(1938-10-17) Girls, Juggling, and Secondary Speculometers
Details for Girls, Juggling, and Secondary Speculometers
Summary: Arian seeks some girl advice from Hephaesta, and teaches her some juggling basics.
Date: 17 October, 1938
Location: Entry Courtyard, Hogwarts

Lunch is just beginning to wrap up in the Great Hall, which means there's a bit of spare time to kill between now and when afternoon classes start. Arian, full with tasty sandwiches, has decided to take a step outside for a bit to enjoy the brisk Autumn air. With a grin that hasn't left his face for several hours, he's taken a seat on an open bench and is currently sitting, his three remaining juggling balls whirring through the air. He is, however, keeping an eye out for Medusa. He doesn't need to lose any more of his magic toys.

Hephaesta was in a hurry to escape the Great Hall, herself. She has tests to perform, after all. Her approach is announced by the ever-present click-whirr, click-whirr of the clockwork leg brace she wears. As she comes into the courtyard, she's got her goggles in hand, performing some sort of maintenance with something resembling a screwdriver with several extra prongs and tines protruding from it. Stopping in the middle of the courtyard, a bit of movement catches her eye, and she looks up to see Arian juggling. She smirks a little half-smile, her eyes following the movement of the balls with curious interest. "How long did it take you to learn to do that?"

Keeping an eye out for Medusa takes all the extra attention that Arian has, so when Hephaesta appears and asks him a question, he's forced to snatch all of the balls out of the air (somewhat awkwardly, of course), before turning to speak to her. "Oh, I dunno," he says with a shrug. "Juggling with three balls didn't take that long, maybe a couple of months. It's using the fourth ball that really takes practice. Unfortunately, I can't show you that because a Slytherin took my ball…" He trails off, but the smile doesn't slip. "So, what are you fooling with today? No clockwork owl this time?"

Hephaesta frowns at the news. "I'm very sorry to hear that your ball was stolen. Perhaps you should report it to a Prefect. Hm, no owl today. Gizmo is resting. I cannot take him everywhere, after all." She turns her gaze upward to the sky above. "Today it's a goggle test. I'm trying to determine whether I can see electromagnetic levels in the air, to predict oncoming lightning storms."

"You're something else," says Arian, eyeing Hephaesta with a raised eyebrow. "You don't ever stop worrying about your inventions, do you?" He twirls the balls around in his hand for a moment. "Would you like me to teach you to juggle? If you want to learn, I think I could teach you. There's not many people who really think it's that interesting." Ordinarily, Arian would frown here, and talk about his troubles, but instead he keeps smiling. He's been in an uncommonly good mood lately.

"Worrying? I don't think I worry." Phae tilts her head, pondering the notion. "But a good inventor never stops experimenting. A great Muggle inventor once said, 'Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.'" She takes a moment to put the goggles to her eyes, gazing up at the sky. A few tweaks to the settings and she tries again. But finally removes them and frowns. "Bother. I knew I'd need a secondary speculometer." Sighing, she pockets the goggles and turns back to Arian. "Now, what was that about learning to juggle? I'd be very interested. Surely it isn't all that difficult? It's simple application of aerodynamics and gravity, isn't it."

Arian can't do anything much more than nod at Phae's talk about inventing. He's never been particularly mechanically minded. In fact, it's one of the things he's not good at all. But when she expresses interest in juggling, THAT is where Arian can help. "It's not really based on any of that," he says, shaking his head about the aerodynamics nonsense. "It's really more based on timing. And hand-eye coordination. C'mere." He stands and steps closer, putting the three red balls into her hands.

Hephaesta sighs with the kind of melodramatic patience a mother has for a child. "Of course it has to do with all of that. All movement is ruled by physics…at least when magic doesn't change physics. Do you know physics? It's a Muggle idea. But they've got it pretty spot on." Surely, her advanced understanding of the laws of motion will make her an expert juggler instantaneously. Right? She takes the balls, looking them over, nodding as if judging them adequate, and immediately starts to toss them up as she Arian do. At least, she thinks she's doing it like he did. So, naturally, she's bewildered when she catches one, another bounces off of the first, and the third ends up somewhere behind her.

Arian has to stifle a chuckle at Phae's initial attempts. "See?" he says as he retrieves the balls from the ground. At least there's no Medusa to make them disappear this time. When he returns to his housemate, he hands her the balls again. "Now, this time, you should listen to me," he tells her. "You need to take two balls in one hand. Toss one of those balls first. Then, throw the ball from the other hand as that's in the air. Then, as you catch the ball with your second hand, throw the ball from the first hand. From there, you just alternate catching and throwing with each hand so there's at least one ball in the air at all times. Got it?" He nods to her. "Now, try again. This time without thinking about physics."

Hephaesta frowns at her own inability to do something that outwardly seems so simple. "This shouldn't be so difficult." She takes a deep breath, arching an eyebrow incredulously when he suggests that she not think about physics. Again, she tries, and even manages a more proper arc. But there is simply no muscle memory there, and soon two balls are bouncing away again. She sighs in frustration. "I don't understand this."

Arian gives chase to the balls again, still grinning when he returns. "Don't worry, it took me several tries before I was able to even do it without dropping balls every two seconds. Here, watch." For a few seconds, he manages a smooth, steady rhythm, constantly tossing from one hand, then the other. "It's really all about timing," Arian tells the girl as he finally comes to a halt. "Keep your hands easy, limp. If you try to be too stiff on something like this, you'll just end up throwing them away." The balls are handed over once again, but this time, he reaches over and takes Phae's wrist gently. "Loose hands, like this." As he takes another step back, fully prepared to chase his trinkets across the courtyard once more, he adds a quick question. "You're in fifth year, aren't you?"

Hephaesta watches his hands, eyes shifting back and forth like a metronome in beat with the time. She nods in affirmation. "Yes, Fifth Year. Why? Is that important?" She eyes the balls again, letting out a slow breath. Alright, balls. This time you're going to come back to my hands. Agreed? Apparently not. But this time, she does manage to catch one and get it airborne again. A tiny victory, but worth a hopeful look toward Arian.

"Much better!" Arian says with a tiny clap. "Trust me, getting the first ball going is the really half the battle. And once you've got the second one, you're REALLY getting somewhere." He allows her to reset again before returning to her answer to his question. "Oh, I was just wondering. I, um, actually was wondering if you knew someone else in your year. Now, try again." He's actually quite enjoying this. He's never actually had a student before.

Hephaesta blinks and shrugs. "Of course. I know everybody in my year." By name, anyhow. But that's the same thing, right? "Who is it?" She gives the balls another go, with about the same results. But at least she isn't looking so discouraged now.

Arian nods, once again allowing Phae to reset, giving her another nod of encouragement. It is, after all, not as easy a task as it looks, and he's having a little fun just watching the older girl try. "It's, um, Artemis," he tells her with a shrug. "She's a Hufflepuff in your year. I was just wondering if you knew of anything she was, um, interested in. Besides history." He has at least been able to pick that much up on his own.

Hephaesta pauses to think. "Artemis Meliflua? I'm afraid I don't really know much about her. She takes Ancient Runes with me. Though I suppose that has to do with loving history. She seems very kind, but I haven't really ever gotten to know her well."

"Yeah, that's her," says Arian, making a mental note of the girl's last name (which he hadn't exactly caught before). His smile finally slips, as he was hoping to at least get SOMETHING from the older girl. "I just… um.. I'm going to the Halloween Feast with her, and I wanted to get her like a small gift. I just need ideas…"

Hephaesta screws up her lips and furrows her brow in deep consideration. "Well…to be honest, I'm not very good at this sort of thing. But Ophelia seems to adore when I make things for her. I think it's the consideration of putting that sort of work into it. Perhaps you should make her something. Are you crafty at all?"

"Crafty? Like, in making stuff with my hands?" asks Arian in a voice that's somewhere between incredulous and completely in shock. "I'd say I'm better at flying without a broom. I was really hoping," he adds, "that I could pick up something for her in Hogsmeade this weekend."

"Nothing? Can you draw? Or write poetry?" Phae shrugs. "I just think it will have more…more spirit if you make it yourself. But then, as I said, I'm not terribly good at this kind of thing."

"I can't draw," says Arian. The mention of poetry doesn't earn anything more than a raised eyebrow. "And besides, if I don't know what she LIKES, then how am I supposed to make something she'll appreciate." A thought hits him. "Though she DID mention something about Arthurian legend the other day. Could I do something with that?"

Hephaesta brightens up. "Oh, heavens, yes. You know…even if you don't make it yourself, something personal is always nice. I can't draw, either. Well, nothing but schematics. But once I commissioned Gabrielle Evans to draw a portrait of Ophie and I to place inside a special cabinet I made her. It may be a bit soon for a couples picture, but perhaps you could find someone to draw Artemis as Guinevere, or something to that effect."

Arian nods. "Yeah, yeah, that works," he says. "I know Gabby, so that shouldn't be TOO much of a problem… But do you think I should try to take her to do something while we're in Hogsmeade? Like, try to get another date BEFORE the Halloween feast?" He realizes that they've neglected the juggling for a while now, and Arian taps the balls in her hands. "And you need to practice, miss."

"Oh," Phae winces abashedly, and gives the balls another toss. Yeah…this is going to take her a while to get down. As she limps over to a corner of the courtyard to fetch a stray ball, she says, "I suppose that might be nice. If she is fond of you, she'll want to spend more time with you."

"You just need practice," Arian tells his older housemate. He can see a touch of frustration on her face, and out of courtesy, he takes the balls back from her. "We should try doing this more often. Maybe we could try to meet up more, and I could teach you more juggling." As for the Hogsmeade idea… "I just.. I don't know where to take her. A book store? Maybe take her to a sweets shop? Girls like sweets, right?"

"I'm a Seeker, for crying out loud," Phae mutters. "I ought to be able to manage little balls." She sighs, freely handing the balls over to him. "A lot of boys seem to take girls to Harkiss's. There is also Puddifoot's. But it sounds as if she would very much like a book store. It's a wonder she isn't a Ravenclaw."

"I don't know if I want to go to Puddifoot's," says Arian as he stuffs the balls back into his pocket. "I want to make her like me, not make her feel like we're shopping for wedding cake." Arian makes his way back to the bench he had been sitting on earlier. "I don't know how I managed to convince her to go to the feast with me…" He trails off there.

Hephaesta sighs. "Puddifoots isn't like that. Goodness, everyone thinks it's Valentine's Day all year round there. It's just a little cafe. Maybe it's a bit…intimate. But that's so it's quiet and calm. It's a good place for a date. But maybe you're right. It may not be the best place for the first time out." She hobbles over to a bench to sit (click-whirr, click-whirr). "Maybe you only did half of the convincing. Maybe she just likes you."

Arian turns to look at Phae, exhibiting genuine signs of concern. "W…what do you mean, half of the convincing?" he asks, sounding slightly panicked. "Does that mean I did something wrong? Do I need to do something else to impress her?" He idly fingers the balls in his pockets. "She liked my juggling, but without a fourth ball I can't really do anything that impressive. What should I do, Phae?"

Hephaesta giggles softly. "No, no, no. I mean that she was already half-convinced. Because she likes you. Look, when I got together with Ophelia, I was a complete idiot. I…I didn't understand what I was feeling, and I was horribly jealous of her boyfriend. I made an utter mess of things, and it had everything to do with panicking because I was confused. I was lucky that it turned out alright. But don't do what I did. Whatever you do, don't panic. That's the one good piece of advice I think I can give."

"Don't panic. Don't panic." Arian repeats the words again and again until he's certain they'll stick. "That… that actually makes sense." It makes even a little more sense than what Douglas told him, which, ironically gave him the confidence to ask Artemis out in the first place. "Thanks," he tells Phae. "And here. Take these, and practice with them. You'll be able to juggle soon enough." He hands her his juggling balls as he stands, grabbing his book bag. "I've got to get to class. But I'll see you around. Oh," he adds before leaving, "don't let Medusa near them." Then he's on his way, heading out of the courtyard into the castle.

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