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Orion & Troy
Sun Aug 9, 2015 02:11

The balcony on the first floor was always crowded. It overlooked the Courtyen and the trailing branches of the Wisteria tree that stood in the centre came so close that students could pluck the purple flowers as they walked past. Much to Professor Rose’s annoyance apparently. Sometimes there were chairs and tables set out, laid with candles that flickered merrily in time with the lanterns sitting atop the railings. One of those lanterns wasn’t working any more, the third one from the right wall, where Orion had kicked the glass in accidentally as she’d climbed over the railings and into the tree.

The wide mouth of the straight stair led directly onto the balcony, so if she turned around she could see all the way to the front door of the Manor. She could see the gallery, stretching upwards for another two floors, and make out the shimmery glow of the All Seeing Eye, changing between bright shades of red, blue and green as different students walked under it. She could make out the paper hat, bright pink with dancing unicorns, balanced carefully on top of the stone arch that she’d put there three hours earlier.

How had it only been a week? She was sure she’d been kicking her heels on this stupid balcony for at least a year by now and all just waiting for something interesting to happen. The way Leo had talked you would’ve thought the students rode Hippogriffs to class and fought duels in the corridor. Seven whole days had come and gone and she’d seen nothing like it. Not so much as a dragon for her trouble and damn was there trouble. Classes lasted forever and at the end of them you were handed a pile of homework taller than the observatory and told to get to it. She’d spent more time trying not to fall asleep than doing magic and on top of that she hadn’t ridden her broom since she’d arrived. Some sort of flight policy that Minister guy had put in place. Her leg twitched, she was getting withdrawal symptoms.

Confined to the Manor until one of the Professors had time to supervise flying, she’d stuffed her pockets with firecrackers and lingered around corners, trying to find someone to scare. Just before lunch she’d managed to crack some kid over the back of the head, making him drop his potion and turn himself and three of his mates purple. The excitement of that had lasted all of five minutes before Professor Blackwell had cleared everyone out. Now lunch was over and afternoon classes had started, which she was skipping, but it meant there were less targets around. At this point she’d be as well to wait for classes to end all together so she started aiming her firecrackers at the party hat.

Way below her in the main corridor Theodore Markheim-West was conducting business. It was officially listed as Study Hall, and when business was slow, he studied. But there were other Study Hall kids, and those that found their way out of their classes anyway, so business could always be conducted. Ruby Fraser only allowed it begrudgingly, she thought it encouraged bad behaviour; getting a prize for ditching class. So he kept his table on the ground floor to catch strays, rather than up in classrooms where he could be labelled a distraction. Business at the moment was not good. He blamed the erratic popping of firecrackers nearby.

It was no surprise to him that Troy Bastrova had slipped his classes and was ignoring the sharp Pows and Bangs from above. Give a kid a title and he thinks the world runs around him, a fact the world did nothing to disprove. The second year strolled over, casting a deceptively lazy look at the wares.

“Afternoon, Bastrova,” Ted nodded. “In the market for some treats? Got a fresh pack of Pepper Imps for your little girlfriend. Or maybe you’re looking for that rare, exotic peacock quill I’ve heard are all the rage for the Bs this month.”

"Hmmm," Troy replied in his naturally casual tone. "How about something with a bit more...spark?"

"That's normally the domain of Ruby and she would not like me straying into her territory,” said Ted, lifting a small piece of luggage onto the table and opening it to reveal an array of necklaces, earrings and rings. "Now I do have a few standard bits of costume jewelry, same sparkle for a lesser price. But you strike me as a man looking for something that will make someone's eyes sparkle. Light the night sky.” He closed the luggage, turned a rivet at the back and reopened it to reveal an assortment of firecrackers and fireworks. Showpieces, of course, that luggage took far too many hits over time to be trusted with live ones.

Troy eyed the selection carefully. There was an interesting looking roman candle in greens and yellows, but it was the wrong season for that. Something with a bit more fire was required. The red and yellow rocket seemed the obvious choice but...what was that? He cast a casual hand in the direction of the shiny, glitter fountains. "I think a dozen or so of those will do the trick." He dug his hand into his pocket and pulled out a large velvet purse. It made the kind of noise that only vast amounts of money could make. "What do I owe you?"

"Oh well, let's not quibble about prices, it's unseemly," said Ted. It was a standard line, he and Troy both knew Ted could have asked for house as large as Aelcrest for his family, and Troy would have had the deed by supper. "I know your little group has two more mouths to feed and probably a lawyer for both those girls."

A handful of firecrackers went off by the table. Ted squinted up at the staircase. Troy followed his gaze, noticing a flash and a twitch on the balcony and sighed. The girls didn’t need a lawyer so much as a round the clock babysitter, a lesson he’d learnt the hard way with Grace last year. The new bit apparently had the same fire in her blood that all Reym kids had, judging by the scorch marks dotted across the corridor.

"Three Sickles a piece,” Ted said.

"Done," Troy grinned. "Oh, and while I'm here. Any chance you could get a hold of a swan feather quill?" He counted coins into Ted's hand as he talked. "I heard a rumour and…well let’s just say they’re going to be big."

Ted closed the case, returned the rivet to it's original position, tugged on a slim piece of ribbon which slid out a drawer of quills "Black, white, or grey?"

"I'll start with black, but if you could knock up something with gold...?"

Ted have a low whistle. “Gold, that's...gonna be but harder to get my hands on." He leaned back in his seat and eyed Troy thoughtfully. He was always a good customer. "All right, for you, I'll find a way. Three Galleons, five if you want to rush it."

"No rush,” Troy chuckled. “I don't plan on going to class until Potions on Thursday."

The bell in the grandfather clock rang out, signalling a change of classes. Waves of students moved from one classroom to the other in a rush to get the best seat available, even though everyone had their own claimed seat and the classes were too close together to necessitate the rush. A few hurried to get the supplies they had ordered from Ted, before he packed up for the afternoon. Bradley Bryant did not rush. He was busy studying the playbook for the upcoming Quidditch match. Every so often he elbowed someone passing by practising a turn or “defencive” block. He looked at the line that was already forming at Ted’s and frowned, displeased. He’d been waiting for his new quill packets (adorned in the latest World Cup colours) for what felt like years.

Around him came a series of loud pops. He looked around confused at their source. Then a popper hit him on the head, then another, then a third. It wasn’t painful. It was very annoying. He looked up to see someone had put a cardboard hat over the Eye. A handful of poppers were failing to hit the hat and – he looked down just in time to avoid being blinded - pelted him and the floor around him.

Troy didn’t notice the Thestral at first, he wasn’t a trader, a prankster or a girl so Bradley Bryant was of literally no use to him. However, when the occasional popping became more like a barrage and the party hat finally toppled from its spot on top of the eye to land on Bryant’s head, he did look but not in the direction everyone else was.

After successfully hitting the hat on what had to be the hundredth try, Orion had peered over the railings on the gallery to see where it landed. Some blond dude who looked angry was furiously pulling the unicorn emblazoned party wear from his head and looking around for the culprit. Troy noticed her shrinking back into the shadow of the Wisteria as a group of students walked past.

“Bryant!” the Prince called out, causing Bradley to spin around and miss the disappearing face of his attacker. Troy dug his hand into his pocket and fixed the Thestral with an ice cold stare. “Pink is an excellent colour on you,” he laughed. “And the unicorns really add something.”

Bradley glared at Troy, ripped the hat off his head and threw it to the ground with a scowl, and stomped off, taking extra care to stomp extra hard and ground the hat beneath his heel as he did so. Troy just laughed.

“On second thoughts, I will take those Pepper Imps,” he said to Ted, flipping him a coin. Ted caught it deftly in one hand and with the other he chucked him the packet.

Up on the balcony, Ri had all but disappeared into the thick foliage of the Wisteria. She had decided, quite wisely, that making an appearance was something that could wait until every body was safely back in their classrooms and in the meantime the branch was surprisingly comfortable. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed two shiny black shoes making a path around the staircase, presumably searching for the source of the firecrackers.

Troy peered over the edge of the balcony into the Courtyen, wondering how many other people Ted had sold his new rockets to and if it was possible to reach all the way to the main door with one. That’s when he caught a glimpse of the little bit, or rather her hair, trying to blend in with the flowers.

“It’s alright, kid,” he called to her. “You can come out now.”

Orion sat bolt upright on the branch and scowled. “How’d you know it was me?” she huffed.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Could have been the firecrackers. Or the unicorn hat.”

Ri gave him a wry smile as she walked along the bough towards him. “It was the hair wasn’t it?”

“Yes. Yes it was. Here,” he held out his hand. She looked at it like he’d just asked her to touch a leper and continued to climb out of the tree and back onto the balcony without his help, kicking in another glass lantern as she went. “You were lucky this time you know,” he told her, repairing both broken lamps. “Bryant isn’t the type to let things go and he could have you for breakfast.”

Orion made a disinterested noise that accompanied an equally careless shrug of her shoulders. “He could bloody well try,” she replied lightly. Troy quirked his eyebrow.

“Ahuh. So where’d you get them?”

“Get what?” she asked, giving him her best innocent look. Troy didn’t buy it for a second.

“The firecrackers,” he said slowly, making sure she knew that he was on to her.

“Oh,” she muttered, turning slightly pink. “I…I got them from Grace. Grace’s drawer. Grace’s box inside Grace’s drawer.” Troy cleared his throat and crossed his arms. “Okay, fine!” she huffed. “I stole them from Grace, happy?”

“Light fingers a habit of yours?” he asked.

“No,” she huffed, crossing her arms. “I just…this place is so boring!”

“Boring?” he repeated, surprised. Aelcrest was a lot of things but he’d never heard it described as boring, except by his mother but she thought everything was boring.


“You’ve only been here a week!”

“I know,” she sighed dramatically, slumping herself over the railings.

Troy handed her the packet of Pepper Imps and leaned against the railing beside her. Ri wasted no time in pouring out a handful of imps and stuffing them into her mouth all at once.

“Well,” he sighed. “You’re obviously looking for fun in the wrong place.”

It was a line. A line he had used repeatedly and with great effect on every second year girl that Aelcrest had to offer. From the blank stare and titled head that greeted him when he flashed a smile in her direction it was apparently a line that went straight over her head. There was a devilish little glint in her eyes though, the same kind that Grace had just before they pulled a prank, so even though his charm was lost on her there was still hope.

“C’mon,” he gestured, pushing himself away from the balustrade and heading along the nearest corridor. Begrudgingly she caught up to him.

“Where are we going?” she asked warily. Troy was great, if you believed the stories Grace told, but she didn’t know him very well yet and there was always the chance he was taking her to the Heads. He was friends with Leo after all.

“To find some fun,” he replied mysteriously.

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