A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

Welcome Back! It's time for our 20th Start of Term!

 #33381  by Nola Fitzralph
Location: Spintwitches Sporting Goods, Hogsmeade • Date: Sunday, 7 December 2003

For once, she was on time to meet someone. Early, even, as her date for the afternoon was evidently nowhere to be found in their rendezvous point of Hogsmeade's only sporting goods store when she made the round before stepping out to wait outside.

Underneath the awning of the store window, Nola huffed warm air into her palms and rubbed her gloved hands together as she watched the hustling and bustling of fellow holiday shoppers stampeding through powdered sugar snow. Perhaps the effort to warm her hands might have been made more effective by rearranging the thick scarf around her neck, which swallowed practically half of her head. Then again, she could barely feel the tip of her nose even as it was buried beneath the finest cashmere. The former Hufflepuff had forgotten how cold it truly got up here in the north during winter. She had an inkling that did at least prompt her to bundle up more than she typically might have.

It was probably some kind of phantom trauma.

Speaking of trauma, she tried not to fret as she kept her gaze peeled for a familiar face in the passing crowds, which was not to say that she wasn't looking forward to see him. Yet, it was admittedly also true that his face was possibly one of the only parts about him that, to her, could comfortably and accurately be described as familiar.

This was a terrible, terrible idea.

Until it wasn't, of course.

Unless it was.
 #33578  by Avery Falstolfe
Every time he was visiting Hogsmead it was something to look forward to. Usually with friends or with a girl - fun times. This time he felt strangely as if an executioner's sword was hanging above him. There was a moment when he nearly went back to school. He shouldn't be that nervous, should he?
At this time he was running a bit late. Not a lot but probably late enough to display he wasn't sure about coming. But he was coming after all. Yes, he was nervous as hell but this could be a beginning... it might as well be the end but not trying anything couldn't help. This actually might. So how they said it? Take a deep breath, keep your head held high and... something about walking he wasn't quite sure now.
As he was closing to the meeting spot he was more and more nervous but also determine to meet her. Meet someone who was almost a complete stranger. Almost a stranger and yet his sister.
 #33597  by Nola Fitzralph
It might have been some strange form of sixth sense, or perhaps her anxieties were simply particularly high-strung and made her attuned to their source, but Nola spied Lisbeth's younger son as soon as he emerged from around the corner of the street leading up to Spintwitches. She lifted a gloved hand briefly in an indication that she'd seen him as she waited for him to make his way down the street.

In a way, the emotional estrangement between her half-brother and herself may well have been self-imposed. Younger Nola did not relish spending the far and few between dinners with her mother's family being grilled to a criss-crossed sear over her choice of career, her choice of dressing, her choice of money-spending, and just about every other minute or greater choice in between; she relished even less having to watch her brother be a brother to Avery and Lycoris.

The more Noah seemed to care about their half-siblings, the less Nola did. Or at least, the less she displayed her care.

It was easier, when Lisbeth and Thorfinn's children were younger. Kids were easily distracted and far less preoccupied by... whatever kids liked. Now, Avery was fast approaching the age at which Nola had resigned herself to the understanding that there were not ever going to be any brother-sister outings to Hogsmeade, nor were chatterbox little sisters with a flabbergasting talent for messing up every charm existing under the sun welcomed to sit with the accomplished seventh years at the Ravenclaw table in the Great Hall. It was as hard to summon the will to actually be an older sister to a half-brother one knew next to nothing about as it was hard to imagine refusing to be an older sister to a half-brother who was beginning to express dejected wonderment as to why his older sister was being....

Well, whatever Noah was once to Nola.

It was Christmas season, though, and she didn't need to think about whether being a good big sister and not being a doormat were mutually exclusive. The blonde, younger carbon copy of their much more successful mother tugged her scarf lower and smiled brightly as Avery came close enough within earshot. Did she call him Avery, or little brother? She settled on no direct address. It felt less awkward.

"Hey! Look at you! I could swear you're a whole head taller from when I last saw you in the summer." That was probably an exaggeration. "It's so good to see you." That was also probably an exaggeration, albeit to a lesser degree.

Nola flung her arms out wide for a hug.

That was expected, right?
 #33599  by Avery Falstolfe
Fortunately for Avery, she saw him because he wasn't quite sure if he would notice her in the crowd. He actually made a few quick steps to reach her sooner before slowing down once again. This was a bit awkward after all. They saw each other every now and then, usually when the whole family got together but... it wasn't like they were close and Avery wasn't sure whose fault it was. In his mind, it was a sort of natural order of things. He was way younger after all and she probably had whatever adults were worried about to worry about. Perhaps she just didn't have time to worry about another brother? And he himself wasn't blameless. Was he avoiding talking to her? Or perhaps trying to help her avoid him? It was messy...
Be it as it was he finally came close enough to talk. She spoke first and it appeared she was happy to see him. It might be possible she was just trying to make this less awkward and he appreciated it.
"Hey! Yeah, I think I did some growing," he smiled a bit nervously but did his best to make the whole exchange more pleasant.
"It's good to see you too," perhaps this wasn't going to be so bad. And since he always wanted to be family he did accept the hug.
"So... what's the plan?"
 #33632  by Nola Fitzralph
There was a plan?

Or, without getting ahead of herself, was there supposed to be a plan?

It made sense, she supposed. Whenever Nola met her friends, there was always a plan. They were never elaborate plans though, and alcohol had a manner of causing plans to become abandoned or altered very quickly, but Avery's question was not so far-fetched.

"Oh, well..." They were off to an excellent start. Avery's half-sister gestured toward the store behind them before she started towards the entrance, glancing over her shoulder at the younger boy. She pushed open the door in a soft tinkling of a dusty, tarnished bell and held it open for Avery.

"We could start here, actually. Is there anything you'd like? Anything in your Quidditch gear that could use replacing? An upgrade, maybe?"
 #33679  by Avery Falstolfe
Avery wasn't quite sure but it appeared he wasn't the only one nervous here. Somehow it made him chuckle a little. There was absolutely no reason for this. And yet it seemed they were both far more nervous than they really should be.
"Oh boy... where should I even start? I feel like most of it holds together by sheer force of my will. And a lot of duct tape... " he laughed a little. He was overly dramatic but most of his gear really was ... used to say the least.
"How about we go to have some snack next? I am buying," he offered. Avery didn't usually spend much and why would he? Everything he needed was provided at the castle. This fell like a good excuse to spend something.
 #34281  by Nola Fitzralph
For the second time within a span of mere three minutes, the adult witch blinked down at the underage wizard, momentarily finding herself at loss of an immediate response to give.

Avery, buying food for them?

Avery's Quidditch gear, falling apart?

Ironically, the former suggestion may have made more sense, though Nola suspected that she was going to lose a good dozen few braincells from their mother chiding her ear off if she'd allowed the schoolboy to pay for anything at all today. The latter, though? What ever happened to the unfortunate predicament that Nola was the one who'd grown up with a muggle father with no access to magical currency without the continued financial support of her witch mother and wizard stepfather? Her half-brother was turning out to be more of a character than she'd expected.

Nola let out an awkward laugh, briefly lifting a hand to brush away a pesky few strands of hair that the crisp highland wind had blown to plaster across the middle of her face.

"Ahh, that's really, really sweet, Avery, but I think you might have to duct tape me back together if Mum learns that I took you out to Hogsmeade and let you pay for our lunch." Her words might have seemed like she was being ironic or sarcastic, but the honesty in the former broom racer's face was entirely genuine, even as she ventured slowly down between two aisles showcasing an assortment of protective gear.

"And anyway, you should save that money and take a pretty girl out on a date. See, today I am taking you out. And learn this, the first rule of taking someone out? You always pay, especially if it's the first date."

Nola paused, a thoughtful wrinkle briefly appearing across the bridge of Lisbeth's nose that Avery, too, shared.

"Unless they're jerks. Then you say that you're going to the loo and you'll be right back and run for the hills before the bill comes."
 #34913  by Avery Falstolfe
"Well, I won't tell her if you won't..." he said with a wee smirk and a shrug. And a random person of Hogsmead wouldn't probably tell her at random.
"Not to mention I have quite a lot of tape," he tried a little joke. He probably wasn't taking the situation quite as seriously as his sister was. And he didn't entirely like the idea of just getting things and doing nothing in return. Felt wrong.
What wasn't wrong was that they were making some progress! They got past the awkward first phase and now they made jokes and laughed. It was still a bit awkward, but that was expected.
"That sounds like some useful wisdom. I will remember it," he laughed.
 #36184  by Nola Fitzralph
Of course it was useful wisdom. Nola was full of useful dating wisdom.

Not, unfortunately, as much useful dating experience, but one can hardly have everything. It wouldn't be fair.

"And use it?" the older sister piped up hopefully. "There must be someone you like." Or three, but that could just be fourteen-year-old Nola. "I promise I won't tell Mum."

She picked up a polished pair of goggles, holding it up to Avery's face as if to measure its fit. "And thoughts?"
 #36422  by Avery Falstolfe
Avery actually got a bit red when Nola asked if there is someone. But only for a moment.
"Maybe there is... but we are not talking about that," he said adamantly. That really wasn't a topic he was ready to discuss. Yet he wasn't entirely sure if she will leave this topic at that.
"Well, the goggles are way too big for me," he quickly changed the topic.
 #36425  by Nola Fitzralph
"Are they?" his half-sister frowned, distracted from their previous conversation. "They look fine to me." And Nola had certainly been around Quidditch players enough to tell when a pair of goggles were not the right fit.

Then again, Avery was so much younger. Maybe the fit worked a little differently for younger players? Shrugging, she returned the pair to its shelf before moving along down the aisle. Nola wasn't quite sure what she was looking for at this point.

Why was it so difficult to buy something for a fourteen-year-old teenage boy?

"Anyway... how is school? Are they scaring you with OWLs yet?"
 #37012  by Avery Falstolfe
Avery tried to make the goggles fit but they just didn't. There was nothing he could describe as wrong, but he just felt something wasn't right. And he learned to trust his instinct some time ago.
"They just don't feel right, maybe a tad smaller?" once again there was no logic behind that decision, just feeling.
Avery had to chuckle a little.
"Not really scaring yet, but they sure don't let us forget it's coming," somehow every teacher managed to remind them every now and then. Well, not professor Binns... or maybe he did and Avery just wasn't paying attention. But who did?
 #37312  by Nola Fitzralph
The almost-dropout flitted a manicured hand dismissively.

"Don't worry. You'll be fine if you take after any part of Mum's brains." Or Thorfinn's, as far as Nola could tell, to be honest. Was she the only one who somehow missed out on Lisbeth's intellectual qualities?
 #37605  by Avery Falstolfe
Avery appreciated the gesture.
"I don't worry at all. Well, yet. I suspect that might change the closer it'll get," he knew himself well enough to admit that he will be very nervous in the weeks before it. But on the day itself, he should be mostly fine.
"I mean... most wizards finish it and I bet at least half of them weren't so bright" it was one of the ways to make himself feel a bit more secure about it.