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Talora & Troy
Sun Aug 9, 2015 02:19

Talora liked to begin the day in this manner. Early she rose and stepped out through the grounds, often still swirling with early morning white mists. Down the sloping paths she went until she reached the shores of the lake and beyond, the charred ruins. Talora imagined every now and then she could see a flame dance and lick at the remnants. It was an ugly sight, the ruined walls blackening the sky. Yet Talora was oddly drawn to it.
Troy wasn’t one for the outdoors, unless it involved garden parties, but on this particular day he was down by the lake. The only thing that had brought him there was the signal bar on his phone. Damn thing only worked away from the Manor and the lake was the closest he could be before it stopped working all together. The dial tone rang and a prim voice told him that he had messages. Reluctantly he pressed the button to listen to them.
He couldn’t understand why his father insisted on using muggle technology. Owls were better, only Nicholai Bastrova distrusted them. Something about magic making it easy for the paparazzi to find him or rubbish like that. His father’s voice started drawling in his ear and Troy’s mind wandered off.
Quickly stripping off her simple black pinafore dress and white shirt, Talora dived neatly into the lake and came up spluttering, the shock of the cold rushing through her veins. Pain mingled with pleasure. She dove down again
Troy looked over just in time to see a girl’s toes disappear below the water. Deciding his father’s drunken rants could wait, he sauntered over to greet her as she rose from her second dive. He knelt by the edge of the lake with the water lapping his shoes.
“Good morning, Princess,” he grinned at her as she surfaced. His mother said he had the same grin as his father, utterly disarming. She had been proven right on many occasions.
Talora, safely in the water, looked at him with a serious gaze. A boy. Troy. She recognised him. He was always flirting with the girls in the Transfiguration, the only class they took together. Talora stayed quietly at the back of the class, observing the antics, mildly amused.
Water was her element though, she felt lithe and free, and so after a moment she smiled. Indeed his grin was infectious.
“Hey Troy. Coming for a swim?” she asked, flashed him a smile and dropped under the surface once more.
“It would be rude not to. Now you’ve gone to the trouble of asking,” he said, his voice always on the verge of laughing. Casually he removed his shirt and tracksuit bottoms to reveal a pair of swimming shorts. Troy Bastrova was always prepared, no matter what the occasion called for.
He dipped a toe in and flashed her a wary look. It’s cold in there, his eyes said. Encouragingly, she nodded back at him and he held up a finger for her to wait just a minute. Troy’s feet shuffled forward but just at the edge he swiftly turned around and jogged back a few paces. Another check for distance and another few steps back he gave her a nod. Talora laughed and shook her head. Then Troy was running full speed towards her and hurriedly she swam out of his way. When his feet reached the edge this time though they clamped together and he dove in a perfect arch into the water. Barely a splash.
Talora watched him swim. He was good and he was a boy. She thought she could beat him even so and there was, after all, some of the de Black competitive streak in her.
“Race you to the bridge?” she asked, flashed a look of challenge and pulled neatly away into a swift crawl stroke.
With an amused grin he chased after her, his powerful front stroke catching up with her quickly but not enough to beat her to the bridge. He pulled up and started to tread water as she turned to face him, her black hair slicked against her head.
“Not bad, Princess,” he admitted, before turning and swimming for shore. He pulled himself out, ruffling his strawberry blond hair as he summoned a towel and began drying off. He tied it around his waist and offered his hand to the Weir girl.
“You know, I feel bad because I can’t remember your name, but then again I think “Princess” suits you.”
Half-flattered, Talora recollected in time two very important things. Firstly he had no idea who she was, despite the fact that they had shared a classroom for nearly two years. Secondly she had seen him dole out similar treatment to not one but maybe a dozen different girls.
She therefore ignored the proffered hand and splashed quickly out of the water unaided. Swiftly, rather self-conscious in the skimpy undergarments which plastered to her body, she removed her wand from the leg strap and summoned her big fluffy white towel.
And only then did she hold out a hand, “Talora de Black,” she said. “A pleasure to meet you Troy Bastrova.”
So serious was this girl, but her eyes betrayed her rather.
They walked back over towards their abandoned clothes and picked them up. Sun glinted through the branches of the willows. It was going to be a beautiful day. She didn’t expect him to stay with her all the way back through the grounds, yet there he was right next to her, a grin on his face every time she sneaked a sideways glance.
Talora had no idea what she was meant to say to a boy in these circumstances. She really wanted to get changed, instead of which she was stuck swaddled inside a gigantic white towel. If he was Aya or even Leo it would have been different. Tal would have happily talked of idle or studious matters. But what on earth would interest a Bastrova boy?
Talora had seen the type of girls Troy hung out with and she didn’t have the first idea of how to do that type of social banter or flirtatious chat. Even the thought embarrassed her. Clearly something was expected though and Tal blushed slightly.
“Have you done your Transfig?” she asked finally, study seeming a safe if dull option for a Bastrova. “My feathers are ok I guess, but they won’t all levitate properly,” she added sadly. True, they were no longer pebbles, but Tal was a perfectionist and the ones which fluttered feebly and died had been irritating her all week.
Troy let out a low chuckle and shook his head. “I haven’t done it,” he admitted with a grin. “But then I have it on very good authority that Shoney can’t resist a peppermint cream. I’ll just leave a box on his desk to distract him.” He noticed her fidgeting beneath the enormous towel so he unzipped his jacket and draped it around her shoulders.
Tal felt utterly ridiculous. A slight girl in the first place, she was now effectively buried underneath layers of towelling and fleece. The early morning sun dappled the greenery and Tal the eskimo felt super foolish. Why had he thrown his jacket on her? Was it a joke? And on top of that he hadn’t even done his homework! Boys were impossible.
Contrary to his intentions, Talora now looked more uncomfortable than ever. He turned towards her to try and explain but a shrill voice pierced the air that made him groan. Without making it look anything other than natural he took a small step and did up the zipper on the fleece, shielding her from the prying eyes of Georgia Derby.
“Troy!” the Balgren girl cooed.
“Prepare yourself,” Troy muttered, but in the next instant his expression was as charming and playful as ever.
“Georgia!” he called back. “Nice to see you up and about so early. Heading out for a swim?”
Georgia batted her eyelashes and tried not to shiver at the thought of emerging herself into dirty water infested with all manner of disgusting creatures. “Not unless the facilities have vastly improved since last year,” she assured him. “Actually, I was looking for you.”
“Oh?” came his unsurprised reply.
“Yes,” she fluttered. “You see I was talking to Dagon Hounslow and…who are you?” Georgia cut herself off mid sentence as she finally noticed Talora peeking out from behind him.
Attempting to keep her at least partly covered he gestured in her general direction and made the formal introductions.
“This is Talora de Black,” he grinned. “Talora, have you met Georgia?”
Georgia looked the Weir girl up and down as though inspecting something in an exhibition about medieval peasants. “Charmed, I’m sure,” she said, in a tone just shy of sneering.
Troy gave her a rare frown, warning her to behave herself and turned again to make sure Talora wasn’t too offended.
Georgia Derby. One of the squeaky, shrieky Balgren girls for whom Talora did not exist. Of course she knew Georgia, they were in potions and charms together. The point was that Georgia didn’t know her.
Talora shuffled forward from behind Troy in her fetching towel/jacket combo and her pureblood training kicked in. The de Blacks were pretty reclusive these days, but Bertram insisted on Crystal taking Talora to at least one major function a year, an experience which, to date, they had suffered through together with gritted teeth.
“A pleasure,” she answered. “We also met at the Archer’s soiree in December I believe.”
In Tal’s opinion this way of talking was utterly ridiculous. Firstly, she didn’t believe that they had met there, she knew damn well they had. Secondly, she didn’t need to meet at some random party held by a family of blonde airheads, she saw the shrieky girl twice every week in class.
Nevertheless, her parents assured her it must be so. She blushed again slightly, though whether for the towel combo or for her own stupid speech, even she wasn’t quite certain. What was certain was her strong desire to flee.
Georgia tucked a pin curl back into place, blinked and wrinkled her nose.
“I’m sorry. I don’t recall seeing you there,” she replied haughtily. “Perhaps you were at the back?”
“Well, that’ll be why,” Troy cut in. “Talora was invited into the house whilst you were only pressed up against the window.” He gestured in the direction of the Manor and flashed the Weir girl a grin. “Shall we?”
Tal grinned back, he was kind of infectious. Troy siding with her against the shrieky girl was most certainly not what she had expected either, in fact she had previously had the impression that they were even dating or some such dumb teenage stuff.
“Let’s,” she smiled up at him with shiny eyes. “See you later in Potions, Georgia!” Tal felt very brave and even slightly rebellious.
Georgia could only watch as Troy led Talora away but she was in no position to argue with him. Trying to maintain her composure, she flounced back to the Manor in the opposite direction that the pair had gone.
“You’re not as scary as I thought,” Tal ventured after a moment. “You’re okay actually, for a Balgren boy,” she smiled.
“I’m glad to hear it,” he replied, eyebrow raised. “And don’t worry about Georgia there. Her family standing has taken something of a dive recently and she’s lashing out.”
“Oh that’s a shame, poor Georgia,” Tal responded slightly guiltily. “Would you, um, mind if I got changed? I feel a bit silly,” she added, her extra courage making her blush again. “I mean…” she faltered as he grinned again. “Not with you, I mean gosh behind a tree or something.”
Why did he make her feel such a dummy? Such a kid?
“I promise not to peek,” Troy chuckled, turned his back and absolutely peeked.

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