|Scene Title||Jethro's New Hobby|
|Synopsis||A glimpse of Sio and Jethro during their early morning sparring sessions.|
|Location||Hogwarts Grounds - Meadows|
|Date||November 17, 1995|
|Watch For||Inventive cussing, self-defense lessons and Sio ending up on her arse. Repeatedly.|
|Logger||I am the Bad Wolf|
Early Friday morning, Jethro and Siobhan finish their now-daily run, Jethro calling out cadence. His voice isn't pitched to carry to a group, but he does keep time for her, slowing their pace down near the end. "Minute or two to cool down, Noble, then we'll get t' the sit-ups and push-ups." They've been steadily increasing them every couple of days until now, they're doing forty of each. It's no sweat (nearly literally) for Gardener, but it might be for his protegee. "Doin' forty today." He rolls his neck, popping a few vertebrae in the process. "Good t' have a partner t' do this with. Keeps me from gettin' lazy." He grins at her, blue eyes sparkling with mirth.
"Oh joy," is Siobhan's dry-as-dust response. She knows this is essential if she's going to be in any sort of position not only to hold her own but to teach. That doesn't mean she has to like it. She cringes at the audible 'pops' coming from the region of his neck, but shakes it off with a shudder and starts in on her own set of stretches; good to limber the muscle while it's still hot, stretch it while it cools. She couldn't possibly say why that's good for it, she just knows that it is. "Forty?" There's just the tiniest of squeaks in her voice. Appalled, she clears her throat and drops to lie back on the springy grass. "Oh, well. Means I get more of a break between runnin' for my life and your new hobby." That new hobby being putting Siobhan on her arse. Repeatedly.
"Forty." Jethro repeats, snorting at her complaints. "You findin' that it helps with other parts of your life?" He shakes his arms, letting the muscles go loose again before starting a series of stretches designed for his abdomen and upper body. Now that they've stretched and exercised their legs, it's time for the tougher part — at least for some. "Knockin' you on your ass' good for ya, Noble. Won't be long you'll be doin' the same t' me." He pointedly does not mention that she already did once. That was magic. This is hand-to-hand. "Sit-ups. C'mon." He sits down on the ground, stretching out a little before beginning his count. He expects her to follow.
"The endorphin thing makes it less frustrating to remember I can't kill Gryffindors?" Siobhan offers, only half joking. Seems her traditional House bias has come a bit late to this particular snake. "Yes, I remember." She arches her back to stretch out her own abdomen before folding her arms across her chest, dropping her voice into an imitation of Jethro's lower tones. "Builds character." But she counts with him, feeling the tug and burn of her muscles start to rear its head after the thirtieth one.
Jethro chuckles, the sound seeming strange between counts. "You can't kill lions if I can't kill spooks, Noble." He shakes his head, keeping count between snippets of conversation. "Endorphins're good. Other benefits sometimes…" He won't list all of them, but he might list a few here and there. "Magic sometimes starts behavin' a little more …" He pauses, finishing out his count. "Just behavin' more. Easier t' get from one point to another." He lays out, stretching a bit more, then rolls over on to his front. "Push-ups. Ready?" Doesn't matter if she is or not, he's counting and doing.
Siobhan wrinkles her nose. "I've heard that before. I think Brian used to say it in some silly rhyme." It's interesting to try and talk while doing crunches, but it helps her remember to breathe during them, so not all bad. "Something like, er … 'Spooks, spies and alphabet soup guys'. Never could work out what it meant, though." Something completely alien to her world. Americanisms. Hmph. The stretching after making the muscles work feels so good to Siobhan. She revels in it, but makes only a token noise of protest as she rolls over to keep up with him. These are not so easy for Siobhan. Core strength? Sure. Wind? Sure. Speed and agility? Sure. Upper body strength? Yeah, not so much. It takes her longer than him to finish and she can't keep up her end of conversation while doing so and her arms are shaking when she finally collapses face first into cold, crunchy grass, but she does make herself push to the finish. "What do push-ups have to do with moving my magic?" she would like to know. The question is kind of gasped out into the grass, but still just loud enough to be heard.
"Spooks and spies…" Jethro grins. "Yeah, suppose they'd call me one of the Alphabet Soup guys. Here, it's Aurors and Hit Wizards. Home, s'bigger, more space t' cover. Somethin' affects the whole nation, or more'n one state, they call in the FBI. Magic version's th' MBI. S'where I work." He shrugs, then stands, working through a couple more stretches to ready his body for hand to hand training. "Magic comes through your arm, Noble. If your muscles're workin' right, your magic's channels're more effective. Kinda like the pipes for the head." He finishes his stretch, then flicks his wand to create the circle they practice in. "Head. Loo. Toilet. If ya don't flush it and keep the pipes workin' right …" He shrugs meaningfully.
FBI, MBI, USMMC… "No wonder they call you lot Alphabet Soup." Siobhan grunts and pushes herself up to stand, stretching out her own arms and brushing the grass off the front of her sweat-suit. "How do you keep any of it straight?" Though really it can't be much different than their own Ministry. It's … a really, really good thing that he explains that metaphor, because at first Siobhan is looking at him like he's gone completely mental. Pipes in the head. "I … guess that makes sense." Stepping into their circle, she rolls both shoulders and loosens the muscles in both arms and legs. "But it doesn't have to be the arm, does it? I mean, if you were in a pinch, say, and you had your wand pressed up against your bare leg or pinned between your cheek and shoulder?" Much like Muggles do the phone, sometimes. "What about then?" It's not really the question she's asking and she's pretty sure he knows that, but he's been smart enough to catch on so far. Hopefully that pattern holds.
"Same way you keep hit-wizards, Aurors, Obliviators separate. Just used to it." He gestures her into the ring. "Workin' on holds today. Remember th' neck hold I showed ya?" He tilts his head, expecting her to demonstrate on him. "Gonna show ya how t' get out of it." He grins, a hint of evil in his expression. "Then we'll spar, see how much ya been keepin' up." To her comments about magic leaking out from other parts of her body, he frowns. "Knew a gal who prevented herself from bein' mugged by shootin' magic outta her knee. One o' my Marines. She cast a Petrificus on the bastard tryin' t' shake her down. Wand was in her pocket, so she channeled the magic through it." That will probably answer her question. Yes, he caught what she was saying. "But mosta th' time, you're usin' it in your hand. Specially when you've got a wrist holster like we do." He did notice that part, yes.
Physical memory - her body's exact positioning, movement - this is where Siobhan excels. Practical knowledge, doing. Having Jethro as an instructor has been an amazing experience in confidence. For once, she doesn't feel like an idiot trying to grasp at theory, trying to hold onto the bits she does understand and make her own inferences from those few nuggets. For once, she feels smart because she gets it when he explains. It's a rare feeling. "So it's like … we're the conduit, right?" She steps in close, tugging on his sleeve in a silent reminder to crouch for her short arse and folds his neck into the crook of her elbow, only barely remembering to add, "And the wands are our conduits." She frowns, sure this is the proper hold but still feeling a bit awkward - a bit off. A minute shift of her arm and the grip on her wrist with the other one puts her at a leverage point. One swift jerk and the neck snaps. "This feels more in control," she explains, quick to release him and step backwards. "The other way felt like you could have flipped me right over your shoulder." She doesn't like feeling that vulnerable - that out of control.
"Atta girl. Gotta go with how your body leads. Not an exact science. Could teach ya all th' forms and shapes…" And he will, should she really want to learn them, but he's more interested in her learning to use the power she has to protect herself. "Best thing, though, is usin' what ya got." He grunts his agreement to her comments on magic's pathways. "Basic." What do they teach these kids here? "Coulda flipped you easy, yeah." He then demonstrates the release, grabbing the point on her thumb. "Weakest part of the hold. Push there, hard, and even big guys can't keep holdin'. Might make a wizard's magic go a bit … screwy, but better than bein' held in the hold." It's a matter of give and take, and Jethro is learning that those who grew up in the House of the Snake have that part down pat.
"Thank Merlin for that. I've had more than enough 'exact sciences' to last me a lifetime." And she'll never be able to escape them, either. "Define 'basic'," Siobhan counters dryly. They teach magical theory, here, but that's just it; the class is taught with theory. "It's easy enough to shield against screwy magic, yeah." With that, she'll agree - though to an outsider it might seem a bit arrogant. "Magical shields aren't much good against physical stuff, though." Most of them, anyway. "And I remember you sayin' it's better to duck or dodge than waste the energy on shield spells over and over, but I'd spend the energy there, I think." Give and take. She draws back and shakes her offended hand. He didn't hurt her, but pressure points always feel weird when pushed even a little. "That's bizarre," she mutters, rubbing fingers over the skin. "Is that the only place like that?"
Jethro snorts. "Hell, no!" He stops, stepping back even more. "Got several here, here and here…" He points to the juncture between neck and shoulder. "Couple under your armpit…" He demonstrates those, then moves down. "Hips got several… women got 'em right in the middle of the back … here… couple around th' kidneys…" He frowns. "Anywhere ya got a joint, there's some around. Ball joints got th' most. Not sure why. Maybe it's th' tendons keepin' em in place." He points to the knees. "Couple right here on each side of the knee.." He shows her a few more on her ankles and feet. "Hands 'n' feet 're covered in 'em." He shrugs. "Get t' any of 'em, and start pushin'." When she talks about theory, he nods his agreement. "Got an agent who's outstanding at theory." He gives a half-smile as he thinks of his young probationary agent. "Thing is, he's weaker on th' practical stuff. Practical man, myself." He nods again, grunting an agreement to her comments on shields versus dodging. "S'why th' damn spells exist. Better t' dodge and save th' juice, but s'always a trade-off. Use every tool ya got." He's talked enough for now. It's time to spar.
Siobhan is watching all of this avidly. This is something she wants to remember. Might be time to bug Mickey about a pensieve of her own, after all. Go over those same points again and again and again until she doesn't have to think about them. Conscious, forced thinking can waste precious seconds in a crisis. "Practical witch," she answers back, jerking her thumb into her chest. She seems to be of similar mind, as well, dropping into the slight crouch that was the first thing she learned - the position that leaves her most ready to move (in whatever direction is necessary) quickly, most balanced and least likely to be taken advantage of. "Ready when you are, boss-man."
Jethro starts off fairly simply, coming toward her with clearly telegraphed punches, allowing them to get a rhythm going, and getting her used to the blocks again. It's a familiar start. He'll keep pushing at her, starting to increase the difficulty of the attacks to gauge where she is today. "Noticin' any difference here?" Are the crunches making a difference? "Oughtta be."
And after a week of clearly-telegraphed punches, Siobhan's picked up at least a few of the 'tells'. Each swing is met with a quickly thrown up forearm, the rhythm they fall into soothing Sio in a way she doesn't quite understand. "I don't feel like I'm gonna fall backwards every time I block you. That count?" As he steps up the intensity, she narrows her eyes and her focus onto his body, how he's moving - trying to anticipate his motion before he makes it so that she can block in time. She manages to do so twice, but then comes a swing she's not prepared for. Instinct takes over and she ducks, only at the last second remembering to tuck into the sideways roll that will let her regain her feet on the other side of the circle. "Bloody hell, you're fast!"
Jethro's expression is smug. "You're gonna be, too, Noble. You're gonna be able to move so quickly they'll just see a blonde blur runnin' past and knockin' 'em on their asses." He pauses in his assault to let her get back into position. "Counts a little. Keep goin', you'll see more." He begins again when she falls into place. "Improvin'." It's terse, but it's praise.
Grow up in the Serpents' Nest, where the only adult in the school on your side of things doles out praise by not giving censure. It makes understanding Siobhan's gracious acceptance of even back-handed praise - from some people - much easier. She has to grin a little at his imagery, the idea not necessarily an unwelcome one. Back into position, she watches him with a soft sort of half-smile twisting her mouth. Praise is praise. "Might help to know what I'm lookin' for." His casual way of speaking has the interesting side effect of drawing out more of the South London twang to her speech.
"Like when ya learned your first spell." Jethro isn't sure what spell they teach first here at Hogwarts. "Learned summon first." He grins at the memory. "Taught …" The smile slips away, and something flashes across his face quickly before he shuts his emotions completely off. It looks like pain, raw and deep. "Kid can't resist learnin' t' bring things to himself. Kid learns t' pour his emotions in the spell." He shrugs, realizing he's off topic. "Learned your first spell, took ya about a week t' get it right without practicin' the moves first. Then, took another two or three before ya cast it without thinkin'. Like that. Your body'll be more … yours." He starts in on a more complicated series of jabs, keeping a rhythm to it. "Dark wizards won't waste time. You've got dodgin' down. You said your last defense professor taught ya that?" His eyebrows quirk, expecting a response. "This'll teach ya t' be ready after ya dodge. Go on th' offensive." Her twang gets noticed, and maybe smirked at, but he understands it just fine.
It's what happens when you spend your summers as a kid wandering around Muggle London and don't want to get noticed for 'talking Scottish'! And though her accent has shifted to a more refined English one over the last year - outside influences - there's something freeing about dropping back into the stretched out vowels and half-silly phrasing. "You stop having to think and just do," she summarizes neatly, feeling as though she'd just solved a complex Arithmancy problem. The raw pain that flashes across his face as they move is something that Siobhan wouldn't have understood a year ago. A year ago she would have - as she had done for another wounded soul - gently pushed, prodded into a confession or a smile or a laugh. She's not the girl she was a year ago; not anymore. Now, she merely nods sharply in recognition of the kind of raw pain that can't be spoken. It's enough. Especially now that she's dealing with more complex attacks. "Yeah, some of it." And some of that had been reinforced by Jethro's lessons. "Even he never took it this far, though." He was more concerned with them saving up their magic for when it'd count than in hand-to-hand combat. With his order, she grins, enjoying the syncopation of rhythm between defending and attacking. It's nothing like fighting at the speed she knows he's capable of, but it's getting more and more natural to do.
Jethro's grunt is both an agreement with her summary and a thanks for not pressing further. He begins blocking quickly, then turns a block into a kick / jab combination that has the potential to send her sprawling. "See what I did?" He demonstrates it again slowly. "Ya take th' block, grab it, and … twist…" He grins. "Use th' bastard's own power against him."
Ohsweetfuckleg! And suddenly Siobhan is on the grass, sprawled out like a ragdoll and coughing in the weird 'breath knocked out' way as she pushes herself up on her elbows to watch what he's demonstrating. It's both a lesson and a chance for her to catch her breath - and she's grateful. Rubbing the side of her ribcage - there'll be a bruise there, she's sure - she stands and moves closer, reaching to grab his forearm and bring it down over her opposite hip in slow motion. "Like that?"
"Yup." Jethro looks her over. "Didn't damage ya, did I?" There is a sharp dichotomy at work. He pushes hard when he's training, but he's extremely solicitous. It's not meant to throw her off; it's just a quirk of Jethro's psyche. At least he's casual about his worry. "See how it throws the attacker off balance? Probably just enough t' get a couple spells off. Right ones, it's enough." He nods again, challenging her to come at him again.
Siobhan snorts. "Five brothers," she reminds him a bit dryly. She's no china doll, but the concern is appreciated. Thoughtful for a moment, she pauses. "I want to try something." It's not the way lessons have been going thusfar, but Siobhan has a comfortable enough grasps on the absolute basics to want to follow her own mind's trail. "When I come at you, throw me over your hip like that?" She'll pause a beat and then step back into him, throwing two short jabs towards his face before driving one low, throwing her weight into it.
Jethro gives his affirmative grunt before throwing her over his hip as requested. "Like that?" The smirk is evident in his voice, and he waits to see what she'll do. The number surprises him slightly. "Five?" He frowns. "Know about th' one workin' with your dad, th' curse breaker, th' Quidditch star." He's missed two somewhere.
The grab and the jerk forward is anticipated and Siobhan doesn't fight it, tucking her body up so that she hits the ground on her shoulder first with enough momentum to roll to her feet. Of course, the coolness of the effect is ruined when she can't keep her balance and falls right back down again, but the basic idea worked. The grin she shoots up at Jethro from her position sprawled again on the grass is one of triumph. "See, now, I figured Pete'd be the one you knew for sure," she answers back, content to sprawl on her back for a second and catch her breath. "Teaches Charms at Salem. Then there's Mickey. Mum adopted him formal like after his parents died - his mum an' her were best mates - but that was ages back." So he counts too.
This time, Jethro's grunt is more of a 'huh' than an agreement. "Remembered a Noble at Salem, but wasn't sure he was yours." Don't assume. There's Rule Eight again. "What's Mickey do?" She'll get used to his gentle interrogation while they spar. "That's th' basic idea," he offers as she rolls from the throw. "Can show ya a few more things, or we can call it after cool downs. What time you got class today?" Her schedule varies from day to day, and he wants to give her a little while to prepare and get into the mindset. "S' gettin' close t' 0830. Don't want ya bein' late."
"Fixes the shit Jack breaks." The answer is automatic - an old family joke, perhaps. "Oh for the love of shit-strewing dragonspawn, is it 0830 already?" The afternoon times still take Sio a minute to decipher, but everything before 1300 comes pretty easily. "Let's do cool-downs, then. I want to have time to shower before breakfast is over." And maybe duck in to leave a note for her afternoon's replacement.
GAME: Save complete.
Jethro chuckles, both at the 'family joke' and at her epithets. "Ya gotta tell me when ya want t' be done. It'll take me a while t' remember your schedule." He's not saying he won't remember it, but that it will take a couple of weeks at least. "Fair 'nuff." With that, he leads her through their normal cooling routine. "Good job today, Noble," he offers as they finish.
"I'll send Henrik with a copy," Sio offers with a grin. "I'm just about a month in and I still need to double-check some days." The cool-down routine is a familiar breathing time and Siobhan enjoys it as thoroughly as she always does - taking the few moments of peace to sort through her thoughts and shore up her Occlumency for the day ahead. Once finished, she taps out her tiny wand and casts a silent Aguamenti, taking a deep drink from the cool water spouting out of it. A sleeve is brushed over her mouth and the wand is stowed away, Sio leaning in for a quick 'stealth hug' around her instructor's midsection before jogging easily off toward the castle and the start to her day.
Any additional notes fall to the bottom.