe a little sad, but I think it's better to know than not to know. I mean if there /is/ wars coming, maybe if folks learn from what happened before, they can stop them next time with less — badness."
"We're just kids, Jax. What are we going to be able to do?" Kalleigh asks, frowning. "Survive't'all. That's what we got. I just want to keep my da and my brothers safe." She inhales deeply then looks around, lost. "Do you have a spare quill?"
"Well — I don't know," Jax admits with a wrinkle of his nose. "Nothing, really. Look out for our families. Wars sometimes last a long time, though. We won't be kids always." He leans forward to root around in his backpack where it is propped against the base of the couch. He extracts a quill and offers it to his friend.
"Okay. Maybe." Kalleigh takes the quill appreciatively and makes a quick note on her page, the ink pulled from a bottle in her pocket. "Maybe we can get our families together and then be safer in numbers?"
Jax nods happily at this idea. "Maybe!" He looks up from his notes — or, rather, Kalleigh's notes — to grin over at her. "/Anyway/ though there's no war /yet/. For now I'm jus' gonna work on not failing exams, an' then enjoy summer and have /lots/ of time on the beach and maybe some parties. I think that sounds way better'n war anyhow."
"Oh, beaches are lovely." Kalleigh agrees and looks up from her book one more time. "Okay. Let's, uh, get on with this not failing thing. Okay?"
"'kay." Jax flashes Kalleigh a quick smile and then bows his head over his work, falling silent as they turn to studying.