A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

 #30342  by Gareth Lewis
Location: Library • Date: September 2

Gareth was over the moon. Even though he had seen his friend once or twice over the summer, now they were both going to be in the same place for almost four months! In hindsight, his reaction to seeing her at King's Cross might have been a bit over the top, which was why he had sent her a note that morning to meet him in the library after classes on their first day back.

He had arrived early, sitting in the back corner where he was sure they wouldn't be disturbed.
 #30345  by Nerys Reese
Nerys had received the note from Gareth telling her to meet him in the library. It was afternoon and most students were out trying to get some sunshine after having been cooped up all day. It meant that the library wasn't too full. And it meant that she could find Gareth easily.

She carefully set her books down on the table and then took a seat herself. "Hello," her quiet voice sounded. Much differently than his greeting in the station had been.
 #30762  by Gareth Lewis
Gareth swallowed a lump in his throat, then nibbled on his bottom lip for a moment. "Hey," he replied, noting immediately her reserved greeting. "Settling in alright?"

Sometimes he wondered what the Slytherin common room was like. Probably not much like the Ravenclaw common room, with huge armchairs perfect for curling up with a book or working on homework. His house had the added bonus of being in a tower, not underground. He liked that. Being able to see out over the forest.

"Feels weird to not be the youngest students this year, hm?"
 #31537  by Nerys Reese
Nerys smiled a little. Gareth was so warm, like an aura of sunshine radiated out of him when she was there. She liked it. "Yes. It's a little easier this year, though a lot of people keep thinking I'm a first year. They say I look too young to even be here," she commented.

"How about you? You seemed excited at the station the other day. Boring summer?" she asked, though she hoped that he'd honestly just been excited to see her. That's what it had seemed like to her anyway. Even if it was a little crazy and a bit boisterous.
 #31545  by Gareth Lewis
Gareth scoffed. "You don't look like a first year," he commented, thinking she was definitely one of the more mature kids he knew. And one of the kindest and smartest too. Really, Nerys was amazing, and he was happy to call her a friend.

"Oh, you know. We traveled a bit, but really being here at school is where things get exciting," he said, shrugging. "And besides, my friends are here. Not that I don't like my parents, but there's people here at Hogwarts that I really missed..." He trailed off, kicking at the leg of the chair he was sitting in. He wondered if Nerys knew he was talking about her.
 #31560  by Nerys Reese
Nerys smiled a little. "Where did you go?" she asked, interested in what type of fantastic adventures her friend had been on over the holiday. She imagined so many different possibilities- she'd always been a dreamer- and really hoped that one of them was something to get excited about.

There was something about the way Gareth looked at her when he said how he'd missed people who were there at Hogwarts. She wanted to think that he was talking about missing her, because she had surely missed him that much. He was one of the few reasons she was excited to go off for a new year away from the rest of her family. He was perhaps her closest, if not her only friend though. There were so few people that she really trusted. He was one. "I know I'm glad to be back. It's easier when you've got a friend around nearly all the time," she said, smiling softly at the other.
 #31568  by Gareth Lewis
"Spain! I got to see these really old places and it was super cool!" Gareth said, beaming. Thankfully his parents had set aside their differences and agreed to still go on the planned holiday, although he suspected it was mostly because his father was working on a new book. He continued on, gushing about the things he had seen for a few minutes.

"--and then he just... whoosh... right by us!" he finished a story about seeing a broom race, making the sound effect and moving his arm to demonstrate. It was a far cry from his usual shy self.

"We should try and see if there's any broom races close to home next summer," he suggested, feeling hopeful. That was the worst part about summer, not being able to see his friend all the time.
 #31572  by Nerys Reese
Nerys found herself leaning forward against the table while she listened to his stories about Spain. She found Gareth interesting, and his life exciting. She wondered what it would be like if her father could ever afford to take his three children to Spain, or anywhere like that. She thought perhaps not now, but maybe in the future. If they saved up enough money.

She smiled and silently clapped her hands together as he spoke about the broom races. He was the only friend she had that could make her smile and forget how sad and alone she felt inside. He made her forget about the bad things, even for just a little. He made her feel good. "I think we should try and find out. I would love to go to something like that!" she said, actually smiling all the way to her eyes. "Only with you though. It would never be fun with anyone else."
 #31577  by Gareth Lewis
Gareth felt the back of his neck go warm at her comment. He agreed with her, though. Although it had been nice to see a broom race with his parents, the entire time he had wished Nerys had been there with him. She just had a way of bringing out the best in him, and making him feel like he wasn't weird for just wanting to sit with his books sometimes.

"We definitely need to do it!" he announced, noticing the way she was smiling with her eyes, something he hadn't seen very often. "But first we need to survive this year. I don't know how I'm going to make it through Defense Against the Dark Arts this year, not with," he shuddered, "Professor Snape teaching it. He scares me and I'm worse in Defense than I was in Potions."
 #31580  by Nerys Reese
Nerys knew what Gareth was talking about when he was scared by Professor Snape. He really was ominous and seemed to pop up randomly and silently like he was secretly invisible most of the time. That thought bothered her a bit too. Even though the Professor was someone that a lot of Slytherins looked up to, Nerys felt creeped out by him.

"As long as you do what he asks then he won't bother you. But he is a bit scary. The older Slytherins seem to like him. Look up to him even. I'm not sure I like the way he looks at some of them, like he's trying to read their thoughts. Have you noticed that?" she asked, her voice hushed.
 #31593  by Gareth Lewis
Gareth nodded slowly, thinking back. He definitely had noticed what she was describing before. "Yeah," he breathed, glancing around furtively. "He can be so creepy. At least in Potions we were just following recipes, though. Now I actually have to cast spells in front of him." He let out a breath, shuddering a bit. "I'm sure he'll see right through me. I'm book smart, but I'm not that great with practical magic."

After a moment, he shrugged. "But Slughorn seems kind of cool, I guess. What do you think of him?"
 #31754  by Nerys Reese
Nerys raised her eyebrows. Gareth maybe wasn't fabulous at the practical things when it came to magic, but they were still young. They had years to learn it. No one expected them to be perfect. Except maybe Professor Snape.

"We're just second years," she said. "I don't think it's fair you're holding yourself to such a high standard. But I do like Slughorn. He has nice stories. People seem to be pretty excited about joining he club. He only takes top students or something. I'm not sure how it works. I don't think I'd want to be involved with something like that anyway. There are so many people."
 #31796  by Gareth Lewis
Her reminder was encouraging. Gareth gave a small nod, pushing his chair back on two legs for a moment. Then he let the chair settle back on the floor. "Fair point," he agreed, shrugging.

He thought about Slughorn's club. Nerys was right. There were so many people involved, and apparently you had to be a top student to join. He didn't think he would be comfortable in something like that. "I think I just want to keep my head down this year. Things are so crazy... you've seen the news, right?" He wanted to swallow his words as soon as he said them. Of course she knew how crazy it was out in the real world.
 #31984  by Nerys Reese
Nerys sort of hugged her arms around herself when Gareth mentioned the news. Of course she knew what was going on. She hadn't stopped paying attention since her mother was killed. It seemed like the world had gotten so much darker since then, and she felt like it wasn't all in her head.

"Yes," she replied. It was clear she was less that happy about it. "I think I'll keep my head down with you. That's easier and less scary. And I like being with you," she admitted. She thought that if there was anywhere she'd like to be during a scary time, it was with Gareth. He made her feel safe and less anxious for sure.
 #32026  by Gareth Lewis
Gareth wanted to kick himself. Why had he said that bit about the news? At least she didn't seem too upset by it. He offered a tight grin, reaching his hand across the table.

"We'll weather it together," he promised. He didn't often feel this confident, but there was a strong desire within him to make sure Nerys was okay. He liked being with her, and he wanted to protect her as much as he could, even if it meant facing his own fears. "Let's just make it through this year."