(1938-06-07) Friends Are Needed
Details for Friends Are Needed
Summary: Artemis tries to fix things between her friends and stuff happens.
Date: June 7, 1938
Related: .

Artemis has been keeping busy, either studying for exams or helping out Professors. She’s been acting far more cheerful than usual, perhaps compensating for what she really feels. The Hufflepuff has just been helping Professor Beery in the greenhouses, her red curls having been pulled up off her face and tied with a ribbon. Her cloak has been shed, folded and hanging over her bag which is, of course, pulled across her shoulders. The rest of her uniform is neatly tucked in, but there are a few smudges of dirt on the sleeves that couldn’t be helped. Sitting on the ground in the middle of some flowers, her legs curled around to one side, she’s now currently reading.

Even though Elspeth seems to have a connection with plants, she hasn't been around the greenhouses any more than she needs to be lately. Since the news of Durmstrang, she's been mostly on her own, and so she finds working in the gardens to be more quiet when she needs to be among plants. She comes out of the tower with her basket of gardening tools, and heads towards the Ravenclaw corner, Neko trailing along behind. Trailing along behind, that is, until she notices the Hufflepuff with her book. And paying attention to a book instead of feline when outside on a nice day like this must be some sort of crime. So, with a meow, Neko goes over and jumps lightly onto the book in Artemis's lap, and nuzzles under her chin.

Startled, Artemis jumps a little as the cat lands on her book, knocking it out of her hands unexpectedly. But the girl giggles, instead reaching out to pet Neko’s head. “Hi there,” she says. She obligingly strokes the feline’s head for several seconds before her blue eyes will lift. When she spies her friend an arm lifts high above her head, waving. “Elspeth!” she calls out cheerfully. She looks back down to gently shift Neko off her book, sliding it into her bag, and picking herself up to her feet.

Looking over as she starts to kneel down, Elspeth halts the motion and straightens again, leaving her basket on the ground. "Emi," she replies, her smile slow and somewhat uncertain. "How are you being? Is Neko bothering you?" She takes a few steps towards Artemis, and pauses. Neko obliges by stepping to one side without relinquishing her spot on the girl's lap when the book is pulled aside. After all, no book and all attention is what the feline wishes.

Artemis will give Neko a couple more pets on the head, and an extra little scratch behind the ear, before she stands. She bounces over to meet Elspeth, opening her arms to give her friend a hug. “Good,” she answers, the bubbly cheer perhaps sounding a tad bit forced for those who know her well. “It’s such a beautiful day; I couldn’t stay in the castle after the last exam let out. How do you think you’re doing on the exams?” She shakes her head swiftly. “Not at all,” she answers about Neko.

Elspeth nods once, returning Artemis's hug. "No, it is being too hard to stay in the castle when it is being such a nice day," she agrees quietly, her speech a little more solemn than usual. She manages a smile, her eyes gazing into Artemis's at the happiness she evinces. "The exams are being all right. I am not thinking I will be failing them, at least. Are you doing well?"

Artemis lets out a sigh as she gives a shake of her head. “For the most part I am,” she answers. She purses her lips as she thinks for a second, and then shakes her head again. “But I still completely fail most of the time when I try casting Depulso.” She lifts a hand up to sweep a few red strands from her face, sighing out again. “I was hoping Noalan would help me with Glacius. I haven’t made one success…” She frowns, looking away for a second or so before shaking her head and looking back to Elspeth. At the mention of Noalan, Artemis looks questionably at her friend. “What’s going on there?” she asks. She needs to hear from one of them, not just gossip, before she believed there were problems.

At the mention of Lan, Elspeth's smile falters, then slowly disappears. When Artemis asks what's going on, she scrunches her nose, her eyes almost blinking, and then she turns and goes back to her basket. She pulls out her trowel and kneels down to loosen the soil so she can pull a weed without disturbing the plants around it. "Noalan is not speaking with me," she finally says quietly, using the full name instead of the usual nickname she uses to refer to him.

Artemis frowns at Elspeth’s reaction, sighing softly. That’s not good news. There’s a moment where she thinks things over before eventually following. As she kneels down beside her friend, she’ll touch a hand to her shoulder. “Then we should find him and not leave him alone until he does talk,” she suggests. “He’ll feel worse if he doesn’t.” She pauses and purses her lips as she thinks, and then sighs. She gives Elspeth a little nudge and offers her a smile. “Come on, we’ll go find him right now,” Artemis decides, and moves her hand to take Elspeth’s and give her a little tug up.

Elspeth shakes her head, resisting the tug. "He is already saying that I am forcing him to be choosing a side. It is not being good for me to be forcing him to be talking to me," she says quietly, swallowing after with the effort to keep her voice steady. "He is being Noalan. I am not being able… or wanting to change him from being Noalan. It is not mattering if he thinks I am."

Artemis frowns, slipping her hand away at the refusal. “But-“ There’s a soft murmur before she just sighs and shakes her head. She closes her eyes and touches her chin to her neck, thinking. She lifts her hand to hair, pulling out the ribbon and letting her curls tumble down. With a shake of her head, they partially fall over her shoulders as they frame her face. She twists and leans slightly as she places the ribbon into a small pouch on her bag before she shifts her blue eyes onto Elspeth. “If Noalan is saying things like that then something’s up with him and he needs his friends.” She pauses a moment before adding in, “Even if he thinks he doesn’t.” Artemis lifts up so that she’s not sitting against her heels and scoots over her the ground on her knees. Moving behind Elspeth, she’ll try to drape her arms around her shoulders and give her a squeeze. “We have to be there for each other in such times, not distancing each other. Or he’ll-“ She draws in a breath. “Don’t turn away from him because he won’t talk.” The girl swallows and carries on, “If he won’t, then I’m going to Professor Beery or Mister Quinn.”

Setting down the trowel and the weeds she's pulled, Elspeth first rests her hands on her knees, then she brings them up to the arms that wrap around her shoulders. "I am not turning away from Noalan," she replies quietly, her head tilting slightly to rest against Emi's. There's a sniffle and her fingers squeeze tightly. "He has been… He is not talking to me. He is expecting me to go find people to be pitying me, and to be comforting me because I am being muggleborn and horrible things have been happening to muggleborn in Durmstrang." She lets go with one hand to rub at her nose. "I am not wanting those people. I am wanting my friends."

Artemis shakes her head, letting out a sigh. She keeps her arms around Elspeth, trying to offer some comfort even as her eyes start getting a little misty. She’s quiet for a second before she manages a smile. “Everyone’s upset with recent events. Noalan, he just-“ She sighs and moves so that she can pick herself up to her feet, adjusting her bag’s strap across her shoulder. “Everything’s going to be fine. Professor Dippet is taking care of things as we speak. He’ll be taking care of everyone, and he’ll bring them all back safe.” As she whirls around, she tilts back her head to stare up at the sky.

Elspeth rests her head against Artemis's for as long as she's there, and one tear does manage to slide out from under a blink of eyelids that tries to hold it back. When her friend finally stands, and leans forward again, her weight resting on her left palm as she tugs at a persistent weed with her right hand. "I am hoping that is true," she says quietly. "It is being mean that people are saying things about Headmaster Dippet, when we are not having any way of knowing what is happening."

Artemis purses her lips and lowers her eyebrows in annoyance, not at Elspeth, but at the idea of people saying mean things. “Rumours just make things worse,” she huffs. “Think about how hurt Professor Dippet will be when he hears that people didn’t have faith in him.” She lifts a hand to rub its heel against her cheek and eyes, which have started to tear more. She shakes her head and moves over to crouch down Neko, reaching out to pet her head. “What do you think? Everyone should be together, not a part,” she says to the cat, smiling. She looks to Elspeth again, smile twitching a little brighter. “Come on, we’re going to go find Noalan.”

Neko takes the petting, as is her due, giving a short 'brrrrt' at Emi's question. Then she stalks over and twines around Elspeth's arm, bumping and nuzzling at her chin to make it all round difficult for the girl to work on the garden. Finally, reluctantly, the Ravenclaw puts her trowel away, and stands. "All right," she agrees to the finding Noalan, although she doesn't seem to have to come around to the idea of it being a good idea. She picks up her cat, and her basket, hugging the former for courage.

Lake Shore

Nice days are hard to ignore, even when you're in a foul mood, especially with the kind of winters you get this far north. Noalan is laying on the grass at the edge of the beach since the actual 'beach' is so poor. His school hat tilted forward over his eyes, and his black and white cat sprawled out happily on his slowly moving chest, it would be easy to believe he was asleep. Only the movement of a single hand stroking his cat indicates he's not entirely out.

Artemis figures that the lake shore is a good place to start looking for Lan. She walks, keeping her pace even with Elspeth, and talking about friends. “True friends always helps a friend in need – he needs us just as much as we need him.” She’s acting all cheerful again, trying to brush off any sadness she feels. As they approach the lake, her blue eyes dart about, and her mouth opens in a gasp of surprise as she spies a boy lounging on the grass. She starts to skip over, but pauses to turn back to Elspeth and lets out a giggle. “We know him too well! First place we looked! Noalan!” she squeals out, waving an arm above her head as she approaches.

Elspeth is not as eager as Artemis, following with her eyes down, occasionally fiddling with something in her basket. Neko, however, has her interest caught by the feline on Lan's chest, and she hunkers low, stalking through the grass until she reaches the boy's side. Two ears rise up from the green fronds, followed by a pair of golden eyes, and then an inquisitive meow of greeting is extended to Aero. The feline's owner winces when Artemis squeals, but there's no backing down, now, so she follows.

Noalan makes no motion to indicate he's noticed he's being stalked by feline or humans. The cat sprawled out on his torso opens one eye turned slit-pupiled by the bright sun, her black fur nearly hot enough to cook on. Her sharply pointed ears swivel to track the approach of Neko. Her head rolls lazily around to look at the younger cat upside-down when she gets close. Her eyes close without any response when the boys hand stroked up her belly and to her chin. Failing his attempt at wandless, incantationless magic to make him sink into the ground, he says, "What's up Emi?"

Artemis slows her pace a bit as she nears, drawing in a breath and letting it out followed by soft whispers to herself. She turns when she’s standing close to the boy so that she can look to Elspeth, and offers her a reassuring smile. “You can’t hug by standing over there,” she informs before her blue eyes turn down to look at Lan. She stoops, reaching down to pluck his hat off his face, letting out a giggle that doesn’t sound all that natural. “You need to start talking to Elspeth. We’re your friends, and if there’s anything bothering you at home then we can help.” She pauses for a second before adding in, “There’s nothing we can’t get through if we keep our hearts close.”

Neko reaches up a curious paw towards the older cat, not quite touching her as it paws the air before resting on Lan's side just below where Aero's head lolls contentedly.

Still lagging behind Artemis by two steps, Elspeth's steps falter at the mention of hugging. If she was speechless before, she seems even more so as her mouth falls open, then mouths the word 'hug?' at the other girl. Steeling herself as Emi sets about ordering her friends, she comes a couple of steps closer, and flops down cross legged, hugging her basket in her lap. She rests her chin on the handle, and gives a shrug to Lan, her eyes falling to the ground after that one look.

Noalan raises a hand and smushes his hat down onto his face. "It's here that something's bothering me. The whole 'gradual build up to civil war in the castle' raises the stress level a little." He shifts his head under his flattened hat enough to pear out with one eye. "About what exactly? There's nothing talking will do to stop what's coming." He says, pessimism on full burn. Annoyed at the sensation of the petting Aero rolls onto her paws and sticks her cold nose against Noalan's exposed mouth as a reminder that she's still here, her tail flicking twice. The younger cat is lower on the priority list at the moment, further petting being much higher up.

Artemis nods in reply to Elspeth. Hug indeed. She frowns as she looks between her friends, letting out a soft sigh, before looking to Lan. “Everyone’s upset about recent events. It’s not going to help if you stop talking to your friends.” She lowers into a crouch, reaching out both hands to either of his and pulling, gently or hard depending on the amount of resistance. “Will you sit up? I really need yours and Elspeth’s help in some flying lessons.” She pauses for only a second, smiling a forced, but bright smile.

Elspeth doesn't appear in too much of a hurry to close the distance between her and Lan for that hug Artemis is talking about, and Neko knows when to find greener pastures. She takes the shortcut to her minion, however, traipsing over the boy's stomach instead of walking around his prone figure. She lets Artemis haul at his hands, while she idly scratches at the top of her kitten's head. Her eyebrows raise curiously as this is the first she's heard of flying lessons and she's finally moved to speak out of surprise and disbelief. "You are taking flying lessons?"

Noalan splutters for a moment and pushes Aero's head away. "It's not Durmstrang. Durmstrang is just an excuse. I said on the train the whole thing was a bad idea. The bigger problem is the stupid Mud Club, and now they have their Archduke Ferdinand. All that's left is for the other side to form up, and it's only a matter of time before some Slytherin starts of club too." He knows his house, "Not that it has to be that overt. Even if some well-meaning Hufflepuff thought it would be a good idea to have an entirely innocuous pure blood social club to discuss the issues of the changing world, the Mud Club would never let it stand. They would un-ironically, hypocritically set out to destroy that club and the war will be on." He fights her pulling until she manages to pull his hand and hat away from his face. "Liar." Is his response to her request for help. "You could at least ask help with something more believable." Aero hops off Lan’s chest at about the same time Neko bounds over it too, dislodged by the sudden struggle and the Knowledge that no more petting is likely. As if to make herself a nuisance, she stops between Elspeth and Lan to lick her front legs.

Artemis gives Elspeth a smile, shaking her head gently. “Not officially, no, but I’d at least like to be better so that I can play catch with the Quaffle with you two.” She sighs, brushing a hand in front of her face and sweeping back the red curls from her face. Her bright blue eyes slide back onto Lan as he speaks, and she frowns before pursing her lips. She can try to be cheerful and pretend she’s not bothered by events, but as it’s spoken about and she has no choice but to think about it, her eyes do glaze over with tears, especially at the analogy of Archduke to Leander. But she’s not going to blubber, not now; instead she draws in a deep breath and lets it out while slowly dragging her hands downward. But her voice is clearly fighting the urge to break down again as she speaks. “It doesn’t have to end the same way, not if we’ve learned from our mistakes.” Artemis lifts her chin, piping up to practically talk over Noalan. “Miss Crocker is just trying to create a safe group for people to talk without having to worry about accidently talking to someone sharing different views.” The Hufflepuff sighs, shaking her head. “Actually, I want to ask for it to be disbanded since it’s causing so much offence,” she adds in matter-of-factly. “But really, can we go-“ Her eyes widen at the sudden accusation, looking momentarily stunned before she ends up frowning at him. “No, I’d- I would just really like to be able to play a little Quidditch with my friends,” she states weakly. “It’s better than thinking about what might, or may not, be coming.” She forces out a giggle and moves a hand to rub his head, messing up his hair. “It’s all going to be alright, because like I told Elspeth, Professor Dippet is working to fix things. So let us go have some fun.”

Instead of petting the insistent cat, Elspeth turns her attention to pulling up blades of grass and carefully peeling them lengthwise into thin strips and then braiding them. "It is not being a good idea at all," she says quietly. "It is separating people. Clubs are always separating people, and there is being no talking when people are being separated. If Crocker is really thinking that muggleborns and purebloods are being equal, and that muggleborns should be able to be friends with purebloods, then why she is separating the muggleborns from the purebloods with her club? She is being the same as the people as she is despising, and she is not even seeing it." She finishes the ring, and holds it out towards Lan without thinking, dropping next to his leg before she picks up another grass stem. She doesn't say anything about Dippet and his chances of fixing things.

Noalan puts his hands up to defend his head against Artemis, finally rolling to his stomach, then over again onto his shoulder. "That's a bad idea." He says on top of Elspeth saying the same the thing. He lets her finish talking before adding his piece, "There's something terrible about the statement, 'without having to worry about accidently talking to someone sharing different views'." He shakes his head, "Anyways, it is a bad idea to try to talk her into disbanding it. For starters, it won't work, it's supposed to offend people. More important, though, is it's too late. The thought of an aggressively 'anti Pure-Blood' group is already in people's minds." He sighs and pushes up to his knees, "At this point the only options are to try to redirect it towards the foreign threat of Grindelwald, or slow it down by rescuing the trapped students and head master." He looks away from them both. Part of him wants to stay mad, but Elspeth is making that very difficult right now.

Artemis gives a confused look over to Elspeth, glances over to Lan, and then genuinely smiles. But then the smile falters and she lets out a sigh, giving a shake of her head. She draws in on a breath and letting it out. “We shouldn’t be making assumptions on Miss Crocker’s motives, or what’s going on in her head.” She pauses for a moment as she pushes strands of hair back from her face. “We can’t tell what will happen in the future, well, not by guessing or assuming or throwing around accusations. So-“ Artemis smiles and scoots over the ground, reaching to take Elspeth’s hand, giving her a smile. “Come a little closer,” she asks and will scoot closer to the boy once more, reaching back to take his hand with her other. “The important thing is that we stay together.” She will give either hand a little squeeze. “And what we can do is try to solve problems with our peers peacefully so a war doesn’t break out. We may not be able to touch the world out there,” she gestures with her head, meaning with the adults, “but at least we can,” she smiles softly with a look to Lan, “calm the waters with the people we meet around us.”

Elspeth doesn't look at Lan while he's speaking, although her knuckles tighten on her basket when he mentions something scary about Emi's earlier statement, and there's the tiniest hint of a nod of agreement.

"There is being little chance of helping our fellow students not be fighting each other," Elspeth says quietly after Emi is finished. "The Mud Club has been seeing to that. There may bei- be pure bloods who are not wanting to be mixing with muggleborn, but who are also thinking that violence against muggleborn is being a bad idea. They might have, before the Mud Club, been able to be standing up and saying the violence is bad. Now, Crocker has been making her club, and if you are speaking against violence, then you are being judged as saying that people should be mixing blood. You cannot be saying one without people assuming you are saying the other also." She lets Emi take her hand, but her smile is rueful, her eyes sad. "I am being sorry, Emi. Trying to calm waters is being like trying to stop a tidal wave with a bucket. The Mud Club has been stirring things up too much. We can be - we can stick together, and be trying to keep each other safe. But there is not being a lot more that we can be doing besides that while the tempers are still having so much fuel."

Noalan stands up fully and brushes some of the stray grass off his back, "I'm no prefect. I just want to stay out of it." He says grumpily. He nods slightly at what Elspeth says. "It's not just the students either. The way Professor Viridian purposefully escalated things with his pronouncement that Dippet was part of it. It shows that the teachers aren't all going to be trying to douse this fire. They are going to be choosing sides too. If you ask me, this is exactly what Grindelwald wants. He probably had good long laugh when his agents here reported the creation of the Mud Club. Won't take much to take control of the ministry after a devastating civil war weakens us." He takes several steps away, looking out over the lake, "Maybe a rescue mission would be just the thing. Couldn't be that difficult."

Artemis frowns, her eyebrows lowering as she looks downward. She sucks in a breath and releases a couple times, whispering to herself, before her gaze lifts. “Are you saying you would just stand by and watch two of our fellow students fight it out?” Her hand lifts up to her cheek, fingers curling there as she pushes at her hair. “We can step in and sooth tempers before both people are even angrier and more likely to do something they’d regret.” She lets out a heavy sigh, pushing her hands against the ground and standing. She turns her eyes onto Lan, scowling at the mention of Viridian. She wasn’t very happy with his accusation. “Professor Viridian shouldn’t have said that.” She pauses, her chest rising and falling as she breathes, thinking things through. Her head pops up and her eyes are on Lan within a second. “But how?”

Elspeth sighs at Artemis's words. "I am not going to be turning my back on two students in a hallway coming to fists," she replies quietly. "But I am not being able to turn the tide of all of Hogwarts. Noalan is being right. Even the Professors are lining up and choosing sides. They are setting no better example for their students. It isn't just being Professor Viridian." With her hand freed, she rests her chin on the basket handle and hugs her basket again. "Grindelwald is knowing what he is doing. I am thinking that everywhere, not just in Hogwarts, but in the Ministry, in… houses, maybe even families, people are already…" She doesn't want to finish, so she just closes her mouth up tight, pulling her lips into her mouth and glancing at the boy when he mentions a rescue plan, her face stone again.

Noalan shrugs, here his thinking with Elspeth diverging again, "That's a battle of attrition you'd be on the losing side of." He scoops up one of the smooth worn stone that make up what is laughingly called a beach. "Families are easy, emotions tend to run hot there already. Politics even easier, it's where schemers and ideologues are naturally drawn." He sidearm throws it out onto the water. "How long until Aurors are posted at the school, do you think?" Of course Emi takes him more literally than he meant. "Wouldn't happen. Not through the ministry anyways, they seem intent on negotiations. A dozen Aurors raiding Durmstrang would certainly escalate things. Fools. You'd have to have an independent group do it, and they'd be out numbered so it would have to be people good at getting in and out undetected. How likely is it, do you think, you'd find a group of criminals willing to risk their lives and exposure in an idealistic cause?"

There's silence from Elspeth. She had figured that Noalan wasn't really meaning to go rescue the Durmstrang students, and her forehead is grooved in concentration. "What is meaning the word 'attrition'?" she asks, coming pretty close to saying the word as he had said it.

Artemis frowns, bringing her arms up to cross in front of her. Her eyes begin to water as the urge to cry becomes strong again, so she lets out a forced giggle, smiling brightly, as she looks between her friends. She shakes her head. “So let’s go get on a broom and-“ She’s cut off before she finishes, blinking and looking to Lan as he starts talking about Aurors. Her arms wrap around herself tighter as a look of concern and fear jumps onto her face. “Aurors have a dangerous job,” she murmurs quietly, her voice on the verge of tears even as her eyes are watery. “Owww,” she sighs out as she squeezes her arms against her stomach. Apparently the talk about Aurors hits the girl hard, and Artemis is having a difficult time trying to act cheerful. “I- I got to go,” she says quickly and looks between her friends. “No more not talking to-“ Nope, she can’t finish. She turns away and walks hastily from the beach. She can’t just start sobbing now, not when she’s trying to be strong for her friends, so she moves away until she flops onto her seat near a tree.

"Attrition just means it's a fight that it would wear you down, even just trying to stop the flare up's you run into." Lan explains. He's about to go on when he notices Emi's strange reaction to what he said, "I know they have a dangerous" An eyebrow goes up at her seeming over reaction, and is rather at a loss when she walks off, far more distraught than seems reasonable. His eyebrows knit together as he thinks back on what he said for what might have triggered this.

"Oh." Elspeth concentrates on the grass stems she is weaving together in a larger circlet that can go around a wrist. She looks up as Emi leaves, her eyes following for a moment. "I am thinking that there is no escaping being worn down," she finally says quietly. "Emi is being worn down by trying to be happy and help others be happy. It is being wearing sometimes, just walking through the halls to classes." She glances to Lan, shrugs, and looks down to the green in her fingers and continues on. "There is being too much… hatred? Going around for Emi. You are knowing that she is thinking there is a way for everyone to be finding a way to be friends. This is… well, having so much proof of life not being that way is being- is hard on her. I am not knowing why she is walking away, though." She lifts the bracelet and looks at it, then picks another grass stem. "I will be finding her later when she is being more calm."

Artemis didn’t want to have to walk away, but she can’t break down when she’s trying to fix things between Noalan and Elspeth. She’s just going to sit over by the tree for a bit, pulling her bag into her lap and hugging her arms around it, staring down at the ground. She just needs to gain some control again.

Noalan lets out a grunt of agreement, then a huff of annoyance. "Well then." He says marching towards her, a scowl on his face. When he's close enough, he'll give her a semi-light kick on the tush. "Cool it Atlas, let the elephants have a turn. If you start trying to carry the Auror's too you're not going to last very long. Don't worry about them, at least they get training, government backing, and have backup when they need it. We should all be so lucky. No turn it down before I turn you in to Professor Mopsus under suspicion of being an Empath."

Elspeth looks up and opens her mouth to say something when Lan stalks over towards Emi at the tree, then closes, biting down on both lips as she finishes the ties that will fasten the bracelet she weaves. Laying it in her basket, she also finds a Neko and puts her in the basket before pushing to her feet and following. She has to keep a tight hold on her lips to not grin as Lan compares Emi to Atlas, and covers by reaching down and letting her feline out to go nuzzle her friend. She sits on the grass next to the now redhead, and leans her own head against the girl's shoulder.

Artemis doesn’t notice Lan’s approach, keeping her eyes on the ground in front of her. Her eyebrows lower as she turns her head to the foot kicking her, and then inclines her head back to look up at the boy. She shakes her head, looking out straight and breathing in and out. A smile is brought out as she looks down to the cat, and she gives Neko a couple of pets on the head, before looking to Elspeth on her shoulder and then to Noalan. When she speaks, she at least doesn’t sound like she’s on the verge of tears, sounding much calmer. “Aurors are amazing – they have to work so hard. Far more talented than I am with spells.” She goes quiet as she thinks for a moment, and then says softly, “I just don’t want to lose another friend.” She sighs softly. “Is it selfish to wish that Luke would become a Quidditch Player like he originally wanted than becoming an Auror?”

Aero follows along after Elspeth and Neko once they get up, apparently finished with her grooming. She stops out of arm reach and sits down, the perfect picture of prim aloofness. She watches on the grounds that you never know when pieces of fish or chicken might be dropped. "Yup, very selfish." He answers. "While I don't get reverence some people treat Aurors with, it's at least a constructive carrier. As fun as Quidditch is, there's not much to a life spent playing games." There's he's kicked some sense into the girl, now might be a good time to make an escape.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" For such a pretty day the scream that comes out of nowhere is rather startling. Especially when one considers that it comes from a wee slip of a girl who runs pell-mell toward the little group on the lake shore as fast as her skinny legs can take her. And she /should/ run, because there appears to be a dog made of fire hot on her heels… no pun intended. It's snapping and growling, and its feet leave scorchmarks on the grass. Sure, it's about the size of a peekinese, but the girl isn't that much bigger either. "EEEEE!" she shrieks again when the fire-dog manages to set the hem of her robs on fire. She's headed straight for the water, the hellish little hound cracking and popping like a green log on the hearth.

Giving a sigh, but something of an indulgent smile as Lan is being, well… good old Lan, Elspeth lifts her head from Emi's shoulder and reaches into her basket. She pulls out the green woven bracelet and fastens it around Artemis's wrist, then gives the girl a kiss on the cheek, and a hug. "I am understanding," she says quietly. Then the Ravenclaw is on her feet once more. "Lan, maybe we could be- " her sentence is cut off at the sudden scream, and she turns, searching for the cause. At the sight, she gives a shake to her head and reaches for her wand, but it catches on the basket she carries as she pulls it out.

Artemis sighs and looks down to the ground at her side, opposite from the side Elspeth is on. “Oh,” she says softly in response to Lan. When she looks up again, she manages a weak smile as she looks up to see the boy starting to leave. She blinks, holding her arm out in front of her as the woven bracelet is fastened around her wrist, and her smile flickers a little more. Turning her blue eyes to Elspeth, she shifts to hug her and murmur a, “Thank y-“ She blinks and is suddenly looking quickly around the grounds at the scream. She’s climbing to her feet hastily with her wand coming out of its pouch on her bag. What’s the spell she was just saying she wanted Lan’s help with? “Glacius,” she states and flicks her wand. The only thing that happens is a little fizzle of snowy specks at its tip and Artemis frowns. She’s so completely useless! “Noalan!” He can certainly help the Firstie.

Noalan was in the process of edging away, trying to slip away before the girls noticed his departure. No such luck as Elspeth says his name. Of course, whatever she was going to say is cut off by the first year running by, heading for the lake and the, spell?, chasing her. He's mostly curious as Artemis tries to use ice. Silly girl, everyone knows Ice is weak against fire. It's just a Ravenclaw, they have plenty of those, and a first year, so no great loss of instruction time.. Oh all right. His wand comes out of his sleeve and he swipes it towards the girl "Depulso." He says sending a brandishing charm at the girl to speed her flight towards the lake and supposed safety.

With her wand finally freed, Elspeth chimes in on the first year saving by sending an 'aguamenti' at the dog o'fire trying to douse it. Neko's eyes look over the top of the basket, and they're all that can be seen as her ears flatten against her head, a low rumbling hiss coming out as she watches the fire thing canine.

"EEEE-AAAHHH!" Elise says as her speed is suddenly increased. She rockets toward the lake and straight into the water, which takes care of the hem of her robes and drenches her before she can stop moving forward with such /charming/ alacrity. Hahhah.
The crazed combustible cur stops on the beach
And, finding its prey quite out of reach,
Turns on the others with an unholy screech
It will try to burn them one and each!
Elise stands in the water up to her waist and pushes wet hair off of her face. "Watch out!" she cries, and starts to fumble in her sleeve for her wand… which is actually floating a few feet away from her on the lake surface. The diminutive dog of flame snarls and leaps toward them! And then fizzles out of existence due to Elspeth's dousing spell.

Artemis’ hands shoots up to her face as her mouth gapes open in terror when the girl is propelled toward the lake. “Oh my!” She starts to run for the water. Thankfully, Elspeth takes care of the obstacle and the Hufflepuff can continue on into the lake, at least to her knees. “Are you alright? How did this happen?”

Well at least a water jet put it out. Noalan lets out a long sigh of relief, he was afraid it might have been a powerful dark magic spell. Luckily it turns out to be something more innocuous. He doesn't put his wand away just yet though, instead, turning to look back the way the girl came from, just in case there's some burning source spawning more of them. Maybe in the confusion, he can get away now. "I'll go see if there's any more of them." He says in a voice not really meant to carry. He begins walking back, trodding on any patches of grass that are still smoldering from the chase.

Still standing, Elspeth watches Artemis plunge in to help Elise. "I will be helping you," she offers Lan, and follows him towards the castle. She pauses to stamp on a patch of grass that shows char marks. "Emi will be helping Harper." She catches up and walks quietly alongside the Slytherin, holding her basket securely in front of her. Hazel eyes a slide a glance sideways, but she doesn't speak again, yet.

Elise starts slogging toward Artemis, looking wet and thoroughly miserable. "A few…" for a second it looks like she might curse, but her upbringing stops her. "A few other students who don't like that I'm in the Mud Club decided to make their displeasure known. Rather flamboyantly, I might add," she says in a shakey voice. Her wee chin trembles. Watch out, she might cry. "I should get back to my room and — and change," she whimpers.

Artemis continues to wade in to meet with Elise, and will rest her hands on her shoulders and walk through the water with her, back to the shore. Her eyes widen at the explanation. “Really?” She looks in disbelief that someone would go to that extent, but then frowns as her eyebrows lower. “I’m so sorry. Do you know who they were? Yes, let’s go get you dried off.” A sigh escapes the Hufflepuff. “I’m sure they didn’t intend to do you any harm, they just weren’t thinking about how dangerous that was.” She nods and will start to try and guide the girl toward the castle. “The best thing you can do is be forgiving. It will just make things worse if you get angry.”

Elise crosses her arms, sort of hugging herself, and lets Artemis lead her toward the castle. "They all had masks on," she sniffles. "They're probably the same bullies who broke into my chest and wrecked my things. Or friends of them, or something." Ah, yes, vandalism and bullying - of late the students who have signed up for the Mud Club, particularly purebloods, have been subject to this kind of thing. "They kept calling me mud-lover," she grumbles. "Idiots."

"WAIT!" Elise says, and runs back into the lake long enough to retrieve her wand, before re-joining Artemis and trekking toward the castle and dry clothes.

Noalan’s steps stutter and a hand goes to his forehead as he hears Elise's words. "You don't say." He says, voice positively dripping with sarcasm. "Who would have guessed a club barring that name would become a lightning rod. I Am Shocked." The tenseness of his stance a visible indicator of his torn nature. Finally he just shakes his head. "I refuse to get drawn into this!" His steps hasten away now, though still following the singed patches that mark the passage of the fire spell.

There is a tenseness about Elspeth's shoulders as she hears Elise's story, but she doesn't slow. It's almost as if she was expecting the story, and was trying to walk away before she heard it, because there is nothing torn about her desire to leave the scene. She isn't looking for the scorch marks to make sure they're out either, as her over bright gaze is steadfastly straight ahead. "I am hoping that being able to say, how is it? 'I told you so' is making you feel better," she says quietly. "Because I hope that it is helping someone, and it is not helping anyone else that I am knowing of." She bites her lip hard, her knuckles white around her basket. "Emi is right. We are needing our friends. Needing our friends to be supporting each other and trying to be understanding even if we are not agreeing. Everything is being… horrible. It is not making any difference where I am turning, now, everyone is being horrible to each other. I am needing my friends… " she closes her mouth tightly as her voice cracks, and she walks a little faster, knowing how much Lan hates it when she cries.

Artemis draws in a deep breath and slides a hand gently through the air as she lets it out. “I’m sorry that happened to you,” she repeats. She glances toward the singed grasses with a frown, and then over to the water when the child moves back to retrieve her wand. Artemis nods to Elise when she heads off ahead of her, and her eyes drop to the ground as she trudges slowly. It takes a great deal of effort for her not to just start crying all over again, so when her head shoots up to look towards Noalan and Elspeth, her eyes are already stinging with tears. “Wait! Just- I-“ A heavy sigh tumbles out as she shakes her head. No, she’s at a loss. She doesn’t know what she can do or say. She turns back to face the water, letting her friends retreat and focusing on not breaking down. It’s not until Noalan and Elspeth are gone that Artemis will make her way back to the castle.

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