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Sabine Frost

Thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows

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Sabine Frost

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“A warning: If you rip, tear, shred, bend, fold, deface, disfigure, smear, smudge, throw, drop, or in any other manner damage, mistreat, or show lack of respect towards this book, the consequences will be as awful as it is within my power to make them.”
—    Warning on the inside of a library book

 

If Sabine had a second favourite room in Hogwarts, it would be a distant runner-up to her first choice. Unlike others, who loved their common rooms, or dormitories, or even the Great Hall for the wonderful meals, Sabine’s most occupied room was located off of a corridor on the first-floor.

 

Her only disappointment was that it closed at 8:00 pm.

 

There were so many things to love – the volume of books to read, the strict rules, the limited social interaction. All music to Sabine’s ears (albeit quiet music – it is a library after all). 

 

So, she sat surrounded by a pile of books, quills and parchment. But to assume it was a mess would be entirely inaccurate. All three were neatly stacked and lined up, as Sabine systematically did her homework research and positively radiated happiness, the longer she studied.
 

@Alexander Crow

Edited by Sabine Frost

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Alexander Crow

Alex enjoyed visiting the Hogwarts library. The ravenclaw common room was warm and cheery, but it could get quite rambunctious from hosting so many people. It was the third time this week that He has inadvertently walked into a group having a party and had to awkwardly excuse himself away from it. There was so much restless energy going on around him, from the excitement of the first week perhaps? Either way, he needed some peace and tranquility to get his assigned reading done. Making a good impression on his first year was important. That and he was sorted in the nerd house for a reason.

 

Gathering his books, Alex walked along the  corridors (busy with chattering students of course) happy that he knew his way to the library without getting lost by now. He hit so many dead ends the first few days and the changing staircases weren't helpful. Traveling in packs will be a good remedy but he was too shy to ask house mates to walk with him. He wanted to seem less like a child and more like a student, though coming from a non magical background meant not knowing what was going on half the time.

 

Alex found his way to the library and happily perched on an empty table, ahh peace and quiet. If only they allowed food in here, he'd have everything he needed. 

 

... except for a quill. Alex rummaged through his pack, looking for his owl feather quill which did not make an appearance no matter how hard he tried. He must have forgotten it at his desk or something. Being an avid note taker, a study session wouldn't quite be the same without it. Looking around, he spotted a familiar face on another table. A girl in his house, though they haven't really spoken before thanks to his tendency to keep to himself. Should he walk over and ask to borrow one? But that would require conversation. Maybe he can go without a quill for the evening? Nah that will just put him in a bad mood.

 

Alex found himself getting up and slowly moving towards the table and stopped when he was next to it. "Um... excuse me... do you happen to have a spare quill? I forgot mine... uh, what are you reading?" He could feel his ears turn pink from the effort. Why does chatting come easily with everyone else but him?

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Sabine Frost

Sabine wondered how soon before they learned the Silencio spell – and she’d definitely have to check the library rules again to see if there was a loophole that would allow her to use it on fellow students! On the positive side, once she really got into studying, it would take an errant dragon flying between the shelves to disrupt her concentration – but right now she had yet to get into the zone.

 

She glanced around, giving (what she hoped was) a stare that encouraged more quiet study, before turning her attention back to her books – and more important her study timetable. She didn’t just read. She had a priority list – homework, extra reading around the homework, studying for tomorrow’s lessons, studying for the day after’s lessons. Then, if it was still before 8pm, she’d be frivolous and choose a subject at random to study. Yesterday it was arithmancy.

 

She was about to open her first book – One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore – for at her feet, was a small grey cactus in a pot, except that it was covered with what looked like boils rather than spines. It was her Mimbulus mimbletonia – and the care of it formed part of her first Herbology assignment. It was positioned under the table in case anyone should accidentally knock into it, given stinksap is squirted out from the boils on the surface of the plant and Sabine had no desire to end up smelling like rancid manure.

 

But before her hand reached the cover, a fellow student approached her. Sabine was slowly coming to terms with social interaction with people who were, on the face of it, complete strangers. And she was also – very, very, very slowly – understanding the difference between boys and girls. So a stranger who was also boy? She breathed in deeply. Maybe he was just walking near her, as opposed to actually towards her? 

 

His next action dispelled her theory (and hopes in equal measure). Two questions…which to answer first? And what about manners? Her parents were very clear about being sociable. 

 

Sabine stood – and extended a hand at lightning speed. Her arm was ram-rod straight. She had the mechanics of hand-shaking reasonably well practiced, but the pace needed to be worked upon. “Hi, I’m Sabine, you’re Alex right, I recognise you from classes, I have a spare quill and ‘One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi.” 

 

Sabine breathed…finally. 

 

“I always carry a spare. Well, three spares actually,” she gestured to the table. "And I deduce by your proximity you didn’t come across just to ask if I have a spare. Did you want to borrow one? Because you can. But if you just wanted to know if I had a spare, that’s OK. I don’t mind you asking.” 

 

She smiled. “Are you feeling OK, your face has turned a shade of fuchsia.” Sabine, it seemed, never got embarrassed. She was not shy – she simply lacked social skills. But she was learning…albeit very slowly.
 

@Alexander Crow

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Alexander Crow

There are times when Alex gets himself in certain situations which makes him retrace his steps and see what he could have better. For starters, he could have double checked his book bag before heading out of the dorm rooms this morning. Or he could have gotten extra quills and place them amongst his things strategically to avoid every getting caught without one. That would have helped him avoid awkward encounters with people. probably the mildest mishap one could expect at a magical school. What if it was his wand that got misplaced? What would he have to defend himself in case a stray dragon attacked?

 

Thankfully, he didn't have to deal with any of that. Alex found himself talking to Sabine who surprisingly knew his name. He didn't know how he managed to not make himself completely invisible to the rest of his year mates, maybe his abysmal performance at flying lessons did the trick.

 

"Oh yes, Sabine, I've seen you around, and uh yes I did intend on borrowing a quill, but I wanted to ask if you had a spare first cause not everyone has... let alone three... which is pretty neat" He could feel the warmth that started with his ear spread to his cheeks. Unfortunately, it was blatant enough for Sabine to notice as well "I'm fine thanks just uh, I'm not used to talking to people really but I do babble when I get nervous like that other day in the dueling chamber, fun sport but not enough first years do it so I usually have to try the upper years and know better spells so..."

 

Uh oh, he's babbling. Should he just excuse himself and make a run for it? But he was talking to a fellow ravenclaw which means they will probably run into each other at the common room sometime during his seven years of residency and that will just be humiliating. What was it that Mum said about talking to people? Find a common interest. Let's see they're both ravenclaws, and what else? Alex's eyes darted around to see anything he could use for small talk, that's when he spotted the Mimbulus Mimbletonia. 

 

"Oh you have one too!" Alex exclaimed, gesturing towards the plant "I have mine sitting in the windowsill of the dorm, what did you name yours? Mine is uh Thorny McThornFace" The name sounded so much better in his head when he decided to christen it in class. 

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Sabine Frost

Sabine listened intently. She was still getting the hang of social interaction, and facial clues were a really bane, so she tended to focus on the words primarily. As long as people said what they meant, she was fine. Too often, in her albeit limited experience, people expected you to respond to what they meant, not what they said. Was the average witch a mind-reader? Not according to the research she’d done.

 

On the plus side, he was giving plenty of verbal clues – on the down-side there were possibly one or two…or ten…too many. She was having trouble keeping up. Her smile remained but her brows knitted slightly.

 

“Three quills, yes…you’re fine…” She had a habit of repeating people to show she was listening and giving them the chance to challenge her if she’d misunderstood. “Duelling? Really? Not for me. Not yet.”

 

At his proclamation she ‘had one too’ she looked down. Did he mean a bag? Or feet? No, they’re a plural – albeit a single pair. And maybe he kept his bag on the windowsill? It fitted. And then she understood. The reference to naming her plant did the trick. "I called mine Mimbulus Mimbletonia. It’s a cactus, not a pet.” Her tone wasn’t quite dismissive, but she certainly made it clear what she thought of the idea of giving plants a name. “And you know they don’t have thorns, despite being a cactus. Or were you being ironic? Which is rather clever, I must say.”
 

@Alexander Crow

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Alexander Crow

What?! Someone in this school does not like dueling? Alex was under the impression that everyone was into the sport, since the chamber was always crowded every time he visited. Come to think of it, he doesn't recall seeing Sabine in the dueling chamber before. Maybe she just happened to go on days he was off doing something else? It is a pretty big castle. "Oh, I like dueling, just not when I get hit with spells. Have you tried it?" He might as well ask and find out. If not, maybe he can invite her some time? First year opponents are a precious commodity, given no else seems to what to deal with ickles. Not challenging enough and whatnot. 

 

Alex was glad when the Mimbulus Mimbletonia sparked a decent amount of chatter. Makes sense since the last Herbology class was still fresh on everyone's mind. The professor seemed to make quite an impression on everyone, especially since his desk was bigger than he was. "You can name plants too if you'd like. My Mum has this rose bush that she's talks to when she goes outside for watering, she says it makes it happy and gives us extra pretty blossoms. Though I don't know if that's true though. Rosie-- that's what she calls it-- didn't bloom much one year, but that could be because of the drought too---" He was babbling again. "But of course, you don't have to name plants if you don't want to." 

 

He wished he had the idea to give his plant an ironic name, but that was not the case. Alex could feel his cheeks flush again "Umm no. It reminded me of a regular cactus, a muggle one, but I wish I thought of that. You make a pretty good ravenclaw." The girl carries three quills around, Rowena must feel quite proud about that. Oh that's right, he was here to borrow a quill! All the chattering almost made him forget. "Oh so may I borrow your quill? I will make it up to you next time, though you don't seem the type who would forget anything" Alex's eyes wandered over to the empty seat in front of Sabine, maybe he should just sit here and pick her brains on the assigned reading. He never studied with anyone before, has always been too shy to ask. Mum did say study groups were a good way to make friends as long as you don't get into too much heated debates. 

 

"So uh, are you waiting for the rest of your study group?" Some people can get straight to the point, Alex sadly, isn't one of them. Penelope got all of the confidence in the family and he got all the magic. Seems like a fair trade. 

 

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Sabine Frost

Sabine shook her head at the mention of duelling. She’d visited the chamber once – when taken on a tour by those somewhat excitable Ravenclaw prefects. Her mind was still undecided if she should hand herself in for being an accomplice during and after the fact for so many school rules infractions.

 

It was not this that put her off. In truth, she was unsure what had kept her away. In many ways, she liked the academic side of life here. Studying, learning. Doing…well that didn’t do it for her. She would rather read about a plant than care for it. 

 

“Does it hurt when you’re hit…by a spell?” she asked. She was aware she’d never even talked about the subject before. And Alex seemed level-headed enough to tell her how it was – she sensed no air of bravado about him, that she’d seen with others. Their recounting of exploits in general did not match her observations at the time. Like how many boasted at their prowess on a broom, when she’d seen them struggle even to get the broom to rise.

 

Her nose wrinkled. “And it’s not about not wanting to name plants, not exactly. It’s more about the logic and practicality of it. People don’t name doors, or quills, or books do they? OK, books have titles, I grant you, but I would never call my copy of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi ‘Alex’ would I? I suspect if I did, you’d think I was strange. Not that there is anything wrong with the name Alex. Unless you’re a girl of course. Although it could be short for Alexandra. But I digress – my parents say I do that a lot. What I mean is, where does the naming stop? People? Pets? Cuddly toys?” She was mindful of Monty, her Montrose Magpie mascot – the one that shared her bed in the Ravenclaw Common Room, and she was sure nobody had ever spotted! 

 

“If someone responds to a name, I can see the logic. It serves a purpose. But a plant? Does every tree in the forest have a name? I don’t think so.”

 

She smiled. This was not some rant of an outraged student, but the nerdy thought process of someone who clearly thought too much about things.

 

The smile widened slightly at the mention of fulfilling the characteristics of her House. “The Hat considered Gryffindor too – but opted for Ravenclaw in the end. I really wouldn’t have minded where I ended up. We aren’t all one of four, quite distinct, stereotypes. Rather we’re a blend. I plan to write a paper on the whole subject of Sorting in the summer. Once I can gather some empirical evidence. And debate the whole division thing – you know how it made Slytherin and Gryffindor fall out – given they had been the best of friends.”

 

Aware Alex had asked for the quill, Sabine nodded. “Of course, I have plenty of spares in my room. And I don’t have a study group.” She looked around expectantly, “Hasn’t yours turned up yet?”

 

@Alexander Crow

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Alexander Crow

Someone who hasn't dueled before? Alex started mentally making dueling schedules, wondering if Sabine will be up to it. He was initially hesitant too, and truthfully only managed to wander into the chambers by accident. Fortunately, it was the very same day that dueling club was setting up so he figured might as well sign up and get some extra curriculars in while learning something. Mum has suggested joining school activities to make new friends and was pleased to hear that he did, though she raised an eyebrow after he explained what dueling was. 

 

"It does a bit, " he answered honestly, remembering the first time he got a blast of the knockback jinx and ended up on his backside. "... and sometimes depending on the spell it gives you extra uh... side effects. Like that one time I got hit by a horn tongue curse, it made a horn grow on my tongue so I couldn't talk normally... but it wears off after awhile, or you can ask them to fix you up too if you don't want to wait" Alex was wondering if this was hurting or helping his plan to invite Sabine dueling. He really needed extra opponents his age down there. The upper class duelists usually turn their noses up at first years, too novice for their taste apparently. "Overall it's fun, maybe I can show you sometime..." he added hopefully. It doesn't have to be anytime soon, they have seven years at this school after all. 

 

Alex listened to Sabine's explanation, inwardly amused at the whole Alex/Alexandra rant. He knew Mum would have named him Alexandra had he turned out to be a girl, his nickname would have been Alex either way. "You make a compelling point, though I do have a teddy bear named Mr Blue back home, because his fur is blue and he' really soft and cuddl---... but uh, I don't miss him or anything like that." His ears are starting to turn a nice shade of pink again, of course he wished Mr Blue was given the room to ride in his trunk to school but Mum decided its best to leave him home. 

 

"Oh I didn't know the sorting hat could consider you for two houses! It only really thought of ravenclaw for me." Now that he's found more about the houses and their stereotypes, Alex realizes that he could fit into Hufflepuff too, but the sorting hat made no mention of that. It didn't take it too long to deliberate before putting him in the eagle house. "What house were your parents in?" He was lucky enough to go to Hogwarts without any expectations for a house, since his parents were muggle. He could see both his Mum and Dad in ravenclaw, though who knows where Penelope will end up in. Somewhere far away from him hopefully. 

 

"I don't have a study group either, people kind of started forming them without me... mostly because I was too busy uh... keeping to myself." Alex wasn't much of the jump on the opportunity kind, he was too shy for that. Random circumstances tend to push him into social situations though. Like dueling, that one time when he was out and another student asked about his comic books, and the one time he forgot his quill in the library. "So... mind if I join you?"

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Sabine Frost

Sabine looked horrified. Duelling not only sounded dangerous – it was. And they had a ‘club’ for it? Really? “And how do you ask to be fixed if you can’t speak?” she said, her logical brain trying to decipher the flow of the process. “It sounds...interesting.” Which was Sabine’s euphemism for anything beyond her comprehension, typically outside of her emotional range (which was very, very, narrow).

 

“I’m not convinced it sounds like fun, but I’m sure it’s something I’ll have to endure at some point, so I should at the very least try it before too long.”

 

And Sabine was delighted to hear another first year had a soft toy, although disappointed to hear he didn’t bring him to Hogwarts. Not that she was about to share knowledge of her bedtime companion.

 

“I suspect some people are complex and the Hat will make a judgement call on what’s best for you and Hogwarts I guess,” she said. “As for my parents, they wouldn’t tell me. Said they didn’t want to put pressure on me, in case being in a given House might make me think I would disappoint them. Except, I’d already deduced they were in Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Their old scarves gave that one away. Not that I let on that I knew. Sometimes it is good for parents to think they have a secret, even when they don’t.”

 

And her brows knitted at the news study groups had already been forming. “Well I wasn’t excluded because I was keeping myself to myself. I guess people just didn’t want me in their groups. For whatever reason.” There was no malice in her voice, merely surprise at the news.



She glanced around, it was clear he had his own seat and table, but there was room where she was sitting for him to move to. “I don’t mind at all. What work are you studying right now? Or at least, would you be, if you’d had a quill already.”

 

@Alexander Crow

Edited by Sabine Frost

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Alexander Crow

"Well... I kind of just flail my arms around, point to the affected area, and look like I need help..." Alex was highly embarrassed at the admission, then again he is a big dork. "...the officiant catches on pretty fast and helps you right away. I mean, I'm sure they're used to it by now. Dueling is the kind of sport where injuries are prevalent, but he surprisingly hasn't sustained any serious bodily harm so far. Those things probably happen the further you advance, but either way he heard the hospital wing does a good job patching broken students up. Not that he is looking forward to the visit. 

 

"Don't worry it's not for everyone..." He was a little disappointment at Sabine's disinterest in dueling, regular dueling partners are hard to get. No matter, there was no use in trying to push the subject, as Alex certainly was not the assertive type. Though in an unusual stroke of persistence that surprised even him,  he added "but if ever feel like trying it one of these days, you know where to find me..." Wait, that was a very vague remark. How will Sabine know where to find him? Did she think he meant the library since that's where they were formally introduced? Or the dueling chamber since they were talking about the sport? Or the ravenclaw common room since that's where they lived? "Uh I meant the dueling chamber since you know--- if I want to duel that's where I go and if you want to duel that's where--- yeah." His face could not get any hotter at this point. 

 

"Yeah, I think the hat knows things you might not even be aware of because it's hidden deep, deep down." Alex mused, remembering his own sorting. "It was a little scary, having something dig in your thoughts like that... but I think it made the right choice." A ravenclaw and a hufflepuff, that sounds like an interesting combination. Old wizarding families but have years of Hogwarts house paraphernalia to collect, giving their offspring something to yearn for when their turn comes. "It's good of your parents to not put any pressure on you... I don't think my parents would have either but there's no way of knowing. They've never been to Hogwarts so..."

 

Alex brightened up considerably at Sabine's acceptance of his invitation... or rather her acceptance of his attempt to invite himself. Mum would be very proud at the news of his son getting into a study group... well a group of two but baby steps. " Oh yes, I have my astronomy notes right now, I was planning on doing herbology and transfiguration next... and you are starting with herbology..." He eyed the One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, wishing he didn't leave Thorny McThornface  on the windowsill. 

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Sabine Frost

Sabine listened and nodded. It seemed duelling was even more challenging than she imagined. “Injuries…are…prevalent,” she echoed – slowly. She was no coward but volunteering to be hurt? Wasn’t that one of the tests for being somewhat foolish?

 

“Too right it isn’t for everyone,” she added. “But then, I promised myself I would never shy away from a challenge. Never. So, if you’re keen to practice and find yourself short of a partner, you know where to find me. Here, or in class, or in the Common Room. Or eating in the Great Hall of course.” She knew she didn’t exactly have to list every possible location, but she thought it made it less confusing if she did. “Because the odds on us both being in the duelling chamber at the same time and both looking for an opponent are slim to be honest.”

 

“And are you sure you’re alright. Maybe you’re hot, you look flushed."  

 

“And I can switch mine around, but I’ve started Herbology, so can I finish that, and then you can choose the next subject. And if anyone else wants to join us, they’ll have to go with the plan we’ve drawn up. OK?”

 

@Alexander Crow

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