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Started by Grace Pemberton, October 09, 2021, 12:27:54 am

Grace Pemberton

Grace had settled down in the common room to do her homework for Defense Against the Dark Arts. She had gotten a little bit behind on her studying mostly focusing on Care Of Magical Creatures for the last couple of days. Though Grace wasn't entirely sure if she liked Professor King, there was no denying that COMC was quickly becoming a favourite class of hers. Doing well in the last lesson had boosted her motivation and made her feel like she actually had a chance of scoring a good overall grade.

DADA, sadly, was another story. She still hadn't master the knockback jinx, despite most of her class having at least cast it once successfully. She probably just needed somebody to practise with and show her the incantation again, but she felt a little shy about asking someone. What if her house mates made fun of her again? She thought she'd just about lived down the embarrassing incident she'd had during Arithmancy. The last thing she needed was to give anybody a reason to pick on her again.

Grace huffed as she hefted the DADA textbook onto the table. Montgomery hadn't asked for much, just a short summary of the Verdimillious Charm. She could manage that. Once that was done she could dig into the chapter on the knockback jinx again and maybe try it out on one of the chairs in the common room. The jinx would work with objects and not just people, right?

Plan made, she had no trouble sticking to the first half of it and getting the written homework assignment done, however practising a spell, well, that was intimidating. She positioned herself wand drawn, but then just hesitated and did nothing.

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla had just finished wit her last lesson of the day and decided to head back to the common room. Once she reached the seventh floor, she told the Fat lady the password and walked in through the doorway. she looked around to see if she saw anyone she knew that could help her with her assignments but end up seeing Grace Pemberton struggling with a spell.

Shyla was quite confident in Care of Magical Creatures as she always helped out lost animals in her village whenever she was at home. so she would know what to do, even if it wasn't your regular day animal. DADA was also another one of her confident lessons as she always found it interesting in how Aurors defended themselves against the dark wizards. But Charms was a different story. She doesn't know why but DADA made absolute sense to her but Charms didn't. Something constantly told her that they were the same thing and it's just learning different spells but it didn't comprehend in her mind.

She decided to go see what was wrong and walked over to the couch. She placed her things down on the ground and sat down next to Grace but not too close to the point that she was in her personal space. she tapped her shoulder softly and messed around with her fingers "I saw that you were struggling with a spell and i thought I would come over and help you.. if you would like. you don't have to accept"
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

What if it misfired again? All Grace could think about was that the last time she had tried the knockback jinx she'd accidentally managed to knock herself back rather than the target. The textbook explained everything in painstaking detail and she was sure, one hundred percent positive in fact, that she was following the instructions to the letter. The wand movement was just a tick with a little swirl. How could she mess up something so simple?

Ugh, ruminating over things didn't help. She'd just have to get on with it and try again. She was about to start casting when she noticed Shyla approaching her. When had she come in? Grace hadn't heard anyone come through the door, but then she'd been rather preoccupied with her own thoughts.

Grace found herself a little surprised when Shyla offered to help her. They didn't know either other super well even though the were in the same year. From the little Grace did know, she remembered that Shyla seemed to be doing great in Professor Montgomery's class. She even thought she vaguely recalled Shyla being one of the first girls to master the knockback jinx in their class, or had that been someone else? Either way, she was doing better than Grace all things considered.

"Really?" Grace responded to the offer. "I could really do with some help. I don't know what it is about Professor Montgomery's class, but I really struggle keeping up. I feel like I've tried this knockback jinx lots and lots of times n9w, but for some reason I cannot make it work. So you have any tips for me?"

Grace raised her wand again and practised the movement needed for the spell. "Does that look right to you?"

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla smiles gently at her and nods softly, answering Grace's question. "Of course. I like to help out anyone whenever I can". She nods and listens before chuckling to herself "It doesn't really help that Professor Montgomery doesn't really show us what to do, just tells us what to do and that's it. I think my best tip for you is to think of what you are sending backwards because then it gives you the best visualisation of the jinx working".

She watches Grace use her wand with the practiced movement before shaking her head. "Two things. one: your hand.." Shyla reaches out without thinking or asking for permission and moves the position of her wand in Grace's hand "needs to sit comfortably in your hand, not tensely. And second of all, you need to focus. you have too many things going on in your mind"

She moves a little closer to Grace and makes her focus on the textbooks in front of them "Focus on knocking the books off the table. nothing else. block out the sounds, what you can see out of the corner of your eye. just focus. on the books" Shyla looks at Grace, hoping that helped her out a little, not realising that she is sitting quite close to Grace
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

That's right. Magic was all about intent. Reminding her of visualising the desired outcome was a good idea. Grace had been so focused on getting the wand movement and incantation right there had been no mental inventory left for this most basic, but also most important task. Her mother out of all people had actually talked to her about that before, but as usual Grace hadn't listened. What did her mom know who usually relied on Ancient Runes if she used any magic at all. Well, apparently, more than Grace as Shyla now confirmed that she used the same approach.

Aside from her focusing, there was also something wrong with how she held her wand. Shyla was in her space correcting her position without asking for permission, but Grace didn't mind. On the contrary she was grateful for Shyla finding something concrete to correct. She'd gotten plenty of advice before like 'be more flexible in the shoulders' but what exactly did that mean? Her shoulders were just her shoulders, thank you very much. Following Shyla's advice, Grace loosened the grip on her wand. She didn't like how it felt. What if she accidentally dropped her wand? Holding it differently though did change things. Magic was now flowing and the tingly sensation made Grace a little bit nervous.

Still, she was giving this a go. Grace narrowed her eyes and focused on the book in front of her. "F-Flipendo," she said in a nervous stutter. The booked seemed to think about it for a split second, before it made a little jump backwards. What happened hardly qualified as a full knockback, but Grace had to admit that this was better than her previous attempts and definitely a step into the right direction.

"Like that?" she asked Shyla for confirmation. "I guess I need to ... push a bit harder, right?"

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla watched her try the knockback jinx and watched the book move slightly but not enough for it to be knocked right off the table. She nods instantly and gets up as she stands behind the books "when you spoke, you stuttered cause you were nervous of the outcome. from that, you need to learn to be more confident in yourself. Yes, you haven't been able to do it but you have to believe in yourself. If you think negatively, where's that gonna get you?"

Shyla walks back over to Grace and sits down "Also your shoulders were tense. Relax them. They shouldn't be stiff like a board, they should be relaxed". She made sure her hold on the wand was okay and made sure she looked comfortable before going back to talking with a gentle voice

"Alright.. remember what I said and put that into the jinx. Be confident when speaking because then it shows you are in control of the spell and... this may seem weird but it also proves to your wand that you are in control of it". Shyla fiddled with her fingers once she said that as she was worried that Grace were say something that would make her seem weird after saying that. She shook it off before sending a smile to Grace "you got this Grace. I believe in you"
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

Shyla being so positive and supporting was really great. Grace missed having a friend that was just there for her. A few months ago she would have said that she was super close with Oliver and Tristan, but since the Sorting Hat had split them up into different houses they didn't see each other as often as they had once used to. They hadn't fallen out or decided not be friends anymore, but each of them had gotten busy with other things and their friendship had fallen by the wayside. Studying with Shyla now reminded her how much she missed having somebody. 

The tips her housemate now gave were ones she had anticipated. She knew spells didn't work well if you were nervous and timid about it. That had always been the case. It was nice though to be reminded of it and even nicer to hear that Shyla believed in her. Lately, with how much she had struggled in some of her classes, Grace hadn't found the confidence to believe in herself, probably making her problems worse than they had to be.

She decided that Shyla was right and that she could do this. With the other girl's help she'd already gotten the book to move once and that was right on the first attempt she made today. She would succeed.

Grace adjusted her stance, straightened her back and felt herself standing a little taller. She clicked back her shoulders and moved her wand to cast the incantation again. "Flipendo," she called, this time sounding a lot more comfortable in what she was doing. The book flew off the desk with such force it kept flying until it crashed into the wall a few feet away. Ooops.

Grace started to giggle, then went to retrieve the book. "Don't tell Professor Montgomery," she said, grinning from ear to ear. She set the book back down on the desk. "Thank you so much for helping me, Shyla," she said cheerfully. "That really made a difference. Do you want to do something fun now, or do you still have homework to finish up? We could play outside on the grounds and maybe take Easton with us." She paused for a moment. Did Shyla know about Easton? "My mum, the librarian here, has a dog, Easton. Well, that is if you fancy it."

Shyla Bartlett

She watched Grace cast the spell and smiled wide before covering her mouth in shock watching the wall a few feet away. She giggled behind her hand before nodding softly at Grace. "i promise to not tell Professor Montgomery". She started clapping for her "I told you you could it. I'm proud of you Grace". It felt nice for Shyla to be talking to Grace as she didn't have any friends form the beginning, being a muggleborn and all, and it doesn't help that a lot of people found her quite weird and she was very shy to people she didn't know most of the time.

She looked at Grace surprised that she asked her to hang out with her and then remembered that she had homework to do but it was due in next week. She contemplated with herself before smiling hearing the word "Easton". Shyla always went in the library and every time she went in, she would talk to the librarian and play with Easton. She found it comforting to have a dog in Hogwarts as her parents have one and she would always play with him if her brother didn't want to play.

She nods and smiles at Grace "I know Easton. i talk to your mum a lot whenever I go into the library and i always play with Easton when i go in. I'm surprised your mum hasn't talked to you about me by how many times i go in". She blushes out of embarrassment before looking down at her lap as she goes back to playing with her fingers
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

"Oh, that's great. That means Easton knows you already."

What Grace was really excited about was that Shyla didn't seem to mind her being the librarian's daughter. She'd been teased about it a lot and Grace was still a bit worried about it. It wasn't her fault though and it was unfair that people judged her just because of her mum. She wasn't getting any preferential treatment because of it. If anything, she though the opposite was true, and her professors seemed to expect a little bit more from her than from the other students.

Anyway, it was nice not to have to worry about it. She gave Shyla a big beaming smile. "Well come on then. Gotta stop by mum's quarters first to pick up the lead and some dog treats."

She took Shyla by the hand and in no time at all they had picked up treats, lead and of course Easton the beagle. Grace decided to take her usual favourite walking route towards the lake. The weather was so fine, and she always liked to spend time there.

As the walked she shot Shyla a sidelong glance. "Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? I thought I wanted to be an auror, but lately I'm thinking it would be really cool to be a quidditch player. Do you like quidditch?"

Shyla Bartlett

She smiled softly at Grace as she nodded gently, agreeing with her.

She loved seeing Grace smiling at her. She nodded again before smiling back "Yay! that means i get to have a little chat with your mum when we go to collect Easton"

Shyla gasped slightly and giggles to herself as she was basically dragged down to where your mum and Easton were. As she was grabbing everything, Shyla had a talk with Grace's mum before walking off with her.

She looked around as they walked towards the Black lake. She was taken back from the question before looking at Grace "well... i'm muggle-born so i really don't know what jobs there are. c-can you um.. can you tell me what they are?"
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

"Oh, I didn't know that about you," Grace exclaimed. "My mom's muggleborn too, so I have muggle grandparents. They're really great." She loved spending time with them. There were a lot of fun things in the muggle world that the wizarding world lacked. Television, cinemas, stand mixers and lawn mowers. She liked how muggles could do a lot of things without needing any magic. She hadn't appreciated this fact much before the beginning of the school year, but having gained an understanding for how difficult magic could be she really appreciated it now. Turning on a light switch was so easy compared to casting Lumos!

"Well, I don't think I know about all the jobs either," Grace admitted, "But obviously you could be a teacher here at Hogwarts or a librarian. My mum used to work for the ministry of magic before she started here at Hogwarts. There are healers and nurses and shop owners." What else was she missing? There had to be a lot more. "Oh, and we have aurors, dark wizard catchers. Writers, singers, news reporters... I'm sure there's more."

She paused for a moment. "Are jobs different in the muggle world?" She tried to think about what grandpa had hold her. She knew that he was retired, but come to think of it she didn't have much of an idea what he had actually done before said retirement. Something involving ships. He'd talked about those on occasion, but Grace couldn't quite piece it together. She'd have to ask him next time her mother took her on a visit.

"What do your parents do then?" She just couldn't help being curious about it. For Grace the wizarding world was home and she'd spent most of her time in it. Her mom actually didn't like talking about muggle stuff all that much. It was her second least favourite topic, right after Grace's father. Her daughter had learned not to ask as she didn't like upsetting her mum.

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla chuckled at Grace's statement before speaking gently "not a lot of people do. apparently the Slytherins had found out and they constantly pick on me for my muggle blood". She looked down slightly before putting a smile on her face and look at Grace "that's cool. so does that mean you are a half-blood then?"

She listened to Grace list off the jobs in the wizarding world and her interest was leaked by the word 'Aurors'. Something about Aurors interested her and once Grace finished, she started asking without speaking "how dangerous is the Auror job? as you have to catch dark wizards then it must be quite dangerous wouldn't it?"

She nodded slightly at her question before looking around them "Yeah i guess you can say that. You have your singers, news reporters, authors, shop owners all that lot. Where you guys have Aurors, we have police officers, fire officers etc. your healers are our doctors. we also have dentists. we have a government, which is what you call the Ministry of Magic". She loved the differences of the muggle world and wizard world as she could see how people reacted to what the other does.

Shyla was quite surprised at her question before smiling "my mother is a clothes designer. She makes her own clothes and then sells them. She loves it as it was her passion from the beginning when she was seven years old. most of my clothes are made by my mother. My father is a police officer. We are always worried that he's gonna come back injured lately as crimes out in the muggle world have gotten worse and worse that his life was nearly gone at what point". Shyla unexpectedly starting to tear up and before she let the tears drop, she wiped them away and took a deep breath "but he's alive so it's okay"
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

"I think so," Grace answered the question about being a halfblood. "I don't actually know my dad and never met him. My mum doesn't talk about him much, but I think he was a wizard. She said something once about meeting him at the ministry. That must mean he can't be a muggle."

If Grace had though it through further it might have occurred to her that she'd be a halfblood no matter the status of her father. Her mother was a witch, albeit a muggleborn one. These distinctions didn't matter to grade anyway. Children were children regardless of who their parents were.

Then something else Shyla said registered in Grace's mind. "What! You get bullied?! You're always so strong and confident. I didn't think anyone would dare..." She trailed off. If even confident kids like Shyla got bullied, exactly what hope was there for her?

"And yes, becoming an auror is pretty dangerous," Grace explained with a serious nod. "You have to be really good at Defense Against The Dark Arts and Charms and Transfiguration." She remember overhearing some of the 7th year students talking about entry requirements. "But I think it's a pretty cool job to keep everyone safe."

Shyla shared a bit about her family and Grace nodded attentively. Designing clothes sounded like it would be fun. Her mom liked sewing as well, though of course she worked in the library. As Shyla's dad was mentioned she sucked in a breath.

"Oh, I hope he is getting better," she said immediately. "Sounds like he really is like a muggle auror."

Shyla Bartlett

Shyla listened to Grace and sent a comforting smile to her. "Well... if you think about it, you have an amazing relationship with your mother. She basically acts like the father and mother to you. So you basically have a father without knowing". Shyla really hoped that that made sense to Grace or she made a complete fool in front of her.

She nodded gently and looked down at her feet "yeah.. i- i do but it's because of me being a muggle-born or 'mudblood' in the term that i get called by most people. Apparently... people like me don't belong in this world and that i should be with the muggles". She tried not to tear up as she spoke about it before looking up at Grace with a strained smile

She sighed a little when she mentioned Charms "that sucks... i can't do Charms. I struggle with every spell that i do. I can't even do a simple 'Wingardium Leviosa' cause all the feather does is disintegrate into dust"

Shyla smiles at Grace gently when she says that and nods "so do i. I can't wait to go home and see him. I haven't seen him in a while and It'll be nice to spend quality time with him and tell him what I've done so far"
Shyla Bartlett

Grace Pemberton

Grace nodded, feeling encouraged by Shyla's kind words. It was nice to talk to somebody who understood her and was kind. It rather troubled Grace though that her new friend felt unwelcome at the school.

"I think the people who say such things, arent worth listening to. You're clearly an awesome witch. I think they are probably just jealous. You've only kmown about magic for a little while ans youre already better than some others who have grown up with it. I think you should be proud of that. And muggles awesome. They're so inventive and have so many creative ideas how to do things without magic."

It really didn't make sense to Grace that there were people who outright hated muggles. Of course, she'd heard the stories of witch hunts in the middle ages, but that had been a long time ago. Nobody was hunting witches nowadays and for the most part they seemed to have much in common with wizards and witches. In Grace's opiniom that should make muggles and wizards dlose friends.

Shyla meanwhile confessed to having some trouble with charms. Grace found that rather surprising. "But youre so good in defense!" she couldnt help but object. Some of the defensive spells they were learning weee clearly charms and therefore not all that different from the spells they were studying during their charms lessons. If there was one thing Grace could point to though as a difference it was that charms could sometimes be quite delicate, requiring a softer touch.

"I can cast a levitation charm," she said smiling awkwardly. "I may have accidentally levitated a desk in Professor Prendergast's class. The trick is to move softly and fluently. Less oompf."