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Margarleon Turpentine

You might make it, boy, but by the skin of your teeth

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Margarleon Turpentine

Despite Jack Dare’s greatest hopes, Leon had not forgotten about the little Ravenclaw boy. Instead, he had been biding his time, scrutinizing the small boy whenever he saw him. He’d noticed that he seemed to always be taking notes on things, even when they weren’t in class. And he was a quiet sort; seemed to fly under the radar well as he silently scribbled down whatever he was always writing. It was confusing to Leon, who preferred to live life loud and unapologetically - plus, anyone could write as much as Jack did had to be up to something.

 

Jack had even flown under the radar in the tournament. Leon hadn’t even noticed the Ravenclaw had entered until he saw Willa was dueling him next. Someone so unobtrusive could be dangerous in their own way, but Leon didn’t care so much as long as Jack still seemed easily manipulated by Leon’s intimidation tactics.

 

And really, that day, Leon hadn’t even been seeking out Jack. He’d been bored, avoiding his homework by roaming the corridors (without a buddy, thank you very much), when he’d spied Jack. For Jack, it had to be the classic wrong place, wrong time scenario. For Leon, it was just good fun. The boy was, predictably, carrying his notes. The Slytherin shook his head, but sidled right up to Jack. The mischievous smirk on his features was a clue to Jack of what might be to come.

 

“Jack! Hey buddy,” Leon greeted, and without preamble, made a grab at the boy’s notes. “What’re you always writin’ about? You keep a diary or somethin’?”

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Jack Dare

Jack believed in following the rules, but sometimes it was difficult. Today was a perfect example of that. Normally if Jack wanted to do something outside of the common room he requested Prom or Ringo to be his hall buddy. Today however neither boy had been available and Jack had had to persuade @Box Tree to be his escort. Jack's relationship with Box was not as good as it was with some of the other boys. Jack found Box's demeanor a bit prickly. In fact Jack had once said that Box was more of a Bursaria spinosa (prickly box) than a Buxus sempervirens (common box). He'd thought himself quite clever, but it turned out Box Tree wasn't a fan of arboreal humor.

 

Today's outing had started out well enough. He'd managed to get P.A.W. posters up throughout the ground and first floors, however shortly after Box had asked how many more posters he intended to put up and Jack had estimated the numbers he'd need for the second through seventh floors, Box had announced that he needed a toilet break. Jack had intended to wait for Box inside the loo, but apparently Box was one of those people with a shy bladder and had insisted Jack wait outside. That had been thirty minutes ago. Jack wondered if Jasper hadn't been right about Box needing to chew his food longer.

 

As he waited Jack took out his notebook.  He'd been trying to write a poem about @Angelique Slater. It wasn't going terribly well. So far the best rhyme he could find for 'golden locks' was 'woolen socks' and since he hadn't planned on mentioning Angel's footwear Jack thought he needed to come up with something better. Jack was gazing into space wondering what he might do with 'hollyhocks' when Leon suddenly appeared over Jack's shoulder making a grab for Jack's notebook.

 

Jack's reflexes were fast enough to wrap himself around his notebook shielding it (at least temporarily) from Leon's grasp. "No! It's private!" Jack squeaked, realizing immediately that that was the wrong tactic to take (Just as putting a sign on your bedroom door reading "Private! No girls allowed! This means you!" was the best way to entice your  sister to go inside and rifle through your things when before she wouldn't have been caught dead inside. Live and learn.)

 

"I mean, it's only study notes," Jack lied. "Boring boring study notes. Quite dull really. I should be going now."

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Jack Dare

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Margarleon Turpentine

Jack might have thwarted Leon’s initial grab for his notes, but the smaller boy’s immediate reaction of protest was enough to have Leon smirking. So, Jack was sensitive about his notes, huh? They definitely had to be some sort of diary or something, to have him reacting that way. So, as Leon paused, moving in front of Jack even as he tried to backpedal and claim they were just study notes and that he had to be going.

 

“Not so fast, Jack,” Leon told him, blocking any move Jack might attempt to flee… he would even chase him, if he had to. “What’s so private about study notes? You hidin’ somethin’ from me?” Leon asked, eyeing the notes that Jack was clinging to like a leech now that they had been threatened. “C’mon, I think the least you could do is tell me what you’re always writin’ about, after you spilled all that pumpkin juice on me before,” Leon wheedled, deciding to try a different tactic before strong-arming Jack into giving it to him.

 

Because Leon would, if he had to. Now that Jack had all but admitted that the notes were something secretive, Leon was determined to find out. Not because he particularly cared what it was for himself, but because the type of information that was secret to someone was incredibly good leverage to use against them. And he thought Jack Dare had a lot to offer. Like being Leon’s slave and doing his homework for him, or just being a little mole Leon could use to get information out of about his enemies. And wouldn’t it be that much easier to get Jack to do those things if Leon had just a bit of dirt on him?

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Jack Dare

Leon blocked Jack's path and was one step ahead even when Jack tried to change course and step around him.  Jack glanced down the corridor toward the stairwell, but knew that even if by some miracle Jack beat Leon to the stairs that he would never be able to keep up the pace. Jack was one of the slowest first years on stair work and Leon, while not necessarily the fastest, had endurance that Jack could never match. Likewise Jack could try ducking into the loo with Box but Leon would just follow him in, and somehow being cornered by Leon in a loo seemed even worse than being cornered in a corridor. Loos were just so germy and wet and Jack didn't fancy being stuffed down a toilet.

 

Jack held his notebook tightly to his chest and refocused his attention on Leon, who so far was keeping his hands to himself and pretending as if he was asking a favor rather than threatening bodily harm. Jack had a feeling Leon would not take no for an answer though and confrontations tended to escalate quickly with Slytherins. Jack remembered Leon's reaction when Jack spilled a little juice. Did he really want to aggravate the boy further by not giving him what he wanted?

 

"They are notes," Jack insisted, loosening his grip slightly. "They just aren't...well it isn't all class notes. I take notes on lots of things--I'm practicing to be a writer some day--but it's nothing you'd be interested I'm certain. Someone like you would find it quite dull."

 

Jack's eyes widened slightly at the realization that Leon might take the 'someone like you' part as an insult. "Not that there's anything wrong with people like you," he added quickly. "I just meant you aren't...well...you aren't a nerd, right? It's not like you care what Professor Knaggs has for breakfast, or which spells people can cast, or what rhymes with golden locks."

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Margarleon Turpentine

Jack’s eyes darted around like he was a trapped mouse, searching fruitlessly for escape. Leon was patient, though, waiting for Jack to realize he was stuck no matter what he attempted to do. One way or another, Leon was going to find some way to read whatever it was Jack was always scribbling. Normally, Leon wouldn’t particularly care, but the way that Jack was so protective of it piqued his curiosity, and now… he had to know.

 

The boy raised his eyebrows as Jack declared that someone like him wouldn’t find what he was writing to be of any interest. He wasn’t angered by the implication, but rather was amused, and a smirk fell onto his features even as Jack backpedaled, realizing how that might have sounded to Leon. “You’re right, Jack, I ain’t a nerd like you,” Leon agreed. “But did you say you have notes on what spells people know in here?” He asked, before again making a grab for Jack’s notebook.

 

This time, perhaps because Jack had given up and loosened his grip, he managed to succeed in gaining possession of it. He held it for a moment in midair, surprised, before darting his gaze back up at Jack momentarily. “You spy on people or somethin’? Why does that help with your writing?” The boy asked, opening the journal and flicking through it, eyes flicking up to look at Jack every so often. He wasn’t really absorbing anything that the book had written it - he passed by some page seeming to involve a love story between Mabel, Samuel, and Julius… but that didn’t really catch his eye.

 

In fact, nothing did, until he saw a familiar name. Dale McQueen-Trengrove. “Oh, sick! You got notes on Dale in here? Wait… does this mean you got notes on everyone?” Leon asked, pausing before he started reading to give Jack a curious look. Were there notes on him in there? On Darby? Julian? What sort of information had Jack scrounged up on everyone?!

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Jack Dare

Jack surrendered to the inevitable as Leon snatched away his notebook. He grimaced as Leon accused him of spying on people. "That isn't strictly correct, no," Jack said, cowering under Leon's gaze. "I don't hide behind bushes or listen through key holes. I observe. That's all. You might call me a student of human behavior," he added, looking up hopefully. "Well, not you personally...."

 

Jack hung his head then, waiting. His only consolation was the hope that Leon's reading comprehension would be so rudimentary that he would grow tired of sounding out words after only a few sentences. But unfortunately Leon managed to hit the section about their year, which was organized rather simply, with a bold name at the top of each page. Jack's mind raced as he tried to remember what was written about Dale. He knew his early observations had not been nuanced, and had mostly been on the likelihood that Dale might punch Jack in the face, but the more recent notes included the wand incident, and Dale's peculiar obsession with Zachary Montague, as well as the realization that Dale was opening up to him, and might even wish to be Jack's friend. Jack didn't have time to contemplate the nuances though, because he remembered he had an entire page on Leon as well. Jack's frightened eyes widened to meet Leon's narrowed ones. 

 

"What you have to understand is that these notes are for literary purposes only. It's not so much absolute reality that I'm trying to capture. It's more of an impression...not even necessarily an accurate impression either...just something that I could use as a jumping off point if I were writing a character. So for instance, if the word 'villain' is next to a person's name that doesn't mean that I literally think they are a villain, but just that I might be able to write a villain based on them. And if...just for instance...I used the words delinquent, hoodlum, malefactor, or even sociopath-- those aren't actual clinical definitions, or in fact even my true opinion at all. You do understand that, right? It's nothing personal, yeah?"

 

Edited by Jack Dare

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Margarleon Turpentine

Observing was kinda the same thing as spying, as far as Leon was concerned… at least when you did it to the extent that Jack apparently did. Observing was one thing; opting to write down every last thing you observed was no longer just observing. “Call it what you want, I call it spyin’,” Leon told Jack with a frown. The boy was soon distracted from semantics talk (probably for the better, really) by what was actually in Jack’s Spy Notebook™, though.

 

He looked from Jack to the notebook after finding Dale’s page, merely skimming the words as Jack seemed obsessed on assuring Leon that whatever he wrote in here wasn’t actually what he thought of the people he’d written about. “Mate, I don’t even know what a mal-factor is,” Leon told Jack with a frown. “Now, what’s this you’re sayin’ about Dale being obsessed with Zach? And he wants to be friends with you?” Leon sneered as he looked back up from his quick and not-too-thorough skim of Jack’s notes, hoping to squeeze more intel out of the boy in his own words rather than having to read.

 

“Oh, you got anything on older students in here? Or on Juju? Oh, what'd you say about me?” Leon asked, having a feeling he was about to start getting a lot more use out of Jack Dare, whether the boy liked it or not. If Jack didn’t want to be referred to as a spy, that was just too bad: because Leon was determined now to make Jack Dare into his own personal spy against his enemies. Luckily for Jack (or perhaps unluckily), Leon was too lazy to read for now, and instead merely held on to the journal, waiting for Jack to put his observations into his own words.

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Jack Dare

Jack winced at Leon's refusal to accept his explanations. Of course it would have helped had he even understood his explanations. Jack had run into the same issue with Dale. Jack didn't know how to talk down to their level. He was cursed with a superior mind. He had no idea how to put himself in the position of the empty-headed. 

 

"I only wrote the truth about Dale," Jack swore. "He brought his issue to me because I know things and he needed my help about this Zach thing... and afterwards...well afterwards he seemed grateful and sorry for the way he treated me before. I'm not saying we're going to he buddies. I mean, obviously he's not my sort, but he seemed conciliatory...um, friendly-like, I mean."

 

"There's less about older students, because I don't know as many, but @Julian Pritchard and @Simon Reed are my mentors, so of course they're mentioned in passing--" If by 'mentioned' you meant expounded upon at length. "--but it's nothing secret or damning if that's what you think. I would never write anything bad about them because there's nothing bad to say."

 

"Other than that, there isn't much about older people because I don't know that many yet.  @Ryszard Althaus-Valerio is all that comes to mind at the moment, and only because he was so dreadful to me, though if he's a friend of yours perhaps I just caught him on a bad day."

 

Jack intentionally didn't answer the question of what he wrote about Leon. He was hoping if he didn't Leon would forget he asked.

Edited by Jack Dare

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Margarleon Turpentine

“What was the Zach thing?” Leon pressed, curious now. He didn’t know much about the Montague twins other than the fact that they seemed kind of off in their own little rich-kid worlds and seemed to largely stay out of the larger altercations between himself, Dale, and Julian. But if Dale was obsessed with the boy, and had gotten Jack to find out something about him, perhaps Leon should be taking more of an interest in the Montague twins… perhaps they could be used in this war.

 

Leon merely scowled at the mention of Julian Pritchard and Simon Reed, who he had never met either of (he had actually met Julian under the effects of an ageing potion in the dueling chamber, but as the boy had introduced himself as Francis, Leon only recognized the boy’s name because he was one of the werewolves). However, as Jack insisted that there was nothing bad to say about either of them, Leon snorted. “Yeah, if you believe that, you’re dumber than I thought you were. Everyone’s got a bad side, you should learn that,” Leon lectured.

 

His attention was diverted only a moment later as the subject of Ryszard was brought up, and luckily for Jack, Leon did forget he’d asked about what Jack had written about him. He also promptly forgot about the notebook he was holding entirely in favor of asking, “Nah, I ain’t friends with Lizard. What’d he do to you? Punch you? Somethin’ worse?” Leon was curious. Plus, any little factoids he could find about Ryszard to potentially use as ammunition against him were almost as important as intel on Dale.

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Jack Dare

"The Zach thing?" Jack repeated. "Oh, it's their wands. @Richard Stafford and I accidentally walked in on @Dale McQueen-Trengrove and @Zachary Montague comparing wands." (And no, that is not a euphemism.) "It turns out their wands are exactly the same down to a fraction of an inch. Same wood. Same core. Eerie, right?"

 

"Understandably, Dale couldn't figure out what he had in common with a Montague, so he came to me to explain what the wand lore meant. The two of them have some sort of history though I think." A kind of chemistry too, as Jack had said in writing, but he was hesitatant to repeat that, as it was none of @Margarleon Turpentine's business and he was libel to take it the wrong (or possibly the right) way.

 

"I'm far from dumb," Jack sniffed, momentarily regaining a bit of his pride, only to lose it again over the subject of @Ryszard Althaus-Valerio. "He's still in the threatening stage mostly," Jack said, hanging his head. "He told a lot of lies in our tourney duel which I set him straight on, but then after he's been quite intimidating. He's threatened to 'burn me up' once I'm taller and he stole my wand and wouldn't give it back.  I had to tell on him to Ms Cartwright or he'd still have it now. @Julian Pritchard is going to talk to him and take care of it for me though. Julian's a champion and doesn't tolerate people harassing me," Jack added looking at Leon pointedly. 

 

Edited by Jack Dare

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Margarleon Turpentine

Huh. Leon had not honestly thought much about wandlore, or what it might have to do with him as a person. Vaguely, he wondered what wand Dale (and Zach) had that was so similar. He didn’t have strong feelings one way or another about Zach, but if the boy was anything like Dale, it was safe to say he’d likely forge another enemy if the two really did start talking or getting to know each other; if having the same wand wood as someone even meant anything… 

 

“That don’t really mean anythin’ though, does it?” Leon asked Jack, curious now in spite of himself. “I mean, you don’t think it really means anythin’ if I have the same wand wood or core or whatever as someone else? Do you even know what my wand is?” Leon asked, tone accusatory now as he remembered the journal in his hands, tempted to reopen it and delve into whatever Jack had wrote about him. 

 

His impulse was stilled, though, as Jack launched into his explanation about his relationship with Ryszard. Learning that Ryszard was intimidating to Jack was… not surprising (Jack seemed like he could be scared of a fly), but also not exactly helpful in finding more dirt on the boy. But wait, was Jack trying to threaten Leon by mentioning this Julian kid? 

 

Leon couldn’t help but smirk as he asked, tone darkening, “Are you trying to threaten me with your li’l body guard, Jack? Are you tryin’ to say you’re gonna tattle to this Julian kid about how I stole your notebook and insisted you get more dirt for me on Lizard? Hmmm?” Leon hadn’t, in fact, yet demanded that Jack do just that, but he was hoping the boy would get the implication of his words, or else Leon might just have to pull out the big guns (aka: his fists) to try to enlist Jack as his spy.

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Jack Dare

Jack bristled at the accusatory tone and despite his better judgement blurted out, "Blackthorn, the core's almost certainly dragon's heartstring--the wand of a warrior." What Jack didn't say was that it was the shortest wand Jack had ever seen, a condition which broadcast some insufficiency in Leon's character. Not surprising, in Jack's opinion. Jack could have told Leon much more about his wand's potential and what it said about him, but the conversation had shifted.

 

Jack's attempts to warn Leon off backfired spectacularly and he was forced to try to back-pedal. "Threaten?  No! Why would I---Wait. What?" Jack was hoping he wouldn't have to tattle again if Leon had just taken Jack's subtle hint about @Julian Pritchard looking out for him, but Leon seemed to be way ahead of him. "I told you, I'm not a spy! And even if I were-- not Ryszard! Haven't you been listening? I told on him! Not once, but twice! With any luck he'll leave me be now, but not if I seek him out. I could hardly pick now as the time to go chatting him up! And besides...he's in your house. What could I possibly tell you about him you don't already know?"

 

It was going to take a bit more for Jack to see that @Margarleon Turpentine was a threat even bigger than @Ryszard Althaus-Valerio.

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Margarleon Turpentine

Leon’s eyes narrowed, wondering how on earth Jack actually knew what his wand was. The wood he could understand, he supposed. Blackthorn did have a distinctive veinlike red hue that passed through its pale and darker browns that set it apart from other, less colorful woods. But how did he know it was almost certainly dragon heartstring? Though, having the wand of a warrior sounded pretty boss. “Warrior, huh?” Leon smirked, tempted to get his wand out and give it a twirl around. He refrained, although perhaps he’d bring it out if Jack started to be difficult… 

 

He pegged Jack with a salty stare as the boy tried to insist that he wasn’t a spy and that he couldn’t tell him anything about Ryszard that Leon didn’t already know, and blah-blah-blah. Leon faked a yawn as Jack ran through his excuses, waiting until the boy ran out of steam.

 

“You done now?” He asked boredly. “Now, you listen here. This journal…” He waved it in front of Jack’s face, nearly hitting him in the nose with it by doing so, “Basically tells me you are a spy, like it or not. So you are going to find a way to spy on Ryszard and tell me all the dirt you can find on him. I need somethin’ good. Somethin’ I can use against him, you got it?” Leon asked, tone gruff and brooking no room for argument. 

 

“And while you’re at it, get some more dirt on Dale,” The boy added. “And if you got any problems in doin’ this stuff for me, or you run off tellin’ your little Julian friend about our arrangement, maybe my warrior wand and you will have a nice meetin’. Or maybe I’ll just stick your head in Moaning Myrtle’s toilet,” Leon determined unashamedly, issuing his threat idly, almost as if he was giving a weather report. “Got it?” The boy asked, shoving the journal at Jack’s chest. 

 

“I’ll let you keep this for now, but you better let me see it whenever I want to,” Leon concluded, eyes narrowed as he waited for little Jack Dare’s response.

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Jack Dare

Jack flinched as his journal passed close to his face and he cringed away as much as he dared. As his fate sunk in Jack's shoulders slumped and he suppressed the urge to cry.  A part of Jack's brain argued that a toilet dunking was not as bad as being "burnt up" and that therefore Ryszard had the greater hold over him, but another part of Jack's brain reasoned that if he were to say this that Leon would only add burning to the list of things he was going to do to him. Factor in that a clear and present Leon was more threatening than a hypothetical Ryszard and Jack's path was clear. Perhaps Ryszard really had been chastened and would think twice about pursuing Jack. Perhaps Jack could watch Ryszard from afar without provoking him. It was a chancy proposition at best, but there was nothing ambiguous about what would happen if Jack disobeyed.

 

Jack yelped as his journal was suddenly thrust against him. Jack grasped it close and shook his head vigorously before finding his voice again. "W-what sort of things do you want me to find?" he asked weakly. 

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Margarleon Turpentine

“Y’know… stuff!” Leon exclaimed, an amused smirk coming onto his features. Jack was still as much of a wimp as Leon had originally thought. Cringing away, yelping as Leon shoved his journal back towards him… it was almost comical. “You’re a smart kid, Jack, I expect you should be able to find out what sorts of stuff would be interestin’ and useful to use against ‘em,” Leon insisted with a curt nod. 

 

“So let’s quit chattin’ and you can start investigatin’. Go on then,” Leon looked at Jack and shooed him away as if shooing a fly. His eyes didn’t leave Jack, though, because he wanted to make sure the boy knew he’d meant his threat and would do what he said - including leaving now that he’d been dismissed.

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Jack Dare

Jack frowned at the non-specific reply. 'Stuff' was a terribly imprecise answer--a word that was not even fit to be a word as it signified nothing. Fortunately Jack thought he understood the goals espionage.

 

"Would a list of strength and weakness be enough?"

 

Jack realized as soon as he'd asked the question that it wouldn't be, so he supplied his own answer. "You want something incriminating...or possibly... embarrassing?" The most embarrassing thing Jack knew about @Ryszard Althaus-Valerio was that he had once lost a duel to Jack. It was an event unlikely to be repeated. 
 

"I can t-try." Jack said, lowering his head. "I mean...I'll look, okay? And if there is something, I'll tell." Surely Leon couldn't expect better than that.

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Margarleon Turpentine

A list of strengths and weaknesses? Leon scrunched his nose. He hadn’t had that in mind, exactly, but there was no denying its usefulness. “That’s a good start I guess,” Leon commented, giving Jack a pointed look. For a smart kid, he was acting kind of dumb. Didn’t he know the type of information that worked best for getting revenge on people? 

 

But when he thought there wasn’t hope, Jack chimed in with just what Leon wanted. “Yes! Exactly. Now you’re gettin’ the idea!” Leon exclaimed, his tone now good-natured rather than threatening or foreboding. 

 

“You’ll find somethin’,” Leon told the little Ravenclaw with confidence. “Now get goin’ before I regret not keepin’ that little notebook of yours.” Leon was, in fact, already second-guessing this choice, but he barely refrained from reaching out to snatch it back. He’d see what Jack found, and if he didn’t find anything, then maybe he’d have to insist on taking the notebook back.

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