|Scene Title||The Shrubbery Incident|
|Synopsis||Sio goes for a run. Claire leaves practice. Jas abuses shrubbery. Booze, brooms and name-calling ensue.|
|Date||November 04, 1995|
|Watch For||Wandless magic, swearing and name-calling (of a different variety).|
|Logger||I am the Bad Wolf|
Saturday afternoon - once the sun has come out enough to make the air not so terribly lung-biting cold - finds Siobhan in a comfortable grey sweats suit running circuits around the outside of the castle. Her hair is swept back into a hair pony-tail that bounces as she moves and - judging by the flush to her face, the sweat on the back of her neck and the panting breath - she's been at this for a while, now. Her rather circuitous route takes her down close to the entrance to the Quidditch pitch, sparing only a glance for the teams out practicing today.
Slytherin's turn to practice has either just ended, or the Chasers have been booted off the pitch for the time being — or just one of them has. Claire seems totally indifferent to not being in the middle of practice but rather standing about and leaning on her broom, still in uniform. There's mud on her face, which she either hasn't noticed or is also not bothered by (it appears to have been smeared there by a teammate in good humor). Spotting Siobhan, she doesn't wave but rather whistles — it's much more noticable.
Sparing a split-second of thought to thank Merlin, Circe or whatever creepy invisible stalker being was actually out there for her ever-so-practical Slytherins, Siobhan swings in towards the sound of the familiar whistle and jogs right up to Claire with a grin on her face big enough to be a bit obviously fueled by exercise-endorphins. "Hey," she offers, coming to a stop and stretching her arms and shoulders. "You've got a bit of - " she brushs a fingertip over the spot on her own face. "Just there, yeah." Bending over in a slow stretch of her back muscles, Siobhan continues conversation as if the both of them were sitting down to a lovely afternoon's tea. "Done for the day?"
"Well, I am anyway," Claire replies with a tiny grin as she obligingly wipes the mud from her face; now that it's been called out, it has to go. "Captain's trying to teach Goyle how actually being a beater works and how to read the playbook — apparently it's news you need to be able to read to play Quidditch!" A scoff and an eyeroll, simultaneously. "So the rest of us are just getting out of the way for now, I think. He is an absolute moron and I think he's only on the team because of money, but you didn't hear me say — oh, whatever, you totally heard me say that." Everyone knows she and Goyle clash. A lot.
"Money, alas, doesn't buy talent, only the appearance of it," remarks a cherubically-innocent … shrub. Box of Quaffles? Well, something, anyway — for all that that is definitely the voice of one Jas Lancaster, the man himself seems noticeably absent his commentary.
Siobhan rolls her eyes. "Goyle is the unfortunate result of too many generations of incestuous inbreeding." For Siobhan, that's a lot of big words for one sentence. Perhaps there is something to be said for the immersion methods of education. Here, she shrugs, using a faked casual attitude to distract from the bitterness that lingers just on the very edges of her tone. "And it can't be money. If it were all about that, I'd have actually made the team at some point." Sio's not a bad Seeker, but she's never been better than the other options. It still rankles - just a little. The unexpected voice from the shrubbery startles her enough that her wrist is smacked against her hip and she's moved her body to place herself between Claire and the … plant. "James Lancaster, you are too old to be skulking around in bushes and scaring the wits out of people. Get out here." Finally, someone who knows her mother well enough to appreciate the Posture and the Look and even the Tone.
This time, the dismissive eyeroll on Claire's face is that of minor disgust. "I'd rather have had you than Malfoy any day, believe me. But at least he can play," and she clearly does not mind the Malfoy-provided broom, for all that she doesn't like Lucius either; as far as Claire is concerned, she has her Nimbus because she has talent. Despite her being a 'Mudblood,' she still got to keep it! "Unlike Goyle, who — I don't even." She gives the chattery shrub a funny look, and says cooly, "Money also buys hedge trimmers."
"I quite agree, Miss — No, I really ought to either call you Professor or Siobhan, hadn't I?" Jas' wintry tones modulate quickly enough into the wryly self-deprecating, as he steps into plain view … from the Quidditch archway, and not, in fact, from the shrubs. "I don't believe we've properly been introduced, young lady," he adds, politely nodding to Claire. "Slytherin Chaser — you'll be Miss Sutton, then?" The Hufflepuff muffler tucked sensibly into his overcoat makes no comment on his penchant for giving the appearance of lurking in bushes.
Siobhan hears the rustling of movement behind her and without even turning around, her shoulders slump forward. She doesn't need to look to understand that she's been had. By a Hufflepuff, no less. How utterly mortifying. "Siobhan if you must. I prefer Sio among friends." She opens her mouth as she turns, then changes her mind and shuts it right up. After that stunt, he can learn about that by his own damn self. "Malfoy's not that bad," Siobhan returns to the previous subject. "If you know how to handle him." Which - if memory serves - Claire does. There's a flash of a grin at that before Sio is overcome by ingrained etiquette. "Got it in one, Jas." And she quirks a brow at him, then. "You know, you really are creepy, sometimes." It's light-hearted, but she's only half teasing.
Properly introduced? Claire? Claire has no interest in propriety, and at least Siobhan knows that well, since she isn't trying overhard to make a fuss out of introducing her. She's almost daring enough to confirm whether or not they are actually friends, but not quite — there's an opened mouth and a slight headtilt as she thinks of it, and both are quickly retracted. "I'm Claire Sutton," she says in a repetitive tone that makes it seem as if he called her that, Claire Sutton and not Miss Sutton, just in case he wasn't aware of her first name. "I'm also not the only Slytherin Chaser. But I suppose I'm the only girl, so there you go."
"And you do look resoundingly unlike Mr Flint," Jas answers Claire mildly, although he's still got a bit of laughter dancing around in his eyes. (He should probably have that seen to before it goes septic.) "For which, I suspect, I should congratulate you." Just so. He turns back to Sio — eyeing that slump of her shoulders, if only in his mind's eye at this point — "And, Miss Noble Professor Siobhan Sio," smirk, "I promise you I am no such thing." That being the 'sometimes' part, really.
Siobhan mock-shudders. "Did you need to clarify the only girl part? Please tell me no one's managed to mistake Flint for a girl." Because that would be kind of … scary. Especially when Jas' train of thought seems to dovetail with her own. He gets a bright, cheeky smile for that one. "If you really feel like using the mouthful that is 'Miss Professor Siobhan Sio Noble' all the time, Jas, I won't stop you." It's silly, it's a pain and it's not like it'll wear out her vocal cords. "But if I ever hear just the 'Miss Noble' part come out of your mouth again, I'll find more creative ways of teaching you to remember my distaste for it." And she's just Slytherin enough to find some interesting ways of coercing cooperation.
Claire actually laughs, just the slightest little bit, at Jas' comment about her not looking like Marcus Flint. "He's the one who glommed mud all over my face, though," she points out, because this is entirely relevant to the conversation at hand. She's also able to pick up on the unspoken, "You mean you're always creepy and not just sometimes?" Respect for authority: Claire cannot has it. What she does have, though, is a spell of — blinking. Yep. A bunch of blinking. Which she pretends to not notice.
And Jas is back to laughing, looking downright delighted and probably no older than half his forty-some years of age. "Oh, I like this one," he tells Sio, talking blatantly about Claire. But, well, she belongs to Siobhan, in a way, doesn't she…? Being a younger also-female Slytherin, as it were. They all belong to Sio, don't they? "Although you probably shouldn't let my secret slip," he adds to Claire, in a blatantly-obvious stage whisper. Her broom gets eyed, a bit. The blinking, well, doesn't.
"I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, Jas," Siobhan responds dryly. "But you being always creepy isn't at all a secret." Even with the dryness, there's an unmistakeable fondness to her tone. Leaning closer to Claire, she concludes with a stage-whispered aside - having no expectations of any kind of real privacy. "He gives the best sort of presents, though, so we forgive him. Poor dear, it's not his fault he was born a bit off." Cue another of her playful, cheeky grins. It isn't the broom that catches Siobhan's attention. It's the blinking. "Hey, Claire, you got your pen on you?" She doesn't remember blinking being a symptom of her younger friend's attacks, but after six years Sio's gotten in the habit of running that check for anything out of the ordinary.
"Huh? Oh. Yeah, but I don't know if —" It's not the pen Claire pulls out of one of her many pockets but actually a glucometer. She's fairly deft with placing the strip, lancing and testing, and does it so casually it's like she isn't aware other people might be somehow affected by the sight. Like, for instance, Jas, who might be horrified. She clearly doesn't care. She's also not sick enough to not roll her eyes at herself before shoving the meter in her pocket and pulling out the pen instead, contemplating it for a moment as she rolls the dialer. Two, four, six? Hard decision. "What kind of presents?" she asks, managing to keep up the conversation as she attempts to calculate dosages.
Mildly fascinated presents, for one thing! "Is there a reason you just stabbed your fingertip, Miss Sutton?" asks Jas, somewhere between fascinated and horrified. (This is a tone he has had a lot of experience perfecting, as one might imagine.) "And if you needed blood, why didn't you use a spell for it? It's a far cry neater and more sanitary, I'd bethink," comes the drawl. He flicks a glance at Siobhan, one eyebrow raised — it's funny, how essentially the same expression Snape uses all the time can look so similar and yet so profoundly different on Jas' open, trustworthy Hufflepuffian face — "Do I owe you gifts, just now? Or should I give them all to this one, instead?"
"She's diabetic," Siobhan explains easily, stepping into the familiar role of Claire's protector. "It means her body doesn't process food right, so if the sugar in her blood gets too high or too low, she can get really sick." There's a flick of her gaze to Claire to see if she got this part right. "And you can't use magic because it would interfere with the Muggle thing that tells you how much sugar's in the blood." Siobhan considers this explanation enough - hopefully it's enough to buy Claire enough time to conduct her business in peace. "I'd say you very much did for scaring me like that," she lets a definitely more wicked grin curve her mouth and spark her eyes. "But I'd gotten you this lovely bottle of vodka to apologize for what happened at the Ball the other night and now we can call it even and I can drink it all myself." She's teasing, of course. … Or is she?
"Using a spell for it would probably result in way too much and I need my own blood," Claire is able to be heard muttering almost under her breath as Siobhan attempts to explain it all to Jas. She gives a bit of a nod to confirm the simplest version of the explanation before picking six at last and twisting herself into some odd contortion to be able to self-inject into her deltoid. (This move takes practice. Don't try it at home.) Once that's done, she closes the pen cap over the needle — which is actually unsanitary, more than using her own glucometer, despite the fact she never bothers to clean her skin in either case — and shoves it back in her pocket. "I bet you're not going to share any of it with me," she adds, pointedly. "Tease."
"Well, if your parents have sent in the proper documentation," Jas begins breezily, waving a hand, and then grins rather more sharply at Claire. "No, probably not," he admits with fine good cheer. "And I may well not share with Sio, either, if she's going to be all fussed and greedy! I didn't think you even /liked/ vodka," he adds, eyeing Sio once again. "Much less proper Moskovskaya! Did you go and develop proper taste while I wasn't looking?" he teases. "And here I thought you preferred mead! So much for that bottle…" He's looking thoughtful, now, along with taking careful measure of what the hell Claire is doing. "At least, I assume you got me a proper bottle of Moskovskaya. Anything less… well…" Speaks for itself, doesn't it?
Siobhan rolls her eyes. "As if I'd be thick enough to get anything less." It's not like Jas' pickiness is a big secret, either. "Ah, that would be a no, Claire. You're still a student and I rather like my job, thanks." No offense, but this isn't worth breaking rules for. Risk assessment: Every Slytherin's first reaction. Well, mostly. "Toys and books and pretty knick-knacks." To answer Claire's older question about gifts. "Once he even brought a pony, but Da said I couldn't keep that one." It's hard to tell whether or not she's serious with that look of impish delight on her face - the one Snape identifies as Trouble - but she's not telling either way. "Pfft. If I want good meade I'll go raid Severus' stock." Because of course, it's just a simple matter of wandering into the heavily warded rooms and making off with a glass or two. Right. Siobhan's sane, really. No, really. She waves off his protest with a grin. "Doesn't matter. I can find something to mix with it that'll make it palatable, I'm sure." Mixing high-end vodka? In front of Jas? Apparently, Siobhan likes to live dangerously. As if that wasn't obvious already.
"My father," says Claire, because this is obviously important to the adults, "sells vodka. Possibly also mead, but I don't really know. He doesn't bring it home much." And she sells coffee when she's not away at school: what a pair, the two of them! One to give a hangover, and one to cure it, at least according to unsubstantiated urban legend. "And I look forward to seeing someone help herself to Professor Snape's things, though I bet if it was anyone it would be you."
Well, Jas is giving Claire a speculative look, once again, so… maybe it is, at that! "Where does he sell it, and — well, you probably don't know the brands, actually, would you." Dashed hopes, here. Dashed! Sio gets a glance slanted her way, too — "You will of course give me advance warning before you do this, won't you, so I can be either far enough away or nearby enough, depending on my mood at the time?" It's only sort of a question, there, and then he's holding a hand out toward Claire once more. "Might I examine your broom?"
Siobhan gives booze as gifts. She gives it out rather a lot. So of course her interest is piqued when Claire offers up her tidbit of information. "Does he really? Fantastic. Where's his shop at, then? London?" She gives Jas a mild glare for - yet again - following down the same trail. She is, however, distracted by the responses to her quip about where she'd get her meade. "I might do, yeah," she answers Jas directly and Claire indirectly. (She's a snake, Sio trusts that she can Pick Up On Things.) There is something smug, however, about her smile that might suggest it's more of a 'has done' than a 'will do'. A single brow is raised - a third variation on that expression Jas had used just before - and Siobhan nods towards the Broom In Question. "Since when did you take up an interest in Quidditch brooms?"
Claire eyes Jas warily as she hands over the broom, with a hesitant, "It's a Nimbus two-thousand-one," as if she expects he might not know enough about brooms to identify it. It's unusual, after all, and if Sio's asking after why he wants to look at it, well — that must mean it's actually weird that he's asking. She's suspiciously narrow-eyed as she lets the Ministry guy handle her broom, as if afraid he might decide to take it apart to properly examine it. "It's in London, yeah. Stratford where our flat is? Last Call Wines and Liquors."
Jas slots a look at Siobhan as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, and says merely, "I developed an interest in brooms of all sorts approximately a decade before your father determined you weren't to be trusted with a pony, Miss Noble." So there, says his eyebrow, for good measure. Jas is gentle with the broom, at least, in a terribly respectful way, almost as if he … actually knows how to handle a broom in a decent fashion. He also doesn't help himself to a ride on it. "I look forward to seeing you play," he tells Claire mildly.
"Hmm, I don't remember if I've seen it or not." Which implies that Siobhan's been down visiting during her summertime London wanderings. "But I'll have a look next time I'm in town." She's watching Jas just as closely - if not with such overt signs of mistrust - as Claire. "It wasn't a matter of me not being trusted with one." But instead of trying the argument she's pretty sure is already a lost cause, Siobhan tries something else. Her right hand twitches, but it doesn't fly into the characteristic slap of wrist to draw wand into it. A pulse of her magic - warm as sunshine - flies from her fingertips towards the Obliviator. One of the things she'd discovered while practicing with Severus is that so long as she has a broad stroke of intent instead of something painfully specific, her magic tends to listen. An intent of remind him not to call me that seems broad enough, in her opinion.
"Next week," Claire tells Jas with a slight grin — the sort implying that yes, he has treated her broom well and said something sort of, kind of, a little complimentary or at least interested in her sport and so she will briefly smile at him. For a second. "We're not playing the Puffs so you could even root for us, maybe," she adds, because they're playing Ravenclaw and so Cianan won't be in the stands (at least, not for her) this match. "And I should probably head back to the dorms for a — " Sio's move of magical slapping gets a half-giggle, half-gasp out of Claire before she manages to complete her sentence with, " — shower, how did you do that will you teach me?"
Damnable mental magic — Jas shakes his head once, sharply, and then casts a tremendously sharp look at Siobhan. "M—," he begins, and catches on it, and it turns into "My dear Professor Noble!" even more sharply. He does not look particularly pleased, safe to say! And sharp tones sound really funny in his accent. "Don't do things like that if you're not looking for a prompt response!"
Sharp cinnamon gaze snaps to narrow on Claire. "How did you … ?" She figured Jas would realize what happened when he felt the magic hit him, but Claire is a surprise. "You can feel my magic?" She almost slaps herself in the face. "Of course! Magical signatures!" Like this is some big, huge ginormous revelation. "Ah," she reaches up with her hand to rub the back of her neck. "I don't think I actually can, Claire." Just a slight fib - on the fly, too! She wasn't expecting someone else to notice her casting. "Kind of a silver lining thing." Whatever that means. When Jas switches from the title that wasn't so obnoxious until Severus started using it rather insistantly, Siobhan forgets all about her error in thrill that it worked. A slow, wicked, wolfish smile splits her face. "I did tell you I didn't like that term." Siobhan seems pleased that he isn't pleased. Lets her get some of her own back after The Shrubbery Incident. "I even warned you there would be consequences for ignoring my request." Turning to glance at Claire, then, she asks a single question. "What happens to anyone who uses French in my classroom, Claire Sutton? Even if they don't mean to?" One leg is lifted in a stretch and then the other. It seems like - pending only Claire's answer - Siobhan is ready to resume her run.
Claire notices everything. There is no passing by an extremely close-watching girl who attempts to focus in on absolutely everything and is generally pretty good at it. If she hadn't been paying attention none of it would have registered! Her guess, as far as the silver lining goes, is something involving why Siobhan had disappeared, and she's definitely not going to pry there. "She did say that," she tells Jas, her own grin piping up. "About the consequences. She's very serious about consequences. If people speak French they get turned into gingers — of course I did it once by accident, and I look wretched with red hair and absolutely deserved it. It was hysterical." Pierrick Remi-du-Longname may not have thought so, but Claire was laughing for the remainder of her ginger day.
"It might be wise, in future, to consider naming those consequences before acting on them," Jas says in a quiet, cold, creepy voice. Downright scary, in fact. Claire's broom is thrust back at her rather less courteously than his attentions had been, up to that point. Nothing against Claire; he's absolutely going to show up and root for Slytherin, too, no doubt, while his parents show up to support their house — right now, though, there is something very cold in his study of Siobhan Noble. "Especially when you are a very junior professor, here, enacting those consequences on those who have known you since before you were born, those who are, in fact, in a position to cause you a bit of trouble, should they feel you have lessons yet to be taught. Miss Noble." It doesn't matter how uncomfortable it might be for him to say those last two words in combination; say them Jas does, while drawn all the way up to his full, tall, height, and then he's stalking off to the main entrance of the school without another word.
"Oh for all the piss-loving bloody-minded shark-buggering cocksucking - Jas, get your knickers off your bollocks. I think they're cutting off the circulation to your brain." Jas - the man she remembers so very fondly from her childhood - getting so very Cold and Creepy on her … well, it frightens Sio. And a frightened Sio is a mouthy one. But he's already storming off. "I wouldn't let it hurt you, you great daft bastard," she grumbles, hurt creeping into her tone. Great, more reason to run - gotta purge all that building negative emotion! "I'll see ya, Claire." And Sio reaches out to give the younger girl a fond squeeze on the shoulder - doesn't trust herself to a hug, just now - and takes off down her 'track'.
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