Rehearsal Room

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Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Hiding from the world, as she usually did on most Sunday mornings, Ami sat alone in the corner of a room that she deemed was empty enough, and pulled out her guitar. Originally, her mother had opposed to her bringing it to school ("You're there to learn magic, not music!" was the general gist of her mother's words), but Ami had persisted, and, well, here she was, lugging her guitar case as quietly as she could to the first empty room she could find.

After situating herself (back against the wall, guitar case propped open next to her), Ami's perfect pitch made tuning a breeze, and sitting in the corner of the Rehearsal Room, she started to play- albeit, extremely quietly, and she didn't sing, but if you were a Green Day fan, you'd recognize the song as Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

She never expected anyone to walk in (after all, most of the kids here had actual lives, and were probably enjoying the nice weather outside), and she wouldn't have heard them, if they did happen to stumble upon her quiet getaway- she was far too immersed in her music, as she wasn't as spectacular at the guitar as she was at piano, so she had to try and think a lot more.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Albert made his way into the rehearsal room for no particular reason other than to scope it out. The people in there were scarce, minding their own business and doing their own thing. In the far corner was a girl, playing a guitar. Albert felt a wave of jealousy sweep over him. He had wanted to learn himself but found he didn't have the patience nor the concentration to try. It bothered him that someone- a girl no less- could do something that he couldn't. Albert decided that maybe she just needed to be knocked down a few pegs. Of course, he'd have to talk to her to make it happen. So without more delay, he swaggered over and plopped down beside her, watching, his face open and friendly.

"I'm Albert," He said after a few minutes, offering her a winning grin. He didn't give his hand to shake or any other nonsense like that. It served him no purpose at the moment to touch her. Instead, he leaned back against the wall, relaxed, and yet readying his mind for the perfect time to strike. His tongue poised like a snake in his mouth. He wondered how she would react when the moment arose.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

When the blond boy sat down beside her, if you listened very, very closely, you would be able to hear Ami falter a little bit- if you watched equally closely, you would notice her hands tremble slightly. Deciding that he looked nice enough, she chose to ignore him for the time being and continued playing, her fingers jumping from string to string, from fret to fret.

"I'm Albert," the boy simply said, and Ami froze, her fingers mid-strum, jarring the pleasant sound of the music. She turned her head slowly, giving him a haunted look with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. "Um, hi..." she said slowly. "Nice to meet you, Albert...?" She paused, waiting for his last name, assuming he'd offer it up. All these British people around here were so obsessed with their last names- most were probably important names or whatever, but Ami didn't recognize any of them.

"Ami," she said simply as an introduction, and took in the boy's appearance. Blond hair that could be described more as white than golden, blue eyes that were the shade of the sky, a clipped British accent, and the badge on his chest marked him as Gryffindor. Inwardly, she groaned- this place was swarming with Gryffindors, and they were so fricking... chatty. Of course, they were very nice, as well, but right now, she really needed some alone, quiet time. She could only pray this boy wasn't like most of them.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Albert didn't give her his last name. His first was enough. He was Albert, that was all she needed. More over, he didn't want her to seek him out later. Not after this encounter. Not if it went sour. The chances of that all depended on the girl before him.

"Well, Ami," Albert said, smile still firmly in place. "I'm impressed at how you play. I mean- it's still very obvious you're a beginner, but for someone at your level, you're doing splendid job." His voice was pleasant, polite, even kind. He looked at her with the utmost sincerity, but inside he was snickering. "With a lot more practice, you'll be a professional!"

Albert leaned close to her and bumped her shoulder gently with his own, attempting to charm her, confuse her, and make her doubt herself. He wasn't sure how well it would work, he'd never spoken to her before so he didn't know which method would be the most effective. He noticed girls his age, right before the blossoms of puberty, tended to be palpable, moldable, and easily misdirected. So, he hoped she fit that bill. He had been wrong in the past. Rare, but it happened.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Ami decided that this boy didn't belong in Gryffindor the moment he didn't offer up his last name. Every Gryffindor she'd ever met had always said something about their last name, so this was a welcome change. He didn't want to get personal. Interesting.

"Well, Ami, I'm impressed at how you play." Ah, so he liked music- or, at the very least, knew of its existence. "I mean- it's still very obvious you're a beginner, but for someone at your level, you're doing a splendid job." Ami raised an eyebrow, detecting just a hint of malice. But surely a Gryffindor wouldn't say something like that, right? "With a lot more practice, you'll be a professional!" Okay, that was a little over the top. Ami couldn't help but giggle (giggle? No, that was the wrong word- it was more of a chuckle) at that- her, a professional? Like her mother would ever allow it- or her father, for that matter.

Albert leaned in closer to her, bumping her shoulder, and she caught a whiff of a boyish scent she was rather familiar with, having being best friends with Thomas- was that Axe? She almost gagged, but tried to restrain it, because at least he hadn't put on too much. She giggled an appropriate amount, and nudged him back, a genuine smile tugging at her lips. "Do you play guitar, Mr ...?" Albert looked older than her, even if Ami was a good three or four inches taller than him, and her father had brought her up to be courteous, and address those of seniority by their last name until granted permission to use their first.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

"Just Albert," he insisted. "I've never bothered much with all that fuss over last names. It gets tiresome. Who's who and who's daddy is what." Lies. Lies. All very much lies, but Albert wasn't giving this one his last name if he could help it. A clean nice cut and twist was all he wanted. Snip the wings and twist the legs, like he did with butterflies when he was younger so they couldn't move. His nanny had caught him one day and told his mother.

"It's natural for boys to experiment," she had said. The nanny was fired that next week when Silver started disappearing. As far as he remembered, they were still buried in the backyard behind the daisies next to his old cat who miraculously died of convulsions after scratching up Albert's favorite chair. That actually was a happy coincidence.

I actually don't play," he admitted, the envy in his stomach giving a lurch, but his expression was still smooth as molasses. "I prefer more practical things such as Deuling or broom handling. My parents still made me take music lessons before I came to Hogwarts so I'm well versed in what it should sound like."

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

“Just Albert. I’ve never bothered much with all that fuss over last names. It gets tiresome. Who’s who and who’s daddy is what.” Interesting philosophy. “I actually don’t play,” Albert continued. “I prefer more practical things such as Duelling-” Waving sticks that spark and make flashy noises at other students is practical? Ami thought idly to herself. He must be a pureblood, if he enjoys that as his pastime. “Or broom handling.” Ami snorted, trying not to sound dirty- she blamed Thomas’s influence on her. “My parents still made me take music lessons before I came to Hogwarts, so I’m well versed in what it should sound like.”

“Oh, really? What instrument did you play? Or, did you sing?” Ami asked, interested. So this boy appreciated music, used Axe (or had been kissing someone who used Axe- who knew, was he gay?), and didn’t care about last names. Interesting.

She set her guitar down in her case, took out a cloth, and set about cleaning and polishing the wood. She paid special attention to the edges, which were lined in luminous opal- this guitar had been a thank-you gift from one of her father’s bosses, after Ami had found a flaw in their missile defense program.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Albert tried not to let his disdain show when she laughed at him. He wanted nothing more in that instant than to crush her soul, make her wish she had never even heard of Hogwarts. So he set about it.

"I don't want to sound conceited,"He said, looking away "shyly". The truth was he'd never bothered to learn an instrument. His voice was nice, he just wasn't willing to sing for anyone, much less her. So, he shrugged it off, changing the subject.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're really pretty?" He asked. Of course, whether she was or wasn't was no matter to Albert. What mattered was that she believed it for how long he wanted her to. It was all about getting one foot in the door. And in truth, he was fishing for that way in, the way to the core of what made her function... so he could step on it with the heal of his shoe and twist. Albert didn't stop to think about later. How it would affect this girl and, frankly, he didn't care. What he cared about was the immediate gratification of her crumpling face. The tears that would fill her eyes would keep him in high spirits for days.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

“I don’t want to sound conceited,” Albert said, turning his head away shyly. Ami almost wanted to just shove her guitar down his throat and scream, “Just play the bleeping thing!”, but common, human decency restrained her from doing so. She decided to let the boy be, but she would eventually coax it out of him.

Ami closed the case, clasping the claps, and taking out a small key on the end of a long silver necklace, she locked each clasp. Double-checking every single one, once she was satisfied, she slipped the necklace back over her head, tucking it under her shirt. “Has anyone told you that you’re really pretty?” Albert asked suddenly, and Ami froze. What had Thomas called this? Flirting? Was he hitting on her? How did she respond? Positively? Negatively? Was she old enough to be dating someone? Deciding to play the snarky smart aleck approach (like she usually did), she mumbled self-consciously, “Well, yeah. My mom, my dad, Thomas, although I know he’s lying- not myself, though. No, I’m not pretty,” Ami clarified, shooting Albert a look out of the corner of her eye. “Just average. You got lucky, though. Most girls would kill for that hair.”

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Albert grinned, making sure to keep it on the friendly side and not the victorious side. So she had a thing about her looks? Not bad that he guessed it the second time. It usually took a few more pokes to find the score, but she seemed a little extra vulnerable. Who was this Thomas, he wondered. A little boyfriend perhaps? No matter. He was inconsequential in this moment. She obviously thought Albert was handsome enough, commenting on his glorious blonde locks. It was true he had the looks. His parents were both striking people, their demeanor just a porcelain as their figures. His first few years of life before Hogwarts had been taken up with the teachings of etiquette and appropriate small talk.

"I happen to think you're quite stunning in all of your average," he replied smoothly. "Who needs beautiful anyway? It's overrated." He flashed her another smile, attempting to cement the thoughts of herself in her mind while offering his backhanded compliments. He wondered idly if he should take it down a notch, go in a little easier, but he could hardly help himself. When he found someone's weak spot, his instincts urged him to go in for the kill.

Not Everyone is Sugar and Spice  PV A. Pedraza   C 

Quite stunning in all of your average. Ami nearly choked on air in embarrassed laughter, because that was the first time someone didn’t argue with her about her looks. Maybe this boy was one of the good ones. There wasn’t a lot of them anymore.

Beauty belongs to Mother Nature, for Mother Nature created all that we see, all that we are. Mother Nature never intended for the ugly grey or the lifeless brown to exist- Man takes responsibility for the black, demonic hell on this earth; a punishment for our greed for more,” Ami quoted softly, under her breath. She didn’t remember who had originally said it, but her teacher would say it every time the students had complained about the crap weather outside. “And in the end, when you look at it, isn’t beauty really in the eye of the beholder?”

Ami slowly stood up, flexing her fingers. She picked up the guitar case, and looked back at Albert. “Well, I’ll probably see you around somewhere. There’s not really anywhere else to go, as a first year. Can’t exactly leave the grounds yet, can we?” She wanted to continue playing, but alone, and in peace, where she could mess up as much as she wanted to without critiques from an audience. Maybe she’d revisit the empty classroom where she’d found the piano earlier, with Mardella.