(1937-10-29) Neighbors
Details for Neighbors
Summary: Annie and Zack bump into each other while waiting out the rain at the Hogsmeade stables.
Date: 29 October 1937
Location: Stables, Hogsmeade
Related: None

Stables Hogsmeade
Mon Oct 29, 1937 ((Tue Oct 23 22:13:11 2012)) (B,5)

It is a fall night. The weather is cool and raining.

Around the massive stable building that's just off of the road to the west is deeply green grasses. To the north is moorlands, all green and purple with heather. To the south is the docks that jut out into the lake that is the backyard to the east of the stable.
The smell of hay comes to the senses before one arrives to this place as does the smell of oats and horses. The myriad of sensory things goes further with the sounds of horses as they whinny, stomp, and move about in their areas. Two rows go down the sides with wrought iron bars that keep the horses within. Each stall is broken into an area to hold hay, a feeding trough, and a door that splits into two pieces. The upper part of the doors can be opened on their own to allow the horses to stick their heads out and see about. Many of the stalls appear empty, though sounds of the hay shifting about and the munch and crunch of the oats and lapping of water can be heard from within these empty stalls. At the end of the stables is a room with a door that leads to all manner of horse brushes, leads, saddles, and their feed.

It's still a fair bit before dusk on a Monday in late October, and a chill wind drives the slowly falling rain. Having been out for a walk before the rain started, Annie has taken shelter outside of the stables, sitting on a bale of hay near the big doors as she waits patiently, watching it fall. The sounds of horses drift through the stable doors, along with the smell of hay and animals. The young witch looks thoughtful and a bit far away, until she sighs deeply and looks around, as if just coming back to the moment.

It's not long before someone else seems to have the same idea, and a young man appears out of the rain. Drenched from head to foot, his hair (dark enough to seem black when wet) plastered to his forehead, he stops just at the entrance to the stables where he has enough cover to avoid the rain while still not going all the way inside. Holding his arms out to either side, Zack frowns down at his thoroughly soaked robes where drops of water drip away, and then he looks up and sees Annie. "Oh," he says. "I didn't see you."

Annie watched his approach, and her eyes are on him expectantly as he notices that he's not alone before she gets the chance to speak up. A pleasant smile has curved her lips, and her eyes quickly slip over the bedraggled looking wizard. "Alright?" comes her habitual greeting. "Could yeh use a drying charm?" she offers, knowing that in Hogsmeade, as opposed to London, he's doubtlessly another wizard. Plus, the robes and all are a dead giveaway.

"Oh, right," Zack says, suddenly remembering himself. "Hello." He gives her a brief, uncertain smile and goes back to inspecting his clothes. "No thank you," he says to her question. "I have one already." Then he pauses and looks up. "Oh, for the… Yeah, I suppose I could. I have my wand somewhere." He starts patting himself in search of it, but he can't seem to find it and his brow furrows in another frown. "Is this your place?" he absently asks as he starts looking around the stables as if expecting his wand to suddenly show itself.

Something seems vaguely familiar about the young wizard, but Annie can't quite place it. Her fingers move to deftly slip her wand from a pocket along the seam of her skirt, and with a practiced movement and a soft murmur, Zack will find himself in dry clothes with just a touch of warmth to them, as if they've just been taken off a line in the sun. "No," she replies to his question, putting her wand away again. "I live over on Cottage Way. Are yeh from around here?" Maybe that's why he looks familiar.

Zack is still looking for his wand when he finds his clothes dry all of a sudden, and he blinks and looks down at them in surprise. "Oh, thanks," he says, smiling again. "Yeah, I live on Cottage Way too." He peers at her for a moment, trying to place her, but he can't remember and gives his shoulders a little uncertain twitch. With his robes dry, he checks again for his wand and doesn't find it, and he glances over his shoulder to the rain outside. He must have dropped it out there. Frowning, he wraps his arms around himself and shivers a bit as his body gets used to being warm again.

"Did yeh lose it?" Annie asks, concern in her eyes. She would hate it if she lost her wand. Assuming that since it's not in his hand she's guessed right, the young witch goes on. "There's plenty of space here," patting the hay bale on which she's perched, "If yeh wanted t' wait out the rain. I can help yeh look for yer wand then, if yeh want." She's still studying him, and something finally dawns on her. "Were you in Ravenclaw?" she asks.

"No, I still live there," Zack responds. Then he seems to realize what she meant. "Oh, my wand? Yeah, I think I did. I know I had it when I was out there in the fields. Before it started raining." He looks momentarily confused as she pats the hay bale, and then he gets that she's inviting him to sit. "Oh, yeah. Thanks. Yeah, that would be great. I think I dropped it out there." He gives her another uncertain smile and shuffles over to the bale to sit, leaning forward slightly with his hands locked together over his knees. At the question, he stares at her. "How'd you know that?"

His first response lifts Annie's brows slightly, until he goes on and she realizes the misunderstanding. It broadens her smile a measure, and she repeats, "Well, I'll see if I can help yeh find it when the rain stops. Too bad I don't know a charm t' find lost things off by heart." Her face turns thoughtful. "I should learn one, that'd be handy." When he settles to sit, her smile is back. "I was Ravenclaw too, but you were ahead of me. Zack, is it?" She's not too bad at remembering names, even of upper classmen that she didn't know very well. "I'm Annie," she offers.

"Oh!" Zack says. "Yeah. A charm. I know a spell that might help with that." He starts looking for his wand again, and it takes him a second to remember that's what he'd need the spell for in the first place. "Oh, right. Well, I think it goes something like this." His face screws up in concentration as he raises his right hand as if holding an imaginary wand and starts making a sharp circular motion in the air in front of him. He continues doing this as she explains she was in the same house as him, but stops when she says his name. Blinking at her, he tries to think if he mentioned his name since he arrived at the stables, but he can't remember doing so. "Yeah, Zack," he says tentatively. "Annie. I don't remember you, sorry."

Annie doesn't look the least bit offended. "Yeh must have been at least in fourth or fifth year when I started, so I don't expect yeh would." She also seems to recall he was rather a 'focused' student. There were likely a fair number of Ravenclaw girls that noticed him without getting noticed back. Raising her hand, wand back in her fingers, Annie begins to imitate the movement Zack was doing wandless. "Like this?"

There had indeed been a few girls like that back in school, and Zack was quite surprised when his friends decided to point one or two of them out to him. "Oh," he says to Annie, scratching at the back of his neck. "Yeah, I suppose I didn't really pay as much attention to the younger students as I should have." He looks at her for a moment, bemused, and tries again to recall some memory of her, until her question draws him out again and he notices her attempting the movement he was just making. "Oh, yeah, sort of. Maybe slightly quicker on the downswing, but yeah, otherwise it looks great. Now what was the incantation? F-something, I think… Fih… Or maybe it began with an S. Seh…?" He scrunches his eyes closed and drums his fingers on his knee as he tries to remember.

Tightening up the movement a little as he instructs, Annie goes a bit quicker on the downswing, making the movement a few more times. She watching him for a moment, trying to remember, before she says, "Yer tryin' too hard." When she tries to think of something that hard, it never comes, so maybe if they switch focus… "How long have yeh lived here in Hogsmeade?"

Zack opens his eyes. "Yeah," he says. "I have it written down somewhere, but I didn't bring my notes. Well, not those notes anyway." He reaches into his robes and pulls out a sheaf of folded parchment that looks a bit wrinkled, as if it had been wet at some point. "I have these, but it's not in here." He starts flipping through what appears to be a series of crudely drawn wands and arrows showing various takes on the same basic wand movement. It takes him a while to register her question. "Oh, yeah… I've lived here my whole life. In Hogsmeade, I mean. Oh, except for when I was at school. Then I lived in Hogwarts."

Annie looks to the notes as he flips through them, brows raised in interest. She glances at Zack's face, then looks back out at the rain. "I bet that was pretty nice, comin' home on the Hogsmeade weekends. My folks lived in London, so I didn't get t' see them as often."

Zack starts to look as if he's getting drawn into his work. "No," he mutters to himself. "That's not right." He starts to reach for his wand and remembers it isn't there, and that reminds him of where he is and who he's with. "Oh, sorry," he says, hastily folding the parchments up again and starting to put them away. "Yeah, I suppose it was nice. I didn't do it very often, though. Most of those weekends I stayed at school anyway. I wish I could have stayed there longer. It seems like Hogwarts came and went so quickly." He frowns at this thought and then glances at Annie. "Oh, you're from London?"

"It's ok," Annie says pleasantly. She's a fellow Ravenclaw, she knows how to deal with preoccupied people. She chuckles at him wanting school to have lasted longer. "Sometimes I felt as if it would never end. I was always a bit homesick when I was at school." His question gets a nod, "I grew up in Camden Town." She does have that touch of a North London accent to her voice, although she tries to even it out sometimes.

Zack smiles at her understanding, and with his work out of sight if not completely out of mind, he hunches over again with his hands clasped together. "Yeah, you have a nice London voice," he says. "I work in London. Most of the time anyway. And I went there a lot as a child. I don't like it as much as Hogsmeade. There's too many Muggles. They make me uncomfortable." But then he looks at her with some concern, his brow furrowing. "Didn't you like it at Hogwarts?"

Annie smiles back at Zack easily, her shoulders shrugging lightly, "I was used to all the Muggles. Sometimes there were too many wizards at Hogwarts." She pauses, then goes on, "It loved school, mind. But I really missed my folks and my friends at home. Did yeh think of the charm yet?" she adds on casually.

"Too many wizards?" Zack asks, a little confused. "But- oh, yeah. It was 'venio'. So you'd say 'venio horse' to find a horse. I don't know why you'd want to find a horse though. Anyway, it doesn't work that well when there's too many things nearby. Too many of the same thing, I mean. And it doesn't go very far. I'm working on a better one." He pauses, trying to remember where he was, and then goes right on: "How can there be too many wizards at Hogwarts? Only wizards are allowed to go there. Were you used to Muggles from living in London?"

The rain seems to be lessening, but not just enough yet that Annie wants to venture into it. "Venio," she repeats softly, setting it into memory. "Well, when you're used to Muggles are all there are around are wizards, that can be too many wizards. All my friends were Muggles. Everyone I knew was a Muggle. Like you living here with wizards, and how London can seem odd to you."

Zack doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the rain anymore, for once focused on the actual conversation he's having. "Yeah, venio," he says, flashing her a quick smile. "And you have to do this while you say it." He makes the motion several times in the air again. "Or if you're really good you can do it without the words. Or even without the wand. Oh…" He frowns here. "I guess I could have tried it without my wand. Oh, but you have a wand too, and I already know where that is." Despite focusing on their conversation he still manages to sidetrack himself. "Yeah, London is odd. So there are too many wizards here and too many Muggles in London. Do you have a lot of friends?"

Poising her hand, Annie makes the swoop of her wand, saying "Venio wand." Nothing happens, so she either did it wrong, or his wand is too far away still. But it was good practice, and she looks at Zack expectantly, "Did that look right? It felt right." She makes the movement again without the incantation, then answers his last question. "I know a lot of people. But I don't really have very many true friends. Do you?" She looks at him sideways.

"Yeah, like that!" Zack says, excited that she got the spell right, or at least seemed to. "I don't think it's going to work though. It's not a very good spell. I usually lose it to find things I lost in my room." He watches her practice the movement with a pleased little smile on his face, and then glances at her at the question. "Oh, no. I stopped having friends when school ended. The only reason I had any in Hogwarts was because they made me go out and do stuff with them. What's a true friend?"

Annie turns her head fully to look at Zack for a moment at the question, her eyes thoughtful. "I would say that a true friend is someone you talk to because you want to, not because you have to. Someone you can depend on, and they can depend on you. Someone you like to spend time with more than most people."

Zack watches Annie curiously for a moment, and then his eyes drift away as he thinks whether he had anyone like that. "I don't think I've had a friend who met all of those criteria," he says after a time. "I've had friends that I talked to because I wanted to, and I liked to spend time with them more than most people… But I don't know about the depending part." He shrugs, uncertain of his answer. "But I still thought they were friends. I didn't really think about it much beyond that."

Annie smiles, "Well then, if yeh thought of they as friends, they were friends. There really aren't rules for what makes someone think someone else is a friend." The rain has all but stopped now, and Annie hops up to her feet. "Do yeh know about where yeh lost the wand?"

"Oh, then yeah," Zack says with a smile, "they were friends." He seems surprised when Annie gets up all of a sudden, but then realizes that the rain is on its way out. "Oh, er," he begins as he stands as well, dusting absently at his robes and looking around where he was sitting to make sure he hasn't left anything behind this time. "Yeah, I think so. I was out in one of the empty fields. I don't like going where the horses like to go. Er, when it started raining I walked towards the stables and they were… ahead and to my right. So I must have been somewhere that way." He gestures vaguely in the direction he came from.

Annie is game to follow. She's already got her wellington boots on, having thought it would rain when she set out earlier, so she doesn't have to worry about puddles and ruining her shoes. "Lets go out and see if we can find yeh a wand then, Zack," she says cheerily, ready to step after him.

Zack is wearing plain old shoes, not very well suited for walking in the rain or mud, but it doesn't look like they can get any more ruined. He smiles just because her interest in helping him seems genuine. "Okay," he says, pulling his robes in close and hugging himself against the chill air as he sets out from the stables. "I think it was this way."

Annie is wearing a muggle coat against the cool of approaching evening, and she too pulls it tighter around herself as they leave the shelter of the building. "If it gets much darker, we'll need a lumos, too." The clouds have conspired to bring darkness a bit earlier than normal, but extra light isn't quite necessary yet.

"Oh, yeah," Zack says. "That one's easy. I should be able to do that one without my wand. I hope we find it before that becomes necessary though. It's hard to find things in the dark, especially when there's so many places it could be." Though he keeps his eyes mostly on the ground in search of his wand, he does glance up at the sky to check the clouds, and a belated drop of rain lands right in his eye. With a start, he claps a hand to his face and brushes it away. "Be careful if you look up," he warns. "It hasn't completely stopped raining yet."

Following behind Zack, Annie stops and gives the charm a try just in case. Nothing again. Still not close. This only reinforced her desire to learn a strong finding charm when she gets a chance to look it up at work tomorrow. "You can do magic without your wand?" she asks curiously. She's heard it can be done, but that it's very difficult. Without words, as well.

"Sometimes," Zack says, sounding a little distracted by his searching. "Only with easy spells. I don't usually do it because it takes a lot of effort and using a wand is so much quicker and easier. Oh, and I can't do it with the spells I make because those are usually too complicated for me. Oh! There." He hurries forward, slips on a small patch of mud, and nearly loses his balance. He waves his arms about, looking a bit ridiculous, until he gets his feet settled again. "Oh, it's just a stick."

Annie leans in to try and steady Zack, nearly dropping her own wand in the process. Well, at least dropping it wouldn't be as bad as losing it, she'd know about where it is. "Careful, Zack! Don't want yeh t' get hurt out here." As he rights himself, she decides to try the charm again, giving her wand a flip as she murmurs "Venio wand." Still nothing.

"Oh," Zack says, almost pulling away when Annie leans in before stopping himself. "Yeah, thanks. I'm okay. I thought that was my wand." He points at the stick, giving it a reproachful look, and then watches as Annie tries the spell again. "Yeah, it's not very good outdoors," he admits. "That's not what I made it for. Try the summoning charm. That's a real, well-tested spell. It should be somewhere around here."

Annie almost laughs out loud when he says he's got a different charm that they didn't try in the first place. It doesn't surprise or annoy her, she takes it in stride and looks at him. "It's in yer notes?"

Zack looks back at her as if not understanding the question. "My notes?" he asks. "Oh, my notes! No, it's not in my notes. I meant the wand should be here somewhere, not the spell. The spell's one I learned while I was in school. The one you use when you need to bring something to you. It goes like this…" He raises his arm and makes the motion with his wandless hand, saying, "Accio wand!" Then he looks at her expectantly.

Annie all but smacks herself in the forehead for not remembering that spell. She won't admit it out loud, but she does tend to let her magic get a little bit rusty, since she's more inclined to do things the muggle way without giving it much thought. "Cor, why didn't I think of that one?" Immediately she repeats Zack's motion with her wand. "Accio wand!" Almost at once the missing wand flips up from the ground and zips toward the pair. She's not quick enough, and the wand thumps harmlessly into Annie's shoulder and falls to the ground.

"Oh, you know it?" Zack says, pleased to hear that she does. "Oh, of course you do. It's one they teach in school. Yeah, I should have mentioned that one earlier, but I didn't think of it. Sometimes I forget the basic spells still exist." He's still scanning the ground for some sign of his wand when it comes zipping past his field of vision and he looks up with a start. "Oh," he says, noticing that it hit Annie. "Are you okay?"

The rub Annie gives her shoulder is more just a reflex to the thump than because it hurt. "Oh yeah, barely even felt it." She stoops quickly, picking the wand up off the wet grass and offering it out to Zack, grip first, like a knife, with a bright smile. "Here yeh go, Zack. So yeh make up new spells?"

"Okay," Zack says after her assurances. He starts to bend to retrieve his wand, but Annie gets there first. It's about ten inches long and fairly sturdy, and it's about the only thing he owns that looks well looked after. "Oh," he says with a quick smile as he takes it from her. "Yeah, thanks." He scrutinizes it very meticulously for even the slightest hint of a scratch, and then he takes a fold of his robes and carefully wipes it clean. Though distracted by this task, he manages to answer her question, saying, "Yeah. Mostly new takes on old spells, but some new ones too. Not all of them are good."

Annie clearly looks impressed by what he does. "I guess I never really thought that all the spells hadn't already been created or discovered or whatever it is they are. That's brilliant." Her warm smile is offered to Zack again. "I ought to get home, before the rain starts up again. Are yeh going that way?"

"It is brilliant," Zack agrees as he finishes cleaning his wand. "I'm brilliant." He smiles back at her, glad to have impressed someone, though admittedly he doesn't talk to that many people about what he does. "Yeah. Back to Cottage Way. I need to be home too. I shouldn't have stayed out this long, but I'm glad I did." He clutches his wand tight as if afraid of dropping it again, and with his free hand pats himself to check that he still has his notes and everything else he happened to have on him.

Annie doesn't get a sense from Zack's words that he's full of himself, but rather, with his apparent ease of being distracted, that he just thinks differently. She still takes it in stride. "We can walk t'gether then," she suggests, pleased to have company.

Zack isn't full of himself beyond being caught up in his own thoughts, and he doesn't even stop to consider that what he said might have been taken the wrong way. "Oh, good," he says with another small smile. Content that he hasn't lost anything else, he sets off in a rushed walk and then remembers that he's supposed to be walking with Annie and slows down to a more comfortable pace. As he walks he makes small motions with his free hand, soundlessly practicing wand movements.

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