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Silas Harding-Clarke

Girl Talk, Part II

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Silas Harding-Clarke

Meet me in the library--not urgent.

 

Silas left a message for Grace via mirror and then went to the library for his regularly scheduled homework sessions. It was basically all he could do to keep it together, having hardly dropped any classes, he hadn't left a lot of time for himself to focus on his Legilimency training (Despite James warning him that she was going to schedule his exam with the ministry whenever she felt he was ready, whether he felt ready or not) and that was to say nothing of prefect patrols and actually attending classes. Oh and Quidditch practice. And eating. And sleep.

 

So yeah Silas was busy and perpetually exhausted, but he was still going to make time to let Grace know that she might soon have an awkward situation on her hands. He'd dithered about telling her for about a day, but he decided if it was him in her position, he'd want a heads up so that he could prepare for the encounter. Grace probably needed even more time to prepare so that she didn't yell BALLS right into the poor guy's face. She had a hard time with the unexpected unless it was brandishing a sword at her.

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Grace Foster

Grace bounced into the library shortly after Silas arrived. She did not often get a summons of any kind from Silas and since he specified that it wasn't urgent she assumed he had a plan of some sort that would require her help.  The last time had involved sneaking an important book out of her mother's office and had required lessons in lying should she be questioned. It had been an exciting adventure even if it hadn't worked out perfectly for SIlas.

 

Grace plopped into the chair opposite Silas with a broad smile on her face. 

 

"Am I gettin' another lying lesson?" she asked eagerly. "You were right, you know. It does get a lot easier with practice. I lie all the time now. I lie to every body: Mam, Columbia, Jake, my professors...In fact.... " she paused, but not for as long as she should have. "I'm lying right now!" She let out a hoot of laugher which started the people studying at the next table.

 

"But I bet you weren't sure for a second though, were you?" 

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Silas Harding-Clarke

Grace arrived crackling with energy, as usual, raring to go and excited at the potential for mischief.

 

Silas smiled when she asked if he was going to get her another lying lesson. Part of him almost felt bad for creating a monster, but the enthusiasm with which she had embraced his advice gave him the same amount of satisfaction he'd imagine artist parents would feel the first time their firstborn showed an affinity for a paintbrush.

 

"I lie to everyone ... I'm lying right now!"

 

Silas lowered his voice and gently tapped the table for her attention. "You might have fooled me except you were talking too fast. Try weighting the words more next time, pausing here and there like you're hesitant to admit whatever you're saying." He sat back in his chair. "Anyway, no more in-depth stuff today, that can be for another time. No, I wanted you to meet me here because I heard .. well, not a rumor, I guess, but, I found out that somebody has a crush on you, and I kind of thought you might appreciate the head's up."

 

He hadn't outright promised Jake that he wasn't going to tell. And besides, this was to protect Jake's delicate feelings, in the end.. to make sure that Grace was prepared to be as gentle as possible.

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Grace Foster

Grace leaned in, eager to absorb Silas' wisdom. "Slower. Right. I can do that," she said, automatically dropping the register of her voice, as if she were slowing the revolution speed of a mini phonograph,

 

She was silent and solemn until Silas revealed the real reason behind their meeting and then her natural exuberance overrode Silas' seriousness.

 

."A crush? Me? Get out of town!" she exclaimed excitedly. "Well, when it rains it pours, right? Who is it? Someone older? Is he cute?" Her mind quickly ran through Silas' known associates--someone on the quidditch team maybe?-- until a disturbing thought occurred to her. "There's no way it's Toby, right? That would be too weird."

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Silas Harding-Clarke

"Shh, shh!" Silas looked around furtively and leaned over the table again. "It has to be a secret, I.. well, technically I didn't promise I wouldn't tell, but it was kind of assumed."

 

"There's no way it's Toby, right? That would be too weird."

 

He did feel badly about betraying Jake in this matter, but he would feel worse if he encouraged Jake to bungle through an awkward profession of love to his best friend. "Ugh, no, it's not Toby. That would be too weird for anyone," he thought, and a shiver fluttered unbidden down his spine, which was weird. He supposed he wouldn't trust Toby to be good to Grace, and the thought unsettled him, but he didn't have time to examine it because there was further weird stuff to discuss.

 

"It is still a little weird though, fair warning. Grace, he never explicitly said it, but I am pretty sure the person that has a crush on you, from the way he was talking about it--is Jake."

 

Surely she would be as shocked but not shocked as he was.

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Grace Foster

Grace was silent for a moment, her large blue eyes widening  and her merry expression growing serious with the gravity of Silas' revelation. Her change in mood was short lived however, and seconds later Grace's grave silence  was replaced with a snort of disbelief.

 

"Jake and me?" she asked, her eye crinkling with amusement again."No way. That's just crazy talk, Silas. It could never happen. That would be like... well, like you and me... Incestuous...or something. You must have misunderstood what Jake was telling you.. Read him wrong... something."

 

"I mean it was only last year he thought kissing was yucky," Grace added, grasping at proof. "For all I know, he still thinks it is. Jake sure gives me a sour look every time I'm with Axel, like the thought of it makes him sick."

Edited by Grace Foster

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Silas Harding-Clarke

"Jake and me?"

 

"I warned you it was gonna be weird," Silas insisted, but Grace kept denying it, which is exactly what he would expect both parties to do in this situation so he shook his head slowly. When Grace said that Jake had thought kissing was yucky, Silas paused a moment to reflect on what a different relationship Grace had with their friend than Silas did. He doubted Jake ever would have told Silas that he thought kissing was yucky. Poor Jake. If he thought kissing was gross, Silas could think of a handful of other things that would probably make him decide to give up on romance altogether.

 

"Like the thought of it makes him sick."

 

"What, like he doesn't want you kissing Axel? Imagine that."

 

The Ravenclaw shook his head again. "No, it was other things he said-- he begged me not to tell anyone, and he said that you were brave, and wonderful. Who else would he have been talking about?"

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Grace Foster

"What, like he doesn't want you kissing Axel? Imagine that."

 

"Oh," Grace said, finally getting Silas' point. "Oh right! He didn't want me kissing Luke either, now that I think about it."  Grace's head spun. Jake couldn't have possibly liked her all the way back to when she was snogging Luke, could he? That was so long ago.

 

...and he said that you were brave, and wonderful. Who else would he have been talking about?"

 

"Not a soul," Grace teased, her face splitting into a grin. "I mean that's me to a tee, right?"

 

She shook her head, flattered but also dazed as she took in all the ramifications of this. No wonder Jake had been so upset when Axel had come into her life. She thought back now to Jake showing up at the Spring Fling and asking to her to dance before Axel even had a chance. He'd  brought her flowers for her hair though, wishing her good luck on her date. That was sweet selfless behavior if Jake was actually crushing on her himself. Grace felt touched and conflicted, but also...just confused.

 

"But what about Baby?" Grace asked, frowning. "I mean he's been gaga about her for the last year. Was that all just an act to make me jealous? Because if it was it totally failed. Merlin, I never thought Jake was that good of an actor, but he convinced me." 

 

Grace looked up suddenly. "Gosh, I think he convinced Baby too," she exclaimed, worried. "I mean Jake hasn't been exactly subtle around her. It's a good thing Baby would never be interested in Jake in a million years, cause otherwise that would have been mean for him to lead her on like that when he really liked me. Though maybe he knew he's be safe with Baby. She only ever likes popular boys."

 

 

 

 

Edited by Grace Foster

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Silas Harding-Clarke

Grace had done a lot of kissing, Silas realized, that he either hadn't known about or had willfully ignored. How difficult it must have been for Jake, who was undoubtedly her confidante whenever Columbia felt she was too adult for whatever Grace was going through. He saw it with Sabine and Tabitha; he assumed it was similar with his friends, especially now that they lived together and Columbia was in a (relatively) long-term relationship.

 

"That's me to a tee, right?"

 

Silas felt one corner of his mouth twitching involuntarily into a smile. "Don't get a big head over it, now," he said, but the smile slipped away quickly when Grace introduced a new character to the equation: Baby.

 

"What?" Silas said, sitting up straight like a German shepherd tracking a far-off cry.

 

"He's been gaga about her for the last year."

 

Feeling his stomach drop a bit, the Ravenclaw raced through all the remnants of his conversation with Jake that he could recall, but really nothing at all hinted to Silas that the sweet, caring, brave girl they were talking about would be anyone but Grace, let alone someone so un-Grace-like. Then he remembered the fog that came around him, with Baby, and that he had kissed her, and that Toby kissed her all the time when he ought not to, and she was probably a succubus, and--

 

"Oh God Grace. I flacked up. If he was talking about Baby that whole time--I told him he should confess his feelings." The boy turned his grey eyes on Grace, wide as dinner plates. "You have to help me fix it."

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Grace Foster

"Oh God Grace." Silas exclaimed, and the floor fell out of Grace's theory.

 

"So, I'm not brave and wonderful?" Grace asked.  

 

However, she could see that Silas was as unsettled as she'd seen him in years, so she put aside her own insecurities to concentrate on the crisis at hand.

 

"Yeah, sure. Of course I'll help," Grace assured Silas. She was still not sure why Silas was so disturbed. "So, Jake was talking about Baby and not me you think?" The skepticism was apparent in her expression. Sure Baby was beautiful and her snogging was first rate, but Grace wasn't sure she'd describe her as brave and wonderful. What had she ever done that was brave, besides dating Toby?

 

"I get that a lot of guys like her...but, I mean, she's not really Jake's type. I thought given time he'd just get over it." Grace paused. "You told him to go for it, didn't you?" she asked accusingly. "You thought Jake liked me and you were like: 'Oh sure, Jake. Go for it!' Why would you do that, Silas? Don't you know me and Axel are--" She paused, unsure how to characterize her relationship with Axel. Grace had worked hard to avoid labels that implied ownership or a commitment. Was she his girlfriend? Were they dating if they didn't actually go anywhere? But the details were beside the point. She couldn't imagine doing things with Jake that she did with Axel.

 

"I mean, you get that it's awkward, right?" Grace asked. "Either way some girl is going to have to say no to Jake whether it's me or Baby. Why were you okay with it being me, but freaked out now that it's Baby? Either way he's going to get his feelings hurt. At least this way it's not going to mess up our friendship, right? I would think you'd be happy for that."  

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Silas Harding-Clarke

"Of course you are," Silas insisted, but waved his hand impatiently. "But she isn't! Don't you see why I got it completely wrong? The way he was talking her sounded like.. Like... I don't know, the complete opposite of Baby Erquemboure. She snogs people like Toby, for Christ's sake-- I don't know how Jake has even managed to have conversations with her where she's saying anything nice. She's got to be messing with him. But why?" He could think of literally no benefit to messing with Jake, who was so pitiful most of the time that he practically picked on himself just by existing. 

 

"I want him to have been talking about you, but-- ugh, I'm not surprised. After you said he's been gaga for her. Remember at Irene's party when she.. I mean I guess I... We kissed or something," this last was quickly muttered, dismissively. "It was like a fog came over me. It was like the sirens, when I heard their voices I just lost touch with everything else. I mean, maybe she's a siren; it seems to happen with every guy in our class except Kirk and Reid."

 

He paused as she chastised him for trying to do what he'd thought was The Right Thing. "Well, first of all, I didn't know about Axel, so I am sorry about that. But I thought.. Well, he's your good friend. Would you have wanted him to keep feelings like this a secret forever? What if it colored your relationship? Caused him to see you differently-- maybe withdraw from you because hiding it was too painful? And you'd never have known the reason why. Maybe even thought he didn't like you as a person anymore."

 

He threw one hand up with a roll of his eyes skyward and a scoff. "I thought that's what a GOOD friend would be thinking, when I of course wanted to say are you nuts? Hide your feelings forever!!! That's what I would do!" He placed both hands palm down on the table and lowered his voice from where it had risen slightly in hysteria. "I thought, at least if you had to turn him down.. It wouldn't change much. You'd still love him--not like that-- and respect what he had to say, and wouldn't act like he was gross or out of his league or anything that would traumatize him."

 

Silas halted for a second and then said quietly, "When I first tried to tell Addison I liked her, she was still into Mercutio, and.. It didn't go well at all," he murmured. "I wanted to keep Jake from that kind of hurt, and I know you'd never treat a friend that way."

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Grace Foster

"...She snogs people like Toby, for Christ's sake..."

 

Grace looked up sharply, surprised by the rancor in Silas' words. First off, weren't Silas and Toby still friends? Secondly, if snogging people like Toby made Baby the opposite of Grace, what would SIlas think if he knew Baby also snogged Grace? Grace opened her mouth to speak, but quickly closed it. It was possible Silas was not ready for this much openness.

 

Grace listened in silence as Silas continued his story, interrupting only once to roll her eyes and ask "Or something?" about his description of his kissing Baby at Irene's party. She remembered that kiss and it was definitely "something" as Silas put it. She had never known the stuff about the fog though. She wrinkled her nose at Silas' theory that Baby was a Siren, though there was some truth about the effect Baby had over people.

 

Before Grace could give her opinion Silas was defending himself against the attack though she hadn't really meant it as an attack. "You didn't know about Axel?" she repeated incredulously. Grace wasn't exactly discrete in her displays of affection, but she'd forgotten how narrowed Silas' focus could be. If it didn't effect him directly it might as well not be happening. 

 

"Right. No, I get it," Grace conceded. "Of course it would be better for Jake and I to talk it out. And you were right to give me a heads up when you thought it was me." She paused uncertain how to react to Silas revealing himself. This was almost certainly the most Silas had ever shared his feelings with Grace in their entire lifetime together.

 

"You did the right thing, Silas," Grace reassured him. "I like it when you share your feelings with me. More importantly, I can't help but think it's good for you too." She paused. "The stuff about Addison--- I didn't know." It made a hell of a lot of things make sense now though, both in how closed off Silas was about his feelings and how guilty and weird Addison acted in regards to him.

 

"That must have been....well, awful for you, Silas. Merlin knows I know what if feels like to want someone who doesn't want you back. Even when they're trying to let you down easy it still hurts," she said, thinking of Luke. "I can't imagine what it would be like if the person--" she trailed off not knowing the right words to describe what might have taken place between Silas and Addison.

 

Grace cleared her throat, opting to turn that thought back to Jake.  "It would be awful if Baby was harsh with Jake. I think cruel words would crush him. What do you think we should do? Should we try to stop Jake or Baby?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Grace Foster

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Silas Harding-Clarke

Silas settled a little bit as Grace finally agreed that she understood why he had acted the way he had when he'd assumed that Jake was talking about his friend. There was nothing Silas hated more than feeling like he had done something wrong--especially if he had been trying so hard to do right. When he knew he was doing the wrong thing, that was a different story. 

 

"You did the right thing, Silas."

 

There it was, the actual words, like a syringe full of calming draught, surged through Silas and actually brought gooseflesh to his arms for the briefest instant. It was this concession, this gift that Grace gave him, that carried him through the shame of her addressing what he had just admitted to her about Addison. He nodded along with what she said. 

 

"I think so too," he said gloomily when Grace posited that cruel words would crush Jake. "I don't know if she would really be that mean, but.. I just can't imagine a world in which she's nice, either." When Grace asked what they should do, he drummed his fingers on the table in quick patterns, thinking. "Well, we can't stop Baby, realistically. She's going to do whatever she does. I think our best bet is to stop Jake from telling her, but I'm not sure how, without saying, like, I take back everything I said, there's no chance in hell."

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Grace Foster

Grace thought about it. She wasn't sure how mean Baby might be to Jake. By now Grace had had enough contact with Baby to know that she wasn't always what she seemed to be, but what she actually was and how she might behave at any given moment was a big unknown. Baby had been nice enough when she thought Grace needed help in the romance department,  but that had been purely instructional. The thought of Baby educating love sick Jake in a similar manner made Grace feel uncomfortable for some reason. No, Silas was right, they needed to stop Jake before he got hurt.

 

"It's not going to be easy," Grace said. "How do you diplomatically tell someone that the girl he likes is out of his league?" Grace rubbed her lower lip thoughtfully. "Perhaps we could try steering him a different direction. Not a different girl, or at least not at first. But maybe we could bring up something that would make him slow down and reconsider talking to her right away. He's already moving at a streeler's pace, so if we could introduce something new, maybe he'd wait until after summer to talk to her. Who knows, a couple of months from now he might be over it."

 

"What was that you said about the sirens?" Grace asked. It was a strange notion, but Baby had always show an affinity for aquatic life. Perhaps she had adapted some kind of Siren magic to human use. It sounded implausible to Grace even as she considered it, but Silas had taken it seriously enough moments earlier. "Do you really think there's something not right about Baby?" she asked. "And more importantly, is it something you could bring up with Jake?"

Edited by Grace Foster

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Silas Harding-Clarke

"How do you diplomatically tell someone that the girl he likes is out of his league?"

 

"I don't know," Silas almost moaned. This was all his fault. He might as well have told Jake he had a shot with Medusa. He listened to what Grace was suggesting, absently mirroring her stance and putting a finger to his own lower lip, tugging at it as he thought. "OR," he began, but Grace said something about sirens and he paused.

 

"What did I say? I forget. I just.. Well, the time that she kissed me at Irene's, it was like I had tunnel vision. I'd never wanted to kiss Baby before that moment, but then I felt like I was in a tube or something and all I could focus on was her and she came near me and it just seemed like the natural progression. But after I broke away, I didn't feel anything about it. It was like the sirens. I just had to get to them, I couldn't be happy unless they loved me, I don't know it's embarrassing and dumb," Silas grumbled. "Why don't girls have to deal with magic women that make you lose your mind?"

 

She asked if it was something he could tell Jake. "Doubt it," he said. "What if someone told you that I was a lethifold? What if, instead, we told him that we saw Baby with another guy? That maybe she's into someone else?" This sounded like a great plan, he was ready to steam ahead. Then he paused. "Um.. is that too mean?"

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Grace Foster

Grace listened silently to Silas' description of his 'experience' with Baby. They were probably both fortunate that Silas' lying lessons had rendered Grace better able to keep her opinions to herself, or otherwise Grace might have upset Silas by revealing a certain degree of skepticism. Which was more plausible, that Baby had some nefarious ability that rendered her victims powerless to resist her, or that Silas was a teenage boy whose drives had momentarily gotten the better of him? No judgement. Grace had certainly had moments when 'nature' and a cute boy had overcome reason. She tended to recall those moments with fondness and damn the consequences, but Silas was probably not as comfortable with his animal side as she was. This 'siren' theory might be Silas' way of justifying a shameful loss of control.

 

Either that or Baby might be part veela.

 

"Why don't girls have to deal with magic women that make you lose your mind?"

 

"Oh please!" Grace said dismissively. "Like we don't have sod all to deal with already."

 

However, Silas did have a point about Jake and Baby. If Silas hadn't completely convinced Grace of his mind control theory he certainly wasn't going to convince love-struck Jake, and trying to convince him was likely to backfire. On the other hand Grace could see why Silas was having reservations about his alternative plan. 

 

"It's not so much mean as it's underhanded and deceitful," Grace said bluntly, "I mean it's also the most likely to work," she conceded, "so kudos there." 

 

Grace sighed heavily and leaned forward low over the table to gently bang her forehead on her clasped fists before straightening with more resolve. 

 

"No offense, Silas," Grace said her voice lowered and serious, "I know we're both just trying to save Jake from getting hurt, but I would be furious if one of my mates lied to me to keep me away from someone I liked. The other alternatives are potentially hurtful too, but at least they have the advantage of being things we believe. If it were me and you thought I was getting involved with someone unsavory, I'd want you to be straight with me, then let me make my own choice even if my choice was dumb. But if we make up a lie about Baby to keep Jake away...well that's just wrong, isn't it?"  

 

"I don't want Jake to be hurt any more than you do," Grace said gently,  "but if he's going to be hurt I'd rather it wasn't us who did it."

 

 

 

Edited by Grace Foster

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Silas Harding-Clarke

"Like we don't have sod all to deal with already."

 

Fair. Silas remained silent, though his brow creased as she called his plan underhanded and deceitful. She wasn't wrong, maybe, but he was interested in minimizing the damage, and in his mind, as long as Jake never found out what they had done, it was probably for his own good. He matched Grace's sigh and looked out the window as she thunked her head against the table, not even bringing his eyes back to her when she said his name.

 

 

"Yeah, I know. I just don't want to waste my breath and then have him being mad at us that we said his precious Baby is a sea-witch," Silas muttered. "Plus he said I gave him great advice, so then I'll have to explain I thought he was talking about you, and it just all seems a lot more trouble than it's worth."

 

 

Silas finally looked back at his oldest friend. "Maybe we should just hope he chickens out."

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