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Harvey’s eyes were locked on the window, gazing blankly at the falling snow. January. The month held little significance for Harvey aside from the obvious “back to school blues.” Those hadn’t used to be a problem for him either since the fifth year did genuinely love his time at Hogwarts. This time though, his school duties were looming more ominously than usual. There were several textbooks open in front of him, a full pot of ink, and enough parchment to write a novel. Yet his eyes wouldn’t move from the window. Finals were important this year - only half a year away. Many of his fellow students had been studying since day one. But ever the procrastinator, Harvey had been putting it off.

He wished Edwin were here with him (though were that the case he definitely wouldn’t be getting anything done.) His best friend was as just as much a slacker as he was though, so he knew the man would scoff at the suggestion of a study session. Any other year and Harvey would have too. This time though, he was genuinely worried. He didn’t like admitting it, but he liked being at the top of his classes. He’d always been the type to breeze by with no actual effort. It would be foolish to try and pass the fifth year the same way though, and much as he acted like it sometimes, Harvey Prewitt was no fool. So here he was alone, trying desperately to get into study mode. But it was just… so… boring…

He groaned, leaning back in the comfy chair. Textbook learning was really hard for him. He looked over the formal text, but though it met his eyes and he comprehended the words, the knowledge just wouldn’t stick around. Even the slow-falling January snow was far more entertaining. Perhaps he just needed a break. He stood up and stretched, yawning loudly. He shouldn't have of course, but he secretly hoped someone or something would come in to the common room to distract him.

 

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Axel was nearly bouncing with excitement as he burst into the common room. He was carrying an ornate wooden box that was half his size, so tall that it blocked his view of most of the common room. And heavy enough that it prevented him from actually bouncing. Axel was strong for his age, but the parcel was cumbersome enough that it was giving him some difficulty. No matter. No amount of weight was about to hamper his mood.

He waddled uncomfortably toward the fireplace, setting the box down with a soft thud onto the rug. There was a piece of parchment hung on the bricks with a neat, bold, handwritten message. “WIZARD CHESS SIGN UPS”. The weekly tournaments were a source of entertainment and camaraderie in the Gryffindor house. (Though the classic Gryff competitive streak did tend to take these tournaments to a new level). Professor Wolfe was always organizing stuff in this vein. All sorts of games and friendly competitions went on in Gryffindor. It was no wonder they were the best house. At least, Axel certainly thought so.

He scratched his name onto the sign-up sheet before stretching out his arms. The box had given him more of a workout than he expected. It was then that he noticed someone else was in the room. Also stretching, strangely enough. Axel turned around to see Harvey Prewitt over by the chairs. He knew who the fifth-year was. An infamous trouble-maker according to the teachers, though there was always a certain fondness in their voice when they talked about him. Axel himself had been warned many times not to turn out like “The Prewitt Boy”, since the first-year had his own mischievous tendencies. Still, he had to wonder what made his upperclassman such a legend. He’d heard stories of him and Edwin Degerlund’s crazy antics, but those could hardly be true, could they?

It was unusual for  a first year to address a fifth year directly, as like with Muggle schools Hogwarts held a sense of age-based hierarchy. But while Axel was a very sociable person, social conventions were meaningless to him.

“Hey, you’re Harvey Prewitt, right? Did you and Degerlund really spend a whole weekend in the Forbidden Forest?”

 

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“You bet your bum we did!" Harvey turned toward the source of the voice. It seemed his wish had been granted. The question came from a younger boy, who was staring at him with wide and curious eyes. Strange… he looked to be a second or maybe third year. Harvey knew most of his fellow Gryffs by face if not name. Surely had he spent more than a year in the same house as this child, he’d at least recognize him. But this was an entirely new face. (Harvey hadn’t attended this year’s sorting ceremony as he had been off with Edwin doing… other things.) The kid had striking blonde hair and features that Harvey had to admit he was kinda jealous of. He was weirdly… pretty. Anway, it seemed like he was a fan, and sharing stories sounded like much more fun than studying, so he was happy to answer the child’s question.

“That was back in our third year. We were hoping to find a werewolf. Y’know, there’s all sorts of rumors about werewolves in the forest. That’s the thing about rumors -ah - sorry, what’s your name?”

He paused briefly to give the kid a chance to answer, then continued. “Yeah. The thing about rumors is, if they aren’t true, then there’s usually something at least vaguely true about ‘em. ‘Specially around here. Hogwarts has got all sorts of cool secrets if you bother to take a look. And Edwin n’ me? We’re botherers!” He grinned when he thought about his best friend and the adventures they had together. What was that boy up to now, anyway? Not studying, he knew. Then again, Harvey wasn’t exactly studying either.

“So anyway, we wanted to meet a real life werewolf, since we’d both only heard about ‘em in stories. Man, Edwin had planned the whole thing out. We went out there after our classes on the weekend of the full moon with some steaks we’d bought from the market. We set up a trap, and camped there for what seemed like hours.” It probably was hours now that he thought of it, but time had a way of getting away from people in the Forest. “We were gonna let ‘im out in the morning of course, once he’d changed back. We would have had the best interview for our Care of Magical Creatures report.”

Harvey sighed at the memory. “But nah, all we got as a pack of actual wolves. Had to run like hell to get outta there, no way our trap was gonna hold all those wolves. Got back to campus in the nick of time, but the teachers caught us.” He smiled sheepishly. “Lost Gryffindor a whole 50 points for that one.”

His story concluded, the fifth year smiled at the boy. He wanted to continue the conversation, especially if it justified his “break” from studying, so he thought of a question to ask. “So kid, what’s in the box?”

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Axel sat speechless for a moment. That story was awesome! Totally insane and stupid in a lot of ways, but totally awesome! He could see now why the teachers didn’t want him to turn out like Harvey and Edwin, but he certainly wouldn’t mind. “I’m Axel.” He managed to respond to the question, though in in a sort of daze. “First year.”

He took his senior’s advice about rumors to heart, as it already reflected his own views rather well. Axel wasn’t nearly as adept as the strong-willed upperclassman and his clever friend (whom Axel now desperately wanted to meet), but he was a bit of a mischief-maker himself. The young first-year loved to explore the castle and was rather fond of the many rumors he’d heard over the past few months. He had long wondered how many of them were true, and now he was wondering if Harvey Prewitt might have those answers for him. He certainly seemed to know a lot about rumors, and about Hogwarts itself. Then he asked about the box, and a sudden idea struck him. A tight-lipped grin spread across his face.

“Oh, that?” He pointed at his box, the parcel that had given him such a thrill earlier. He pulled his wand from his robes and waved it over the container. Wooden box unfolded in response, flattening out into a checkered board about the size of the Gryffindor rug. Ceramic pieces about a foot in height hovered in the air for a moment before circling and descending to their proper place. It was an impressive little display, far beyond the first-year’s magical capabilities. The box and pieces themselves were enchanted to do this, activated by waving a wand above the closed set. It had cost his family quite a bit of money - the only holiday gift he had received that year, and he was more than grateful for it. But with the way he was gesturing dramatically, one might have thought it was him conducting everything into place.

“Wizard’s Chess!” He declared proudly. “Extra-Large Novelty Set! Wanna play?”

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Harvey chuckled at the kid’s strong motions, knowing full well that the boy wasn’t actually the source the magic display. A first year, huh? That would explain why he hadn’t recognized him. Though the revelation was quite surprising. The boy looked to be at least thirteen or fourteen. Talked like it too, an awfully confident if dramatic child. Confident enough to offer a challenge to a fifth year Gryffindor. To Harvey Prewitt no less.

He wasn’t actually a fan of the game. Wizard Chess had always seemed a bit stuffy to him, the old man’s version of playing war. One that required far more thinking ahead than the reckless Harvey was want to do. If someone were to challenge him he much preferred a straightforward duel. But considering the alternative… He looked down at the open textbooks and empty parchment. Challenge accepted.

Harvey didn’t like the game, but he vaguely knew how to play. Certainly well enough to take on a first year, he thought. “Okay, you’re on. Don’t cry when I win, got it?” He stuck out his tongue playfully. To be fair, Harvey was a bit of a kid himself.

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Got ya! Axel deserted his attempt to look cool, as the older boy obviously wasn’t falling for it. No big deal. Unlike Harvey, Axel was extremely confident in his Wizard Chess skills. A lot of people thought it was a smart kids’ game, but Axel knew better. Wizard Chess was a game of reflexes, a game of strength and trust between player and pieces. There was a lot of strategy involved, sure, but learning moves was far more fun than learning out of a textbook. The first year had been playing in the weekly tournaments for a few months now, and had gotten quite good. He’d gone head-to-head with opponents far older and wiser than he, and if Harvey thought he was going down easy then the older boy was sorely mistaken. He might have been intimidating with his natural height and domineering appearance, but Axel knew what he was doing.

He took his position behind the darker pieces, motioning for Harvey to take the others. “You take that side. It’s better.” This was actually true. It was a well known fact in both Muggle and Wizard’s chess that the light side had a first-move advantage. Not an extreme advantage of course, but large enough to count as a show of good will. There was some risk in this move as Axel didn’t actually know where Harvey’s level of skill would lie, but that only made it better. The adrenaline that came with taking risks was therapeutic for him.

“You seem pretty sure that you’re gonna win. Since you’re that confident, want to make it interesting?”

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Harvey’s eyebrows shot up. Make it interesting, he says? Well, this was already far more interesting than studying. There was something off about this guy that made him suspicious. Were the lighter pieces actually better? And if so, why would a first year give him such an advantage? Perhaps he was really that overconfident, or maybe he planned on pulling something. Even as suspicions rose though, something about the boy’s appearance was working to quell them. There was something about him that just looked trustworthy.

Not that he would have said no either way. Harvey was always up for a challenge and he couldn’t wait to hear what Axel meant by “making it interesting.” The pureblood wasn’t hurting for money, nor was he opposed to gambling. Though any child who could afford a chess set like this wasn’t likely in need of money either. He looked inquisitively across the board at his opponent.

He wasn’t saying anything… just smirking and waiting for Harvey to make the first move. Man, this kid had some balls. He’s gonna make me ask, isn’t he? Alright, I’ll play along.

“Make it interesting? How so?”

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Everything was falling into place. Axel made certain to guard his expression so as not to give away how truly desperate and excited he was. If Harvey agreed to his proposition… well, the opportunities were limitless. He was standing before an expert, acting like he knew better. But in truth he was longing to crack the knowledge the more experienced student held in his mind.

“Here’s the thing. For every piece I take, you tell me about one of your adventures. And I want details. If there’s a secret room or passage, I want to know where it is and how to get there. I want to know all about this place and its “rumors”. And for every piece you take…” Axel paused. Thinking ahead wasn’t really his strong suit either. What would Harvey want in return? What could a first year do for someone so far beyond them? It had to be something useful, something that would be worth revealing the secrets he had discovered over the years. Axel didn’t know how closely these secrets were kept, but he had to offer him something.

His smug look faltered a bit. “For each one you take I’ll… I’ll owe you one. You pick. I’m part Veela, so I can get us into a lot of places, and talk us out too.” This wasn’t exactly a lie… he was part Veela, though he couldn’t exactly mind control people. He could probably keep that promise if it came down to it, but it’d take him more effort than he was implying it would. Wouldn’t matter anyway. If Harvey decided to take him along on some adventures that was a win-win for him. 

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Harvey couldn’t help but burst into laughter. All this guy wanted was to hear his stories. He would have easily given those for free! It was clear that Axel here knew him about as well as he knew Axel. Had he spend any time around him before, he would have been subjected to more “details” than he could ever keep track of. Havrey and Edwin had many an adventure up to this point, and Harvey was damn proud of what they’d been through. Still, the proposal was rather interesting. A part-Veela… he’d never met one before. The boy did seem to have a certain aura of charm about him. Even Harvey felt attached to him in a way, and he had only just met him a few moments ago.

“Alright, kid. I’ll admit you’ve got some guts. I’d love to share some of my tales with ya! In exchange…” Havrey could have told the boy that his secrets were precious to him and demanded a great deal, but that would be dishonest. If there was one thing Harvey wouldn’t stand for, it was dishonesty. At least toward other people. When it came to admitting things to himself, he had a much more difficult time handling the brutal truth. Still, what was there to ask of this child? “How about this? I tell you what I know about Hogwarts, and you cover the cost of sweets next time we sneak you out to Hogsmeade. Deal?”

He was rather proud of his solution. Not only was he offering this boy the chance of a lifetime - to be in on a genuine Ed & Harvey prank - but he’d get some free sweets out of it. Bonus! Though now that he thought of it, his proposal had nothing to do with the Wizard’s Chess game they were about to play. “Um… if I win, that is. One candy for every piece I take. And if you win, I’ll cover the sweets.” Again, he wasn’t hurting for money. How bad expensive could feeding one first-year get?

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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Axel blinked. Was he saying what he thought he was saying? Axel had been hoping to win a few secrets with his chess prowess, but Harvey was more than willing to offer them up. He looked at his senior with a healthy level of suspicion. His laugh appeared to be a humorous one rather than maniacal, but could he really trust an infamous prankster? What if this whole conversation was a prank, and Harvey was only going to give him misinformation and have him caught sneaking into Hogsmeade. He didn’t seem like that kind of person, but…

Axel had a hard time trusting people, mainly due to his heritage. He could never quite discern motivation (which to be fair, was rarely if ever malicious toward him). But this offer from Harvey seemed to enticing to be real. Not only would he tell him what he wanted to know, but he would take him along? And risk breaking the rules? If the three of them were caught, Gryffindor would lose a massive amount of points. No… if they were caught Axel would claim that he had snuck in by himself. Harvey and Edwin were fifth years so they would be allowed there. And Axel already looked nearly old enough to go himself. With a bit of aging potion…

Wait, was he actually thinking about this? He looked at the upperclassman with a mixture of shock and awe. Had they snuck into Hogsmeade before they were old enough? Were they going to reuse some old trick? Or had Harvey just put himself in over his head as he was willing to put Axel? Either way, there was no sense in refusing.

“Heck yeah!”

The two chatted excitedly as they played the game, the stakes no longer a real issue. This moment was one that Axel would always remember - the beginning of a beautiful mentorship.

Gryffindor Roleplay Challenge #14

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