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Zachary Montague

Summer breeze, the jasmine's in bloom

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Zachary Montague

Zach was looking forwards to holidaying in the South of France for most of the Summer, enjoying constant buttery Summer sun and the warm breeze on his skin. There was nothing quite like it, not in England - and definitely not in Scotland, even though the sun was currently trying, feeble rays shining through occasional white puffs of clouds in the unusually clear-blue sky. It was warm enough for Scotland that Zach had discarded his school jumper, using it as a pillow to rest his head as he lay on his back on the grass, and he had rolled his shirt sleeves up to his elbows. One of his arms was crossed under his head and he held a practice snitch in his other hand, throwing it casually up and down into the air, an absent-minded movement he wasn't even really concentrating on. 

 

Next to him, Willa Henry was talking away in that comfortable way she'd come to use around him over the last few months and Zach had finally accepted was a sign that she was his friend. Of course, most of their time was spent bantering back and forth about quidditch teams and strategies, but occasionally they talked about other things too, things they liked and disliked and had in common. Surface-level things that were easy to talk about and didn't make him panic too much about making a good impression. The kind of things he rarely got to talk about with @Covey Alexanders Weber, @Gulliver Nott, @Gabriel Montague or @Honorine Nott, the people who knew him best in the world - the real him - who knew the deepest, darkest parts of his insecurities.

 

It was... nice. Calming. Zach felt as if he could relax around Willa and perhaps that realisation was what had his thoughts shifting, returning to a conversation they'd had in the great hall not too long ago. A question about kissing and a lie too late to take back. An offer, given without thinking, and the soft blush to Willa's cheeks. Zach turned his head from the sky to look across at her, wondering if she'd thought about it at all.

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Willa Henry

The end of the term had brought up an unexpected sort of melancholy for Willa. She was excited to see her parents and older brother, to take the usual family vacations and to see what her da did for a living (finally), but that also meant leaving behind most of her friends and dueling. The chamber had become a second home to her, and her accomplishments in the tournament were some of the only reasons that she didn't worry that the gate to Platform 9 3/4 would close on her next fall. Spending the day in the sunshine, only partly dressed in the uniform, was soothing enough that she was her usual, bubbly self. 

 

Where Zach had been calm and relaxed, Willa had been restless. She'd been quick to ditch her shoes and dip her toes in the water, relishing in the chill that immediately numbed her skin and the fact that lake water felt different from ocean water. It felt thicker, stickier, and and less crisp than the waves that crashed into the cliffs her house sat on. She wiggled her toes at the feeling as she'd sat herself next to Zach again and started asking about his summer plans before settling on her most recent favorite topic: meeting the dragons her da worked with. 

 

"Do you think I'll get to meet anything other than a Common Welsh Green?" She asked curiously, glancing down at him in time to meet his eyes. Her face was animated, filled with the passion she got when talking about dragons or dueling, as she crossed her legs and picked at the grass in front of her. "I'm hoping for a Hebridean Black at least..." 

 

Becoming friends with Zach hadn't been a surprise to her. They'd gotten along so easily right away, especially when they argued about Quidditch teams (the reason her school shirt had been ditched in favor of a worn, but better fitting Kestrels shirt that she'd already ignored jokes about) or just talked about nothing. "Do you think it'll be weird to go home for the summer? It'll be nice to not have homework or exams for a while, but I think it could get so boring." 

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Zachary Montague

Willa's dad working with dragons was extremely cool. Of course, it wasn't as cool as Zach's dad being a professional quidditch player for the best team in the league (sod the Magpies), but it was definitely right up there. In Zach's mind Willa's dad was pretty much identical to his own in build and looks, dashingly cool and collected and always wearing some sort of dragon hide leather. He had to have scars, Zach had decided, not like the ones across @Dale McQueen-Trengrove's face but cool ones, burn marks from where he had tousled with dragons and won. 

 

He wouldn't mind going back home for the summer if it meant going back to dragons. What the summer meant for him was a holiday in the South of France with his mother's side of the family, vineyards and seashell beaches and warm sun, then a lot of time spent with various tutors. He and Gabe had tutors for everything it was possible to have tutors for and whilst Zach was looking forwards to getting back on track with his quidditch coach, he was less thrilled about the idea of studying for his second year, returning to piano lessons and sharpening his verb conjugations in French. He elected not to tell Willa any of these things, knowing how pretentious they made him sound. 

 

Instead, he said, "No. I'm looking forwards to some time away from lessons and we'll go to France for a bit for some sun. I'll miss quidditch though and the team -- and you." It was as good an opening as any. Zach caught the snitch again in his hand and then pushed himself up on his elbow to look across at her. "You're not boring at all." 

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Willa Henry

Willa stopped picking at the grass as Zach answered her, though she fiddled with one of the strands between her fingers to stop herself from interrupting him with some of the questions she'd already come up with. She normally didn't care about manners, but Zach generally seemed so relaxed and confident that she wasn't in as much of rush to pester him. 

 

"Why France?" She asked once he'd stopped with a very specific compliment. Willa smiled, glancing down at the now rolled up strand of grass in her hand as she flicked it off into the grass. It was a nervous habit to keep her hands busy, though recently she was rolling her redwood wand between her palms to feel the familiar grooves and finger holds that she'd become so familiar with in the last year. She stuck her tongue out at him, the idea of him taking a break from Quidditch about as ridiculous as asking her to avoid the dueling chamber. "Will you really miss Quidditch? I doubt you'll stop practicing for the summer..." 

 

Willa glanced up at him grinning then as she tried to process how to respond to his compliment. It was exactly the type of compliment that left her cheeks pink and reminded her that the last time she'd been blushing around Zach, they'd been talking about kissing. Well, agreeing that they'd kiss. 

 

"I hope I'm not boring..." Willa finally answered, making a halfhearted grab at the practice snitch in his hand just to keep up her reputation. "I'll miss you too. You can owl me if things get too boring and I'll find a way to spice things up... " She didn't know how she'd do that from Brackleberry, but she was sure there was some ridiculously Irish Kestrel swag that she could send him in the mail for a good laugh. She did think a leprechaun's hat would look rather dashing, until someone in his family hexed it off. 

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Zachary Montague

"We've always summered there," said Zach, unaware of how pretentious he sounded. Surely everyone went away for the summer and had villas abroad? "My grandmother retired there, back to the ancestral Rosier estate." They couldn't visit his father's side of the family because his grandfather, @Alaric Montague, had disappeared and Zach's dad didn't like to talk about it. The Montague chain of hotels was currently tied up in all sorts of litigation and paperwork with its head currently missing and unable to sign it over to one of his three children. 

 

As for quidditch, he smiled. Willa knew him well enough by now. "Well, we've got the practice pitch on the grounds back at home... I can never really miss quidditch." He was mostly looking forwards to getting to use his own broom again, a ridiculously expensive thing and the latest model. It had rankled all year that he wasn't allowed to bring it to Hogwarts and was forced to fly on school-issue brooms. If he had been able to fly on his own broom, he was sure he would have been able to play more matches for the Slytherin team. 

 

She glanced up at him and there was a faint blush to her cheeks, one he remembered from that day in the Great Hall. It was disarming enough that he didn't react quickly enough to stop her stealing the snitch, too focused instead on looking at her. The snitch slipped from his grasp as she said that she'd miss him and Gabe's words from their conversation came back to him. Do you like her? Zach had said yes, as a friend, but how did you know if it was something more? He supposed the feeling in his chest right now, surprising and new, was how. Keep it simple, Gabe said. See how she reacts.

 

"Do you remember," Zach asked, pushing himself up from his elbow to his hand, sitting properly up next to her now, "What we said in the Great Hall?" His heart was thumping in his chest, he wanted to cringe at himself and go running off back to the castle. How did people do this? "About... kissing."

Edited by Zachary Montague

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Willa Henry

Willa felt a brief pang of jealousy at how casually Zach mentioned they had a summer home, a summer ancestral home. Granted, she didn't really understand what that meant, but it sounded important and more interesting than bouncing between London and Brackleberry. She'd spend the days Margaret or her da couldn't watch her with her Gran in Ireland, maybe the closest thing Willa could think of as an ancestral home because it was the only home she'd known her Gran to have, but it certainly wasn't a villa. It was more of a cottage with an unbelievable expanding charm and sprawling grounds. 

 

"I doubt anyone would believe that you're taking the summer off Quidditch..." Willa added quickly, grinning as she tried to imagine him doing so, but all she could picture was him moping at the window and staring wistfully at the pitch he'd just mentioned. When her fingers closed around the snitch, she looked at him curiously as she giggled. "Though maybe you need the practice if I can grab this so easily..." 

 

She looked down at the snitch, examining it for a second as she watched Zach sit up a bit straighter next to her, and she wondered if it was the same one he'd had when they'd first met. She didn't exactly know how many snitches, practice or real, he had, but he was the son of a seeker so probably more than she could imagine. 

 

"I do..." Willa started slowly, finding it much easier to stare at the snitch than to look at Zach in the moment. Of course she remembered making a fool of herself before running away about as quickly as she could without making an even bigger fool of herself. It wasn't like it had faded from her mind either, with her recent subscription to Witch Weekly and it's columns about how to choose the perfect lip color that left Willa more confused than informed, or the fruit-flavored chapstick buried at the bottom of her bag (an idea that @Alexander Crow had unknowingly given her). How could she have forgotten? 

 

"You mean that we'd kiss?" She finally finished, the snitch in her hand forgotten as she wondered where Zach was going with this. She could feel her heart pounding, but she couldn't tell if it was from nerves or because it was Zach bringing up kissing. 

Edited by Willa Henry

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Zachary Montague

"Yeah," said Zach. "That."

 

At least she had been the one to say it first. It was such a cringe-worthy thing, he thought, still not entirely sure how people - why people - did the whole romance thing. He'd seen his elder sister Callista mooning over people like the Midnight Prince and had gagged as his parents had acted all loved up with each other, and never once thought I want to do that

 

He wasn't asking Willa for a relationship though or anything like it. It was just a kiss. Gabriel had acted as such, telling him that it was not anything big and dramatic and it was just something to be tried out.

 

Yet if it was just a kiss, why did he feel all stupid inside about it? 

 

His hand curled into the grass on the lawn beneath him, searching for something to grip to remind himself of solid ground. What he really wanted was the snitch but she'd grabbed it from him and had her hand curled around it now, and he really didn't want to have to deal with the complexities of touching her hand along with this whole kiss conversation. What if she thought he wanted to hold her hand? 

 

Not for the first time, he wished that he hadn't said anything to her in the Great Hall that day. If he had just kept his mouth shut it would be fine and he wouldn't be in this situation. He should have said he had a girlfriend in France, rather than just having kissed a French girl, because then he would have a reason not to kiss Willa - but he hadn't and it was too late to back out now. What had Gabe said? What do you have to lose? My dignity, Zach thought miserably. The one friendship he had managed to form by himself and not through any family connections.

 

This was all so stupid. Zach exhaled slowly, working up the courage, trying to think of it like a quidditch match. The adrenaline was the same, the swooping feeling in his stomach. He just needed to go for it and see what happened. It wasn't like Willa knew what she was doing either, he realised with a burst of sudden clarity. She hadn't kissed anyone before and had nothing to compare him to. The thought settled his fear a little, giving him the boost of confidence he needed to say, "We can now, if you want. You know. Before summer. Get it over with?" Internally, he winced. Get it over with. Smooth, Montague.  

 

Edited by Zachary Montague

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Willa Henry

For the millionth time in her life, Willa wished that the blush in her cheeks was controllable because at Zach's simple acknowledgement, she felt her blush deepen into a full scarlet color. It wasn't that the situation was particularly embarrassing, though her own lack of a verbal response certainly didn't help things, but the fact that this was a situation that had crossed her mind almost every day for the past few weeks. 

 

She'd started to realize that it was weird to feel behind her classmates about kissing when none of them were talking about it. There were couples around the school, some (like the one in the Great Hall) more obnoxious than others, but her own class still seemed unattached to the idea of relationships. It was floated around her dorm room fairly often, but that was generally the squeals of he's so handsome that some of her more boy-obsessed classmates were prone to. Willa didn't share the same obsession, but she was also the only one she knew that had a growing stack of Witch Weekly under her bed. 

 

"Really?" She asked, surprised by his sudden suggestion, but it didn't seem wrong. The panic wasn't spreading through her body like it had in the Great Hall, though she did feel that the restlessness she'd felt all day had only amplified. In a few short seconds, Willa had made up her mind. 

 

She was going to kiss him first. 

 

Willa looked at him for a moment, the resolution focusing her energy onto something, as she put the practice snitch down for the moment. She hadn't realized how tightly she'd been gripping it until her fist felt empty and she shifted herself to look at him. Feelings weren't something she was able to unravel yet, but she didn't know if she liked Zach or if it was just that he'd become her simplest friend and she felt like she could trust him more than most.

 

"Zach?" She asked, only using his name to get his attention before she leaned forward a little too quickly and pressed her lips clumsily against his. She lingered only for a few seconds, not sure of the dynamics of kissing other than the fact that their lips needed to make contact, before she pulled back and swallowed slightly. It'd felt awkward, maybe slightly forced, but also weirdly pleasant in a way that Willa certainly lacked the ability to express. Smiling slightly because it had been nice and her chest was swelling with the fact that she'd had her first kiss, Willa tried to meet his eyes. 

 

"That wasn't so..." She struggled with the word because bad sounded wrong, "Weird, right?" 

Edited by Willa Henry

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Zachary Montague

Zach knew she'd made some kind of decision because he felt the air between them change. Something was different in the way Willa Henry held herself in that moment and he didn't know what. He was so busy trying to work it out that he only replied, "Hm?" to his name, the sound turning a little startled when Willa leaned in and kissed him, just like that. 

 

It was... 

 

Well, Zach wasn't sure what it was, beyond knowing it was a kiss. Oh, is that all? he thought, and then just as quickly Willa was leaning back away from him. His heart thudded in his chest and he felt as if his cheeks were pinked. It had been a butterfly moment of closeness, little more than a pressing of her lips to his, there and gone in an instant. Did he want to do it again? He didn't know. Why did people go on about it? It didn't seem all that special. Not life-changing, anyway.

 

Willa asked if it was weird and Zach blinked. It kind of had been. Kissing was weird. And didn't some people use tongue??

 

He almost said as much to her before he remembered that he was supposed to be the expert at this, that he had lied to her and told her that he'd kissed people before. The shift in his demeanor was instant as he remembered to relax, pulling up a smile as she looked up to meet his eyes. "Right," he agreed. "See? Nothing to worry about. We can do it again, if you want." Whilst she was distracted, he reached out to try and snag the snitch back from her again. 

Edited by Zachary Montague

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Willa Henry

Willa was back to finding the grass fascinating once Zach mentioned that they could do it again. Her eyes had dropped from his to his lips, noticing how he had flushed slightly too and finding it weird that she thought it looked nice on him, before she started to pick at the strands in front of her again. She hadn't even noticed him reaching for the snitch until it was already back in his possession, but it only made her giggle slightly because she hadn't even expected to steal it from him so easily to begin with. 

 

"You're right... Nothing to worry about." Willa agreed softly, fiddling with the grass for a few more seconds before she looked back at him. 

 

She wanted to feel the same rush to lean forward that she had moments ago after setting her mind to it, but instead she felt a shyness similar to the one in the Great Hall. It only stopped her for a few seconds as she bit her lip and looked at him curiously. "Really?" She waited a moment this time, not sure that the noise he'd made the first time she'd kissed him had necessarily been pleasant and wanting to be sure that he meant in this moment and not months later. She could feel her own face heating up again at the idea of kissing again, and she resisted the urge to laugh at the fact that they had matching blushes and she had absolutely no clue what that meant. 

 

Instead, she smiled slightly as she leaned in slower, more cautiously, and pressed her lips to his for a second time. Without the sudden rush of adrenaline, she was less clumsy, but still hesitant because she hadn't been able to bring herself to read articles in Witch Weekly like 'How to Kiss like a Veela' out of embarrassment. Even when she pulled away after a longer kiss than the first, she didn't lean as far away as she had before. Two kisses down, and she was already feeling bolder and more confident. 

 

"That was better..." She joked lightly, the fading adrenaline (and increased oxytocin) making her feel slightly silly and giddy in a way she wasn't used to. 

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Richard Stafford

Scotland was notorious for its godawful weather. In fact, Great Britain in general didn’t have a good reputation for excellent weather, even when everywhere else in the world felt like it was being scorched by the flames of hell itself. So, it came as a shock to Ringo when he’d stepped outside that day—lazily, just to get out of the confines of Ravenclaw tower—and discovered that the temperature outside wasn’t as terrible as he’d been expecting. It wasn’t anything to go crazy over—the sun only feebly peaked through the sky, warming up the ground below with what could only be described as tepid conditions. It wasn’t much, but when one’s usual options were dreary rain and cold temperatures, you took what you could get.

 

Since Ringo had gotten him, Killer had been cooped up in Ravenclaw tower. The small green model dragon would puff out small amounts of smoke (to Ringo’s enjoyment) and flap its wings around in the boys’ dormitory. It was fun to watch, but eventually Ringo found that to be boring and instead wanted to see the small green thing fly to its heart’s content. Jack had told him some of what it could do, but Ringo hadn’t had the opportunity to fully test out all of its abilities. Additionally, he wanted to see just how high the thing could fly, and if he could somehow teach it to breathe fire (probably not) and attack those who he put on a hit list. He’d enlisted the help of @Jack Dare to aid with Killer’s assassin lessons (that was what Ringo decided to call it).

 

It wasn’t going nearly as successfully as Ringo had hoped.

 

Though Killer might’ve been able to perform small tricks in Ravenclaw tower, outside he was uncontrollable and unpredictable. The freedom of the outside world brought out in him a desire to be as mischievous as possible. He flew higher when Ringo instructed him to fly lower, puffed out smoke when Ringo told him to sit still, and rolled around in the grass when Ringo asked him to fly toward a designated target. “In my mind, this assassin training went a lot different,” he told Jack, watching as Killer flapped his wings higher and higher.

 

The green model dragon, deciding that it would make Ringo’s day all the more difficult, decided that that was his cue to fly off to who the hell knows where. “What?!” Ringo could only say before he was chasing after the damned thing. “Did you know he would be this difficult?” He asked Jack as they ran after Killer. It was like he was taking care of a smaller version of Eric and Anthony.

 

Killer ducked behind a bush, at which point Ringo believed to have the thing cornered. He eyed Jack, then put a finger to his lips so his mate knew to keep quiet while they stalked up to the thing. Ringo ducked down, motioning to Jack to do the same thing, then slowly crawled up to the bush that Killer was hiding in. “On my signal, we lunge for him,” he instructed Jack. One finger went up, slowly, then another, until finally a third finger was up in the air as Ringo nodded to Jack and they both made a lunge for Killer.

 

“Gotcha, you little bugger!” Ringo declared victoriously as Killer wiggled around in his grasp trying to free himself. Through the bush, the two Ravenclaws could hear the sound of voices not far off. “Oi, what’s that?” The whispered question hung in the air as Ringo, with Killer in one hand, pushed through the bush with his other hand and spied a sight he’d never known he didn’t want to see.

 

There, across from where he and Jack hid behind the bush, was @Zachary Montague and @Willa Henry kissing. Or, Ringo thought it was Zach. As much as he’d like to think that he and Zach’s prior quidditch pitch meeting helped him differentiate between the Montague twins a little better, he couldn’t be totally certain. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing, Jack?” Ringo’s mouth was agape.

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Jack Dare

Every since purchasing "Killer" for Ringo's birthday, Jack had been of two minds. Ringo it turned out, was far more blood-thirsty than Jack had ever imagined and if he really wanted an attack dragon Jack should have purchased a more aggressive breed. On the other hand, 'Killer' was quite a bit of trouble already. He might not be the fighter Ringo wanted, but he was feisty and disobedient. He tormented Jupiter every chance he had and he'd singed or chewed holes in more than one of their roommates' items of clothing. The only reason the other boys hadn't mutinied yet was because Jack was hiding most of the evidence. Sooner or later though the Raven-boys would notice they were short several pairs of pants.

 

Assassin training only served to strengthen Jack's reservations. On the one hand, the exercise was probably good for Killer, but on the other hand it was case in point of why a model unicorn would have been a better birthday present--or even a study planner or a nice tie bar.

 

“Did you know he would be this difficult?” 

 

"Believe me, I had no idea," Jack answered, breathing heavily. His legs were shorter than Ringo's and his stamina weaker. He was having a hard time keeping up.

 

Luckily Killer had paused, giving Jack the opportunity to lean forward over his knees to gasp for air, until Ringo waved Jack forward to perform some sort of maneuver. Jack eyes rolled involuntarily but he obeyed, kneeling beside Ringo only to find that he was going to be expected to crawl. Jack eyed the ground dubiously, wishing that dirt was less dirty, but after heaving a little sigh, he knee walked after.

 

“On my signal, we lunge for him.”

 

"Seriously?" Jack asked, but Ringo shushed him, and Jack saw that his rugged muggleborn companion was not to be deterred. Impressed despite himself, Jack nodded, and when the signal came to lunge Jack lunged like he'd never lunged before. He landed shoulder to shoulder with Ringo, in a tangle of arms. "I think I pulled a groin muscle," Jack gasped. Professor Foster had been right. It was no joke.

 

Once again Ringo shushed Jack, but this time with a question. Jack cocked his head and he too heard the voices. Without needing verbal agreement both boys inched closer, Jack too curious to remember he was literally crawling through the dirt. 

 

It took a minute for Jack to sort out what he was seeing. The Montague, whichever one it was, had his back mostly to them, but his silhouette was unmistakable. The girl was Willa, the Slytherin who had eliminated Jack from the tournament. Her expression looked different than Jack had seen it before. Less smugly satisfied Jack decided. But before he could decide why that might be she launched her face at Montague. 

 

Involuntarily Jack gripped Ringo and Killer tighter.

 

The movement had been quick, but unmistakable. 

 

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing, Jack?” 

 

"Shhh!" Jack said, and he waved at Ringo's face with one hand without taking his eyes from the spectacle. Do it again, Jack willed, and obediently the two of them obliged.

 

This time it lasted longer and the view was slightly better. Jack tried to memorize each movement while simultaneously wracking his brain for good metaphors.

 

Edited by Jack Dare

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Richard Stafford

“That’s bloody well disgusting,” Ringo announced with a whisper, though his eyes never left the scene before him. Jack had him and Killer in a vice-like grip, stunned into silence by the very unnatural act they both were witnessing. This shouldn’t have been happening, Ringo decided. Despite whatever prior misgivings he’d had about Zach (if that was in fact Zach who was letting Medusa herself attach her lips unto his), Zach had proven himself to not be as evil as Ringo and Jack had initially believed when he’d saved Ringo from falling to his death that day out on the quidditch pitch.

 

Ringo still hadn't told Jack about the event—he’d been too shaken up over it to want to deal with whatever Jack’s reaction would be (worry, no doubt)—but it had elevated Zach pretty highly on Ringo’s mental list of good people. (Jack was third on that list, following Ringo’s mum and eldest sister Makayla, followed closely by Gulliver after Jack.) So to see Zach allowing his lips to come so close to Willa’s—the very same girl who’d shot shocking hexes at Ringo during their duel and taunted him about it—left something foul settling in the pit of Ringo’s stomach. He felt betrayed, in a way. Betrayed and disgusted, because weren’t they all only twelve? Kissing should’ve been the last thing on any of their minds.

 

Jack shushed him, and Ringo rolled his eyes. How can he watch something so gross? Ringo thought as he watched the exact same gross display with unblinking eyes. He made fake gagging sounds, all the same, ignoring Jack’s previous shushing. “What d’you reckon they’re saying to each other?” He whispered. This was the sort of event that required commentary. “Oh, Zach. You’re so handsome and rich. I can’t wait to swallow you with my massive snake mouth,” his voice was high-pitched and feminine as he imitated Willa. Then, his voice went lower in pitch as he imitated Zach: “No, Willa. Please don’t eat me. I’m too rich and pureblood to die. Who will get my family’s money if I die young?” Ringo giggled to himself at his impersonations. He was so funny sometimes.

 

“Ow!”

 

Killer nipped at one of Ringo’s fingers, reminding him why they were hiding in a bush in the first place. The model dragon was determined to free himself from his owner’s grip. He bit Ringo again, causing Ringo to unwittingly release the hold he had on the small green creature. Once Killer was past his first roadblock, he nipped at Jack’s arms to force the boy to release his hold on Ringo. When he was fully freed, Killer flew higher in the air, blowing puffs of smoke in both boys’ direction as payback for keeping him captured. He could not be contained, was the message he wanted to send to Ringo and Jack.

 

“Killer, get back here now!” Ringo hissed at the thing in his best Stern Dad Voice™. Killer, however, would not be shaken by Ringo’s commands, and instead flew closer and closer to where Zach and Willa sat. Ringo’s eyes went wide with horror as the realization of what Killer was trying to do settled in. “Killer, I swear to god if you go over there—” He tried to threaten the model dragon to no avail. The events unfolded in what felt like slow motion: Killer, his small green dragon wings, flapping his way over to Zach and Willa. When he’d reached Zach’s foot, he chewed on the Slytherin boy’s shoe. When he’d grown bored of that, he waddled up Zach’s leg, then flapped his wings again and settled himself atop Willa’s head.

 

This, Killer decided, was the perfect position to stare pointedly in the direction of the bush that Jack and Ringo were hiding behind. He then proceeded to let out a small squawk, just in case he hadn’t gotten on everyone’s nerves enough yet.

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Zachary Montague

Zach did not actually expect Willa to take him up on his offer of doing it again. The kiss had been... a kiss. Weird, kind of smushed and it had made his stomach swoop, but kissing was not necessarily something he wanted to do again. He didn't get why people (his sister; Gabe) went on about it as if it was something amazing. He'd only offered to kiss Willa again because he was playing a part and also because he wanted her distracted so that he could get his snitch back. 

 

"Yeah," he answered her question, not really paying attention to what she was asking, his attention instead narrowed down to the snitch in her hand. He reached out for it as she leaned in towards him, his fingers curling around the little golden ball as she closed the distance. It was only the fall of her hair over her shoulder, brushing against the inside of his arm, that caught his attention, and he glanced back at her right as she kissed him. Oh, he thought. There was that swooping feeling again, a bit like a breakneck dive on a broom at high speed. 

 

He tightened his grip on the snitch, now back in his possession and concentrated on the kiss. It was still kind of weird and smushed but it wasn't... it wasn't like it was bad. Cautiously, Zach lifted his free hand and hesitantly moved it to Willa's cheek. His fingertips skimmed across her jawline and then found her hair, sinking into it. It gave him the feeling of more control and when he tilted the angle of his head it was... oh.

 

He was blushing again when Willa pulled away from the kiss but didn't lean away from him fully. "Yeah," he agreed, voice soft. "Now you're getting it."

 

His fingers were still tangled in her hair. The last two times, Willa had been the one to kiss him, surging forwards and taking the initiative. Zach, who had been worried about kissing until Willa had brought it up in the first place and, only a few months ago, had told his brother that it wasn't something he was interested in doing, now found himself wanting to. As weird and smushed as it was, it was kind of, also, nice?

 

Watching Willa's face for any signs of hesitance, this time Zach leaned in to her to kiss. 

 

Something brushed his shoe. Zach shoved it away. Then it began to crawl up his leg. Frowning, he shifted his leg and broke the kiss, opening his eyes to see -- a model dragon, sat atop Willa's head. "What the hell?" The model dragon was looking away over his shoulder. Zach followed its gaze over to a line of bushes and two very suspicious-looking and familiar Ravenclaw first years. Again? He wanted to shout. Again?! They had been the idiots who had stumbled in on his confrontation with Dale in the library. Were they stalking him or something?

 

Edited by Zachary Montague

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Willa Henry

Willa barely noticed Zach pulling the snitch from her hand, too caught up in trying to understand why pressing her lips against his was sending her heart into very pleasant backflips. She barely felt the touches along her jaw, though she thought that she could have traced them if she wanted, but Zach's hand in her usually long, untamable hair seemed to change the kiss. When she pulled away, she expected his hand to drop out of her hair and him to pull back further than she had, but it didn't, he didn't, and Willa swallowed nervously. 

 

She had the brief, questioning thought that maybe the girl (or girls) in France already knew how to kiss and his 'now you're getting it' was more of a pity comment than anything. It stopped her heart mid-backflip for only a few seconds because then Zach seemed focused on her face, causing another blush to spread like wildfire across her cheeks. She met his eyes briefly, resisting the urge to bite her lip as one of her hands found its place on his arm for balance. 

 

That was what she told herself, at least.

 

Willa leaned into Zach's hand in her hair, her eyes closing again as they kissed for the third time in as many minutes. She could feel something change again, as if he was shaking or kicking something, based on the way the hand in his hair moved slightly. She didn't know why she was so aware of that one point of contact when there was, in theory, a much more salacious one where their lips met, but Willa's eyes opened as it felt like something else was resting on top of her head. She barely noticed Zach breaking the kiss, or that his eyes were off behind her, as she made a grab for whatever was on top of her head. 

 

"What the...?" She grumbled as whatever it was bit her, her mood switching almost instantly to a small laugh as she realized it was a model dragon wriggling around in her grip. "Where did you come from?" She asked softly, letting it loose and pleased to see that while it flew a bit away from her, it didn't make a run for it. She reached out to pet it, managing to drag a few fingers down its tail before it hopped out of reach. Willa glanced at Zach then, a comment about how the dragon was rather cute, if a bit annoying, dying on her lips as her eyes followed his to a line of bushes. 

 

"Ringo? Jack?" Willa stared, feeling an uncomfortable mix of shame and anger bubbling up inside of her. She barely resisted the urge to grab for her wand, though she could feel its comforting presence at her side. "What the flack are you two doing here? In bushes?" 'Watching us?' She wanted to add, but she didn't want the answer to that one. 

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Jack Dare

Jack tried to tune out Ringo's impressions of Willa and Zach (if it was Zach) preferring his own narration: 'His lips pressed tightly against hers and she melted like provolone to his prosciutto between two delicate slices of focaccia in one of those really nice paninis where the sauce is aioli and not just mayonnaise.'

 

 Jack was so engrossed in the kissing and his growing hunger that both Killer and Ringo had broken free of his grip before Jack could do much more than choke out "I say!" Killer's defection was the least of Jack's worries. "Shhh! They're going to hear!" Jack cautioned Ringo, and when this didn't stop his friend, Jack crawled after him, hissing, "Leave him! I'll buy you another one!" while trying to drag Ringo backward by the trousers. It was in this compromising position that they were spotted by Zach and Willa, with Willa going so far as to call them out by name.

 

Jack let go of Ringo's bum immediately and sat up. "Oh. Hullo!" Jack said cheerily, trying and failing to sound casual. "Fancy you two being here as well. Ringo and I were just---" Jack looked to Ringo for support. "---nature walk," he said, but then he amended his answer to match Ringo's. "Right. That too."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jack Dare

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Richard Stafford

So, let the records show that Ringo was not, in fact, spying on Zach and Willa. Not intentionally, anyway. And even then, he didn’t consider what he’d done to be spying because he and Jack were still on the lookout for Killer, and it wasn’t Ringo's fault that Killer sought sanctuary near Zach and Willa. That was an issue they had to take up with Killer.

 

Speaking of Killer—

 

He’d been the one to start this whole nonsense in the first place. He’d been the reason why Ringo’s eyes had been assaulted by the sight of Zach (The Betrayer) sucking face with Willa (The Devil Herself). And, Willa Henry was getting way too close to Killer for Ringo’s comfort. Try as Ringo might to go after the thing, Jack kept him in place by firmly dragging him by his trousers. Panicked hands gripped at complete air as Ringo tried to find purchase as he was being pulled away. “I have to get him, Jack,” Ringo flailed.

 

When they’d finally been caught—it was to be expected, let’s be real—Ringo quickly got to his feet and dusted himself off. It was then that he realized that his trousers were partially pulled down from Jack dragging him, and he promptly pulled them back up while trying to look as casual as possible. His eyes narrowed at Willa’s accusation, and he had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. “Nobody was watching you, okay, Willa?” That was a lie. “You think either of us enjoy watching you and Zach share spit?” That was also a lie. Jack (and also Ringo, in a horrified sort of way) had been weirdly interested in the whole act, and his gaze had been nearly unshakeable. “We were just looking for my model dragon, Killer. He got out and we’ve been searching for him this whole time.”

 

“But, if we had been watching—” Which they had. “—we would say that that was gross.” Which it was.

Edited by Richard Stafford

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Zachary Montague

Jack, of course, attempted to play it off as some sort of coincidence. Zach's expression said exactly what he thought of that

 

Ringo pulled his his pants up and attempted to convince them that they hadn't been watching. It would have possibly had a chance of being believable if he hadn't just fallen out of a bush. Zach's heart was still hammering in his chest from both the kiss and the adrenaline after being caught, but he was practised at keeping his expression neutral.

 

So, whilst he was d y i n g inside, he looked utterly unruffled.

 

Leaning back on one arm, Zach raised one eyebrow with a not-very-amused expression as Ringo tried to convince him that kissing was gross. (Just a few hours ago Zach may have agreed with him, but now he knew better. Kissing Willa was not gross.) When the Ravenclaw had finished fumbling over his words, Zach drawled in a perfect imitation of his mother's unimpressed drawl, "If you weren't watching, how did you know we were kissing?"

Edited by Zachary Montague

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Willa Henry

Willa was not capable of keeping a straight face. in fact, between the blush (that she didn't know if it was lingering from the kiss of from the rush of anger that still made her want to grab her wand) and the fact that Jack and Ringo tried to talk their way out of it, Willa's face was contorted in a mixture of a sneer and a threatening glare. 

 

At least Zach was capable of sounding witty, whereas Willa just kept glaring. 

 

It was the feeling of being caught doing something bad that had her mouth sealed shut for the moment, not the fact that it was possibly the world's most annoying boy and Jack who had managed to ruin what was otherwise a very pleasant afternoon that Willa would be thinking about repeatedly until she had something to replace it. In fact, she wanted to suggest they just bugger off and let her and Zach have their peace, but it felt weird asking people to leave so she could keep kissing a person when they'd already expressed that they thought it was gross. 

 

"This is Killer then?" Willa asked simply, pointing to the model dragon currently entertaining itself by setting something on fire. "Why didn't we hear you calling out then? It's rather weird that you were just creeping through the bushes and staring at us." She was never going to forget this. 

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Jack Dare

 As Ringo both denied and confirmed that he and Jack had been watching the kiss, Jack was forced to admit that if he ever did need to engage in espionage that Ringo would be a poor companion. Zachary would be the better choice, judging from how smoothly he went from snogging Willa to cooly interrogating Ringo. It made Jack want to reopen the story he’d started with Zach and Dale, where Dale was the villain and Zach was a James Bond sort of a character. Jack hadn’t known how to insert a love interest into the story before, but now he was beginning to get ideas.

 

“Yes. This is Killer,” Jack confirmed, ignoring Zachary’s too apt question. “And I rather expect you would have heard us calling, Willa, had your attention not been-- otherwise engaged.” Jack raised his eyebrows meaningfully at this before continuing. 

 

“Not that either of us judges-- We don’t judge, do we, Ringo?” he added sharply, in an attempt to bring his friend’s gagging expressions to an end. “--because what two people choose to do in a public venue where anyone could accidentally be an unwitting witness is their business, not ours.” 


“Now, how about Ringo and I just take Killer and be on our way?” Jack proposed. “The sooner we go, the sooner the two of you can get back to whatever it was that you were doing.”

Edited by Jack Dare

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Richard Stafford

Really, it was a wonder how Ringo had managed to get into Ravenclaw at all. He wasn’t superbly intelligent (not in the way Jack was), he wasn’t witty (as evidenced by all the times he’d gotten tongue-tied when trying to think up a quick retort), and, as evidenced by this whole scene, he clearly wasn’t smart enough to come up with a decent lie. As soon as Zach had called Ringo’s bluff and pointed out that Ringo, for someone who claimed to not have been watching Zach and Willa’s kissing session, seemed suspiciously knowledgeable of the fact that Zach and Willa were, indeed, kissing Ringo almost folded like a cheap suit. Zach’s inquiry felt like whiplash, and Ringo could only stand there stupidly as he struggled to come up with a somewhat adequate response.

 

Spoiler alert: he didn’t.

 

He’d simply pretended that Zach hadn’t said anything at all—had pretended that Zach’s words had been carried off by the wind and had never even made their way to his ears—and focused on Willa and her obsession with Killer. “Don’t worry about who that is,” Ringo informed her, stepping into Willa’s field of vision of Killer so that she could stop looking at him. Killer was Ringo’s model dragon, and the Ravenclaw would be damned if Willa enjoyed a single thing that was his. Killer was utterly unperturbed by anything happening around him and had taken to setting a few flowers on fire.

 

Jack, being the smarter of the two, had also chosen to ignore Zach’s keen question and had instead taken to answering Willa (to Ringo’s chagrin).

 

“Judging? Us? Nooooo. Why we never.” It took everything in Ringo not to roll his eyes. “If one and a half people—” because Willa was half wildebeest “—want to song each other’s faces off where anybody could catch them and stab their own eyes out from the sight, who are we to judge them?” Ringo was sure his sarcasm wasn’t helping their case, but this wasn’t the sort of situation where he couldn’t be sarcastic.

 

“I say, good lad, we better be off,” he responded to Jack in a faux posh accent. “Zach, I reckon you ought to go to the hospital wing after you’re done with all this. You never know what terrible things you can catch out here.”

Edited by Richard Stafford

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