Lumos

Dueling Practice

Hogwarts | January 19, 1986

Classes at Hogwarts have been back in session for a few weeks now, but Wes didn't call a meeting of the Dueling Club until now. Being a NEWT student himself, he assumes everyone appreciates the extra study time just as much as he does. Today, he's managed to get Professor Flitwick to agree that they can use his classroom on a Saturday, so long as they don't break anything expensive. He has pushed all of the desks and tables to either side of the room, and is in the process of taping off the floor with a bright blue tape to designate their dueling area. Since it's a Saturday, he's dressed down in workout clothes and sneakers, which for him still manage to look expensive and high-quality.

“…Oh my god, and that’s not even the half of it, Nan’. You know who asked me to go to Madame Puddifoot’s last weekend?” There was a flurry of activity from the classroom door as two girls stride inside, one of them being Alyana Ainsworth, clad in a modest white sundress. “George ‘Je Parle Italiano’ Hodgins! As if I forgot that he was a right jerk to me when I was in First year! It’s like, now that I’ve got a nice rack, he’s all apologetic and such?” The girls share a conspiratorial laugh, before the blonde-haired menace’s expression turned impish. “So I told him yeah sure and never showed up.” Nancy gasps, aghast. “Aly – you shouldn’t – “ “Oh please! He’s a git, he deserved it. Besides, I can out-hex him with both my hands tied behind my back.” After a moment, Alyana seems to notice that they weren’t the first students to arrive. She beams over to Wes, her smile bright and genuine, looking innocent despite the fact that she was openly discussing possibly cursing a fellow student. “Afternoon, Avery-Moss! What you been up to?”(edited)

Wes doesn't look up as Alyana and her friend enter, too focused on the tape. But it serves him well, because he pauses mid-tape when words such as 'nice rack' get bandied about so readily. When he's noticed, he finally looks up at the girls, pointedly focusing on their eyes and grinning. "Uh, hey Ainsworth! Have a good holiday?" He tapes one last piece down before getting to his feet and brushing off his knees. "I've only been studying since I got back. Trying to keep my head down after punching that Wyndham kid before the ball. Allegedly."

"Allegedly." Izumi says as she walks over from one of the pushed aside desks and inspects Wes' handy work. She's been quieter than normal after their return to Hogwarts, but the welcome distraction of studying and slipping into her old routine has definatly helped her mood. She's carrying a clipboard in one hand and a quill in the other. She's dressed casually as well in loose jeans and a long jumper that keeps sliding off of her shoulder.
"Afternoon Ainsworth." She says politely before looking down at Wes. "I have the match ups if you want to look them over, I can take over the tape."

Alyana’s face seems to brighten dramatically at the reminder of the most recent piece of gossip, her grey eyes sparkling with clear interest. She waves Nancy away as the latter heads out to speak to someone else and inches closer to Wes with clear curiosity. “So, the rumor mill was telling the truth!” She exclaims, pleased, while skipping right over the significantly less interesting topic of studying. “Avery-Moss, I’m impressed. I didn’t know you had it in you!” As Izumi wandered over, Alyana pivots her attention to the girl with a smile. “Hi, Mori! So, allegedly or is it allegedly? What happened, exactly? I was unfortunately – err – busy, at the time.”

"Thanks Iz," Wes replies, taking her clipboard to begin going over it himself. To Alyana, he snorts, looking up from the clipboard just long enough to offer a bemused smile. "Then you don't know me very well, do you?" he asks in reply. He leaves Izumi to answer the further questions though, too busy going through the list. "Okay. Arthur and Claire. Vika and Owen. Ainsworth, you're dueling me today, so you'd better be ready," he tells the Slytherin good-naturedly.

"What happened is that I made a very bad date choice, but in the end I had more fun with friends that I ever would have with Wyndham." Though she still doesn't answer how allegedly it was, after all she wouldn't dare rat her best friend out. "I also heard that Poppy was dumped by her boyfriend as well due to the rumors, so all and all it sounds like your run of the mill teenage social experiment."
Izumi picks up where Wes left off on the floor tape, doing her best to be precise and quick about getting the room ready for the club. She does pause to wave at a handful of students who walk in to spectate.

“No,” Alyana almost purrs, her voice low and amused as she eyes Wes curiously, a smirk fixed on her features. “I guess I really don't. Funny, that.” She shifts her weight from one leg to the other, cocking her hip out and resting a hand on her waist confidently. “I reckon whatever you can dish, I can take.” The blonde girl turns to Izumi patiently as her fellow sixth year shares her story. It doesn’t take a genius to put it all together, once it’s spelled out like this, so the blonde sobers slightly, looking to the other girl with an empathic smile, and a voice that is more soft, and more sincere than is usually found coming from the Slytherin. “Sounds like you have some really great friends.” “I suppose an experiment always has its subject. It sounds like it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke than that Wyndham.” The girl exclaims then, flanderizing herself in an attempt to give Izumi an out, as well as to lighten the mood. “Gosh, what’s wrong with people these days, eh? Whatever happened to believing in cooties and the like?”

Wes quirks an eyebrow at Alyana's response, an amused grin slowly spreading across his face. "I guess we'll see about that today, won't we?" But he's back to seriousness after that, or at least casual work mode, as he nudges Izumi and offers her clipboard back. "We did have a good time, in spite of the fact that I never wanted to go. Again. The things I do for you," he says with a chuckle. Pulling out his wand, he turns on a heel to face Alyana. "Say, how about we go first, show these others how it's done? I want this to feel as close to how it will at the Beauxbatons tournament this Spring. I'm not about to let the prettysticks beat us."

“Sure!” Alyana fetches her wand from a hidden pocket found on her dress, drawing it out with an experimental flick. The colorful sparks that shoot from the tip prompts a look of satisfaction from the blonde. “But, I have to warn you – I won’t go easy on you, no matter how much you beg!” The theatrical, teasing declaration is paired with a laugh. Picking up on the purpose of the taped off areas, Alyana saunters in one of the marked off areas, grey eyes fixed expectantly onto Wes. “Well – if they do beat us, it’s going to be because of something spectacular. ‘Cause I’m not going down without a fight.” Her wand is held upright before her as she settled into the traditional dueling stance, posture immaculate, with every muscle in her body tensed, poised to react.

"I do." Izumi says with a fond smile. "I made a few extra ones that night too, and I think that fourth year has a crush on me." Izumi makes a confused face, as she is not used to being the object of someone's crush. Turning to Wes she sighs "I told you that you were going to have a good time, if only you would have gone with me in the first place you would not of had to puch Wyndham in the face." She smirks before pausing for dramatic effect. "Alledegly." Though she scoffs at him as she summons a seat and settles in with her clipboard. "Ah yes, because I do nothing for you at all in return. I don't slave for hours to help you improve your duels. Nope, not at all. I am a horrible friend." Her tone is dry, but her face melts into a serious mask. Being the manager of the dueling club, she spends her time studying the group and giving them tips and tricks to help theim improve. So she's ready to point out the flaws of the pair ready to do. "Start when you're ready."

"But I so enjoyed punching Wyndham in the face," Wes protests as he moves into place for the first duel himself. With a knowing smile to Izumi, he nods and adds, "Allegedly." He turns his focus on Alyana after that, moving his own feet and arms into a proper dueling posture. At Izumi's word, he's quick to jump to action, lunging forward and casting, "Stupefy!" as quickly as he can manage – which is fairly quick.

Arthur is of course late, and not only late, he looks incredibly hesitant about being here at all, despite his enthusiasm when asked and when talking to Claire. The 4th year is standing at the door peering inside at the older students. He is frowning, a deep line appearing on his forehead in concern. And when Wes and Alyana start their duel he actually jumps slightly, coughing afterwards and trying to pretend it never happened as he siddles inside of the room.

Alyana shoots Wes a disappointed look, her smile turning into more of a smirk. She moves her arm in a smooth, practiced arc – immediately parrying the bolt of green energy into the floor. “Oh, don’t be boring, Avery-Moss,” she calls out – clearly, boring is the worst thing a person could possibly be. “You’re going to have to do a lot better than that if you want to place at the tournament! Aquamenti!” A steady stream of water jets towards her opponents face – but the impact of the liquid never comes – instead, the water seems to have solidified into one long, thin stream, sent careening towards the young man’s face. A whip. At the last second, the whip dips to Wes’s legs, wrapping firmly around his left leg. With a grin, Alyana yanks the whip back, trying to destabilize the Sixth Year’s stance and jerk him to the floor.

Izumi is always quiet when she studies duels and doesn't let the duelists know her thoughts until it's all over. She is however making notes, especially when Wes's first spell is one of his favorite moves. When she hears the cough, she turns her head and looks at Arthur. "You're late Danger."

“Er, yesss…sorry,” Arthur murmurs when Izumi spots him, blushing slightly. He scoots into the room a bit more, watching her for a moment as he does. For a moment, just a moment, he looks at her in a rather puppy-dogish way before giving his head a hard shake. “Uh. So. What do we do?” he asks curiously, eyeing Wes and Alyana. “Is Claire here?”

Wes doesn’t take the verbal bait, instead keeping silent as he watches her next move. Her water-whip earns an impressed grin, and he sways on his feet as it comes his way. Luckily he manages to catch her feint and dodges at the last second, whipping his wand around and muttering a new spell that blasts back the water. There’s a moment where a wall of water sits between them before it starts to tumble towards her, her spell becoming a wave turned against its caster.

The roar of the wave barreling towards her prompts an exhilarated laugh from the Slytherin girl. “The best offense is a good defense, I get it,” Alyana comments, looking appropriately pleased with Wes’ ingenuity. It was easy to see that the pair were quite talented at Dueling – and that this was far from the first time they had sparred together. The Sixth Year quickly cast a freezing charm on the impending wave, the water quickly crystallizing into ice. Then the blow was followed by a “Reducto!” – the impact of the spell shattering the wall of ice to thousands of shards and hopefully masking the second spell that was hot on its heals – a spell meant to knock Wes back.(edited)

Wes casts another spell that causes the ice shards to turn to a fine mist that breezes through through the room, obscuring the view from Alyana in the process. He anticipates her follow-up spell and has a second shield up to take that impact, then pivots forward just before the mists start to clear. Right where he steps, the floor buckles in a new wave that barrels right for his opponent, and only covers the taped-off space of their makeshift platform.

Alyana’s eyes narrow as the mist starts to settle around them, throwing up a few protective shields around her in anticipation of a surprise attack. The Slytherin girl rarely gets an opportunity to go all out, so it was like stretching a muscle that was so often kept constricted. Aly begins to draw small circles in the air with her wand, mumbling an incantation under her breath. A small vortex of air is created out of nowhere, and it begins to greedily eat the mist, growing in power and in strength with every second it’s allowed to spin. This was probably overkill, but once Alyana gets in this mood it’s hard for her to remember what is and isn’t appropriate to do. She is about to weaponize the tornado – that has grown tremendously and is now exerting a significant bit of suction on the people and objects in the room, when Wes’ sneak attack lands. The floor is bucks and rocks violently beneath the girl, knocking her off balance, and she lets out a squeak as she falls back onto her rear on the floor. Just outside of the area demarcated by tape. Disqualifying her from the duel. As soon as Alyana recognizes this, she pouts. The tornado disappears, leaving behind it a mess of clothing strewn around haphazardly. “Bugger, I totally thought I had you! Good show, Wes.” With a sigh, the slight girl climbs back to her feet, taking special care to smooth her pristine white dress down. She steps towards Wes with a genuine smile, her hand stretched out for a handshake. “That was fun!”

Wes grins as his ploy works, straightening up and saluting her with his wand once she’s out for the count. He crosses the room – which is now back to its regular shape, if mildly damp on one side – with a grin, and shakes her hand. “Good show. I liked the water whip, that was creative,” he tells her. “You’ll have to teach me that one.”

Izumi does her best to watch the duel with out getting sprayed with mist from the water spell. She has to hold up her clipboard so her ink doesn't run and shakes her head. It's a hazard that she's used to sitting on the side lines and has to shake her head while she smirks. "Mind the peanut gallery!" She calls out. However once they are done she claps her hands. "Well done, you even changed it up for once Wes, not bad, and I approve of your feight Ainsworth."

“Sorry, Avery-Moss,” Alyana laughs, amusement twinkling in her eyes. “but a girl’s got to keep some secrets to herself. I’m sure there are other things I can teach you, though.” Her words are accompanied with a sly, suggestive wink. As the jest hangs in the air, the Slytherin turns to Izumi, absolutely beaming, with her hands crossed behind her back. “Thanks! It was a great match! So, naturally, I look forward to you pointing out our every mistake, heh. Anyway, who’s up next? I feel like I haven’t seen you duel in ages, Mori – is it you?” She looks to the others, her eyes then falling on Arthur, who receives a grin.(edited)

Wes wants so badly to have a comeback for Alyana. It’s clear in his face that he’s got something on the tip of his tongue… but then she turns to Izumi, and all he can do is rub a hand through his hair and turn away as if there’s actually something interesting just over there. “Ahh, lets get Claire and… what was the new kid’s name?” The later part is directed at Izumi, even if he can’t look at her.

Izumi shakes her head at the exchange between Alyana and Wes. When he looks away from the girl, she lightly rolls her eyes at her friend before looking back toward their other class mate. "Who me? Oh I only duel if we don't have enough people to pair up with. Honestly I just manage everyone and give them pointers to improve their skills.

"Well, yeah, but do you want to duel?" Alyana looks concerned, as though she can't fathom why someone would want to sit it out and not get in on the action. "I can like try doing…stuff and hold down the fort if you want to give it a go?" It's a gentle offer, but one that Alyana is happy to walk away from if everyone else is ready to. She takes a step back, scanning the crowd for the faces of the new contenders curiously.

"Oh I'm not that good at it honestly. I'll spare myself the embarrassment, besides Mr Danger seems very keen to battle Claire so I would hate to delay him that privilage." Izumi says brightly though she tilts her head at Wes and his sudden reluctance to look at people.

Claire has been in the back, rather frantically scribbling on a wrinkled, ink-stained piece of parchment. She had to promise that she'd finish her Charms paper to get out of detention (for not finishing her Charms paper, of course) so that she could come to dueling club. When she hears her name, she finishes her sentence and then jams the parchment and battered quill back into her bag before standing up to head towards the dueling portion of the room. "Me against….. Arthur?" she asks, looking around to try and identify who the new person is.

"Arthur, that's it," Wes says, remembering the new kid's name. He at least remembers what the fourth-year looks like, so when he spots him in the back he's beckoned forward. "Come on you two, into position. Let's see what you can do." He claps his hands together in an attempt to get them to move faster.

Arthur looks rather hesitant when Wes and Izumi call his name. But he stands up, shuffling forward. Though seeing Claire seems to put him a bit more at ease and he shoots her a half-grin. He positions himself on one side, as he saw the older students doing. He has his wand out. “Do we wait for a countdown or something?” he asks.

Claire takes her position as well, pulling her wand out of a mysterious pocket and brushing some lint off of the end of it. She seems rather casual and unconcerned about this whole thing, but she does flash a grin at Arthur. "We wait for Izumi's go-ahead," she says. Her stance is sloppy, but she's clearly waiting for the signal.

Izumi waits until both of the younger students are in place. She already is taking notes on their stances and how ready they appear. "Begin." She says clearly, leaning forward to see what they do.

When Izumi gives the go Arthur nearly jumps he's trying to focus so hard. There is a moment pause before he finally gives a flick of his wand. "Immobulus!" he says, watching the spell leave his wand.

Wes had been pacing the room, but when Izumi calls the start of the duel he goes to stand next to her to watch. Wiping a drop of sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his robe, he leans over to whisper something to Iz.

"Protego," Claire says decisively, throwing up a shield charm to protect her from Arthur's jinx. She's got her head cocked to the side and gives him a small smile before flicking her wand. "Steleus!" Green light shoots from the end of her wand. If the hex hits, it should make Arthur sneeze uncontrollably.

Arthur does his best to slide out of the way, but the hex grazes him. He doesn't get the full impact but a loud sneeze follows. He's able to collect himself though long enough to shoot a Tarantallegra spell at Claire, trying to get her to start dancing, before another sneeze attacks him.

As soon as her spell grazes him Claire sends another, a jellylegs jinx this time. This distracts her a bit and his spell hits: her feet start moving wildly. She looks absolutely furious to have been hit (and rather ridiculous dancing like this, to be honest) but her wand is still at the ready while she waits a moment to see if her jinx hit.

Arthur is mid sneeze when the jelly legs jinx comes flying and hits him full on this time. His legs go wobbly and he wobbles around trying to stay on his feet before collapsing to the ground.

"Expelliarmus," Claire says, pointing her wand at Arthur as he goes down. She's clearly doing some work to prevent her dancing legs from dancing her right out of bounds, but her wand hand is steady enough.

Izumi tilts her head toward Wes as he leans over to whisper to her. She smirks, as if they're sharing some juicy secret, and even laughs a bit before she scribbles some notes down on her clip board. Watching the spells fly back and forth, she frowns as Arthur doesn't seem as quick on his feet as she had hoped, still Clarie is getting some good marks for her quick thinking.

Arthur manages to shoot up a protego charm to stop his wand from flying from his hands, but he is still on the ground. The moment his protego comes down he sends a spell flying that is intended to cause uncontrollable laughter.

One benefit of Claire's having been hit by the tarantellegra spell is that it makes her rather a hard target to hit. She scowls as Arthur blocks her disarming spell and immediately tries again. "Petrificus totalus!" she says with much more vehemence this time. This is fairly typical for her: the longer a duel takes, the more generally ill-tempered and sloppy she becomes.

And Arthur is out. One roll with his jelly legs was about all the boy could manage in his first duel. When the petrificus totalus hits his body, which was on his side, flops onto his back, leaving his staring at the ceiling. His wand is still gripped tightly between his petrified fingers, but it's not of much use now. "Help," he squeaks out.

Claire waits to make sure Arthur is really down this time, and then finally casts the counter jinx on her legs. She shakes them out a bit before it occurs to her to unpetrify Arthur, but at least she goes to offer him a hand up. "I can't BELIEVE you hit me with that," she says.

Wes claps for the younger students once Arthur goes down. “Well done, Claire! That was… creative. Five points to Ravenclaw!” Wes does not in fact have the ability to give points. “Just remember that in France, you’ll be up against students a year older than you as well, so don’t shy away from pulling out your full arsenal. Alright, who’s next…” He goes off to pull two other students out to continue the cycle.

Izumi finishes her notes and leans back in her chair. They both have things they could work on, and she plans on sharing that later when the time comes. Getting to her feet she'll walk over to Arthur and fold her hands behind her back. "Not bad for your first try. I wouldn't get disoucraged after your first match though, there is always room for improvement on everyone."

Arthur clasps Claire’s hand once she has unpetrified him and pulls himself to his feet. “You did look pretty funny,” he tells her with a grin. “And I hate sneezing.” When Izumi comes over he starts to blush before nodding at her comments. “Just need to practice a bit more I think.”

"Don't tell anyone," Claire tells Arthur, deadpan, but now that the duel's over she seems in good spirits. She smiles a bit smugly when Wes compliments her, and then goes to join the rest of the spectators, where she'll continue working on her Charms paper.

Arthur just nods a little at Claire before following her over to sit with the other spectators.

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