Even though she was embarassed by her proximity to Orion, Gemma couldn't help but smirk at his comment.
"In case you haven't figured out yet, retribution is a long-lasting thing, with me. Back when I went to Beauxbatons, they called me the Ice Queen, and it wasn't just because of my hair." Her grin grew wider and yet more wistful as she remembered. "Apperently I can be extremely cruel," she murmured, "But you already know that...." Her hand moved upwards as if under its own volition, and stroked the spot on Orion's cheek where a bruise marked the spot where she had slapped him. "I shouldn't have done that," she told him, "And even though I ha-" She stopped herself from saying the word "hate" at the last instant. "Even though I don't like you, "she corrected herself, "I am sorry for what I said and did to you."
He allowed her touch, smirking at it. Ice Queen, eh? That was...interesting. "Well, I can't say that I didn't deserve it. Remember, I did describe myself as a manipulative bastard. That much was true. Lets make a deal, here and now...feel however you wish about me, but I promise not to slip you Amortentia if you promise not to hit me anymore. I want you to be happy, so if that means our future together is you staying in England whilst I travel to take care of the business, then so be it. I would prefer you traeled with me...perhaps even studied abroad at other institutes of research if you wished..."
He left the offer dangling, knowing that such an opportunity was rarely given free. There was the string attatched to having to marry him, but that string was already tied to a much larger package. She was someone who craved knowledge, and he would never deny her that.
Gemma laughed softly when Orion reminded her of his own description of himself. Apperently he knows himself very well, she mused, That could be a good thing... or a very bad thing, as it is with me...
"Do you know, you're the oddest boy I've ever met before, Orion Burgess," she said thoughtfully, using his first and last name for emphasis, "One minute you're manipulating the hell out of me, and the next you're telling me how you want me to be happy." She allowed a genuine smile to spread across her face. "And I would enjoy traveling to learn. I've always wanted to go to the Wizarding university in Greece, they have the largest Charms Development program of any school in the world." She raised her eyebrows, but allowed the smile to stay as she added almost teasingly, "Are you sure you're not trying to manipulate me again by telling me that?"
He reached up and patted her gently on the shoulder.
"You're begining to learn about me, Gem. I AM trying to manipulate you again, but to what end? I am selfish, wanting you to travel with me, but notice that I chose to offer you something you want instead of threatening to do something you wouldn't want." He gave her another smile.
"And the Charms department in Athens is just one of the places that I would love to see you attend. Canada has an amazing Transfiguration program, and I've yet to see any university program rival China for their Divination, Arithmancy, and Herbology schools. Hell, they invented those studies...All I ask is that you at least tolerate me. "
He leaned back slowly, taking his weight off her arms. He propped himself up on the table with one elbow and gave Coobi a look.
"Good work, Coobi. You can have the whipped cream in the icebox tonight."
Gemma was relieved that Orion's weight had been removed from her arms. She wasn't very strong, physically, and he had been getting very heavy.
The thought of all those schools potentially available to her was enough to make her want to drool in anticipation of some serious learning, but she kept her head cool. In fact, her mind became so cool that her Ice Queen persona came to the fore, giving her an.... interesting idea. Either I still have alcohol in my system, or I've gained an almost sadistic sense of humor over the last half hour, Gemma mused, contemplating her idea. Orion's revelation that he had in fact been trying to manipulate her again was the catalyst for her deciding to carry it out.
"Apperently, you still don't know me very well," she told Orion, "Otherwise you'd know that I'm just as manipulative as you, even if I do go about it a different way. You remember the bookstore, don't you?" She grinned, letting the memory of her actions return to him, then gave him some new memories to consider: she placed her hands lightly against his shoulders, then let them slide down to his chest as she leaned slowly forward, only stopping when she was so close that she had to tilt her head slightly to keep their noses from rubbing together.
"If you're not careful -- very, very careful -- I'll have you eating out of my hand," she breathed in a voice that could easily qualify as a coo, "Before long..." She enunciated these last two words very carefully, stretching the consonants as long as she could, then grinned to herself, knowing she'd chosen the correct phrase. She sat back up abruptly and removed her hands from Orion, standing up in preparation for making a memorable exit, entirely favoring her manipulations. it was only when she turned and bumped into someone -- rather four someones -- that she realized this wouldn't be possible.
"Well, if it isn't our little hoity-toity blond from earlier," said the first of the teenagers who had harrassed Gemma earlier, before she had gone into the bookstore. The others smirked or chuckled, and the one who had spoken grabbed her arm, hard enough to leave bruises. A coil of panic formed in Gemma's stomach, and she froze. Pulling her close, nearly as close as she'd just been to Orion, he hissed, "Why don't you come with us and explain why you like some prettyboy," he jerked his head at Orion, "better than us."
Even in the midst of her fear, Gemma had room to be sarcastic. Her eyebrows mounted her forehead, even as a smirk crossed her lips. "Are you sure you want me to?" she asked, "How long do you have?"
(OOC: Place the back of your hand against your lips and say the words "Before long" very clearly, exactly the way Gemma did. Also keep in mind that her lips are fuller than either yours or mine. Only after you have done this and understand what she just did can you post!!)
She. Was. Touching. Him. Orion's brain stopped functioning again. He'd have to look more into this phenomenon, because it only seemed to happen around this viper of a female.
Good Lord, she's as demented and manipulative as I am! He wasn't sure if the tone in his mind was horror or pleasure. Either way, the discovery was a weight off of his shoulders. He knew more about her now, and knew that he could be himself completely. No more masks, no morepretending, no more effort to be what was expected of him. It was a relief, really.
By the time he had come back to the present, Gemma had gone sauntering off, right into a surly bunch who were speaking with her. One had his hand on Gemma. Orion's focus narrowed to that one hand. His ebony wand was out of his sleeve. In an instant, he had cast Protego on Gemma and Apparated between her and the thugs.
In a cold hiss, he addressed the four shorter men.
"Was that your hand on my girlfriend?"
A snarl crept over his face and his hands darted out, encompassing all four of the offenders in a single bearhug. In an instant, the five men were gone, Apparated to who knows where.
The entire Leaky Cauldron was staring at that spot for nearly ten minutes, waiting for the return of someone, something, a sign of what happened. The door eventually opened, heralding Orion's return. He looked tired, bloody, and angry still.
His nose had been broken in a fist fight apparently. His eyes pinned Gemma in place and he stalked over to her. In one hand, he gripped four halves of four broken wands. He dropped the wands on a table and gently reached towards the shorter girl.
"Are you okay?" He braced his hands on her shoulders, searching her face for an answer.
Gemma hadn't even had time to react to the threat put against her by the four young men before she felt something, like a wave of energy, wash over her, between her and them.
A Shield Charm, she realized, her ever-present analyzing capability informing her of the fact, Not as strong as one of mine, but certainly above average... A cold voice speaking not two feet from her made her look up.
"Was that your hand on my girlfriend?" it hissed, and Gemma realized with no small amount of shock that it was Orion. She hadn't even imagined that he could sound so.... so angry, so possessive. He grabbed all four of the young idiots, wrapping them in his long arms, then Disapperated, leaving Gemma staring at the spot where he had been. It was only then that she even realized what he had actually said.
"I'm not your girlfriend," she informed the empty air, but she was so startled by Orion's actions that her voice quivered, making even her not believe her own words.
She stood stiffly by the table, wanting to pace, the way Coobi the house elf was currently doing, but not being able to move her legs, or even to really breathe properly. Her breath came in short, shallow gasps as she wondered what terrible things could be happening to Orion at that moment.
What was he thinking, taking on four guys at once? she wondered, biting her lip, Obviously he must not have been.... But how can he possibly come back in one piece? They'll kill him! Gemma reminded herself that she didn't even like Orion, that she was being forced to marry him against her will... but it didn't help. All she could think was that he was probably being beaten to a pulp right now, and that she would never see him again. For some reason, that thought was terribly distressing to her; she sat on the very edge of the booth and pulled her knees to her chest for comfort, staring hard at the spot Orion had last stood as if to pull him back there.
It was a full ten minutes before anything else happened. Finally, the door to the Leaky Cauldron swung open, and Orion himself strode in, looking as furious as he had when he had left, only in a decidedly more shabby state in other respects. His nose was pouring blood, and his white robes were ripped and stained with mud and more blood. His gaze turned towards Gemma, and she shivered in spite of herself: his expression was enough to give anyone pause, and it pinned her in place as effectively as his arms had done the four hooligans.
He crossed the bar to her and dropped four splinters of wood on the table beside her; it took Gemma a moment to realize that they were four pieces from four different wands. He reached towards her, and Gemma nearly pulled away, worried that he would strike her, but his hands were gentle as they gripped her shoulders.
"Are you okay?" she asked quietly, his voice muffled somewhat by his clearly broken nose. Gemma stared into his hazel eyes, momentarily at a loss for what to say. "What.... the hell.... just happened?" she managed finally. Once this was out, all of her words stumbled and ran together in a torrent as she leaped to her feet.
"How did you do that? Why did you do that? You could've left them to me; I'm not defenseless, you know! Now you've gotten yourself in this state, all bloody and, and bruised, and...." Her words faltered, and her head dropped forward to rest against Orion's chest, just under his chin. "What in the world am I going to do with you?" she mumbled into the hard planes of his upper body beneath her lips, all thoughts of manipulation gone.
"What.... the hell.... just happened? How did you do that? Why did you do that? You could've left them to me; I'm not defenseless, you know! Now you've gotten yourself in this state, all bloody and, and bruised, and...." Orion was surprised that at this moment, she leaned her head on him. "What in the world am I going to do with you?"
For a moment, he collected his raging emotions. He was still trembling from the fight he had with the four ruffians, and the information he learned after. Slowly, he considered her questions.
"First, what happened is that they threatened you. Then, I showed them the beauty of the undeveloped Alaskan wilderness. Afterwards, I returned here." Small sentences were good. His rage wasn't fully displayed, and even the clipped tones only partially revealed how he felt.
"As to how...well, there was the Shield Charm, and an Apparation, and then I believe that I used a Skunk Smoke potion to incapacitate them, Stupefied them, and....yeah, thats when I used Veritiserum on the one who grabbed you. I took their wands at that point, left half of them and a roll of Spello-tape, then back here to you." He listed his actions with no emotion or any mention as to why his nose was broken.
"And now why. The cretin was going to hurt you, Gem. I found out what he was planning with the truth drops...he's lucky I didn't behead him and present it to you on a stick. He deserved that much." Orion's voice was a deeper growl now. That anyone would ever think of doing such things to a lady was despicable.
"You're one of the strongest women I've ever met, dearest...I know your wandwork is most likely head and shoulders above mine. But just because you CAN take care of yourself doesn't mean you should have to...besides, they had the drop on you and the odds were not in your favor, so I changed the odds."
He stopped talking for a space of time. His face really hurt now, and the loss of blood was making him slightly dizzy. Her concern was more than touching; it surprised him. Her last question had no real answer as far as he could determine. Orion saw his place as at her side, protecting and encouraging her, keeping her happy. It didn't make too much sense as to why she would fuss over him like this.
Gemma looked up at the end of Orion's speech, meeting his eyes directly. "Thank you," she said quietly, though she hoped her gratitude was evident, "For helping me, that is. And saying all those kind things, whether you really meant them or not. For your information, I've always been told that I should take care of myself, because it would make me stronger, more resilient." Her lips quirked. "That's part of the reason I'm so good at Charms and Transfiguration; I've had loads of chances to practice..."
She sighed, using the pause to brush her hair from her eyes, then hesitantly placed her hands on Orion's shoulders. A smile she hadn't yet shown him crept onto her face: it was a shy smile, one that belonged to a young woman who wanted help but was afraid to ask for it.
"If you really don't mind... doing what you just did, I would appreciate it if you would consider doing it again sometime." Her smirk came back. "But only if I ask, all right?" She removed her hands from him and reached into her left sleeve to where her wand was concealed in its leather holster, made especially for it by her. "Now, then, let me see about that nose. And while I'm fixing it, perhaps you can explain how you managed to Apperate all the way to Alaska, of all places!"
It felt good to just hold her. Technically it wasn't that sort of pose, but it was close enough for Orion. He could still hear the thug's voice. Of the talk of hurting, breaking, brutilizing. Orion calmed himself again when a shudder of rage tore through his spine. He had broken the man's jaw, and perhaps two of his own fingers after that. And his nose, he thought ruefully. The instant he took to dmage his foe was just long enough that one of the others was able to connect an elbow to Orion's face.
Now, a badger headed boy, a cretin with a broken jaw, and their two friends were wandering wandless in the middle of undeveloped country. Fifty miles to their south was a small wizarding community. Too bad I didn't point the direction for those fools...
He had listened politely to Gemma, and managed to crack a small smile in reply to her stunning sunrise of a grin. She spoke of his protecting her, and that she preferred he asked the next time.
"Okay." was his small reply. She continued marveling at how far he could travel.
"Well...if you've been to a place before, and can remember it and focus, its easy. That clearing that I took them to...It was the last place my brother and I camped together before he moved out..."
"I guess I've just never wanted to travel that far," Gemma answered, her voice quivering with suppressed laughter. She cocked her head. "And I didn't know you have a brother. I do too, in case you didn't know; his name is Gerard."
She kept her tone light so that Orion would be distracted. She knew for a fact that having a bone mended was quite painful, even if only for a second. If she kept him relaxed while she decided how best to go about it, it would be easier for him to hold still.
"Let me see..." she murmured, switching her wand to her left hand then, gently but firmly placing that hand behind Orion's head to hold him still. "Don't move," she instructed, then slid the fingers of her right hand along the length of his nose, attempting to determine how many breaks there were. She winced in sympathy, knowing it was uncomfortable, and, almost unconsciously, kept of a constant muttered "Sorry, sorry, sorry...." as she ran her test.
"Two breaks," she informed Orion when she was finished, removing her right hand but not her left, "Just let me get some of this blood off, and then I'll mend it." She reached around the back of his head and grasped her wand, then pointed it at his face and whispered, "Tergeo." The blood siphoned off Orion's face and vanished. "There. Now. Are you ready?"
Apparently, all he had to do to get some positive attention from her was get his nose broken. Had he known this earlier, Orion mused, he might have tripped in the book store and face-slammed the ground. Alas, that would have most likely earned him a spot in the "lets all point and laugh at the klutz" show. Not fun. Still, he wasn't up for much at the moment besides just standing. His hand hurt as well, so when she asked if he was ready, he focused on that.
He gave a mute nod and focused...focused...fo-SNAP CRACK OH GOD!!! A sharp intake of breath was all that kept him from collapsing on the ground. It obviously hurt more than he thought, and he began dreading having his hand noticed. Still, perhaps he had better bring it up. His eyes were watering and he managed to squeak out "Hand..." as he dealt with the roiling waves of pain through his sinuses.
"I'm so sorry!" Gemma gasped when Orion yelped in pain as his nose ground back into place. She ran her fingers over it gently once more, to make sure it was in one piece: it was.
"Hand..." he told her, his voice cracking slightly. Gemma released his head and grasped his right wrist, pulling his hand up for inspection. Sure enough, his middle and ring fingers were broken, and his pointer finger looked as though it was out of joint.
"What did you do, punch a tree?" she quipped, spreading out her left hand and placing Orion's on top of it so that the fingers were spread out slightly. She realized this was very much like holding his hand, and glanced up at him, her cheeks growing very slightly warm. "Don't get any ideas," she warned him, "Or I'll make this hurt more than it needs to...." She pointed her wand at his fingers, bit her own lip to steady herself, then murmured, "Episkey." Orion's fingers jumped back into place with a revolting grinding sound, and Gemma heard herself whimper in disgust and sympathy. "I guess I wouldn't make a very good medi-wizard," she said self-deprecatingly, grinning a little.
"His head was almost as hard....he deserved it after calling you a-" He stopped himself and began impersonating a clam. His face took on a grumpy look that clearly stated that there was no desire to ever even think of that word again. Gemma's cool hands on his own magled on was a welcome distraction, so he chose to think on that instead.
A spell, a yell, and hasty sitting down later, Orion was back to normal except for his new collection of bruises. He warded off Gemma's attempts to remove them.
"No thanks, I'll keep the bruises for now. The first I deserved and the other two are badges of honor. Oh...and thank you." His last sentence was soft and full of meaning. He looked at her with an expression of adoration, but quickly turned, hiding the look. She doesn't feel that way towards you, Ri, so don't even make her feel pressured by your advances...
Gemma had to bite her lip again, but for an entirely different reason than before. I can't believe he just looked at me like that.... she thought incredulously, No-one's ever looked at me like that before... usually boys only look at me the way those idiots did. How odd this Orion is!
"Well, at least let me fix your clothes, if I can't heal the bruises," she said aloud, "It will only take a moment, and it won't hurt, I promise!" She couldn't help laughing at her own joke, despite its lameness. Without waiting for an answer, she flicked her wand in Orion's direction, and the rips in his white robes instantly mended themselves. "There," she said with approval, "You look more.... normal, now, not like a disaster victim."
No advertising. Be polite.
Trevor Williams: And here's a shout box to use in the meantime, too!
Sept 4, 2014 20:16:38 GMT -8
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