Floo Network

🍂 Autumn 69
I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail

Started by Grace Pemberton, May 10, 2021, 08:34:29 pm

Grace Pemberton

So far, the first week of term had been a mixed bag. Grace had been separated from her friends during the Sorting Ceremony. They were in three different houses now and she hated it. Worse than that, she couldn't shake the feeling that her mother was somehow disappointed with her joining the Gryffindors. It was unfair, after all Grace hadn't chosen Gryffindor for herself. It had just been the hat's opinion.

At least, she'd received a warm welcome and her classes so far had been fun. Unfortunately, she wasn't scoring quite as many house points as she was hoping she would make. Impressing her professors was a fair deal harder than she had imagined it to be. Especially professor Montgomery didn't seem to like her very much and Defence Against the Dark Arts had been a bit of a disaster. Her friend Tristan had a theory on the subject, though Grace wasn't sure she agreed. As much as she would have liked to blame her mess up in class on her professor being a dark wizard, it seemed slightly more plausible that she had just made a mistake.

Next on her timetable was flying tomorrow, and she was quite nervous about that. What she really wanted was some time with Tristan, to maybe practice a bit before being expected to mount a broom. Unfortunately, the Hufflepuffs were still in class over at the greenhouses. Double herbology with their head of house. She'd figure things out on her own.

She'd taken her mum's adult-sized broom from the kitchen cabinet, located right next to the dustpan and brush. The model was so old that the lettering on the handle had completely peeled off. Though Grace had seen it airborne once or twice, she was convinced her mum used it more often to sweep the kitchen floor than to fly to the grocer's. It would have to do regardless of that.

Equipped with the "household broom" and a dog toy Grace marched down to the Quidditch pitch, her beagle Easton in tow. Having the dog around made her feel less intimidated by the challenge at hand. She still remembered learning to ride a bicycle a couple of years ago. It had been an arduous process. Weeks had passed before her grandfather could remove the training wheels on her bike. If Grace was entirely honest, she was still not comfortable racing downhill like the muggle children in Preston did. Hopefully, flying wouldn't be like that.

Once arrived, she let Easton off the lead to run and play. She threw the toy for him a couple of times, before focusing her attention on the broom. It was only now that she realised that she'd never paid proper attention to her how mother mounted the thing. She put the stick between her legs and jumped up. Okay, so that didn't work. Hop, hop, hop. Still nothing. Ooof.

Rigel Black

May 11, 2021, 12:11:48 pm #1 Last Edit: May 11, 2021, 12:15:07 pm by Rigel Black
A week had elapsed since the Sorting Ceremony and the beginning of classes. Overall, the young Black's Hogwarts experience had been rather pleasant. The fairly loud 'Slytherin!' coming out of the Hat had certainly quelled his anxiety about getting on the bad side of his extended family. Had he been sorted into Ravenclaw, his relatives in Grimmauld Place would have let him know of their disappointment in him. Had he been sorted into Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, however, that would have been the end of Rigel Black and the birth of Rigel No-Name.

Still, it had gone as well as he had hoped, and with the help of his elder cousins already in Slytherin he had settled in quite well. The shortage of scions of the Sacred Twenty-Eight on the Hogwarts faculty was horrifically perturbing, and Rigel had already owled home about that. Father had connections with the Hogwarts Board of Governors, and he no doubt would take it up with Great-Uncle Arcturus as well. Regardless of the muddy bloodlines from which most of his Professors claimed descent, Rigel had adjusted to most of his classes well.

One thing about Slytherins he had noticed was that they did not, generally, form friendships. They formed alliances, and the political acumen that Eridanus Black had drilled into his son since he could walk had already helped Rigel spot many potential allies in his Year and above, whose fealty could prove to be beneficial to the House of Black in the years to come.

That said, he still hadn't made any actual friends, and as much as he liked to pretend that it was how it should be, deep down inside he still felt... quite lonely.

So, the Slytherin-robed eleven-year-old had decided to spend his free lesson roaming the Grounds, and his itinerary had brought him strolling, hands pocketed, around the Quidditch Pitch. Flying lessons would be soon, he recalled, and that was something Rigel was definitely looking forward to. Of course, he already knew the basics of broom-flying like any respectable Pureblood scion. Which was why, he could not help but pause and stare, gobsmacked, at the uproarious mass of red hair that was making a veritable fool out of herself by attempting to jump with a broom betwixt her legs.

"..."

Rigel just stared, simultaneously horrified and hysterical, before the latter emotion won out, and he erupted into a full-blown cackle.

"Ha-ha-ha-ha! W-What do you... ha-ha," he wiped an actual tear from his left eye with his left hand, "What are you doing? Ha-ha-ha-ha!"

Grace Pemberton

Why was this broom not working? Had she grabbed the wrong one from the kitchen? Grace looked down at her feet in disappointment. They were still planted firmly on the ground. She was not hovering or had even lifted up one measly inch. This was not a good beginning at all. Casting her mind back to previous quidditch practises she'd observed, Grace still couldn't figure it out. People took off seamlessly without seeming to need any help or doing anything special. Maybe she hadn't jumped in the right way. Grace decided to try to take a bit of run before trying to jump up. It wasn't easy at all with the broom betwixt her legs.

Then, suddenly, she heard laughter behind her. Grace turned around immediately only to spot a Slytherin boy having a giggle at her antics. Great. This was the last thing she needed. Grace had been determined not to dislike Slytherins on principle like many of her house mates, but evidence was building up that they could be stupid twits. It didn't help that the rivalry between her own house and the snakes was fierce. Hopefully she'd be able to live down making a fool of herself on the Quidditch pitch before the whole school heard about it.

Don't show any weakness, she thought to herself.

"What does it look like?" Grace said defiantly, not wanting to admit to the fact that she was struggling. He'd probably laugh even more if she was honest about this. But what could she say to justify herself? Her mind drew a massive blank when it came to conjuring up some excuse. Could she get away with saying it was a game? Probably not.

Perhaps sensing that Grace was getting tense, Easton the dog returned to her side, nudging her to throw the dog toy again. It was a nice distraction. She retrieved the soggy rope from Easton's muzzle and hurled it down the pitch with her all might. At least nobody would ever accuse her of throwing like a girl even if she was one.

"What brings you down here? I thought you Slytherins have Transfiguration class with the Ravenclaws today." Come to think of it, maybe that was Thursdays. While she had memorised her own timetable quickly enough she was still learning Ollie's and Tristan's new schedule.

"And are you a good flyer?"

A vague plan was starting to form in her head. Maybe she could get this boy to show her how it was done and then she could emulate and learn. She'd only somehow have to talk him into it.

Rigel Black

May 15, 2021, 08:29:18 pm #3 Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 09:06:19 pm by Rigel Black
Instead of submitting and acknowledging the peculiarity and absurdity of the position she was in like the Young Black had expected, Grace retorted with a fiery counter-question of her own. For a second, Rigel was taken aback by the fire in the girl's (rather brilliant and vibrant, he noted) eyes, but he quickly reassumed his pristine Slytherin composure.

"My, my, what fire in those brilliant blue eyes. Is that the fabled Gryffindor pluck shining in there?"[/color] he mocked, clasping his hands behind his back and lowering his head towards She-With-The-Broom-Betwixt-Her-Legs in a chaffing bow as he began circling around her for a bit, pretending to inspect her as if she were some exotic specimen.

Then again, she was a Gryffindor, and Rigel hadn't interacted with one of those ever before coming to Hogwarts, and certainly not extensively in the week since.

Exotic enough, one supposed.

"Admirable, I suppose," he drawled in conclusion, as if done with his inspection.

Then the girl's dog returned to the scene and immediately Rigel's eyebrows shot up. His expression morphed into one of genuine interest, he watched the redhead interact with the fine and particularly docile canine specimen, and Rigel could not help but stare wide-eyed, his fondness for creatures piquing his interest. He watched She-With-The-Broom-Betwixt-Her-Legs interact with the dog, and then watched the dog as it followed the rope thrown by the girl threw the air with the intention of fetching it.

"Is that your dog?" he asked, unable to conceal the interest from his voice.  "Why do you have a dog? We weren't allowed to bring any creature other than an owl, a cat, or a toad. How did you get the Headmaster to allow you to bring a dog to school? I wanted to bring an Augurey but I wasn't allowed!" At that last statement, Rigel's voice took on almost a whining tone, which even he knew was unbecoming of a Slytherin. Yet he couldn't help it.

The girl then spoke, and inquired after his classes. "Thursdays," Rigel answered simply, regaining his Slytherin-esque composure as much as he possibly could, though his eyes couldn't help but keep trailing the dog even as he spoke to her.

"And are you a good flyer?"

At that, Rigel finally returned his focus to his fellow Firstie, his brilliant grey eyes so reminiscent of the House of Black once again scrutinizing the girl, though this time seriously. It only took the average bit of Slytherin cunning to divine that the girl had no idea how to hold a broom and was beginning to see the merits of using him to teach her.

Despite the little voice in the back of his head that sounded eerily like his father's warning him not to associate with someone whose blood status he was not certain about, he decided to humor her.

Smirking, Rigel simply raised his palm towards the girl, aimed towards the broom she was holding. Unless the girl resisted, the broom should vibrate, before shooting into Rigel's hand effortlessly, who would continue smirking at her.

"Suppose I am, O She With The Broom 'Twixt Her Legs. What of it?"

Grace Pemberton

Grace smiled when Slytherin boy started to talk about Easton. People who liked dogs were generally alright in her experience and Easton was excellent at sussing out who could and couldn't be trusted. Judging by the fact that her beagle didn't seem to mind her new acquaintance, he couldn't be that bad. Maybe, once they got to know each other a little bit they could get on? Grace realised that she was probably being too hopeful; but she was going to try anyway. 

Unsurprisingly, the boy didn't agree with the school rules on pets. Grace wasn't surprised. She didn't understand it either. "This isn't my dog, technically," she said truthfully. "It belongs to my mum, the librarian. It's such a shame students aren't allowed to bring different types of animals. I wanted to get a puffskein, but that's not on the allowed list either, so mum said I couldn't have one."

She suddenly felt a little bit self-conscious. Grace had little doubt that people talked about her being the librarian's kid and if she was getting preferential treatment. She'd already overheard two girls from her house discuss as much in the common room. She'd probably need to be careful here or she'd have another situation on her hands. Or maybe she could just trust her instinct and rely on the boy in front of her not being out to get her. 

"Turns out though the rules only apply to students," she commented further. "If you're a Hogwarts staff member you can bring your pet, whatever the kind. Mum asked me to take him out this afternoon. Apparently, there is a study group meeting in the library today, so he can't just sleep under her desk."

It took her a moment until the rest of what the boy had said registered in her mind. "You've got an augurey!? That's amazing. I've never even seen one. Aren't they really big? I think I read that they are native to Ireland. Are you Irish then? You don't sound like it."

No doubt then he was from some kind of old wizarding family then. She'd never heard of anyone muggleborn having an augurey, and she struggled to even imagine an ordinary wizarding family with one. They were probably quite expensive as Grace recalled them being somewhat rare. The potions shop in Hogsmeade sold their feathers and claws at quite an expensive rate.

Uh, this was getting a bit awkward. Here they were about to have a chat and she still didn't know his name. Since she had basically admitted who she was at this point, there was little to be gained by not introducing herself properly. "I'm Grace, by the way. And he is called Easton. He's fairly good with strangers. If you want to pet him, you can."

With that out of the way the matter of her flying issues remained to be addressed. She couldn't think of how to continue with her initial plan of not giving herself away. That was probably why she had ended up in Gryffindor rather than in Slytherin. Damn.
"Well, I was trying to figure out if this old broom of my mum's was still working," she attempted half-heartedly. There was no way to sell this ruse, but she continued on anyway. "I'm actually not sure that it will even fly. She used it to sweep the kitchen floor a couple of times - an accident, of course. I think it might be broken. So far nothing I've tried has worked on it."