|Scene Title||Slytherin Scheming|
|Synopsis||Crane and Oscar discuss devious plans, later joined by firsties Julian and Rene.|
|Date||September 5, 1994|
|Watch For||Angry French midgets!|
As one slips through, the door in the stone wall seals shut again, its place marked from within by a hanging tapestry in the House colors of green and silver. The Slytherin common room is a long, low, underground room with rough stone walls and ceiling from which round, greenish lamps hang on rusted chains. A fire crackles under an elaborately carved mantlepiece directly opposite the door, and upon close inspection the carvings are seen to be myriad depictions of slithering serpents. Several high-backed chairs of dark wood with forest green back and seat cushions sit before the fire. More of such chairs are scattered elsewhere about the room, situated in front of a half dozen or so tables used mostly for study or conversation. An opening to one side of the fireplace leads to the stairs down to the student dormitories.
The wall-cum-door to the Slytherin Commons slides open with its usual gravelly stone-on-stone sound, and Crane swoops in, his cloak fluttering around his ankles as he moves at a rather harried pace towards one of the high-backed chairs by the fireplace. Obviously the Fifth-Year is not in the best of moods. His bookbag is discarded on a nearby empty seat, and with a dark scowl he sits down, crossing one leg over the other and staring into the blaze with an intensity that might just set the logs on fire if they weren't already lit. "..idiot St. Claire," He half-growls, rapping his fingers on the solid wooden arm of the chair quickly and forcibly enough to be audible.
Oscar is already occupying one of one of those coveted spots by the fire, being of that rare breed of Slytherin who dropped Potions after his OWLs. He's flipping through a rather small and weather-beaten old book, but looks up as he hears the voice and rapping coming from the other boy. "Evening Crane," he bids in an amicable tone. "What's this about St. Claire now?" He might be a complete menace to the rest of the school, but to his housemates, he's almost always at least polite.
Apparently failing to even notice Oscar, Crane doesn't register the greetings for several seconds after it's offered. Snapping back to reality, he blinks and looks over in the other boy's direction with a nod. "Oh. Hullo, Houlihan. Nothing, nothing - I had a bit of an incident in Potions class, but I'll get over it." He frowns and turns his seat slightly so that he's half-facing the Sixth-Year. "Hm. Speaking of which, Houlihan - if I've been paying attention to the right rumors, anyway - you have a sort of reputation for being a.. creative problem-solver. What would *you* do if you wanted to teach another student a lesson without bringing attention to yourself in the form of the school's faculty?"
Oscar looks a bit chuffed at the mention of his reputation, and puts some serious thought to the question put before him. "Depends how big a problem you're talking about. Nicking something from a hapless Hufflepuff and sticking it on his person is always a classic for a spot of trouble. Swap out his ink with some disappearing stuff and let him turn in a blank parchment. Or sometimes it's fun to use a hover charm to drop something right near where a person is standing, if good ol' Filchy is around."
Pondering upon those admittedly interesting solutions to his theoretical problem, Crane leans back in his chair a bit, hoisting one leg up so that he can use the empty one he's set his bookbag in as a foostool. He's currently seated near the fireplace, turned slightly so that he can face Oscar, who is nearby in another one of the high-backed chairs. "Hm. Those are good, actually. I may just have to borrow one of them if the opportunity presents itself." He sniggers quietly and interlaces his fingers so that he can crack his knuckles, tilting his head slightly to one side as he does. "Well, how are your classes going so far, Houlihan? Did you get to meet the new Defense teacher yet? I've heard he's absolutely cracked."
"Yeah, just remember you didn't hear it from me," Oscar points out with a sly grin, sliding down into his own chair so that his knees jut out well beyond the end of the cushion. He snaps his book shut and just rests it on one leg, turning his head just enough to look at Crane. "Classes are all right. Least I get to pick my lot this year, though they seem to make up for it by giving you twice as much work in each." He's not too horribly fussed about it though. "That one who made the big entrance at the Sorting?" He doesn't sound too impressed with said entrance. "Haven't had his class yet, no. He seemed cracked. Must be a Gryffindor. They all seem to go a little funny, don't they."
Julian just left the Common Room a bit ago, but didn't pay a whole lot of attention to things, except to notice subconsciously who was where before he hurried down the hallway. Now, he's back, and there's a scowl on his face. It's a moment before he realizes it's there and schools his expression into the passive, empty look that has become his standard mien while he's awake. He finds a seat near the fireplace, and pulls out a book that appears to be a slightly higher level than the normal firstie might read. The conversation nearby piques his interest, so he waits to open his book.
"Heard what from who?" Crane asks with mock-cluelessness, then cracks a wry smirk. "Lucky you, though. I'll be /glad/ to drop a couple of my classes - although I'll be keeping the majority of them just so that I can make sure and qualify for most anything if my job of choice falls through. Not that I'm worried about that possibility." The raven-haired boy nods sagely when the discussion turns back to the new teacher, and shakes his head. "No kidding. Come to that, they seem to be pretty funny from the start. Potter went barking mad in Potions today, started mouthing off to Snape and then stormed off. Deserves the detention he's bound to get, in my opinion." He glances aside when he notices Julian sit down, although for now he merely studies the First-Year with an appraising look rather than offering a greeting.
Oscar taps the side of his nose as Crane plays up his cluelessness. "Guess it doesn't hurt to keep your options open. What is your job of choice, anyway? Can't imagine it'd fall through on you." Not like Crane is some stupid Hufflepuff or something, his tone implies. As Crane explains what happens in Potions, it's enough to get Oscar to sit up a little. "You're kidding! Sounds like he really has finally gone ahead and snapped completely. Or maybe someone put something in his food. Just sorry I didn't think of it myself." He follows Crane's gaze over to see the ickle firstie with the big book, and there is something a bit like a lion eyeing a gazelle as he studying the much smaller boy.
Since no one has spoken to him, Bean sits still, cracks open his book, and starts reading. He runs his finger down the page, mouthing a word here and there as though trying to parse meaning. Otherwise, he reads fairly quickly. Every few moments, he flicks his eyes up, gaze resting on one older boy, then the other. When he catches Oscar's expression, he frowns only slightly. "Am I doing something wrong?" Always play defenseless.
"You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you," Crane drawls, tapping one long fingers on his cheek as he thinks. "But yeah, I'd have to agree, Potter's finally gone over the edge. I mean, you just don't mouth of to /Snape/, you know? I think I'd rather face the Headmaster himself." He follows Oscar's gaze back to the younger boy who has seated himself nearby, arching a thin brow when the First-Year speaks to them. He only grins in reply to the question, then turns back to the Sixth-Year. "You know, I remember when /I/ was a First-Year, the upper classmen used to take pleasure in making us squirm. Kids now have it lucky, huh?" He glances over his shoulder and chuckles. "Name's Crane, firstie."
"I believe lots of things," Oscar replies simply, but he doesn't push beyond that, just giving the fifth year a curious look. "No, I'm surprised Professor Snape didn't just flay him alive. Wouldn't doubt he can do that. Might not even need magic, just that look of his." He smirks darkly at that mental image. Talk about brightening up Potions class. He might have to take it back up again if that sort of thing started happening. But his attention goes back to the first year. "Dunno, sounds a bit like a guilty conscience to me." He looks back over at Crane as if to ask his opinion on that one. "Too lucky maybe. We coddle theem and they're only going to get spoiled." Still, he's not making any move yet to actually follow through on his threats. He's rather comfortable. "Oscar Houlihan," he adds, after Crane sees to introducing himself. "You have a name, runt?"
"Name's Bean." That's what he calls himself, anyway. "Or, the teachers call me Mr. Legume." He snickers softly at the 'guilty conscience' remark. "Not that I'm aware of." He sleeps well at nights. "Potter's a Gryffindor, right?" He asks, just for clarification's sake. He looks back down to his book, scanning the paragraph again, listening as he reads. "Oh, I'm fully aware that I'm spoiled here." Three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, yeah. He's in the lap of luxury. "I like the professor." He says no more than that about their head of house for the moment.
"Bean? You know beans get eaten, right?" There's maybe just a tiny bit of a not-so-subtle threat in there. But Oscar also offers helpful advice! "Then again, don't know that Legume is much better." He gives a little snort, shaking his head. Kids these days and their silly names. "Potter is a sterling example of all that is wrong with Gryffindors. Watch him to see how not to be." He seems at least a little amused that the kid is willing to admit to being spoiled. "Being spoiled makes people go soft. Don't want that, do you." But again, it'll have to be an idle threat for now, since Oscar is starting to push up out of the chair - but to head towards the exit with his book in hand, not to tower over the runt. "See you 'round then, Crane. Take care." And then to Julian, in a slightly less friendly tone: "Good. You should. Slytherins will be the ones to see you through in the end. The rest of them are just losers." That cheery parting shot offered, he takes off towards parts unknown.
"Spoiled indeed," Crane agrees, snickering lightly at the discourse between Oscar and Julian. His eyes widen a little at some of the questions the younger boy asks, and he's forced to stifle a laugh before looking sidelong at the Sixth-Year. "This one /is/ fresh meat, eh? Oh - well, goodbye then, Houlihan. Thanks for the 'advice'." Grinning, he turns back to the firstie while idly brushing bangs away from his face. "Yeah, Potter's a nutcase. And something of a drama queen, too, apparently. But just a word of advice - you might want to avoid advertising *that* nickname, Bean." He turns in his chair again, this time to face Julian. "..you /like/ that weirdo Mad-Eye? Personally I think he's all kinds of buggers, but I suppose if he's your type of professor.. well, there's no accounting for taste."
Not long after Oscar takes off, the grating sound of the entrance to the common room can be heard as it opens and shuts, leaving a little figure around Bean's size to enter the room proper. With his black robes closed in front, Rene's trouser-wearing could go un-heeded. The sides of his hair are pulled back and pinned near the back of his head, leaving a mane of blond to stay down his back. As the first year enters the common room with a few books in his bundle, he slows down enough to take stock of the room before getting that far inside. Words fall on his ears, but he says nothing audible as he sidles over to the empty chair where Oscar had been sitting a few minutes before.
With his brows knitted and chest heaving out a sigh, Rene intitally seems exasperated before he sits- doubly evident when he literally falls into the chair, eyes being quite angry at the air in front of him.
Julian can make his own decisions about people. However, he does listen to Oscar's advice, if for nothing else, it tells him how he should deal with this one. He gives a half-wave to the older snake as he leaves. However, as he moves from earshot, Bean can be heard muttering, "'Beans are for eating.' Like I've never heard that one." He rolls his eyes "Oh, I don't know about Professor Moody yet. I'm talking about Professor Snape." He seems fair and reasonable in comparison to some of the people he's dealt with. He hates being fresh meat, but has resigned himself to the status until he's figured a few more things out around here. "Well, I am a first-year. Aren't we all targeted somewhat?" His tone is intentionally light, though his eyes are certainly not as amused. When Rene sits down, Bean frowns. "D'Allemange? Trouble?" Bean feels a kinship with the other small boy.
"Ah. Yeah, Professor Snape is a good teacher - though he's pretty strict, that's for sure. But I'm glad he's on our side," Crane muses, looking down at the bookbag he'd earlier discarded on the seat next to him. He fishes a book out of it and flips it open, studying it lazily as he does as if trying to find some particular phrase or sentence amidst its pages; he keeps flipping them around randomly and frowning. "Anyway, it's true that First-Years tend to get the short end of the stick, but that's certainly no reason to draw unecessary attention to yourself if you don't have to." When Rene enters and seats himself, he receives an appraising once-over just like Julian had. Crane's lips twist into a wry smirk, and he motions to the new arrival. "A friend of yours?"
"Je deteste cet endroit." Rene's response is flitting, and tight lipped. This is his angry face. "Cette nourriture se transformera moi graisse, et le temps est horrible-" The boy has his hands on both arms of the chair, the high back rising past his head. If he were a little bit bigger, the stance may seem far more menacing than it is right now. As it were, Rene seems tense; and perhaps a little bit like a miniature mastermind, sans Persian cat.
"I am already going crazy." There is what Nessa calls a FONNY ACCENT. Rene does not seem to realize the thickness- but anyone with English as a first language certainly will.
Then, it's a good thing that English isn't Bean's first language. Or at least his sole first language. He ignores the FONNY ACCENT and frowns, not getting the French streaming from Rene's mouth. "Yeah…" He empathizes somewhat, as there are a few things driving him crazy as well. "Closed in." That's spoken quite softly. "Well, we're roommates," and they're both so small, "so, we kind of stick together." Or attempt to. "Our side?" He frowns. Which side is that? Is this about that stupid game again?
The book is flipped through for several more pages before Crane locates whatever it is he was trying to locate. His chilly blue eyes skim over the words on the page at least twice, and then a scowl slowly crawls over his lips. "…hm? Side?" He looks back up and frowns, obviously nonplussed by the cluelessness of the First-Year. "Ah.. nevermind. You'll find out soon enough." The French-speaking boy gets another arched brow, and Crane clears his throat. "What exactly is it that's bothering you?" He keeps his tone carefully neutral, not allowing any of the usual acid-toned sarcasm to leak into it for the time being.
It takes a few more seconds, but Rene does show that he is capable of relaxing. As well as listening into the conversation that had been going on. "Un rayon de lumiere…" The blond sighs more softly now. Julian is really a little ray of light here. Someone that seems to fit a similar niche- even if he is much less extroverted than Rene can be at times.
Rene turns his head towards Crane, his own regarding of the older student almost as if he were an older one himself. There is certainly more pluck in that little body than rightly fits in a First Year. "Zee school. Zat ees what ees bothering me. But I am trying to give eet a chance…" Or else this will be a very painful process. Give him a few weeks- he'll find a groove. Hopefully.
Deciding he's not going to get any more read right now, Bean places his bookmark, and shuts his book. He sets it down beside his chair, and gives Rene a long look. "It's rough. I know when I first …" He stops, deciding not to speak of his experiences quite yet. Not sure of everyone. Rene is okay. The others around, well, who knows? So, he sighs. "I think it takes a while. Especially when everything is so strange." Magic is weird, he's decided. Useful, and a part of him, but weird. He hates being told he's too little to know something, which he figures is why Crane won't answer. "Because I'm too young?"
Tsk-tsking mildly, Crane glances from one First-Year to the other and snickers, his attention eventually settling on Julian. "No. Because I'm feeling too lazy at the moment to explain everything, and believe me when I say you'll probably be hearing enough about anything I could tell you in the near future that you'll be sick and tired of it." The long-haired, cool-eyed Fifth-Year flips his own book shut, apparently finished with it now that he's found the short passage, and puts it back from whence it came in his bag. He looks sidelong at Rene after he's finished and shrugs. "You know, I wasn't particularly fond of this school when I first got here, myself. Especially when I realized that even though all the people here could do /magic/.. so many of them are still clueless buffoons." He smiles thinly. "But that's the same situation you'll find anywhere in life, ickle firsties. If you happen to need any favors, feel free to ask. I don't mind helping fellow Slytherins out if I can."
Rene examines Bean for a few moments longer, lips pursing in thought. Though Julian has unlikely told Rene everything- Rene knows enough to know that the other boy has a point made. And so does Crane, when the older boy explains himself and closes his book. "Mmm." The short affirmation is all that comes at first. "Nearly where I am coming from." Blue eyes move towards the fifth year, and then back towards the fireplace. The boy breathes in slowly. "There must be a reason zat students otherwise love zis place, non? I will find eet. Eventually."
Julian is a little skeptical at Crane's offer, but considers it, and it's pretty obvious on his face. "How much help are you willing to be?" He's not sure how else to test this situation, so he whispers his question, leaning forward to gaze intently at the other boy. "Because I do need help, but I'm not sure where would be the best place to get the help. Nor whether the price is too dear." The gaze is extremely mature and calculating. Then, it softens considerably as Bean turns to Rene. "Maybe it grows on you like those boils." He grins, remembering an altercation between two students in the hallway where one was hexed with boils. "Except not quite as quickly."
The older of the three boys looks ready to depart, going so far as to toss his bookbag idly over his shoulder, until he hears Julian's request. At that, he suddenly looks interested, and sits slowly back down, his cool blue eyes flitting between the two younger students curiously. "Oh? And what exactly is it that you need help with, my young friend? I can't promise you that I'll necessarily be able to help you.." He licks his lips thoughtfully, as if trying to ascertain his next words carefully. "But. I'll promise to keep quiet about whatever it is you ask, if I can't. Since you seem a little nervous about saying anything."
The tightness on the edges of Rene's features slackens at Julian's simile, and what comes next is a close-lipped laugh. Teehee. Rene curls his hands over his lap, watching Crane with a careful eye as he stands, sits back down, and peers so sly into Julian's business. For now, the move is certainly suspicious, but the older of the two firsties has yet to interrupt it.
Julian glances quickly around the room, eyes narrowed, still very nervous about this. He purses his lips, thinking, trying to decide whether he wants to tell this older boy his secret. Maybe a version of it would be better. Rene's laugh gets a flash-quick grin in his direction, and then he's back to scrutinizing the older boy. "I didn't know much at all about the general Wizarding world until I learned about Hogwarts." He phrases his information very precisely. Expressing his need without betraying his weakness. "I need to know more than just how to get along. I want to excel. And I don't know a damn thing." He appears unashamed by the language, though others might be. In fact, for a moment, he doesn't realize he's used the word. When he does realize, he looks away for a second, but doesn't apologize.
The explanation offered by the younger Slytherin appears to confuse Crane at first. The byplay between the two First-Years either means little to him, or he simply ignores it as unimportant. At any rate, he sits back, his face going blank briefly, and then suddenly his lips twist into a smile. "Oh. /Oh/. Yeah, there are quite a few people in our House that would.. not look kindly upon your situation. I, personally, don't give a flying fairy's sparkly arse - I don't exactly come from, mm.." He glances around quickly just to ensure that nobody else is especially close, but doesn't look very concerned anyway. "..a completely 'acceptable' background, myself. According to some, anyway."
Julian's eyes widen as he realizes that the other boy is more intelligent than he let on. Damn. Gambit failed, yet succeeded in a different way. After continuing to listen to his words, Bean closes his eyes, and relief sneaks across his face. "Thanks." He exhales, reopening his eyes to look at Crane. "All I really need is a couple books, or someone to sit down with me for a while." He glances around again. "There's more to it, but …" He's not ready to tell that part.
Suddenly, the other first year pipes up between them, remaining seated. Even if they were whispering, Rene has excellent ears.
"I can 'elp you too, Julian." Whoo-lee-ahn? Rene's eyes lid slightly at the two, shoulders shrugging up and down in a tiny gesture and hands remaining folded. "I am more 'acceptable'…? So per'aps I can- um… Crash course?" The blond boy leans forward a little, toes brushing at carpet and eyebrows knitted as if he is not sure of what he has said. Is that correct? Did you understand that? Hm.
"Mmhm," Crane mumbles bemusedly, his shoulders lifting in a slight shrug. "Well, there's not /that/ much to tell. Mostly, people will learn to forget about those sorts of things.. if you teach them they're better off forgetting them, that is. Who'd have imagined someone would suddenly and completely lose the desire to pick on another student if they, for instance, suddenly developed a case of chronic bed-wetting?" The Fifth-Year allows a very unfriendly smile to trace his lips momentarily, and then he stands with a short, soft laugh. "Don't mistake me, I'm no guardian of firsties - but it's better to have people with you than against you, hm? And we're all in Slytherin for a reason. It means you've got to have /something/," He lifts a finger and taps it on his temple. "Up here. Anyway, I'm off to bed - it's been a long day."
"Yeah, crash course. That's exactly what I need." Julian's accent is extremely strange to perceptive ears. There's the overlay of poor London hiding something more exotic. Some words he speaks in the tones of Australia, and some words have altogether another intonation. "Thank you." This is directed to both boys. He honestly feels a little more relieved now that some people — in his own house — know that he might need a little direction. The compliment to his cleverness gets a knowing smirk worthy of the most sly member of their house. "I had hoped I woud end up here." It was the only place that seemed to fit. "I should probably get to bed, too," he admits, hoisting the big book again. "Coming, Rene?" Yes, he does know the boy's name.
Turning on his heel, Crane begins to pace with cat-like languidity towards the entrance to the dormitories. He pauses in order to look back at the younger two students and smirk. "If anybody messes with either of you, let me know. First favor's on the house. Good night." And with that, he disappears into the archway and down the set of stairs that leads to the individual class sleeping areas.