1995-10-03B: Snakes Of A Feather

Participants:

Siobhan_icon.gif Eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Snakes of a Feather
Synopsis Bent on causing some mischief - and, to be honest, a little shaken by her brother's behavior - Sio heads back for a proper sit-down tea with Mama Snape.
Location Spinner's End
Date October 03, 1995
Watch For Edana - with tact.
Logger The BAD WOLF herself

There are conflicting expressions on Siobhan's face as she makes the journey between the painting-that-should-be-in-Grimmauld and the painting that's become more of a refuge than her 'home' one hanging in the Headmaster's office. From Hogsmeade in Scotland to … well, she never did bother to ask where they were, geographically speaking. But still, travelling this way must surely be quicker, which was the original point. Poking her head through the familiar doorway - now that she knows just who lives here, it's doubly important to be careful - to check for a clear coast, if not for Eileen herself. After all, one never knows what kind of company could be calling on Snape. Dark times, indeed.

Eileen Snape is sitting in her chair, whiling away her time by knitting on something. By hand. It's probably going to be an afghan, done in greens, blacks and silvers. Maybe she'll throw it on the back of Sio's chair. She sees the young lady enter her frame with a whoosh — just as she usually does — and looks up, greeting her friend with a smile. "Sit down, dear. How are you?" It's her standard question, standard greeting. Her smile holds something a little more, now that her big 'secret' is out and she sees how well her guest gets along with her son. It's not matchmaking, exactly, except in the sense of finding someone for her son to speak to with a few less guards up.

As if the greeting is some kind of signal - which, to be honest, it is - Siobhan steps completely into the portrait. The sight of the afghan brings a wistful look to the young snake's normally warm, brown eyes and she tugs her robes tighter around her shoulders. "This place does steal the warmth from you, doesn't it?" Or maybe it's just peachy for the proper, deceased residents. It wouldn't surprise Sio if she was odd in yet another way - especially not with how she came to be here. "I'm alright. Better, now." She assumes that Eileen's already wrung the details out of her spawn and so doesn't elaborate. It's a huge weight off, knowing that at least one of her 'pack' can still be counted on. She flops down into her customary chair and grins, moving her hand to lightly shake the bag of biscuits she'd brought before. "Nicked those off Rowena for you. Not like she'd miss them with Helga around." And Sio remembered Eileen lamenting a lack. "Sorry I didn't get to say last night. Kinda slipped my mind."

"Oh, how delightful, thank you." Eileen gestures toward the chair, and frowns. "Still not able to get warm?" The obvious question's answer may reveal a little more to the woman than her respondent may wish. Then again, she may answer just the question asked. It's part of the charm of these conversations. "I'm sure. From what you've told me of them, Helga wouldn't let her have more than a couple anyway, would she?" Her eyes twinkle, and she grabs one of the biscuits. "Quite nice." She sets it down on the table again, and resumes her knitting. "Can be a tough thing when your idea of someone gets shattered, eh, lass?" She lets the empathetic silence do its work for a few minutes, the only sound between them the clacking of her needles. "It makes me no mind, Sio. You've got a lot goin' on, and with my Sevvy home, I got to spend some wonderful time talking to him." She smiles brightly, reminiscing about discussions with said 'Sevvy', and all the times they've discussed the man between them.

"Dunno, really." Out of all the portraits she's come to know, Eileen is the one Sio would trust with this. It's like someone took Edana and steeped her in a sauce of cunning, wit and tact. Without being disloyal to her own mother, Siobhan feels at ease with this woman in a way she just can't with her family full of people who could - and have - so easily misundertood something she said without care. "Sometimes it's like I'm fine, but other times…" She doesn't, however, mention that the 'other times' are coming more and more frequently. She snorts a quiet laugh into her palm. "I didn't think people back then knew how to be health nuts." But Helga's proven her wrong on that account several times. But all the mirth and bounce seems to get sucked right out of her with Eileen's next question. "Yeah, it can be." It's said on a sigh as Siobhan leans back into the poufy chair. Reaching for the mug of tea she knows is there for her, Siobhan takes a sip. It's completely tasteless - save for a mild tang of old canvas - but the warm liquid is soothing on her throat. She opens her mouth to say something else when the 'Sevvie' catches her ear and she chokes. The mug is set back on the table so as not to get spilled while Siobhan pulls herself back under control. "I'm sure you did, Eileen." The words are amiable enough, but Sio raises a brow as she looks at the older witch. It's a look that very plainly says I'm onto you.

Siobahn's look is caught and relished by Eileen, and the only sign the younger woman may catch is that her eyes twinkle just a little more. She leans forward, inspecting Sio, and frowns slightly. "Is it still the same amount, or more, lass?" And that skill of mothers everywhere is put into practice: the calculating eye and the Look that says 'do not lie to me, child.' Eileen knows that Sio will say what she will, but the old woman worries. "Yes, it was quite a fine discussion." At least from her point of view. From Sevvy's, there were more than a few drawn out 'Motherrrr's and rolled eyes involved. Preventing the discussion from getting too overly serious, she grins, gesturing to the young witch's tea. "Enjoying your tea, dear?"

Siobhan catches that sign. "You'd best be careful, Eileen," she banters back easily. "You wear that look too often and soon you'll be offering me lemon drops." It's not a reference she's worried about being missed. Not many could miss it, but especially not Eileen. Sio knows that Look. She doesn't squirm. She's too good at this to show that card this early. Still, she capitulates. "More," she answers on another sigh. "Or else worse. More that it's getting colder, probably, I think. I couldn't feel my fingertips earlier, but I was meditating." In her favorite sea-side painting, so it could have been the ocean breezes. "It's getting easier, now." Tactful change of subject! "I can sort of organize myself while I'm talking with someone, but I wouldn't try for real unless I didn't have a choice." Which means it's got a long way to go, that skill. "It's lovely, thank you." Sure, she can't taste the damn stuff, but that's no reason to be rude.

It's Eileen's turn to choke a bit, though, for her, there's no tea involved. She does drop a stitch, though. "You terrible child," she chides teasingly. She grabs her wand, casting a spell to bring the dropped stitch back to its place on the needle. She knits through a couple more stitches and then nods. "We need to get you out of here, lass. It's not good for you." It's been said before, but she'll say it again. And now, she has someone else to bother about it, as well. "I'm glad you're having the time to learn that. I imagine it's not that easy to learn it during a busy life such as yours." She looks back up to Sio, and tilts her head a little as though gauging Sio's response. She decides to leave it at that. "So, what brings you back my way so quickly?"

And Siobhan beams at that, for the 'terrible child' is just exactly what she is - and has always, always been. "Dumbledore says he's working on it," Siobhan scoffs. "And I continue to bring him the information he asks for." There's an oncoming darkness to her tone and it turns bitter when she adds to it. "Blood money, all of it." In more ways than one. Resting her elbow on the arm of the chair, she rests her face in that hand. "When did my life stop being my own?" It's a rhetorical question and not the first time she's asked it, but such musings only ever seem to come after a bad 'job'. After she sees another piece of herself chipped away by the things to which she must bear witness. It takes long moments of silence before Siobhan is ready to answer Eileen. At first it's because she's not entirely sure of herself. "I saw Jack." Her brother.

Eileen snorts at her assertion that the headmaster is working on it. "I'm sure he is. Right as soon as everything else gets put into place…" She shakes her head. "That man has so many plates spinnin' in the air that he can't remember which one he's meant to take down to eat from." She snorts again. "Indeed." Whether she's picked that up from her son or vice versa, the intonation is somewhat similar. Dry. Like a desert. "Unfortunately, dear, the older you get, the less control you have over your own life. Look at myself: My world is four sides and a few centimeters thick." She realizes that for now, Sio's world is too, but the matriarch holds out hope that her friend will be able to get out shortly. "Jack. That's the second one, right? The curse-breaker?"

"Hmph, you take a kinder angle than I am inclined to." But then again, Siobhan never trusted the man to begin with. Respect? Yes. Grudging, but yes. He's manipulative in ways that make even the snakes shudder. "Yeah, that's Jack." There's something almost fragile in her voice when she answers. "He was drunk off his arse and wasn't making any sense by the end - " and not much sense in the beginning or middle bits, either " - but he seemed pretty convinced that I wasn't me." An hour or so of Not-Rosie was about all she could stand, but she doesn't know how to explain that in a way that doesn't make her sound … childish. So instead, she opts to switch the subject, a slow, small smile giving her a wicked look. "He did spout a few interesting tidbits, though…"

"Oh, dear." Eileen frowns as she listens to Siobahn's mention of Jack. "Not dealing well with it. Or at all, it appears." Though she can obfuscate as well as the next snake, sometimes, the direct approach is best. "I hope he's got someone watchin' over him. Too much firewhisky…" Eileen shudders, for a moment lost in the memories of a drunk man, rage, and having to stand between him and their small child. It's only just a moment, for those memories are compressed, just present enough to influence her character, keeping her realistic. The actual years and years of the pain are buried deep behind the lassitude and forgetfulness that becoming a painting (in the normal way) brings. A few more quiet stitches, and then Eileen tilts her head in a very familiar way. "Ohhhh?"

But Siobhan knows better. Through a strange and roundabout twist of Fate - and she shudders to even think that, that word - Siobhan has come to know and care for this bold, clever woman. What and who Siobhan cares about, she studies. Most of the time she doesn't even realize what it is she's doing, but those strange bursts of insight into people don't just come from thin air. So when Eileen shuders and falls into a pained sort of silence, Siobhan's gaze narrows. For an instant of her own, there's a cold, closed off expression on her face, the kind that promises a world of pain to whatever - or whoever - caused her pseudo-mum that kind of agony. But then the look is gone as quickly as it appeared and Siobhan is left off-balance. The swiftness with which the proper portraits dismiss things or forget things or change their minds still catches her up every single time. That tilt of the head is also familiar, and Siobhan is quick to return her thoughts - and the conversation - to more neutral ground. "Mhmm. You remember me telling you about Jack, right?" And there's a slight emphasis on 'telling'. Not about school or work, this kind of telling. "Well, he brought up this time I'd been in Diagon Alley with him soon after those attacks last summer - and I can't believe I'd forgotten about this - when he decided it would be a good idea to flirt with your son." Siobhan smothers a grin. "Can't imagine what got into him, but I believe the drunken adjectives thrown around amounted to 'Tall, Dark and Brooding." Oh yes, Jack; your life is now officially over.

Eileen's laughter is short, sharp and loud. "Tall, Dark and Brooding, aye? That's my Sevvy in a nutshell." She laughs again, shaking her head. "Yes, you've mentioned each of your siblings, and told me their jobs, and what you think about each of them." Perhaps not in so many words, but more in tone, expression and body language. Siobahn's not the only person who can make intuitive leaps about character and relationships from the clues around her. She notices Sio's intense regard, and sighs. "Me life was not always this easy, of course." With the Snakes' gift for understatement, she says plenty in her few words. "Sevvy's own Dad demonstrated that bastard bit for him pretty clearly." It's where the wizard learned part of the persona he cloaks himself in. This information isn't merely being thrown out for the fun of it. It's an exchange. Information on Sio's family's been shared, so Eileen responds in kind.

This is why Sio will always love - and by extension, take care of - her snakes. She can have conversations without having to say everything to get the point across. There's a little thrill at this that Siobhan knows she'll probably never lose. This kind of conversation comes so rarely. She enjoys Eileen's amusement - the whole reason she told her, of course - and spares just a moment to picture the look on Snape's face when the information is finally used upon him. It's her companion's sigh that pulls her back to the immediate here and now. Her expression only darkens as she hears what is said - and interprets what isn't. Nails dig into the arms of the chair until already pale knuckles turn completely white. These two souls are her people. Nobody touches her pack. "I trust he reaped the fruits of his labor?" Nobody.

Eileen snorts, appreciating the protectiveness she sees in her friend, and the ferocity in her words. "Aye. Wasn't by our hands, though. God's own." Most magic users may not mention faith, but sometimes, it shows up here and there. "Liver. Didn't want any 'weird medicines' or 'hokey Latin words' said over him, so we just let him be." Sometimes that's the most effective thing anyway. Again, the positive effect of being a portrait means the feral smile that accompanies the thought of Tobias Snape dealing with the pain of the condition fades away after just a small appearance. Placid and flat. "We had some interesting discussions about possibilities, though." She lifts her brows once, pointedly.

"Muggles." For all their nifty gadgets, fashion and music, they were - on the whole - a truly daft bunch of people. Still, Siobhan is satisfied that the menace is no longer an active threat to her or hers - and a little pleased that he probably suffered a fair deal on the way out - and so she keeps her peace. Caught off-guard, she turns then to Eileen with a furrowed brow. A hundred questions fly through her mind at lightning speed, but none of them are as effective as the all-encompassing "Oh?"

"Sevvy got his potions skills from me, you know." Eileen starts, knowing that it will be enough for Sio to draw her own conclusions. "And I've always been a fine hand at the small hexes." Raw power Eileen has not, but skill and precision. "We got mighty creative. Change his trous to pink, then send him into the foundry before he notices… let muggles do the work for us." She'll get the general idea. "I'm sure you had your own share of ideas, Siobahn." She smiles, that twinkle just appearing for a moment, though in deference to Sio's earlier words, it doesn't sparkle quite as much.

At that, Siobhan tips her head back and laughs outright, like she hasn't laughed in so very, very long. "Eileen, you wicked, wicked woman." And she loves it. "Oh believe me," and her voice darkens again, then. Mood swings, much? "There are a few who sorely tempt me." Like one Jimmy Stones and a certain high-voiced associate of Severus'. She's definitely been like this too long. Her hands are rubbed together as if for warmth. Definitely.

"Into every life, lass." And the flash of that smile returns, just for the briefest moment. "I'm sure you could tell me your own lists of … interesting things." Eileen stitches quietly for a few moments pointing her wand at the yarn to change its color to start the new row. "I do try…" She smiles again, this one more — calm, and nods once sharply. "So, tell me lass, how is the rest of your family doing?"


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