This scene takes place very very early in the school year, possibly the day before the new students get back.
“Um, Sylvia?” Porter stuck his head through the suite door – the actual door, for once.
“What is it?” Normally, the boys didn’t bother her when she was watching TV; they knew it made her uncomfortable, so left her that hour in the common room by herself. But Porter’s ears were a-kilter and his tail was swishing uncertainly, so she muted the TV and let him talk.
He got himself all the way in the room and the door closed before he continued. “Ghita challenged Arun.”
“What?” She blinked. “Margherita? Our Arundel? Whatever for? She’s barely back from summer vacation; they haven’t had time for a disagreement.”
“I – Arun doesn’t want to talk about it, he’s getting all the way he does, you know, with his wings over his ears?”
Sylvia couldn’t help but chuckle. Both of the boys in her crew could be toddlers when it suited them. “I do know. So there’s something outstanding there, and she’s challenged him over it. I assume the terms aren’t anything horrible, right?”
“Right,” he gestured impatiently. “It’s one of those favor-and-get-to-say-you-won sort of deals, not some sort of really bad one where he could end up Belonging to her or Owning her. I’m pretty sure neither of them are willing to risk that.”
“Arundel’s a smart boy,” she reassured him, “and my impression of Margherita was that she was bright, too. Of course she’s not going to set terms she won’t want to follow through with. It’s fine, Porter. People challenge people, whatever the reasons.”
“I know, I know.” He flopped down unhappily on the floor. “But I think she’s going to cheat. And I think he’s going to get really badly hurt if she does.”
“Oh.” She blinked. “Well, that’s another matter.”
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