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 Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)

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Ivy Richardson

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PostSubject: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:04 pm

Fitting in to Pureblood society was, at best, difficult. It was a completely new social setting, with so many little rules and regulations that needed to be followed. Well, it was overwhelming. Of course, Ivy had the help of Serafina when it came to learning the nuances of social interactions, posture and poise, that didn't mean that she necessarily liked it. The dresses and the shoes, she could easily live without. High heels were a nightmare. She absolutely hated anything that made it difficult to walk, or hindered her movement. Perhaps that was because she was used to needing quick getaways, and needing to be nimble enough to climb and hide. Anything that stopped that just felt weird.

One habit of hers that was particularly hard to kick was pick-pocketing. She had relied on it for so long as a means to get enough food to not go hungry (the orphanage didn't exactly have nice food, nor even enough to really fill someone up). It could almost be considered a reflex with how quickly she readied herself when spotting a target. Spotting someone who had clearly more than enough to go around, bonus points if they screwed up their noses when they spotted her walking past. It was a survival instinct at its core. And survival instincts certainly put up a fight when they were being suppressed. She actually missed her old life, one as a street kid. She missed the people she hung around, for the most part, the jokes and banter, and the adrenaline rush she would get when it came to perhaps breaking into a store, or stealing someone's car. She knew the actions were wrong, illegal, but growing up she couldn't care less. Until she was an adult, the worst the authorities could do was place her in juvie.

It was one of those days where her hands had nothing to do, and the urge seemed too hard to fight. A day that she was missing her partner in crime from when she lived at the orphanage, Halley. So she had gone for a walk around the courtyard in an attempt to clear her mind. That, however, only seemed to provide even more temptation when she saw a group of four girls who she recognised from the very first ball she had to attend upon becoming a Richardson, walking back from what seemed to be the Black Lake. She glanced over to the girls, observing what she could before she decided to act. There was one girl walking slightly in front of the others, the one doing the most talking, who absolutely oozed confidence. She was the leader, evidently. A challenge.

It was the afternoon, classes had finished and the courtyard was fairly crowded with students either coming back to the castle, or heading to Quidditch practice, or even just soaking up the sun before dinner time. So, she made it a priority to get close enough to brush shoulders with the leader of the group. She meandered through the crowd, inching ever closer to the group. Until they met. She kept walking at a normal pace, sliding her hand into the girl's, Claire she thought the girl's name was, pocket and feigning bumping into her as she did so. Like riding a bike, one never forgot. Although one could get a bit rusty at it. Perhaps she had been too heavy handed, because as soon as she had pocketed whatever she could have found in the Claire's pocket (it felt like a few silver sickles), she had whipped around and grabbed Ivy's arm, tightly.

"What did you just do?" Claire demanded, loudly.

Ivy's immediate reaction was defensive. She yanked her arm back to her side "It's called walking, got a problem?" she replied, crossing her arms. She had intended to run, that was her natural instinct. Though for once, she thought about it. She thought about how bad it would look. She couldn't have word getting to her new family, they would probably disown her- 'Would that be a bad thing?'. It was tempting sure. But there was something about Claire, about the whole friendship group that Ivy just didn't like, hated even. Perhaps it would do some good to actually stand up to them.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:06 am

Ever since Bruce had met Ivy Richardson, his mind had been spinning with possibilities. Adoption, for starters. It was a smart move, really, getting a muggleborn or halfblood orphan adopted into a family; it would create talk, for sure, but it would buy brownie points with many people. It would be a gateway to communication, to new opportunities that didn't exist before, and while those weren't always good, they helped. Of course, the downsides would be the gossip it created with those Purebloods who have it in mind that it's the literal blood and not name that matters. Still, as long as the adoptee wasn't made an heir or anything of that sort, Bruce didn't see much harm in it. He'd talked to Henry about it the moment he'd gone home, over the pasta he preferred a thousandfold to the oysters and caviar.

They couldn't, of course, adopt. There were too many secrets that needed safeguarding. The more people knew, the higher chances of it being revealed to the world, and chances were not something Bruce ever wanted to take. Him and Henry. That was it; that was enough. In fact, Bruce would've ventured to say that two was too many, although he couldn't deny he needed Henry. If he'd been just a bit older, had just a bit more knowledge, he would've done it without Henry. Nobody protects a secret better than the man with the secret itself; Bruce had far more to lose than Henry did.

The conversation had gone on for a while, ending with nothing really definite. Adoption obviously being out of the question, Bruce had asked about hosting a charity ball as his father, or donating to an orphanage somewhere -- a needy one, a legitimate one. Henry had promised to look into it, but Bruce had wanted to do it himself. Still, with school work yet to be done and letters to reply as his mother, he'd conceided, retiring to his room around midnight. He didn't sleep till three, perfectly mimicking his mother's handwriting in six separate letters. He'd been lucky that she'd kept all her previous letters, and that her diary, while originally charmed so as to only be opened by her, was now free-for-all since her death. It seemed his mother was as meticulous as her husband when it came to details, and all the secrets of all her friends -- every conversation, ever whisper in the dar -- had been recorded down, making it far more easier for Bruce to refer to 'past conversations' in his letters.

School snuck back up on him before he realised, the week he'd taken off ending before he had a chance to blink. Supposedly, the excuse had been Pureblood functions, and while this in itself was true, Bruce had spent far more time in business meetings as his father and ladies' lunches as his mother than as himself. It had been an exhausting week, and as he stepped back into the role of Bruce, the 4th year Slytherin, he felt wearier than he'd been in a long time. He couldn't even complain; it wasn't something he could talk about, after all. So, all fake smiles and carefree attitude -- "My week was [i]fantastic[/i. No school, dances, good food. How was school?" -- he went back to work.

Classes for the afternoon finally ending, Bruce grabbed his bag and started across the courtyard. He needed a break, needed to get away from it all, and he knew the perfect place to do it. There was a spot in the woods that, while he wasn't technically allowed to go to, he frequented for the peace it gave. There was no true or real path to it, and it was hidden behind a thicket of bushes, so he was quite certain nobody else had found it.

As he continued walking, head down, he heard a loud and familiar voice. Claire Sullivan and her posse of girls. Aleisha, Heather, and Lindsay. They were all Purebloods, although Claire was from a family that was slightly more known than the other three, although they, too, were pretty high up. Bruce knew them all. Had talked to them all at some point. Didn't like them, but smiled and laughed at their jokes. They were pretty popular in school, too, and he'd hung out a few times out of necessity.

But as he gazed over, Claire's voice loud and shrill -- "Don't lie to me!" -- his gaze fell on Ivy. Before Bruce quite knew what he was doing, he found himself changing direction, feet taking him directly towards the group.

Before he could change his mind or talk himself out of it, Bruce gently put on hand on Ivy's arm, as though letting her know he was there, before removing it. It wouldn't do to linger a touch. That wasn't polite. "Ivy, there you are," he said, his tone politely firm. "I was wondering where you went off to; did you forget I invited you to join me for lunch?" Hoping against hope that Ivy was smart enough to catch on, Bruce turned to the other females. "Claire, Aleisha, Heather, Lindsay, I do hope I wasn't interrupting anything. I must say, though, half the courtyard could hear you shouting. Was something the matter?" His tone held a light challenge, as though daring her to say anything.

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:32 pm

"Don't lie to me!" Claire had shrieked in response.

Ivy had opened her mouth to reply with something that would almost certainly aggravate the situation when she felt someone gently touch her arm, as though to stop her. Not for more than a second. That was when Bruce spoke, forming a perfect little white lie about him previously inviting her to lunch. One thing about Ivy was that she caught on quick when she knew that someone was trying to help her. Bruce hadn't given her a reason to distrust him thus far, so it was really in her best interest to simply play along.

"Sorry about that," she glanced back to Bruce for a moment before looking back to Claire "I completely forgot," she added. Claire almost looked a little shy, verging on embarrassed when Bruce spoke to her, a sight that was rather amusing to Ivy. As bad as it sounded, some people, namely Claire Sullivan, needed to be knocked down a peg or two occasionally. Sure, Ivy had initiated this event. Really it was only a matter of time before something between the two happened. Ivy wasn't stupid, she saw how other "proper" pureblood girls often looked at her, especially at the ball she had attended earlier. She heard the whispers. Not that they were anything more to Ivy than a minor annoyance, but it wouldn't have surprised her if an altercation happened again.

Claire had seemingly fumbled at Bruce's question. All Ivy had to do was wait, and watch as the girl tried to explain why she had started screaming in the middle of the courtyard. It seemed as though her immediate reaction was to smile sweetly "Bruce! Seems there has been a misunderstanding," Admittedly, Ivy was impressed at how quickly the girl could change her demeanour, it bordered on masterful. Though it still incurred an eye roll from Ivy.

"Misunderstanding, that's right," Ivy said, not taking her eyes off the girl, as though trying to see what Claire might do or say next.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:13 pm

The ease with which Ivy followed his lead brought a sense of pride in Bruce that he hadn't expected. She may have been a Richardson, but she was so... different than all the other Purebloods. Perhaps that was because she techincally wasn't one, not that anyone would dare to suggest that in public. The Richardsons may not have been the most influential, but they had power nevertheless, and to anger them would not do well.

But in this case, the Sullivans were on the same level as the Richardsons; they were almost in a fight for more, to be seen as better than the other, and that resulted in some... interesting political stunts on both ends. Less so on the Richardson part, he knew; they were typically above such things, after all. Still, the Sullivans were not so subtle, and for a moment Bruce wondered if the whole thing was to throw mud onto the Richardson name. The older ones were above most scrutiny -- except, rumours had it, for Stephanie -- but the new comer that hadn't yet learnt the ways of the Pureblood world? Bruce could see how she was an ideal target.

"That's fine," he said, speaking to Ivy first. "It was a last minute invitation."

Hearing Claire's response, something he'd only felt once before rose within him. The first and only time he felt it was when he was eleven and Henry had been about to call for the aurors, his parents dead bodies mere feet away, separated only by a wall and a door. He'd realised in that split second that the entire Sanderson empire would crumble the moment that call was made, and that everything every ancestor of his had ever worked for would go to waste. Bruce knew in that very moment he would not let it happen -- could not. No matter what, he would make sure their name did not go to dust, no matter the cost.

And, standing there, staring in the face of four Pureblood girls he knew were pining after him (or, more accurately, his wealth and status), he knew he would do whatever it took to make sure Ivy was protected. As soon as the sensation rose, he pushed it back, now allowing it to show on his face or posture. He didn't understand it, nor did he want to. Whatever it was, it would be a distraction, surely, and so he resolved to examine it later. Still, it was there, subconsciously guiding him, and he flashed a smile at Claire.

"I wasn't aware that your training included shouting at your equals," he said, tone dry and flat, holding no emotion. It was, he'd learnt, the best way to show someone he was being serious. "I had heard good things about the Sullivans. Your behaviour has me almost changing my mind on whether that was truth or not. I have half a mind to write home to father and tell him of my discovery. If this is the type of behaviour demonstrated by your family, I am certain he would not want to do business; he does not need a song and dance over misunderstandings, only quiet meetings in which to discuss them, without involving-" he gestured around, indicating their entire surroundings, "-anyone with ears."

In his own way, he was reminding Claire of her place -- and of Ivy's -- as well as making sure she knew the power he had over her.

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:31 pm

Ivy's eyes widened and she bit back a smirk as Bruce absolutely demolished Claire, in possibly the most 'Bruce' way possible. He kept his voice calm and rational, and quiet, clearly not wanting to escalate the situation any further. And it wasn't necessarily his standing up for her that made her want to laugh, it was Claire and the other girl's reaction to what Bruce said. Claire seemed to go bright red at the prospect of Bruce writing to her father about such a thing. It was odd to Ivy, about how pristine one's reputation had to remain in this new world. She supposed that, where she came from, the worse the reputation, the better. The grittier and scarier one could be, the less likely people were to mess with them.

She bit her knuckle and looked to the floor as Bruce finished talking, murmuring as quietly as possible "Wow," as Claire tried her best to defend herself and her actions. Though Ivy didn't see a way of coming back from that.

"A slip in judgement," Claire returned the smile, eyes flicking to Ivy upon hearing the murmur "You see, I thought I felt her hand in my pocket as she was passing by. Perhaps it was just walking through the crowd at such a close proximity," she paused a moment "I can't imagine why she would want to anyway, one would think she has everything she needs," her voice was just as calm as Bruce's, though not so dry or flat. She was speaking softly, sweetly, her voice seemingly like honey. Honey that might have been laced with malice towards Ivy. After all, she couldn't be overtly rude, not while in Bruce's presence. That would, socially, be very bad for the Sullivans. Her parents would certainly not take it well, especially in knowing that she had ruined what small chance she might have had in charming Bruce Sanderson.

At Claire's response, Ivy had almost cut her off, but decided against the fact. Asking Claire to prove it would be pointless, for the both of them. Claire had no way to really prove that anything happened. It was her word against Ivy's. And Ivy demanding so could give the impression that she had something to hide. However, Ivy being, well, Ivy, decided to give it a slight push. She looked back up to the girl, all traces of a smirk gone from her face, thankfully she had enough time to compose herself.

"So are you going to apologise then?" she asked bluntly, looking explicitly innocent while pushing both hands into her pockets "You know, for your "slip in judgement"," she added. It didn't particularly matter to Ivy what happened, or what Claire's response might be. It more more rubbing salt in the wound than anything. And she only did that because there was something majorly off about Claire, and her posse. And when Ivy didn't like someone, she made sure that they knew it.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:56 pm

For a moment, a split second, Bruce almost laughed at Ivy's response. He knew he could be harsh in his words -- he'd had practice as his father, shutting down people who wanted to buy out the company or tarnish his reputation -- but he'd never done it as himself before, and definitely not in defence of someone else. It felt... oddly freeing, and made him want to laugh. Claire's face was definitely something, too, not that he would ever admit to finding satisfaction in it. That was too uncultured, after all, and he was the Sanderson heir. In that short moment, though, Bruce felt like a child again, fourteen years old and without a care in the world. He had a father to write back to, a friend by his side, and a snotty Pureblood witch to take down a peg or two. Throwing around his status had never seemed fun before, only a necessity; he had far more things on his plate than being a teenaged Pureblood heir.

And, while his judgement and common sense told him the moment would end -- all moments ended, one way or another -- Bruce decided to make the most of it and, even if only for a few minutes, be a boy again. He would never admit, though, that he was having fun, to anyone, except, perhaps, Ivy herself later on.

His lips pursed tightly together at Claire's words, raising both eyebrows in obvious displeasure. He let her finish, waiting a few seconds to make sure she'd said her peace, before opening his mouth. Ivy cut him off, though, with a perfect response, and he had to bite back both a smile and a laugh. Instead, he glanced towards the Richardson and then back at Claire.

"I'm sorry," he said, allowing momentary confusion to play on his features. "I think I misheard you. I thought for a moment that you just accused Ivy of pickpocketing you." He let out a very short and soft laugh, more of a puff of amusement than anything. His expression straightened once again, a cold, emotionless look he'd perfected as his father. "How ridiculous was that?" he asked, tone soft, almost deadly, question obvious rhetorical. "To think anyone would accuse a Richardson of stealing." The emphasis on the name was intentional; some might not have thought of the adoptee as anything other than a ploy for favouritism amongst muggleborn lovers, but whatever the truth, she was still a Richardson and nothing less. He fixed his gaze on Claire alone, noting that the other three girls had backed up a little, and looked as though they wanted to sink into the earth. He didn't blame them, either. "You wouldn't do something so... foolish, would you, though. You're smarter than that, or so I've heard."

Slipping a hand into his pocket, Bruce intentionally brought his gaze over at Ivy, softening it a little as his eyes landed on her. "One would hope the Sullivan family has better graces than to make false accusations, wouldn't you agree, Ivy? They're meant to be of high social standings." Turning back to Claire, he offered her no smile, only a stoic look. "Let's hope they have learnt, at the very least, to apologise."

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:42 pm

"I didn't accuse her of anything," Claire replied softly, though clearly holding back some anger, predominantly with the fact that Bruce had intervened, even more so that he had taken Ivy's side over hers "Merely what I thought happened," she paused a brief moment. She was reluctant to apologise, truly. It was written all over her face. It came down to a choice, either risk further relations with the Sanderson family, or to swallow her pride. Or perhaps a third option that only she could see.

She tore her eyes away from Bruce and looked directly to Ivy "I apologise for causing such a commotion. Our little tiff might have been better dealt with privately," her voice oozed with false sincerity. She wasn't about to let herself be bullied by a mudblood of all people. Her niceties were merely due to the presence of Bruce, nothing more.

Ivy raised her eyebrow "Well, Bruce," she sighed "I suppose we should never really expect much when it comes to the Sullivan's graces then," she glanced at Bruce to gauge his reaction to the obviously back-handed apology. Crossing her arms, she merely shrugged "Oh well, it doesn't matter anyway," she added "Lucky for you," she addressed Claire "I'm not a "proper" Richardson. I know you were thinking it. Easy target and all that. I don't particularly care too much either. Think what you want. Just don't ever grab my arm again, understood?" She finished her final statement with a lower, almost threatening voice, though her body language conveyed otherwise. Without hearing the tone of her voice, one might assume she was having a casual conversation about whatever girls usually spoke about. She finished with a small smile at the now rather flustered Claire.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:11 pm

Bruce said nothing as Claire spoke, although his expression grew harder and his eyes narrowed even more. It was a habit he couldn't break as his father, who'd never really done that, but thankfully not many noticed and he was quick to hide it. This time, however, he let it show, face dark and ominous. He didn't miss her words, but he didn't let his annoyance show, only his disapproval. Anger was not something a Pureblood of his status gave into, although he felt it rising. Why, he couldn't tell; what was it about Ivy he felt the need to defend, even possibly at his own cost? He didn't know, didn't care.

Instead, he waited a moment to collect his thoughts, giving Ivy enough of a chance to reply first. Then, once she was done, he stepped forward, putting himself just a little closer to Claire, and lowered his tone to one far more dangerous than before. "Yes," he said, simply. "You did. If you weren't, you wouldn't have caused a commotion loud enough to draw my attention from halfway across the yard. 'What did you just do' is unequivocally an accusation; it is suggesting that someone has done something. Furthermore, there would have been no need to mention feeling her hand in your pocket if you had realised it wasn't true; you could have said it was a misunderstanding and leave it at that. Instead, you chose to bring attention to the fact you thought she had stolen from you; that is an accusation." He paused, giving just a moment for her to comprehend his words. "Need I elaborate any further?"

"As for your ..." He purposely hesitated, as though searching for the right word. "...apology, I'm afraid I don't quite understand. Are you apologising to me for wasting my time with your tasteless and ridiculous accusations, or for the commotion, in which case you might want to say that just a little louder so everyone can hear. You didn't seem to have an issue with shrillness a moment ago." He waited a moment again, and then frowned, like he'd just realised something. "I also don't believe I heard you apologising to Ivy, for the unfounded defamation of her character." One more short pause, and then, "To slander one Richardson, one must remember, is to slander them all. I would hate for Christopher to hear what you have said about his youngest sister."

There was a threat in his tone, although not heavy, and he let a few moments pass, for the weight of what he was saying really sink in. Then, when he was sure Claire was giving him her full attention, offered Ivy his arm, as was only proper when leading a female somewhere. Hopefully, Ivy's training had reached this stage and she knew what to do. "Come, Ivy," he said, tone softer and more friendly, endearing almost. "I fear our lunch will grow cold. I would say our time was wasted, but I do not believe that to be true. It has been very... enlightening, if I dare use that word. I'm sure our parents would be equally as intrigued by the events of today. I shall be writing home after lunch, if you also wish to join me in the library?"

With that, he turned his back on Claire, not bothering to give her another second of his time -- possibly one of the most damning thing he could do as a Pureblood; who he spoke to and spent time with was a huge deal, after all -- and started towards the castle.

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:59 pm

It wasn't often that she actually felt guilt for anything really, until Bruce had come to her side defending her honour to the point where she had begun to actually feel bad about those few sickles that she had managed to take. It wasn't at embarrassing Claire in front of Bruce, she didn't give a crap about Claire. It was Bruce's reaction. She didn't know what had driven him to defend her so adamantly, but he did. And she didn't know why exactly she was letting this act of kindness from Bruce make her rethink her action. Perhaps she had warmed a little too much to him at their first meeting. And this act of chivalry did nothing but further highlight just how honourable and genuinely nice he was. For him to know that his action might have gone to waste, it rubbed Ivy the wrong way. Perhaps he was one person where it was best to keep things honest. After all, you didn't usually meet someone willing to defend someone they barely know on word alone. She might need to find a way to, subtly, return what she stole. Purely on principal. Or perhaps she was just going soft with the comforts of her new life, and beginning to let her emotions rule over her thoughts. But what emotions? She didn't quite know.

Bruce, yet again, showed no mercy when it came to dealing with Claire Sullivan. Claire seemed completely speechless, but perhaps that was because Bruce didn't give her a chance to further speak. He ended the conversation effectively by offering Ivy his arm to lead her back to where their spontaneous lunch was waiting. He offered her his arm, something that no one had done before. Though she remembered vaguely from that one ball, how men would walk with women by their side, and assumed that was the action he was taking. She took his arm and allowed herself to be lead to the kitchen.

"You didn't have to do that you know," she murmured, once out of earshot from Claire and the other girls. Claire hadn't said anymore, not directly to them anyway, and had continued the way she was going.

Perhaps it was for the best that Bruce had intervened. Things would have gotten ugly fast if left up to Ivy. More threats, more ruined reputation for the Richardson family. As much as Ivy resented having to upkeep the family reputation, she found it to be a massive burden, it was still something that was required. Slip ups here and there seemed to be alright, but something like a fight, something that was undeniably her fault, she didn't know how the family might react to that. And she didn't want to find out. Worse of all, it all came down to poor impulse control, succumbing to old habits that she might never fully kick from her system. She would need to control it at the very least. Rumours of sticky fingers in the Richardson clan might be the worst sort of rumour. After all, they had everything then needed and so much more, Ivy didn't need that skill anymore, not at Hogwarts, not even at home.

"But," she added, so as not to sound ungrateful that Bruce had, without any potential personal gain to himself, stuck out his neck for her "Thanks."

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:32 am

A smug sense of satisfaction rose within Bruce as he walked away, Ivy on his arm. It felt... right, somehow, like this was what was meant to happen. But Bruce did not believe in fate, did not think there was such a thing as destiny, as 'meant to happen'. Instead, he would say it was something that just happened to be, not exactly a coincidence but perhaps serendipity. There was something about Ivy that intrigued him. Perhaps it was because she was a lot like him -- in a unique situation that did not happen every day, and had nobody to talk to about it. Who else was adopted into a Pureblood family? Who knew the struggles she faced? Nobody. And likewise, nobody could or would understand what he faced; he couldn't tell anyone, and even if he did, there weren't any in his position, either. They were the same, the both of them, outcasts without ever truly being outcasts, different and yet the same. Stuck.

And yet, she would never know; he could never tell her. For just a fraction of a moment, Bruce was tempted to let her in. He'd been alone for so long, done it by himself for so many years, that the idea of having ... someone, anyone, felt right. But he knew that was temptation speaking and the longings of his teenaged self that would do no good. Besides, he didn't even know Ivy. How could he trust someone he didn't know? Never. That would be suicide.

So, instead, he relished the feeling of her on his arm, the thrill of what he'd just done still vibrating in his being. "Yes," he said, to her murmured statement. "I did." And it was true. If he hadn't, he knew instinctively that he would've lived to regret it. Something had happened, there, that was important. He wasn't quite sure what, but his instincts told him that the interaction had been vital to... something. What, he again wasn't sure. All he knew was that if he hadn't, things wouldn't have changed. For worse or for better was yet to be seen -- but there was change nevertheless.

Time would have to tell.

He said nothing as he continued to lead her into the castle, ignoring the looks he got from some. Bruce had always been one to mind his distance, to keep the respectable distance from females and never blur boundaries. He took their hands in greeting, or when dancing at a ball, but outside of the normal constructs of his society, he did not let himself be found doing... well, exactly what he was doing right now. He ignored it all. Ivy and him were not a couple, were not anything other than friends, and that was final; he did not have feelings for her. Besides, Florrie was a much better match, logically speaking, and arrangements were still underway.

Stopping at the kitchens, he reached forward, gently running a finger over the pear, and waited for the door to open. Stepping inside, he smiled at the house elves, allowing them to point out a table. Leading Ivy over, he pulled out a chair, waited for her to sit, and then moved around to the other side. "My word is my life," he explained, an almost apologetic tone. "I said I invited you for lunch; if that isn't followed up, I would be a liar, and that would not do for either of us." He himself could see the irony in his words; he was a liar, lived a life of nothing but lies. And Ivy? Well, the truth was that she wasn't a Pureblood by blood, and that could be seen as a lie by some. He chose not to bring attention to either of it.

Instead, he turned to the house elf that had come to stand beside him. "Pizza, please," he said. "Pepperoni for me; Ivy will have...?" He turned to her, waiting for her input. After they'd ordered and the house elf left, Bruce leaned back a little in his chair. "You're lucky I was around," he said, not an accusation or in pride, but matter-of-factly. "The Sullivans and Richardsons have been fighting -- as much as Pureblood families fight, which is to say in snide remarks and political moves -- for higher status for years. One false step on your part and she would have the upper hand for her parents."

He let out a soft sigh. "Adults should not involve their children in political games, but we always are. It's the nature of the game. It was not fair for her to target you, although it was a particularly smart strategy, if you consider cheating to be that. You would not yet know of the subtle ways in which to handle accusations and political warfare. It is an art we are taught since birth, and will continue learning for as long as we are alive." Pausing just a moment, Bruce finally allowed the smug smile to play on his lips, just a little. "She will not, I believe, target you again without thinking very carefully about who you have for friends."

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Ivy Richardson

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:42 pm

She didn't say anything more in response until the two of them reached the kitchen. People looked, of course people looked. She was walking, arm in arm, with Bruce Sanderson. Ivy wasn't a fan of attention, whether that be positive or negative. This sort of attention could be both, depending on who was looking and what perspective they had. It had been a rough transition really, going from one who had gone unnoticed in every aspect of her life, to the spotlight of a world that she didn't know too much about. At least, it felt like the spotlight. To have everything she did or didn't do scrutinised, all her actions monitored, and to have real consequences for not only herself, but others. At times it felt overwhelming, at times, she wanted nothing more than to run back to the streets and return to what she knew, what she was comfortable doing. Back to where she knew the ropes and was relatively well-respected. Back to when no one of import paid attention to her, and she could skulk around the streets, unseen by all. It was almost kind of fun, scraping through to survive. Perhaps it was a case of too much too soon. Regardless of what it was, she was living a lie.

Lying was something that had always come so easily to Ivy. Lying about where she got her lip balm, or the one hundred dollar bill, or the chocolate she had smuggled out in her coat for a treat for some of the younger kids at the orphanage. Those lies didn't, however, determine who she was. It was an act for survival, one that didn't carry much weight at all. Living a lie day in and day out became, well, exhausting. She was a liar for sure, but only occasionally. Only when it suited her.

They got to the kitchen, and, always the gentleman, he pulled out a seat for her. She  sat down, while he spoke about how much his word meant to him. Ivy merely shrugged "What's one little white lie?" she asked "Not really much in the great big scheme of things, except for perhaps a quick way out of a tough situation," she added.

"Ham and pineapple, cheers," she added when prompted. Ivy leaned forward on the table once the house elf had gone to get their food, while Bruce explained the nuances of social war between the purebloods. In particular, the Richardsons and the Sullivans. Perhaps Claire had been even more of a challenge than initially thought. A bad target. It could have so easily gone so wrong.

"Now that," Ivy said, resting her chin on one of her hands "Has to be exhausting. Scrambling to try and be better than people," she sighed "Or to discredit people. Or even making sure other peoples names aren't dragged through the dirt, depending on alliances, right?" her idle hand found an apple from the fruit bowl in the middle of the table and she rolled it around, distractedly.

"It's almost like a team sport, kind of. One weak link and everything kind of crumbles," that was why Ivy was more of a fan for solo sports. She disliked having to be reliable, used to only looking out for number one.
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Bruce Sanderson

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PostSubject: Re: Old Habits Die Hard (Brivy)   Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:50 pm

"The quick way isn't necessarily the right way," he said, smiling a little. "Perhaps for some, a white lie helps survival. In my case, if I break my word it will be forever set in stone that a Sanderson's word cannot be trusted. I am my parents' only child. I have more resting on my shoulders than most other heirs. I cannot be seen to be a liar; it's the nature of the game."

There was no resentment in his tone, nor bitterness. He was used to the role he played, used to the rules he abided by. They had been taught to him since he was old enough to hear -- and that meant birth. When he began talking, he was never allowed to babble, never allowed to say 'I want' or use baby speech for long. When he began to crawl, he was only allowed to do so in the privacy of closed doors; nobody outside his immediate family and Henry ever saw his first wobbly steps. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, Bruce moved from a pram to walking, back straight and head looking forward, beside his parents at the age of two and a bit. He knew how to address females by the time he was four, and respond politely to questions about himself or the family. Childhood was not something Bruce ever really experienced; he was the Sanderson heir from the moment of his conception and nothing less.

Bruce considered her words for a few moments before raising a shoulder an inch, giving into a shrug -- or as much of a shrug as he dared to give. "It's an art form," he replied, his tone betraying the amusement he felt at saying it; he was, in his own way, joking. "Like a game of chess or that muggle game -- what is it called? Risk, I believe? Strategy is key in everything. Who you talk to, who you eat lunch with, who you defend, who you ignore... All of it ties together to form a bigger picture of where you stand."

He paused, reaching into his bag and pulling out a piece of parchment and a self-inking quill. "It's like this," he said, placing the parchment down on the table before them. "The Sanderson empire has two parts -- the muggle world -- a law firm, some chain hotels, and other small businesses -- and the wizarding world. Normally, the empire is split between at least four Sanderson children, male or female. It's somewhat of a scandal we don't talk about, but my father is the sole Sanderson remaining."

He drew two circles at the top of the paper, quickly writing 'P' and 'M' in them. "My parents, therefore, are at the top. They own everything." He drew a short line downwards, and another circle. In this, he put 'B'. "I'm their only child. That means I'm the heir to it all. If I had siblings," he drew a couple more empty circles beside his, "my burden would be less. I wouldn't need to think about my every action quite as much. But, I don't." He drew an 'x' around both circles. "I alone am responsible for everything, once my parents pass it onto me. That means everything I do carries weight -- down to the people I sit next to in class."

He drew a few lines from his name, blank circles at the end of it. "Who I 'hang out' with is important. I cannot have lunch with just anyone, or I might give them power or status, simply because they could claim me as a friend." He paused, drawing a line from his parents' circles to the side, and added a circle with the alphabets 'By'. "You have families that are on the same level as us, like the Byrnes. Their three children, Florrie, James, and Anthony," he drew three quick lines, three quick circles, and added their initials, "are my equals. I will be expected to marry someone from either those on the same level as me or above. My father will do the arrangement that is most beneficial to our family, and I will get a say as to which female from his prepared list I prefer. Females typically do not get a say."

Pausing, he drew another circle an inch below the rest. In this, he wrote 'Ri'. "Slightly below us, we have your family. Serafina, McKendra, Christopher, Stephanie, and finally, you." For each, he added a circle as he spoke. "I have attended balls with them, but I cannot claim any of them as a friend, not because of status but because they are older than me and we have never quite had the chance to interact in school." Hesitating, he very lightly shaded in Ivy's circle. "You are an oddity, possibly the first of your kind -- I don't mean that rudely. I would not know what your status would be considered. By right, you are a Richardson; they gave you the right to their last name, and you therefore have all the status and weight that comes with it. However... it may be argued that you are not a true Richardson by blood. Only those above you would dare argue that in an attempt to discredit you; those below you would not utter a single word in protest, since your family could destroy theirs easily."

Drawing a line out from the Richardson circle, he drew a 'Su' circle. "The Sullivans are on the same level as you. They want to move higher up. There is only place for one. Claire and Thomas -- her older brother; he's in University already -- will do their best to get a Richardson child to slip up, especially the heir. We have heard some rather alarming news regarding your older sister, Stephanie, and some muggleborn, and things are very tense right now in your level because of it." Here, however, was where Bruce's lips twitched into a light smirk.

Taking his quill, he drew a curved line between his circle and Ivy's. "But, as I said, you needn't worry about Claire any longer. Higher families typically do not get involved in the politics of lesser families; it gets messy. However, I publically announced you as a friend; you have taken my arm. (Make no mistake, that simple act is one that has a rippling effect further than you might currently understand; again, I mean no offence to you. You haven't yet learnt the nuances of the Pureblood world. I have merely had more experience.) I have connected not only you, Ivy, but the entire Richardson family to my own."

He frowned lightly, looking at his own drawing. "I am not sure if this means I have elevated your family above the Sullivans permanently, or if this is a temporary situation. I will have to ask my tutor the next chance I get." Putting down the quill, he glanced back up at Ivy. "Whichever the case, the Sullivans would not dare to attack the Richardsons, not as long as you are my friend and under the protection of the Sandersons."

The food arrived then, and Bruce realised how long he'd been prattling. Almost embarrassed, he raised a hand to the back of his neck before catching himself and lowering it. He cleared his throat a little. "Did uh, did that make sense?" he asked, stuttering just a little.

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