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Viktoriya Valentin

I'm coming at you like a cannonball

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Viktoriya Valentin

Viktoriya had spent some of her vacation allowance on buying little gifts for her friends at school. Her dueling opponent friends, her closest buddies - Willa and Leon and Lian and Avery and so many others - little keepsakes that she thought they might find neat. It wasn’t a whole lot, but as Mama and Papa had always said, it was the thought that counted! So, when Viktoriya saw Leon in the corridors on her way down to the chamber to prepare for some of her mentoring duels, she immediately flagged the Slytherin down.

 

Merlin’s socks, had everyone gotten way taller except for her?

 

“Oi, Leon! Hang on!” The Hufflepuff called out, quickening her strides so that she could catch up before he skedaddled away out of her sights. When she caught up with him, she looked up at the boy and gave him a big ol’ smile.

 

“Nice to see ya again! We gotta duel in the chamber at some point again, yeah? I powered up my firepower,” she told him excitedly as she fished around in her backpack. “Anyway,” Toriya continued while she fiddled around in her bag, trying to find the satchel, “That’s not why I stopped you. Hang on it’s in here somewhere.”

 

Her hand clasped around… one of Bandit’s toys? He’d snuck into her bag again.

 

“Got it!” Viktoriya exclaimed when she found the satchel, taking the little blue bag out of her backpack and presenting it to Leon. “Here! I got people little souvenirs from my trip over the summer, this one’s for you.” She’d thought the boy might appreciate the keychain she’d found for him in Moscow. A Slytherin would appreciate a sneaky looking snake, right?

 

set during first week

because my laptop sucks,

I’m so sorry

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Margarleon Turpentine

Leon was relieved that the restrictive curfew that year had been lifted, along with some of the other more stringent rules that had been placed on the castle after the attack. Granted, it wasn’t as if having the rules in place had truly stopped the boy from disregarding them, but it was nice to not give the already power-mad prefects a reason to yell at him for not having his buddy. He didn’t have a buddy as he was walking down to the chamber that day, and was eager to enter the chamber for a duel, when he heard a familiar voice ring out from behind him, asking him to wait up.  

 

He turned on his heel but, per usual, could not tell whether the Valentin twin that called out to him was Ana or Toriya. Seriously, where were the name tags? Or why couldn’t the sorting hat had enough sense to separate them? 

 

“‘Sup uhhh… ViktorAna,” Leon instead used the name he’d come up with to combine the twin’s names when he didn’t know who he was talking to. “Oh yeah? Well, I think I’ve learned some new things since whenever we last dueled, too,” He told her, despite still not knowing exactly who he was talking to. It was true enough - some of his spells were ones he’d learned at the very tail end of the previous year, so there was a good chance he hadn’t shown them to either of the twins. 

 

The boy raised his eyebrows, though, not entirely sure what to make of the Hufflepuff’s words about having something for him. Leon didn’t often receive gifts. Even for Christmas, he was lucky to get a pair of worn socks or a ratty t-shirt from his parents. He’d never in his life had a peer bestow a gift onto him, and he was thrown off that one of the Valentin twins would be the first to do it. The boy didn’t understand why the girl was so nice to him, and he was still puzzling over this even as she found what she was looking for and was holding it out to him. 

 

“Oh, uh…” Leon took the little blue bag, because his greedy side couldn’t help himself, but he hesitated before opening it. “...why me?” The words thank you were not really in Leon’s vocabulary, but he felt weird just taking it without understanding why Viktoriya felt the need to get him a gift. Also, despite himself, he felt a bit of suspicion creep into him; his natural instinct to not trust other people's motives incapable of being squashed, especially in the face of this new sort of interpersonal exchange.

Edited by Margarleon Turpentine

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Viktoriya Valentin

Hearing the nickname that Leon spilled out of his mouth caused Toriya to poke her tongue out at him. "It's Viktoriya this time around," she told him, though knowing Leon he might just mistrust her and assume she was Anastasia anyway. But, since Toriya was on her gift-giving mission, she decided not to tease him. And not a moment more was spared on that train of thought when he mentioned that he'd learned some new spells too since before they'd gone off to summer holidays. Grinning from ear to ear, the girl was all for it. "You're on!"

 

Never mind the fact that she didn't really care if she won or lost any of this. She just liked to see how her fellow duelists were progressing, and if she had to be totally honest - which she was - she knew Leon was as tough as nails.

 

Maybe the gift would soften him up, but really, that wasn't the point here.

 

It wasn't escaping her notice at how his expression was changing as she got out his gift and handed it to him, watching the boy take it from her hands. It almost seemed like he wasn't sure what was going on. Did he not get gifts? It almost made the girl frown, to think that someone could be without this kind of affection when she'd been gifted with gifts and friends and family who did these sorts of things not because they had to but because they wanted to. And, as Leon took the bag from her and proceeded to ask her why, the girl could only blink.

 

She kinda felt hurt on his behalf that this seemed so strange to him. It was almost like he didn't know what a gift was.

 

"Because you're my dueling buddy, and dare I say friend," Toriya told him earnestly, smiling even though he hadn't said thank you or even looked inside the bag at what it contained. "I saw it at the shops and thought you might like it, so I got it for you," she explained further, trying to... well, she supposed she was trying to put the Slytherin boy at ease. She wasn't gonna bite him or anything, even if she could be playful and cheeky as heck on the dueling platform with fire flying all over the place. Right here and now, she was just living by the values instilled into her by her parents. You gave because you wanted to.

 

"It's not enchanted or anything in case you're worried about weird stuff happening, it won't bite, honest." Which was very true considering she'd picked it up at a muggle shop.

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Margarleon Turpentine

Leon squinted at the girl - Viktoriya, if she was to be believed, trying to look for any distinguishing details that might confirm her identity. He found none. “I suppose I’ll have to take your word for it,” Leon told her dubiously, though his smirk reflected his teasing tone. 

 

“Now we definitely gotta duel sometime soon,” Leon told her with a nod. All of these exchanges were the easy ones: debating which twin she was; challenging her to a duel to show off what they’d each learned since last time. It was what Toriya presented next that made the situation difficult for Leon. He was still puzzling over the gift she’d bestowed on him even as his suspicious mind waited for an answer from the Hufflepuff about why she’d bothered. 

 

Maybe it was a prank. A dung bomb or something else that would be fitting of the mischievous twin in front of him… 

 

He was watching Toriya carefully even as his mind mused on her motives, and noticed the way her expression seemed to soften, almost as if she was… pitying him. His eyes narrowed, his expression staying stern as he waited. And there she went, throwing around that word that so many people at Hogwarts seemed to like to refer to him as. Friend. From Willa to Alexander Crow to Annag, many people had referred to him as such, but he still was learning to understand what precisely being a friend meant. 

 

Apparently, in Toriya’s case, it meant buying someone gifts. He was still suspicious, and also felt somewhat weird about accepting a gift from the girl who looked as if she might pity him, but his greed and desire to find out what it was won out. “A’ight. But you know I didn’t get you nothin’, right?” Leon asked ineloquently, the words thank you still eluding him entirely as he stuck his hand into the bag, fishing through the tissue paper and finally pulling out the little keychain. 

 

It was a conglomeration of different greens, the small snake almost marbled in appearance, and in some ways, matching his own green-hued eyes. “Whoa,” Leon commented, turning it over in his hand carefully, still not entirely convinced that it didn’t bite, despite Toriya’s assurances. A rare, almost childlike smile came over his features, and he looked back up at Toriya, finally meeting her eyes. “That’s boss,” He finally declared, which was likely the closest thing to a thank you that Toriya would get. 

 

Unvoiced, many thoughts ran through Leon’s head. Did this mean he owed her? Did this really come with no strings attached? Was this really what was expected of a friend? He felt awkward for a moment, unsure what else to say as he looked down at Toriya, his uncertainty likely showing in his features before he asked, “So… uh… now what?”

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Viktoriya Valentin

"I know that, silly," she pointed out to Leon as the boy remarked that he hadn't gotten her anything in return. "That's not the point. You give people a gift because you want to, not because you have to, or because you expect something in return." Again, Toriya had to wonder if this really was some kind of novel experience for the Slytherin, or if this really was just the way Leon was all the time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He still hadn't actually said the words thank you, but Viktoriya was patient, and well... she was willing to give the boy a chance.

 

After all, he'd never done anything wrong against her. Why would she treat him badly?

 

Seeing the boy take the little keychain out, and watching the expression cross his face, Viktoriya couldn't help but beam right back at him. Even when his eyes finally met hers, the girl couldn't stop herself from expression her happiness that he obviously liked the present. A sneaky snake for a Slytherin had worked out perfectly. "It's really is boss, eh?" Viktoriya remarked, clapping her hands together playfully. What he did with the keychain now of course was all his business, but at the least he'd like it, and that was all that had mattered to the wee little badger of a second year.

 

What Toriya wasn't exactly expecting was the expression on his face shift to something that looked more unsure than it did happy. In return, her own blue eyes blinked a few times in a row before she absorbed the question he just asked her. Merlin's beard, this poor boy really hadn't gotten a present before had he?

 

She could make this right!

 

"Well! First you should think about where you wanna hang your new little keychain friend," she remarked cheerfully, looking at his robes before adding, "Not that I recommend hanging it from a loop on your belt or anything but whatever floats your boat you know? You could chain it to your bookbag or backpack for when going between classes. Oh! You can cast an unbreakable charm on it! I'd definitely recommend that. You don't want it to break on you." Or have someone else break it because, although Viktoriya liked to give everyone a chance, she knew that you had to protect what you had for those folks who just happened to be the absolute worst.

 

"You do whatever you want with it, basically," she added as an afterthought, before she moved in to try and give the boy a companionable hug. "I'm glad you liked it though! And really, you don't have to get me anything if you don't want. Like I said, you give gifts because you want to."

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Margarleon Turpentine

Leon wasn’t sure he liked being called silly, even though the tone had been teasing, but he didn’t comment, instead he was grappling with the notion that it was apparently normal to give a gift and not expect anything in return. He didn’t think that sounded real. Everyone had a motive for doing anything they did, he just needed to suss out what Toriya’s was in this instance. Was it getting in his good graces? Not that she wasn’t already, but did she want to establish their friendship more firmly? That seemed a likely motive. Which meant it wasn’t exactly true that she expected nothing in return, was it? 

 

“If you say so,” Leon stated dubiously, opting not to call her out on his assumptions. After all, she had gotten him a gift, and he didn’t really think that Toriya had truly nefarious motives. If she wanted him as a friend, so what? He saw nothing wrong with that, even if he still felt awkward about this entire situation. 

 

“Yeah, it is,” Leon agreed, although doubt was resurfacing about Toriya’s intentions and what was expected of him in return even as she explained he could kind of do with it what he wanted. It might be a good thing to keep on his person, to avoid Dale trying to steal it and break it. But an unbreakable charm would be good, too… not that he could quite cast that yet, but maybe they’d learn it this year, who knew? “Satchel might be good. Or belt loop,” He muttered in agreement, considering. He mostly had his satchel with him, so it would probably be pretty safe if he kept it on it. “I’ll figure it out,” Leon finally decided, not sure he liked the pressure of having to figure it out right this second. He’d see what seemed to work for him and go from there. 

 

It was then that Toriya moved in for the hug, though, and Leon stiffly accepted, reaching one arm around Toriya to give her an awkward pat on the back. Hugs were most certainly another work in progress for the boy, but he managed this one better than he had earlier hugs. “A’ight, if you say so,” He repeated, though this time his words held more conviction, as if he actually believed what Toriya said. In reality he still was undecided, but again, he couldn’t help but think that Toriya seemed harmless enough. 

 

“So… I’ll catch you around?” He inquired, giving Toriya a quizzical look. He didn’t expect them to hang out, like, 24/7 now, right?

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