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Shiral had just finished the last bits of her homework for the day an found herself wandering the halls thinking of home and her parents. The story her parents told her was that they had met in their fourth years at Hogwarts at the Winter ball. Her mother was actually the one to ask Shiral's father to go with her. Elizabeth, her mother, was always so adventurous and her father, though a bit pudgy, had won over her heart with his brain and his cooking. Who knew a fifteen year old boy could make such delicious food? Still, Shiral pondered on the story a bit longer imagining her beautiful mother dressed in her dark blue gown, flaming red hair pulled back into a mess of curls behind her head...A sigh found it's way through the teenager's lips as she found herself standing in front of the empty dance hall.
She had made a resolution this year to find someone who might go to the ball with her. Her mother's same dark blue gown lay in the trunk at the foot of her bed in the dorms. She had seen images of her mother wearing it, and despite the similarities in appearance to her mother, Shiral did not believe she could do the fine gown justice. Gingerly, the girl stepped inside the empty dance hall looking around to ensure nobody else was there. At first, she stood with her back against a wall, taking in the view of the lovely chambers. Her eyes wandered from wall to wall, to the ceiling, then to the floor on which students danced together. The room was so big and she tried to imagine herself visiting it when it wasn't empty.
Closing her eyes, Shiral could see the blue dress draped off her shoulders and cascading to the ground. She could feel the soft fabric swirling around her feet and ankles as the music played in the background. Though she couldn't see his face, she could imagine herself dancing with a partner at the Winter ball; laughing, smiling, acting like a real person, with real friends. Her feet moved her across the dance floor to imaginary music. She swayed and tip-toed as her imagination took her where she did not believe she could otherwise go. The Ravenclaw was lost in her dream. At least she was not hiding in the greenhouse again...
Wandering was, perhaps, one of Alric’s favorite pastimes. The best part about it was the fact that it could be done however one pleased to execute it. Someone could gather a couple of good friends and wander around in a group, or, someone could very well just be by themselves and enjoy the serene feeling of sweet solitude. For Alric, more often than not, he found himself wandering on his free time alone, and... it was far from sweet at times. Occasionally, solitude was fine - desired, even - but when considering the fact that he was alone because of a mistake on his own part... well, the loneliness he felt found a way to grind against conscious in the most unpleasant way. Alric had other friends he could hang out with, sure, but... well none of them meant as much to him as his brother. That's not to say that his friends didn't mean the world to him, because they certainly did. It was just that Emric happened to be his world. Alric loved his little brother far more than anything else; valued his brother's safety and happiness far greater than his own life even. So, naturally, the fact that his brother wasn't talking to him anymore was practically killing him inside. Of course, it had been a couple years now since his brother's resolution to discontinue their brotherhood, but there was no amount of time that could possibly heal this pain. The wound was far too deep, and, frighteningly appeared to be permanent. Alric had screwed up though, and the guilt he felt for his mistake was the main source of his loneliness. Because, to be honest, Alric could very easily go off and interact with his other friends more, or, hell, he could even go so far as making new friends. That was easy enough for a guy like him, and it would be his solution to his problem if only it was that simple. The fact of the matter was, was that Alric's loneliness didn't stem from him not being around enough people - that sort of loneliness would have been welcomed if that were the case. Instead, the seventh year felt lonely because he was, essentially, a traitor. Or at least that was how he felt, and feeling like that sort of alienated him from everyone else. Almost as if his view of himself in that manner disconnected him from the world around him, and no matter how many escapades he could get into with great friends, nothing was ever enough to make him feel good about himself anymore.
He was in a rut, basically. Had dug himself into a hole that he could no longer see the light at the top, or even hope to ever see it again for that matter. Alric walked the corridors at Hogwarts as an empty shell of what he used to be - laughed, joked around with and explored with his peers as if everything was in fact okay, but in reality it wasn't. He found himself lying again in this regard; something he never thought he'd ever do in his lifetime. That was the thing about lying though, wasn't it? Never would most people believe that they would ever do it, yet when times were desperate enough - when enough was on the line and on the verge being lost - one would do so without hesitation. Back at Durmstrang; back when, he believed, he would be taken out if his parents discovered his liking towards the dark arts... that was when his lying streak began. That had been the first lie he would tell, and now as he wandered aimlessly through his life, it would seem that it had been the first of many. Of course, Alric only lied about his emotional state or to his parents about his continued studying of the dark magic. Those were the only two things that Alric Bolstridge lied about - that counted for something, didn't it? Could it not be said that the fact that he merely lied about two things in his life that, in some small way, the eighteen year old wasn't as horrible as he thought himself to be? No… the wizard lied about those two things enough times , and with enough passion, that he felt as if he might as well had told a thousand lies in his lifetime so far – and then some.
Alric remained sticking to keeping himself alone for most of his days because of all that. Because he felt guilty; because he felt as if he didn’t deserve to be properly happy in any sort of relationship he had at the moment or in any he would hope to have in the future. He felt this loneliness because, in his head, he truly was alone. Alone and left to suffer with the fact that he was a lying fool who, quite possibly, would never be able to redeem himself to anyone. That being said, the boy didn’t feel as if he needed to stop practicing the dark arts. That, in his mind, was not a way to fix things, because in his opinion that was not a problem. He’d told himself time and time again that he was okay in doing so, however, he did wish to find a way to help ease the guilt he felt over lying to his parents about his continued affiliation with the subject. The Hufflepuff just… wanted to find another way that didn’t include him quitting.
All that aside, the eighteen year old was off again, wandering through where his feet wished to take him and, occasionally, greeting a few of his peers in the halls as he passed by them. Soon he came upon the Dance Hall, where, to his surprise, he discovered a twirling girl with hair seemingly alit in a fantastic burst of fiery-red flames. Obviously, the girl’s hair wasn’t really on fire, but it did shine and glow in a mysterious way that made it appear as if it were. The seventh year halted some way past the entrance from he had come, his arms crossed gently across his chest as he stared with curious eyes at the dancing girl. She was spinning, she was twirling, she was pretty much doing every variation of the word with such grace and poise that Alric couldn’t help but feel a little mystified at the show. A gentle smile, one that carried his lips just barely across his face in a curved angle, swept across his scruff ridden face, displaying quite carefully the enjoyment he was having at watching the girl dance. She looked to be in a dreamy state from the way she moved about so carefully and from the soft way she seemed to be holding her eyes shut. The witch looked… like she was having fun. Good, pure, solemn fun that didn’t require loud shrieks of joy or other such exclamations of happiness. The red-head was there, gliding across the dance floor as if she were living through a dream, quietly and peacefully enjoying it all as she did so. Who was Alric to go and disturb this girl? No one special, and so, rather than move up to her and interrupt her peaceful joy, the seventh year merely remained where he was, standing contentedly in the shadows of the room and looking upon the girl in amazement at her graceful dancing. Hopefully, if he was lucky, he could remain enjoying the sight of seeing someone happy for a little while longer, then leave without disturbing a thing.
With her feet slipping across the floor in movements that her father taught her long ago, Shiral's mind wandered back to her family once more. She remembered being eleven, so exited to leave, so excited to start her own adventures like those her parents had taken her along on. When her owl arrived she couldn't move fast enough to get everything ready. Hogwarts was a new frontier, one of the few places in the world she had never been. Now, she missed her family greatly and wished nothing more than to go back home. While she loved her work at Hogwarts, and couldn't find a better place to branch out from her Herbology specialty; Shiral felt like nothing had gone right since the day she stepped off the train. Her first year had been filled with quiet meeping in class. She meant to answer questions but the professors just looked so big, and frightening. Herbology had been great of course, but she felt scorned for answering too many questions. Her second year had the (in her mind), infamous manure incident. Things had just gone down hill since then. Could she do nothing right? As usual, the teenager began to pick at her faults. Her mind never allowed her too much time to enjoy a dream. Unlike her parents she wasn't successful here at Hogwarts. The gentle Ravenclaw was horrid at transfiguration; why try to make something into something it is not? Defense against the dark arts made her look ridiculous as she oft shook in fright at the very idea of being attacked by anything more dangerous than a grumpy plant. All she wanted was to be alone in a greenh- She stopped her own thoughts there.
No. She did not just want to be alone in a greenhouse. Wasn't that what brought her to this place? Wasn't it the desire to have friends, to have that happiness she saw in her parents, that had her feet moving across this very dance floor? After five years at Hogwarts, and sixteen years without siblings, or friends...save Hibblespot, the toad; perhaps it was time that Shiral change her mindset. That was her resolution this year after all; to find someone to go to the Winter ball with her would be insurmountably difficult if she only wanted to be alone in a greenhouse. Eyelids still protecting her from the world outside her mind, she tried to resume her little dream. The dream was gone though...Somehow in all her doubting and analyzing the music had stopped playing.
She pushed harder and harder to try and recapture what she remembered. Her face crinkled in concentration. It was too difficult, absurd, she was trying to remember things that didn't exist; might never exist. Her mother's beautiful blue gown, twirling about her feet and ankles, was gone. Replaced by her school uniform, uselessly twisting around her knees with stiff black fabric. Gone was the imagined dance partner, there was no hand in hers, nobody to lead her in a dance to music that had ceased to exist. Her hand dropped, her feet stopped, everything had disappeared. Taking a deep breath, she exposed her hazel hues to the world and turned to leave. But...there was something, someone in the doorway. It took a moment for her to register that there was actually a boy in the doorway. Just...smiling. The shriek found it's way to her lips and she fell backwards out of surprise.
“By Yggdrasil! How long have you been standing there!??!”
Perhaps standing in the shadows of a room with only a smile on one’s face was creepy. If this wasn’t true for all situations, it seemed to be true for this situation, proven by the horrible shriek of terror or shock (or both) that echoed from out of the red-head’s mouth. The seventh year jumped back from fright, his mind sent into a tizzy. He wasn’t really sure what to do, though the thought of running away did cross his mind. That of course didn’t happen though, for the Hufflepuff wasn’t exactly the ‘running away from girls’ type. In fact, often times he found that girls provided great company if they were made comfortable. Obviously, the witch he was with at the moment wasn’t comfortable, which meant that he had no other choice but to try and calm her down. “I’m sorry!” He stammered with eyes wide open, still a bit shocked over the sound that had come from her lips. He then began to edge his way closer, soon allowing his body to come from out of the depths of the shadows, hopefully revealing his worried face. “I just came in a few minutes ago… I’m sorry.” His hands were now raised up, as if the girl were pointing at him with a gun. He did this mindfully as he assumed that presenting himself to be unarmed would be his best bet at soothing the witch. Although, Alric couldn’t be positive that his efforts would work, but he did hope it would. He continued taking steps closer, slowly lowering his arms as he felt the soles of his feet meet the ground, one after another until he was a few steps away from the girl. “I didn’t mean scare you.” He cooed, utilizing his ability to talk softly. Talking in this way helped the seventh year in many situations – primarily in soothing the worries of his younger brother, though during times of panic it proved to be useful as well. Feeling the gentle hum in his throat as he spoke was a bit odd, considering it had been a long while since a situation required him to speak in such a way. It was, at the same time, comforting to the badger, as the gentle vibration provided him with a soothing feeling in his chest.
Normally, Alric was perfectly fine waiting to see how people would react or respond to him, as his patience was often unmatched, though, admittedly, the Hufflepuff couldn’t really shake the feeling that he would need to do more than just apologize in this situation. Perhaps he felt this way because he truly did want to make amends with the witch, and the only reason he knew this was true was because there was unsettling feeling at the pit of his stomach, working its way up to his chest and leaving a horrible taste in his mouth. Al was never one to want to scare anyone, nor did he ever wish to be the root of someone’s distress. Not without good reason, anyway. But, even then, Alric only ever used his ‘skills’ in certain areas of magic to defend himself, or in defense of a friend. Of course, a whole other demon would escape if the role of victim was ever played by his brother, but… that was a different matter, best saved for another day. The good thing about it, though, was that Al was fairly sure that his brother was fine, probably tucked away in his room or with a friend somewhere, safe from the harm of the lesser dignified students of Hogwarts. Not that Emric couldn’t take care of himself, though; Al just… couldn’t keep himself from stepping in whenever he felt his brother was in danger. It seemed that nowadays he had to sneak around to get wind of anything his brother was up to, what with his brother’s decision to ‘never speak to him again’. The muscles around the seventh year’s face sagged as his mind was filled with all the memories of his failed attempts at trying to make amends with the younger boy. It was hard seeing someone you cared so much for look at you with such disdain. The reminder of his failing relationship with his brother proved to be somewhat helpful to him at the moment, as it increased his desire to fix things with the witch. He didn’t know this girl, didn’t have any reason to feel so adamant about maintaining a relationship that didn’t even exist yet with her, but none of it mattered to him. He was determined to fix something in his life, even if the minor problem had only been present for a few minutes.
The seventh year shifted his weight down, pressing firmly on his feet to support himself up as he crouched down to meet the girl who was still a few steps away from him. “I’m… really sorry I scared you… I shouldn’t have been hiding…” He repeated, wishing that the more times he apologized the closer it would bring him to feeling less guilty. This, of course, didn’t happen, but he couldn’t seem to stop saying it. Though, the wizard supposed that he could only apologize so often before it wouldn’t work anymore, so he slumped off the heels of his feet and landed on the ground with a light thump. He crossed his legs on the floor and instinctively sat up straight, only to slouch back down as he realized sitting straight might have made him appear larger and, perhaps, a bit more intimidating that he wanted to look. “I’m Alric…” The badger managed, letting his voice trail off as he began to lose hope for the situation. It wasn’t normal for him to be so pessimistic, but the thoughts of his brother always seemed to get him in a sad mood, regardless of who he was with or what he was doing. This didn’t hinder his determination to make amends though, so forcefully he pushed the corners of his mouth into a soft smile, hoping desperately that the red-head would accept his apologize and his presence. Of course, it would have been unlike Alric to try and force another person to accept him, so softly he added, “…I can leave. If you wish…”
Hazes hues watched every move of the much larger male student in the room. Suddenly she wished very much that she hadn't fallen backward and made herself not only smaller, but much more vulnerable. Slowly the large figure moved closer and she was stricken with embarrassment and fear. Embarrassed...What had he seen? Who would he tell? Were there others just waiting to laugh at the little Ravenclaw dancing all alone because she had no friends to speak of? Besides Hibblespot, and he wasn't much for dancing. Toad legs were rather poor equipped for gliding and swirling. Terrified...What was he doing here? Was he coming closer? He was coming closer...was he raising a wand? Her mind was racing, her heart was pounding and she suddenly realized that falling on one's backside wasn't the most dignified in a skirt. Was he saying something? He was apologizing. In all of her adrenaline she wasn't even listening to his response to her question. She had asked a question...yes! Oh, a few minutes, he said a few minutes... How long was she dancing? Why did he keep walking toward her?
Her mind finally breaking out of her endless questioning she realized that she must look like a frightened and injured animal on the side of the road. He spoke to her like one too. Though it wasn't so bad to have someone try to be nice to her. He didn't seem deceptive, then again, the most deceptive ones didn't. His voice was low and quiet, soft. At the very least he wasn't drawing attention to the situation like she had...Her mind screamed at her 'Idiot! Idiot! Why did you have to go and scream like that?!? What if somebody heard?' Still, the boy walking toward her wasn't raising any sort of alarm. Despite his size and stature, there was something about him that seemed soft. His movements were slow, making it easy to watch. Sorry...she kept hearing the word 'sorry'. He seemed so sad. Her brow crinkled softly. He was just a few steps away. She watched him crouch down, he was still so much bigger than she was. Thump
Now that he was more in the light, and was closer to non-threatening she took the time to study what was in front of her. Curling her legs beneath her so that she wasn't so exposed, she took a deep breath to relax. Her shoulders dropped from her ears, her skirt was carefully smoothed and she finally blinked. There was a stinging as her lids briefly hid her eyes. The pain was a reminder of how dry the young Ravenclaw's eyes had become. She hadn't blinked the whole time the young wizard had been moving. Pushing back the tears that resulted from her eyes lacking the proper moisture she tried to smile in such a way that didn't make her look like a frightened rabbit.
“No...no, you don't have to leave. You just spooked me. I didn't think anybody was here. Why were you watching me anyway?”
Shiral tried her best not to sound accusing with that last question. Still, she was curious as to why the boy had been watching her dance. The blood rose to her cheeks as the embarrassment returned. She imagined someone watching her stumble around the dance hall, looking like a lonely little freak. Sometimes she just wished she could be someone else...
Relief overcame the badger as the girl finally spoke up, telling him that he was fine where he was. She questioned him about his presence there, a valid question considering it probably wasn't normal for most people to hang around in the shadows and watch people dance. His cheeks heated, their paleness receiving color as he contemplated how to answer. Alric never really had complicated reasons for doing things. Or, well, he tried to keep his purpose in doing things as simple as possible. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't - it was sort of a hit or miss. Even so, the Hufflepuff felt he had a pretty simple reason for what he had done in this situation; it was just a bit embarrassing to have to admit to something you did that was a bit weird, regardless of whether or not you felt you had a valid reason. "Well...” He started, feeling a bit anxious as he heard himself talk, "I wandered in, noticed how lovely you were dancing and... I suppose I just sort of admired it a bit." Slouching down a bit further, the badger felt his embarrassment peak as he noticed his cheeks begin to tingle a little more. Embarrassment wasn't always a fun thing to feel, but it certainly was better than feeling guilty at having scared the girl. Guilt was something that Alric felt enough of, and he was pretty intent on keeping it at a constant level if he couldn’t get rid of it. The thing about guilt was that it was easy to get it, but exceedingly difficult to do away with, so the whole thing had to be avoided at all costs.
His arms became limp as he sat there, doing his best to keep himself looking as small as he could get. It seemed to work in making her feel a bit less frightened, so Alric figured he would stick to doing something that worked, regardless of how uncomfortable it made him feel. It wasn't like he was in an awful lot of pain anyway; he was just used to keeping his back erect, fully straight with his spine extended, as that produced the most amount of comfort for him. One moment of extreme slouching shouldn't have done him too much harm though, so he was fine. A bit hesitantly he rose his arm, lifting his hand to touch the back of his neck. It was sort of a nervous habit he had, one that he was occasionally aware of, though he hardly ever tried to stop it. His habit seemed to do him little good though, as it hardly lessened the discomfort that was settling nicely between him and the girl. Alric was at a bit of loss on what to do. He was usually good with younger students, but most younger students didn’t seem to be deathly afraid of him. This girl, however, seemed to even more than just deathly afraid of him. Somehow he would have to break the ice; otherwise he’d be stuck feeling guilty again for things not working out. Clearing his throat a little he said, “I’m… Alric. A seventh year. May I ask for your name?”
Normally Alric was pretty confident that people would respond to him, especially when he was polite. But with this witch… He wasn’t so sure what would happen. He supposed the worst that could happen would be that walk away, though, the idea that she might faint did cross his mind. That wouldn’t have posed well for his self-esteem, and it definitely would have made him feel guilty again. There wasn’t much else for him to do though, unless… Perhaps rambling like an idiot would help cushion the awkwardness of the situation? There wasn’t really much else he could think of, and so he started naming off everything that came to his mind. “So… I’m actually a horrible dancer. Can’t seem to move right, or get into it well, or something. I just don’t get it, I guess. I’m more useful on a broom, though… Hah, I guess I’m not really using my feet there, huh?” Things were going great. He was now at the part where he could nervously laugh at his idiocy, and far sooner than he had imagined! “I’m decent at walking though. Running too. Once I went walking around outside for nearly 7 hours straight. I don’t think that’s my record though, seems like I’ve been outside for at least 10 hours before. Just, uh… wandering. It’s my thing I guess. Do you… wander?” Maybe... maybe if they had that in common... things would get easier?
She watched him slump over, becoming smaller and smaller. It wasn't as if she couldn't remember what she had just seen. She knew how large he was...maybe he was? Did she see him blush? There was a certain pink tinge to the boy's cheeks. What did he have to be embarrassed about? Shiral didn't know how to react to someone like this. He was older, to be sure. He seemed to have a sadness about him when he first spoke. Now he seemed to be trying to defuse the situation. Despite how he had spooked her in the beginning, his current state was...adorable. She could tell though that he was uncomfortable. Small body movements that hinted at being unused to being in this position. Was this all for her? The timid explanations? The slouching? The blush? Shiral hardly felt that she was worth so much work.
His explanation brought the blush back into her cheeks. She could feel the blood rise and prayed silently that her hair color would make her face less noticeable. She had been "lovely" whilst dancing? That was quite a term. Perhaps he meant that her dancing itself was lovely? That would be easier to swallow. Still, she hadn't been trying to dance with any sort of beauty. As far as she could tell she looked like a clumsy twirling toy on imaginary strings of memories. That was a strange thought...She looked back up to the boy. Still unsure of how to react, she was overly conscious of her body and facial expressions. She did her best to remain expressionless for now. She didn't want to seem afraid, but she wasn't sure that she was anything else for the moment.
Her eyes, irises filled with hazel hues, started at the top of his head and tried to take in the vision before her now. It looked like a very nervous, upset, guilty boy trying to do everything to make her...Shiral...feel better. The whole time she had maintained her presence in her own mind. Of course the shriek and the brief affirmative that he could stay were exceptions but it hadn't been much. How badly must she have made him feel? It wasn't so bad to be admired. She had always been the weed and not the rose. Maybe she should give him a chance to explain himself. He seemed to be explaining himself quite adequately now though. He asked her name then continued to speak. His words went from oddly placed small talk to funny rambling. Shiral did her best to take it all in. Alric, 7th year. Shiral's eyes glanced to the side for a moment and she mouthed the name. She over pronounced the letters without any noise. Shiral was tasting the name, seeing how it felt on her tongue and lips. Not so bad of a name. At the very least it didn't sound like a villain's name. There was more to listen to though. He wasn't good at dancing...but he did well at flying. Mental note, don't let him see how not graceful you are on a broom. The rest sort of all blended together. Was he talking about his record for having been outside? Ten hours really was quite a bit of time to be outside wandering. She wondered how long he had been out wandering while it was raining...this whole thing seemed silly. She waited for him to stop. Her eyes were large as she stared at him.
Then finally...she smiled. It was all just too much. Her smile turned into a chuckle, and the chuckle into a laugh. It was all of relief and nervousness.
"Are you for real? You hide in the shadows like a lurking predator then you come in and turn out to be the charming prince who spies on the scullery maid as she dreams of going to the ball! Did I fall into a fairy tale? Next you'll be telling me that despite being a seventh year you were completely unaware of my nut job reputation.?"
*ahem* She took a moment to calm down. She had sort of exploded again. Why did she keep doing this to him?
"I'm sorry, that was rude. Let me answer your questions. My name is Shiral. I'm a fifth year. No, that's not really using your feet. I didn't wander before, however I have taken up as of late as a way of dealing with how the world seems to overwhelm me. Please forgive me. You're just a bit...intimidating. Even if you are the kind fairy tale prince. He still carries a sword right?"
She realized how strange that sounded. She hoped however, that he understood.
Alric shifted his gaze from up at the girl, to down at his lap as he waited a while for her speak up. She seemed to be taking him in - sort of, observing his body and clearly taking note of every movement he made. It made him slightly uncomfortable to feel so closely watched, though he supposed that at the very least, she hadn't asked him to strip down and show her he was weaponless. Well, mostly weaponless. He had his wand of course, but he wouldn't dare raise it to just anyone. Alric certainly didn't go around casting spells willy-nilly - that would have been absurd. No, the seventh year needed a reason to draw his ally on another person, and it had to be a logical one as well. Not just those hardly constructed reasons like "because I'm able to" or something similar. Good, valid, generally acceptable reasons were required, otherwise the boy would keep his wand at his side.
Lost in his thoughts, the seventh year was quite surprised when the witch suddenly began to laugh. Her chuckle echoed around him as he stared blankly at her, a bit confused as to what was so funny. It hit him finally that what he had said - or the way he had said it - had worked. Giving the girl a slanted grin, the badger wholeheartedly accepted the laughter, refraining himself from chuckling as he didn't want his to mix in with hers. It felt nice knowing that she had to be feeling at least comfortable enough to laugh now, so Alric thought it best not to test the girl and add his chuckling in with hers, just in case it would ruin the moment. He kept smiling though, and that was good enough for him.
The witch didn't stop at just laughing though. Soon after the giggling, the red-head went and began a bit of a speech on her own, almost seemingly excited as she spoke. Or, perhaps the extra sense of energy that the badger felt in her words was merely relief? Either way, the boy's cheeks discovered new shades of pinks as the witch's words sunk into his mind. The younger girl had just called him a prince. A prince! Perhaps it was odd, but Alric couldn't help but feel a bit "squeeish" at the word. His admiration for that particular title might have made more sense if he had only been some years younger, but Alric often thought of himself as being "young" at heart, which, considering he was only eighteen, his definition of young translated to child-like. It was one of those traits that, though there was likely no such hereditary gene for it, happened to be something fairly common in his family. Emric was - er, used to be an imaginative young lad, as was the seventh year, and so was their father. So, with his rather extensive imagination, the sorts of things he associated with "prince" were scenes of great and noble warriors, keeping peace in some medieval land as they tended to the needs of their fair maidens, as well as went off on adventures that they would eventually pass on to their sons and daughters. It was a beautifully grand life, and it touched the Hufflepuff to hear another being call him as such. How often did people go around calling each other princes and princesses anyway? Not nearly as often as the seventh year would like at least...
But the witch continued talking, introducing herself properly and apologizing for her behavior. As far as Alric was concerned, Shiral had been rightfully frightened, though he felt the sense that she thought otherwise. It didn't make much sense to the wizard why she felt the need to apologize, especially when considering she hadn't done anything wrong. But, he supposed that the witch merely saw the situation differently and there wasn't much he could do about that. Normally he wouldn't want to change someone's mind, not in a serious situation, but he felt a bit strange after hearing the girl excuse herself. He nodded in response to hearing her comment about his image, as he understood that with their difference in size, he could hardly be considered a tiny lamb. With his cheeks flushed again, Alric smiled widely at the question she posed to him. Reaching into his holster, the Hufflepuff gingerly pulled out his wand, holding it delicately up to his face to show the fifth year. "I suppose he does, though... it's a bit less metallic nowadays. Perhaps I need a new one? This one does seem a bit dull..." This was a joke of course, because if true love existed, then Alric would have said that his better half resided in his wand. The seventh year adored the tool since first receiving it, and always made sure to care for it properly. He could think of the thing for hours though, so to keep himself from getting side tracked, the badger replaced his wand into his holster again, feeling a bit better now that the air seemed to be clear and fresh again.
Turning his gaze back onto the witch, the seventh year hesitantly made himself comfortable again, stretching his spine at the slightest, almost expecting that he would need to miniaturize again. Oh, well... miniaturize as best as he could again, so as to keep the situation from turning sourly again. Now, though, the Hufflepuff felt fairly confident that things weren't going to backtrack. He did, however, make sure to keep alert to the witch's reactions as a sort of precaution. If she made any move that hinted at discomfort, the Hufflepuff would have to accommodate again to fix things. Perhaps it was a bit more effort than most would do, but Alric often found that he wasn't ever truly happy and comfortable unless whoever he was with felt the same. So, to help keep things light, the Hufflepuff began talking about random things again, first responding to her previous question though. "Reputations." He repeated, pursing his lips. "Spread through gossip, normally. I'm... afraid to admit it, but I may not be wandering correctly. You see, we hear gossip when we wander, right? Hm. Well, at least sometimes we do. But I don't seem to hear much of it." The wizard shrugged, not really sure if he had a proper excuse for not being much of a gossiper. "I guess - maybe - I don't really have time for it? When I'm not wandering, I'm studying, and studying usually requires all of my brain to work, not parts of it while others wander off to useless things." Gossip just happened to be one of the things that the eighteen year old cared very little for. It proved to not only harm people at times, but also to be rather meaningless. Now, give the boy a good rumor centered around hidden jewels or forgotten taverns, and then the boy would all over "gossiping" - but that wasn't exactly the same thing, was it?
That aside, the badger had to think a bit on what to talk about next. His eyes traveled around the room, taking in the dark, almost Victorian ambiance that saturated the room. It was a strong presence, surely. So strong that it wasn't a mystery as to why many of the school's dances were held there. It was elegant, certainly the type of place that most would enjoy a proper ball at. But soon after observing his surroundings, a few ideas on what to talk of next came to his mind. "Speaking of studying... I'm just about finished with studying Transfigurations. I've just had enough of it already..." He sighed, shifting his gaze back to his lap. "I don't understand it I guess... I'm much better at D.A.D.A. What about you? What classes are your favorite? Or... least favorite?"
She smiled as he pulled out the wand. She was somewhat uncomfortable, but she figured if he was going to hurt or humiliate her he would have done so by now. She eyed the wand quietly as she gave him a turn to talk. Deeper voices were soothing to her. Her mother's voice had always been a low but feminine alto. Her own voice irritated her a little bit with the higher pitches that came with excitement. She found that she cringed when listening to most of the younger female students. It was silly really, and she had nothing against the girls, higher pitches just seemed to echo in her head. Listening to a deeper male voice reminded her of listening to her father hum as he stood at the stove, no doubt making something that would fill the house with delicious smells that drew the girl to the kitchen with a twitching nose. He had smiled when she laughed, and he seemed to feel less guilty about the situation. She could have sworn she saw a bit of a glimmer in his eyes when she said the word "prince".
Of course she hadn't really been thinking about it when she said it. However, the situation felt all to "fairy tale". The tall boy standing in the shadows as she danced, unaware...Then the exchange of fear and stumbling words only to find out that he wasn't as scary as he seemed originally. He was actually a bit sweet. He seemed to look at his wand with a significant fondness, even as he spoke of getting a new one.
Even though he seemed uncomfortable at being examined she couldn't stop watching every muscle movement. It was habit when dealing with anything that didn't derive nutrition from sunlight or insects. he straightened up a bit as she spoke and she relaxed at his more relaxed posture. While she could take in his full height a little better if he sat straight or stood up; somehow he seemed so much less intimidating in their current situation. Did he really just say that he wasn't aware of her nutcase reputation? Or that even if he was aware that he didn't put much thought into it? Chivalrous prince wasn't he? Could encounter be any better for her? Maybe...maybe she could get a real friend out of this. Assuming that it didn't become too awkward, that was a real possibility.
The redhead's nose crinkled slightly at the mention of transfiguration. It was quite possibly the most ridiculous class she had ever encountered. Why would someone want to turn something into that which it wasn't? Most particularly in the case of living things? Did they create a soul? What memories did that creature have? A sigh pressed its way past her lips and she looked up at the ceiling, finally giving some reprieve to the over-examined Alric.
"Herbology is by far my favorite class...I could live with nobody but Hibblespot and my greenhouse...Transfiguration...ugh, transfiguration doesn't make any sense...I would have to say that's my least favorite class..though I'm better at that than I am at defense against the dark arts...You can pretty much gauge my reaction to scary things by our earlier interaction. "
She smiled at that last comment, trying to laugh at herself rather than hate herself for her earlier reactions.
Alric nodded his head as he listened to Shiral talk, chuckling after when he heard her last comment. It was sort of light laugh, one that he had purposely tried to control and make to sound as friendly as he possibly could. It was nice knowing that he wasn't the only one struggling with Transfigurations, though, he wouldn't have minded eventually being able to do well in it. Al enjoyed learning about a lot of subjects, and wished to at least reach a mediocre status in most, but... trying to learn a subject that you couldn't grasp was reason enough to flinch away from it, and thus, he was tired of it. His eyes gleamed at the mention of Defense Against the Dark Arts, as that was one of his favorite subjects. It came naturally to him, as if he lived and breathed to do well in the subject. Of course, knowing its counter subject as well as he did only proved to give the badger more of an advantage in the class. Knowing the intricacies of the Dark Arts made its defensive counterpart as easy and simple as a weekend stroll. He wouldn't dare share his 'extra' knowledge with the red haired girl though, seeing as he already could tell that she was easily scared. That and, the wizard didn't see much point in telling her of it. He certainly wasn't going to be teaching anyone about the Dark Arts; he merely continued his studying of them from his time at Durmstrang.
Pushing this away, that badger sighed softly in relief as he noticed that the girl was no longer staring him down like a hawk. It was a bit more comfortable to sit in front of her without feeling as if his very soul were being examined. Not that he minded this terribly, because Alric was more than willing to prove his innocence to the witch. He was just a bit more accustomed to not being eyed as if he were a criminal. Tossing his arms to rest atop his crisscrossed legs, the badger smiled again and said, "I'm great at D.A.D.A. It... can be a difficult class." He nodded understandingly at this, as he had noticed fairly early in his school career that not many people caught on to certain subjects easily. "But it's certainly a class that is worth learning at least a little bit in." The purpose of the class was, as shown in its name, to aid witches and wizards in defending themselves against the darker side of magic. If the tactics in the class weren't learned, then one would surely find themselves at risk of being harmed, and not just a temporary sort of harm, but likely a permanent one. It was scary, then, wasn't it? Both to realize that in not learning it, there was a great risk of serious harm coming to you, and that if it were to be attempted to learn it, that there would plenty of hardships, particularly to those who were easily disturbed, or found the concepts to be difficult to comprehend. Pursing his lips slightly, the badger contemplated a possibility that kept running through his head from the second he had heard Shiral admit to performing less than spectacularly at the class. Would it have been inappropriate to offer his help to the witch in the class? It... didn't seem as if it would. People generally accepted the help offered to them out of kindness, right? It seemed to be the way things worked from the Hufflepuff's perspective, though, there were many ways a person could perceive any offer.
Not wanting to waste the fifth year's time with the sight of him pondering over things, Alric began to randomly chat again, admitting to his wish to eventually do well in Transfigurations as well as mentioning that he wasn't all that horrible at Herbology, the girl's favorite class. He continued then by mentioning to her that he often found himself wandering in solitude, and that, while it could get lonely at times, there was something a little extra sweet about the serene calmness that came when one was alone. You were able to notice the little things more then, such as the tiny weeds that grew from small cracks in the stone, primarily on the outer areas of the castle. The variety of rocks, some being smooth, others being rigid - these were the sorts of things that Alric found interesting to take note of, and the only times he could truly observe such things was when he was alone. All during this, the badger had been weighing the possibilities surrounding how an offer to tutor the witch in DADA would go. According to what his imagination could formulate, it didn't appear as if things would end too horribly for him. So, after finishing whatever random thing he was going on about then, the badger chimed up, "You know, I could tutor in D.A.D.A. But only if you'd like me to. Some of the things can be pretty useful to you, and... it's usually helpful to know how to defend yourself if thrown into dangerous situations." With his offer out in the open now, the wizard merely smiled hopefully at the witch, silencing himself in order to wait for her response.
She saw a bit of a glimmer in the boy's eye as she moved her head back down to start laughing. What was it that she said that brought such a happy look to his appearance? He was much more handsome when he was happy. Something about his laughter seemed restrained though, as if he were holding back his full mirth. He seemed to have been relieved by his temporary release from her gaze, and she made a mental note to look around the room more often. She certainly didn't want to make him so uncomfortable that he felt obligated to do anything besides be his usual, nonthreatening self.
As he took on a new, relaxed position, Shiral couldn't help but do the same. Her muscles loosened slightly and she took notice of how tight the muscles in her arms had been, as if she was ready to strike a punch. As if that would have done her any good against the person sitting across from her now...She closed her eyes even, the eagle felt as if she could trust this boy not to do anything mean or harmful to her. Her head tilted back as she listened, she must have looked a bit like she did when she was dancing as her mind often wandered onto different topics while she listened to people speaking. Alric's was a particularly easy voice to listen to, and she let him speak while she took in the situation.
When he mentioned D.A.D.A. Being a difficult class, the corner of her mouth flicked out involuntarily. Difficult wasn't the word. The spells themselves weren't so hard, it was getting past her overactive imagination. When the professor said “imagine if a dark witch or wizard were coming at you with a readied wand. You see the evil gleam in their eye as they're ready to eliminate you as a problem...” her mind actually imagined it... If she could see the danger, then her knees would get weak, her tongue would get heavy and her mind would get dizzy... "But it's certainly a class that is worth learning at least a little bit in." She nodded at this, and tilted her head back, lifting her lids, to set her hazel eyes back upon his image. That was true to say the least. She didn't doubt the usefulness of the course. Not like she did transfigurations...but the premise was terrifying. She had simply hoped never to find herself in a situation in which she would need such training. Of course, now, looking at a large, and probably talented wizard siting across from her while she was alone, in a large, open room; she realized that she did present too easy of a target. He was quiet...why wasn't he talking any more? She watched the Hufflepuff's eyes and he seemed to be thinking of something...
Then, he was back, as if he had never left. The dark haired boy talked of classes mostly...she caught transfigurations, and mention of her most favorite class..herbology. She listened to him talk about wandering and all of the wonderful things he came to recognize when he wandered alone. Really, for some reason, it was this part that the sixteen year old most enjoyed listening to the most. It held a bit of passion in it. It seemed, at least to her, that he was talking about something that really brought happiness to his heart. Considering his previous hints at depression, this forced a bit of a smile onto Shiral's lips.
She was just starting to get into his descriptions when he offered to tutor her...in defense against the dark arts no less. YES YES! Her mind screamed it at her. This was one of the very few people in the world that had made her feel comfortable and she couldn't think of many places safer than with the soft spoken wizard that had terrified her just a few moments ago...That was an odd thought. How was it that Alric felt like safety? Even so...even if it was a strange thought...this might give her a real chance at learning to defend herself. He was right..it was useful. Dangerous situations weren't likely to avoid her just because she had chosen to be afraid. She bit her bottom lip a moment in thought then looked up at him.
“You know...I've been afraid of everything since I came to this school...You talk about wandering alone and being outside all day long just because you can...”
For some reason the redhead couldn't yet know, she felt her throat close up and her eyes grow hot. She wouldn't cry...not in front of someone she just met...
“ I am really...really tired of being afraid all of the time. To answer your offer, I would really appreciate you tutoring me. You seem to be so...unafraid of the world. I would love to have even just a little bit of your courage...”
Alric listened intently to every word the witch uttered to him, noticing all her movements as body language could speak of things that the mouth could not form the words for. The twitch of her facial muscles, the touch of blush-red that stained the younger girl's cheeks, the intense glare that coated the darkened eyes of the kind that hovered over depressed, sagging bags - Shiral was sad. Sad and tired. Very tired from the wizard's perspective. It was disheartening to see the girl whom - moments before - had just been dreamily gliding across the wooden floor, happily so, and seemingly without a care in the world. There were only so many things you guess about a person when never having had the chance to talk to them before, and with Shiral, Alric hadn't really decided on much. The sight of her dancing had done little to spark any solid perceptions about the girl, though he had assumed that she was at least happy. Yet, as he looked at her now, there was a strong presence of something less than so, something that was painful for even the badger to have to look at. Interesting how this essence had so easily been masked moments before...
Mentally, the Hufflepuff shook his head, snapping himself out of the girl's saddened gaze. Smiling eagerly, he said, "Brilliant. We'll begin our lessons now, if you don't mind?" Normally the wizard would have suggested for the teachings to be held at another time - one where the witch could have had time to prepare for. But as the sting of the girl's seemingly depressed state remained trapped within the badger's subconscious, the sense of urgency to make her happy again overpowered his reasoning. This shouldn't have matter too much, right? Shiral seemed more than willing to learn how to defend herself so that she could stop being afraid of everything. Or so she claimed... Not that Alric didn't believe her. He just wasn't sure that teaching her would completely relinquish all her fears, though, she no doubt knew this already. Alric could merely teach the witch how to defend; the obtaining of courage would have to be done on her own. Still, this didn't mean the Hufflepuff wasn't willing to try and 'share' a bit of his courage with her. It would just be a bit tricky figuring out how to do such a thing...
The wizard would save that for later though. At the moment, the seventh year was sure that he could go over a few techniques that would aid in Shiral's quest. Pushing against his legs, Alric rose up, revealing again his greater height. He hoped that his size wouldn't become a problem again, especially when he wasn't so capable of making himself smaller while standing up. One could only slouch so much, after all. But the air between them seemed to be calm enough, so perhaps everything would be fine. And, actually, they would sort of have to be fine, as there wasn't really a way for the boy to properly teach the Ravenclaw while sitting down. Many of the things that needed to be learned did require a person to be standing, so if Al was going to supplement his teachings with demonstrations, he would technically have be to be standing.
With nothing but hope pumping through his veins, the seventh drew his wand again, aiming it off towards the darker areas of the hall to call forth a few chairs he had barely seen in the dark. He positioned them near to where he and Shiral were, realizing for a second that, if he had been good at Transfigurations, he could have transformed the chairs into a dummy of some sort, making for a better target than just a chair. His lips quivered in amusement over the revelation, only to stop them promptly as he needed to set all his attention on his current task. Teaching the girl a bit about DADA was a bit more important than chuckling over how sad it was that he couldn't do something that would have been incredibly useful for him...
Turning to Shiral, Alric said, "We'll have to do some pretending... and, that can be pretty scary if you have a really good imagination. But just remember, as easily as we can create an invisible enemy before our eyes, we can just as easily banish it." Hopefully, the witch would be able to trust him on this, though, if they ran into a few tough spots, Alric was more than glad to assist her. After all, the point of tutoring was to help the student learn, not scar them for life. "You need to have quick reflexes. Use your senses wisely and do your best to keep a calm mind. Lose that, and you'll become frantic. You'll start to cast spells without thinking properly and risk worsening the situation. Don't focus on what could go wrong, or even on what could go right. When you're facing something that's trying to harm you, it's best to just focus on what you can do to get out of the situation."
Alric walked towards the chairs after finishing, and waved his wand over the two he had summoned. He enchanted them with a timing spell and a variation of an animating one, intending for the chairs to launch out to where he would stand beside Shiral, providing them with something to test their reaction times with. Quickly the wizard scurried back to the witch, turning on his heel as soon as he made it by her side again. "Those are going to jump out towards at any random time. We'll have to prepare ourselves for the unpredictable launch. Ready yourself to cast Impedimenta at the chair when you see it heading towards you." As soon as the boy had finished speaking, the chair aimed for him rubbed against the ground for a second, creating a brief screeching sound before rising and beginning its journey towards the Hufflepuff's face. "Impedimenta!!" He shouted, jerking quickly to blow the chair back. His cheeks flushed a little as the chair landed some ways away, returning to its former, motionless life. "Like... that." The boy stammered, shocked that the chair had launched at him so soon. Turning to Shiral again, the boy smiled meekly and said, "I guess we just wait for yours now."
Shiral slowly got to her feet. Alric's size was less intimidating and more comforting when facing a common “enemy”; even if that enemy was a chair... Her hand planted in front of her and she rolled from her hip onto her heels. The eagle could feel her muscles tense as she stood up. Every muscle was tense. Then it hit her...her wand...it was across the room, it it's case, in her backpack. Now she wasn't just facing an enemy that might strike at any time, she was defenseless...
“My wand! It's in my bag!”
The panic rose in her chest and she could feel her lungs begin to tighten. No..no everything was wrong. She would be beaten up by a chair! A chair of all things! She shouldn't be afraid of a chair but it was going to hurt to be hit by the thing. She glanced up at Alric. For some reason, she didn't want to disappoint him. She didn't know how she might react if she completely failed with his tutoring. Would he be sad again? It would break the ravenclaw's heart to see him upset again.
The click of her shoes against the dance room floor echoed against the walls and ceilings as she began to bolt for her backpack. Shiral had no idea when that chair was going to come at her and she had to move as quickly as possible. That first one had been so quick! What if the second one decided to bowl her over before she had the stuff to defend herself. There was one loud click as she pushed off the floor and dove for her pack. She misjudged the distance though, and her face slammed hard into her pack. The sixteen year old's body shook as she felt the edge of her wand case dig into her cheek. It would cause a bad bruise...if it wasn't cut. Shiral pushed herself up and whipped her hair out of her face with a free hand as she worked at her pack; eyes glued on the enemy chair. Fumbling, her hands found the smooth metal wand case. The copper colored metal lacked it's normal shine in the dark dance hall. She flicked open the case and pulled her wand out. The reed shaft whipped through the air as she spun her upper body to face the chair again...As she stumbled to her feet, wand still pointed she realized that the chair...still hadn't moved. She had just acted like a total idiot for no reason...In fact, it dawned on her that Alric probably wouldn't have let the chair just run her over if she were too slow...
The red moved quickly to her face again, now mixing with the same blood that was causing the blue-purple hue to spread across her left cheekbone. The pain was throbbing, pounding in her features. The red head's free hand checked her face to see if there was any blood. Nothing, just a tender bruise forming across her fair skin. The chair still hadn't moved...How stupid could she make herself look? Her body drooped slightly; her wander lowered and her head dropped toward her chest.
“I guess...I was a little panicked...I don't know that I could have looked more foolish than that particular little stunt there...”
Her hand moved up to the bruise again. Gently prodding her injury to see how bad it was, and how far it spread. She had hit the case at an odd angle. It spread from the top edge of her cheekbone, across her face and near her eye. The problem could have been a lot worse had she landed with her eye near a corner. She hissed in pain.
“Ow...Just...wow...I'm sorry I'm such a weed.”
Shiral let her free arm wrap across her body, pulling her wand arm in with a sulk. All she could do now was to try and make herself so small she might disappear and never have to deal with the consequences of her idiocy again. Small...small...so small...She wanted to run away, to hide in the greenhouse and hope that, somehow, Alric never thought to go after her. Or, if he did, that he would never think to look in the greenhouses. The witch couldn't even do that. She was frozen in place, trying her best not to cry. The tell-tale heat of tears rising to the edge of her eyes told her that she might not be able to do so. Between the pain her cheek, and the shame of her actions...it was becoming difficult to hold them back. She would NOT cry in front of Alric...she wouldn't upset the sweet boy who had agreed to help her. She would not be the source of another's sadness...
It was impressive to see how quickly the Ravenclaw could move. Her sudden outburst had frightened the boy a bit, but it had merely been out of the shock of the whole thing. He rose his hand to the crown of his head, gripping softly to a clump of his hair as he stared, worriedly so, at the witch's actions. She was performing in the exact manner he had just said to avoid, warranting a sigh from his mouth. He had clearly failed in explaining his tips to the girl, which meant he needed to try a different approach in teaching her. But... what that approach was escaped his mind. This meant the wizard would have to turn to the age old science of 'trial and error.'
In the meantime, Alric did his best to try and speak up, finding the task to be a bit difficult as he didn't want to... interrupt the girl? Perhaps his polite nature wasn't required in this situation... Regardless, Alric chimed up as best as he could, letting out several "um's" and "oh's," and when the time came that Shiral had face-planted into the ground, an exasperated "Ouch!" The wizard cringed backward, shutting an eye and crinkling his nose as he almost felt how hard the wooden floor had crashed into her cheek. Disbelief overcame the eighteen year old as he continued to watch the witch scramble to her feet and whipped ferociously around to face the... still motionless chair. Even from where the boy was standing, the cherry red that flushed into the eagle's face was noticeable. Her lip seemed to quiver as she spoke up, admitting that her performance was a bit... erratic. Alric scratched the back of his head as heard her speak, unsure on how to properly respond to her. The redhead had... certainly gone a bit over the top, but she seemed to be harder on herself than Alric thought was warranted. Turning his gaze from the witch to the chair, the badger tried to gauge when the chair would begin moving. His eyes rested on it until he heard Shiral speak up again, mentioning something about being a weed.
"A weed?" The Hufflepuff echoed, trying to piece together what the girl could have meant by it. He supposed she meant an oddity, or some sort of undesirable. Sighing once more, the badger walked up to the girl, wand in his hand and ready to try teaching the girl again. "Lets take care of this cut, shall we?" With that the wizard placed a finger under the girl's chin, lifting it slightly as he pointed his wand at the girl's injury and said, "Episkey!" The cut seemed to disappear from her cheek, the blood it left behind soon dissipating into the air before the badger's eyes. "I should have made sure you had your wand first... Sorry. Is the pain gone now?" Usually Episkey would work just fine to get rid of cuts and the blood that typically accompanied said cuts, but the soreness that came with most injuries wasn't guaranteed to be done away with. Not with that spell anyway. But Alric knew of potions that could ease a person's tender spots, so he was more than capable of helping the girl do away with her physical pain. The aches to her ego... Well, he'd have to think on how to mend those wounds. "Accio chair!" The badger said, calling forth the chair he had knocked over. Stopping it with his foot, Alric placed the chair by Shiral, offering her a seat if she wished.
The wizard scratched his eyebrow then, running through his next speech in his head to make sure he knew exactly what he wanted to say. "A weed..." He repeated, returning to the old topic the girl had brought up. "Flowers are... mostly beautiful things, yes? It is my belief that the world must have a balance of all things. So with every beautiful flower, there is an ugly one nearby. Many weeds aren't very pleasant to look at, but there are some that contain a beauty far greater than any flower I've seen." The Hufflepuff turned to glance at the chair again, making sure that it wasn't moving. When he saw that it wasn't, he turned back to the eagle, resuming his speech once more. "Don't fret about how you look. You look fine to me, anyway. You had... a bit of an accident back there, that's natural. If... you're insistent on being a 'weed' then... just remember that there are beautiful weeds out there. Many of which that contain a powerful presence when given the chance." Smiling softly, Alric added, "I've received some pretty bad aliments from touching a lovely weed or two in my lifetime, so... I believe I know what I'm saying."
Turning to face the chair again, Alric was shocked to see that the thing didn't seem to be making any sort of movement. Perhaps the chair... didn't want to move? Raising a hand to scratch his head again, the badger went forth, coming a tad bit closer to the chair to inspect it. Maybe he hadn't performed the spells correctly on that chair? He shook his head, knowing for sure that that possibility was unlikely. Al had cast the spells on the chairs in the same manner, performing them back to back, so he couldn't possibly have made a mistake. "We might have broken it, Shiral." He said, turning to view the girl from the side. "Though... I don't know how..." Fully baffled, the eighteen year old turned his back to the chair, walking slowly back to the girl. It was when he was a few steps away from the girl that he heard the sliding of the chair's leg against the ground, signifying its take off was fast approaching. Spinning on his heel quickly, Alric turned to face the chair, soon finding that he had spun a little too quickly. He tripped on his own foot, his arms flailing wildly as he stumbled backward. The Hufflepuff did his best to regain his balance, but soon found the sight of the chair aimed right towards him just as he was still struggling to stand again. His eyes widened as the image of a chair crashing into his body ran through his mind, temporarily shutting off all of his senses.
Shiral felt that sigh like a knife to the heart. He sounded so disappointed...How one person, that she had just met could affect her emotions so quickly eluded the teenager. She couldn't even make herself look up at him as she heard his footsteps coming closer. The eagle flinched as he touched her chin. She hadn't expected him to touch her face when he said he would help take care of the wound. Her eyes stared at the floor. She could just imagine the concerned look on the tall boy's face. Shiral couldn't bring herself to look up into Alric's face to see the discomfort she had caused him. His hand was warm on her skin, causing the red in her cheeks to deepen a hue or two. Of course she hoped he didn't notice. He seemed more concerned about her well-being for now. The spell felt like a cool tingle across her cheek. Still, the bruise that the case had caused hurt pretty badly. The witch tried not to show it.
“I...I'll be fine. Thank you.”
She heard him repeat her words again; the ones about her being a weed. It bit into her emotions again...she had upset him with that comment hadn't she? A flurry of words that never should come out of a proper young lady's mouth jumped through her mind. None of them found their way past her lips. The wizard's voice seemed to echo through the dance hall when he called the chair. The force with which he cast had a tendency to make Shiral jump. She realized how tight her muscles had been sine she first heard him shout. Seemed as if his voice was as big as he was...
The redhead didn't choose to take the chair offered...she was still uncomfortable in her own skin around the dark haired Hufflepuff. He started a bit of a speech regarding her wording behind the word “weed”. She just tried to give a weak smile...He didn't really understand the meaning of that word to her, but she didn't feel like she could explain it to him just yet. If things went well with the tutoring, and she manged to gain a friend, perhaps she would explain herself to him. Right now, even with his gentle demeanor, Alric managed to make Shiral want to fold into herself until she disappeared. It didn't make her feel any better that she might have found a way to “break” the tutoring...The chair still hadn't moved. The flame-haired girl stared intently at the broad back of her new tutor as he walked toward the chair. Somehow, even when she was sure he was uncomfortable, he seemed at at ease.
Then everything went wrong...the chair slid. Shiral watched in horror as Alric tried to turn and fell to the floor. Everything seemed to be going slow and she felt helpless. Her heart began to race...The last thing Shiral could bear would be to see her newest friend get hurt because he was trying to help her. Her wand hand whipped forward and even through the lump in her throat, she found the word she needed...
Shiral's eyes had been closed when she cast but she could hear the wood crash against the wall. Her eyes snapped open wide and she saw the lifeless chair against the far wall of the dance hall. Had she done that? Did Alric cast before her in all of her panic? Why was she worrying about this now!?!
She started jogging over to the prone Hufflepuff. For once, she was bigger than he was; standing above him with her hand offered down to help him to his feet.
“Are you okay? I...I don't think that I can just banish the imagined enemy of an evil chair...Particularly when you make it real enough that I'm convinced the furniture waited until you were off your guard...”
A whirlwind of color flashed before the Hufflepuff's eyes, blinding him a little in the process. He blinked, having heard the thud of the chair, yet still was unable to comprehend what had happened. After what seemed to be a second later, Alric saw the pale hand of Shiral, aimed at him as she hovered over him with a worried look on her face. It took a moment for the boy to remember where he was, but eventually he came to. A goofy smile painted over his lips as he did his best to keep from laughing out loud. "Maybe it did wait for me to look away!" He said nervously as he shook his head. The boy reached up and took the redheads hand, pressing hard against his legs to keep from giving the girl all his weight to lift. As he came on his feet again, Alric's lips were yet again covered in a playful grin as he looked down at his student. "You saved me. You reacted quickly, didn't hesitate or jumble up the spell.... You seem to know what you're doing, Shiral. Are you sure you need my tutoring?" As he waited for her to answer, Alric called upon the chairs again, pulling one behind him to sit down and the other to place just across from him. Shiral could sit down if she wanted, though Al assumed she would merely stand as that had been her reaction earlier and because this particular arrangement allowed for her to be taller than him. The wizard didn't mind either way; he just knew he wanted to sit down to inspect his knees.
Brushing against the tops of them gently, Alric found the sore areas easily - one just to the side of his left knee. He would likely have a bruise there, though that wasn't an uncommon thing. When you wandered around in search of odd or interesting things, the chances of getting a few cuts and bruises were normally increased. For Alric, his minor injury count was normally around two or three at any given time, what with his normal places of exploring. The forbidden forest, for example, had many places that one could stumble over or scrape against. Having to run away from any angry creatures was also another way that the wizard would normally get injured... But that wasn't terribly strange, was it?
That aside, the Hufflepuff, when he finished inspecting himself, looked back to the witch. "I picked the wrong thing to focus on, didn't it? Maybe... you could help me a bit? Do you know exactly what you need more practice with?" From her performance, it seemed like she knew her spells well, so focusing on that would do her no good. The wizard supposed he could think up ways to convey the concepts of the class for her, but, again, they would be no use for her if she already understood them. With such a hands on sort of class like DADA, there could only be a few things that the badger could think of that a person might have found difficult. Some couldn't remember spells, others didn't quite understand concepts, and then there were others who... just needed a little confidence in themselves. If that was what Shiral needed, then there were probably better ways of helping her with the class. Flying chairs were... alright. But challenging her to do something a bit more engaging, or, "in her face", would likely help her even more.
Shiral pulled hard to help him to his feet, the balance was a little off when he started to stand up but it was hardly any work for her at that time. Once again looking up at the badger, Shiral couldn't help but notice the sort of goofy grin spread across his lips. It made the eagle smile as well. At the very least he wasn't hurt. That was really the most important thing. She heard him say...that she had saved him. That was a funny thought wasn't it? Her saving him! So she had actually cast the spell in time...that was new. Typically she would have stood there terrified. Or at least she would have if she were on her own. Quietly, she tried to imagine what caused her to do so well now that she was asking for help.
The red-head had plenty of time to think about why while Alric sat down to examine his legs. She felt a little silly now. She felt like she must look very much like a liar. She just asked him for help and then he goes and acts like she'd been casting these things on a regular basis. A soft sigh tumbled out of her lips as she sat down to think. Alric's height had stopped being intimidating many moments before. Probably around the time she was looking up at him as he healed her self-inflicted wounds...Maybe that was it. Alric had been kind to her, more kind than she often thought she deserved with all of her bumbling. She just wanted to succeed rather than disappoint him when she went diving for her wand...that hadn't worked out so well. But when she saw him prone on the ground, the 'evil' chair aiming to hurt him...she just didn't...Finally it made sense. She had never felt she had anything to fight for. Nothing that she couldn't cower from instead. Sure the thought of enemies was scary, but the thought of losing one of her only allies in life was worse.
“I think you being here is exactly the reason I did so well Alric...I would appreciate it if you continued tutoring me.”
The eagle examined him quietly from her place across from his seat. She didn't want to get too close to him. It seemed to make the boy uncomfortable when she examined him too closely. All the red-head could think was that she hoped he didn't think any less of her because of her strange behavior that day. Then again...it wasn't so strange for Shiral. Hazel eyes moved up to take in his features. Well, he didn't seem upset. His voice certainly didn't sound angry, though he seemed a bit disappointed in himself.
“I...I don't know what to focus on. I'm typically just afraid of everything. I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm glad I did it. Cast it in time I mean...I just didn't want to see you hurt...You've been so nice to me.”
Finally, the ravenclaw ran out of words. She could write books and books on her school topics, but when she was asked to explain herself to someone who had been nice to her...the words eluded her. The red-hair typically nested neatly on her head fell carelessly about her face as she hung her head. There was nothing more frustrating to the sixteen year old than failing horribly at social interaction. The witch began to fold into herself again, the blood rising rapidly to her cheeks.
"Hmm." He let out, contemplating the Ravenclaw's words. If she wanted him to continue tutoring her, that was perfectly fine. Alric wouldn't have minded either way. It did trouble him, however, to see her shy away again, dropping her head as if she were defeated with cheeks warmed to a deep red that he could barely see past her fiery hair. Clearly, the boy needed to handle his encounters with the witch carefully, lest he continue to makes things worse for her. It was a bit difficult, though, to really tell what was an acceptable way to speak and behave towards the girl that wouldn't trigger... whatever this was. It seemed to him that she was embarrassed, though that was perhaps something obvious. For what, exactly? Alric couldn't fathom. Her response to his question had come out hesitantly, so perhaps she merely didn't enjoy talking about herself. He wondered for a second if it was just him making her feel that way, but she probably wouldn't have asked him to continue tutoring her if he was the problem. So what was there to do? This clearly needed a bit more thinking, a bit more... planning, he supposed. Going in head first, in regards to this kind of subject, was fairly easy for Alric. But that was him, and Shiral was clearly very different from himself. Things needed to be somewhere where there would be more to do than just charm a couple of chairs, somewhere where the boy could get the witch into the right mindset to properly deal with the subject. He contemplated a few areas that might have helped him - the arena for the dueling club might have been nice, though just a simple classroom might have also been suffice.
It was then that something clicked within the wizard, something that he felt foolish of only realizing at the moment. What Shiral needed was more experience with danger, and while Alric could create plenty of artificial danger for her to deal with, it wouldn't compare to being in the real thing. Alric wasn't insane enough to actually want to take her anywhere that would cause either any harm though - that wouldn't have been wise. He merely had to find a way to incorporate real danger in a... controlled environment. The idea sounded a bit odd as he came to muse on it more. It clearly needed more time to process through his mind, more time to become more than just an obscure idea that merely sounded like it would work. Of course, the badger couldn't just leave himself to think on something as delicate as this situation with no sort of guidance. Clasping his hands together, Alric leaned over to rest his elbows on his knees, allowing his eyes to rest off to the side as he thought for a moment. "Shiral." He started, shifting his gaze to the witch. "This will take much work. Much... dedication, I think. Are you willing to follow my instructions, however... hm. "Odd" or difficult they may seem to you?" Tutoring was a two-person sort of deal; the tutor could only put forth so much effort before needing the tutored to do a little work themselves. Not that Alric didn't believe the redhead wanted to get better, or wouldn't put forth some effort. He thought she would, otherwise her request for his continued help wouldn't have made sense. The wizard merely needed... a little reassurance, to ensure that the girl was truly prepared for whatever he might throw at her.
Shiral didn't know how to answer that...She wasn't going to follow any instruction that was given to her. The eagle just...couldn't. Shiral bit her lip and looked a the floor then finally back up at the eyes of her new tutor. He seemed sane enough. That didn't really mean he WAS sane...just that he looked sane. He was sweet, and Shiral really wanted to trust the hufflepuff. The fifth year searched the wizard's face for any sign of malice...or insanity. She found none.
“Promise you wont get me killed? Or detention?”
That was all she could ask. She had to decide to trust him or she would never get better. It was about the hardest thing Shiral could do...trust someone she just met to give her directions she had agreed to follow. Perhaps she should have taken more time to get to know him. Alric seemed...wonderful though. If she said no, he would probably walk away. If she said yes though... Maybe, just maybe he could help her get over those fears that held her back. Maybe he could make a confident, well defended witch out of her. There was the possibility that he could get her killed...Somehow it just seemed more plausible that he had made it to his 7th year by knowing how to not get killed.
“Alric...I swear if you get me killed I'll haunt you...”
Hazel eyes flicked up to meet his gaze. It was the easiest way to tell if someone was unsure or lying. It was hard for her to keep his eyes though. Alric wasn't unattractive by far and to look into the eyes of someone you found attractive was difficult. The sixteen year old couldn't see a tutor/tutored relationship coexisting with a romantic relationship. The tutoring was more important. The red head took a deep breath and held his gaze with hers. She just needed to know that this wasn't going to get her into trouble she...or he couldn't get her out of.
Pain struck the badger deep - scarring his core and leaving a profound wound on his heart as he saw the look of uncertainty in the Ravenclaw's eyes. His mind and body froze, momentarily turning to ice as his chest throbbed with fear. Heavy weights collided atop his frame as sat motionless, making it harder and harder to breathe as it felt like time had stopped, just to ensure the Hufflepuff would feel the worst of the pain given to him. This wasn't Shiral's fault, likely wasn't her intention and... If his life had gone differently, if certain decisions from the past had been altered, then there wouldn't have been a problem at all. The sudden light headedness he felt from being there, the anxiety that overwhelmed his body and sent his adrenaline rushing through his veins, and the silence. Oh, such horrible silence. The kind that let his mind take him back in time, to events in his life where the most important person to him had given him such similar looks, such similar questioning; using that familiar tone with that familiar worrisome gaze that stared him down and ripped every and any kind of "jokingness" or any such similar air to a situation with such ease and at a such great intensity that it would make the badger want to rid himself of any silly thought that ever crossed his mind, destroy every joke he'd ever told, and erase every urge to be goofy from his being. It was the sort of thing he had seen from his younger brother before, when they were younger and at a time where Emric hadn't always been sure of what Al told him. Of course, nowadays the lion wouldn't hear him speak at all, but that was for a different reason. Back then, Emric had been as the eighteen year old imagined Shiral to be - concerned and stuck between wanting to believe what he said, or to trust whatever he was trying to do, and... Not believing him. Not taking the risk on him. Not... allowing him a chance to tend to their problems, whatever they were or had been for whatever reason that made it difficult for them to trust him.
It wasn't an easy sight for the badger to see, and was even harder for him to accept the possibility that he might have jumped in too soon on the whole tutoring thing. He wanted to help her, he did, but... with such similarities as his brother... Well, the wizard wasn't sure if he could handle it. As it were, it was hard enough not to walk away with regret-filled tears pouring down his cheeks. What would happen later? Would there be more moments where the witch accidentally brought back memories of the past? Particularly the ones that seemed to hurt the wizard the most? Could he take the pain in stride? Ignore his urges to break away and sit alone somewhere, drowning himself in guilt and sorrow till his mind would shut down from the overload? He was doubtful. Sincerely doubtful. But, as natural, the small part of his old being that used to give him the strength and will to be the best brother in existence came crashing into his doubts, flushing them away with little difficulty whatsoever. The wizard had no choice but to answer the girl in confidence, to continue his teachings and push himself to go to any length to ensure that she learned at least something from him. That was just... his way. Alric was an older brother - the nurturing sort that, when it came down to it, could be relied on to tend to any wound, crisis, or insecurity that may have hindered their brother from doing something. And, although Shiral wasn't his brother, the badger felt his need to be helpful and caring to others applied to everyone - not just those sharing his blood.
With serious eyes and a stern, yet soft voice, Alric spoke up, locking his gaze with the redhead. "I promise you, I won't get you killed or harmed in any way. I'll help you, I will. Just... trust me." Awkwardness struck the Hufflepuff as he finished, realizing that he may have gotten lost into his past a little too much. It was easy to say "just trust me" to Emric - there was an established bond there, one that didn't require much else but the recognition that they were family. But with the witch? It suddenly felt as if he had gone too far, asking or expecting a bit more of her than he was allowed. The moment was gone though, leaving the badger with the sour taste of discomfort in his mouth. In an attempt to lessen the awkwardness he felt, Alric added, "It's going to be difficult, um. Trusting me, I think. But really, I'll offer you my best ideas and... Well... I wouldn't let anything bad happen to anyone. I hardly want to be breaking any rules as well, so... I don't intend on suggesting anything that might get you in trouble." Going off into some of the more forbidden areas of Hogwarts had entered the badger's mind, as there really weren't many other places he could think of that could give them real danger, but that was obviously in violation of the rules, so... he definitely needed to muse on things more. Still, the wizard forced himself to move on from his doubts, doing his best to hone in on some sort of optimism that he desperately needed at the moment. Clinging on a sliver he'd managed to find, Alric produced a weak smile for the girl as he continued to look at her. "The option to back out is always there..." He said softly. "Things just.... work a bit better with commitment."