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Margarleon Turpentine

We've got new rules, we count 'em

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Margarleon Turpentine

Leon hated rules. Thus, when Professor McGonagall laid out the new rules they would be expected to abide by after the attacks, he’d been incredulous. He’d spent a long time gaping, mouth full of half-chewed food, at the Headmistress before he’d finally decided simply that he didn’t intend to follow any of them. He’d been breaking rules already at Hogwarts, and he wasn’t about to stop now. Besides, he’d been one of the first years who had escaped unscathed because he’d had enough sense to keep flying out of range of the wolves when they’d attacked.

 

It wasn’t fair for him to be punished, or for any of them to be punished. Plus, how any of the rules were really supposed to help prevent another attack was beyond him… Leon rolled his eyes as he pushed away from the Slytherin table and retreated from the great hall, without a buddy. The new curfew was less than a half hour away now, and even though he didn’t intend to abide by it, he could at least get a little further away from authority figures before breaking it.

 

The boy kicked his foot along the cobbles as he walked, muttering profanities under his breath about all the rules that Hogwarts had. He hated rules and craved chaos. Realizing his feet were carrying him towards the dungeons, Leon forcibly lead himself away, back towards the great hall. He was about to cut up the entry hall stairs when he noticed a familiar face leaving the great hall. “Hey, Annag,” He greeted his… friend, of sorts, giving her a vague wave as he approached.

 

“What d’you think of the new rules?” He asked. Of course, Annag seemed kind and rule-abiding, so she perhaps wouldn’t automatically protest them as he intended to do.

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Annag Hamblton

For generations the townsfolk had referred to the Hamblton clan as "ornery" in the hard-headed kind of way. And for this she was proud.

 

Oh sure, they were a follower-of-rules. Many times to the point of being irritating to others. But when the rules were clearly stupid, the blood of her people would harden and they would charge forward—devil-be-damned!

 

This is where Annag found herself as she prepared to leave Hospital. List of rules in hand; left arm lashed to her body since 11-year-olds were apt to re-injure a newly-healed shoulder; and a medical contraption on her right leg that would allow her to walk, but kept her foot and ankle in place while the magically-injured tendons and ligaments were worked on by the Healers with their own magic.

 

In her pocket was a small, glass bottle with a cork. On it was glued a handwritten label that stated "Take for pain as needed once every four hours not to exceed six times a day. Do not fly a broom or perform magic while taking this medication as improper things could happen. If anything unexpected should occur while on this medication, contact a Healer immediately."

 

The effects of the little, black ball of pain meds was kicking in. A quintessential, British fog was slowly creeping into her brain just as a volunteer at hospital informed her that they were to be her "partner" and escort the girl back to the Ravenclaw dorms where she was immediately to take to her bed.

 

Annag snorted. "Perhaps we can go to the Great Hall instead. I'm frightfully hungry and could use a bit of an airing." Her student volunteer was hesitant at first, so she went on. "Don't worry. You don't have to stay with me. I'll get another Ravenclaw to walk with me back to the tower." She smiled a big smile. "Was that as fake as she felt it was?" she thought. But apparently not as the volunteer agreed to her plan.

 

Sitting in the Great Hall awkwardly trying to eat a cheese and pickle sandwich that was determined to hit her cheek and not her mouth—"Stupid sandwich!" she thought as her right hand swayed at her face like a cobra—Annag borrowed a quill from a fellow Ravenclaw explaining she was going to jot down notes about the new rules. Notes, indeed! She snorted again. Check boxes it was. Next to each...of these...asinine...rules! 'Cause she was going to check them off one-by-one adding the date and time as she broke them all, repeatedly.

 

Annag stopped at the Forbidden Forest. Though she had passed into it during the battle and was intrigued, getting expelled was more than she could tolerate even in her drug-muddled mind. Trees and rocks have loyalty to the creatures that care for them. She knew that the second a student crossed through their boundary during these trying times, someone at the school would immediately know. She left that one alone for now.

 

How dare they impose this garbage on students who had fought so hard to protect their fellow students and their school! Her fiery indignation returning quickly after thoughts of the quiet and calm forest.

 

There. Now let's see if anybody notices if I walk back to the tower without a blasted partner! She quietly slipped through the doors and out into the halls. As it was near that time for the ridiculous curfew, she really didn't expect the halls to be filled with students.

 

But there was a voice. And could it be saying her name? Certainly not. Nobody knew who she was nor would think to talk to her in public. But wait, she knew that voice. "LEON!" she chimed with a big smile. "Glad to see yer alright there, laddie!," looking the boy up and down for signs of damage. She had figured that high-flying Leon probably hadn't realize there was even a problem so far below until the announcement to evacuate to the Hufflepuff stands. And thankfully it looked like she had been right.

 

“What d’you think of the new rules?” He asked.

 

Oh,no. Here we go. Off to the races. She pulled the crumpled list from her pocket and shook it.

 

"Rules! Bloody pieces of sheep droppings they are! First, having a curfew. Moonrise around 'ere can be as early as three twenty-eight in the afternoon, dunderheads! Besides, there's a full moon only once every 29.5 days! And partners, don't get me started. When did students suddenly turn into flaming Aurors? If something did happen, then the only thing a partner would be is dessert! Headmistress McGonagall is far smarter than this rubbish. This smells like the Ministry trying to do somethin'—anythin'—to appease the parents and calm the students! Hogwarts–hogwash it is." she hissed. Raising her chin defiantly, she stuffed the paper back into her robes. Her mind then tried to regain some modicum of clarity and control. "Sorry, got a bit carried away there on ma high horse. Pain meds and all." She rolled her eyes and looked down sheepishly. "Rules are rules, after all and they're there to be followed. I'm sure they made the rules for a reason we're just not aware of," she said attempting  the best she could to mimic the way her mum spoke those very words. At this point in the conversation her dad would usually look over his glasses and grin and immediately try and look stern. "What yer mother said, lassie."

 

Perking up, she observed with a bit of mischief in her voice, "I see yer without yer required partner, as well?"

 

"Did ye not read the rules, Mr. Turpentine?!" she puffed up, lowered her glasses, and wagged her finger at the boy playfully pretending to be a professor. At which point she couldn't suppress a giggle.

 

 

Edited by Annag Hamblton

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Margarleon Turpentine

It seemed like everyone (but him) was injured, so seeing Annag’s arm in some sort of sling and her leg bandaged up was almost normal. Pine and Willa had been injured too, along with a fair amount of his other peers, so taking in Annag’s injuries seemed sadly normal. For once in his life, he felt lucky, though. It was not a feeling he was accustomed to, so used to having to fight for everything in his life. His high flying tendencies seemed to have paid off for him this time.

 

However, even injured as Annag was, it was clear her spirit had not dimmed. She greeted him with enthusiasm, and he nodded awkwardly at her observation that he was alright; uninjured. But if there was any other proof he needed that the girl was still herself (perhaps not fully better physically, but at least still, at her core, Annag), it came a moment later.

 

The girl’s fervor against the new rules matched his own, and his jaw slackened, hanging down as Annag ranted, many of her thoughts aligning with his own thoughts on the matter. Partners definitely wouldn’t help, the attack had happened in group settings where entire clusters of people and professors hadn’t even been able to help, but Merlin forbid he go anywhere without his corridor buddy. It was silly, and though he wasn’t sure he’d really thought about it being something the Ministry was trying to run to appease parents, it didn’t sound far off.

 

Annag had always been smarter than he was.

 

His mouth slowly shut as she concluded her rant, and a smile peeled across his face instead, laughing outright as he finally absorbed everything Annag had raved on about. “I got a partner now, haven’t I?” He asked teasingly, aiming a hand at her uninjured shoulder and giving it a pat. “You’re right here! All ready to protect me, right?” He raised his eyebrows at her before snickering, his head shaking back and forth as she asked him if he’d read the rules.

 

“The rules! Should I go on a rant of my own?” Leon asked, letting out a laugh along with Annag’s giggling. “I think you and I are on the same page when it comes to the rules. It’s all a bunch of codswallop! I don’t intend to follow them at all. They’re dumb,” The boy wasn’t quite as good about articulating his thoughts about the rules and how absurd they were as Annag was, but it would do. “What d’you say we break the curfew one? I ain’t going straight to bed right now,” Leon insisted, green eyes traveling around, wondering what direction they could go in first to try to escape notice the longest before meeting Annag’s once more, looking at her expectantly for her decision.

 

After her rant, it’d be almost more shocking to have her not agree to accompany him on his renegade mission.

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Annag Hamblton

That night Annag saw two things that she had never seen before. First was Leon actually laughing. Oh sure he sneeringly laughed bunches, but this time it seemed more a happy laugh. That was nice. The second was Leon’s green eyes. Perhaps it was the first time Leon had actually made direct eye contact with her. This too was nice. “Oh, ya got green eyes, lad. Never noticed ‘em afore now. Did ya know that only 14% of Scots have brown eyes and the majority of people think green is the most pleasing eye color there is? Read that once in the science section of the local paper.” Hers were coal black, so in Scotland she must be a real statistical rarity she mused to herself.

 

“I got a partner now, haven’t I? You’re right here! All ready to protect me, right?”

 

“Right. Partners it is!” she agreed enthusiastically, reaching up putting her hand on the taller boy’s shoulder best she could. “And aye, I’m always the muscle in this pair, for sure! Always here to protect ya.” She made a bicep curl and turned and kissed it. “Look at that gun, will ya? Bit out of commission today though, so we’re goin’ to have to rely on you in the protection department.” She gave Leon’s bicep a few gentle squeezes with a wink and a grin.

 

“Now for our plan. No one is going to think anything ‘bout me not bein’ in the common room or ma bed. They all probably assume I’m still in hospital. So that shouldn’t be a problem. We need to move out of this open area here though.” Scanning the immediate surroundings, she saw a small alcove that housed a window. “Over hear.” She reached and tugged his sleeve to direct him to follow her.

 

“K. Here’s the thing,” she began in a more hushed tone standing closer so Leon could hear. “If we do get confronted, we need a plausible story as to why we’re roamn’ the castle at night. Here are my thoughts on the subject. If ya have a strong, different opinion, let me know.“  

 

“I’m going to scream.” She mocked a dramatic, silent scream. “No way around it. I always naturally scream when I’m startled, so we might as well use it.

 

“Next I’ll fling around and stuff ma face into yer chest in terror.” Instead of mockingly throwing her head at her target, the disorienting effects of the drug caused her to make full, hard contact with the poor boy’s sternum. When the little, sparkling stars in front of her eyes finally faded, she touched the boy’s chest and then her own forehead – silently mouthing the word “Ouch.” “Sorry ‘bout the Glasgow handshake there. Nae mean to do THAT to ya.” She made a squinchy face. “Sorry.”

 

It was clear to anyone watching that Annag had seen a few too many historic, silent, dramatic films in her day. She sensed her own over-the-top commitment to drama here and looked up at Leon blushing and feeling embarrassed. “Perhaps you’d be better at this, after all.” She hung her head and with a sheepish grin on her face, quickly glanced up and immediately back down at her feet.

 

Just then she caught a glimpse through the window of what seemed to be something moving across the castle grounds. A fox on it’s nightly hunt? Turning to get a better look, whatever it was had already slipped from view in to the inky blackness of the night. 

 

Annag’s heart began to race uncontrollably and her analytical mind kick into high gear. The motion on the grounds had triggered something – something dangerous that her brain had overlooked. “OF COURSE McGonagall wasn’t stupid. OF COURSE her mother was right about rules. Wolves, even werewolves, hunt solely with their own pack. There were two probable packs the night of the attack. This would NEVER happen in nature. Besides, why would werewolves choose a known-to-be-hardened target unless they had intel that there was a breech? There were so many easier places to hunt. None of this, NONE OF THIS could happen without an outside force causing it to happen! How had she been so stupid!?”

 

Her brain was now screaming at her in terror. She couldn’t let them go on as planned that night! But she knew that Leon would probably just chalk up her fears to the drug. The hand that was gripping the window sill began to ache, knuckles white from the force she was applying. “Calm down, calm down. Stop trembling! If she pulled out now, then Leon was on his own. If something were to happen to him and she wasn't there to help, she'd never forgive herself. Can’t let that happen – EVER! Not on her watch." 

 

"Think, Annag. THINK!” 

 

“The enemy knows that after the initial attack the school not only will repair its original defenses, but will definitely up their game and fast. Why attack a target that is on high alert? Wait till they let their guard down a bit. Aye, that’s what they’ll do. There shouldn’t be any danger tonight – only from teachers and prefects,” she concluded. Trying still to settle down, she began repeating in her mind, “It will be fine. Just fine. It’ll be fine. She was going to have to warn him. But not tonight. Tonight was their night to be renegades. It'll be fine.”

 

Feeling like she was suddenly going to faint, Annag took several deep breaths and closed her eyes – grabbing onto Leon for stability as her legs got wobbly. The feeling passed and she hoped the boy figured that her change of manner was simply caused by a brief pain from her injuries and not the terror that coursed through her whole being. She slowly opened her eyes and shot a grand and mischievous smile up at the Slytherin boy.

 

After a moment, she felt herself finally coming back around. She excitedly chirped to her friend, "Let’s DO this, lad! It’ll be wicked fun, don't you think?! You take the point. I’ll be right here with ye...in case ya need protection and all,” she added playfully, bumping him with her free shoulder and giggling. She hoped neither of them would need protection that night.

Edited by Annag Hamblton

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Margarleon Turpentine

Leon raised his brows, unaware that brown eyes were such a statistic rarity in Scotland. Of course, he wasn’t Scottish, but it was clear by her accent that Annag was. And her eyes were dark - black like coal - he noticed. “You must be a rarity here in Scotland then, eh?” He asked, caught off guard and not entirely sure what to do with her comment about green eyes being the most pleasing eye color. He’d never really gotten compliments on his mossy green eyes before… but then again, Leon had rarely received compliments in general.

 

Leon watched Annag in amusement as she flexed her muscle, letting out a snicker. His own muscles were stringy but functional, not the type of bulky muscles you saw on body builders, but they’d never failed him in a fight. It was that stringy bundle of muscles that Annag was squeezing a moment later, and he laughed. “A’ight, then, I can be the bodyguard for tonight. I at least know how to throw a punch or two,” Leon commented, grinning. That was definitely true - just ask Dale or Julian, who had been on the receiving end of many of his punches.

 

However, as Annag began her plotting about their plan, Leon realized very quickly there was a reason that she had been placed in Ravenclaw and he had not. While Slytherins were certainly known for their cunning, Leon was not really the type to think things through like this. He followed Annag to the small alcove she pointed out, though, and allowed her to lay out the plan. He hadn’t even known that you needed to be so thorough, but he listened anyway. Mayhap he could learn something from Annag’s careful thinking.

 

However, as she went on, saying she was going to scream… and then threw her head quite literally right at his sternum, Leon’s eyes widened, and he rubbed where her head had impacted even as she looked up at him to apologize. Annag clearly had a taste for the dramatics, but he shrugged off her apology. “You’ve got a hard head,” He told her teasingly, rubbing his chest for another moment (his own way at being dramatic) before he realized something was the matter.

 

Annag’s knuckles were white where she gripped the window, and she had gone completely still and silent, fear seeming to have overcome her, but for what reason, Leon was unsure. He looked out the window, then peered around outside the little alcove, but nothing. Had Annag’s plan for dramatics gotten the better of her and she’d started imagining things in her own head? Leon gave her a strange look, his arms reaching out to brace against her forearms as she grabbed onto him. She looked ready to faint…

 

“Are you…” He was cut off, though, as Annag seemed to snap out of it. He gave her arms a squeeze, but wasn’t about to tell her he thought maybe she should get some rest instead. That was likely exactly what she didn’t want to hear. “Wicked, let’s go. And for the record, I don’t think we need any fanciful dramatics if we get caught,” Leon told her with a shrug. “If you’re really worried, I’ll tell ‘em it was my idea and that you just refused to not let me go anywhere without my required corridor buddy. I don’t mind gettin’ in trouble,” The boy insisted, turning to face the exit from the alcove.

 

“Now, we do need to get somewhere that’s further from the entrance hall. What d’you say, down to the dungeons, or up to the towers?” Leon queried, eyes peering out from the alcove as he stood, side by side with Annag, waiting for an opening as people began leaving the great hall, most in pairs or groups like the well-trained sheep that they were. His eyes flicked back to Annag to assure himself she hadn’t gone back into that weird dazed state she’d been in a moment earlier, though. He'd have to keep a close eye on her... 

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Annag Hamblton

"You have no idea what a hard head I ken really have!" she joked as the two stood peering out of the alcove opening waiting for an opportunity to dash. And it was that hard-headedness that had driven Annag to slip another one of her pain pills long before the bottle recommended to do so. She was not going to miss this because of her stupid leg. "Ya know, in fact this binding has to go." She began to flail around trying to extricate her arm from the bandage's tight grip.

 

No one had ever protected Annag from anything. She had to be tough to be the only girl – besides her little sister – in an area of rural Scotland that was populated solely by tough-as-nails farm boys. And then there was Annag the defender. She would take the hit. She was a fearless protector. It was just her nature.

 

Now – for the first time in her life – there was someone willing to be her bodyguard and willing to take the hit to save her from having to. If one thing was bloody sure, she wasn't going to let him down by putting the kibosh on the night's "flouting of the rules."

 

"By the way, thanks, lad." She reached out towards the boy while keeping her eyes on the passing students – her voice was soft and low. "I can't tell ya how much I appreciate yer offer. No one... No one has ever....     Anyway...em... fingers crossed that nobody has to get in trouble here tonight, eh?" 

 

It was time to decide – dungeons or towers. Her inner Ravenclaw wanted to sit and weigh all of the pros and cons of each choice. "Ya know, screw it." From her pocket she produced an ancient bawbee coin that she had found back home in a newly-plowed field. It was kind of like a good luck charm to her. "Crowned thistle, it's dungeons; Saint Andrew's cross and crown, it's towers. Here we go." With a flick of her thumb, the little copper coin launched end-over-end into the air. Back into her palm; flick of the wrist; deposit the coin on the back of the other hand; and... "DUNGEONS It is!" she announced with a big smile holding out her hand to show Leon.

 

 

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