(1940-09-08) First Year Flying, Lesson 1
Details for First Year Flying, Lesson 1
Summary: A new year means a new group of First Years has to take their very first broomflying class. Some fare better than others.
Date: 1940-09-08
Location: Hogwarts Training Grounds

A lovely summer afternoon makes it a good day for the first day of the first year's broomflying class. The training grounds were emptied of obstacles in order to give the First Years plenty of space. Of course, at least one person from the Hogwarts Hospital Wing was about, in the rare event of accident. The attentive eye of Madam Hooch watched the first years getting their brooms out and ready. The less fortunate students need not worry, either, as there were plenty of second-hand training brooms in a nearby rack. The lesson had yet to begin in earnest, but would be starting soon.

Lissie is definitely one of the 'less fortunate' students. She is looking over the school brooms, trying to pick one with reasonably straight twigs. Something that feels right. Finally she finds one and takes it over where she needs to go. She looks pale and peaked, and is chewing on the edge of one of her braids.

Eutheria, with great reluctance, goes outside into the sun for her first flying lesson. She'd tried to get out of it - really she had - but no one had listened to her complaints about sensitive skin, and sunburns. She approaches the brooms, securing one at random, then retreats aaaaall the way back to the shade of the nearest wall, pulling her hood down over her face, and making sure her long sleeves are pull down to her wrists, over thin gloves.

From the look on her face, Druella is rather regretting she didn't cajole her daddy into sending her a broom of her very own - but they're not supposed to have them, really. Not as first years. She quickly selects the nicest-looking of the school brooms, and goes to stand on the pitch, near Lissie. Looking over at the Hufflepuff, she smiles wryly. "Don't look so anxious," she advises kindly. "It isn't that bad. You might find you quite like it."

Madam Hooch and her teacher's assistant instruct the students to gather in the center, if they haven't already. The elders are moving about and instructing each student on how to mount their broom, offering suggestions and refinements where needed. "This is the standard way to mount a broom," The Professor explains as she walks from student to student, "Eventually, with practice, it'll become second nature. There's nothing quite like flying."

"Weel, ah, isna th' ridin' that I'm worried aboot," answers Lissie, licking her lips. "Is more th' fallin' tha' worries me." She looks around, taking in the other firsties. "Maybe I can fly over somethin' soft. Or wet. O' course, wouldna want tae fall on th' squid…." She sighs, rubbing her hands together. She falls silent, listening to Madam Hooch,owatching the mounting motion. She closes her eyes a moment, then holds her hand out over the broom. "Up!" she says in a piping, commanding tone. Well. She sort of sounds like a prefect telling off the broom. It hovers after only a moment, and the girl blinks, surprised. "A bit high, aren't you?" she mutters. She's only about four and a half feet, after all. She then tries the mounting motion rather awkwardly, tangling her feet in the hems of her too-long robes. She clunks her chin on the broom three times before she manages to mount it, and her feet only marginally touch the ground. "A little lower, y' daft wooden thing."

Only when she's urged, does Eutheria come out of the shadows an into the sun with the other students. She looks distinctly uncomfortable doing so, however, and makes sure her back is turned to the sun - it hurts her eyes, sometimes. She is going to have such a horrible sunburn tomorrow.
Setting her broom on the floor, she puts her hand out over it, speaking in a quiet and uncertain voice, "Up." Only to have nothing at all happen. Oh dear…

First years learning how to fly a broom: What better comedy could there be? And thankfully Gabriel has a free period in his schedule right now. So he's decided to use it to come spectate the firsties' first broom class. Once he's made the treck down from the castle he finds a quiet, semi-hidden spot along the edge of the training fields to set down his knapsack, which he then uses as a seat from which to watch the class.

"Just don't fall!" With this cheerful piece of advice, Dru turns her attention to her own broom, commanding it 'Up!' with a firmness that sees it bobbing up into her hand a few seconds later. "I've done a bit at home with Cal," she confides, throwing her leg over the broom and settling herself in place confidently. "He hates to play with me, though, so it's not as if he encourages it.

"I think it thinks I'm a wee bit…. lots…. taller than I am," grumbles Lissie, stretching out her toes to have a better connection to the ground. "Still…" She draws in a deep breath, then turns her head towards Eutheria. "You ken dae it," she calls encouragingly. "We believe in you!"

"I don't really want to learn how to fly, though," Eutheria complains softly. At least - not in the day! Why couldn't they have lessons at night? She lets out a sigh, then tries again. "Up!" To her surprise, the broom floats unsteadily up to her hand. "Oh! I got!" she calls.

Sporting a free period, Virgil is using the opportunity to scout for the various clubs he belongs to. He hadn't been feeling the best on the train, and so hadn't had much chance to scout then, but seeing how they handled their brooms would also carry some possible impact in a few years on the quidditch field. A betting boy would want to pay attention to such things. Spotting Gabriel, he walks over and takes a seat nearby. "Firsties, right?" he inquires of the older Ravenclaw. Pulling down his scarf, he tucks it beneath his chin so that he can talk and be seen.

"Don't worry, Eutheria," Druella calls to the other girl. "You're doing great." She centers herself a little on her broom, and kicks herself off the ground, rising up into the air about eight feet - and promptly flipping her broom end over end. There's a slow, sickening moment where it seems as if she might, possibly, manage to turn it right, but then in slow-motion she loses her grip and plummets (in real-time again, of course) to the ground with a crunch.

Lissie manages to push off, perhaps amazingly as she has so little contact with the ground as it is. She floats upwards without much difficulty, then freezes as she watches Druella fall. "Oh… oh, that can't be good."

Eutheria pushes off as well, and manages to float a short distance above the ground, her hands gripping fiercely to the broom. As Druella starts to flip, her eyes widen and she lets out a frightened sound. "Oh, I don't want to do this!" she complains in a quiet, unhappy moan.

Professor Hooch was continuing her rounds. Most of the students were getting to the "hovering" stage of the class, but there were a few still getting used to upping the broom. "Don't worry," The Madam had encouraged those that were lagging, "It's all practice." The students that were ready to hover were being told to start slow. A few inches, a few feet maybe. Madam smiled at Lissie as she starting to float. It was then that Hooch caught sight of Druella falling. Without a moment's hesitation she and her helpers from the Hospital Wing rushed over to make sure Druella was alright!

Having pulled out a chocolate pirate out of the side pocket of his knapsack Gabriel is waiting for the treat to finish half-heartedly trying to cut him with its chocolate sword when Virgil comes up to him. Without looking up Gabriel nods, "mhmmm… And I'm thinking the little Snake is going to have some problems…" Then he realizes someone is actually talking to him so he looks up to see who it is, "Goshawk… Virgil, right?"

"Aye," Virgil agrees quietly and watches Druella fall as well. "They should start training off with hanging from a pull-up bar, I was thinking, just for a half minute," he muses in his distracted intellectual manner. "Something to build up grip strength," he addends, as if the thought weren't fully self-evident. A cough. "Though they do have a grip charm on most brooms, right? Something to make it harder to let go, anyway?"

Druella isn't dead, anyway. Which is reassuring. Professor Hooch does a quick, professional appraisal and gestures impatiently to the girl, who is lying very still, as if afraid to move. "Nothing wrong with you, miss. Up you get, and next time less showing off, perhaps? There's no reason for you to be that high up off the ground." Briskly, she strides off, leaving Druella to get slowly to her knees, brushing off her scraped hands and reaching for her broom again with burning cheeks.

Lissie watches from above, and for a moment she freezes. For a moment she forgets all about magic or being a witch, and just clings to the broom rather too high off the ground, staring at the training field like it might leap up and smack her. As if sensing her fear, the broom begins to drift while the Hufflepuff clings for dear life, working on mastering terror instead of the broom.

Gabriel shrugs a bit in answer to Virgil's comment. After taking a bite from the finally immobile pirate's body he says,"Well, its really more about how you sit on the broom, isn't it? It is nice to be able to grab onto it if it flips but a lot of the more expensive brooms have charms on the to prevent falls." Another bite and a moment to chew and swallow then he asks, "So what brings you down here, Virgil? Me, its the comedic value of these classes." Even if he didn't really laugh when Druella fell.

Though only hovering a short distance over the ground, the way, Eutheria leans nervously in towards the handle of her broom causes it to dip - and causes it to start moving fowards and down - into the ground. It's a good thing she wasn't higher up. "Oh!" she cries out as she hits the ground, and lets herself fall off the broom.

"Forget it." Druella tosses her hair, sending her braids flying, as she pluckily settles the broom between her legs again, looking up at Lissie. What she sees there makes her blink, and then she cups a hand around her mouth to call up to the Scottish girl, "Lissie, you're doing great! Look, you're doing it!" With a sidelong glance to Eutheria, who is having an experience that seems closer to her own, she cautiously pushes herself up into the air again - less vigorously, this time. Slowly, she focuses on balancing…

Virgil seems to think about it, "You're the quidditch player. I'm just the betting spectator, but keeping yourself centered and balanced is rather paramount. But I'd think a good grip would be rather useful too, right? I've been trying to learn more about creating things like wands and brooms, but.." he tails off and then coughs again and realizes he hadn't been answering the question. "I'm scouting. I'm curious if any of them will make for good quidditch players. It'll help with bets later."

The Professor sees a few of the students struggling and pipes in. "Don't be afraid to start off slow. If you need to balance yourself on something just do it: a good lot of you have just started, after all," Hooch says. The Professor looks at Eutheria and Lissie says, "There's no need to be nervous, Druella is alright. Just focus on keeping yourself afloat." Madam then looked at Eutheria and said, "Are you alright deary? You were doing alright 'till the last moment."

If she says she's not - will she get to go inside? "I, umm, I'm feeling rather rattled - Madame Hooch. Maybe… maybe I should go to the infirmary?" Eutheria suggests - allowing some hopefulness to leak into her voice.

Gabriel takes a moment to think about Virgil's final answer. Then he shales his head, " think its early to do that kind of assessment. It might be better to observe them later on during the school year, once they're learned to sit the broom and gotten over the first jitters over being in the air." As he speaks he breaks an arm off his chocolate pirate and holds it out to his fellow Ravenclaw, taking it for granted the answer to the silent offer will be a yes.

The Scottish girl grins as she hears Druella's voice, and by degrees her trembling stops. By degrees she regains control of the broom, and then straightens. Druella's right. She *hasn't* fallen. She's flying. She's *flying*! She gives a little happy crow, nudging the broom up a wee bit higher, then nudges the broom a little to the left, a little to the right.

Druella was managing to keep her balance, just barely. But she catches sight of a couple of dark heads off to the side of the training field, and her head swivels over to get a better look at who's there - and as her attention wanders, so does her ability to keep control over her broom. She slides precariously to the right, overbalances left, and slides off again - though luckily she's only a few feet from the ground this time. She lands unsteadily on one leg and drops the rest of the way with a soft 'of,' but she's wearing a slight scowl when she arises next.

Taking the offered chocolate, Virgil laughs and says, "You're right, I know that, but those with great natural agility won't fall at all. That's my working theory anyway," chewing the chocolate, he hugs his knees to his chest. Even as he says this, he observes Lissie, and points. "Like that one. She might make a proper player. Maybe. Hufflepuff." Even as he says these last words, he pulls out a small pad of paper and takes notes.

Madame Hooch shook her head. "You're fine. That was just a little bump. Come now, up again you go," The Professor said with a soft smile. Madame Hooch then looked up at Lissie and smiled. "Aye, you're doing well! Try flying forwards a little — not too fast now." Lastly, Hooch looked at Druella and said, "Focus now! Don't focus on our little "audience." You almost got it."

Gabriel lets his eyes flit over the various students then leans over a bit to say to Virgil, "Maybe. Maybe not. Have you considered that it might be that they are the ones coming in with less preconceived notions of that it means to fly on a broom. We could be looking at the effects of confidence. Those with overconfidence or not enough of it failing because they're focused on something other than Madam Hooch's instructions?"

"I didn't think we'd be watched, though," Druella complains, looking slightly wounded. Her pride, at least, has to be smarting. Lifting her chin, she turns to Eutheria, drawing a deep breath and then huffing it out empathetically. "Let's each give it one more go, anyway," she suggests softly. "Lots of fools manage to fly a broomstick, I know we can figure it out." Probably.

But I don't want to, is what Eutheria wants to complain. Instead, Eutheria holds out her broom and again commands 'up.' After a few tries, it complies, and she climbs aboard to try hovering some more - keeping her back turned to the sun. "I don't think I'll ever use this much, though," the girl complains.

"So… like…." Lissie ponders. "Sort of like a horse, then," she breathes, trying to think it through. "So if I lean…. a bit forwards…." She tries it by degrees, leaning forwards a bit, nudging the handle this way and that, small changes, working at it like a little ginger mad scientist. She beams as her confidence grows. She looks down at her classmates. "It's glorious up here! The wind smells like autumn leaves an' water an' pine! Come on up!"

"The hypothesis has space for further revision, but quidditch is full of distractions, I'd think that it'd only make it a more valid test of natural talent," Virgil says and when they look his way, he waves a little and debates ribbing the firsties. Making a few further notes, he puts the paper back away and leans back against his book bag. Only when his weight causes some volume to shift does he reach back and pull out a small book, folding it in his lap.

"Trying," Dru grits through her teeth at Lissie's chirpy suggestion. There's only so much pluck one can muster at a time, and it's with these final reserves that she gets her broom airborne again, with her balanced awkwardly atop it, as if she expects at any moment to fall. Predictably, that's exactly what happens, the moment she gets airborne and has to hover mid-air with no movement of the broom to distract and reassure her. "I - wait, I - nooo!" With a short scream, Druella slips sideways again and spills in a disheveled heap on the grass.

Gabriel can't help but chuckle this time, "I can tell you one thing. That one" he motions at Druella with a quick upchuck of his chin, "is probably /not/ going to be a Quidditch player. Unless she practices. A /lot/."

Once she's airborne again, Eutheria seems to be doing well. She's able to float, and even guide her broom - but she stays nervously near to the ground, and looks unhappy for every moment of it. She still is just waiting for this class to be over.

The Professor was watching all of the students. Some of them were moving smoothly, for first years. Others were still having problems. "The last thing to do is land. You have to land on your feet just right, else you could hurt yourself. Watch my aide," The Madam said to those who were airbone, like Lissie, as she pointed over to her teachers aide who was helping monitor things from above. The young man demonstrated a proper landing. "Don't go too fast, but don't go too slow either. Smoothly, children, smoothly," Hooch instructed. Eutheria got a slight shake of the head from the Professor, "Just give me a proper landing, you're /almost/ there." And then Druella was having a spill again. "Maybe we should get her a different broom…" Hooch said as she and her crew went over to, once again, make sure Dru was okay. It seemed some students wouldn't be making to the "landing" portion of broomflying just yet.

It is all Virgil can do, not to chuckle a little at the misfortune of the young Slytherin girl. He doesn't want her to feel targeted however, and does his best to be looking at Gabriel, and watching only out of the corner of his eye. "I can't imagine so," he agrees and looks down at his book with concerted effort, flipping a few pages as he traces himself back to where he'd left off.

Eutheria is glad when Hooch gives the go-ahead for students to land, and careful, caaaaarefully coaxes her broom down. She hops off the thing with relief, letting out a sigh, and tosses it back on the pile, retreating to the safety of the shade of the nearest wall. That was over! Finally!

Druella settles her forearms on her knees, looking up with a rather rueful expression at her broom, which is now just floating smugly two feet above her head. "I'm all right," she promises with a voice that is only the tiniest bit resentful. "Just… " she draws a heavy sigh. "Cal's going to die laughing." She doesn't even try to get up this time, resigning herself to sitting on the ground and watching Eutheria attempt to land. When she manages it, a real grin does flash onto the Slytherin girl's face. "Nicely done, you!"

"Oh, is't time tae land already?" Lissie seems almost surprised. She watches the aide, then nods to herself. "Right. So sittin' like this… hands like… right then." She nudges the broom again, testing 'down', before coming in for a landing. She comes low, then rises up, not quite sure of the motion, and definitely not liking the tilt of her broom. She bites her lip, then comes in at a shallower angle, then lowers until her feet hit the ground. Then she moves to get off the broom, and once more trips on the hem of her robes and clips herself on the chin once more.

Gabriel pops the last piece of his pirate into his mouth then speaks around it, "All in all not the worst group of firsties. About a third of my class could barely get their brooms off the ground. At least in this one almost everyone made it off the ground at least once." Peering a bit at the Ravenclaw girl running for the shade he asks Virgil, "What do we know about that one? She's acting very strange. Flitwick's her last name, right?"

"Eu.. Eugenia? Flitwick, yeah," Virgil confirms, having remembered the last name from the sorting ceremony. "She's one of ours, we should go say hello, right?" he asks, and starts to dust off his robes as he rises to his feet and straightens his scarf so that his pale sickliness isn't so obvious. Tilting down his broad-brimmed wizard hat, he starts in the girl's direction. "Hey!" he says as he approaches, holding his book in the fold of his arm.

"Umm - thanks!" Eutheria calls to Druella. It doesn't stop her from beating her retreat, though. Nor from checking to make sure her gloves and sleeves had stayed in place while flying. Maybe she'd only have a burned face. Though that was bad enough. As Virgil, approaches, she greets the boy with a small, closed lipped and uncertain smile. "Umm… hey," she answers.

Sighing, Druella gets slowly to her feet now. Maybe nothing is broken, but she moves with the slow purposefulness that bespeaks bruises - and lots of them. Hobbling toward Lissie, she winces as the girl trips and offers a hand to help her up. "You did fabulously. How'd you manage it?!"

Hooch claps her hands in approval as she sees students making a safe landing. Although she does cringe as Lissie tripped and fell. Thankfully the adults have been on their toes and Lissie would have someone nearby making sure she's alright. Finally, as the time to end the class draws near, the Madam blows her whistle. "Alright children. Not a bad showing. There's always a few bumps and bruises when one is learning," She said to encourage those who lagged behind, "Please return the brooms to the rack." Hooch looked around to see if there were any students still needing help, or stuck in the air.

Lissie's chin is rather bruised by now, but otherwise she is fine. She licks her lips a couple of times, but her tongue is only bitten and not bleeding. She takes Druella's hand to get up and grins sheepishly. "Weel, did my fallin' ahead of time an' afterwards," she answers sheepishly. "An' I've ridden horses… oh, ponies, an' when my da wasna' lookin' sometimes my brothers would set me up on th' sheep tae see if I could stick on. So." She shrugs her shoulders. "So when I wasna' terrified, it was nae worse than th' horses, an' better'n the sheep, y'know? Are you a'right?"

Druella wrinkles up her upturned nose. "Sore," is all she has to say about that. "But I'll be hanged if I'll give up on it. I'm going to have to go out for the Quidditch team now, just to prove I can." Which certainly makes it sound as if there are more spills in her near future. "Come on, let's head back to the castle. I've got a free period before Transfiguration." Turning to locate Eutheria, she gives her a call - "Eutheria, you want to come with us? Where are you bound next?"

"Welcome to Ravenclaw, I didn't get a chance to say anything at the feast. I'm Virgil Goshawk," Virgil says to Eutheria and offers her a hand to shake. Leaning against the wall nearby, he looks at the other firsties and laughs as his claim at a brief conversation is about to be superceded. "I'll find you in the common room sometime."

Gabriel slings his knapsack over one shoulder then trails behind Virgil. Once they've reached the little group of first year girls he smiles at them and says, "And I'm Gabriel Ward."

"I have free time, aye," Lissie murmurs. "An' Quidditch, huh, we ken try oot next year, right? But… I'd need a broom, an' my family dunnae have th' money for it." She sighs. "Unless my mum's mum gets me one for a present…. She got me my ferret…. first present I ever got from her…" She sighs, then stops short as she sees the boys. "They… were watchin' us?"

"Eutheria Flitwick," the girl introduces herself quietly to both boys. Her gaze flicks towards the other two first year girls, then back to the two Ravenclaws before asking, "You could… walk with us? I should really get inside."

"Next year," Dru confirms grimly. "Which means I have this year to figure out how to stay on the blasted thing." She looks sidelong at Lissie and shrugs one shoulder. "True," she admits. "But that's a whole year from now. And who knows what can happen! Let's not borrow trouble." She flashes a sudden, brilliant grin, and nudges Lissie playfully in the elbow. "You were the best of any of us, it'd be a crime if you didn't try out. It'll sort itself I'm sure." She glances over at the boys, and her mouth purses up archly. "They were." Her voice gets slightly louder as she directs it toward the fellows, now. "You're both Ravenclaw, then? I suppose you're here to make fun of my woebegone attempts to sit a broomstick?" Her voice is more playful than challenging, but still a touch defensive.

Virgil nods at Eutheria and swings that book around from in front of him as he follows the girl. Looking over at Druella, he laughs a little. "You were no worse than most first years on their first try. They give you a whole year to learn to fly," he points out as he walks. "Yes, we're Ravenclaw," he confirms and taps the various spots on his clothing where the markings are obvious to those who've been there for several years. Or maybe she was just being conversational, and its always obvious, he isn't sure, he doesn't notice such things. He doesn't understand that sort of conversation.

Its time to return to the castle anyway to make sure that he's not late for his next class so Gabriel falls in with the rest of the group. And since Virgil is doing a good job answering questions he lets the younger boy hold the male end of the conversation, contenting himself with walking and observing.

Eutheria is happy to trail along in silence as they walk back towards the castle. She's just glad to be going in. She has burn cream in her dorm - she'll have to get back there and use it.

"But you started out really well," Lissie protests to Druella. "And you did well too," she adds kindly to Eutheria. Then she sighs, looking over at the boys just a moment. "I *like* flying, I think. Leastways, I'm not utter bollocks at it."

"Maybe so," Druella agrees, relenting. Offering a hand to Virgil, she introduces herself. "Druella Rosier. You might not know him, he's a Slytherin like me, but Calig Rosier's my brother, if you do. He's in his third year already."

"We're in the same year, I know him," Virgil confirms with no word for or against the Slytherin, but he does take the offered hand and shakes it. "Virgil Goshawk," he returns and also introduces Gabriel, who seems to have fallen silent. "A lot of us have family here," he adds, after a moment, and then thinking on it seems to be debate whether to explain his thinking. He doesn't.

"Well, you did great" Eutheria answers Lissie. "I guess I did alright, but… I still don't really want to learn." She glances at Virgil as he talks about family, adding, "I have a cousin here… Felix."

"I'm sure it was jus' luck," Lissie says modestly. "But I have tae say, oh, it was a wonderful feelin' bein' up theer." She grins, hugging herself. "I didnae much care one way or th' other aboot it, other than, y'know, nae killin' myself." She shrugs. An' maybe it helps I have nae family here tae embarrass." She shrugs. "But thanks."

"Felix, I think I know Felix, Grffindor, right?" Virgil replies to that introduction. He doesn't mention any of his family members, extended or otherwise, mostly because they're still firsties and would have no idea who he was talking about. Glancing at the time, he notes that class is coming up for him and mentions, "I need to run along. Nice meeting all of you."

"That could be," Dru admits. "Not that I was thinking there was anyone around to watch us, but yeah…" She looks at the other two girls, smiling slightly, then grins as Virgil takss his leave. "Likewise," she promises.

"Gryffindor, yeah," Eutheria confirms. As they step into the castle, she breathes a sigh of relief. "I'm going to have to go up to the Ravenclaw tower," she tells the other girls. "I'm glad you had fun flying," she adds towards Lissie.

"Me too." Lissie's words are heartfelt. "Me, I ought tae get back tae th'Hufflepuff common room. I have an essay I need tae do."

"I ought to get back myself," Druella agrees. "I'll see you both next week, I suppose?"

"And in our other classes!" Eutheria agrees - before bounding up the stairs and disappearing. Maybe next week - she can arrange to be in the infirmary before flying lessons start…

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