Closed Looking for a Happy Place, Little Piece of Grace

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
It occurred to Harper as she rummaged through one of the cabinets in the Kitchens that she probably should not be doing this. Taking food without asking the elves was technically against the rules, and she was now a prefect — a fact that was surprisingly easy to forget sometimes — which meant she probably should be following the rules. Harper paused for a second before resuming her search, deciding that there wasn't much point in asking the elves for food that was right there. And surely it was more polite not to bother them?

Besides, she'd done this before without getting caught. In third year, Harper and her friends had raided the kitchen for snacks to throw a little celebration for Sky after she'd made the Quidditch team. They had done it again last year after Em made prefect. And now, she was doing it — albeit at a much smaller scale — to celebrate Nikko's new position as Quidditch captain. Harper had thought about reaching out to some of Nikko's other friends, but she didn't know them well. And if she was being honest, she was kind of doing this for herself too. After a thoroughly miserable break, she could definitely use a hangout with a friend that didn't involve having to make small talk with strangers.

After amassing a small pile of lollies and snacks, Harper realised that she'd forgotten to bring a container to hold everything. She frowned. It was a minor detail, but one that she definitely would have remembered if she had done this last year. The break had left her feeling unmoored, and Harper had spent the last few days crashing blindly through life as she sought distractions to fill up her time. At least this oversight wasn't a big one. She pulled open another cabinet, this time looking for a bag or large serving bowl that could hold the snacks.
 

Nikko Blackwood

soft jock 🏄 painfully independent 🏄 '57 Grad
 
Messages
664
OOC First Name
Kadi
Blood Status
Half Blood
Relationship Status
Interested in Somebody
Wand
Straight 10 1/2 Inch Sturdy Pine Wand with Unicorn Hair Core
Age
07/2039 (18)
Nikko was doing his best to go into his last year at Hogwarts with a positive attitude. But it was harder to maintain that he had hoped. Things with Estella were still unresolved and that didn't even begin to scratch the surface. He had known being captain would be a lot of work but it felt so different now that it was happening and everyone was looking to him for answers and guidance. But this wasn't anything he couldn't handle, at least that's what he told himself. The kitchens were a familiar haunt of his at this point and he even knew a few of the house elves and he wondered if they would notice when he graduated. He whistled to himself as he entered and stopped short when he realized he wasn't alone. It took him a second to realize it was Harper rummaging through the cupboards. "Looking for anything good?" he asked with a chuckle before noticing the snacks she had already pulled out. "Having a party?"
 

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
At the sound of whistling, Harper froze, suddenly realising that she hadn't prepared an excuse for her searching. Great. The new year had barely started, and she was already going to get in trouble. Bracing herself for the worst, Harper turned and jumped slightly when she saw the very person she was looking to surprise. "Nikko! I thought... I thought you had practice." She was annoyed with herself for not preparing for this possibility. She knew Nikko sometimes came down to the kitchens when he needed to take his mind off things. So his sudden appearance was less than ideal, not just because of the ruined surprise, but because of what it possibly indicated about his current stress levels.

Nikko noticed the small mountain of snacks she had accumulated, and Harper was silent for a second as she tried to figure out a way to salvage the situation. Coming up with nothing, she gave him a wry smile. "Kind of. I was going to try and surprise you. Figured captain of the Quidditch team was worth celebrating but well..." It was pretty obvious how things had gone wrong. She plucked a lolly off the pile and grinned at him. "So... surprise?" Harper tossed the piece of candy towards him. She had tried to choose things she knew he liked, though she had steered clear of baked goods in case he thought the elves' baking skills didn't measure up to his own — not that he would be wrong if he did think that.
 

Nikko Blackwood

soft jock 🏄 painfully independent 🏄 '57 Grad
 
Messages
664
OOC First Name
Kadi
Blood Status
Half Blood
Relationship Status
Interested in Somebody
Wand
Straight 10 1/2 Inch Sturdy Pine Wand with Unicorn Hair Core
Age
07/2039 (18)
Nikko leaned against one of the counters and grinned as Harper looked shocked to see him. "Nah, that was yesterday. Can't push the team too hard. I need them to make it to the first game." he joked before shooting her a curious look. He started to poke at the snacks and was silently pleased that she had managed to grab all of his favorites. He was about to ask to have some before she mentioned it was for him. Nikko froze with his hand hovering above a bag of his favorite chips. "You didn't have to do all that." he said quickly and was momentarily overwhelmed by the gesture. He also felt a little bad for ruining his own surprise and gave Harper a sheepish look. "I'm still pretty surprised if it means anything now."
 

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
Harper shrugged. "It was nothing, really." Gathering snacks from the kitchens didn't take much more than a little time, and these days, she had more time than she knew what to do with. "Besides, I wanted to." She knew Nikko had had a couple of pretty miserable months last semester, and she had to imagine the start of seventh year brought its own stresses, what with the Quidditch captaincy and NEWTs. This was truly the least she could do.

"Mmm you look very surprised," she said a little dryly before smiling. She had something that would hopefully actually catch him off-guard. "Hold on a sec." Harper reached into her pocket, pulled out a magical confetti popper, and quickly tapped it with her wand. It levitated over to Nikko before exploding into a shower of confetti. "There, now it's an actual party," she said with a little grin. Once the confetti had settled — she decided she could clean that up later — Harper took a lolly for herself and leaned back against the opposite counter. "So, seventh year..." she started, "how're you feeling?" They hadn't had much time to catch up since the break, and she wasn't sure where his head was these days, so she wanted to leave the question as open-ended as possible.
 

Nikko Blackwood

soft jock 🏄 painfully independent 🏄 '57 Grad
 
Messages
664
OOC First Name
Kadi
Blood Status
Half Blood
Relationship Status
Interested in Somebody
Wand
Straight 10 1/2 Inch Sturdy Pine Wand with Unicorn Hair Core
Age
07/2039 (18)
Nikko knew it was useless to try and protest so he just smiled again. “Well, thanks.” he said and grabbed the bag of chips he was eyeing earlier and opened them. “I was.” he insisted with a laugh and watched Harper curiously as she reached for her wand. “What are you-” Nikko started to ask until a moment later when confetti shot out of her wand and got tangled in his hair. He laughed again and shook his head like a wet dog and sent the confetti flying again. ”A party might be a stretch.” he teased.

He looked into the bag of chips and spotted some bits in there that hadn’t been before. He picked around the confetti and ate a few before offering the bag to Harper in case she wanted some. There was plenty to share. Nikko’s easy grin faltered a bit at her question. “Mostly…good.” he answered hesitantly, which was mostly true. He was feeling better than he had last semester but there was still a lot hanging over his head he wasn’t quite dealing with yet. “Its weird,” he continued. “Part of me is excited to finally almost be done with the exams and the lessons but…I don’t feel ready to leave yet.” he shrugged.
 

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
"Hey!" Harper took a step back, laughing as she tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid the confetti that Nikko sent flying. "It's not like I had a lot of time to prepare," she shot back though she was smiling. Harper took a couple of chips, silently noting the way his grin seemed to waver at her question. "'Mostly good' is good," she said with an encouraging smile. It was a lot better than "absolutely miserable," which was how Nikko had acted for much of last semester.

She nodded as Nikko elaborated on how he was feeling. It was pretty similar to what Chloë had told her last year before graduating. "Well you still have basically a whole year before you leave. There's still a lot of time before you have to be ready." Even though a school year technically wasn't that long in the grand scheme of things, it still felt decently far away to Harper, which was good. She wasn't ready to say goodbye to another set of graduating friends. "Of course, if you're still not ready by then, I'm sure Alicastell would hire you on to work in the kitchens. You could be head pastry chef," she joked.
 

Nikko Blackwood

soft jock 🏄 painfully independent 🏄 '57 Grad
 
Messages
664
OOC First Name
Kadi
Blood Status
Half Blood
Relationship Status
Interested in Somebody
Wand
Straight 10 1/2 Inch Sturdy Pine Wand with Unicorn Hair Core
Age
07/2039 (18)
Nikko grinned satisfactorily as Harper got covered in confetti too. It would have been rude of him not to share after all. He shot her a look when she tried to be encouraging. He did appreciate it even if he had a hard time taking it. “Yeah.” he laughed. “Better than mostly bad.” he admitted. He wasn’t sure how anyone felt confident or excited about graduation. Maybe people who had jobs lined up or parents that helped them plan for the future. His parents were great and would support him no matter what he chose to do but he sometimes wished they had a stronger opinion. It would at least give him something to work with. His dad used to at least hate magic, and he still did but he had softened recently. He had even gifted Nikko a new broom when he had found out Nikko had gotten captain.

“Hadn’t thought of that.” Nikko said thoughtfully, when Harper suggested working in the kitchens. That wouldn’t be so bad. But at that rate he was better off working for his parents. “Do you think the house elves would mind if I joined them?” he asked playfully but glanced around the kitchens quickly to see if any of them were around. Most of them were nice or at least ignored him when he was down here but there were a few grumpy ones he didn’t want to upset. Especially if they could one day be his coworkers.
 

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
Nikko seemed to take her suggestion seriously, and Harper arched an eyebrow. He must have been really worried about graduation if he was actually thinking of working in the Hogwarts kitchens. It wasn't that Harper thought he couldn't do it or that a job in the kitchens couldn't be meaningful — she just thought Nikko deserved a life bigger than days spent in a dungeon with only elves for company. She relaxed a little at his question. "Well," Harper said, pretending to think about it, "as long as you don't insult their baking skills, they probably won't mind too much." She nodded at the bag of chips he was holding. "You should probably hide those though. Technically, all this stuff was stolen."

Thankfully, there didn't seem to be any house elves around. Harper had never been a stickler for the rules, but it would still be a little embarrassing to get in trouble so early in the year, especially now that she had a prefect's badge. She took a couple more chips for herself. "You could also just fail all your NEWTs," she said very helpfully. "You'd have to repeat all your classes, but on the bright side, you'd get to be in the same year as me," Harper said with a grin.
 

Nikko Blackwood

soft jock 🏄 painfully independent 🏄 '57 Grad
 
Messages
664
OOC First Name
Kadi
Blood Status
Half Blood
Relationship Status
Interested in Somebody
Wand
Straight 10 1/2 Inch Sturdy Pine Wand with Unicorn Hair Core
Age
07/2039 (18)
Nikko laughed. “Don’t know if I could make that promise.” he said grimly as Harper said he couldn’t insult the elves' baking skills. He was mostly joking of course. The elves were great cooks most of the time. But he had to admit there were a few things they made that he knew he could do better himself. “You’ve made me a criminal.” he said with mock seriousness, as if students didn’t come to the kitchens all the time to get a few snacks between meals. He didn’t stop eating the chips but he did take some extra effort to be a bit quieter when he stuck his hand in the bag. Nikko snorted without meaning too when Harper said he could fail his NEWTs. “Then I’d definitely have to start working in the kitchen.” he said. Honestly the idea of getting to repeat the year didn’t sound that bad. He could hang out with Harper and Aubrey, and even get to stay on the Gryffindor team a bit longer. But he shook his head. “You’d get sick of me.” he joked, not able to pass up a self-deprecating punchline. But realistically he knew he had to make it on his own one way or another.
 

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
Nikko might have been joking, but Harper was pretty sure she'd once seen him give the pastries at a school function a judgmental once-over. She laughed. "Hey, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you hadn't crashed your own surprise party, I could have snuck these out." But she made no move to head for the door. Even if she'd planned on surprising Nikko out on the grounds or in the common room, Harper supposed it made sense that they'd ended up in the kitchens. It was one of the parts of the castle that she most closely associated with him.

Harper grinned. "I never said it was a good plan." Well, it'd be good for her if he stuck around for an extra year. "Though, you don't really need NEWTs to become a pro quidditch player." Even though she said this casually, Harper watched closely for Nikko's reaction. It had been a while since he'd mentioned wanting to go pro, and she didn't know if that was still his goal. At Nikko's joke, she smiled and shook her head. "Nah. I've managed to put up with you for what, four years? Five years? What's one more?" It was a little crazy to think that they'd been friends for that long.
 

Nikko Blackwood

soft jock 🏄 painfully independent 🏄 '57 Grad
 
Messages
664
OOC First Name
Kadi
Blood Status
Half Blood
Relationship Status
Interested in Somebody
Wand
Straight 10 1/2 Inch Sturdy Pine Wand with Unicorn Hair Core
Age
07/2039 (18)
Nikko shook his head with mock frustration. “Well I guess you need to be quicker next time.” he teased lightly. He still thought the gesture was nice even if he had ruined it for himself. But part of him liked this more. A celebration in a quiet corner of the castle. He chuckled when Harper admitted that her plan for him to work in the kitchens wasn’t actually very good. He could have told her that. But the fantasy had been nice to think about for a while. But he sighed when she brought up quidditch and going pro. “I suppose not.” Nikko said with a shrug. He wasn’t sure exactly what requirements he needed to play professionally, besides being good. He knew he was good for Hogwarts but going pro felt like a whole other level. “You think coaches take bribes?” he joked.

He grinned at her comment about putting up with him. Nikko didn't have that many people he could really consider friends and he was grateful for her. “I guess so.” he said and tried to shake off the overly sentimental feeling that was bubbling up inside. It wasn't time for this kind of think yet. "Enough about me." he said. "What are you going to do when you leave here?"
 

Harper Alston

we are born not once, but again and again
 
Messages
1,339
OOC First Name
Ana
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Single
Wand
Straight 12.5'' Flexible Larch Wand with Dragon Heartstring Core
Age
17
Harper quietly noted the way Nikko sighed. He didn't object, however, which she took to mean that he was still hoping to go pro. She just wished he had a little more confidence in himself. At his joke, Harper grinned. "Probably not, but if you give them some of your cupcakes, I'm sure they'd change their minds." She paused, her tone growing a touch more serious as she gave him a sincere smile. "You're not going to need it though." She didn't know how exactly professional Quidditch worked, but judging by the number of Hogwarts students who went on to play professionally, she had no doubt Nikko could do the same. He was one of the most talented players at the school.

Harper much preferred talking about Nikko's life; it was a good distraction from her own. She made a face. "Hey, I'm not supposed to have to think about that for at least another year," she joked. She'd had her own goals, of course, but half of them had blown up over the break. "I was going to spend some time in the muggle world, maybe." Would there be anything left for her there once she finally graduated? "And then try and get a job with the Ministry as an auror."
 

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