1995-11-17B: Wine And Reason

Participants:

Pierrick_icon.gif Siobhan_icon.gif

Special Guest Star: Mister Ellis Sutton

Scene Title Wine and Reason
Synopsis Pierrick's Detention. Stressful, but productive.
Location Muggle London
Date November 17, 1995
Watch For Claire's dad! Pie being French. Sio being sneaky.
Logger I am the Bad Wolf

Having been assigned to see to Pierrick's detention - after being given the particulars by a rather pursed-lipped McGonagall - Siobhan had requested only that Pierrick be excused from his afternoon classes. Perhaps it is a testament to Minerva's faith in the creativeness - or cruelty - of Slytherins that she was granted that permission. With an altogether neutral expression, Siobhan had gathered the poor boy from his table of classmates and led him out to the front of the castle.

The 'pop' of Apparition - with Pierrick side-along'd - left them in a rather grimy-looking back alley. Without even a look, Siobhan turned into a brightly painted blue door and walked in - obviously expecting the student to follow her inside the … Muggle school. Inside, Siobhan was greeted warmly by a kind-looking woman of middle age. Quiet words were exchanged - with the woman giving Pierrick a knowing look softened by a small smile. When the lady had ducked back inside of her classroom, Siobahn had turned to Pierrick. "Your detention is this, Mister Remi. You must pass the hour reading to these children from the provided storybook. You may not use magic of any sort. These are Muggle children. Once you are finished we will return to the school and I will inform Professor McGonagall that your punishment has been served." It seems … far too easy, right?

Five minutes into Storytime with small, energetic pre-schoolers proves that it is anything but easy. Neither Siobhan nor the children's teacher offered any assistance in his keeping them in line, not even when two of them started throwing blocks at each other while another one sat on the floor and screamed for her mother. Not even when they started throwing blocks at him did they interfere. Only when the hour ticked over did their teacher rise. And as soon as the older woman stood, every child in the room fell eerily silent. "Thank Mister Remi for his time, children," she'd offered in her sweet-old-lady voice. As one, the children - even the one with tears staining her cheeks - turned and offered a sullen 'Thank you Mister Remi'.

Siobhan - perhaps feeling a touch bad for the er, state of her student, led him gently out into the alley and Apparated them both to the backdoor of Mister Sutton's shop.

Pierrick is looking rather shell-shocked, to say the very least. Possibly, in fact, one might take that literal; he looks rather as if he's been through an hour of the worst sorts of wars, after making it through that preschool. He turns to Siobhan very slowly, and doesn't look particularly aware of their location, or indeed all that aware of the fact that they aren't in the same alleyway at all. "I would like to kill that caterpillar," he tells her hollowly.

Siobhan bites her tongue on a smile and pushes open the alley-side door. The little tinkling bell is a bit startling, but from the looks of the shelves, she'd brought them to the right place. "Mister Sutton?" she calls out softly. Pierrick is guided gently into the store, where Siobhan tries to both look around shelves for Claire's dad and keep him on his feet - and not breaking anything by stumbling.

Mister Sutton is here, yes! Ellis Sutton, a thin six-foot-tall man with dark brown hair and a permanent five o'clock shadow, appears from around a pile of crates that entirely masked his body when they walked in. "Yes?" he calls back, and then, adjusting his glasses, places her. "Miss Noble, and — someone! How may I help you?"

"May I kill the caterpillar?" is the first thing Pierrick asks of M. Sutton, before recollecting himself — well, faintly, at least. He shakes his head before Ellis Sutton can ask him what he's on about. "Non — I do not know. Why are we here?" It's all on Siobhan.

Siobhan's smile genuinely warms for the familiar parent of her long-time friend. "Oh good, I didn't get the wrong shop. I'm afraid one of my students has had a bit of a shock and I didn't want to take him all the way back to Scotland this way." She adjusts her grip on Pierrick's arm and nods towards the front of the shop. "Claire had said you worked here now and I thought it might be best to buy him a bit of mulled wine and let him sit a moment, if there's place for that here?"

"Oh, yes, yes, you're teaching now, she did tell me that —" Perhaps Ellis Sutton is not the owner of the best memory in the world, but when prompted, he's there. He's also not young anymore, and so you'll have to excuse him when he's not so sure about something. Waving his hand over to a back corner, he says, "Tables, over there, are for tasting and when people bring in goods from the bakery down the road, which they do, sometimes, I've never known why. You can just get a taste of it, or if you'd like the whole bottle I can get you that too. Particular brand? — No," he adds, belatedly, to Pierrick. "You can't."

Pierrick is maybe scowling, a little, now that he has his answer, and mutters under his breath "and why may I not," but he isn't really waiting for an answer; he's busy collapsing, exhausted, into one of the indicated chairs, and stares blankly at the tabletop before him, flinching a little bit when someone walking down the road talks too loudly. Outside. Where Pierrick can't even understand what's being said, no.

"I'll buy the bottle, if you please. Do you have the Greek vintage from the monastary of St. John Chrysostom?" An excellent wine to serve watered down and hot. She can take the rest of it home and enjoy it after long days of teaching brats. Which Pierrick might have some better understanding of, now. Fishing in her coat pocket, Siobhan pulls out the rather obnoxious wad of pound notes she always brings when travelling into Muggle London and settles up with Mister Ellis before taking the seat opposite Pie. Two small ceramic beads are pulled out of another pocket and quietly transfigured into mugs. "Because it wouldn't make you feel any better for doing so," she answers the younger Gryffindor.

It's a good question, and it takes Ellis some time to actually locate the mulled wine in question. As for the caterpillar, good call on not expecting an answer, Pierrick: you are never going to get one. Even if he did remember, he apparently doesn't seem to be concerned with answering it. "Your bottle, Professor," he tells Siobhan with a grin; his wife, too, is called Professor, and he probably teases them both with the title fairly often. His affectionate expression behind the word looks exactly like Claire's when she does the same thing.

At least Siobhan had an answer for him, even if — judging by the look on Pierrick's face — it isn't one he finds remotely helpful. He looks, in fact, quite dissatisfied, behind being all drained. "I am not sure of this," he grumps at her. "I think it would make me feel very much better, to take this book and destroy it." But — under the middling grades and Gryffindor-ism and French-ness, Pierrick is at least a little bit smart, and so:

"I am supposed to learn something from this, I suppose?" Pierrick's hand waves around, a very French gesture; he doesn't actually seem to be indicating the wine shop. "Something about how it is very hard to be a teacher, no?"

And Siobhan recognizes that expression - even altered as it is by the five o' clock shadow and the whoa-tall. "Thanks, Mister Sutton. How's the Prof?" It sparks a playful grin in return, the young professor accepting the bottle and pouring a measure into each mug before discreetly tapping her wand against the edge of first Pie's and then her own, adding hot water to the mix until both mugs are steaming pleasantly. The bottle is set on the table out of the way and Siobhan pushes Pierrick's mug towards him. "Drink." Instead of answering him right away, she takes a sip of her own hot beverage and settles back into her chair, watching Pie thoughtfully. "When my oldest brother was a student, Pierrick," she begins quietly. "It was not Professor Snape, but a man named Professor Slughorn who taught Potions class." Another sip. "Professor Slughorn is - well, he's an interesting character, but he's generally a pleasant sort of person, very amiable. Liam's fourth year in Potions, two of the Gryffindor boys had gotten into it with two of the Slytherins. It turned into a bit of horseplay and they overturned their cauldrons into each other." She shudders. One does not have to experience an explosion of caustic liquid in order to appreciate the horror. "The Slytherin girl seated in front of them died."

Mister Sutton is, of course, shooting out an answer — "Doing pretty well; still thinks you and some of Claire's other friends should come have Christmas with us, but considering how none of you'd fit in the house, I'm not going anywhere with that idea," — and then stepping back, taking inventory and still, sort of, listening. It's mostly all going over his head, but he's sort of heard some of this before!

It isn't that Siobhan's horror story isn't getting to Pierrick; it is, clearly, and she isn't the only one shuddering, but — but. But he's a sixteen-year-old boy who the Sorting Hat very clearly pegged as having a giant streak of But This Isn't Fair running through him, and stubborn, to boot. "I do not know why you tell me of horseplay," he says — and is fighting, really, not to be aggravated and irritable and stubborn, and so if it's coming out somewhat distant, well, at least he isn't being incendiary, right? He sips at the wine, and then makes a face and barely manages not to spit it out. Several florid French curses follow. "— How can you do these things to wine?!"

This, of course, sets gear-wheels turning in Siobhan's head. Having the Suttons as an addition to Christmas would be fun - and having Claire there would make it all the easier to convince Cianan that he should go. Machinations!

Siobhan has been made very acquainted with the Gryffindor streak of It's Not Fair - among other, less admirable traits - recently and so she appreciates that this lion is trying to rein in his temper. "It's hot, sweet and spicy. Good for the nerves." And he's underage and she's still letting him have it, so there. "The wine doesn't mind, really." It's a dry remark, but at least it's out of the way, now.

"I'm telling you because I need you to understand what can happen in a Potions classroom when accidents happen. If a class gets out of control in Defense, I can just Silence you all and lecture. If a class gets out of control in Potions… The wrong combination of ingredients can be fatal and our jobs as professors are not only to teach you, Pie, but to protect you." She takes another sip of her own wine, thoroughly enjoying the soothing warmth it brings. "Professor Snape is not a nice man." It's perhaps a more blunt admission than anyone would expect from a Slytherin. "He is not a fair man, either. However," she sets her mug on the table and leans forward, gaze intent on Pierrick's. "He is a good man and he protects the students under his care." She shrugs, then, leaning back some and getting out of his 'space'. "Are there better ways to keep control over a classroom? Possibly. But that's the way he knows how to do it. I showed you today how awful it can be to try and regain control over young children in your care after even one slip. If you step out of line, he will punish you too harshly because that teaches not only you but everyone else not to do it."

(From over in Inventory Land, there is a slowly-raising eyebrow; Ellis Sutton always thought Snape was a fairly nice man. This is possibly because of his definition of 'nice,' and because he thinks anyone who takes his child to hospital when she needs it is nice. Or, at least, nice enough. At the mention of young children as punishment, he's shaking his head and holding in a chuckle.)

From her lofty vantage point of two years older, along with all the other ways poor Siobhan has been forced to grow older in the last two years, she can probably accurately identify all the warring emotions evident in Pierrick's expressions as she talks — distrust, dismay, resentment, resignation, a leftover trace of It's Not Fair — and then he's silent, for a very long moment, and actually makes himself sit and drink that wine down, no matter how much he might think it's an affront to the wine, before he says anything at all.

What he says, when he talks, is maybe not what Sio is expecting; he tells her, from his perspective, somewhat haltingly (but in perfect English nonetheless), exactly what happened that day in the dungeons — from afternoon class, through the detention, along with why he was singing during detention — hardly an act he would ordinarily partake in! Snape hadn't been interested in his explanation, only in yelling at him and hitting him with that book; McGonagall, he didn't know if she'd ever even found his parchment to read his account of the evening's events. Maybe, though, maybe Siobhan would listen. That was all he wanted.

And Siobhan does listen. She's good at listening, quietly nursing her mug of mulled wine as she does. Better than possibly anyone else in the castle, she's become acquainted with most of Professor Snape's temper-triggers - and it's not a short list - but even so, there's something about the story that just doesn't add up. Pulling her lower lip between her teeth, she considers the possibilities for a moment. "Which song were you singing?" Because that's about the only thing she can think of that could still be a factor. "And was it in French?" She doesn't think Snape's outlawed French in his classroom like she has in hers, but it's best never to assume. Rule Eight, after all.

Pierrick is a little surprised, truth be told, that Siobhan actually does listen to him. Sure, she's not that much older than him, and surely even she was the victim of one of Snape's bad moods at one point in her life — the Halloween Ball notwithstanding — and yes, of course, she's a professor, and that's supposed to come with a certain level of paying attention to one's students. But still…

But she listens, and then she asks questions, and then Pierrick nods, a little. "It is what I had been singing earlier that day, in class," he repeats, because that's important, that's the only reason he was singing in the first place. "The song, Celine Dion, it was stuck in my head — Pour que tu m'aimes encore."

Now, Siobhan is no lover of the French language. It's one of the few European languages even an aristocratic background could not help her in deciphering. She is, however, avid in her love of music. A song that tops charts … She hums a bar or two of the melody before raising a questioning eyebrow. "That one?" She's familiar with it, but it still doesn't explain … unless Snape speaks better French than she does. "What does it mean in English?" she queries, some vague memory of radio commentary tugging at the back of her mind. "Not a dirty ballad or anything?" It's a joke - a dry one, but a joke nonetheless. Maybe the Slytherin and Gryffindor senses of humor will line up just this once? Siobhan's not holding her breath.

Neither is Pierrick, but that's because he's laughing — just a tiny chuckle, yes, pulled out of him somewhat unwillingly, but a laugh nonetheless. "The part I was singing during the detention —" And there he goes, singing again: "J'irai chercher ton coeur si tu l'emportes ailleurs — Meme si dans tes danses d'autres dansent tes heures," and then pauses to think a little. (His voice isn't bad, at least, if not much like Mlle Dion's.) "It is — the woman, she is singing to her lost love, she wants him to come back to her. This verse, she says, 'I will go get your heart, if you take it somewhere else; even if in your dances others dance your hours,' and then I didn't get any further than that before the professeur was yelling at me."

It's a good thing that Siobhan's mug of mulled wine is empty. As Pierrick makes his explanation, several pieces click into place and she lets her forehead fall onto her arms on the table, a groan stifled in the sleeves of her jumper. "And of course the bastard would know French." Because he certainly doesn't seem the type to, you know, actively listen to Celine Dion. There's a moment where Siobhan merely mutters a string of rather colorful curses into her wool-covered arms, taking comfort in the familiar speech pattern and buying herself a few more seconds to think. This is incredibly delicate. Tilting her head up so that it's her chin resting on her arms, the young professor looks over at her student very seriously. "No, it wasn't fair." Even though she understands the reaction, that doesn't mean she's excusing it. There will be Words, later.

"At this point, though, Pie, I don't think he's going to change." The smile that twists her mouth upwards is soft and a bit fond. Knowing bigger chunks of the story makes it easier to let the prickliness roll like water off a duck. "But it's one of the harsh realities of life. Even people like you and I, with every advantage in the world, will someday come across a situation where someone else has the upper hand and we have to make the best of it that we can." Feeling again like her lack of the right words is making her slip on something important, Siobhan has a stroke of genius - or possibly insanity. "Think of it like a challenge - or a game. Learn what sets him off and avoid it. Don't give him even a hint of a reason to punish you. Don't rise to the bait when he does get nasty. Don't let him know he's got to you." Because hopefully they'll learn to co-exist without killing each other and then this migraine growing behind her ear might go away.

It helps, really, that Siobhan admits so readily that it isn't fair. It also helps that she's now approximately doubled the number of inventive English swears Pierrick knows, so for that alone he'd be willing to listen to her advice. There's just one thing still bothering him, though, and that's what he gives voice to, after nodding to show that he's at least considering her 'game' suggestion —

"The worst of it is that I like potions." It's pretty glum, when it comes out. "And I did want to make the potion, to see if I could repeat what I did. Now, I do not know — so much time has passed — but I still want to try!" Frustration has Pierrick's voice raised, by now. "Just — not with him watching, I think." Cue a look of slightly-desperate entreaty to Siobhan.

Siobhan once more drops her forehead to rest on her arms. Getting between the Potions professor and his intended victim is something no sane snake would ever, ever do. It's suicide. Siobhan is not a sane snake - not really - and she can weather his bad temper better than most. Heaving a sigh, she lets her shoulders drop into a slump and tilts her head back up to regard him from behind her bangs. "If I help you work through it, you'll take the finished potion and the notes to him fait accompli and apologize - respectfully, but simply - for losing your temper during a detention." She has her price, apparently. But this will also help. Really, it will. "I know you feel wronged, but trust me, it will make your life - " and hers! " - so much easier in the long run."

Siobhan isn't surprised by the stubborn set to Pierrick's mouth, not quite a frown, that greets her proposal, is she? No? Good. That said, it does soften after a moment — he can see the merit in her words — and so, begrudgingly, hesitantly, he nods. "I will do this thing," he promises. "If you help me." And, after a moment, he even smiles at her.

Nothing comes without a price. It's a lesson every snake learns early and well. It's also a lesson most other children come to later on - and painfully. Siobhan can see the stubborn almost-frown, but when he works through it in his own time, the young professor feels a little bit like cheering. "It's a deal, then." She even offers her hand to shake on it. Eyeing his mug, she nods toward it. "You suitably recovered from your attack of catterpillar battle-lust?" Another dry jab of humor. "If we leave now, I can help you before dinner." She did get him the afternoon off for this, after all.

She might be a little bit surprised at how enthusiastic he is, although it does take about five seconds to build up steam. "Yes," Pierrick answers simply. "I would like this very much — thank you." He might, admittedly, end up hunting for caterpillars later, but that's for after dinner.


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