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Ravenclaw Common Room

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Greta frowned. It had been another long day and she couldn't sleep. She had wandered into the common room in her pajamas hoping to find a friendly house elf to talk to, but it seemed she was out of luck. There was no one here. Dead. Quiet. Face it. You're alone.

At night, Greta often felt like a completely different person. In the dark, she didn't put on a smile for anyone. She was left with her own thoughts, quite lonely, quite consumed by her place in life ...lack thereof, really.

It seemed so unfair to her that so many people got to go through the day without seeming to think about it, without consequenses, without dealing with the judgments of others -- or worse, of themselves. They slept at night. And she didn't.

Reaching into her pajama pocket, she pulled out the jar in which she'd placed the snail she'd taken from Transfiguration. He was atop a piece of lettuce she'd dropped in there for him. Eating? Who knew?

There he was... in the glass... alone... in the dark... with nothing but food. PATHETIC. We're not so different... after all...

Enough.
Enough, enough, enough!
Calleo couldn't cope any more with this Potions essay or with the idiocy that was Muggle Studies and he had, unfortunately, managed to get himself so wound up that he couldn't sleep either.
He snapped the book in front of him shut, earning a surly, "Knock it off!" from one of his room-mates

"Sorry mate," he muttered. Slipping past the other beds, Calleo made his way down the stairs and into the Common Room. Being that it was reasonably late, he had not been expecting to find anyone there, and figured he'd spend the next few hours poking at the fire out of spite.

Any hopes of doing that found themselves erased when he noticed another person lounging about.
Holding a jar.
With a snail inside of it.
Calleo wasn't used to seeing Greta not wearing school robes and didn't immediately recognise her.

"Oh! Hullo Greta!" Calleo flopped down into a chair adjacent to hers, "Can't sleep?"
Greta shook her head, wiping away tears with the back of her hand. Someone was talking? Tony? Get a grip, idiot... turn around! Taking her eyes off the fire, she whirled in the darkness, searching for the source of the voice. Her eyes weren't adjusting fast enough between the glow of the fire and the pitch black-seeming room. "Hello?" she said timidly. Had she really heard anything at all?

"Sorry, did I startle you?" Calleo yawned and stretched a bit, "Didn't mean to intrude, but sleep appears to not want to visit me tonight. I ought to learn to stop stressing myself out over certain classes."

He shrugged and shifted a bit so he could actually look at who he was talking to, "So, how come you're still up?"
"Er... I'm just kind of... here," Greta said tentatively, trying desperately to sound cheerful through the tightness in her throat. "You startled me, yeah. That's all."

Greta sat down in a nearby chair and looked up at Calleo. Was he good to talk to? Was he... did he understand? She knew he was smart. She knew he knew a lot about people and how they were. But... wasn't she just being ridiculous?

"Do you..." she trailed off. "Do you like it here... at Hogwarts?"

She bit her wrist hard. Unbelievable! He's just up 'cause he's been studying! He's just being polite, saying hi to you! Why did you say that out loud!?
He shrugged in response, "I suppose I do. I think sometimes that the cirriculum is a little too average and narrow; there's so much more that we're not allowed to learn or to be taught. Ministry regulations and all, and, well, you heard what McGonagall said yesterday in Transfiguration about regulations and all of that nastiness."

"Oh..." Calleo stopped to reconsider the question; perhaps she hadn't been talking about the educational portion of Hogwarts. Witches could be odd that way, saying one thing while meaning entirely another, "Or did you mean do I like it from a social standpoint?"

Curling up in the chair, he continued on without waiting for an answer, "I reckon it's all right. I could do without having to go through the motions I guess; really, I'm here to learn. There will be time for socialising and friends later in life. It's not so bad though, I've met some pretty decent people from all sorts of backgrounds, though some of them seem to know the absolute worst times to try to socialise. Really, if my nose is in a book and I'm writing and answering everything with one syllable words, chances are it's not the best time to try hanging all over me and pouting about how you want me to do all of your bloody essays for you."

"Erm..." Calleo cut himself off, "Nevermind about that last bit. What about you?"
She paused before responding, a habit that drove her mother crazy. Her mother... thinking about her mother, her home, suddenly made everything feel a thousand times worse. She couldn't *not* talk about it anymore.

"This school is just... traumatizing," she started without thinking. "You're right about going through the motions. That's easy enough. I'm not an idiot. I know what I'm supposed to seem like, so I know what I'm supposed to do. But I just... can't sometimes?"

She thought for a moment about a bit of what he'd said. "I agree that there will be time later in life to make friends, but isn't school the richest environment for that? The highest number of people to get to know? Because when you're working -- I want to be a writer -- sometimes you're in a very solitary position. And how do you go out and find people who will like you then if you can't manage it at school?"

And then she considered the next bit of his comment... and she bit her wrist again, feeling the tears come back. Was she bothering him? Was he telling her that it was a bad time to talk?
"So don't." Calleo shrugged lazily, "What does it matter? If you don't want to socialise, don't. There are as many opportunities to meet people outside of school as in, especially once you're an adult."

"Besides," he absently twisted a bit of his own hair, "people are keen to spot a fake. I mean, they'll know if you're 'acting' in most cases. Very few people are good enough to fake an entire personality. The way I see it, if someone doesn't care for me the way that I am, they can sod off and, frankly, aren't worth my time. There are plenty of other people out there and it makes no sense to dwell on the few that have no taste."

Calleo stretched out again, nearly falling out of the chair, "A writer then? What sort of things were you planning on writing?"

...anything to keep her from wibbling all over my clean robes!
"Oh, little stuff. I write down stories. Articles, I guess. I like to read fiction, but I don't write it well. I have discovered a lot of things cooking that I think might actually be helpful in other disciplines and I tend to jot them down just for my own record, but I think if I got a chance, someone else might be helped if I could, you know, publish them." It was so refreshing for Greta to be able to have an intelligent conversation with someone who wasn't just being pretty and shallow. Her daytime persona was quickly fading away.

"I've learned a lot of folk magic from the elves in the kitchens. They keep a lot of the 'old ways' to make shortcuts in meal preparation. It's really useful stuff."

She shifted in her chair... how had they gotten on this topic? Oh, yeah.. miserable. You're miserable. Her heart sank. "And as for friends? You're right. I don't need them here. These people here are idiots and prats. Spoiled, awful people who don't care about intelligence or decorum or even common sense." There. She'd said it. Finally. Her heart raced... she felt like she'd done something blasphemous, being honest about the other girls at school for the first time ever. She laughed a little, trying to lighten the mood, but she knew she couldn't ever take that back. Now he'd know she was a fraud.. an actor.. desperate for people to like her.. people she didn't even like. You're the idiot.
Calleo snorted, "You've pegged a good majority of the people here. Some of the witches here, er, no offence, but they tend to be the worst. All they seem to be interested in is who snogged who and when and where and who they're going to snog next, if their arse looks big in their robes, and there's always some sort of relationship angstdrama happening. You'd think they had nothing in their heads save sawdust."

"I swear," he rolled his eyes, "they ought to have some sort of standards for letting people in here; any idiot who can make sparks fly from a wand seems to be able to get in and you end up with what we've got now: A whole mess of shallow, vapid, people with the personality of burnt toast. Can you believe someone I've known for years and had assumed had something in her head other than air thought that she could pout and paw me into writing essays for her? I don't mean helping her with them, I mean actually doing all of her bloody work. If that's not bad enough, all the other girls I know seem to only be able to whinge about how they actually have to do school work at school or about how devastated they are that their current love-of-the-week either doesn't return the affection or left them or didn't pay enough attention to them or some other nonsense."

"Ha!" Calleo's rant dissolved into giggles, "and this all makes those two essays glaring at me from my bed seem like simple problems to fix. I can do something about that; I can't do much of anything about witless peers."
"Oh, you're smart. I don't think essays should be much of a problem for you. I get hung up doing homework a lot, too, but it's mostly from overthinking. You're probably just overthinking it." She paused, smirked and added, "Ironic, isn't it? We have trouble because we think too much... they can't even think *enough*."

"Seriously!" Greta exclaimed, getting indignant. "I can't believe some stupid girl wants you writing her essays. When it comes to these witches, a lot of them... the professors would know it wasn't theirs in an instant! It would take more work on your part to dumb down the essays than it would for them to write them in the first place!"

All her deep-seated bitterness seemed to be seething its way to the surface. It felt *good*. She let out a long sigh and sank into her hair, a wicked smile on her face. "There *should* be a seperate school for these gits, so they don't get in the way at Hogwarts." She laughed sardonically, "Not so much a school as a holding pen, I guess."

It felt so good to be cruel sometimes.
"Tch. I'm intelligent, but I'm not omnipotent." Calleo picked absently at the arm of the chair, "I'm pants at quite a few subjects; it's just well hidden because I do well on essays and written tests. I dunno if I'd want to give up analytical or critical thinking skills in order to be vacantly happy. In fact, I know for certain I wouldn't want to give that up. Sometimes I wonder about some of my own housemates, did you know," Calleo sat up again as a wicked little grin spread across his face, "that I saw one seventh year, at least I think she was seventh year, Ravenclaw pick a fight with a younger student simply because the other student dared to walk past her? How absolutely and embarrassingly petty."

At Greta's accurate assessment of the essay topic, Calleo snorted, "Too right. I even tried to tell her that and she insisted that they wouldn't notice. Even Binns would notice a forged essay. There's not enough blackmail material in the entire Wizarding world to get me to endanger my educational career for a pair of breasts glued to a twig. It wasn't even a difficult one; just History of Magic. All you've got to do is be vaguely literate to pass that course."

He relaxed once again and stopped picking at the chair, "Sometimes I swear that someone has cast a Confundus charm over the entire school and only the most intelligent show any immunity. If I have to hear one more angst filled whinge about someone losing their extra special true love soulmate of the week, I swear I'll go completely mad."

A twinge of guilt hit him momentarily; none of this was terribly nice, but, on occasion, even Calleo had to admit that it got tiresome to always be nice. Now and again, it simply felt good to be a little catty.
Greta found herself leaning halfway over the chair's arm and grinning as she listened to Calleo rant. She wouldn't ever have predicted that he'd know quite so much about what she'd meant, what she'd really been getting at when she'd asked him if he liked Hogwarts School. It wasn't about liking the classes, and it wasn't even about being particularly good in the classes (though that helped to pass the time more pleasantly, of course,)... it was about these obnoxious, empty people, unthinking people, set in such a beautiful place. The horrible contrast.

"Wizards should all be smarter than muggles -- not because they're superior," she mused, "because they have so much access to knowledge -- real knowledge -- without having to dupe themselves and without having to hold up the illusion of a society that explains away obvious power and obvious magic with confused sorts of pseudoscience."

"If you think about it, it takes a lot more intellect to be a wizard than to be a muggle... unless you decide to think like a muggle anyway, denying the war, denying the dark and the good and the power and the history of it all. Just going through life like a 'normal' teenager. Which we're not." She laughed at her own unintentional pun. "Which we're not," she repeated, smirking.

She leaned back. "Am I making any sense? I'm just saying that we should all behave better than this, this with the boys and girls snogging all over the place, this with the bullying and dozing through classes and complete lack of decorum and wisdom."

Greta remembered that she was still holding Tony's jar as she talked about dozing in classes. So... hypocritical! Childish! She quickly slid the jar back into her pocket and hoped Calleo hadn't noticed.
"I suspect that you could give Muggles access to everything we have access to and they'd still not be able to hold a candle. Hm, then again, perhaps they simply have a different sort of intelligence. I think," Calleo paused to stretch again before curling back up, "that those who deny reality as it is are simply too afraid to face it. But, really, you can't have one without the other; dark and light or which ever cliche you'd like to use. They balance, and when one seems to gain too strong a foothold, the other comes in to even it out a bit."

He stopped for a minute, working on a way to word what he was thinking that didn't end up making him sound like a lunatic, "I don't think that any form of magic is inherently 'dark' or evil or bad or any other synonym. All magic is is raw power, it becomes what the one casting it wishes it to become. I mean, really, I could cast an incendio to light a fire, or I could destroy someone's entire house with the same spell. Incendio isn't a good spell or a bad spell, it is, by itself, neutral; it's my intent that makes it, to continue with the cliches, light or dark."

Calleo sighed, trying very hard not to sound exasperated out of fear that Greta might assume that he was irritated with her rather than at the situation in general, "The snogging I couldn't care less about, so long as they don't get in my way. I don't quite understand the bullying aspect; is it really so difficult to avoid or ignore those whose company you don't enjoy? Ha. Evidently it is. I don't normally end up a target; I think it bothers people that I won't get upset. Really, why bother? Why give them the satisfaction, and why waste the effort. Someone doesn't like me? That's their problem, not mine."

Shifting positions again, Calleo flipped almost upside down, draping his legs over the back of the chair, "Have you heard the latest then? About me, I mean. Based on what I've heard, I reckon some git was eavesdropping on Heather and me in the library and only caught part of a conversation. If nothing else, it's a nice change from jokes about leprechauns, I--"

A bit of movement caught his eye; the jar that Greta had been holding had been stashed, "Did you keep your snail from Transfiguration?"
Tucking his quill behind his ear, Édouard bent forward to get a closer look at one of the illustrations in the book resting in his lap. It was an absolutely captivating tome that he had found in the library, likely untouched by some of the less driven students in the school. It lacked the ink bots, food stains, dog ears and notes that graced many of the other texts in the library, and for that Édouard was grateful. Some people just didn't know how to treat books.

He rubbed his shoulder through the fabric of his blue jumper and yawned. It wasn't very late, but he was already exhausted from having spent so many nights pouring over his homework and the massive book in front of him. The warmth of the fireplace combined with the comfort of the armchair was lulling him to sleep. He was just dozing off when he was jolted alert by the sound of someone clambering noisily into the common room.
Michael walked into the Common Room from the seventh-year dormitory with a jaw-popping yawn and an arm stretch that made him appear even larger than he actually was. This done, he wiped the sleep from his eyes and set about tying his tie, which previously had been draped around his neck. The ends of his hair were still damp against his white collared shirt, and his robes hung easily off of his shoulders. Having grown during the summer, he'd gotten new robes, so they were no longer the tight ones from the end of last year.

"It's crooked- tug a little on the the right side," a picture of a plump wizard suggested to him. Michael replied by doing just that, and the picture gave him an approving nod. "Much better, much better. Boys need to look more like you these days." The wizard proceeded on about the state of the students these past few years, but thankfully, in a murmer to himself. Michael sat down in an armchair, rubbing the sleep from his eyes but yawning again, anyway. He just wasn't much of a morning person without a good shot of caffeine. He looked up as he heard feet on the stairs, coming down from the dorms.