(1937-10-06) Picnic on the Cliffs
Details for Picnic on the Cliffs
Summary: Following chance meetings, first in the owl tower, then the Entry Hall, a bunch of first-years gather to have a picnic while the older kids are at Hogsmeade.
Date: October 6th, 1937
Location: Cliffs, Hogwarts
Related: None

Maeve stands in the owl tower, a rather confused look on the face of the Gryffindor first year, as she looks from the owls to a letter that she holds in her hand, and back. She frowns slightly, then tentatively starts to move over towards a handsome looking barn owl, who promptly takes off.

Gabriel is almost bouncing in his excitment as he walks with Cathal into the Owlery,"But I was thinking, if… Muggle are not supposed to know about us then wouldn't it be a bad idea to send the letter to my grandpa by owl? He doesn't know about us. And besides, how's the owl going to know where to go? Can they read, to look at the address on the envelop and be able to check maps to find out where they're going?" He stops talking only to grabs a breath of air before launshing into,"And yes, I know what Muggle means and all about that but I have to keep reminding myself to use the word, that's why I always stop for a moment before I day it. It'll go away. Anyway, how do we catch the owls? Are there special nets? Or is there a special password they'll listen to? and how do I know they won't drop the letter halfway there?" In his excitment he completely misses the fact that there's someone else already here.

"Owls are trained." Cathal says but then considers that for a moment,"He doesn't know you're a Wizard? Maybe sending him an owl wouldn't be the best idea then. However, perhaps we can get someone to pay him a visit that could pass in the Muggle world." He considers this for a long moment,"I know there are adult wizards who can apparate but not sure what the distance that can be done in one shot is." He says as he walks with his cousin, the two seeming very different in demeanor since he's very very calm in contrast to Gabriel's bouncing off the wall.

Maeve seems a bit flustered as the barn owl takes off. Once more, she looks from her letter to the owls, and sighs, shaking her head. It's obviously the first time she's ever tried to send anything via Wizarding post, and she's completely lost. However, hearing the voices of the two boys, she almost beam. "Um… Excuse me. Would ye mind helpin' me? I can't, fer th' life o' me, figure out how t' send this letter…"

Gabriel spnis around to face Maeve, a big grin on his face,"Oh! Hi! I'm Gabriel… Or Gabe and this is Cathal. I can't really help you but I'm sure Cathal can. He's turning out to be really helpful. So I take it you've never used owl post before either?" Now that he's actually facing into the tower he stops chattering to gaze up and up at the owls,"Oooooo… Lets see. I can see barn owls, and horned owls, and eagle owls. Oh! There's even a snow owl. And a screetch! Those are tiny! What kind of letter can those carry." Flipping back to Cathal he says,"You /can/ help her right? She looks like she needs it and its just the gentlemanly thing to do."

"Well that would depend on where you're trying to send it. You first need to make sure that the owl knows where it is going." Cathal says hearing the girl's plight and deciding that he will indeed attempt to be of service,"Then you need to secure the letter to the owl so that it cannot go falling off. Not sure if there's a bit of magic at work in that. I don't think that I've ever actually heard of an owl losing its message before." he says in his serious voice, his brogue colouring the words even if he's speaking formally. "You just need to be careful that the owl doesn't nip you. That can hurt a lot and then you need to visit the nurse to ensure it does not cause problems for you later." He says matter of factly.

Maeve nods, as she gently reaches out to another owl, and clears her throat. "Could ye take this t' Michael an' Derval O'Brian, Fenley Mews, outside o' Gelndalough, County Wicklow., Ireland, please?" She's still not entirely sure of herself. This is definitely outside of what she's used to. Carefully, she reaches out with the letter, and gently hangs it around the neck of the owl, a small screech owl. "Oh, I hope this won't get lost on th' way…"

Gabriel pats Cathal on the back in a friendly way giving him a pleased grin,"See? You made someone happy today. Actually, two people happy today. Its definitely a good day." Turning to Maeve he frowns slightly,"Wait, you go and pick the smallest own in the whole room? Ok, maybe not the smallest but close.I don't think he could handle your letter from here to Hogsmeade, let alone all the way to Ireland." As the little owl hops closer to Maeve it eyes fixed on Gabe and narrowed almost as if it understood his words Gabe laughs,"At least he's eager and willing to try. Maybe he will do afterall."

"Don't worry. I am sure that he will do perfectly alright. Never underestimate an owl. He might be small but he's perfectly capable." Cathal says chastising his cousin gently,"Owls are very capable creatures. An owl can travel fair distances carrying things larger than themselves. The owl here can manage to fly with something as light as a letter with no real difficulty." He says shaking his head a bit,"He won't get lost either. That would be rather bad."

Maeve nods, and gently reaches out, giving the owl a mouse that she'd been holding. "Thank ye" she whispers to the bird, then turns to Gabriel and Cathal. "And thank ye both as well. M' name's Maeve O'Brien. I don' believe we've met before…"

Gabriel shakes his head,"Nope. Like I said, I'm Gabe and this is Cathal, my newly discovered, long lost cousin. We're both Ravenclaws." As if the fact that they're both wearing Ravenclaw colors didn't make that perfectly clear in the first place,"You're in Gryffindor aren't you? So how've you liked the first month here. I've loved it, discovering all sort sof new things! You're not from a wizarding family either, are you? I'm kind of guessing since you didn't know what to do with the owls either." Turning to Cathal he asks,"So, do you think we can find a wizard or a witch in the US of A that'll be willing to take my letter to my grandpa? Or do you think normal post will be just about as fast? And you never told me what kind of music you want besides the swing I want to introduce you to…"

"Well I think my sister might be able to help us. She might not be able to get there in a single day but she could probably get there an back within the week." Cathal says in a soft voice,"A pleasure to meet you. I'm Cathal O'Toole. My friend Cillian is in your House, you'd probably recognize him since he tends to wear an eyepatch." He says casually to the girl,"Why not release the owl so it can get on and then get back so it can rest." He says casually, considering what's going on.

Maeve nods, blushing slightly as she does let go her gentle grip on the owl, stepping back. "I've seen him, I believe, but nae talked t' him. It's all so overwhelmin', still. Gettin' used t' magic bein' real." She does smile at the two Ravenclaw boys. "So, where are ye both from? I'm….well, I guess th' destination of th' letter gave it away."

Gabriel nods,"Yep. It sure did. I'm from London." This time he actually lets Cathal speak for himself as he darts over to the window to watch the little owl fly away with the letter, apparently still incredulous that such a small owl can fly with something that creates that much drag for any real length of time.

"Inis Maan. I grew up with it." Cathal says shrugging a bit about the whole thing,"I'm used to magic. My father's a Wizard." He says seriously,"My mother though was a Muggle, so she did much of her cooking over a nice peat fire that smoked things nicely." He says casually, his eyes watching the pair of them. So many things he takes for granted do seem to fill some with amazement.

Maeve nods, smiling brightly. "Tha' must hae been brilliant, growin' up with magic. I remember how surprised I was when I accidentally lifted Ma's dowry chest. I'm surprised I did nae break it when it fell. And everything here is so different, so wonderful." She looks at Gabriel. "I was in London before I came here. Had t' go to Diagon Alley. But someday I want t' jus be able t' explore the city."

Gabriel spins around and leans against the window sill, hands resting on the edge of it on either side of his hips,"Oh, a lot of people do and I don't see why. Its crowded and noisy and dirty… This is so much better around here, even if there wasn't any magic." With a grin to both of the other students he adds,"and they have Quidditch! Have you seen a game yet Maeve? I thought baseball and cricket were fun but Quidditch is SOOOO much better. And I'm sooooo sad that I missed the the try-outs this year. But I bet I'll make the team first try next year. I think all the baseball I've been playing when I visit my grandpa over the summers is going to help, especially since I'd like to be a Chaser. Have you thought about trying out for the team too Maeve? Or you Cathal? I think its great that girls can play just like boys."

"I don't much care for London really. Although I don't mind Diagon Alley. Here is nice though. Quidditch is a very good sport. It is quite challenging. I've played with some of the other boys from back home." Cathal says shrugging a little bit. He does have a bit of a gift when it comes to flying as he was among those that didn't struggle with getting up on a broomstick in flying class. "I don't know about baseball and cricket though. I've never really witness or played them."

Maeve shrugs. "I've nae seen baseball, and nae much cricket. I do know a few o' Da's friends still play hurley from time t' time. As fer Quiddich, I've nae seen much of it either, and I'm nae sure I should think about tryin' out fer th' team until I know how t' fly a broomstick better.

Gabriel grins,"Flying isn't that bad. Its all about concentration and balance, I'm sure you'll get it real soon. What's hurley anyway? I don't think I've ever heard about it? Wait! Is it golf? Golf was invented in Ireland, right? Or was it Scotland?" Switching tracks on the fly he turns to Cathal specifically,"Oh, and you were right. That lil' bit of an owl actually flew of with that letter like it didn't weigh anything. Are they magic owls? Or are they normal owls under a spells? How does it work?" And back to Maeve,"Did you actually have trouble during flying class? I managed to make it off the ground on the third try and from there everything else was a piece of cake."

"It's not that difficult to do the basics of flying but the Quidditch players are all rather intense about it. Far better than anyone could be in the first year." Cathal says shaking his head a bit,"And I believe they're just naturally like that. It's not specific to here and I do not believe my sister's owl had any special enchantments on it." He says as he considers all of this,"I wouldn't think I'd make the team this year but in a year or two I might be good enough."

Maeve nods. "I may try in th' next year or so. I didn' have trouble with th' basics, but I want t' get some practice, make sure I know what I'm doin…" At the question about hurling, she explains. "It's a bit like field hockey in some ways. Teams are fifteen players. They use sticks, called hurleys t' move a leather ball along the field, to score.

Gabriels grin seems to be irrepressible,"Ah, its all a matter of practice. I bet that by try outs next year I'll be ready to go." He brightens up even more as an idea crosses his mind,"Heeey… You think that they might let people practice with the teams, eve if they're not on the team? Best way to learn is by doing, so it would be an excellent way to get people ready to play!" Moving away from the window he starts pacing the room, looking curiously at everything, and keeping a wary eye on the owls, just in case he needs to dodge something."That sounds kind of like another game my grandpa taught me about the that Yankees play, lacrosse. Is it anything like lacrosse? Excpet it probably isn't since lacrosse is played with little baskets on sticks. Anyway, what's you favorite subject up to now Maeve?"

"You'd have to talk to the Captain of the team and then borrow one of the brooms for the school." Cathal says shrugging a little bit,"We're not allowed to bring out brooms to school during our first year." He points out casually,"I don't really know Muggle sports. Gabriel and I were both commenting about how interesting Transfiguration was. He didn't like charms nearly as much as I do." He says trying to give a weak little smile.

Maeve nods. "I'm enjoyin' Transfiguration and Charms, and lookin' forward t' more Defense Against th' Dark Arts. I'm havin' a little trouble in Potions, but th' one that I really can't stand is History of Magic. Binns jus' puts me t' sleep!"

Gabriel finishes his examination of the room. Afterall, its not all that big,"Yep, Transfiguration is great. And maybe I'll get to like Chamrs more as we go along. I'm really interested in seeing what kind of ways Potions can be used for in healing. My Dad's a docotor and I think I want to follow his example." Moving over to the door he holds it open for the other two,"What do we want to do now? The Owl Tower was fun but there's so much more of Hogwarts I haven't seen yet and with all the older students in Hogsmeade it seem s like the perfect time."

"Binns is a bit dry but the subject itself is quite interesting." Cathal says shrugging a little bit about the whole thing,"And I guess we can explore. I spend a lot of time over at the Cliffs." He says casually,"It's a good place to practice violin." He says simply.

Maeve nods. "Sounds like a pretty spot. I sing and play harp, m'self. I try t' practice with th' latter at least an hour a day, although sometimes it seems like there's nae enough hours in th' day.

Entry Hall Hogwarts Castle

It is a fall night. The weather is freezing and overcast.

The marble beginnng of the staircases leading upwards into the castle face the heavy oak doors that lead outside across a flagged stone expanse that could fit an average house. Looking up, one can see the staircases shifting from one landing to the next, on up into the shadows making it difficult to tell just how high the Entrance Hall really is. The torches in the walls do little to pierce the dimness overhead, but cast light on the suits of armor flanking the front doors and the many doors spaced at odd intervals leading to the Great Hall, Slytherin Dungeons, Staff quarters, and even a broom closet.
Perhaps the thing of greatest interest in this entry though, at least to the students, are the four large hourglasses housed in niches on one of the walls opposite the doors. One filled with sapphires, one with emeralds, one with rubies, and the last with topaz, these hourglasses keep track of the all important House points. The gems in the bottom half represent the points earned so far by houses Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

Gabriel comes down the stairs with Maeve and Cathal, talking animatedly about pretty much everything and anything that pops to mind. As they reach the entry hall Gabriel stops and looks around,"Well, we're are we going." A big smile spreads over his face as he looks at Maeve and has an idea. Leaning down a little bit he motions the other two close. Looks like whatever he wants to say he doesn't want to be overheard.

If this was modern times…there would be the entrance song of: 'JUST PUT THOSE OLD RECORDS ON THE SHELF' - However it is not, it is Hogwarts. This means Cillian is making his way from…god knows where and he's wearing his uniform minus his robes to avoid any potential trouble but the young man with the eye patch is grinning and bopping along to a song only he can hear. He has his normal satchel stuffed with books and a second burlap sack stuffed with who really knows and he's carrying a picnic basket.

Well Gabriel is chattering on, Cathal's just listening to him. THe blue eyed boy does notice his friend, rather quickly,"Cillian." Cathall calls out trying to get his friend's attention so that there will be a bit of a spread out of the chattering. He doesn't breakoff from his cousin and the Gryffindor girl just yet. He's going to just direct the small group towards his friend to make it a large group.

Maeve is keeping pace with the two Ravenclaws, and smiling as she converses with them. Seeing Cillian, she grins, and waves to her fellow Gryffindor. True, she doesn't know him yet, but that's something she should change. As Gabe leans in, she pauses, readying herself to listen to what he has to say.

Gabriel looks over to Cillian, then back to Cathal, then back to Cillina and finally waves to the boy with the eyepatch and chuckles a little bit,"Even better." And that's all he says, waiting to share his great idea with Cillian too.

Cillian looks up to see Gabriel and Maeve and Cathal and his face lights up. "Strings, I just was comin' to see if I could find ye!" He chirps brightly before nodding politely to the others, giving a little bow to Maeve and digging around in his burlap sack for a piece of chocolate in the shape of a flower with gold wrapping and he offers it to the young girl. "So let me guess, ye all came to seek me 'out to see if I 'ad a delicious supper ready?"

"Well actually I found out I had a cousin here and we were just exploring the school a bit." Cathal says explaining to his friend,"Cillian, this is my cousin Gabriel Ward, Gabriel, this is my friend Cillian. He's quite remarkable in a good many ways and a bit of a pirate in his own fashion." He says introducing his cousin to his friend and vice versa."It's a good thing." He says casually for the moment.

Maeve blushes as Cillian hands her the gold wrapped chocolate, giggling slightly. "Actually, we were all comin' back from th' owl tower. Gaberiel and I had t' learn t' use the owl post… Anyway, how are ye t'night, Cillian?"

"Gabriel, pleasure to be meetin' ye. Me friend 'ere be kind to introduce me in such a way, but aye…I be a pirate captain." Cillian confirms before he peers back into his sack thoughtfully and nods to himself. "Everybody lately's all twitterfeeted about the dance an' feast for Halloween lately and then this business about duelin'." He sighs. "I've been workin' 'ard with making 'will you go to the dance with me' chocolates and finding love poems, all of which I've been peddling to the older students. Desperate wankers that they be." He waves a hand vaguely. "And then this dueling business…ye'd tink the sky was turnin' purple with all the excitement /that/ has generated." He adjusts his hold on his picnic basket. "So I've gathered a picnic."

Josie comes into view from the direction of the stairway, making her way to the Great Hall perhaps. She changes direction, however, as she spots the gathering of her fellow firsties, and quickly makes her way over, saying cheerfully, "Hi."

Gabriel lets out a big sigh as the group starts to grow. Maybe his idea wasn't suitable for more than four. But regardless of the sigh he turns a big smile on the two new people and opens up his section of the group a little more to make sure everyone can fit in. "Hi Cillian. And new girl. I'm Gabriel, this is Cathal, my cousin, and you probably know Maeve and Cillian." As he mentions names he make a little motion to the person mentioned, mostly for the benefit of Josie. Introductions completed he turns to Cillian,"Oh, now that's a really great idea. I'm sure you'll make a lot of money like that. What'stwitterfeeted mean anyway? And what kind of picnic did you put together? How'd you get the food? I thought the kitchens were off limits to students. Do you have enough for everyone? If not, how can we help you get more?" Turning to everyone else he adds,"A picnic sounds like fun, doesn't it?"

"Hello." Cathal says softly, his soft brogue colouring his words. "Perhaps I should get my violin." He says after a long pause, and then continues on,"I think that it would be a good idea yes to come up with some way to sell chocolate to those wishing to get a partner for the dance. One could assume most of the older students are using such things to give to their would be dates. "He says taking a pause for a moment,"I think Dueling is one of the more interesting things. I have noticed that many of the older students are looking forward to trying it out, especially those wishing to become Aurors."

Maeve grins at the other girl. "Hi, Josie. How are ye doin' today? Did ye manage t' get through th' readin' earlier?" She nods at the mention of Dueling. "I think I'm gonna join th' duelin' club, as well as the broomstick club. But I'm nae sure about becomin' an Auror…" At the mention of music, the girl grins. "Well, I can go upstairs and get m' harp, or if ye'd like, I can jus' sing."

"Josie! Hello, come to share me supper?" He has to ask before he nods slowly to Gabriel, eyebrows raising slowly as he speaks and he turns to look to Cathal. "The profit is in the connections, aye." Then back to Gabriel as he considers how to respond. "Yer like a lil' rattle of words aren't ye? That's yer new name, Rattle. I always 'ave more than enough food." Then back to the others. "I have me pipes." On the topic of music and finally back to wands and aurors and the like. "…how many of ye plan to partake in the upcomin' duelin' events?"

Josie nods quickly to Maeve with a smile and says, "Thanks to your help, yep!" She looks to Gabriel then and says, "Hi, I'm Josie. I know Cathal, we met before school started. But I went by Jo back then." She looks to Cillian then and answers his last question, "I am, for sure! Already signed up. Know I can't win, but it'll be fun. Can't wait to see the demonstration, Mr. Bates is brilliant. Bet no matter who he's dueling, he'll win."

Gabriel tilts his head to the side as he considers his possible new nickname. After a moment of thought he laughs and nods,"That's kind of like the pot calling the kettle black but fair enough. I think Rattle is kind of fun actually. So where are having this picnic? Cathal was saying the cliffs are a nice, relaxing area. I've not been to the cliffs yet so it would be fun to see them anyway." Taking a baseball out of his pocket he starts tossing it up and down while he grins at the group,"I won't be able to contribute to the musical effort but I will definitely be an appreciative audience. Dueling… I hadn't realized that it was open to first years to. It seems so much is prohibited for us. Now that I know I'll definitely be joining in. Bet I'll do pretty well too… Hmm, I wonder if the kind of wand you have makes a difference? If the length of the stiffness or the wood or any of the other tings they care so much about will make you more or less competitive." Pulling his out of his pocket with the ball-free hand he examines it,"Mine's dogwood with with a unicorn hair core, 11 inches, sturdy. Whatever that really means… What do all of you use?"

"I was thinking about doing so. " Cathal says about joining the dueling primer,"Mine is vine with a dragon heartstring." He says rather simply as he begins heading towards the Ravenclaw dorms, returning rather quickly with his violin case in hand,"For now, we should get to the cliffs so that we have enough time to relax before the curfew comes. We don't want to be caught outside after curfew since Pringle will have us all punished most heavily."

Cillian is quiet as he looks between the the other kids with a slow nod, tilting his head to the side before he offers helpfully. "I 'ave a wand!" And then he nods. "Aye, a picnic on the cliffs, that'll be nice and then get in before Pringle comes sniffin' for trouble."

Josie pulls out her own wand to show Gabriel, but moves to start walking towards the doors out, "Maple, with dragon heartstring." It appears to be the same length as Gabriel's, but more flexible. "Ophelia says that means I like to explore, and I do. If you wanna know more about your wand, ask her, she knows a lot."

Gabriel follows along behind Cathal on the way to the cliffs. He doesn't really talk much but mostly because he keeps dashing away from the group to examine something or another that catches his attention, over and over again. And when he's not chasing after something random, he's chasing after his ball, on the infrequent times he misses catching it after throwing it high up in the air. After arriving at the cliffs he turns to Josie and starts talking as if he'd never left the conversation,"Who's Ophelia? and how does she know so much about wands? I tried to ask Mr Olivander when I went to get mine all about it but the store was really busy so he barely answered any questions at all!" He seems kind of offended about the idea that someone might not want to answer his questions,"This place is awesome. I can see why you come here to practice Cathal. Did you bring a blanket Cillian? Where'd you like to set u? What can I do to help?"

Maeve catches up with the rest of the group, harp case slung over one shoulder, as she grins to everyone. "Mr. Olivander? I went t' him for m' wand. He seemed nice enough, but kind o' cold…"

Sitting down on the cliff, Cathal begins rosining his bow as they discuss more about wands,"I like it here for a lot of reasons." He says matter of factly, his face utterly calm. "I believe if it's who I am thinking of, it's one of the upper years in our House. I met her once before." He says casually as he continues the rosining process for now.

Josie nods quickly to Cathal, and says to Gabriel, "She's in… fifth year, I think? She doesn't like wearing shoes," she adds, as she thinks. She doesn't sit down, not yet, but she too walks to the edge of the cliff, so close to the edge that she can look straight down to the water below. Then she's looking towards Hogsmeade, and says, "Still think it's stupid we can't visit too."

Gabriel goes to the edge of the cliff too. But instead of sitting or standing at the edge he lays down on his stomach, head and arms dangling over the edge as he looks down at the dark waters of the lake below. "I wonder how for down that is? And if its deep enough to dive from here? Does anyone know if there's merpeople living in there? Or the giant squid? I heard there's a giant squid in there too." Digging into his pocket he pulls out a ball of string and starts tying knots into it at about one foot intervals. "Not perfect, but it'll give me an idea." He mumbles to himself as he works the string down along the length of the cliff face.

"Well there's lots of stupid stuff that goes on, we're kids though…even if it makes as much sense as puttin' a fart in a jam jar." Cillian offers as he spreads out his special picnic blanket, lowering to his knees and starting to unpack his picnic basket, a thoughtful expression on his face. "Chips, Fried Sausages…hmm, some fresh rolls and oo, yes…half of an apple pie." A pause. "And some tea."

Maeve settles back a short distance from the edge of the cliff, and puts down her harp case, opening it up and taking out the instrument. She then comes over. "May I have some tea, then, Cillian? It's a bit chill up here at th' moment." She settles down on the blanket, smiling as she does, then glances over at Gabriel. "Be careful. I don' think ye want t' fall from there…"

Taking out his violin, Cathal tunes it almost on autopilot before he slowly plays a sad melody. A melancholy song really. He doesn't seem interested in the food. Slowly he plays fingers pressing just right on the strings, the bow draws slowly on the strings.

Gabriel looks to Cathal and Josie, both of them at the edge with him, then over his shoulder to Maeve, smiling at her and saying a gently teasing tone,"Awww, you've only known me for about 2 hours and you care already. I'm touched." Then he turns back down to keep knoting and lowering his string but he keeps talking,"Apple pie. Since I've started visiting my grandpa I've come to learn that we just don't know how to make apple pie here in Great Britain. I think its the cinnamon and nutmeg. I looked up an American recipe for it and we don't seem to use nearly as much of either in our pies."

Josie spins on the spot, not careful at all, as she moves back over to sit by Cillian, "I'll have some chips." Then she says, to Gabriel, "Americans must really like apple pie. Jimmy used to talk about it too sometimes."

Maeve shrugs. "I've nae had one that I liked very much. Personally, I prefer a good cherry pie." She settles down and takes her harp into her arms, starting to softly play, a counterpoint to the music already being played at the moment.

Gabriel rolls his eyes as he pauses his work on the string for a moment,"Oh, you have /no/ idea. Its like they eat it as dessert with every meal. Its tastey but geeeeez. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing." Going back to his string, which is now about 50 feet down the cliff wall,"I'll have some of the fried sausage if that's alright? That's one thing both the American's and us have in common, lots of fried food."

Cillian hmms softly as he works on unpacking his tea-set and he lets people talk as he hmms softly and shakes his head, pouring a cup of tea for Maeve and setting a few napkins or chips aside for the others.

Slowly he plays the song that he's been thinking of, Cathal's focused on the music right now, but he does say,"I do like cherry pie a bit." He says in a soft voice as he keep playing right now.

Josie nods quickly to the 'too much of a good thing', and says, "At least our food's different. And Italian food's even better, lots of different things to eat. My mum made brilliant lasagna, but she made lots of other stuff too." Then she adds, in explanation, "My mym was half Italian."

Maeve nods as she continue to play quietly. "I prefer a good stew, but tha's what I grew up with. Oh, an' fresh baked soda bread." She grins over at Cillian and Cathal, then suddenly thinks of something. "Is there a stable here at Hogwarts? Any horses f'r ridin'?"

Gabriel groans in a pleased way at the mention of lasagna,"That's what's so nice about visit my grandpa. They have so many different people in the US of A that you can try foods from almost anywhere in the world. Even if they're not quite right half the time. Ooooo, and speaking of fried things, they have this awesome stuff called funnel cakes. They just pour batter into some really hot oil then fry it till its golden brown and put fruit compote over top of it all. Yummmm." Now he lets out a groan of another kind as his string runs out while he's distracted talking and the whole things slips out of his hands and falls into the lake waters. "Sigh. Well, at least I know the cliff is over 50 meters." Flipping onto his back he sits up then makes his way over to the food, taking a big bite of sausage,"Great sausage. Where'd you get it Cillian? Thanks for sharing. Lasagna is great too. And my Mum is American, Josie." Turning to look at Maeve with a little of surprise in his expression he asks,"Horses? When you can learn to fly on brooms?"

Cillian is quiet as he lets the other children talk and he's carefully spreading jam on a fresh roll and then putting a sausage in the roll and making a small sandwich as he eats happily and sips his tea. He does blink at Gabriel before staring off towards the ocean. "I'm always prepared." That's all he's going to say about the food.

Josie thinks, and then shakes her head to Maeve's question, "Think the closest they have here is Thestrals, and I dunno if we're allowed to ride them. They could fly us right outta the grounds. And, most people can't see them anyway," she adds.

Maeve shrugs. "Well, I like flyin' on a broomstick, but I was raised ridin' horses, and I love it." She grins sheepishly, then turns to Josie. "What's a Thestral?" She finishes playing, and lays her hands across the strings of her harp, then reaches for and takes a sip of her tea.

Gabriel claps for Maeve and Cathal as the song ends,"ooo, yeah! That's a good question. What are Thestrals? And where are the unicorns? And what about Pegasi, aren't there any pegasi? And centaurs, I know there's centaurs. I saw one at the edge of the forest across the lake a few weeks ago. Maybe they'll let you ride them, if you're really nice to them?" Taking another bite of his sausage he holds up a finger in an 'Aha!' gesture,"Oh, or you could see if you can bring your horse to Hogwarts! You do own your own horse, right?"

Cillian hmms and carefully get to his feet, carefully setting out some more chips and sausages before packing up his tea-pot and the rest of his goodies, humming softly to himself. "I'll be in the common room, aye? Nice to meet ye Gabriel." He tips an invisible hat to both Maeve and Josie before starting to head back for the castle.

Josie looks up to Cillian and blinks, but then nods, "Ok, bye." She looks back to Gabriel and Maeve and answers, "They're like horses, but part lizard, really skinny. They have fangs and eat meat, and really big wings that look like they're off a bat. And you can only see them if you've seen someone die." To Gabriel she shrugs, "Dunno about any of those. But the farm in Hogsmeade breeds normal winged horses, and they have all sorts of other creatures there too."

Maeve nods, a look of realization on her face, but doesn't say anything more about the subject of Thestrels. As for regular horses, "I'm nae sure m' Da'll be willin' t' send m' mare over here. And what would I do wi' her durin' th' summer?"

Gabriel waves at Cillian and Cathal as they leave together then returns his attention to his sausage and the conversation,"Those sound interesting but they sound dangerous too Josie. How do people keep them from eating /them/ when they ride them? And do you sit in front or do you sit behind the wings? Pegasi are winged horses. But we can't go to Hogsmeade, which is a shame. Maeve won't be able to try riding a pegasus until she can go to Hogsmeade." Turning to Maeve he adds, around a bite of sausage,"You never know until you try! Ask him and see what he says. And then over the summer they you can take her back with you."

Josie giggles and shakes her head to Gabriel, as she scoots over to sit on the edge of the cliff again now that Cillian's gone, "They're not dangerous. They don't eat *humans*. They're really nice. And.. I've never ridden one, so I dunno where your legs go. I just looked after them. I was one of the only ones on the farm who could see them, so it was my job."

Maeve nods, as she starts to pack up her harp. "Well, thank ye all for havin' me, and it was nice t' meet you, Gabriel. Ye and Cathal both. However, I think I'd best be headin' back up t' th' castle. And ye may want t' as well. Surely it must be gettin' on towards curfew, and ye don' want t' give Pringle any excuse t' punish either of ye…

Gabriel looks at the sun then at the castle and nods,"I think she's right. If we don't hurry we're not going to make it back by curfew. And that wouldn't be nice, unless we can be really sneaky about getting back in. How sneaky are you?" He turn to smile at Josie with the last question, making it almost, but not quite, a friendly challenge.

Josie nods quickly, and climbs back to her feet again. She grins, though, and says, "Pretty sneaky. But I bet they lock the doors at curfew, and I dunno how to pick locks, 'specially magic locks."

Gabriel chuckles and nods,"Very true. I can't do that either. GUess we'll have to learn, won't we?" Looking over as he starts to walk, he gives Josie the same semi-challenging smile and says,"Race you!" He doesn't start running but he tenses up to be able to start as soon as she does.

Josie nods quickly with a smile, "We will!" Then suddenly she grins at the challenge and nods, breaking immediately into a run.

Gabriel lets out a pleased laugh and dashes off right after her since there's no concerns about carrying instruments or picnic baskets and a baseball doesn't cause all that much drag. As they pass by Maeve on the way to the castle he waves without breaking stride.

Josie's fast, and she doesn't let up, despite her small size. So, though, is Gabriel, and the two end up through the door at the exact same time. Josie slows only after they're past the finish line, but she's laughing.

Josie and Gabriel are a good match and pass the finish line, in other words, go through the castle doors at the same time. Like Josie Gabriel is laugh too but unlike her he goes into a foot-first slide as they come in, thrying to inch out that last little bit but failing,"You're good! We're going to have to do this again some time."

Josie grins back to Gabriel and says, "You are too! Yeah, we have to for sure. Gotta find out which one of us is faster." She grins and says, "But still bet I'm the sneakier."

Gabriel literally rolls on the floor laughing for a moment before looking up at Josie with a twinkle in his eye,"Well, well. Looks like its a challenge then. Anywhere, anytime. Just pick how'd you like to prove it and we'll have at it!" Popping up to his feet he looks around the hallway and then grins back at the small girl,"But I think we've been lucky we haven't been caught yet. If we don't hurry we'll be in real trouble since its already past curfew…"

Josie blinks, and then looks around as if Pringle might be coming up on them any moment. And, it's very possible. She nods and says, "Ok, later, we'll figure that out. Bye!" And she's hurrying towards the stairs up.

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