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“Hello. Mind if I sit?” As if from nowhere, Lucretia puts in an appearance at Douglas’ elbow, a wide smile on her face. Not intimidated in the least at asking to sit with a seventh year student, and one with the reputation that Douglas has to boot, she stands with her right hand clasped around a hot chocolate. And it must be pretty hot at that; for after a moment she passes it to her left hand, blowing briefly into the palm of the now freed up one.

Douglas glances up, looks the girl over briefly, then just gestures to the spot opposite him. “Go ahead, go ahead. Try the butterbeer,” he recommends. “It’s good, if not so warm.”

“I did, and I prefer hot chocolate, but thank you,” Lu says, quickly taking the seat opposite Douglas. “I suppose that if I drank it more often I might get to like it more, but chocolate’s nice and warming when its so cold out.” The tip of one finger scoops the froth from the top of her drink and she sucks it quickly off, blowing the heat from her flesh with an exhale around the digit. A breath. “Lucretia Black. Lulu. I’m not sure we got properly introduced the other day, but I know who you are.” And she extends her hand, all proper like.

Douglas sets down his drink, wipes his hand down his trousers, then offers it in return. “Black,” he greets simply, giving her a nod. “One of Alphard’s lot, or the other side of the family?”

Lucretia concentrates on her chocolate a moment longer, before giving a small uplift of her shoulders, her eyes coming back up to lock upon Douglas’. “He’s my cousin,” she says eventually. “Distant cousin, I suppose, but regardless, it gives me every right to pester him for favours, and he sometimes obliges. In fact, he did say I could come to Hogsmeade with him today, but I got bored with waiting for him to wake up, so came alone. But shhhh on that.” A quick grin is given, as if she’s allowed Douglas in on some huge secret, which obviously she hasn’t since she’s sitting there in plain sight, and adds after a thought slips into her head, “Oh. You aren’t going to tell me that you want him dead too are you?”

Douglas half grins at that, briefly flicking the pendant at his neck. “Naw, Black’s all right for all that. He gets carried away easily, but I can forgive him that.” He settles back in his seat with his butterbeer. “He’s probably off with Rowle somewhere, and good on him if he is. I mean, no offence, and I’m sure you’re lovely and everything, but given the option of sloping off to Hogsmeade with a little cousin, however distant, or with a fittie who’s all over you? Well, aye, no question, is there?”

“Oh. You really think that that’s what’s happened?” The smallest of scowls pulls Lu’s brows together above the bridge of her nose at about the time her shoulders square like a prickly kitten’s. “Then I shall tell him how horrible that was of him when I see him next. If he didn’t want me tagging along then he should have told me to my face. I’m not a kid that’s going to burst into tears over a rejection.” Her chin walnuts with that, glower levelling briefly in Douglas’ direction before she slides her backside forward and slouches in her seat. “Fittie, huh? Who’s this Rowle person anyway?” She’s very not up on social gossip.

“She’s good people. Black’s girlfriend,” Douglas explains, shoving a hand into his pocket to pull out a crumpled bag of mints, which he sets on the table in front of him and takes one to pop into his mouth. Crunch. “So it’s hardly horrible. Just understandable. He’ll probably drop in later and find you. He does keep his promises.”

“Fine.” There’s that one word uttered that has been the death knell of many a man, and Lulu leans forward to claim one of the mints with a curl of a finger. She pops it into her mouth and takes a mouthful of chocolate, which might be an unusual combination for some but apparently not for this particular Black. “You got a girlfriend? Is that the blonde we saw you crawling out from beneath the Gryffindor bleachers with the other day?”

“You know, it’s polite to ask, kid,” Douglas points out, nodding to the mints. Still, he doesn’t seem overly bothered, leaning back and propping a foot up on the seat beside Lucretia. “And aye, I’ve got a girlfriend. And aye, it’s Medusa Malfoy. Yes, that Medusa Malfoy. So don’t piss me off too much or I’ll set her on you,” he warns, grinning easily.

“You offered me a mint in the bleachers the other day,” Lulu states, looking remarkably unconcerned by the minor telling off. “If you retracted the offer, you should have told me.” Rolling the alleged ‘stolen mint’ around her mouth, there’s a slight considering pause as Douglas confirms it was Medusa. “Medusa’s good people,” she eventually states, parrotting Douglas’ own words back to him.

“I offered swapsies for chocolate the other day,” Douglas points out, running a hand through his hair, making it, if anything, messier. “There’s a difference. But aye, Medusa’s good people. Don’t spread the word too much, though. She’s got a reputation to maintain.”

“I won’t spread the word if you stop grouching,” Lulu says, eventually giving in and crunching her sweet, cheek ballooning temporarily before she manages to work it to the other side. Another mouthful of chocolate helps matters along and she sinks lower yet in her seat. She’s occupying a booth with Douglas, butterbeer his drink of choice and chocolate hers. It seems that she just can’t get enough of the warming beverage of late and after swallowing down the sweet she places her mug back on the table, a faint brown line decorating her upper lip.

Jenny slips in humming, her spirits as high as that pleasant smile on her face, while the heavy knee length coat she wore over her button up and trousers was pulled free from her shoulders and hung on the coatrack near the door; her cap followed, as did her scarf until there was nothing left to stop the warmth from sinking into her bones, where it was most needed. Honey blond curls were fluffed, slacks smoothed into place and eventually her gaze swept the room, offering a little smile of greeting towards the familiar third year and an upnod, to Douglas.

“I’ll stop complaining if you stop stealing my sweets,” Douglas retorts amiably, swirling his butterbeer in its glass. He looks up, giving Jenny a vague nod of acknowledgement. “You’ve got a tash, by the way,” he informs the third year, touching his lip to indicate where. “While I’m sure it’s very you, you look like a bloke.”

Lulu blushes horribly, a quick pass of the back of her hand dealing with the faux ‘tache before she notices Genevieve. Thank God she removed that before the older Slytherin girl was close enough to notice. Leaning forward just a smidge, she grimaces, muttering quietly, or not so quietly to Douglas. “Thanks for that.”

There’s a sweeping look passed, with some small regret, when Jenny notices that once again, her favorite disgruntled employee is not behind the counter. Either way, it’s a mulled wine she orders, to help take the chill from her fingers. Leaning against the counter as she waits, she regards the pair again, pitching her voice with all the ease of casual conversation. “Enjoying your weekend away?”

Douglas murmurs a few words to Lucretia, nodding solemnly, before looking back over to Jenny. “Aye, always good to get out of the prison for a bit. If I had my way we’d never go back to that bloody place again.”

There’s the smallest squint Douglas’ way as Lucretia catches something said, and she can’t help but blurt out a decidedly loud, “OH!” Eyes flick over to Genevieve and there’s a tentative smile given the older Slytherin girl before she hitches her shoulders, hair slewing forward to cloak her expression as she dips her head, ostensibly to lift her mug and down more chocolate.

Jenny’s grin twists into a little amused sideways expression that does wonders for her eyes. “Ugg, me too. But you’ll be free of it soon enough, won’t you? Counting down the days yet? I know that I’ve been since the end of fifth. Can’t wait to be free of it for good.” Though she notices the way Lucretia’s posture changes, the way her head bows and glances again towards Douglas as her mulled wine arrives. “What did you say to embarass the poor girl?” She teases.

“Told her how I can’t live without you, Solomon, how our love cannot be denied,” Douglas intones solemnly.

Lucretia sits rigidly in her place, the Black apparently not going to shift over to accommodate Genevieve so it’ll be Douglas her housemate will be sitting down next to. “You’re the second, no third person today that’s said they can’t wait to be free of Hogwart’s and out there!” An expansive gesture is made with the young girl’s hand to express ‘there’. “I love it here, always something new to learn. I don’t see the attraction of ‘escaping’.”

Chuckling, the tall Chaser wears an all too bemused expression, for all that she still remained at the bar and showed no inkling of moving towards the pair’s table. “Oh aye? So hot it burns cold, doesn’t it?” It’s an easy airy jest, before Jen flashes a grin Lucretia’s way. “I remember being that way once. Something different in each new class, some secret that hadn’t yet been discovered around every corner and a library filled with books I’d have never gotten the chance to see otherwise. Hogsmeade a fantastical place worthy of pining for in the hopes of adventure. There’s still fun to be had in all of it too,” the girl admitted; twinkle in her eye. “Hang on to your enjoyment of it, Little Black, don’t let anyone take that away, because it’s damn hard to get back once it’s gone.”

“Look out of the window some time, Black,” Douglas urges. “Or the door. Or from the rooftops. We’re in the middle of the most beautiful country on Earth. The bens, the lochs, the forests, the wildlife, the whole lot of it. And we deliberately force our kids to spend five or seven years before we’re forced into a life of drudgery and work, cooped up in a massive grey stone walled prison, only allowed out for good behaviour once a fortnight.”

“Nobody is forcing anyone to stay and be a student here, are they?” Lulu grimaces, the young woman resiliant in the face of percieved mutiny. “I mean, if you really wanted to leave, you’d just pack your bags and go. Right? What’s keeping you here. Family? Obligation? Tradition? Or do you just know that if you don’t complete your studies here that there isn’t a place in the wizarding world for you after?”

“It is amazing country,” Jenny agrees, even though it was obvious the conversation was particularly aimed to include her. “I particularly love the look of it from on a broom, when the world’s painted white with snow and anyone with good sense knows to stay indoors.” It’s whimsical that, her smile affectionate for the memory. Though she fell quiet when the questions were more directly asked of Macmillan, waiting to hear what he said.

“As long as I’m a student I still get my allowance,” Douglas points out, shrugging a shoulder. “I need that. I’m saving up.”

“So one more year of torture and you’ll be free,” Lucretia says, lifting her mug towards Douglas. She might clink it, but you can’t really clink chocolate with butterbeer and so she simply gulps another mouthful of it, utter bliss showing in her expression.

“Of course, there’s some wonderful people in it too, always willing to meet others with the same open mind that they turn towards learning new magic. I suppose that’s one of the other wonderful things about it. But then, I may just be optmistic,” Jenny continued, flashing the pair a smile. “Character flaw, I suppose.” Her expression turned thoughful, “Could be worse. I could have a nose so long I had to look down it at everyone else and then where would I be.” Shrug. “Are you excited for the holidays then?” Inquired in the young girl’s direction.
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