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First Year Blues

Posted on Monday, 28th of November, 2011 @ 11:38am by First Year (G) Cassandra Crump & Seventh Year (G) Barnabus Collins

Mission: Halloween and Hogsmead
Location: Common Room

Cassandra sat in one of the overstuffed chairs. Horntail was curled up in her lap as she used a nearby table to write a report for potions class. She pulled out the measuring tape and it still wasn't long enough so she searched through her book to add more details. Quidditch practice had not gone well at all and she was trying not to think about it.

Barny flopped down next to her, holding out a chocolate chip cookie to her. "I'm sorry... I had no idea you were a first year when I said that. It wasn't meant to be aimed at you. In America, we pick a couple of the first years out of the ones that try out, and they get to be managers, to make sure there's enough interest. They get to practice with us, and get some one on one attention from the players now and then, so that they can keep up the skills they have and even get better."

Cassandra looked at him, "I wasn't even planing on trying out." She said taking the offered cookie, "Evan saw me do something that got his attention and he suggested I go out for seeker. I should have known better than to get my hopes up. We don't normally have managers here that is what the captains are for."

"The captains manage the gear?" said Barny, confused. "I mean it's fine for us to stow our own gear and all, I'm not lazy, it just surprised me is all. They got to practice and filled in when someone got hurt, and they even celebrated with us after games."

Cassandra shrugged, "It's just not how we usually do it here. So it just feels like they made up a position for me." She said. "I get to have my broom here but I can't keep it with me I have to keep locked up in the coach's office, I wouldn't even get to do that otherwise so at least that is something I guess."

"Well, by way of apology, I can keep an eye out and maybe give you some pointers here and there. If you like, I can teach you how brooms are made as well. I did all the work on my own broom. That's a bit much for most people, but there's something about making it yourself. You get more of a feel for it, what they can and can't do. Plus it's a good way to learn to make other items." Barny popped his cookie in his mouth and sat back.

Cassandra looked at him and reached beside her. She wasn't sure why she had it with her at the moment maybe because it was the first real gift she had gotten from her father in a long time. She showed Barny the servicing kit, "My dad gave me this when he brought my broom to me parent's day. I haven't gotten to use it yet since its a new broom but I still think its kind of neat." She said.

Barney looked it over. He took out a strange looking tool and set it aside. "You won't want to use this, it's meant to be used to remove the wire holding the fletching, the bristles... But it's better to use engorgio and reducio instead because if you use the tool, you'll never get the wire on as tightly or neatly as it was originally. You should check the fletching at least once a month and replace any of it that was damaged, or else the braking spell will stop working quite as well. Otherwise this looks to be a nice kit. Mine has a bit more, but then it includes stuff to work from scratch. There's a lot to building a broom. Like selecting the right wood for the user, the right kind of fletching, it's a lot like wands. Getting those right can mean the difference between just average performance and having it work great. I'll tell you a secret, when they make the mass produced brooms, they use testers where they match the wood and fletching... Most people will never get that kind of performance out of their brooms."

"I haven't had the chance to try the one my grandparents sent yet. I have to keep it locked up except for practice and games because first years can't have brooms. I got permission to have one here since I'm kind of on the team." Cassandra said.

"Well, it's likely nothing like the ones the school uses. The school ones wouldn't be as fast or agile, but I bet they break down a lot less than the mass produced ones. There are a lot of reasons for that first year bit, It gives you the chance to learn some basic defensive magic and get decent at it. Sometimes the other teams won't be honorable. Can you imagine trying to continue through a match while you're busy vomiting slugs?", Barny said.

Cassandra shuddered at that thought as she had recently spent the afternoon doing just that. "I don't like that spell." She said.

"I've heard that some Durmstrang teams actually use it purposely before practice to learn how to deal with distractions. Or the tickling spell, or itching spell." Barny said, "One of those I could see... But slugs..." Barny stuck out a tongue and made a face.

"It's not any fun and there isn't a counter curse you just have to wait for it to wear off." Cassandra said.

"Best case is to reflect it back, but Protego takes practice and experience to get right." Said Barny

"Would you be willing to teach me some spells?" Cassandra asked.

"Protego, finite and ipskey are the ones you would want the most. Those are the most basic. There's a chance that Finite might cancel or lessen the effect of that Slug spell if it's cast right away, but it's hard talking around the slugs to get it out, and finite can't be stored in an item like protego can, because it cancels itself out." Barny held up his right arm and drew back his sleeve and tapped the hematite mounted in the bracer. "I keep this one charged with ipskey, because if you get hurt, you may be in too much pain to cast the spell, but with an item like this, you just have to release the stored spell." Barny didn't mention the other bracer. Back home on the quidditch teams, these items were standard safety gear, along with the boots, but here. It was an advantage to him for people not to know unless they had to, besides, until she learned the spell well enough and could get the materials to make the bracer, it would be next to worthless to tell her about it.

"I didn't even know you could put spells in stuff." Cassandra said amazed.
"I you need help with learning herbs and I have the first year book so I could help you with the basics as I learn them." She suggested.

"I think I'm going to be skipping around a lot in that because some of it is introducing concepts that I already know, and I just need to get the properties straight with what I already know for the most part, I think that will require someone with a bit more time at tying it all together." Barny said gently. "But thank you for the offer."

"Herbology and Potions are what I like the most." Cassandra said with a shrug. So I thought I would offer."

"I do appreciate it, though." Barney smiled.

Barny Collins
Fifth Year Gryffindor

Cassandra Crump
First Year Gryffindor


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