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done with my graceless heart., open!
Hiking up pants that were a good few inches too big, despite the belt wrapped tight around her waist and folding over a good chunk of the bleach-washed jean fabric, Ecaterina ran down a bit of the winding tower staircase as quick as she could without losing said pants. Being one of four Petri sisters, Caty had been bestowed many-a pair of hand-me-down clothes from her sisters and mum and her bunică, whom she fondly referred to as 'Bunny'. Her bunică honestly handed over the best clothes, even if they didn't fit at all. Despite looking a touch homeless with the patches and mixmatched patterns, it was all part of Caty's aesthetic. 'Grandma chic'. It was her calling to wear the most ridiculous of clothes and still look cool... or well, she thought she looked cool!
Leaning over the rails to peer back up the winding stairs, bright blue eyes searching wildly for the boys she had been fleeing, Caty shoved a hand into her tangled mess of black hair to shove it out of her face. No sign of them, but she was certain if she listened hard enough the sound of their laughter could be detected echoing. Perhaps they had gone up? Did that mean she had escaped the treacherous betrayal of her bullying housemates for once? Sure, Ecaterina was a little odd, but who wasn't nowadays!?
Letting out a sigh of relief, Ecaterina swept away from the railing, the red beetle pendant she wore clanking resoundingly against it, and her sigh turned into a gasp. As expected, not even a second passed before a boy's voice rang out, followed by another:
'Did you hear that?' 'I sure did! She went down!'
And an unceremoniously loud barrage of footsteps began, prompting Caty to, once more, practically throw her body down the winding stairs to escape. Minutes later, although it felt like much more, she jumped out of the archway at the bottom of the stairs and threw herself into the arms of the nearest upperclassman, surely knocking the wind out of them if not knocking them down altogether. She just had to hope this person hadn't bullied her in the past and would help her hide. So, breathless and a bit sweaty, Caty shouted the first thing that came to mind, knowing there was no time to explain the details yet!
Max O'Doherty had the unfortunate habit of getting lost in his own head sometimes. More often than not, he sat in class with his mind wandering as opposed to absorbing information that he needed for his homework and exams. There were also rare times, like now, where his mind was actually travelling back to his classes as he tried to mentally start out a rough draft for an essay he had coming due in the not too distant future that he had to finish.
Thankfully, after almost six full years of wandering the corridors, Max liked to think he knew them like the back of his hands. He was able to traverse them with ease, dodging or greeting his fellow students without even fully recognizing what he was saying or doing, as was the case when his mind was elsewhere.
However, that ability was dependent on his fellow students acting in a somewhat reasonable manner. It was easy enough to dip around younger kids running through the halls since they generally didn't want to run into him any more than he wanted to run into them. Having someone diving at him was a rather new and unexpected experience. Combined with his aforementioned distraction with his rapidly approaching essay, Max wasn't able to dodge Ecaterina as he had other students.
Being a fan of what he referred to as the tackle-hug (in appropriate situations, of course), Max was somehow able to take the blow of the small girl with only a grunt and a few stumbles backward. He instinctively moved to wrap his own arms around the young girl that he vaguely recognized from around the common room, trying to steady her so that running into the mass of a rather large Quidditch player didn't send her flopping backward onto her bum.
"Where's the fire, kiddo?" Max asked as he looked her over, trying to ensure she was okay while attempting to figure out what had sent the young lion barreling down the staircase in such a reckless fashion. Had he actually managed to make it to the stairs before running into his housemate, there was a good chance that they would have both ended up in a tangle of broken limbs crumpled at the bottom of the stairs. He liked to think of himself as rather impressive, but even he wouldn't be much help in such a situation.
Godric was she grateful to realize the arms that had deftly caught her in her flying leap belonged to Max!
Caty, who considered herself a very skilled climber, wasn't about to be knocked back onto the floor. Her hands instinctively went to cling to her house-mate before finding her footing, the toe of her flat tapping solid ground, and she released her vice grip. If he were a tree, she would've simply climbed higher. Let no mass take her down! ... unless that mass was a group of boys giving her grief.
Not that she really wanted to admit to anyone that she were being bullied. Ecaterina Oana Petri was not weak! She was a strong, resilient Gryffindor with the roar of a lion--! Er, and a tail to tuck between her legs, which she immediately did as the echo of footsteps sounded from the stairwell to her left.
"Hide!" she hissed immediately, wanting to sink into herself and not have Max witness her at her lowest. Max was so cool and protective and kind and it just felt so wrong to subject him to her tormentors. Even if she imagined they'd all run with their tails between their legs at the sight of him!
Still, she moved to push Max into the nearest room, an empty classroom just off to the side, hoping he'd take her lead and not think she were too forward.
"The fire is on that staircase," came her eventual answer as she held the empty classroom door open to him, bouncing on the spot, her mass of hair moving with her impatient jitters.
The small lions were, as a general rule, adorable. At least, that was how Max had felt about his younger housemates for the last couple of years, though he would have bristled at the mere thought of being called adorable when he was younger. Yet, despite the adorableness inherent in all of the cubs, Max couldn't deny that they were weird. Max knew he wasn't perfect, but, in the same way he would have never called himself adorable, he would have never owned up as being as weird as the small girl that had been clinging to him only moments before.
Because shouting at someone his size to hide? Weird was an understatement. It would be unfair to say that he didn't react, as his eyebrows arched unnaturally high at the order, but it would be fair to say that his reaction probably wasn't what Caty had been looking for. Which, to be fair, was rather predictable, because he and orders had never gotten along all that well.
It took a moment of the girl's pushing to get him to move, though it was her strange behavior as opposed to any strength that had his feet shuffling along. Really, did the small one think she could push one of Gryffindor's best beaters - and, thus, probably one of its strongest house members - around like he was some first year about to blow over in a stiff wind?
He entered the classroom just as Caty through out some cryptic answer to his earlier question, giving her time to enter before shutting the door behind him. He had absolutely no clue what was going on, but it was only natural for him to lean against the door and try to put his body between him and whatever had the youngster all frazzled. His hand slipped to his pocket where he always kept his wand, contemplating magically locking the door and perhaps adding some other useful charms he'd picked up to keep them hidden, but he hesitated.
"We're not talking about a real fire here, right Kit Kat?" Muggle candies were just as magical as the ones he grew up on, thank you very much, and they made for endearing nicknames. "Because I'm thinking maybe it's best if we're on the other side of the door and hitting up an exit if you really set something on fire up there. Otherwise, you got some 'splainin' to do."
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