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The witches hour

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:24 pm

One of the few perks about being a night owl was that Matt was always willing to take the late shift patrolling the corridors of the castle. It's not like he was usually doing any sleeping between the hours of 10pm and 6am anyway. He had met with his prefects for the evening and decided he wanted to take a bit of a stroll himself. The evenings would be getting much colder soon so he thought best to capitalize on it now with an evening as perfect as this one. Not a cloud in the sky and a bright moon that illuminated most of the grounds where he thought would be best to go for his walk. Night was some of the best time for him to reflect but really he hadn't had much to reflect on since the beginning of term. Jack hadn't so much as looked at him since the day they left Lupin's office.

It was almost nice having his blood pressure at a reasonable level. He was doing fine in his classes and since he had become Head Boy nobody really bothered him about, well, anything anymore. It seemed like an entirely different school year - he didn't like it. He figured he'd be able to make his way out through the main courtyard and stroll down by the lake for a little bit. Say hello to the Giant Squid. On a night like this he also expected he might run into a few students. It wasn't out of the ordinary and he didn't always interrupt. Sometimes students needed to unwind and could only do so at night.

He closed the doors exiting the castle behind him quietly - he had already let his head of house know he was going to be on the grounds that evening. And what better time to explore than 3 am, the witching hour - a muggle folly. Yes, the barriers between the living and the dead were weakest during that time but the dead never truly wanted to speak to the living. The Hogwarts ghosts were evidence of that. He expected he might meet a ghost that evening. But what he didn't expect to meet was a familiar silhouette off in the distance making their way to the quidditch pitch.

of course

So, he followed her quietly.

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Post by Jack Dyllan on Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:49 pm

It was crisp, the way she liked it. The air bit her lungs, stung her eyes, chilled her bones, brought her to life. The air was nice down here, but in the air, it would be icy, sharp, harsh against her skin. Good. That tiny bit of pain was enough to make anyone feel alive. Even her.

She was training harder. She couldn't risk staying out later, but she was just hitting the pitch harder, taking less breaks, letting both Bludgers fly, speeding faster and faster. Nothing else about the year was going any sort of way that meant good things for her. If somehow the recruiters went mad and didn't sign her, she'd need some semblance of a good record to find a job that made her any money.

Who was going to hand her a kid is he was working a till?

So she trained. If Charlie hadn't been in the equation, it was likely she'd train just as hard, but she couldn't be sure she'd be doing her sneaky little practices either.

She reached the pitch and walked to the sidelines, setting down her comm and wand, before leaning down to begin her stretches. A run, a sprint rather, around the track. To get her blood moving. And then the work began.

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:04 pm

The Hogwarts grounds weren't usually patrolled by any authority figures aside from himself and a few professors. He had discovered, however, there were a lot of student who were aware of that. He seriously doubted this was Jack Dyllan's first time making her way to the quidditch pitch. He followed her from a distance being extremely careful not to make any unnecessary noise or get too close that she'd spot him. Stealth wasn't his highest skill but Jack didn't seem as concerned at getting caught as he did. He saw her, illuminated by the moon, enter the pitch through the Gryffindor locker room.

And now he had a couple choices he needed to make. He could interrupt her late night practice or he could turn around and continue his own late night adventure without bothering her.

It was obvious what needed to be done.

He gave her enough time to get through and onto the pitch before he made his own way through to see what exactly she was doing. Well, he was pretty sure that it was quidditch but he was always interested in watching her beat a few bludgers around. She was spectacular at hitting other people with those damn things. And he stood off in the distance doing his best to be covered by shadows, watching from the Slytherin locker room exit. He didn't want to make his presence known yet.


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Post by Jack Dyllan on Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:47 am

She rolled up from her calf hold and shook out her spine, her frame quaking as she banished the last of the tension and tightness from her muscles. One last roll of the neck, a long stare at the pitch... and off she went.

She loved running. During the summers, she couldn't always take her broom out, and she especially hadn't been able to when she was younger. She hadn't the money for one, and there was no way in this earth that her parents would have given her the money. But no matter she ended up, how little money she had, how grounded she was... she could find a way to run. Until her legs fell off, she could run, and so she would.

Straight across the pitch, twice. Always at least twice. One for wins, one for losses. And once the year started, double for wins. Her team she had run double for losses, a way to reward them for their successes. But for herself, it was the wins that pushed her closer to success, and so she would celebrate by running.

After her second pass, she turned and began to run alongside the edge of the pitch. Cross it twice, circle it once, get a feel for the grass in case she ended up there. Birds were calling out to each other, unperturbed by the creature devouring the earth. She rounded the far end of the pitch and began heading up the other end when she saw a figure.

She stopped. Right in her tracks. Air left her lungs as she stared forward at the figure, far enough that she couldn't quite make them out. It was a professor, and her time was up. Or Keiran, and he wanted in on the practices.

Oh, Merlin, no. The hair.

She frowned and jogged towards the Slytherin locker room, stopping about ten feet away from Matt Lestrange.

"You're getting creepier by the day, Lestrange."

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:20 pm

He couldn't help but take notice to the peculiar pattern in which Jack was running the pitch. He had inclinations that she was significantly more complex than her exterior led everyone to believe. Yet, there seemed to be a method to her madness; he running was methodological and purposeful. She wasn't just running for the sake of running.

He shook his head, unknowingly alerting Jack to his position. Curse his amazing and consistently fluffy hair. He knew because he could just barely make out the moment of hesitation in her step. Of course she began to run towards him and he realized he hadn't decided what he was going to do. He had been to busy admiring her running which is not something he often did for anyone really; admire running. He didn't do an awful lot of running but he had the feeling she was much more experienced.

That was an interesting contrast between the two students. Matt who was definitely on the book end of life compared to Jack who was significantly more fit than him. Rule following head boy vs the rule-breaking Quidditch captain (she's captain, right?) and both full of passion for what they do. In another life they might have been friends.

"Oi, I'm the one who saw the disfigured silhouette in the distance and decided to follow it to the Quidditch pitch. Really, I'm the hero in this scenario." he chuffed right back at her.


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Post by Jack Dyllan on Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:57 pm

Jack was not used to being the antagonized. She was the antagonizer, or had been since she realized it was only preemptive aggression was the only way to keep most assholes of her back. People didn’t often try to step up to her. Not to her face anyway. She didn’t care what they said about her in private. Why should she? Let the lies lie, she knew her truth. But hadn’t taking up Beating been part of the plan? Who went after the girl with the biceps and a bat?

Apparently idiots like Lestrange.

Which was ballsy, considering how thoroughly she had kicked his ass. Twice now.

It was actually starting to frustrate her too. After Lupin’s office, a weird sense of shame bad crept into her bones about the admission. It was the truth but she wasn’t sure what she had wanted to accomplish. She didn’t want him thinking she had gone something for him and now she owed him, because that wasn’t it at all. She didn’t want his guilt or his confusion - she wanted his anger. So how had that helped?

“Disfigured? You look like you stayed indoors all summer on a diet of rabbit food. Careful you don’t bow over at the weight of all that hair gel.”

She squinted. “Right, well I’d like to continue my run in peace so...” she flicked her hand, shooing him away.

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:15 pm

It was like looking at Jack through a foggy window. He could make out her general shape but couldn't read her anymore beyond that. He had thought that he figured her out. But, in many ways he couldn't figure himself out so it was natural that he'd struggle with another person; especially Jack Dyllan. This struggle had worsened since their last encounter. He felt like she was avoiding him, not that he was complaining that much. But she'd hit him with a brief moment of sincerity that caught him off guard and he only wanted to know more.

He tapped the badge that he'd pinned to the chest of his jacket.

"You're out of bed after hours, Dyllan." his tone serious.

Of course he didn't intend on reporting her for this. This was a brief moment in their relationship where Matt could truly flex his own power over her. She had the muscle and the ability to knock him on his ass. That did very little for him and he felt like it was doing less and less for her as the days went on. But he had the position to put a lot at stake for her.

Some would say cruel, his family would applaud him, but he was just bored.

"Wouldn't want anyone else finding out about your late night practices, eh?"

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Post by Jack Dyllan on Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:04 pm

Jack rolled her eyes. God, really? Really. Somehow it was beneath him. She didn’t think she could underestimate him but apparently she should have, considering how absolutely lame he was being now. She knew he was Head boy. But he had never pulled the prefect card before. It felt like cheating. She didn’t like a cheat.

“Oooh, and what? I’ll get detention? But my permanent record!” She sneered a bit, sarcasm dripping from her words.

“I don’t know how a run qualifies as a practice,” she said, her voice measured. “I have to say, there’s nothing sadder than taking the tiniest edge of power and using it as a means for blackmail... pretty sad.”

She refused to let him win. Not like this.

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:28 pm

"So, how does flying a broom actually work?" he asked her, ignoring her comments and stepping forward onto the Quidditch pitch.

He had never actually ridden a broom. He wasn't allotted the chance when he was growing up despite many of the other Lestrange children getting brooms on their early birthdays. He also really didn't enjoy the prospect of being up in the air without a safety net of some kind. Brooms had a mind of their own sometimes and he'd yet to even attempt to find one that agreed with him. They probably smelled fear; he began to stretch his legs out similarly to how Jack had when she had first arrived.

It was a really beautiful evening. Just cold enough that he could see his breath but not freezing. It would have to be significantly worse up in the air. It didn't surprise him that Jack was out on such a cold evening it matched her attitude.

"I've never actually been down on the pitch before. Only ever in the stands watching, well, you guys up there." he pointed upwards into the sky. "Never really noticed how huge it is."

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Post by Jack Dyllan on Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:55 pm

He wasn’t taking her bait and he wasn’t letting her win. Again - that was cheating. Matt Lestrange seemed weirdly... calm. Maybe calm wasn’t the right word. Something closer to devoid, a careful mask without any details covering up whatever thoughts he might be having. And she could only suppose they weren’t good. The mere accusation of her early hour practices may prompt a professor to assign a more careful guard on the Quidditch pitch, maybe even create a timed ward. It was a win for Lestrange either way - she’d be angry, sure, and would absolutely take it out on him, but the victory would be sweet.

That’s why he was talking Quidditch. It had to be. He was trying to tempt her into taking to the air so there would be absolutely no question of it, trying to get her talking about flying so she would admit to it. That’s what snakes did. Snakes lured, and lions pounced.

So she stuck with sarcasm, saying, “Oh you just ask it nicely and it does the rest of the work for you.” Hadn’t he taken flying class with the rest of them? Wasn’t he supposed to be smart?

But he continued, and it almost seemed like genuine interest. She kept her eyes on him but he was looking at the pitch with a bit of marvel. That she understood. No matter how many times she stepped onto it, it never seemed familiar. It was always big, new, more than her, more than any one team or any one game. The Quidditch pitch had a magic of its own that never quite wore off, at least not for Jack. It didn’t matter what happened the rest of her week. When she was here, the crowd forgot her transgressions and cheered for her, the wind held her aloft, the grass cushioned her fall, and the pitch welcomed her home.

She followed his gaze, letting the silence between them hang there for a moment, perhaps it was one of those brief, rare moments where two people were there, truly occupying the space they took up, appreciating the fact that they were alive for the moment.

Even if one of them was a git.

No matter how nice the moment, it wasn’t going to last. Not with the two of them. This year had only been proof of it.

She didn’t look at him. She didn’t want him to see that the question mattered. “You going to turn me in?”

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