(1937-11-02) Meeting Hector
Details for Meeting Hector
Summary: When they bump into each other in the corridor, Gabriel tells Nicki about the Halloween happenings, and Nicki introduces Gabriel to Hector the owl.
Date: 02 November 1937
Location: Castle Corridor
Related: Gabriel/Nicki related logs, Halloween Feast and Dance - 1937

Castle Corridor Hogwarts Castle
Fri Nov 02, 1937 ((Thu Oct 25 23:06:43 2012)) (Ground Floor)

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

As in the rest of the ground floor, the ceilings here soar high above the students heads. The corridor is wide, the same flagstones of the entry hall continue here, and the columns that rise and arch over head to meet in the middle form frames for heavy wooden doorways, or embrasures filled with sturdy wooden benches. Despite the length and chill of the gray stone, it is brightly lit from the window that fills the terminating wall. Diamond paned, with gothic arch styling at the top, the window sends occasional rainbows down the hall when the sun shines through the prisms just right.

Gabriel comes dashing out of the club room looking half amused and half disgusted. For once there are neither books nor sports equipment in Gabriel's arms if one doesn't could the ever present bump of the baseball in his robe pocket.

Nicki seems to be on her way to the Owl Tower, judging by her general direction and the rolled up parchment in her hand. Just ahead she spies a friend come out of the club room, and she calls out, "Gabriel!" Her smile blooms as she steps his way. "How are you?"

Gabriel comes to a screaching halt and spins around. When he sees who's calling him the slight smirk on his face turns to a goofy smile,"Oh hi. You missed a lot at the party." Working without apparent comand from Gabriel's brain his hand digs around in the pocket that doesn't have the baseball in it and pulls out something slightly round, neatly wrapped up in a napkin and holds it out for the taking.

Nicki approaches quickly, and stops short. "I was hoping to run into you to find out if you had a good time. And what your costume was." She looks to his hand and the little wrapped bundle offered to her, and even as she reaches out to pluck it from his hand she's asking, "What's this?" There's a curious cast to her eyes as she looks to Gabriel's face.

Hand and mouth are two separate entities at the moment. So the only answers Gabriel gives have to do with the party,"It was fun. And there was a lot of really clever costumes, and sweets, and drama, and dancing, and even some snogging, which was kind of gross. And I was the only firstie left when the dancing started!" The last bit is said with a little hint of pride before he explains his costume with a simple,"I was The Phantom. A funny papers crime fighter."

When opened the little package yields a white chocolate skull filled with cherry flavored syrup and pink milk chocolate brains.

With her eyes on the little package she's unwrapping, Nicki is all ears for Gabriel's words… until the little treat is revealed. Her eyes widen slightly, and her smile grows more broad, "Candy!" Because some kids might give her a real tiny skull, but she hardly expects that from Gabe. She looks up to the boy, "Thank you, Gabriel, how thoughtful of you!" Is she gonna hug him? No, but she'll reach out and pat his arm lightly before her eyes turn questioning. "The funny papers?" She'll get to question about who or what The Phantom is.

Gabriel blushes furiously at the patting, standing really, really still, "Funny papers. Muggle newspapers have cartoons in them. They're called funny papers. I was going to dress like a Muggle doctor but couldn't find the mirror thingy so dressed like The Phantom instead." Well, not quite there yet but someone is slowly finding his voice.

Nicki wraps the candy skull back up carefully, to save it for a before bed treat tonight. "And what's The Phantom? What did your costume look like? Did you get into the competition?" She may have said it wasn't important for her to go, but she's a typically curious teenager and wants info.

This small boy is wearing a skin tight suit of purple cloth that covers him from head to foot leaving nothing visible except for his face. Over the suit he wears a pair of diagonally stripped shorts in silver and black held up by a wide leather belt with a silver skull inset in a silver triangle serving as a buckle. His feet are covered by heavy black leather boot and instead of two gun holsters a single holster hangs from his belt to hold his wand. To disguse his identity the boy has chosen to wear a black domino mask, its string hidden under the suits purple skullcap.

Gabriel hmms as he searches for a way to describe it then settles on explaining the costume in minute detail. When the description is done he finishes with,"I was in the contest but Leander won with his Death costume. And Leander is the Triwizard Champion for Hogwarts too." Like she wouldn't have heard that piece of information first thing in the morning. "And Kaiden caused all sorts of chit-chat by wearing tights, which I don't get since I was in tights too and no one seemed to mind that… And Ripley called Gareth his boyfriend which started a whole bit of drama with Ophelia and then he kissed him and almost got kicked out of the dance. And Evil Princess #2 was trying to cause problems with Claire but Claire beat her at her own game and stayed calm."

Nicki listens with rapt attention, frowning a little and tilting her head as she tries to imagine the costume Gabe describes. "Well, I do wish I would have seen that. It sounds like you should have won. I'll bet it was fixed." She giggles, showing that she's joking, and then nods earnestly. "Oh yes, I was still up when my housemates came back. They would have woken me if I hadn't been, anyway, with all the fuss they were making." Gabriel gets another curious look, "Evil Princess #2?"

Gabriel nods his head a little bit then realizes what's he's about to say. Looking at a toes that's slowly drawing small circles on the floor he says,"The firehead in your House. Nott I think is her last name. She's not nice, at all."

Nicki's reply is simply to nod, "Yes, I know who you mean." Diplomatically, she doesn't offer an opinion, but she doesn't leap to the defense of Evil Princess #2 either. Instead she says, "It's wonderful of you to look after Claire. You're very chivalrous. Would you like to walk to the owlry with me?"

Gabriel looks up at Nicki through his eyelashes and thinks about it for a long moment before saying,"Ok. Who are you sending mail to?"

At the affirmative answer, Nicki steps off, fully expecting Gabriel to come with now. "Mother. She likes it if I keep her informed on how my classes are going." Insists on it, actually. A side step takes her closer to the Ravenclaw, and she asks quietly, not that there's anyone around right now to overhear her, "Who is Evil Princess #1?"

Gabriel follows along with Nicki, walking half a step behind her at first, until she start talking, which makes him have to even out,"Oh, that's Ria. But #1 is better than #2. She's more princessy and she has a nice streak, even if she tries to hide it. I don't think #2 knows what nice means." As they walk he pulls out the baseball from his pocket and starts bouncing it off the floor.

Nicki gives this assessment some consideration, and really can't find anything to disagree about with it, either. And, not being like a lot of her housemates and gossiping, she asks about something else that is interesting her. "I saw a lot of the Slytherin's costumes, but I bet there were some really good ones. What was your favorite of everyone else's?"

Gabriel thinks about the question put to him as they walk up the stairs. Apparently there were enough good costumes to merit spending some time in thought because they're entering the Owl Tower proper by the time he answers, the first part of it coming out a little pained,"Leander's Death costume really deserved to win, he even sounded like Death. Lucian and Ria's was quite clever, even if Lucian kept blinding people on purpose with his." His excitment ramps up a bit as he keeps going,"Josie and Colton where really funny as Charlie Chaplin and the Tramp. Then Hephaesta and Ophelia where dressed as a flower and a butterfly. Ophelia's cotsume kept changing color and kinds of flowers ever hour or so. Then Mabel and Eamon were dressed and the Princess of the Hawkmen and Flash Gordon…" And the list goes on and on. Apparently for all his thought he couldn't really pick any to leave out and instead he's just listing them in order of preference.

Nicki listens without interrupting him, although some of the costumes are a puzzle to her because of their Muggle nature. Once into the tower, she veers their path to head for the roost of a brown barn owl. It looks rather old, and it's not really used much because there are so many younger, faster owls. A smile goes to Gabriel, "It does sound like it was a lot of fun." Her attention shifts for a moment, eyes lighting on the owl, which sits up a little taller with their approach. "Hello Hector," the girl says softly to the bird. "Gabriel, do you know Hector?"

Gabriel shakes his head in response. "I've only been to the tower a few times. My parents were really excited with all the new things having to do with the Wizarding world but some of the neighbors saw one of the first owls I sent and asked too many questions so we decided to use them as little as possible. I usually have some of my housemates that have parents that understand how Muggle mail works to send out anything I need for me." He might finally be finding his voice around her but he still can't seem to bring himself to look directly at Nicki so the chance to look at owls is a relief, even if his eyes do keep sliding towards her. "IS Hector yours?"

Her hand comes up to lightly stroke the bird's feathers. There's no outward reaction from the bird, no nuzzles or coos, but the fact that he remains where he is speaks of his acceptance of the touch. While she pets, she looks to Gabriel, "That's nice of them to do, helping you with the mail. Yes, Muggles don't use owls, do they?" She really did have a sheltered life, and still hasn't seen much reason to go out of her way to learn about Muggle ways. "No, Hector is one of the school birds. He still likes to go out now and then, even though he's getting very old." Her attention shifts back to the bird and she says in a soft, gentle tone, "And you always take my mail, don't you Hector?" Again, no response except acceptance.

For all his talk about having rarely been to the Owl Tower Gabriel still seems to be quite at ease among what many people in the Muggle world would consider fierce and possibly dangerous birds. Now that Nicki's attention is focused on something not him he seems to be able to look at her directly and the way she interacts with the owl makes him smile. "Muggles deliver Muggle mail, usually in automobiles. When it has to go a long way then it goes on a ship or an aeroplane. How old is Hector? He seems to be an amiable fellow…"

Nicki looks intrigued by the workings of Muggle mail. "What a lot of different ways. Owls are so much more simple." Nope, she doesn't quite get it. "I'm not sure exactly how old Hector is, and I thought it would be rude to ask him," she says simply, with a smile that doesn't really indicate if that was a joke or not. Perhaps not, as she next addresses the owl again. "Hector, this is my friend Gabriel. Would you mind terribly if he were to pet you?" This time there is movement from the animal, and big round eyes drop to the boy. Nicki smiles brightly, looking delighted, "He says yes, if you'd like to pet him."

Well, if Gabriel is afraid of something its not of big, bad Slytherins, as he proved a few days ago or of owls as he proves now. Covering the distance between himself and the bird in a couple of confident, unhurried steps he lifts a hand up to pet the owl. After a pet or two he starts to scritch among the old bird's feathers, right about where a puppy would have his ears. "i'm sure that he still does a very good job, regardless of his age."

The bird allows the scritching for a few moments. "He does a fine job," Nicki says with a nod, a bit of pride for the old bird in her voice. She makes sure the parchment is sealed, and looks up when the bird decides it's had enough scritching and lightly flutters his wings and shifts his weight from one foot to the other. Still smiling, it's apparent this movement is nothing to fear either. "He gets fussy sometimes," she says to Gabriel. Holding her hand up, she offers the parchment to the bird. It's taken in one taloned foot, and the bird ruffles again, readying to take flight. Nicki steps back, reaching for Gabe's arm to bring him back as well.

And he melts. Well, not literally but as soon as the little witch grabs his arms Gabriel goes all loose and pliable and his brain shuts down again. "Oh. Ok. Fussy. But does a good job."

Luckily for Gabriel, the hold is temporary, and Nicki releases him after they've taken a few steps. Her eyes are still on the bird, expectant, and the owl seems to wait until he's got enough room to spread his wings for a good flap. Then flap he does, lifting and coming around to swoop past the pair and out do deliver his mail. Neither hail, nor sleet, nor tasty rodents, or something like that. Nicki's attention turns to Gabriel, along with her smile again. "He liked you. He doesn't let just anyone pet him."

It takes a few moments but Gabriel recovers from the melt and he then turns to smile a little bit at Nicki, his eyes focused on her ear. Ear is safe, right? Barely so but enough to keep his brain only,"I'm glad. I like animals. If I didn't want to be a Healer I would probably pick Veterinarian medicine as a second option. Do you talk to animals?" Well, that kind of came out of the blue…

You say, "You're going to be a Healer?" Clearly she's impressed, it can be heard in her tone of voice. "That's a wonderful profession. I won't need to work, but I want to be able to take care of the animals, so that's what I'm learning." She huffs a soft laugh at Gabriel's question, "I talk to them, but I don't always understand what they say back. It's gotten easy with Hector, I've known him since my first year. He's not very complicated, as birds go.""

Gabriel is usually a cheerful boy but for some reason he's now positively beaming. And he looks a little confused at his own reaction but that doesn't stop him from explaining,"Well, my father is a Muggle doctor. And I already know a lot of medicine… Well, a lot of medicine for someone my age. And I'm hoping to be able to find a way to combine Muggle medicine and Wizarding healing into something more effective than either. And I want to be an Animagus too." How's that for a non-sequiter?

Nicki's eyes widen a bit at the boy's plans. "Goodness! That's positively brilliant. I bet you're just the one to do it, too." She clearly has great faith in her friend. The last bit clearly perks her attention. "You do? You'll have to be very powerful to do that. What animal do you want to be most?"

Gabriel makes a motion that encompasses the whole of the Owl Tower with a bigger grin than usual plastered on his face,"An owl. Specifically a white-faced Scops owl."

Nicki nods, knowing the type of owl from lessons. Since they are used so widely in the community, owls are a part of the studies for Care of Magical Creatures. "I think you'll make a handsome owl," she says, her voice matter of fact. "Why did you choose it?"

Gabriel starts looking around at all the other owls while he explains,"Well, an owl because of its duality. Owls in human mythology are symbols of wisdom. But owls in nature are actually some of the best hunters out there. So its kind of a combination of brains and brawn. And the Scopes specifically because why would you be one owl when you can be an owl that is three owls all in one?" Simple enough reasons. At least to him.

Hm, now they learned the basics of owl tending, but she doesn't recall hearing that. "Three owls in one?" she questions, her eyes curious. She takes a step back, close enough to lean comfortably on the nearest post.

Gabriel nodnods,"Yep. They have this pose they use to scare enemies that are their same size or smaller." He hunches over a bit and hold his hands out wide to mimic the owl's pose. "Then their normal everyday posture. And then they have a posture that mimics a dead branch to hide from bigger predators." Now he stand sideways to Nicki, sucking in his stomach and holding his arms as close as possible to his body.

There's a glint of amusement in Nicki's eyes at the way the boy demonstrates the bird's characteristic, but it's a warm humor. "Yes, I think you'll make a fine owl. You already do." She looks around at the other owls, many of which are still sleeping before their nightly foray out to hunt, supplementing the food they are given from the school. Then she leans toward Gabriel, lowering her voice, "Probably better than any of these owls even." Her tone is low because she doesn't want to offend any of the owls roosting, of course.

Gabriel beams at the praise and just says,"Wellll… I still have to meet with Prof. Dumbledore to tell him I want to learn all this. But I'll try my best." He doesn't deny that he will be a good owl. In his mind he'll be a good everything, of course.

Nicki straightens again, her smile showing she has every confidence in him. "You'll be marvelous." Now she sighs softly, glancing toward the doorway out. "I should get back to our common room." The pocket of her robe where she stashed the white chocolate skull is patted, "Thank you again for the candy, Gabriel. Were you going to come back as well?" she motions toward the hall from which they had arrived.

Gabriel reacts with some panic as he actually pays attention to the level of the sun through the windows in the Owl Tower,"Yes! I'm late for Athletics Club. Thank you for introducing me to Hector." He dashes to the door and stops for a moment,"Do you want to leave the barn visit for after Hogsmeade weekend?" Again his eyes are on a 'safe spot', this time it looks like its the wall right behind the left of Nicki's head…

Nicki shakes her head in response to the question, standing straight and bouncing lightly on her feet. "Oh no, I don't mind spending the time here. I'll still have plenty of time to go to town. Tomorrow then?"

Gabriel grins, nods and dashes out. Someone has clearly not learned yet that a gentleman doesn't just leave a lady alone out of the blue like that.

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