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augury_corner in augury_rpg

Seeking out a little affirmation

Who: Michael Corner and Ernie Macmillan.
What: Michael just wants to talk, but Ernie's got alot on his mind.'
When: After dinner; Tuesday, November 16th, 1997.
Where: Hogwarts Grounds, the forest-side of the Bridge.
Status: Complete.



Despite the wretchedness of the politics going on inside of the castle, Michael immediately saw a degree of perspective once he stepped outside of it. The snow falling was heavy, but not blindly. The clumps of frozen water looked to Michael like giants must have been having an enormous pillow fight and all the down and fluff was now falling from the sky.

It was amazingly, creepily serene outside. Michael could hear the pounding of his own heart and the sound of wind whistling through the trees. It was so soft, he could actually hear the snow impacting and compacting upon surfaces. It was no wonder that winter was his favorite season next to autumn, and no amount of death, torture or political intrigue could take that from him.

despite the beauty of the grey, wispy backdrop which obscured the forest and lake and beckoned him with their mystery, Michael's equally grey gaze did not fixate on the snow for long. He had come outside for a reason and that was to try and find Ernie. He had been nowhere in the castle, and finally Hannah pointed Michael outside by saying she saw Ernie getting his winter coat out.

That suited Michael just fine, who had run upstairs to get his heavy hooded navy blue coat and grey gloves. Now as the snow fell, he flipped his hood up and began to cross the bridge towards the glow of Hagrid's hut.

He didn't have to go far.

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Ernie had been standing at the edge of the bridge, his gaze upon the stream below. It was mostly frozen, with the exception of a small crack that ran its entire length through which he could see the slightest glistening of water. It was nearly completely dark, and yet no moon had come out of hiding to light the area - there were far too many clouds for that. At least the roof of the bridge kept him from being snowed upon.

There had been such a mix of news today, from the terrible article in the Prophet that only made him hate his father more, to the wonderful news about Hannah being stricken from the list of those under suspicion. And then had come the encounter with Linus that had ended with Ernie running off to the Prefects' bath for a nice, long bit of personal time during which images of both Megan and Michael swam around in his mind's eye. And then, of course, came the fact that Owen was still captured and they hadn't heard yet what was going to happen to him.

All in all, he had much on his mind, so much that he only just registered the sound of somebody else walking upon the planks of wood that made up the bridge. Whoever it was, they could simply pass on in their own time - he had no intention of moving just yet.
He looked so serene standing there, staring down at the river. Michael gazed on, looking at Ernie's shape. He half-smirked, because Ernie had gotten a little more husky these days. But he seemed to be carrying it well. Michael wondered if he should disturb Ernie, having no idea that he was swimming around in the Hufflepuff's head.

Finally Michael decided to go ahead and venture over, before him standing there looked awkward. "Hi," he said with a gentle tone, his Bristolian accent curlling out even from that word. "How are you?" He asked gently, bending over to try and catch Ernie's eyeline. He even put out his hand and sort of waved it to try and get Ernie's attention. When he asked, his eyelids blinked in a strange, warm way- like he really cared when he asked.
"Hey," Ernie replied with a small smile, having turned his head at his friend's familiar voice.

How am I? I wish I knew. For the first time that he could remember, he actually paid attention to Michael's face as he spoke. He allowed himself to take in his friend's features, the tilt of his eyebrows and the gentle slope of the bridge of his nose, and finally the look in his eyes as he spoke to Ernie. Maybe, just maybe...

"Ups and downs," he admitted with a shrug. "I wonder if my Dad had something to do with that last bloody regulation they talked about in the Prophet this morning. But at least Han's been given a reprieve... thanks to friends in well-positioned places." He grinned upon thinking of what Linus had revealed to him about what he'd asked his mother to do.

"But aside from that, just thinking." Perhaps this would be a good time to test some waters. "For example, I was thinking about Meg and everything, and... thinking I might have finally come to a point where I was willing to try again, you know?"
Michael's eyes seemed to follow Ernie's gaze, like he might have been noticing Ernie's gaze. But in actuality, that wasn't it. "Oh..." Michael snerked, and then closing his eyes in a blink he nodded. A snowflake happened to wand on his eyelid, just missing his lashes, and disappeared as Michael opened his again. "Well thats better than just downs, I reckon." He managed to really smile then, like he was encouraging Ernie to too.

Michael turned his head and looked out, "I love the snow... its brilliant for thinking really. Even if you have nothing to think about at all. Just think about those billions of flakes. Each one unique. You'll never see one like it again." Michael shrugged, "So best enjoy it while you can, because there'll never be another time."

Michael's brow knitted then, "Oh. Ah well... I doubt it. To be honest. Your Dad's... he's a good man. He's just... pressured. I don't think anyone but You-Know-Who, and maybe Thicknesse is pulling the strings at this point." Michael's eyes dropped and then swept up to offer comfort in a shrug and smile. "Good news about Hannah though. I heard from Anthony. Couldn't chisel the grin off his face. Heh. Or hers, I imagine."

Again Michael's eyes shifted to the serenity before them. A frosty breath poured from his red lips and nose, filtering up in wisps. He turned his head and raised an eyebrow. "Wow, brilliant. Anyone I should... heh... pin down and give 'em the dissertation on why Ernie Macmillan is the gentleman's gentleman?" He grinned, his teeth baring in a half-smirk grin, "Only cost you about... ten quid. Twenty at the max. Well... what would I do with quid anyway." He shrugged, chuckled and looked down. "Anyway, if you're ready, then brilliant."
"We need all the ups we can get," Ernie countered.

He listened to Michael's thoughts on the snow and returned his gaze to the falling flakes. Enjoy it while you can? If only you knew how much your words were like Linus' right then, mate. "I remember when I was young, standing outside in the snow and trying to catch the flakes on my tongue. My Mum used to say they were made by magic, and so I thought the more flakes I caught, the more powerful a wizard I'd be."

He shrugged at the comments about his father. A part of him knew Michael was right, but he was still simply far too stubborn to see past his own lingering anger to admit it. "Han was relieved. I think she may go a day or so without downing a calming draughts, which is a good thing. I worry about her. I don't think it's good for her to drink them all the time."

Ernie's grin dimmed when Michael reacted to his final thought. There didn't seem to be interest on his own part, simply good wishes for Ernie whomever he was interested in. Maybe Linus was wrong after all. "Nobody in particular," he replied with a shrug. "Was just thinking that, if the opportunity ever did come up again, I think I'm finally at a place where I can move on. That's all." He paused. "Have you thought of it? Moving on, after Nott."
"Yeah." Michael nodded. "So come outside. Watch the snow. Maybe build a snowman. Or a snow fort." Michael suddenly grinned, "If we have time before the train, we should build a snowman before heading home. Haven't done that in years." He snerked, "Bristol doesn't get a ton of snow. Its more soup than snow."

Somehow, Ernie seemed to stimulate a memory in Michael, who slowly revealed his pink tongue from between his lips. He blinked, and flexed it as he caught a few snowflakes on it, which immediately melted on its warm, leathery shape. Finally he sucked it back in his mouth, "Thats brilliant. I just remember them tasting good. I swore they tasted like sugar. 'Course my Da said it was bollocks."

Sighing, Michael nodded, "They're not good for you in the longterm. They're addictive for one thing." Michael grimly set his mouth, "Can't say I know much about them past that. I haven't really ever taken one."

The tall and wiry Ravenclaw smiled, "I think thats a brilliant idea Ernie. Megan was good but... you've got to keep moving with your life. I know what a big step that is for you. I mean here a month ago, you swore you'd never love again. I'm glad to see you're ready."

Michael was about to drop his head when Ernie asked his last question. He pursed his lips in thought. "Wow... uhh well. I guess I have. I've just accepted that Theodore and I aren't happening. Ever. I... was self-exiled from the idea for awhile. But if someone was interested in me, I'd think about it. I don't want to be alone anymore than the next bloke." Michael grinned, "But how many blokes out there want a six-one, skinny arsed bloke like me? I mean I don't have a nose, I've got a beak." Michael smirked and tapped his nose, which was admittedly large-ish. "I'm running out of options statistically. There's more out there, but they're hardly past the age of consent."
"No need to worry, mate," Ernie said with a smile and a shake of his head. "Aberdeen's just an Apparition away from Bristol. We can make a snow wizard in my front yard, and we can even use one of mum's old flower pots as a hat. Or even if you just felt like experiencing real winter again, you know where I'm at."

Ernie smiled fondly as Michael caught snowflakes on his tongue. However, the sight of the pink muscle reminded Ernie of the way Linus' had ran along his throat only hours earlier, and his face flushed in heat. Thank Merlin his cheeks were already red from the chill that his blush would barely be noticeable underneath.

Ernie nodded, accepting the fact that Michael was at least open to possibilities, however he started when his friend started speaking ill of himself. "Oh, give me a break, Michael. First of all, you know you have appeal. Ginny and Cho didn't date you for nothing - and yes, I know those weren't exactly exemplary relationships, but still, they wouldn't have even dated you if you weren't attractive to them in some way - and remember how Anthony was worried Hannah would choose you instead? Besides, six-one isn't that tall, and so what if you're skinny? It suits your frame." And anyway, you could always be fat like I'm getting. "And your nose has character. I'm sure plenty of blokes would shag someone with a nose like that. I would."

And thus Ernie had to force himself not to jump over the side of the bridge.
"Aye, and particyoo-larly apprroprrriate far the circumstances, consid'rin wed be beh buildin' a snow wih-zard. Back 'an Bristol, meh' look a bih' odd. Pay-ple migh' think yeh a bit off in yar hed." Michael butchered a Scottish brogue, all for Ernie's amusement. He really wasn't all that bad about it- except his brogue sounded Glaswegian and not of Aberdeen. He blushed, which hardly showed in the cold and scratched above his eyebrow before pushing his bangs behind his ear. "I'm always game to come up, you know that."

Unaware of the visual effect his tongue had on Ernie, Michael actually quite deftly moved his tongue to catch flakes before slipping it back into his mouth.

Michael's eyes got wider and wider as Ernie railed on about him. He tried to get a word in edge wise, but they kept getting cut short into funny little mm's and umm's. He grinned and clucked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Uhh... ha wow. Well... thanks mate." Michael's brow furrowed slightly and he scratched his nose. His eyebrows flared and he tilted his head. "That must've been so embarrassing for you to say!" He grinned and looked at Ernie. "I know you're trying to make me feel better about myself. But really, I'm fine. I think between the two of us, you're the one that's the catch." Michael shrugged and smiled over his shoulder. "Fancy a walk?"
Michael chortled and snerked, "You would have, yea. I would've been some kind of gangly giant. Course we would've both been taken oddly." Michael grinned, "What with having our teeth and all, not bad even for us Brits. And these lovely clothes, all tailored to the specifics. And in expensive colors no less." Michael's smile widened, "No offense, but I would've been a tad more expensive. Indigo was a pain in the arse to produce." Michael again snerked, "Probably would've labeled us as poofters too. We like to bathe everyday or whatnot. That was unheard of back then. Kind of puts perspective in their thinking that when you became a Knight, you took a bath. It was an act of bravery on your part."

That led seamlessly into Ernie's next point, and Michael puffed out his cheeks in thought before he blew a wintery breath, "I'm not saying its that bad... just... there's an appeal to a roguish style. A sort of Bohemian quality to a bloke. Thats just me. Hell, I still liked Theodore and he was posh. Its not like it was that big a deal." Michael's eyes twinkled, "But he was fun to screw with at the same time."

Michael finally flicked that hair off his nose and took a moment to bring it behind his ear, "Posh isn't me. My Mum and Da... we're not rich. Middle class, mostly. I tried the hair back around Halloween. Too... well... just felt alien."

At Ernie's affectionate tap, Michael reached up and slung an arm around the shorter boy. He gave him a squeeze and then in time let his arm drop, back to swinging with his gait.

"Michael smiled impishly and shrugged, "I figured I'd ask. I never made the team. Roger and Marcus were the seniors. Terry was brilliant. Thats the Chasers for you. All I was ever good at. I can't Beat." Michael rolled his eyes and shrugged, "Well, can't Quidditch-beat that is. I'm rubbish at Keeping. And there's no way I'd have taken Cho's job up as Seeker."

Michael stopped at a particular tree and stepped towards it, his hands in his pockets. He reached out for it only once he was within its grasp, his grey gloved hand running over its ancient bark. It was an oak, with all its leaves scattered and buried under the snow.
Ernie nodded, mollified about the whole posh bit, yet still wondering. Linus had suggested he impress Michael by dressing himself up. Perhaps he should be dressing down in this case. At first he balked at the idea of messing up his hair, but perhaps after some initial resistance, he could figure out something. And if he grew that beard, that would look roguish, wouldn't it? Of course, so far only two more hairs had popped out to join the initial three, but it was still a start.

"Posh isn't about how much money you have," Ernie explained in a sympathetic voice. "Take my family. We're definitely no Malfoys, or Boles, or" he shuddered "Bulstrodes, but we can hold our own. Probably helps that I don't have any brothers or sisters to have to share with. But my point is, you don't need a lot of money, all you need is good taste, and to know how to wear it." He took a moment, his eyes running up and down Michael's body and imgining dressing him into a nice, proper set of wizard robes that would be cut so much better than the school robes. His face flushed as he realized how unabashedly he was gazing. "Give me five minutes, and I could have you in a set of robes that would have nobody doubting you're 100% wizard through and through. Not that you're not fine the way you are, of course," he added with a fond smile.

When Michael's arm found its way around his shoulders, he found his enjoyment of their closeness to be distracted by his mind's new need to analyze every action of his friend's. However, the only conclusive conclusion he could come to was that it was far too short in duration.

Ernie chuckled as Michael specified he meant quidditch-beating, as his initial statement could have far too many meanings. He simply nodded his head as his friend enumerated the positions and why he couldn't play them. It was a shame, really, that Michael had never really had his moment in the sun.

He naturally followed Michael beneath the tree, whose limbs were bare and exposed to the winter snow. They did nothing to shelter them, instead the snowflakes drifted down slowly through the branches. He held his hand out palm-up, catching some of them and blinking as he tried to gather their shapes before they finally melted. "Have you ever thought of what you'd be doing if this were all over? If there was no war, we were done school, and free to live our lives as we choose?"
"Money helps though," Michael chuckled back to Ernie just before he shrugged. "But no I get your point. What I meant was, I wasn't really raised posh. I wasn't exposed to the style and sense. I mean most of my life, I lived in one of the 'suburbs," Michael, said accentuating the words with aired quotation marks, "Or in the more artistic neighborhood. Sort of surrounded by the starving artists of Bristols." Michael crossed his arms over his chest and smiled, turning at the waist to watch Ernie's face, "What with Mum and Da's jobs, I mostly heard about the drudge and dreg of society. Mom's a civil lawyer, thought about going criminal for awhile. But she does alot of pro-bono. Dad's a policeman, works mostly in the vice department." Michael chuckled and rolled his eyes, "We were probably the most hated family on our street. A bunch of artists and such, you know the type. And my Da's busting them for possession every other week or so."

Michael smiled, listening to Ernie talk about his family, and ultimately reaffirming that money didn't make the man. "Well you pull off posh quite well. And wizard." Michael grinned, several thin slices of hair falling over an eye from an errant breeze. "So what do you like on your potentials then? While we're on it? Are you fond of a person all Muggled up, or do you like them a paragon of Wizardry?"

"I like this tree..." Michael commented at first, looking up at it as he discerned where its growth had taken it. "Can you imagine all of the stuff these trees have seen, mate? Political upheaval, restoration, social change.... heartbreak, love. Who knows. In another time, someone not unlike Ernie Macmillan could have been leaning up against this tree doing exactly this. Hell, maybe he was snogging someone senseless too." Michael giggled, finally fixing his hair as his eyes flared mischievously. "Make our sad little blip of an existence seem sort of small and pointless."

Michael tapped his lip and slowly came to smile, "All the time, you?" He paused and pursed his lips, "And I have no idea. I love dragons. And working with them. But this whole war makes me think I should do something more in-line of my parents. Maybe an Auror or something." He blinked, and stepped over to Ernie. Looking down at him, he reached out and fixed a button of Ernie's robe, "Don't be daft and get sick... anyway. What would you do?"
Ernie bit his bottom lip as he tried to navigate through the words Michael was using. Why were the artists starving, he wondered. What was civil, and criminal, and pro-bono? And why would a police-man be involved with possession instead of an exhorcist? "That's really sad," Ernie said with a long face. "I would think everyone would feel safe knowing there was a police-man living nearby. One of our neighbours is an Auror, lives in a flat above Mrs. Campbell next door, and we all appreciate having him in the neighbourhood. He's not the nicest of blokes, kind of tough and all, but Mum says she thinks he's mellowed a bit since taking on a partner a couple of years ago. He only goes after Dark Wizards, though, not the possessed, so nobody has anything to worry about unless they're Dark."

Ernie grinned to himself when Michael went out of his way to say person - perhaps he was finally getting it. "I suppose there are good and bad things in all styles. The cuts of some wizard robes will make anyone look really good, and those who already look good even better. But then, some Muggle fashion can be a little risque... which isn't always bad," he added with a blush. "I like people to dress as they're comfortable, but who can also tell when to dress for a specific occasion." The grin fell from his face as he thought on the current 'occasion' of ill-will toward Muggles in the wizard world. "Though at the moment, it's more out of self-preservation that I'd want people to dress in proper wizarding garb. There are such Dark attitudes out there that the way a person dresses is just as indicative of their background as their family lineage, but more than that, shows their ability to integrate into our world. If dressing a little differently can save someone from being crucio'ed..."

Ernie listened to Michael's little speech and smiled. "Well, you're half right. My great-great grandfather on my father's side's name was Ernest, so once upon a time, there actually was another Ernie Macmillan walking these grounds. He was a Ravenclaw like you, and for all I know, he could have been snogging my great-great grandmother beneath this tree all those years ago. And just think, mate, maybe your grandfather once stood here, trying to decide what to do with his life and which world he should live in." He shook his head. "So you see, maybe small, but not pointless. Everything comes full circle. Everything we do, however small, has an effect on somebody either today or someday in the future. How could they have known all those years ago how their actions would affect our lives?"

Ernie smiled as Michael did up his button, thinking the action was sweet and thoughtful, and definitely a point in the favour of Linus' arguments. "I'll be fine, it's been colder than this before. Remember, I'm a native of these parts." He then returned to the subject at hand. "I don't know if I can picture you as an Auror. Perhaps by the time this is all said and done, you'll be tired of dealing with Dark Wizards. As for me, I haven't a bloody clue," he finished with a sigh. "I even bought a book back in Hogsmeade to help me figure out what to do, but it didn't help. Sometimes I think I lean toward becoming a healer, but I just don't know. I'd like to help people, but the thought of being able to do nothing and just sit there, holding someone's hand as they're suffering - I don't know if I have the strength for that."
Michael gaffawed and rubbed one side of his face with his fingers, "Merlin, I just completely lost you didn't I?" He blinked, scoffed and closed an eye with a squint. "Okay. Ummm... I don't know how much I lost you there. So... policemen don't deal with possession... he's in Vice, which is the arm of the police that tries to stop drugs- things like heroin and marijuana mostly- from entering and being distributed in the United Kingdom. So the possession of illegal substances. Like... dragon's blood, for example." Michael stumbled over his words for a moment, a goofy grin trying on his face, "Possession by ghosts, in the Muggle world, is mostly seen as a joke. Not real. I mean its more a job for a Priest... or some sort of Wicky-woo, crystal-waving type." Chuckling, Michael shoved his hands into his back pockets, tightening his trousers all around.

"Its hard to explain... don't worry about it. Point is- not posh, more La Vie Boheme where I live." Michael grimaced toothily, feeling sort of out of place.

Ernie's dissertation on attire glaciated over Michael, and he listened yet he became keenly aware of his own clothes just then. He was wearing relaxed blue denims to block the cold, and sneakers. He was wearing a T-Shirt, under a hoodie, under his very Muggle-cut coat. Nothing about him screamed wizard, especially when compared to Ernie's winter robes and cloak. In fact.... Michael squinted in thought and unzipped his coat just a little to peer inside his hoodie. His t-shirt had a red emblem like a camera shutter over a silhouetted man in a suit carrying a gun- a classic Bond logo.

Michael blushed, though the cold still hid the bulk, and he looked himself over, "I could be in sixth form right now and you'd never know it." Michael admitted, biting his lip. "I scream Muggle, I suppose."

Michael tilted his head and considered this. He knew so little about his grandfather's life as wizard. He'd chosen a life in the Muggle world, clearly, after something forced he and his wife to move there. Michael couldn't say he much cared for the stories of his Grandfather's grandparents though. "He probably did at some point. Assuming he was even vaguely outdoorsy. I.... I don't know anything about him. I don't even know what House he was in."

Michael shook it off, realigning himself with Ernie's words, as he had sort of drifted. "Well you're right definitely mate. Still, in the span of time, we are just a blip. Though I wish I could say I wasn't living through one of the worst events of our time. Or worse, all-time." Michael shrugged and grimaced.

Michael smiled at Ernie as he fixed his button, a frosty breath lazily proceeded out of his mouth. "Well, native or not, you're not getting sick." He backhand pat Ernie's chest as he stepped away and resumed walking. "So do you have a kilt?" Michael suddenly interjected, his eyebrow raising in curiosity. He turned at the waist to stare at Ernie behind him as he walked slowly.

Michael stopped and waited for Ernie to catch up before he commented about Ernie's uncertainty in his life's path. "My sister Penelope is a nurse. Feel free to ask Anthony about her anytime. You don't want to go babbling that you're interested in the dating pool again to her. You'll have eight people knocking on your door by morning, all of them an ill-fit I assure you." Michael's teeth beamed in a smile, "Nursing's hard work... or well.. Mediwitching. You're there to keep their bodies working just a little longer. You're doing damage control and eventually you'll lose the battle." Michael turned his lips grimly, "But I'm not sure there's more nobler a profession."
Ernie nodded, finally understanding what Michael had meant about his father. "So your neighbours had these 'drugs', which are to Muggles like Dark Artifacts are to us, and he'd get them for it, and that's why he wasn't very popular. I've got it now. And possession is more common than you'd think, though most of the time it's not a case of evil spirits but of an Imperius curse gone wrong."

He nodded. "You do scream Muggle, but that's how you were raised. It's who you are... but unfortunately at the moment, who you are is against the way the Ministry wants them to be. It's kind of like painting a bull's eye on your back. You said yourself we needed to stay low-key and all, perhaps a little change or two might be wise in the name of self-preservation."

Ernie listened to Michael's words about his grandfather, and thought it such a shame that his friend knew so little about his own background. "Some day you'll find out," he assured. "We'll do some research, you and I, and get some answers. If I have to, I'll even ask my dad to get us permission to look at some of the Ministry's archive records... that is, once all of this is over."

He reached out to place his hand on Michael's upper arm, lending him strength and support. "It may be the worst, but it won't last forever. We'll make it through, and when we do, we'll get to tell the tale of how we did it. With some help from our friends, of course."

He followed along, nodding at Michael's question. "Of course. My Dad's one for tradition, after all. Had me start to learn gaelic when I was eight. I've a complete kilt, shirt and robes set in clan colours for special occasions, though I've also a more subtle set of dress black robes to wear over my kilt like I did at the Yule Ball a few years back." He paused. "And before you even think to ask, the answer is yes, the tradition in my family is to go regimental." By now, Ernie knew not to wait for the inevitable question to be asked about what was worn beneath the kilt.

"It is noble," Ernie agreed. "I just don't know if it's something I can do. I haven't the foggies what I'm best suited for. At least I won't need to make any decisions for some time yet."
Michael nodded, seeing that Ernie basically had the jist of the situation. "You're on the right track," Michael said encouragingly. "Except most of the people I'm around there don't mean harm by it. Its part of the culture. Numb out, expand your consciousness... sometimes kill the pain." He shrugged, "Our society does sort of put high expectations on its members. Don't show too much emotion. Keep a stiff upper lip. We're British after all." Michael smirked irreverently, "Guess they use it so they don't feel so dead inside."

"Yeah," Michael said, peering at himself self-consciously, sliding his hand up his arm, "Best Wizard it up a bit. Here I was thinking I was putting out a neutral vibe. Should probably go down to Hogsmeade this weekend and pick up some clothes. Or just wait until the Hols and visit Diagon."

Michael nodded to Ernie's offer, "Alright. Its a date," he drawled in his Bristolian.

"I know we'll make it through," Michael said without fully feeling the confidence. Who could in the world they were living in at this point. But it sounded comforting. "Harry's going to save us. We just have to hold up our end. And we are."

Poor Owen... if he had cold feet about leaving, I imagine he's got cold feet about staying now.

Michael had been curious about how Ernie wore his kilt, and 'oh-hohed!' when Ernie beat him to the punch. "I see! All the better to flash your bum at your enemy, I'm sure. Goad them in. Worked against us English a few times." Michael's arm found itself around Ernie's neck and with the crook of his elbow he gave him a squeeze, "Braggarts, the lot of you."

Michael began to stroll uphill, tucking his hands into his pockets. "Alright... what are you then? Boob... or... chest man? Legs man? Bum man? Whats your fancy?"