Then you’re welcome to stay in it
Thu Jan 12, 2017 21:06

Holland thought they knew everyone in their year, and most of the fourth-years as well, but they were certain they’d never seen this boy before. The goggles made it hard to tell, but the only classmate Holland didn’t know well was Steven, and he had black hair. So maybe a transfer—RMI didn’t have many, but it happened—and probably not a Lyra. As a side effect of not having roommates, Holland spent a lot of time in the Common Room to socialize. Term had only just started, but they thought they would have noticed a new student.

The boy in the mud apparently hadn’t spoken. He was using magic to shove his log through the mud. It was a brute force sort of approach, effective if not elegant. The goggles were a good idea for slogging through mud; whoever this guy was, he’d come prepared for an obstacle course. Almost too prepared, like maybe Professor Rasnick had told him the lesson plan ahead of time. That combined with him being a stranger set off all kinds of red flags. Maybe he was secretly observing the class for their professor? Or for someone else, and Professor Rasnick also thought he was a student? But why would—?

Distracted from their theories by high-pitched cackling, the fifteen-year-old glanced about to find the source. Holland and the possible mole had lagged behind the rest of the class, and there was no one else around. “It’s not Professor Rasnick,” Holland said. “It’s too close. She flew ahead a few obstacles.”

There was another suggestion in Holland’s head to jump off their log. It was close to what they imagined an Imperius Curse to feel like: a suggestion that sounded so attractive they just had to follow through.

Holland gripped the side of it tighter with their wandless hand and did not follow through. They had spent most of their life not taking things at face value, and they were not going to start now. Not without knowing who or what was giving them instructions. Holland tried a quick “Specialis Revelio,” but either the spell didn’t work or there was nothing for it to detect. “I don’t see anything.” They disembarked when their log reached the other side of the pit, and effortlessly put it back on their shoulder to carry. Thank the stars for the Feather-Light Charm.

They considered leaving the other student behind, but decided against it. He was oddly prepared and yes, definitely a stranger, but a spy would make a better effort to blend in. Plus the mind-control feeling was still happening in Holland’s head, and they hadn’t solved the mystery yet. There was safety in numbers assuming Muddy McGoggles was safe, and if he wasn’t then they were keeping enemies closer. Either way.

Holland holstered their wand while they waited. When the boy and his log reached the edge of the pit, they offered their hand to pull him out. “Holland Keene,” they said by means of introduction. “Are you new?”

  • I don't mind the mess - Russell Drew [4th year, Cetus], Thu Jan 12 19:07
    Back home in California, Defense Against the Dark Arts had fallen under the category of subjects that Russell found interesting but thought would be infinitely more so when it wasn't just himself and ... more
    • Then you’re welcome to stay in it - Holland, Thu Jan 12 21:06
      • "Oh... right," Russell muttered by means of acknowledgement, feeling a bit dumb. He had seen Professor Rasnick fly off ahead of them. But having multiple professors was in itself a very new... more
        • That’s one way to look at it - Holland, Fri Jan 13 13:59
          The transfer’s full name was two first names, which was a thing Holland had always found suspicious, but they answered his question anyway. “Fifth-year. Lyra,” in case the hair wasn’t a giveaway.... more
          • It's a practical approach - Russell, Fri Jan 13 19:17
            Holland, who was not new, was apparently game to work together, or at least game enough to have taken the plunge first into the tunnel. Russell found himself vaguely wishing that he had gone in... more
            • I’m more theoretical - Holland, Sat Jan 14 14:49
              Mostly using their arms, Holland pulled themself through the mud under the tarp and decided they would love to never do this again. It was a good thing Frankie wasn’t here—Holland’s Quidditch captain ... more
              • I'm kind of symmetrical - Russell , Sat Jan 14 17:52
                As it turned out, Russell wasn't entirely the odd one out because Holland's education had almost gone the same way that his had. That was interesting. More interesting was hearing that Holland's dad... more
                • I’m mostly apocryphal - Holland, Sun Jan 15 17:44
                  Russell’s water charm came out with all the strength of a fire hose, which startled Holland a bit but got the job done. Their own (more restrained) spell was a controlled stream that they used to... more
                  • And a little existential - Russell, Mon Jan 16 02:04
                    He nodded and flicked his wand in a tight spiral with a mutter. This charm was one Russell had practiced a lot. California was basically all summer; avoiding the sun was inconvenient, but more so was ... more
                    • But you’re less hypothetical - Holland, Tue Jan 17 15:14
                      Russell’s spell worked exactly as he said it would, and Holland did their best to commit his wand movement and incantation to memory. He sort of mumbled it, so they would likely ask later. It could... more
                      • That's canonical - Russell , Wed Jan 18 19:13
                        "Oh, really?" was his reply as he tried not to look too relieved. He thought Holland was a little shorter than him, maybe - it was hard to tell accurately since he was still barefoot and that might... more
                        • And not allegorical - Holland, Mon Jan 23 14:13
                          “It’s just mud,” they said, not flinching as Russell stepped into their hand. Obviously they’d prefer not getting muddy, but it was a lost cause at this point in the obstacle course. The mud would... more
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