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\\with a little help from my friends//, x. Nyla
Some people had real nerve. That was for damn sure. Alfie was finding himself frustrated more than usual with his peers lately. He wasn't sure if he was just hungry (again), tired of the immature bullshit since he was officially 'growing up', or if really needed to fly/bludger out his frustrations. Being a hormonal teenager was hard.
Alfie was lazily making his way through the castle in pursuit of the grounds when he heard a cackle from above the changing staircases. As soon as his head curiously cocked upwards to see who it was that was laughing, a water balloon came flying down and smacked him across the face. Alfie let out a wail as the balloon bounced off of his head and landed at his feet, showering his shoes and robes dramatically in a cascading waterfall. He froze for a moment, digesting what had just happened with an angry expression washing over his boyish features, his warm brown eyes instantly went dark. Students that had witnessed the show were laughing all around him. Today was not the day to mess with him. "Oi! Fuck you, too!" he bellowed, sprinting up the stairs as if he could actually catch the perpetrator. Sometimes Alfie forgot he was a wizard armed with a wand and drying spell....that would have saved him some breath and frustration.
The weight of his dripping robes were finally taking their toll on him with each step, but he followed the sound of where the running footsteps were echoing. Unfortunately, he stupidly took the wrong tower so they already got away. Alfie continued his pursuit, scaling the owlery staircase with his heavy footsteps pounding each concrete step and swearing under his breath angrily. He finally stopped at the owlery door opening, robes dripping, face red and officially ready to punch the living daylights out of someone.
Over a bloody water balloon.
His head cocked to the side when he saw no one but his quidditch acquaintance Nyla standing before him. He hadn't noticed what she was doing yet, but she was innocently minding her own business in the owlery in her lonesome. It instantly brought a rush of failure over him when he realized he lost the person he was chasing after, and now he was left looking crazy, dripping wet, and breathless. This was a gentle and friendly reminder that he had to work on more cardio for the team, stairs shouldn't have kicked his arse that hard.
"Nyla, " he greeted with a forced, and a slightly bashful smile, "'Scuse me, I prob'ly look like I'm ready to skin someone alive." he stated, an awkward laugh slipped passed his lips. Alfie removed his wand from his pocket and gave it a fluid swish and flick to summon the basic drying charm. Hot air spurted from the tip of his wand and surrounded him with warmth, he smiled smugly at the successful charm before stepping over to where the Ravenclaw was, "What're ya doin'?"
Always in the right place at the right time, as far as Nyla was aware, it would be just like the Ravenclaw to appear in the path of a very peeved lion near a moment of weakness. She would be the sort to unceremoniously interfere when one such lion felt like bearing his teeth, unaware of the surrounding situation or what could have him in such a tizzy. Ever the space cadet, the petite eagle peered through half-lidded eyes smudged with black shadow at the looming form of one Alfie O'Callaghan, unaware of the events that had transpired amongst the winding owlery stairs moments earlier.
The bemused respond felt muted and unenthusiastic compared to the energy Alfie was emitting and Nyla's stormy eyes followed his wand as he dried himself. There was a unspoken question on the tip of her tongue, an inquiry to how he'd gotten wet in the first place, but she replaced the need to ask it by taking a slow drag of her cigarette.
Her head was considering what it would mean for him to skin someone alive, following his words a touch slower than she ought to have been, before the eaglet simply wandered across the wooden floorboards to tap her cigarette closer to the window that spanned nearly to the floor. There were moments where Nyla wondered what it'd be like to fly out one of those windows, like the owls surrounding her or like the eagle mascot of her house, but those moments disappeared before ever getting the chance to properly formulate. But right, Alfie had asked her something?
Again her eyes found him and she stared, peering at him almost as if he weren't really there, and she blew a poor circle of smoke out from between her lips before nodding. Not that a nod really answered anything, bu Nyla wasn't quite all there to offer any further speculation. She was just there. No rhyme, no reason; she had wandered up the winding owlery stairwell on her way back from the Quidditch stands instead of wandering inside the castle. That was it.
"It's all happening, Alan," she eventually answered cryptically, unfortunately incorrectly labeling the Gryffindor with her. "What are any of us doing?"
"It's all happening, Alan. What are any of us doing?"
Alfie cocked his head to the side with a perplexed expression. He marveled for a moment, considering the petite girls words as they were really sinking in now. What is Life? What were they doing? Ohh, Merlin, he wasn't ready for that kind of deep conversation at the moment - not when he still wanted to punch the living daylights out of someone. Nyla was more philosophical than she put off to be. Not the strongest at remembering names, that was for sure, but everyone had their weaknesses. Alfie had an array of names with the Ravenclaw. It didn't bother him, he just wasn't sure if she really didn't know his name after all of this time, which he found slightly amusing. He no longer corrected her on the matter due to the fact he learned a long time ago that she wasn't really listening anyways. It was only a waste of breath because there was other things going on in that head of hers. So many things.
Today Nyla's aloof demeanor oddly helped diminish the intensity he was feeling, slowly the anger was beginning to melt away, matching the girls calm energy in the room. Alfie was very much an empathetic sponge. Often he would absorb any feelings that his peers were feeling around him. It was a blessing and a curse, truly. At least it would benefit him for the good today, he was already feeling better. Or maybe that was already a contact high? Alfie's eyes locked onto the cone that was rested between the girls fingers.
"--Are ye smoking pot?" he whispered, as if someone would hear them if he spoke too loudly. His mouth curled into a little mischievous grin, knowing damn well what the herbal essence that was flooding his nostrils was. That was exactly what he needed. He didn't typically promote drug use when his teammates or anyone else was around that would judge. Nyla couldn't summon the correct name for Alfie ever, so it was safe to say he didn't need to worry about her gossiping with teammates or anyone else for that matter.
As it were, Nyla never really expected answers from her classmates to her perfectly (in her humble opinion) reasonable questions. It seemed that, more often than not, no one really had answers for her, so she had come to expect the empty stares and slack jaws as a normal response. So Alfie's tilt of the head and blanketed confusion didn't have Nyla feeling any differently about her question; no self-conscious flutter in the stomach, no overthinking until her head went funny... Because her head had already gone funny, no doubt.
Blowing upwards, her stringy fringe floating into her eyes, Nyla hovered in the silence that followed, unaware of the anger still boiling beneath Alfie's skin. It was beyond her that her lack of engagement would calm anyone's nerves, let alone pull them back from the proverbial ledge of violence, and she blinked once, twice when Alfie's voice hissed across towards her. Hm?
Obviously, yes, Nyla was smoking pot. The percentage of time she wasn't, at the very least, high was nearly indiscernible, because even sober the eagle tended to be a tad... off. So a glimmer of confusion clouded her stormy eyes before she widened them, glancing around once in silent concern, before leaning slightly towards the lion and returning, in her own hushed voice:
"... who's smoking pot!?"
His smile obviously settled any mild brush of paranoia that had formed and she settled back before offering the blunt to him, completely straight faced as if he hadn't just poised a question concerning it and she hadn't let it fly completely over her head and out the window.
"... who's smoking pot!?"
Alfie wasn't really sure why he was asking a question that he already knew the answer to. By the herbally aroma and the vacant expression that the 'claws face was harboring, it was safe to say she was high as a kite. When the girl asked him who was smoking pot, he stupidly did a scan of the owlery with his warm brown eyes, and cocked his head back to look behind him. Alright. It was still just them. It took everything inside him not to laugh out loud since she was such a ditz. "That must be some good shit." he chuckled, his eyes narrowing at the girl to really take her in with utter amusement. Nyla was no question the 'Queen of Space Cadets'. She extended a hand with the cone over to him and he stared at it apprehensively for a moment. As if he took in the devils lettuce he just may combust into an inferno...
Sometimes Alfie wished he didn't have such a good head on his shoulders. He was always worried about what other people thought of him and always struggled with thinking that he wasn't good enough. His conscience always beat him up about moments like this. He wanted to partake in recreational activities that students his age did like drinking, smoking, and partying, but he was always so concerned about his team. Alfie found himself stressing about quidditch all the time, even though he loved it more than life itself. Quidditch was life.
His eyes shifted to the ground, back to the blunt, and returned to Nylas apathetic expression once more. Alfie delicately reached for the blunt with his finger tips, brought it to his lips, and took two generous puffs before passing it back to the girl with true smokers circle etiquette. Puff, puff, ash, pass. "This never happened." he breathed, blowing a thick cloud of smoke from his lips and instantly feeling his anger melt away. That. Was. Good.
Taking a turn to tilt her head this time, her thin, stringy hair gliding over her shoulder, Nyla quietly assessed Alfie and his hesitation at her offer. She was used to people giving her that sort of 'deer in the wandlight' look whenever she bestowed the Gift upon them for a free try... especially those who hadn't come to her looking to buy. But among the many shitty things Nyla was, selfish wasn't one of them. Particularly when it came to people she knew. Er, even if she didn't know their name.
"You have no idea," she answered airily.
Moving closer into his space, the bud still very much being offered. Nyla had no sense of personal space to begin with, but invading his would surely also invade his senses and screw with his head, ultimately encouraging him to accept her offer. Which he eventually did. It brought a pleased, albeit lazy smile to the smaller brunette's lips and she shifted away just enough to reach back for the item in question before taking another drag of her own.
"What never happened?" And whether the question were literally due to her having no idea what he was talking about or her playing along was up for interpretation. Who knew with Nyla?
Leaning against the wall of the owlery now, blunt positioned daintily between her fingers, Nyla tipped her head back against the wall and peered down her nose at Alfie. "Still ready to skin someone?" The amusement was evident in her voice now and she laughed softly, smoke tickling out from between her lips as she did.
The eagles response to them keeping this smoke session a secret sent smoke out of his nostrils. "Now that's what I'm talkin' about..." A hearty laugh slipped past the lions lips before he brought the spliff to his mouth again, since she seemed to be encouraging the activity. Inhale the good, exhale the bad. What was he even mad about again? Alfie had a feeling like he wouldn't have to worry about the spacey lass gossiping about their encounter, because he was still unsure if she actually knew his name or not. Hell, would she even remember any of this? Nyla seemed like she was already in a constant dreamy state...must be nice.
Nyla inquired if Alfie still had the desire to skin someone alive. He was quiet for a moment, considering the question with a stoned smile. "No, more like eat an entire pizza in one sittin' methinks." he snorted as she passed the blunt back over to him again. Those munchies would be aggressive. Thank Merlin the house elves adored Alfie because he was willing to try anything once...some of them got a bit experimental in the kitchens. Hell, going down to the kitchens stoned would probably be a ~great idea. "I reckon skinning someone alive would take a lot of work, so I probably wouldn' wanna do that actually." Alfie mused, probably contemplating the question for a little longer than he should have but that was a completely reasonable question. Highdeas were a real thing. Now he'd probably be able to answer her first question, but that would probably involve Alfie having some sort of existential crisis in the owlery that afternoon.
Cocking head to the side with an amused expression, "Oh, what's my name again, Nyla?" Alfie joked playfully, giving the girl an exaggerated quizzical expression. This would be a good moment to play space cadet too. Even though Alfie obviously knew his name, it was amusing to see what name she would come up with next. At least it almost always started with an 'A'. You had to give her brownie points for that. He really didn't care that she didn't know his name, she was barely landing on Earth, it was more fun to feed off of his classmates with innocent fun.
The honest, thought-out reasoning to why Alfie wasn't going to skin anyone amused Nyla and she laughed, nose wrinkling in a manner that might've been cute if she weren't just... sort of gross. "Have you ever tried?" she asked, voice almost suggesting she actually was curious on a literal level. It was far too heavy a subject to be having when even the slightest thing could shift her mood from relaxed to paranoid in .02 seconds flat.
But she was onto the next topic before she could even really dive too deep into the subject of skinning people. Eating an entire pizza sounded like something far more worth her attention anyway and she beamed lazily at the lion, nodding her agreement. "I could eat a house elf," she confessed, kicking at some sticks on the owlery floor and rummaging through the small mouse bones and other curiosities that had been left behind by the owls over the years.
It took a good minute or so following Alfie's question that she'd even heard it and realized it was for her, not one of their feather companions, and she peered at him. Again, moving into his personal space, the willowy girl circled him closely, and considered his question seriously. What was his name? Did he mean literally? As in, what name had his parents bestowed his naked baby self, or did he mean... what was his name in the vast world of realities? The name he would keep no matter how many lives he existed in? Too great a thought for the moment, surely!
"Archie," came her eventual choice and she stepped in front of him, tilting her head back and forth enough to have her long, brown hair swing against her back. "Archie O'Archiehan." And because it only seemed logical in Nyla's world, despite him very obviously having said it when asking the initial question, she returned the favor in a shocked whisper. "What's my name?"
”Ooh, no, never. I couldn’t hurt a fly.” Alfie answered quickly when the girl inquired if he had ever skinned anyone alive. That’s when he realized he should be a little more careful with his choice of words, he didn’t want people getting the wrong idea about him...
Alfie casually leaned up against the owlery's open air window sill, turning his body to take in the Hogwarts grounds at a birds eye view as he took another drag from the spliff the Ravenclaw had offered. The owlery was one of his favorite places to hide - other than the quidditch pitch or broom shed. Alfie didn't spend much time in the said tower writing to his parents as much as he knew he should have. However, he also knew that writing to loved ones was a two way street - sometimes his parents could be the first to send a letter, right? He was so stubborn and hard headed it would eventually kill him.
Nyla said that she would be willing to eat a house elf and the lions expression dropped suddenly, sending smoke out of his nostrils as he choked on the remaining contents in his lungs with an outburst of laughter. Well, he wasn't really expecting that! But it was a fair enough thought... "Don't let the house elves catch wind of ya thinkin' that..." he cautioned, passing the joint back over to the girl with a laugh, before quirking an eyebrow upwards, looking to be truly pondering her statement. Alfie then confessed, "That’s something I have thought definitely thought about...I bet they taste like chicken. However, after much debate, I've come to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't eat a house elf because it's too close to cannibalism...because, well, only because they can talk back..." Alfie added darkly before laughing again. It seemed that he and Nyla were willing to think outside the box, that would keep things interesting.
When Nyla shared that his name was Archie McArchiehan he nodded in agreement, instantly taking ownership of the label. “Yup, that’s it.” He bemused with an amused grin. Hell, he’d roll with that name. It had a ring to it. Alfie turned to the girl and stated confidentially, “You’re Nyla!”
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