|Scene Title||Army Arrangements|
|Synopsis||Angelina sizes up her Firstie ward.|
|Location||Hogwarts - Quidditch Pitch|
|Date||March 13, 1995|
|Watch For||Angelina terrifying Jax. Moody would be proud.|
[HGW] - Quidditch Pitch Field
Like the arena of an ancient coliseum, this expanse of grass is a huge, open air field that stretches across the meadow, with stands built up and running along the oval shaped perimeter. At the very top of the stands a flag pole stretches up to the sky at the opposite end of each second, draped with the banner colors of the current competing teams. The quartered sections are divided by House, with a fith, central section for the teachers and the score-keeper. Built into the walls at central opposite ends of the field are the respective team boxes, where platers wait anxiously to take to the field at the beginning of each game. At each long end of the oval is a trio of rings set upon poles of varying heights, the very talled of them standing higher even then the top of the arena seating.
It is later in the week, and Moody's Army has been instructed to practice. Where no teachers will see them, and no one will interrupt. So, here is Angie, out at the quidditch pitch. She is practicing shooting at a dummy she transfigured from a school broom, whipping out, shooting, putting away. Stupefy, over and over and over. Practice makes perfect!
Angelina is not the only one of the Army who has practice on the brain, today. Jax is bundled up in a warm winter cloak as he trots out towards the pitch. He pauses in the archway when he sees someone there, but relaxes and continues when he sees it is Angelina. He doesn't interrupt her immediately, opting instead to skirt along the edges of the field, watching Angelina practice. He does pull out his wand, gripping it in one hand and waiting for a moment when it looks like addressing her won't get him accidentally stupefied.
Accidently? Oh no. It is no accident. When the curse flies at him, it is done very much on purpose! Once she spots him, and realizes who he is, it is aimed and fired. And there is no 'light' stupefy. It is either do, or do not. Does he block it? Does he try?
It is a good thing Jax has his wand out already, then, and a good thing he is keeping an eye on Angelina. He reacts instinctively, wand flicking as he casts /Protego/, the shield shimmering to life just in time for Angelina's spell to bounce off it; the tiny first-year takes a half-step backwards as the red light hits it. "Er," he says, blinking in slight surprise and offering Angelina a lopsided, nervous smile. "Hi!"
Angelina grins as her shot is deflected, not the least bit bothered by the fact he did so. "Great job!! Really good Protego, there." She motions for him to come toward her, motioning that she won't fire at him again. "Hi. You been practicing?"
"Thanks!" Jax relaxes, his smile easier and brighter as he trots towards the older student. "Every day! Was just trying to find somewhere outta the way to practice again, really." He scuffs his hand through his unruly brown hair and lowers his wand to his side as he stops in front of Angelina. "I'm getting pretty good at the shielding but my aim with Stupefy is still pretty — erratic."
"Stupefy is a fourth or fifth year spell. You shouldn't be good at it yet. You are only in your first year." Angelina looks down at the young one, considering him. "That is what we need to talk about. Why do you want to take these lessons? They are far above your head. You are going to be slammed around and beaten up even harder than the rest of us are."
"I know. I ain't really a glutton for punishment or anything. I know it'll be hard." Jackson blushes and looks down briefly, nose wrinkling. "Professor Moody's just a really good teacher and knows — a lot. I like to learn. Hard to pass up an opportunity for that." He hesitates, pushing hair back from his forehead, and looks up at Angelina uncertainly before adding, "— 'sides, with some of the stuff that's been going on lately…" He chews on his lip and shrugs uncomfortably. "It helps not to think about it, if there's something /positive/ to focus on working on."
Angelina sits down on the ground, not minding the snow, and folds her legs. "Sit down here with me." She waits for him to obey, then tips her head. "I know you know what is going on. And I know you want to learn from Professor Moody. I just don't want to see you get hurt. I don't want to see you getting slammed into the wall, over and over. It makes me feel a little sick, in fact, to think about your bruises."
Jackson sits carefully, tucking his cloak around him. He rests his wand in his lap, one gloved hand fidgeting absently with its handle. His head tilts thoughtfully as he listens to Angelina quietly. "I'll get better. Then there'll be less bruises. An' the bruises I do get will fade." His brow creases slightly, and he looks down at his lap. "A girl in my House got killed last month. That's harder to shake than bruising."
Angelina exhales heavily, considering the boy. She taps her fingers on her wand as if trying to make a decision. Finally, she nods. "Alright. But here are my rules. I'll continue to back you. But if Siobhan or I say that whatever spell we are doing is too dangerous, or if there is just…more danger there than you flying into a mat, if for any reason — even if we just don't like that you look tired — we tell you to sit out, or practice a different spell than the one we are doing…you have to do it. No arguing. No pouting. And, after every class, you will check in with me immediately, and first thing the next morning. And you will tell me the /truth/ about if you are hurt or not, or where you are hurt. And if I say Hospital Wing, you go with me without arguing. Are you willing to accept that arrangement?"
Jax's teeth drag across his lower lip as he listens to Angelina. "Yes'm. That's fine." He fidgets where he sits and adds, "Thank you. I wasn't planning on doing anything super brash anyway." He blushes and offers Angelina a half-smile, rubbing awkwardly at the back of his neck. "Y'know. Aside from showing up for the class in the first place."
"No. I didn't think you would. I just needed you to agree to that. I need to know that when I stay stop, you stop. I had to make the same deal with Moody to get him to teach me." Angie gives a half-grin. "I've sorta sold my soul to him, at this point, to get this training. If he tells me to run, next time, I have to run. I didn't last time. I defied his order. And got a Cruciatus curse. Both Siobhan and I did. Now, we've had to promise to follow his orders. And you have to follow mine. I'll promise you that I won't coddle you in front of everyone, and I'll treat you like everyone else. But when we say 'no', we are doing it for your own good, because as a first year, you can get really hurt. I want you to know that."
"A Cruciatus?" Jax swallows hard and nods emphatically. "I'll listen!" he squeaks, eyes wide as saucers. "Professor Moody told me an' Rene about being sure to listen to him, too, when we apologized for sneaking into the class. But at least he's letting us stay. It can be kinda hard to tell what he's about to do."
"Good. Just listen to all of us, and you'll be fine then." Angie grins, then leans toward him. "And don't tell anyone about that curse, alright? Enough people already know, and I am tired of answering questions about it. Everyone wants to know details, it feels like. So that is just between you and me. I wanted you to know how serious it is, and when he says listen, why we are to listen. There are consequences for not doing it."
Jax nods again, fervently. "Yes'm. I mean no. I mean I won't tell anyone!" His fingers press tightly against his knee, and he takes a deep breath. "That's — um. Pretty — serious. Consequences." His eyes are still wide. He drops his gaze down, hand unclenching slowly.
"Yeah. And it didn't feel good, either. He said to run. I … I don't know. I thought I could help fight, I guess. So I didn't. And one of the Death Eaters got me. Or at least they had on one of the masks. So he made me promise if he gives these lessons, I have to run if he says run. Since I didn't last time. Learned my lesson, I guess."
"Oh — /oh/!" Realization dawns, and Jax relaxes slightly, exhaling a heavy sigh, some of the tension leaving his posture. "Oh." Colour flushes back into his cheeks as he blushes, deeply. "Well, that's —" He shakes his head, somewhat flustered as he searches for words. "M'glad you're safe, anyway. I'll be sure to listen to all y'all."
Angelina tips her head, watching the poor kid. "Wha…" OH! "OH! No! Moody didn't do it to me. THEY did. And they weren't as nice about it as he wouldda been if it HAD been him!"
Jax's blush deepens, his hands lifting briefly to cover his face, gloved fingers splayed over his eyes. "Iknewthat," he squeaks, even though he clearly didn't. He is still blushing when he drops his hand, and laughs somewhat shakily as he wonders, faint amusement seeping back to chase away some of his shock — "How on earth would you Cruciatus someone /nicely/?"
Angie grins at the boy. "Well, that's it exactly. You can't do it nicely. With those particular curses, unless you MEAN them, really mean them, deep in your heart and head, they don't work. You have to mean to hurt someone that way, or uttering the curse won't work."
Jax's nose wrinkles. "I can't imagine /wanting/ to torture someone." He shudders faintly, and then grins back at Angelina. "It'd never work for me. I'd be tryin' it real politely and then be apologetic the moment after. Best I stick to cheerful spells like turning things pretty colors. I like /that/ kind, an' they work even if you're polite about 'em."
"That goes for both of us, Holland. I can't imagine wanting to torture either. Or kill. I don't know that they would work for me, either. But if I'm going to be an Auror, I'm going to have to learn to make them work, I suppose." She nudges his shoulder, then stands. "Alright. Take a shot at me with your stupefy. I'll let you practice on me a bit, if you want?"
"'kay!" Jax picks up his wand and bounces to his feet, taking a few steps back from Angelina. "'zat why you're studying with Moody? Cuz you want to be an Auror, too?" He doesn't leave her time to respond before lifting his wand and attempting a clearly-enunciated, "/Stupefy/," — but that's okay, because the spell's kick throws off his aim and the spell goes wide anyway, to the left and above her head. His brow creases slightly, but he doesn't seem particularly daunted, taking a deep breath and settling into a more stable stance.
Since she is going to get a chance to answer this one, Angie does so. "Yeah. Think I want to be. Time will tell. I'm going to work hard and see where I get." When his spell goes awry, she moves to come behind him. "Alright. See this is where the control comes in that you don't have yet. It's okay. Let's see what we can do…" Her hand is placed over his on his wand. "Spread your feet apart a bit. Shoulder width apart. I know it feels uncomfortable, but only until you get used to it. Alternately, one foot slightly ahead of the other, turned a bit to the side. Have your wand ready, and know where you are aiming. Imagine that the spell is coming down your arm, and out your wand. Bend your arm, and fling it forward, like you're slingshotting it out the end. Only don't speak it until the wand is exactly pointing at the target." She shows him a few times, bending and extending his arm…then moves around in front of him. "You won't get it every time, because you're not ready yet. But maybe we can increase your statistics? Try now."
Jax shifts his stance as Angie directs, standing with one foot slightly forward. He takes his time before casting, the next time, focusing on her and holding his wand at the ready. His elbow crooks, and he flings his wand-hand out, waiting till it is pointing the right way before calling, again, "/Stupefy/!" With all his focus on aiming, there isn't as much /force/ behind it this time. The spell still misses — but much closer, now, the red bolt at least on Angie's level as it shoots by her.
"Hey! Much better! Great job!" Angie grins at him. "Keep working on that. Don't get used to that flinging motion, though. That isn't generally good dueling stance and such. I just wanted you to see the difference. The wand is an extention of you. Treat it like one. It's a tool. The spell comes from you."
"Thanks!" Jax smiles brightly, and nods. "It definitely felt a lot steadier that time! — When I first tried it practically knocked me off balance just trying to make it work," he says sheepishly. "Maybe if I try an' focus on what that felt like just now it'll come easier even without the motion." He lifts his wand again, but doesn't cast it yet. "Can I try again?"
Angelina nods, and makes a motion at him. "Yep. Hit me with it one more time. Then I need to get back in. I have tutoring tonight."
Jax takes a deep breath, and casts the spell at Angelina once more. His aim, this time, is true, although the firstie's spell is too weak to /actually/ Stupefy.
"There you go!" Even though it doesn't stupefy her, Angie steps back. Whether it forced her back, or she did it to make him feel better, who knows? "Much better. Can you tell the difference?"
Jax nods brightly. "Yes'm!" He grins. "I can make it hit hard or make it aim right, but not both together. I think I'll practice on dummies a lot this week." He tucks his wand away into his cloak. "Thank you so much, miss! That was real helpful."
"Ugh. Just call me Angie. Or Johnson. Please. No more miss or m'am, okay?" She turns toward the castle and motions to him. "Come on. Walk back with me." Reaching into her pocket, she produces a half eaten bar of chocolate. "Want some?"
"Sorry — habit. Holdover from — home," Jax says with a blush. He trots along at Angie's side, the small boy taking two steps for each of the older girl's. "Sure, thanks! I never say no to candy." His lips purse thoughtfully. "Well, /maybe/ I say no to candy when it comes from the Weasley twins. Then it /might/ be dangerous."
"ALWAYS say no to candy from the Weasley twins. They are my best friends. If you never take my advice on anything else, take it on this." Angie breaks off a corner of the bar and hands it to him, then does the same for herself. "They are great guys, but candy from them is never just candy. My chocolate is chocolate."
Jax laughs and nibbles on the candy as they head back towards the castle. "Well, since I promised t'listen to you on things, I'll be sure to keep that in mind."
"Good!" She smiles at him as she pops her piece in her mouth. "Now get back to your common room before your prefects come after me for turning you into a popsicle! I need to get to the library."
Jax smiles back, bright and warm. "See you later, Angie!" He waves and holds his cloak close around him as he scurries off towards the Hufflepuff dorms. "And thanks for all the help!" he calls back over his shoulder, before he's out of earshot.