(1939-07-23) Tutoring and Troubles
Details for Tutoring and Troubles
Summary: Noah and Rook meet at Sweet Temptations as prearranged for tutoring, only to meet Noah's fellow Gryffindor, Madeline. What begins as an effort to be prepared for the next school year devolves into discussions about muggle-born troubles.
Date: 7/23/1939
Location: Sweet Temptations, Diagon Alley

Noah has plans to meet Rook at Sweet Temptations- to meet at least, before they presumably find…somewhere to tutor. Perhaps outside, behind the building. And, well, while he's here he's at least purchased a cup of hot chocolate. Probably about the simplest and least expensive thing on the menu, but then he doesn't particularly have a lot of money to spend on frivolous things. He's dressed in a black, threadbare robe, the very same one he wore last time he met Rook, and there is an orange tabby cat curled up on the counter beside him on one side, and a couple other cats: a blue-point siamese and a black american shorthair- milling about nearby pretending not to be interested in him, but not going very far either. He diligently ignores them, while reading a small book. … Whatever it is must be interesting, because it has apparently sucked all the life out of his facial expressions and body language. That or he's bothered by something.

"And don't you wander off this time!" a voice calls as the door to Sweet Temptations opens, and a young girl in a Muggle frock, topped off by some wizard robes, skips her way in. Her hair bounces in a pair of braids as she makes her way in, a text book held in one hand. She makes her way to the counter calling out brightly, "Cauldron cake, please!" before she starts studying her wizarding money with a look of concentration on her features. She still has so much trouble with this…

Noah waits, and waits. When it seems as if Rook either forgot or didn't care to show, in he comes, stumbling over the edge of his robe in a haphazard fashion. It's not ill fitting, Rook is just a clumsy daydreamer who nearly flattens a customer in passing against the door frame. There's a rapid, absent-minded apology before the shorter, blond-haired young man is wheeling towards Noah with a cheerful, albeit dazed expression. And unlike Noah, Rook doesn't appear to wear the same clothing; the robes are well fitted with loose sleeves to the elbow and tailored to his torso, the color of the ocean during a storm, including the wash of white foam. "Sorry, sorry. I was coming up the alley, and a cage fell on me. An empty one, mind you, which is good news for the non-existent occupant." Wherein Rook, in his rush to reach Noah, quite nearly steps on the young girl, peering down at her when he's stalled from his progress, blinking owlishly.

Noah smirks a little. "How do you know it was non-existent? Maybe it just didn't care to show itself. Thestrals are like that. A bit big for a random cage, but you never know what else might be out there." He closes his book, and pockets it, before whistling a little sharply to signal Maddy and wave, genuinely happy to see her. It's been a while after all. And his happiest memories are at Hogwarts. "It's no trouble. I was studying for next year. Got one of my potions books. Not as easy to practice without an actual cauldron and all, but I figured I may as well familiarize myself with what I'll be making…Incidentally, there's a potion for mental focus in here." He jests, lightly.

"Oh! Hello!" Madeline says in surprise as the older student almost tramples her, smiling up at him with cheer undiminished by the near accident. Then she spins at the sound of the whistle - her smile widening as she recognizes the fellow Gryffindor, and raises her hand to wave it eagerly. "Noah! Hi! How's your summer?!" she asks. Turning to find a cauldron-shaped cake and a container of chocolate sauce set before her, she balances these things on her text book, and start carrying them all towards the older boys.

Flashing Madeline a quizzical, but exuberant smile, Rook shifts a step aside to let Madeline through. "Is there? Oh, good, that should be very useful to you," Rook assures Noah as he treads closer, oblivious to Noah's inferences. "And yes, I suppose it might've been something cloaked, or otherwise invisible. It might've been one of those crystalline tarantulas that are only visible once they've molted." There's a thoughtful silence as Rook considers this, finding himself a seat nearby to Noah and Madeline, making room for the twelve year old without really realizing it. "I'm hungry, I think I should eat something, yes?"

Noah's smile is wry, and amused, when Rook fails to catch his jest. He isn't even serious about the invisible animal thing either. "It's going well. Far better when it's over though. I'd much rather be at Hogwarts." One of the cats, the black one that looks like he just sorta came in off the street, hops up onto the counter and head-bumps his arm. He absently scritches its head, but doesn't really turn to address him or anything. "Going into second or third year? I forget." He asks Madeline. "If you like, I can give you some lessons before school starts. We can even do it together, with Rook here. If I schedule you at the same time, I'll have lots of time with you before he shows, too." He jests again, good-naturedly.

"Invisible crystalline tarantulas?" Madeline asks, her eyes widening. "Tarantulas you can't see, all made out of crystals? The room could /full/ of them /right now/ and we wouldn't even know! They could all over the chairs, and the tables, and scurrying up the walls… That is /so/ awesome! I want one!" She's all smiles now as she settles into a chair. "I /love/ magic!" Then her attention is back on Noah, as she answers his question. "Oh, I'm a second year, now! Lessons would be great - I'd hate to forget everything. I already picked up all my books for next year and I've started looking through them. I'm glad to be home and all - but I can't wait to learn more magic, too! "You should definitely get a cauldron cake," is shot towards Rook. "They're the best."

"Cages don't fall on me every day, you know. I should be on next time, so long as I remember. I have ways of keeping track." Beat. "Mostly." Rook takes a moment to adjust one of his stormy green-gray sleeves to the elbow, where the rest of his arm is covered by what can only be presumed to be whatever form-fitting undershirt he's wearing to the wrist. "They could be. The room could be full of many things we can't see or understand, but most things like to hide under beds and in closets, in dark spaces," Rook observes, winking towards the little girl. "I think I'm going to get some kind of pasty. Something fruit filled, maybe." There's a pause, and a small squint at the little girl. "Are you a muggle-born too, then? I'm Rook Lovegood."

Noah smiles. "Well either way, two isn't a difficult number to manage." He looks around. "Invisible tarantulas. What have I done?" He laughs. "Hopefully not. I don't need to think about being covered in invisible spiders, thank you." He shrugs. "In any case, I can give you a bit of a head start in charms, transfiguration…herbology. No underage magic outside of Hogwarts, but I can make sure you have your technique down, in any case."

"I am - but my uncle's a wizard, too. Isn't that great?" Madeline share brightly. "What lives under beds and in closets and dark spaces? Invisible magic lizards? They can - ummm - walk on air, and belch out rainbow colors? Thousands of tiny bugs that hum in harmony and make whole orchestras of sound! Or woooooorms that wriggle up into your bed, and crawl down your nose to eat you from the inside out!" Oh, God, what did Rook get started? Maybe Noah should have warned him.
"I have a little trouble in Transfiguration - it might be a good idea to get a head start on that?" Madeline suggests. "Or even just review stuff from last year. You know, I met a wizard at the Ministry of Magic who's inventing new spells. He gave a mouse a worm for a tail, and gave another one these giant fangs!"

"And worse," Rook tells Madeline solemnly with the hint of a smile curling at the corners of his mouth. "I suppose that's great, yes. Having Uncles is a good thing." While Noah speaks, Rook lapses into quiet, making a quick, but polite study of Madeline's person as if trying to commit the details of her person to memory. "I'll be right back. Don't give the tables fangs or anything like that." Slipping from his seat cheerfully, Rook steps around their table and wanders towards the bar behind which are sold a number of their pastries. On the way, he manages to stub his toe, but Rook appears to recover quickly. A few traded words with the proprietor, leaving Noah and Madeline temporarily alone while the strange young man garners something to eat.

Noah brightens. "Transfiguration is my speciality." Spesh-ee-al-it-ee. Five syllables. "Second year transfiguration is going to be great for you. You learn how to make things change their size, and more advanced transfiguration…and conjuration. Not that conjuration is my strong suit. I really should practice that more. In any case, it shouldn't be hard." He looks over to Rook. "He may be pulling your leg a bit, you know."

"Worse?" Madeline asks, an eager expression on her features. She doesn't look at all frightened - just excited. She loves scary stories. "Oooo. Like what?! What's worse than worms that crawl in your nose and eat you from the inside out? A giant wasp maybe - wasps are pretty horrible. But if he was giant, he wouldn't fit under the bed."
Madeline considers this as she picks up her chocolate sauce, and pours it into her cauldron cake, getting down low to stare into the surface of the pool of melted chocolate. "Conjuration - it doesn't worry me as much as transfiguration. I mean, transfiguration is okay as long as it isn't alive. I get worried about changing things that're alive, though. You know? What if I mess it up?"

"What frog doesn't need a dragonfly's wings?" Comes Rook's voice as he rejoins the small, rounded table. "Look, he gave me an extra by accident." Wrapping something in a folded napkin, Rook presses aside one of the pumpkin pasties towards Noah before falling almost immediately upon his own with a certain enthusiasm. He wolfs down several bites, washing them down with a heady dark chocolate coffee in which float several peppermint mice. Liking his lips free of glaze, Rook turns his attention back to Madeline, brushing his fingers off. "Everyone messes up."

Noah pauses to consider her words, a very serious expression on his face. "You know, they sort of take it for granted." They being pure-blooded wizards, probably. "In any case, you can't afford that sort of indecisiveness and uncertainty with transfiguration or you certainly WILL mess it up. You need to know what you're going to accomplish and not accept anything less. The rules…we learned…don't really apply. Understand?" He takes a breath. "Besides, nothing is so messed up that it can't be fixed." He takes the offered food, grateful enough for the gesture. "Thanks…" He doesn't question it. Even if he finds himself skeptical. "In any case, you'll be learning to turn things into smaller animals. Rocks to birds, for example. The more complicated comes later. No changing cats into coasters or humans into animals yet. So the real philosophical issues are delayed until then, yeah?"

Madeline does not look reassured by Noah's decree. "But I don't want to mess up and /hurt/ something!" she protests, letting out a loud sigh. "…rocks into birds? I can turn not-living things into living things?" She looks up, with an almost hopeful look on her face. If she's casting the spell on a not-living thing, then there's nothing to hurt, right? But what if it comes out wrong - wouldn't it hurt then? But would it /really/ hurt? If it's a rock? The surface of the pool of chocolate in Madeline's Cauldron Cake starts to ripple - instantly pulling her voice back to it. A moment later, a whiskered nose pops its head out of the surface. "Oooo - did I get a cat this time?" she wonders.

As if to contrast Noah, Rook looks at Madeline with a mildly puzzled expression. "What do you mean, hurt? I don't think it hurts, but that's what your professor is there for. How are you going to learn anything if you don't make mistakes? You shouldn't be upset about that. Everyone makes mistakes. It's the learning from them that's important. Even if the lesson isn't what you expect." Peering down into his coffee, where the peppermint mice are bobbing and chittering, Rook prods one, dunking it beneath the dark surface to further flavor the coffee. Propping his chin up with an elbow upon the table's top, Rook peers down at Madeline's cauldron cake with similar expectation, awaiting whatever arrival is on the horizon.

Noah smiles a little. "So don't mess it up. You basically have stage fright. Just gotta go do it. But if it worries you, we can practice and I can make sure you do the motion and incantation right. And, well. When we get to hogwarts I can help more." He takes a bite of his pastie, and sips his somewhat cooling lukewarm at this point hot chocolate. "In any case, I don't want to say these concerns are silly, because they aren't…But the best way to address them would be to practice and to understand what you're doing. Not to be careless. Shouldn't be, with transfiguration. Charms allow a certain leeway, but not so with transfiguration." He shrugs. "I'll show you the spell if you like. If we can find something appropriate to change. Although perhaps making a bunch of birds in the middle of a shop isn't the best idea. Best go outside for that."

Madeline giggles at the idea of a bunch of birds flying around a sweets shop. "Might be a good idea," she agrees. "I don't think the spells hurt them if you do it /right/, of course. Just, you know, if it goes wrong. It only changes half-way - or something." She still peering at the face bobbing at the surface of her chocolate sauce - then suddenly the little chocolate creature starts rolling, spinning and frolicking about. "Oh! No! It's an /otter/! How cuuuuute!"

"I'm not even sure that hurts. I've certainly done that before. I suspect it may be more awkward than painful. It's difficult to tell, isn't it? It isn't like splinching." There's a brief moment where Rook stiffens, and a fleeting grimace. "But you have a long way to go before worrying about that," he states brightly, his distaste for the word melting away. With the otter dipping, diving, and flicking about the surface of the cauldron cake's sauce, Rook watches the tiny chocolate animal wistfully, distracted and growing glassy eyed by the moment.

Noah grins. "In any case…We can practice. Um. For a reasonable fee, if you don't mind, though that'll have to be something I discuss with your parents, I imagine." He shrugs. "Tutoring is something I do to make ends meet, you know. I enjoy it, but I can't really afford to do it for free. Or else I would, certainly." He is, as it turns out, one of the poorest kids in the entire school, though he does his best not to show that, and hasn't actually bemoaned his financial situation once in the time he's been at Hogwarts. He gets all the food he can eat, and he gets shelter and such, which he's grateful for. Summers are a bit harder for him, though, apparently.

"Well - my parents are at the farm. But you can talk to my uncle about it? He's the one who always brings me to Diagon, anyways," Madeline suggests. "He works for the Ministry, and he wants me to be the best witch ever, so I bet he'd pay for the tutoring even if my mum and dad said no," she remarks cheerfully. "Hey, splinchings when you try to teleport yourself somewhere else and you leave part behind, right? I heard about that! It's soooooo cool. "I'm gonna eat my otter." Picking up her spoon, she starts trying to catch the otter playing in her chocolate sauce, with a look of determination on her features.

There's a lengthy pause between Madeline's question, and Rook's absently murmured 'Something like that'. The blond haired, green-eyed Hufflepuff has slipped into his own thoughts, caught rapt by whatever they might be at the moment. His chin is still angled to rest in his open palm, his elbow propped up by the table in front of him, and his pumpkin pasty, half eaten, now forgotten. The mint mice floating in his coffee are much smaller now, and chattering a great deal less, but Rook hardly notices this, or that Madeline is going after that chocolate otter with effort and a spoon.

Noah nods. "Hurts." He admits. "Depending on what you leave behind. An eyebrow or something, no problem. A bit of your flesh? You may as well have carved it out yourself with a melon baller." He shrugs. "Not that it can't be fixed. Dittany, or a healing charm. Blood loss potion if necessary. But not something you're going to want to repeat, if it happens to you." He smiles. "In any case, that sounds fine. We can arrange it. I'll be on my best behaviour and all for the meeting." He finishes his hot chocolate and pasty, and looks to Rook. "Splinched before, huh?"

"Nah, don't gotta worry about my uncle. He's fun!" Madeline says brightly. "Though he'll probably make jokes about us not being Ravenclaws. He always does." She says all this, with her eyes on her cake, as she tries repeatedly to scoop up her otter. "Got i- aww."

Cue glazed green eyes, and Noah receives no forthcoming answer. He gets a 'hmm?' when Rook blinks, drawn from his reverie, but the question slipped in one ear and out the other. "What were we talking about?" Largely unaware of the conversation between Noah and Madeline for the last several minutes, Rook reaches for his coffee. Lifting it to his lips, he takes a deep draught, capturing one of the remaining peppermint mice in his mouth. Bites down. Crunch. "You should use a net, or a lure. Otters like shellfish, don't they?" That is some strong peppermint; Rook's breath is minty, but also chilled, coming out in a tiny frosted puff.

Noah considers. "I almost was. Seriously. The hat took about 5 minutes on me, deliberating with itself, and me, about whether to place me in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw." He shrugs. "In any case…Uh. The otter. Hm. Simple levitation charm would work, right? Not that that helps you much. Ask it nicely?" He grins. "In his position I'd feel much the same about avoiding my immanent demise. But then, I'm not made of delicious chocolate."

"I'll get him!" Madeline says with delight as she keeps at it. "I've never had a water-critter before. This is the first one that's stayed in the sauce!" She gives a few more tries with her spoon as she adds, "The hat seemed to peg me for Gryffindor straight off. And I love it!" Apparently deciding that enough is enough, the child reaches in with her fingers, snatching up the otter, and dropping it into her mouth. She holds it there as it cavorts and wiggles on her tongue, giggling as it melts away.

"I'm not a Gryffindor," Rook states, as if the statement needed to be aired aloud. "I'm Hufflepuff. My family is mostly Ravenclaw, my mother was disappointed. It had barely touched my head, but I'm quite happy with the selection. Ravenclaw simply isn't for me. I can't imagine studying until my eyes practically fall out." Crunch, crunch. Another peppermint mouse perishes, and Rook's breath retains its minty, frosty qualities. He tries, and fails, to blow a small ring out of the icy air. It simply comes out as breath, followed by a hapless shrug.

Noah smiles. "Well. I study quite a bit. And tutor. And…stay active in several clubs. And I'm doing four N.E.W.T. classes…I…might want to see about doing five but that would mean quite a bit more study." He shrugs. "I have an excellent record, academically. So I imagine I'd fit right in with Ravenclaw. But that's sorts the thing about the hat. It doesn't always place you where you'd fit in perfectly. It seems to like placing people based on the things they value. Rather than just things they're good at. I suppose I'm too much a gryffindor in the end to be anywhere else."

"Adam's a Hufflepuff." That's what Madeline tries to say, at least, but she has a mouthful of otter. Instead it comes out like, "Ammms uh mmmulmmm." This, of course, causes her to giggle some more - before finally swallowing what's left of her otter. "Adam's a Hufflepuff!" she repeats. "He's my best friend." Popping her chocolatey fingers into her mouth, she licks them.

"Adam? I don't really know any Adams, but I'm really bad at names most of the time. I'm a little better with faces, when I remember to look at them. I'll try to keep an eye out for him, but I doubt it'll do him any good. Likely, he's already been warned away from me. What are you going to do, though?" Rather than sulk or grow begrudging from this, Rook appears amused, letting this fact slide off of him while he indulges in the last few swallows of his now-cold coffee. "Hufflepuffs make the best friends, on that we can agree. I was hoping Noah would make a good friend, but four NEWTs?" There's a sidelong look at Noah, speculative. "I'll never bloody see him once we're at school."

Noah scratches the back of his head. "It's alright. I know what I'm doing pretty well. I've been studying all summer, as well. And I WILL have time. I'll make time. … I'll uh. There are potions to help with fatigue, and with restful sleep. And anxiety. Whatever I need, I'm sure I'll be able to make." He pauses. "It's really not as bad as all that. Besides, I'll still need to tutor to make money. So there's that, at least."

"No, not Adams," Madeline giggles. "Adam Irving. He's a second year now - like me!" She kicks her legs idly, as she starts digging into her cake - now that the otter's been dealt with. "Why would anyone be warned off you, anyways? I mean - you told me about the invisible crystaline spiders! And things worse than the worms in your nose!"

"I'm bad luck on the Quidditch field. The team wards me away from games, as long as Hufflepuff is playing. I tend to end up in the hospital wing with my lab partners. Less so in the last two years, but once you've accidentally poisoned and burned people- that sort of thing tends to stick." A light flush of embarrassment rises to Rook's favor, coloring his fair skin a shade darker red than it ought to be. He rakes his hand through his unkempt blond hair, dislodges a small toad of green-and-orange that tumbles to the tabletop. "Oh, my apologies." Neatly, Rook reaches down and turns the toad rightside up. "I'm just not very good with potion making and plants is all."

Noah smiles. "Well. It takes patience. And attention." He considers. "Herbology and Potions are two of my N.E.W.T. classes, so I suppose I'd better be decent at them. I want to become a healer. … Maybe. I mean, I think anyway. I don't know. I certainly want to learn healing magic, but I don't really want to stop there. I might try out to be an Auror. Just, one who can also heal if necessary?" He shrugs. "Whatever happens happens, I suppose. The important thing is that I finish my classes."

"Whoa." Madeline stares at Rook for a moment. "Well… they were just accidents. I mean - accidents happen and everyone was okay?" she asks uncertainly, before her attention shifts to Noah. "A healer auror? Neat! I'm going to learn Mermish and go treasure hunting with the merpeople and find Merlin's wand and tame a dragon and invent amazing new spells and potions!" Yes. All of that.

"Well, no one died, if that's what you're asking. We were all okay after a fashion. No, I've not managed to kill anyone yet, to some surprise on the part of my fellow students." Rook's expression grows musing. "You're going to do all of that? Goodness, just listening to all of this sounds exhausting." There's a playful grin there, flashed at Madeline easily. "I suppose I didn't really think very hard about what I wanted to be, as long as I'm me. But my parents did urge to pick something, as did my professors. I suppose I'll be a Curse-Breaker. It shouldn't be too hard, as I'm already very good at many of the things I believe they look for. Minimal effort, maximum reward. Although I hear it's rather dangerous."

Noah takes a breath. "Mermish will be difficult. Treasure hunting should be fun. … Merlin's wand? Hm." He scratches his nose. "Dragons are dangerous but you can learn how to care for them. Tame them, no, but…watch over them, breed them…" He smiles. "As for inventing, certainly. You can even become a member of the department of mysteries. I considered that myself. They deal with esoteric subjects, pushing the limits of magic. If it weren't for all the memory-erasing, I'd be very interested in that position."

"Oh, everyone says you can't tame a dragon, but I'm going to be the first," Madeline declares cheerfully. "And I've heard Mermish is hard, which is why I want to start as soon as I can! It'll be fun! I can't wait to talk to the merpeople!" She shoves a large piece of chocolate-soaked cake into her mouth. She /loves/ cauldron cakes.

"You know what they say. There's a first time for everything. I'm sure someone will, at some point, tame a Dragon. Stranger things have happened," Rook echoes good-naturedly of Madeline's declarations. "I have a cousin in the Experimental Charms department. Maybe I could help you meet him some time to see whether or not it's really what you want to do. He was Ravenclaw, of course. My mother's favorite cousin." There's a roll of Rook's pale green eyes and a small, wistful sigh. "But there's a lot to do before school." Rook nudges the little toad in front of him, the toad which gives a rather grudging hop forward at Rook's prodding.

Noah nods. "Right, and we still need to get some practice in. Wanna watch?" He offers Madeline. "I'm going to see if I can teach him some 6th year charms." He smiles. "And while I'm at it, I can demonstrate some second year transfiguration stuff for you." He stands. "How about it? We just need to find a place out of the way." Incidentally, the orange tabby that was curling up in his lap drops to the floor when he stands, landing gracefully on its feet, and sitting, licking a paw, as if it totally meant to do that.

"Oh sure!" Madeline agrees as Noah offers to tutor them - and then promptly sets in to scarf the rest of her cake in record time. "I shouldn't go out of sight of the door to the shop, though. I promised my uncle I'd wait here - so if I'm not in here, or in eyesight…" Towards Rook she adds, "I think that wizard I met - the one who gave a mouse a worm's tail, and another mouse fangs - was in Experimental Charms."

"Really? Don't suppose you remember what he looked like?" Beat. "If you want, I'm not really in a rush. I could go for a nap, honestly." Rising to his feet, Rook collects the little toad and stuffs it unceremoniously into the depths of his robe. Straightening his sleeves and brushing pasty crumbs off, he gestures towards the door. "There's a nearby alley, isn't there? If you want to go out, I'm going to go purchase a few more things. After this, I'm supposed to meet my mother and father for another fitting. It's awful."

Noah nods. "Of course. We just need a few stones, really. Or, well, anything roughly bird-size." He grins. "And a stick if you wanna practice the motion." He heads out, just around the building, collecting various suitable stones. The first couple he simply picks up, until he realizes there's a MUCH easier way to do this, pulling out his wand and looking off to where a small collection of rocks are, in the distance. "Accio!" He calls out to one of the rocks, which floats closer to him and drops in front of him. He doesn't stop until he has about eight. "Alright. So. Technically this can change things into birds, or bats…or uh. Eggs, if you mess up. One at a time or several. It depends on what you want. Important thing is to know what you want beforehand." He takes a stone in his hand, tosses it up into the air, and flicks his wand out decisively. "Avifors!" And the rock turns blue, sprouts wings, and flies off as a bluebird. "See? Easy."

"Well - he had brown, messy hair that was… umm… messy. And he was tall. Well, taller than me." /Everyone's/ taller than Madeline! She's tiny! She follows after Noah, watching as he gathers the stones - an envious look on her face. "I wanna do magic," the girl mumbles. But she /knows/ she's not allowed to. She sighs, before glancing around for a stick - but there's not a lot of foliage on Diago- is that a shrub in front of that shop? Madeline dashes over to the shrub, pulling of a branch, and then runs back towards Noah. "Avifors?" she asks for confirmation, before she tries repeating his wand movements, waving the leafy branch about. "Like this?"

It's when Madeline comes darting back with her branch that Rook is stepping out of the sweet shop with a neatly crafted paper bag. He steps back to allow her to dash past, then falls into her wake, closing the distance between himself, Madeline, and Noah rapidly. "Oh, are we really practicing? Alright." Rook moves to set his bag somewhere very carefully out of the way, reaching into one of the sleeves of his robes to produce his own wand. He, unlike Madeline, is not bound against magical use any longer. The tapering twelve inch length is pale aspen wood covered in simple, but sparkling acanthus leaves carved upon its length.

Noah's own want is 12.5 inches, and made of fir. Good wands for transfiguration as it turns out. "Yes. Stronger though." He makes the motion again. "Avifors!" And the rest of the rocks turn into white doves. "It's a pretty simple transfiguration effect. One of the first they'll teach you second year." He looks to Rook, grabs another stone from the ground, and places it against the building. "Epoximise." He says as he moves his wand, and the rock sticks there. "The sticking charm. 6th year stuff." Then "Finite" and the rock falls into his hand. He hands it to Rook. "Try it."

Rather than concentrate on what she /should/ be doing - Madeline watches Noah cast the sticking charm, mouthing quietly to herself, 'Epoximise.' Will she ever get so far as 6th year Transfiguration? She's not sure yet. She then focuses back on the utter lock of rocks in front of her - and gestures to where they would have been with her wand, aiming for /stronger/ wand movement. "Avifors!" she repeats.

"Charms is one of my NEWTs this year. I don't really know what I intend to take next year. My other is Ancient Runes." The latter nearly comes out as a gush, a crooked smile coming to Rook's lips. "Ancient Runes would be really useful for you if you want to go dungeon delving," he tells Madeline as he moves over to the wall, joining Noah and extending a hand to accept the stone. "I really enjoy it, but there's a lot of archaic reading and writing involved. It's not for everyone." Adjusting his sleeve again, Rook lifts the stone to press it gently against the building, brandishing his wand with an effortless, practiced gesture. "Epoximise," he intones, carefully pronouncing each syllable of the spell with the proper inflection. The stone sticks after Rook removes his hand, and he tugs on it- hard. To no avail. "Ah, success!"

Noah nods. "You're a prodigy." He grins. And the Madeline he simply nods. "Good. Decisive. Should work fine with a real wand. We can practice before school starts officially once we're at hogwarts, okay? Give you a head start." he smiles. "Rook…Can I borrow your toad for a moment?" He grins. "I wanna show her the engorgement charm. And the shrinking charm. I'm sure he won't mind. He'll probably let it go to his head. Feel all superior and all." He laughs.

"You think I got it right?" Madeline asks, sounding hopeful. She tries it again - just to be sure. "Avifors!" She grins, turning her smile on Noah. "Yeah! I wanna see a giant toad! Big enough to crush shops - thundering through London!" She makes her voice as deep as she can, as she stomps about in the alley going, "RIBBIT! RIBBIT!"

"Likely, yes. It's hard to tell without seeing the spell worked with a proper wand. My toad?" Quirking a blond brow, Rook murmurs 'finite' to remove the stone from the wall, slipping it absently into his pocket. Rummaging around in an interior pocket against his breast, he draws the little toad out. It's a close fitting robe through the torso, so the toad appears relieved to have a little more breathing room even as its being handed off to Noah.

Noah holds the toad in his hand, and waves the wand over it. "Engorgio!" He grins as the toad grows to four times its size. "Man, I know I could do better than this. Oh well. This isn't bad." A two inch toad just became an eight inch toad, so no not bad at all. He hands the toad back, with a grin. "That's another second year transfiguration effect. Along with…" He points to his tabby. "Reducio." And the cat shrinks to one fourth of its size. He picks it up, puts it on his shoulder. "Both useful. Along with the featherlight charm. Good for moving things. But it doesn't last too long." He looks to Rook. "I can show you the Blasting curse, but I can't do that HERE obviously. With the explosions and all."

"Neeeeat," Madeline says as the toad grows - of course, this is nothing compared to the squeal she lets out as the cat is shrunk. "TINY CAT!" she exclaims, before bursting into giggles. "Oh, I could make Mischief teeny tiny! That'd be great! Wouldn't want to make him bigger - he makes enough trouble as he is!" But then Noah talks about a /curse/, and Madeline's expression goes puzzled. "Blasting curse? Am I supposed to learn curses?"

"Archimedes, you've gained a great deal of weight." Rook holds the suddenly enlarged toad with a certain fondness, albeit with some difficulty with a wand still in hand. "Yes, you are. How could you defend yourself against something you know nothing about? Not all curses are inherently terrible. Many are used for self-defense." Kneeling down, Rook sets his toad upon the ground, and the enlarged Archimedes begins hopping away, something Rook doesn't appear to mind. "What else could you teach me? Or even… what did you say your name is? I don't know that I caught it." Rook blinks down at Madeline, perplexed.

Noah ponders. "Well. Don't let the name fool you. Some of these names are misleading. Like the Enlargement 'charm' is really a transfiguration effect. And the Geminio 'curse' is used all the time to duplicate things for useful purposes, such as multiplying food. The Blasting Curse is dangerous, but it's all in how you use it. You could use it to clear away an old building to make room for new construction, for example. That said, we should not do it in a place like this. …I have one I can show you though, Rook, if you're willing. The puppet body charm. Can be used to hilarious effect on sleeping people. Basically causes your target's body to move as if it had strings attached, but if they resist it doesn't have much pull. If they're sleeping obviously they won't resist so you can move them around and stuff. … So, well, one of you will need to volunteer I suppose, and not resist the spell." He grins. "Who wants to try?"

"Madeline!" the girl supplies promptly. "Madeline Evans!" She seems proud of her name - of her family. She listens curiously as both older students talk about curses - nodding in an uncertain way - but her eyes and smile widen at the explination of the puppet charm. "Ooo! Ooo! Do it to me! I wanna know what it feels like!" She even raises her hand in the air and jumps up and down.

"I don't think it's a good idea to go charming a twelve year old," Rook murmurs doubtfully, eyeing Madeline askance. "No matter how weirdly eager they are for it. Someone might take it the wrong way if they oversee us doing this. So, might as well be me, yes? I can't imagine you'd be any more clumsy with my body than I am." Tucking away his wand up a sleeve, Rook steps forward, visibly relaxes, and waits.

Noah laughs. "I've done this before. …Hm. Well, fair point. I'll use it on you first then, Rook. You're the one who's gonna need to know what it's like after all." He turns to Madeline. "I'll show you after alright? It's not as exciting as you might think though. Just feels like strings attached to you are pulling at your limbs gently." He steps back, and, with a rather complicated gesture- this is higher level stuff after all- he points to Rook and says, clearly, "Mobilicorpus." And, predictably, rook's limbs are overtaken by a gentle force that feels much like strings from above, pulling at his arms and waist, holding him in the air a little. "Easy to resist. Can't even lift you very far. Feet still touching the ground. Just like a puppet. See?" He looks to Madeline. "It's not that exciting, really. Just complicated."

"Awww - I'll tell folks it's okay if they ask!" Madeline answers - though she watches curiously as the spell is cast on Rook. "I think it's /neat/," she contradicts Noah. "I hope I never stop learning new spells! What fun!"

There's no resistance from Rook at the light tugging on his limbs, he remains pliant and relaxed with undisturbed ease. Even being pulled nearly upward onto his toes, he remains calmly under the affects the spell. After several moments of this, Rook settles back on his heels, and shakes his head. "That depends on what you use it for. If you stun someone, you could use the spell to great affect on them. It has a lot of implications in what it could be used for- good and bad. Anyway, most people don't think a twelve year old has the capacity to make such decisions wisely. Who knows what we could be up to? But, it's your choice. I'm not even Gryffindor.”

It doesn't take much to replicate the effect with Madeline. Invisible strings pull at her limbs in much the same way. He manipulates her a little, but lectures as he does so. "See how easy it is to break though? You can simply override them and walk as you like. You HAVE to be willing or else unconcious to let it happen. … Which, you know, if you get into a duel and stun someone…yeah, it might be useful in those situations." He lets the spell drop, and pockets his wand. "Alright. I'm all yours, Rook. Try it out." He bows a little, smiling.

Madeline lets the spell lift her - and giggles as she dangles, while being moved around. She can't help but rock one of her arms back and forth as it hangs otherwise dead. "That is such a weeeeeeird feeling!" she exclaims. "Magic is the best."

"Are you?" Yet another charming, quizzical smile. "This is a little more complex than many charms tend to be, so we'll see how it goes." Producing his wand again from his storm colored green-gray sleeve, Rook lifts the aspen wand and extends his hand. There's a short flourish. "Mobilicorpus," Rook speaks aloud, but falters upon the inflection, nearly leaving out the 'r' in corpus entirely. Nothing happens, and he clears his throat. "Second time's a charm." Terrible joke is terrible, yet Rook gives another flick and flourish of his wrist in Noah's direction, clearly intoning the spell. The sensation tugs at Noah's limbs, trying to send them akimbo.

Noah does float up, on the second try. "You know, you hardly even need my help, Rook." He notes, amused. "You've got talent and training enough to do well." He reasserts control of his limbs, if only because the tabby is starting to, very reasonably, claw into his shoulder to maintain his footing. "In any case…Blasting curse we'll do another time. … And shielding charms…And I'll even practice some seventh year stuff with you if you like, though obviously I haven't mastered those yet. Haven't even seen them outside of the text I'm reading. Likely to mess those up."

"You know - I wish we had time to take /all/ the classes at Hogwarts. I want to learn all of it! Why wouldn't /anyone/ want to learn as much magic as they could?" Maddie asks. "That's why Domestics is great - it teaches some really useful spells! Washing my dishes, with magic? The best!"

"Yes, I'm very good with charms, it's one of my strong points when it comes to magic. I don't mind the help, though." Then Madeline's enthusiasm is drawing his gaze away from Noah, and Rook laughs quietly. "It's a lot of work? And not all of it's very interesting, really. I don't see why anyone would. Muggle-born seem to value it a lot more. Very interesting…" Rook's voice trails, and he looks to be slipping off into one of his deep thoughts.

Noah shrugs, smiling. "Clean dishes the muggle way all your life, and then see how much faster and easier it is with magic." He says softly to Rook. "In any case…Practice those for a bit. We can work on more stuff later." He leans back against the wall and pulls his cat off his shoulder, scratching behind his ears. Tiny, tiny cat.

"Yeah - I hate scrubbing dishes. And floors. And washing clothes. And ironing them. If I can do all that with magic - great!" Madeline's eyes are drawn to Noah as she asks in a hopeful, wistful tone, "Can I hold the tiny cat? It's so cuuuuute!"

"Oh." Rook's expression becomes nearly a blank, and he cants his head, eyeing the two of them back and forth. "No, I've never done that. I joined the Domestics club because my mother said she didn't intend to do everything for me forever, and that she expects me to fend for myself once I've completed my education. It helps, I suppose, to know how to clean and cook with magic."

Noah smirks a little at Rook, and hands the tiny cat over to Madeline. "Sure. He's friendly enough." He is, for what it's worth. A very gentle cat. … And well. Tiny. And apparently not overly disturbed at being shrunk. Not the first time, probably. "I cooked and cleaned the muggle way for a long time. … I uh. Still do sometimes, you know. Sometimes I forget magic is even an option." He shrugs. "In any case…magic is not something we take for granted, no." He considers. "Healing magic…in particular. Healing potions and charms…" He trails off, thoughtfully, and then just shrugs, not bothering to finish his thought.

"I hear magic can fix it, even, when someone breaks their neck," Madeline says, as she stares at the tiny cat in her hands, scratching it gently. "I mean - without magic, it means you're dead. Or you can never move! That's why I love magic so much. Plus, it's neat. And it means I don't have to do dishes again ever once I'm sixteen. This cat is so cute!"

"No," Rook breaks in. "No, magic doesn't fix everything. Magic doesn't do everything. There's still a lot that magic can't do. A broken neck usually kills, and magic can't heal death." There's an uncharacteristic firmness on his voice when he speaks, but Rook's expression remains serious. "You say I take it for granted, but I seem to know the limitations better. It's easy to believe magic can do anything if you don't grow up around it, I guess. But it can't do everything. It can scrub dishes, though. Dishes, floors, all of that," Rook quips at the end ruefully.

Noah clears his throat. "It can do a lot. More than muggle medicine can hope for." He takes a breath. "It…" He trails off again. "Well. I look forward to learning what I can about it. Muggle medicine too, really. If I can learn about that, I will." He crosses his arms. "And hopefully I can make the world a better place. That is…if the world lets me." He smirks at that, but doesn't explain the comment.

"Of course magic doesn't fix everything - but it fixes a lot! Even that plate I knocked down off Professor Palancher's shelf. And maybe if there's a witch right there, right when someone breaks their neck," Madeline offers, shrugging her shoulders. The trio are actually right outside the sweet shop - in the alley way beside it, where they've been practicing spells - Madeline weilding nothing more than a leafy branch. Well - she was before she traded it for a tiny, tiny cat. "It'd be nice if the world let you," she adds quietly, her own tone serious. She looks up at Noah, asking, "Are you worried about going back after Professor Flint's speech?"

Rook opens his mouth to say something, but whatever it is never escapes his lips. His mouth closes, and he simply looks upward as if studying the cloud-studded sky overhead. As the only Pure-blooded wizard present, it seems the blond has little to comment upon the question so directly put from Madeline, a muggle-born, to Noah, one of similar birth.

Noah smiles, and shakes his head. He takes a breath. "I just want the world to be a better place than it is, and I want too much, too soon. And it's likely I'll have to fight for that world before too long, because there are people in it whose…vision…contradicts my own." He leans back against the wall. "Forget it. Just being moody. Not enough chocolate in my life, clearly. I'll have to fix that."

"I want it, too," Madeline agrees softly. "I hope I just… didn't understand Flint right. But I can't help but worry." She keeps her attention down on the cat as she talks - glad for the distraction the tiny feline provides. "You're a good kitty."

"Probably not. There's not a lot of positive feeling towards muggle-borns. Most of the true wizarding families think they'll pollute the lines if they inter-marry. I've heard a few who think they stole the magic they have, but that doesn't make a lot of sense." All throughout his speech, Rook is carefully neutral, his voice neither loud, nor quiet. He doesn't seem nervous so much as carefully composed, much of his exuberance replaced with a more somber quality given their present topic of speech. "But I don't know what that means for the students this year."

Esther slowly wanders into the shop. She was causing rumours before the end of the school year - Moreso when it got out she wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts at all, which explained her lack of care for Flint's announcement. She observes the other students discussing bloodlines… And it causes her to pause, and slowly fold her arms over her chest. "Whatever it means… Education is regulated by the ministry. Until the law changes, Hogwarts cannot refuse muggle-born students." She volunteers.

Noah smiles. "Well. Just like Tolstoy said. 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing'. … And this doesn't just mean muggle-born and half-bloods, you know." He takes a breath, and lets it out slowly. "But there's no point worrying about it now. All we can do it wait and see what happens. And when action is needed, take action. The trouble is…taking the right action at the right time for the right reasons." He shrugs, and looks to Esther. "Hm. Point. But no guarantee. The sentiment is spreading, and it's bound to reach even the top level of government. … Muggle and wizarding government both."

The sudden appearance of an unfamiliar witch at such a moment leaves Rook appearing somewhat discomfitted. "Accepting them into the school doesn't mean they'll be given the same lessons or treatment, does it? They might try to separate them instead, treat them differently. Muggle-borns, I mean." There's a wary, doubtful look offered Noah, and Rook shrugs loosely. "I suppose, but I don't know what action you could take. Pure-blooded families maintain the most power within the wizarding community." Says the Pure-blood, with no small discomfort for the topic.

Madeline glances at Esther uncertainly, then nods in agreement with Rook. "They could make school a /lot/ worse for us - putting us in our own Muggle-born house, and our own Muggle-born classes. That's what I worry about, I guess. I like being a Gryffindor."

"Perhaps." Esther shakes her head slowly. "Muggles are an ugly lot. People as a whole actually." The wild-haired girl approaches her former fellow students. "War and death and pestilence and racism, bloodlines and prejudice." Something she's not unfamiliar with. "But opression leads to uprising. And human liberty sprouts from the blood and ashes. They are a natural fertiliser. I'm sure I read that in a muggle textbook of some variety." Her pessimism fades with a slight smile. "The castle throws a long shadow; to make London this dark."

Noah smiles at Madeline. "Hey, you'll always be a Gryffindor. Don't worry about that. That's where the hat put you, right? There's a reason for that. It looked into your heart. Where the sorting hat placed you is where you're staying." He looks over to Esther. "People are people. Muggle or otherwise. There's ugliness and beauty everywhere you look. Nothing is ever so simple." He pauses. "I sincerely hope it doesn't come to fetilizing the future with blood and ashes. I'd very much like this all to be worked out peacefully." He shrugs. "But whatever happens happens, I suppose. I can't change the future, only prepare for it."

"I hope it doesn't come to that," is really all Rook says, albeit rather ambiguously as to what he's referring to. "It wasn't so dark all that long ago, as we were practicing." There's another pause on Rook's part as he takes a better look at Esther. There's a flicker of recognition. "I suppose it doesn't matter for those who won't be returning this year. But I imagine that if something like that happens at Hogwarts, it's really only a matter of time before it spreads."

"Muggles aren't any uglier than anyone else," Madeline stays staunchily, frowning at Esther. "My parents are Muggles, and they're some of the best people /ever/." Her attention shifts to Noah as she adds, "Well - I'll always be a Gryffindor to /me/ - but what if Flint pulls us all out of our houses? He can do that, can't he?" Her stomach twists as she adds, "I hope nothing like that… spreads. It'd be like what poor Asher and Miriam and Saul had to put up with in /Germany/."

"My mother is one of the ugliest people alive." Esther states in a way that's both simple and horrifying. "And I left Hogwarts before the ugliness there spreads." It's probably not a literal reflection of the word. She tilts her head whilst looking at Madeline. "You're young. Passionate. Don't let that die, little one. There is little doubt in my mind that things aren't going to get worse for non-pureblood wizards in the future… But that hardly means they'll be better for those of us of blood status. Especially those of us that refuse to take a side."

Noah shakes his head. "I really don't think he can." He considers. "Anyway. Terrible topic, I suppose. But suffice it to say I'm not too happy about the tone in the school lately. Nevermind the usual jeers and taunts and insults…" He nods to Rook, and extends his hand, to shake firmly. "We're friends Rook. Don't let a silly thing like blood purity stand between us. I'm not going to judge you for it. We've had different experiences, but we've more in common than not." He smiles. "And I've no intention of being divisive. Not if I can avoid it. I judge people on their own merits. And blood purity…or race, for that matter…" He looks at Madeline. She knows what he's talking about, being a muggle born. "Doesn't enter into it." A pause. "That also goes for house elves." He crosses his arms, and takes a breath. "There needn't be 'sides' just yet. I'm only taking a side if forced."

"Uncle Perry's always telling me I can't judge anyone by their blood, or their house, or anything - other'n what they say 'n do," Madeline agrees - before letting out a sigh. "But it's hard not to, sometimes. Really, really hard."

"I'm not really sure there are any sides to be taking at the moment. We're just talking about the worst of the worst, and that hasn't really happened yet. It's just a lot of talk about what could happen, not what's happening," Rook breaks in, loosely folding his arms across his chest, across the storm-colored gray-green of his fitted robe. The extended hand is regarded for a moment, and then his arms unfold, restless, hesitant. Even so, Rook reaches out, takes Noah's hand, and offers it a brief shake, all enthusiasm long spent given their topic of conversation. "Maybe we really shouldn't be talking about this. I mean, we're probably upsetting her." 'Her' being Madeline.

"No sides?" Esther actually allows herself a dark littie giggle. She unfolds her arms, and tilts her head to the trio. "Mn. I've tried not playing twice. Now I'm removing myself from the game altogether."

Noah shrugs. "We may be forced to eventually." He stands up straight again, and stretches. "Sure. It's a dark topic, anyway." He shrugs. "I should get going I think. I need to stop and get some ingredients to practice potion-making before the school year starts. I'm considering making a Euphoria Elixir. Just for fun. Maybe I'll bottle a little happiness for you all while I'm at it."

"Not upsetting me - /I/ brought it up," Madeline responds staunchily. She looks at Noah as he straightens, though, looking a little disappointed - before reluctantly offering him back the tiny cat. "Thank you for letting me hold her. It's a neat spell."

"Yes, well. I just-" Another light blush has crept into Rook's cheeks. "Anyway, yes. Yes, I'm probably late again for something. I was supposed to meet my parents at… something." Rook's brow furrows as if trying to dredge up where he's expected to be. Drawing forth his wand, aspen with its carved acanthus leaves, he gives a small flourish. "Accio, Archimedes!" Along comes the tiny toad, floating along down the alleyway. Apparently, Archimedes didn't get very far. "I'll see you," he says to no one in particular, still discomfitted. "Before school, I mean." Already, Rook's starting away after snagging the little green-and-orange toad from the air.

Esther decides to prove what she meant about removing herself from the game. By turning around and leaving with slow, deliberate footsteps.

Noah takes the cat back. "Look, don't worry too much, alright?" He says to Madeline. "Join the duelling club maybe. But otherwise, just…see what happens. We have friends at hogwarts. Some of the best wizards were muggleborn." He puts the cat on his shoulder. "And half bloods. We'll talk soon. I'll send an owl to your uncle." He smiles. "And we'll get together for more tutoring, or candy, or whatever. And we'll just have to prove once and for all how good we are, right?" He scritches the cat's head. "See ya later." And with a small wave, he starts walking off.

"I don't like to fight. I don't want to duel," Madeline responds - a bit sullenly. She doesn't like casting spells on animals - why would she want to cast spells on /people/? "I am pretty good," she adds with a bit more hope, though. "I'll tell my uncle to expect your owl." Madeline looks after the retreating trio, and scuffs at the ground, before turning to make her way back into the sweets shop. She promised to wait for her uncle.

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