1994-10-03: Staircase Philosophy


Donner_icon.gif Draco_icon.gif

Scene Title Staircase Philosophy
Synopsis Donner and Draco cross paths on the stairs and have a chat.
Location Grand Staircase
Date October 3, 1994
Watch For Cookies!
Logger Donner

From here you can look up between the gaps of the stairs to see what can best be described as a scene from an M.C. Escher painting, except for no staircases seem to be upside down. (But in Hogwarts, one can never be too sure about this.) The school is said to boast 142 staircases, good luck to anyone who wishes to count them to see if this is true. Paintings pack next to each other, leaving very little of the stone walls visible. The staircases move continuously, switching landings and entrances to various floors and hallways.

Draco comes down the staircase from the upper floors. In normal buildings this would mean simply following it down. Here, he comes down one flight, waits for the stairs to rotate themselves ninety degrees, walks down one more storey, and clicks his fingers twice under a large painting of a fat man wearing a doublet and stripy socks. The man in the painting nods, and reaches to the side of the artwork where a large wheel with a handle is delineated. He turns the wheel, and the stairs turn with them. Draco moves on down another flight, and comes to the next landing.

Donner has gotten the hang of keeping his balance when the stairways swing about, but the trick of -making- them do so eludes his grasp. He'd been admiring a painting for a good five minutes, but really he was just stuck there after a stairway dropped him off. Draco's reordering brings another one swinging his way and he gratefully follows them down to the same landing.

Draco realises someone's behind him. Instead of continuing down, he pauses, and turns round, his robe swirling with the speed of his movement. "You following me?" he addresses Donner, sharply.

Donner halts, taking half a step back as the older boy turns. He takes a moment before he shrugs and answers, looking somewhere about Draco's left shoulder. "Not specifically, just going down. Taking the stairs seemed safer."

"Well, it's safer than jumping over the bannister rail," Draco agrees with a half-smile. "Unless you're very sure you've learned your levitation spells in class… You're a firstie of ours, aren't you? I've seen you in common room."

Donner nods, visibly relaxing even though he still holds himself very stiffly. He darts a glance over the rail to judge just how high up they are. "We're not terribly high, it might be worth it to try," he says. "But I do hear the faculty isn't keen on magic outside of the classroom."

"It's a good rule," Draco advises Donner, "only to use magic when you need to. My mother says that if you don't do at least some things the mundane way, your brain and body will atrophy." He smiles. It isn't a hugely pleasant-looking smile; it's hard to tell if he's sneering, or trying to be pleasant with a face that isn't set up to be pleasant without a struggle. "I'm Draco Malfoy, fourth year."

Donner smiles back, it brings his solemn look up to vaguely pleased. "Donner Jones. First, like you said. I've seen people float things over to them from two feet away. I bet you could never move again, if you knew enough magic." He hesitates and purses his lips slightly before continuing. "Something must strengthen when you use it, though."

"Exactly. Who wants to be some fat old wizard who can't get out of his chair because his legs stopped working?" Draco laughs at his own joke. "It's one thing to use magic if you're Professor Flitwick and need to get something off a high shelf, say. But Accio-ing something to you across a room when it'd only take five seconds to stand up and get it is laziness. Laziness is bad for you. Laziness of body makes laziness of mind. So, what do you think of Hogwarts, Jones? Are you glad you were sorted into the best house of all?"

"It's not as special as I thought," Donner admits. "At the end of the day, it's still just school, only with more homework, and potions instead of science." He unconsciously straightens his already straight tie. "Slytherin is great of course, but I don't exactly get the difference. It's just a hat, does it's decision really mean that much?"

Draco allows one eyebrow to rise on his languid face. "Yes. Yes it does. In this life, there are people who do well and people who do badly, and those of us who were educated in Slytherin learn that doing well is important. Even if it means cutting some corners. Life is not easy. If it comes down to two people and one cookie, you want to be the one who gets the cookie, right?"

"Yes," Donner says, finally making direct eye contact with Draco. Donner does want the cookie. "You have a point." He shrugs again. "It's been a lot to take in. There isn't much time for adjustment.

Draco shrugs. "Don't worry too much. Don't overthink. The Hat knows its business, Jones. If the Hat thought you couldn't take it in Slytherin or didn't belong here, it'd put you in another house. If there are two Gryffindors and one cookie," he goes on, "they'd divide it in half, scrupulously, and most of it would dissolve into crumbs in the process. Two Hufflepuffs and one cookie, they'd both sit there forever insisting that the other person should take it because they're so darn nice, and the cookie would never get eaten. Two Ravenclaws… and they'd spend so much time trying to invent new and obscure ways to trick the other one out of the cookie, they wouldn't notice when a Slytherin came and took it from under their noses…"

Donner laughs a little at the analogy. "Yeah, or they would never notice the cookie because that would mean looking up from their book," he adds. "I hardly see them look up at breakfast." The sound of students exiting class can be heard down the hall. "It sounds like it's time for the next period," Donner says, starting down the staircase. "See you in the common room."

Draco lifts the fingers of one hand to bid a minimalist goodbye to Donner.

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