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John Umland, Aladren
This seems like it has the potential to get philosophical.
Wed May 31, 2017 15:12

John’s first thought about New Pye, formed before he had even started to think that the man’s real name sounded vaguely familiar, had been that he was too good-looking to possibly be of any use. Old Pye had had a reasonably well-proportioned face, but New Pye looked not entirely unlike Michelangelo’s David, just with straighter hair and clothes on. The addition of clothes was one for which John was grateful, he disapproved of nakedness in people who were not inside a bathtub and he disapproved of it even among those who were in a bathtub if other people also happened to be in the room at the time, but it didn’t change the fact that the new professor was easily as handsome as his sister’s fiancé and therefore was Not To Be Trusted.

Rationally, however, John knew that this was ridiculous. Joe and Joanie were pretty people, and John literally trusted them with his life. Maybe not with his well-being, at least at the moment – they were both rather angry with him, so the next time they and he were together, if there ever was a next time, he rather expected Joe to disarm him magically so Joanie could get on with hitting him a lot without any distractions – but that didn’t change the fact that they were both Trustworthy in his book. Mom and Julian, too, were beautiful, and they were both Good. Maybe not so Trustworthy as Joe and Joanie, but Good, and that was even more important. There was no reason, given these facts, that New Pye should prove more of a Billy Boy than a Joe, and John in fact had good reason to hope Nash was a sterling character, as John was going to spend a lot of time with him for the rest of the year. With this in mind, he forced his reservations onto a shelf before his first class with the man, reminding himself that he disliked it when people assumed he’d prove a villain just because of his looks.

He didn’t like it when people assumed he was stupid because of his sporadically rocky relationship with the English language, either, but he still found himself docking a couple of points from the beginning neutral fifty he was determined to start with for the man when Nash used the phrase ”fairly simple, yet deceptively difficult”. This was an oxymoron. John did not appreciate all the classic oxymorons – jumbo shrimp, for instance; a jumbo shrimp was clearly a shrimp which was larger than others of its species, and anyway, he was reasonably sure shrimp as a term meaning ‘small thing’ was a colloquialism derived from a species of aquatic animals which happened to be small, not a word which inherently, of itself, implied smallness – but he was comfortable enough with the concept to feel sure of this. A thing could look simple and yet deceive by actually being difficult, but that wasn’t what Nash had said at all…and he was off-task, perhaps dangerously so, as the professor had just also, he realized belatedly, used the expression deception and lies.

Deception and lies were things John knew a lot about. They were the reason kneazles and hippogriffs sometimes looked sideways at him, though the latter had at least had the decency not to try scratching him. Perhaps they knew John knew about these topics for what he’d believed at the time to be good reasons. In Defense class, though, this was…not really a distinction he felt would be appreciated. This might be important. He tried to focus and was glad he did, both because the spell Professor Nash demonstrated looked extremely useful (he mentally gave the man back the points he’d docked, plus a considerable quantity of change) and because he quickly realized the demonstration was going to involve receiving more information about the person now in charge of two of his classes.

The first statement Nash made almost took him off-task again – was television the reason the name sounded vaguely familiar? John rarely, if ever, watched television himself, but Joanie and his other old friends had often referred to it in his presence. It was possible Joanie and Lindsay had at some point been fangirls. He didn’t think that was it, though, and so filed it down as a possible lie – there was a hint of movement in the mobile, from the moons. Maybe the man was an exceptional liar.

The second statement, however, provoked no movement from the mobile whatsoever, and – perhaps more importantly – finally let John figure out where he’d heard the name Nash before. Nash – Aladren – there had been a dude named that who’d been Quidditch captain and Head Boy once – or, technically, Head Boy twice. It was this ‘twice’ on the Head Boy which John supposed had made the name stick in his head when he’d glanced through the trophies about the school before. He gave Nash a few more points and decided he could be referred to by his real name more often than he was called New Pye in John’s head. They were, after all, part of the same club if this Nash and that Nash were the same person, and Nash didn’t seem to be a surname that popped up anywhere else on the lists John had seen. This, combined with the remark about television, suggested he was Muggleborn, which put them probably into the same sub-club of non-purebloods who’d done well in Aladren. Their kind had to give each other some credit even if Nash was someone most people would agree was attractive.

The third statement got little reaction from John, as whether or not Nash was going to stay around for another year was of little interest to him. He was rather more concerned with what, precisely, he was going to be doing and where he was going to be doing it in a year. He had managed to figure out some of the university application process on his own before midterm, but really did not know how that whole venture was going to work out for him. He had flirted with the idea of going to a university that wasn’t the University of Calgary before, but never with the idea of not even applying there or not having Mom and Dad and his older siblings all helping out with the paperwork and decision-making process. He could only hope he’d done it more or less right….

…Which was less than likely if he’d been as off-task while writing his essays as he was right now. Nash was now going to tell them a blatant lie. John propped his chin on his hand to hear this and frowned at the content of the lie, docking Nash a couple of points. He could not in good conscience approve of anyone who was that comfortable with regarding his own attractiveness as a given. Billy Boy did that and it was one of the reasons John desperately wished to cave the other wizard’s face in. That their self-concepts were both accurate was not relevant data. John still disapproved.

He had a ballpoint pen in his pocket as always and decided that would do for an improvised sneakoscope, especially as it was a small, unobtrusive object one might actually use for that purpose at need. That it was less likely to make movements his classmates could readily detect was just a bonus. Its small size – small objects were, he thought, usually easier to enchant than large ones when all other factors were more or less equal – didn’t hurt, either. John cast the spell, his wand moving quickly, and he began contemplating what in the world he could possibly tell them.

His first inclination was to say something like I’m an Aladren, I’m an American, and I’m awful at telling people stuff about myself off the top of my head. The first and third statements were true and the second was a blatant lie. This, however, was not the assignment. He was pretty sure they were supposed to be a little more subtle than that. He barely noticed as Nash calibrated his pen, still busy thinking of what he was supposed to say….

“All right, then,” he said finally, once it was determined the pen was in sufficiently working order to allow them to proceed. “I’m John Umland – that’s for you – “ he added to Nash – “and…first statement. I know what my first choice of university is going to be.”

The end of the pen, the part he would remove to put a new tube of ink in, twisted slightly, but the other moving parts remained in place. This was half-true; sometimes he felt relatively confident on this point, but other times he didn’t, and today was a day where he was ambivalent on the subject.

“Second statement…Potions is my favorite class.”

This earned him a depression of the clicky bit at the top of the pen. Many of his classmates probably thought Potions was a favorite with him because he and Clark had always had a lot of fun in that class, but this year he was bored because he didn’t have anyone to try to cause explosions with. Bouncing ideas off Clark and doing stuff just to see what happened with an audience was fun. Just making potions and memorizing concepts discovered before he was born was boring.

“Third statement – I drink coffee.”

He was probably well-known, too, as ‘that guy with the teabags’, but this statement barely made the cap twitch. John had, a few times in his life, consumed that Other Beverage. When he was nine, it had made the whole world seem like a blur. These days, it made him sick in the long run but could boost his concentration in the short run when he didn’t have time to sleep as much as he needed to, which was a tradeoff his current schedule sometimes demanded that he make. He did not, however, know that anyone else knew this, and it meant the spotlight could now move away from him. Wishing desperately that he had a cup of proper tea, tea from home, right now, John found an unenchanted pen and some paper to note down what sorts of results happened as the next person in line started trying to fool them all.

  • Advanced DADA: Make-Your-Own-SneakoscopeProfessor Daniel Nash II, Tue May 30 19:39
    It was his first class. Well, not the first one he had ever taught - he'd had the requisite student teaching hours to get his degree, of course - but this was his first class. Well, he was still... more
    • This seems like it has the potential to get philosophical. — John Umland, Aladren, Wed May 31 15:12
      • Or messyAraceli Arbon, Crotalus, Thu Jun 15 09:53
        Araceli had taken advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts on grounds which other people might have described as paranoid - that she really believed in the need to be well-versed in the more unpleasant ... more
        • Not quiteScarlett Brockert,Pecari, Sun Jul 2 20:15
          Scarlett walked into Defense with less enthusiasm than she had previously. After all, her main reason for choosing this class to keep was so she could try to catch a glimpse. If she really thought... more
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