The murky, black water spans as far as you can see. The air is tainted with the scent of salt water. Still you remain, perplexed by the foggy beauty of your surroundings. You risk putting your feet in the water, despite the fact that the water is home to a hoard of creatures. The cool water entices you into wanting to take a dive.
For once, Xavi was wearing his Serpent Jacket, lying against a tree by the shore as he casually flipped through a book. He had owled Donnie to meet him by the same area, but by the time the owl had left, he remembered Donnie had a class during his break and decided just to relax with a book by the shore, trying to enjoy the partly sunny day.
Isabella had spotted Xavier from afar and trekked down to the shore, her hands stuck deep into the pockets of her stark red jacket. "You almost look comfortable in your skin," she raised a brow, refering to his Serpent jacket. "Hard to believe you were blackmailed once." She stooped down to get a better look at him, her eyes flicking down to the book he held. "I would have let you go if you had told me. I don't want disloyalty in the Serpents. We're meant to be a family."
"I am comfortable," he said, not looking up at her. "This jacket's actually very soft on the inside." He turned a page in his book, but he wasn't reading it now, just skimming over the page. "If you can't tell, I've never really had a 'family'. I'd say you tried your best, but none of you really did."
"Can't say you gave it a go either," she pointed out, brow arching. "Now most of them are gone and it's just you and me and a few in between." She snagged the book from his hands and lifted it away from Xavier so she could have his full attention. "Do you want to be a Serpent?" she asked, patiently waiting for his answer. She needed to know she wasn't going to implode the gang by allowing people who didn't give a fuck about them to stay.
"I was reading that," he said flatly. "Hippogriffs are very interesting creatures." Really, he could care less about the book, just wanted something to use to avoid Bella's gaze. Now he just had to stare back at her, wondering if being interrogated by aurors would be any worse. "What would you do if I said yes?" he said finally. "Continue to threaten me? Push me around?"
The redhead scowled at his protests and promptly closed the book, gently setting it down. "Yes and no," she said and then offered a sly grin. "I would make you family and that comes with the territory." She sat down in the grass, looking a bit out of place. "I'm also about to become your leader so I need to trust you if you want to continue as a Serpent."
"Gee, threatening, sounds fun," he said sarcastically, but he truly was considering it. Felicity is family, but not the type he always felt comfortable confessing too. But then again, he could be deluding himself thinking he'd be getting that here either. He pulled his knees to his chest and glanced at the ground. "Can I leave if I don't feel 'familial' enough?" he said quietly.
"I encourage you to leave if don't like it," she said and then moved so that she could sit properly on the ground. Bella plucked a few blades of grass and played with it while her dark eyes fell. "But I will kill you if you expose us after leaving." She sighed softly, like the idea of seemed annoying. "But I'd rather you stay."
"As a good gang leader does," he said in response to the killing comment. He stared at the lakewater for a few good seconds before he said something again. "You know the benefits of having an almost-gang-leader in the same year as you?" he said. "Makes them seem more human."
Isabella cocked her head, rather surprised by his last comment. Did she otherwise seem inhuman? "I bleed like anyone else," she snickered and looked at the grass in her hand, which she had taken the liberty of braiding. "As much as a disadvantage that is."
"I suppose you do bleed like everyone else," he conceded. "Hard to believe that sometimes. Guess looking invincible is part of the job description?" He didn't say anything for awhile, and it seemed like he was still thinking about the offer when really, he was theorizing about why glue didn't stick to the inside of the bottle. And then he remembered he was kind of required to answer. "You're an interesting, scary, interesting, individual. And I very much think that I would like to be apart of your gang. Intact though."
"You can't look weak," she said before explaining herself, "the world will uproot you otherwise." She tossed the braided grass and yawned, carefully stifling it with the back of her hand. "Love, trust and friendship are rare. You never know who you can count on. You just hope for the best. Intimidation is all I know at this point. It's the only way to work in our field." She glanced up at him and grinned, "then stay. I can't promise the last part as this is dangerous work. But I'm here to protect you - as your leader. Just don't undermine my authority or break the rules and you will remain unscathed."
"No breaking the rules, no undermining your authority," he listed off and then nodded. "Got you. I can do that. But question, does this limit my ability to make sarcastic responses, or would that be undermining your authority? I want to know for research purposes. And for my safety."
Isabella laughed softly and slowly allowed herself to lounge back in the lush grass, her hands gently cushioning her head. "I wouldn't consider it undermining authority but you really shouldn't prod at an angry bear," she mused softly. "I can tolerate a fair share of sass. Your boyfriend has an excessive amount of it."
"There will be no prodding of the angry bear, I assure you. I hate bears, so I don't know why in Merlin's beard I'd prod an angry bear, much more be next to one," he replied, his cheeky nature having returned. "You can say that again," he huffed. "I swear he probably sits in his room and writes down good comebacks and pick up lines when he's bored." He relaxed one leg, letting it stretch out and roll on the grass. "Wait, he's not my boyfriend yet, why'd you call him my boyfriend?"
"It's obvious you have feelings for him, however undeveloped. They're there," she mused and tipped her head to the side. "Do you want him to be your boyfriend?" she inquired, rather curious. Donnie was definitely delicious - and despite wanting to take a bite for herself, she felt geniunely interested in Xavier's love life.
"I..." he drifted off, tilting his head. "Maybe I do. I don't really know. I don't think he's completely interested in me, so what's the point in wasting my time about it. Besides, even if I did... Eh."
"I don't think that's true," she admitted before leaning forward with a sly smirk. "You're plenty delicious yourself," she said before tipping her head to the other side. "The only reason I've never done anything is because I tend to imagine I don't have the parts you prefer." She looked geniunely curious for a moment. "Eh?"
"I figured possibly bisexual but definitely leaning towards gay," she said with a casual shrug before snickering. "I'm with you on that one. James and Dom made me swear off anything but potential meaningless sex in my near future."
"James... James... Do I know a James?" he drifted off, trying to recall names. "Oh, James Travers. Right? Maybe? I can never keep track of these names. I know who Dom is. Dominic Kingsley. Never met him." He snickered at the last part. "I don't think I've been sworn off anything but chocolate."
"Exactly," she said with a cruel little snicker and allowed her red hair to span across the ground. "Both are gone anyway." She turned her head to the side to peer at him, brow lifted. "Chocolate is good too. Sex sounds fun. Maybe both together would be exciting."
"Yeah, heard about the gigantic and quite random drop in members," he said. "Any particular reason? Someone died? People are lazy? Anything, anything?" He squinted at the Black Lake, wondering if he even wanted to imagine what the last remark meant. "I haven't had chocolate in two years so."
"Could be because we are staying under the radar and ceased most illegal activity for now," she said and glanced up toward the clouds, gently patting the spot beside her for Xavi to join her in mundane cloud-hunting. "Why not? Are you allergic or
"I don't know about them but I think I like staying under the radar. Less chance of being caught and lectured before being sent to prison," he said matter-of-a-factly. "But it isn't as fun too, I guess." He scooted over, briefly considering asking for his book back before glancing up at the sky. "No, not allergic. Just kept stealing it."
"Exactly," she said and pointed at a weird cloud but failed to mention what she thought it looked like. "People get bored easy but its safer for the Serpents if they keep their nose clean for periods of time." She looked confused for some time before snickering and shaking her head. "I'm heading to the Poison Apple tonight for a meeting. I'll pick you up some chocolate."
"Thanks, that is mighty appreciated," he said. "Do you think you could get white chocolate? White chocolate's the best." He pointed at a weird looking cloud with a part of it that jutted out like a beak. "Look, Donald Duck."
"I can get white chocolate," she msued and then stretched out with a lazy yawn, more out of peace and tranquility than exhaustion. "Knife," she said and pointed to the cloud beside his Donald Duck that vaguely resembled a blade.
"Born and raised," she admitted with a large grin that revealed straight, white teeth. "Artemisia conditioned and trained me to be your ideal leader." She met his gaze and smirked. "Looks like the gods are trying to kill Donald Duck."
"That sounds jolly," he yawned. "Donald really can never catch a break can he?" He yawned again and dug at the grass with the heel of his foot. He needed a nap, when was the last time he got a decent night's sleep?
As if on cue, she looked him over with a lifted brow. "You look tired," she observed and rolled carefully onto her stomach to watch him, using her elbows to anchor into the grass shile her chin rested delicately in the palms of her hand. Just beyond that, her jagged scar was visible across her slender throat.
Isabella chose to hover over the boy now, like a curious animal that may just attack. "Sleep is necessary. I can't have my Serpents being sleep-deprived. We need to be alert," she murmured and narrowed her eyes curiously down at him. "Would you at least try it if I got you something?"
She feigned surprise and begun to search the area for any worth value to give Xavier ad a treat and could only produce a small dagger for him, a slightly sheepish grin appearing. It was probably the best he was going to get.
He watched her and snorted when she gave him a dagger. Of course, he took it because it was better than nothing, even if he was joking. "Thank you, I will treasure this for the rest of my Serpent days. I'll put in a glass case and everything," he said sarcastically.
He shook his head and rolled his eyes, but now he was wearing a smile. He felt so weirdly calm, and with the least expected person. Wasn't this the same person who threatened him some time ago? He hung out with some strange crowds, huh. "You know what I do when I'm bored?" he spoke up. "Imagine people drunk."
Isabella looked momentarily surprised at his comment and allowed her brown eyes to roll and fix on him, her expression that of intrigue. "Oh yeah? What are you like when you drink?" she suddenly asked, rather curious. Bella is known to the Serpents for binge drinking occassionanlly; a trait she assumes came from being around Artemisia so much.
She reached her hand up and begun to write invisible letters into the air, snickering softly. "I'm adding liquor to my list of things to pick up for you. Right after sleep potions and white chocolate." Bella was being surprisingly generous with Xavier given the threat she raised merely days ago.
"I don't think getting me liquor would be a good thing, but there's a first time for everything I suppose." He combed his fingers through his hair and removed the grass that had gotten stuck in it. "Tell me if I do anything embarrassing drunk so I can laugh about it during the hangover."
"I'll spare no details," she purred threateningly, but it was more playful than serious. "I can even video tape the stupid shit you do," she snickered and reached out, pretending to touch a fluffy cloud that looked very much closer than it actually was.
"Please do tape it, I'll have to show it to my children when they enter adolescence as a warning," he snickered. He closed his eyes and let the sunshine hit his face. "Have you ever had this just random desire to die? Like you just wake up one morning and think, Waking up wasn't worth this."
"That's kind of the general feeling that comes with being an insomniac too, but I'm thinking you don't feel that because you can barely sleep for more than two hours," he said, a bit hesitant to delve into any isolating topics.
Isabella pursed her lips, her mind trying to work out a proper response that wasn't going to raise any red flags. "I've come close a few times," she admitted with a slight shrug, "but someone always ends up being there to stop it from happening. My throat being cut was by far the most terrifying experience. Sometimes I can't sleep too."
"I think sleep is a foreign concept to criminals," he pointed out. "Can't really get a good night's sleep if the next thing you're planning to do tomorrow puts other people in harms way. Well, unless you're a sociopath, then I guess you'd be fine with it."
"I suppose we do," he said. From the castle grounds not to far away, Xavi could hear the approaching sound of a rush of steps and the chatter of voices. "Ugh, class," he sighed. "It's going to start soon."
Isabella groaned almost immediately but managed to get to her feet. She turned to Xavier and hesitated before carefully holding out a scarred hand for him to snag. "C'mon. They'll have our heads if we're late."
"I'm gunna have to agree with that statememt," she mused and helped him stand easier before releasing her hold. "See you around," she mused and lightly punched his shoulder before taking off toward her Potions class.