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Niles Greyback

And I really wanna change my heart.

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Niles Greyback

Before Hogwarts, Niles had a penchant for simply wandering around. For example, he could spend hours mapping his neighborhood or days unearthing nooks where he could hide himself from the rest of the world. While he enjoyed having tea parties with Apryl, Niles also found lingering at home suffocating. He didn’t know why then, but most certainly do now.

 

Escapism, Niles remembered vaguely, was the word. Although he had two essays due in the coming week, Niles figured spending a couple of hours out here wouldn’t hurt anyone. Besides, he saw little benefit in learning how to map stars and identify planets. How was that ever going to help him in the grander scheme of things?

 

Obviously, becoming an astronomer was the last thing he intended for himself.

 

Today, Niles found himself reclining against the Quidditch stand benches, high above the ground. The cool gales brought reprieve to his marred soul and Niles knew right there and then that it was a prime napping spot. He counted himself fortunate that Quidditch got cancelled that year, or there would be noisy people conducting try outs or practices then.

 

Slowly but surely, he slipped into slumber.  

Edited by Niles Greyback

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Kay Wickham

Kay was on another jog, her Hogwarts hobby that had already become habit. It was a good way to learn as much as she could about the layout of the school and burn some energy at the same time. She always needed to exhaust herself at least a little bit before sitting down for homework--otherwise she was a squirmy, fidgety mess of distraction.

 

Upon reaching the Quidditch Pitch, she realized that she would have to go the whole long way around or just head back, considering they'd started tearing up the pitch itself for the Try-Wizard whatever. At this point she was already too tired to go around, but not tired enough to call it quits, and so she lingered at ground level, toeing the dirt with her shoes and swiping sweat from the back of her neck, thinking.

 

It was when she caught sight of the nearest stairway to the top of the stands that she decided she'd take the third option, and climb some stairs instead. With a breathless grin she pushed herself all the way to the top, gripping the handrail only a (literal) handful of times when she really needed an anchor, and upon finally emerging victorious pumped her fists into the air and cheered--

 

--absolutely nothing, because there was someone sleeping up there, and Kay slapped both hands over her mouth to catch whatever sound slipped out in the moment, and swallowed it down.

 

It was the Greyback boy.

 

Kay would readily admit that she knew nothing about him besides the fact that he got weird looks in the hallway sometimes. And in class. And the night of Sorting, most of all--when his name had been called, it had felt like at least a third of the room went sour. Faces had pinched like he carried a bad smell, but now that she was close enough (and getting closer, out of curiousity) she could tell he smelled fine.

 

Well, actually, there was a bit of a--no, wait, that was her, that was her own armpits.

 

Back to the question at hand: what was it about this kid's face that made other people's faces so nasty? Kay stood on the bench below him and leaned over to get a good look, inadvertently blocking the cool breeze in the process.

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Niles Greyback

Being left alone was the greatest gift anyone could have given Niles in that moment. But alas, legilimency or common sense was not an inborn skill. Seconds after his breeze supply was cut off, Niles stirred to wakefulness. He was, at first, unclear at what could have disturbed him. But that confusion quickly dispelled when he was met with a pair of wide blinking green-grey eyes, the latter of which was attached to a blonde girl he did not recognize.

 

The shriek was left his lips was not manly in the least bit. (Not that he was a ‘man’ at any rate.)

 

In his surprise, Niles tumbled over the seat, landing on the concrete ground with one giant thump. He groaned and immediately knew he would be waking up with a big bruise on his forehead tomorrow – that throbbing feeling was rather telling.

 

Urgh – who the heck even?

 

Glaring up at the intruder, Niles picked out a few salient details. She was roughly the same size as he was and the mop of blonde hair appeared familiar, meaning she might have been in his classes. Chances were, she’s a fellow first year. And that meant she was little to no threat to him, magically or otherwise. Good, good.

 

That didn’t mean he shouldn’t ‘play nice’ though…. probably.

 

“Can I help you?” Niles asked rather sarcastically. She had scuttle off after apologizing or he might just not get his nap.

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Kay Wickham

Kay wasn't sure how long exactly she'd been puzzling out his face, trying to see whatever those other students saw when they looked at him. From here he just seemed like a tired kid, the corners of his mouth turned down slightly even in his sleep. He looked small, like most boys did when they napped, and a little bit sad, like it was a permanent state of being that could not be assuaged by something as simple as unconsciousness.

 

She leaned over, nearly slipping off the bench before whipping her hands up and kicking one leg back for balance, ending up in something of an arabesque. That's when his brows creased--bad dream?--and suddenly his blue eyes blinked open and met with hers.

 

The boy yelped in surprise, an undignified screech that sort of delighted Kay, but within the same instant he fell out of his seat and hit his head on the concrete floor and that overwrote the feeling with concern. He recovered fairly quick, with a pained groan that made her grimace. Then he turned towards her with the kind of glower that seemed practiced, another expression that slid so naturally onto his face that he must have been using it for weeks.

 

“Can I help you?” he asked, and Kay had been living with her roommate Kelby long enough to recognize and subsequently ignore sarcasm in all various forms.

 

This form was 100% pure all-natural sarcastic.

 

She hopped from the bench onto the concrete next to him, yanking her half-finished water bottle from the pocket of her bright red sweatpants. "Sorry, dude," she said, crouching down to squint at the bruise-to-be. "I didn't mean to spook you--that was some crazy forward momentum though," she added with a grin, "You must be great at the long jump."

 

Kay tapped the bottom of her bottle, checking to make sure it had some residual cold left beneath the condensation, before abruptly attempting to press the chill end of it to his forehead. "You gotta ice that or it's gunna end up looking like a third eyeball."

 

The boy's impatience with her non-explanation lingered in the air between them as she climbed back up to sit on the bench. She'd never been one to beat around the bush (unless it deserved a beating), so once she was reasonably sure he wasn't displaying any immediate signs of a concussion, she crossed her legs and leaned forwards once more, intent. "I was just wondering why some people don't like your face."

 

She had never been one for tact, either.

 

"I mean, at the Sorting Ceremony," she explained, placing her hands upon her knees and tilting her head, her whole body asking the questions. "Your name was called and a bunch of people got like--" she couldn't describe it, so she just illustrated it with her own features, fixing them into a look that was a coagulation of fear, anger, and disgust, with just a hint of over-exaggeration via Kay's natural theatricality.

 

"In the hallway sometimes, too. So what's up? Did you go to wizard juvie or something?"

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Niles Greyback

Personal space. That was something Niles wanted an ample supply of, bruise or no bruise. The Hufflepuff thought he communicated that desire pretty well to this random Gryffindor but as expected of someone from the most bullheaded house ever, she completely disregarded it.

 

The cool bottle, in any other situation, would have been a nice gesture. But Niles’ crankiness made it easy to dismiss it entirely. Her endless comments about his injury (which she caused!!!) was pointless as well. As an individual with brains (unlike present company), Niles would much rather seek the opinion of a professional than listen to her recommendations.

 

Seriously though. If his schoolmate wasn’t going to give him the space he wanted, then he’d be the first to remove himself from the Quidditch stands. There was no point in getting territorial when there are plenty of nooks and crannies to hide away in… wait – what did she say?

 

Niles stared at the Gryffindor with wide eyes, shock evident in every dip and corner of his features. While her questions were nothing new, they were framed in the least apologetic way he had ever heard. Like, honestly… What. The. Hell.

 

WHAT. THE. HELL.

Like unrelenting rapids, anger coursed through Niles’ veins. It filled every square inch of him, swiftly knocking down every flimsy wall of logic that stood in its way. There was no turning back from this - not that Niles made a single attempt to do so anyway. As far as he was concerned, the Gryffindor deserved a bashing like no other.

 

And Niles was more than happy to be the first in line to give it to her.

 

Without so much as a warning, Niles hurled himself at the girl, knocking her over like she was a bowling pin. While she was disoriented, the Hufflepuff took out his wand and pointed its cackling tip at the bridge of her nose. The spells he knew were pathetic… but surely they could cause more damage at point-blank range?

 

“What gives YOU the bloody right to ask all of that?! Are you completely inept at minding your own beeswax? Or are you too stupid and selfish to realise I do not want to hear ANY of that?!” At this point, Niles was struggling to hold back the tears. Thankfully, his temper was excellent at distracting him. “My life here is hard enough as it is and I do not need asshats like you to make it worse. PYERETZ!”

Edited by Niles Greyback

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Kay Wickham

Kay had been bitten by a puppy once.

 

She'd been five, maybe six, and playing at the park. Her excitement had blinded her to the dog's discomfort with being nuzzled, and moments after feeling the rumble of a growl beneath her cheek, the puppy chomped down on her nose and she'd needed TWO WHOLE stitches.

 

Kay was reminded of that puppy now, in the instant before Niles shoved her from the bench. It was like somewhere in the back of her mind, she could hear that little rumbling growl, the rolling thunder of his unease.

 

If only he'd been more like Robin, whose anger came with actual clouds, and a static electricity in the air that sparked up her pigtails—then maybe she would have known what was coming. Instead, she was still that dumb little girl at the park.

 

And then she was on her back, the breath knocked out of her and the sky spinning overhead. He'd moved fast, knocking bodily into her and following up with his wand in her face. The dark wood tip seemed charged, a mere inch or two from her nose. She wrinkled it, defensively, resisting the inexplicable urge to sneeze.

 

Kay wondered if this was how she met her end—if this was what finally defeated her after eleven long years of righteous combat.

 

Her life flashed before her eyes:

Watching cartoons with her dad.

Learning how to handstand.

A bent bicycle wheel.

Discovering magic.

Meeting Robin. Meeting Fran.

Asking stupid questions and getting executed by deathstick magic shot RIGHT UP HER NOSEHOLES.

 

--That last one hadn't happened yet, but she was sure it was coming. Kay's eyes followed the wand up, up Niles' arm and to his face. Even with her vision blurred by the tumble, she could could see the strain in his expression, a potent mixture of fury and misery that bared his teeth and wet his eyes.

 

He called her inept, stupid, and selfish for asking. Kay wondered if he might be right, making a face like that. Maybe she'd crossed a line somewhere—maybe there was a wizard juvie rule about not discussing wizard juvie. Or maybe he'd had tough times there and didn't want to think about it.

 

Either way, she was about to apologize (in a long-winded and likely ineffectual way) when he threw 'asshat' on the pile of designations and cast a spell in her face.

 

THIS WAS IT THIS WAS THE END--

 

“Pyeretz!”

 

A tickle began at the back of her throat, and she swallowed, confused, until that gulp became the flint that sparked a fire along the flesh of her tongue and up the arches, engulfing the roof of her mouth in flames as well. It was like she had gargled with a glass of lava and then washed it down with a spoonful of cinnamon fury.

 

She scrambled for her fallen water bottle, scooped it up and chugged—but of course it had no effect on a magic spell, and it took all Kay had to resist throwing it from the stands in frustration. Sticking her tongue out and fanning it rapidly instead, she glowered at the boy. “Whuh wath THA' thor?” she asked, barely articulating. “I juth ackthed a quethion!” Talking and cooling down her tongue at the same time was proving awkward, so even though it felt like a gritty sun-baked roof tile in her mouth she withdrew her tongue from sight once more.

 

“I didn't mean anything by it!” she argued, pushing herself to her feet to stare him down—or up, given the half-inch or so he had on her--”I think you have a normal face, like really for real normal, you know? So I thought it was weird!”

 

Niles still looked ready for a fight, and if there was anything Kay was happy to accommodate it was FIGHT READINESS—so before he could attack her again, she reached out and shoved him. “Wanna fight? Let's go!” she shouted, then put her fists up, boxer-style, in front of her face. “If life is tough on you, you can be tough on me. Hit me again!”

 

And just in case he didn't get her meaning, she leapt at him in an attempt to grapple, her tiny yet muscular arms wrapping around him in a bear hug (emphasis on hug), and her legs going full-koala-cling. “You're mad at everything and that's okay. We can yell about stuff—I'll go first!” She turned her head away and cried, “MY TONGUE IS ON FIRE!” out over the Quidditch pitch, and listened to it echo.

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Niles Greyback

After years of getting bullied by the kids in his neighborhood, Niles would like to think he was skilled in the art of the fight. But alas, all he really knew was to wave his arms and fists wildly until they hit where it hurts. Magic introduced new possibilities, those of which that he intuitively took advantage of the moment he could. When the girl responded with ire to his spell, Niles smiled triumphantly.

 

Niles 1, Idiotte, 0.

 

With fists clenched and eyes ablaze, Niles readied himself for retaliation. But nope – the idiotte decided to justify her questioning instead. What. The. Heck?! Was she serious? ….Oh Merlin, she was.

 

“Nothing is wrong with my face, but something is most certainly wrong with your brain.” Niles couldn’t help but comment. Idiotte was definitely the naïve type that, upon entering the seedy passages of Diagon Alley, would easily be duped into signing her life away. Niles desperately hoped it would happen one day, some day.

 

Then, FINALLY, she got with the program. Halleluiah!! “You asked for it.” Niles spat out and swung his fist back. Just as he was about to bless the other with a picture-worthy black eye, the idiotte spewed out even more nonsense.

 

“If life is tough on you, you can be tough on me. Hit me again!”

 

?!?!?!?

 

Niles stood there, rage flickering into confusion. Who the hell even says that? Was he in the Twilight Zone? Or did she hit him with some sort of spell that made him think crazy? No – it was none of the above. She was just trying to distract him.

 

And he fell for it like a numskull.

 

Growling, he struggled to wriggle out of her grasp. What kind of strategy was this? How was he going to teach her a lesson when she was hanging off of him?! Niles, to his chagrin, was far out of his depth.  

 

“GET OFF ME.” Niles shrilled as he was forced to stumble forward, no thanks to the parasite. “YOU’RE BLOODY HEAVY, LIKE A COW.” In desperation, Niles waved his arm backwards, in search for his wand. It must have fell onto the seats when she threw herself at him. “RELEASE ME OR I’LL KNOCK YOU OVER THE RAILS.”

  

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Kay Wickham

Kay might have miscalculated, and she considered this as she continued to squeeze her classmate like her limbs were individual preteen boa constrictors. He was taller than she'd anticipated, for one, and she was no longer sure that she could drag him down to ground level, especially given the awkward terrain of the quidditch stands. That made her position (dubbed the piggyback side-satchel) more precarious than effective.

 

At least he was yelling without looking like he might cry this time, but she wasn't sure whether that was a good or bad thing when the whole point was to help him express his inner frustrations. She 'hmmed' and held him tighter, trying to make sure he knew that he had her FULL SUPPORT.

 

Technically, though, he was the one supporting her--at least her weight--and it wasn't going so well.

 

 “YOU’RE BLOODY HEAVY, LIKE A COW.”

 

"Thanks! I might be small, but I'm dense!" she replied with a grin, not meaning it quite the way it sounded. Her arms came together across his shoulders, hands linking together in a solid grip. "This is all muscle, mate!"

 

Niles was staggering now, stumbling forwards, reaching outwards to grab hold of something that eluded his grasp. He threatened to knock her over the rails if she didn't let go, and Kay darted a look towards said rails--they were a dangerously short distance away. She considered whether or not he was serious, but then realized he'd have a better chance of tossing her over if she weren't glomped onto his body like a hungry leech.

 

"You can't do that, we're practically conjoined," she warned. "If I go, you goOH MAN," she yelped as Niles' hip hit the rail and they teetered at the edge. "Okay okay, hang on, just let me--" Kay held his shoulder with one hand while her other fell to the rail he was pressed against, clenching white-knuckle tight around it as she practically dangled from Nile's torso over the side of the stands. "Alright, I'm gunna let go of you now--"

 

Except her shifting of weight and his attempt to shrug her off had sudden and catastrophic results in the form of the both of them losing their balance at the same moment.

 

Niles' feet left the platform of the stands as Kay's weight--SHE WAS DENSELY-PACKED MUSCLE--carried them both over the side of the quidditch stand, a hundred meters from the ground.

 

"--I take it back I'm not letting go of you!" Kay shouted, still clinging to the rail with her one hand while the other kept tightly clutched at Niles's arm. She was pretty sure he'd grabbed onto something too, considering she was buff but definitely not buff enough to hold his weight with one hand, but she wasn't going to take any chances until she knew for sure. Looking down, she found it difficult to discern at this angle whether he had anything to hold, so all she could really do at this point was grimace and strain to say, "Sorry, my bad!"

 

Truly, no bad had been a worse bad, or more deserving of an apology for the badness of the bad.

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Addison Toft

Flying practise. That's all Addison really wanted - just some alone time with a broom, to work on her turns and dives. The quidditch pitch was still a mess from the adjustments they were making to it for the tournament tasks, but she figured nobody would mind her flying around close by - it wasn't as if she was trying to spy on the preparations.

 

"MY TONGUE IS ON FIRE!"

 

"YOU'RE BLOODY HEAVY, LIKE A COW!"

 

So much for flying practise. With a disgruntled expression, Addison began scanning the surrounding grounds for wherever this fight was taking place. Once of the voices sounded awfully familiar, and if it belonged to who she was thinking of, then she knew it was better to put a stop to the fisticuffs before things got too out of hand.

 

"RELEASE ME OR I'LL KNOCK YOU OVER THE RAILS."

 

... Things were getting too out of hand. Addison glanced up - the rails had to mean they were up in the stands and... "Oh God." There they were, two tiny figures in the distance, hanging over the side with only their desperate handholds on the railing keeping them from plummeting to their deaths. What was with this crop of first years? Alvis and Aiden needed to be rescued from drowning in the lake, and now Kay and whoever else was up there were about to fall off the stands and turn into splatter when they hit the ground.

 

Without conscious thought, Addison mounted her broom and kicked off to soar up and meet them. One hand removed itself from the shaft of the broom and took out her wand. "Levioso!" She aimed at Kay, who she assumed to be the squirmier of the two and thus more likely to lose her grip. Meanwhile, as she approached as fast as she could, Addison eyeballed the positioning, so she could line up with Niles properly. She'd done this before - flying with someone else sitting behind her - but it'd been a while.

 

"Oi," she barked at Niles, "Get on!"

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