Danny was apprehensive as he walked across the lawn, his Comet 220 lying across his shoulder. His stomach fluttered with nervousness as he approached, further enhance when he saw Aeryn already waiting for him on the pitch with her broom in hand ready to begin.
“You’re late,” She teased.
“I am?” Dan pouted a little. “I’m so sairy.”
“Chill Danny. I’m teasing,” Aeryn laughed. “It helps to stay light.. Keeps you on the broom,”
Danny scowled. “I’m nae in the mood fer lightness, Ryn, I just want t’get this over. I cannae believe I agreed t’go flyin’ with Cissy.”
“Flying calls for as much patience as it does skill, Danny,” Aeryn smiled, checking his broom over to make sure it was safe and flight-worthy. “Hmm.. Comet 220. Sturdy enough. This should serve you well. You ready?”
“I suppose. The quicker we start, the faster I kin get Madame Pomfrey to put me back together again.”
Aeryn struggled not to laugh, even more so when Danny struggled to get himself onto his broom. “Geez Danny. How did you ever save Cissy like that?”
“I dunno,” Danny scratched the back of his neck. “I jus’ sorta did it.”
“Ok, ok. Put the broom down before you strain something,” Danny dropped his broom without a thought.
“Tha’s gonna make it hard to learn to fly isn’t it?”
“First things first,” Aeryn smiled sympathetically. “The basics.”
“I already learnt the basics in firs’ year!” Dan insisted.
“Ok. So mount your broom.”
Danny threw a leg over the ash handle. Tension seemed to grip his form as he stood there astride his Comet. “Check.”
The two were unable to get any further in their lesson, however– they were distracted by the sound of high-pitched, raucous laughter. They turned around to find Sam coming onto the pitch, broom tossed to the ground, the girl herself doubled over with mirth.
Aeryn raised an eyebrow. “See something funny, Monkshood?” she asked, trying very hard (and failing) to look menacing.
Sam, unable to get control of herself, merely pointed at Danny and laughed even harder.
“Tha’s harsh, Sam,” Dan pouted.
She wiped gleeful tears from her cheeks and breathed deep a few times. “Danny… Danny, what are you doing?”
“Flying!” he said, a tad defensively.
“Last I checked, you had to leave the ground to fly.”
Sam looked at Aeryn. “You’re coaching him?”
Ryn opened her mouth, but Danny shouted “Reasons!” and glared at his tutor.
Sam grinned. “Well, Danny, let’s give you some flying 101, then.”
The brunette walked over to where she had abandoned her broom. Raising out her arm, she commanded in a firm voice, “Up!” and watched as the Cleansweep leapt into her hands.
“Rule One: show the broom who’s boss.”
“You sound ridiculous.”
“You look ridiculous- pick your poison. Now, you don’t have to call your broom every time you mount, but this is just an exercise to see that you can handle the thing. If you can’t get the broom off the ground, you can’t get yourself off the ground. You try.”
Danny put the Comet back on the ground and stood over it. “Up!”
“UP!” he shouted, a bit more commanding.
“Oh, come on now… up?” he pleaded. This last try was futile; Sam and Aeryn were stifling giggles.
“Maybe it’s sleeping,” Aeryn suggested, biting her lip.
“You try, then!” Dan challenged with a glare.
Aeryn composed herself and reached out a hand. “Oy, up!”
The Comet sprung to life, whizzing into the witch’s hands.
“See. Easy. Now it’s your turn,” she dropped the broom back to the ground.
Danny scowled at the broom. ‘Roit then, broom. I dinna like you, and you don’ like me,’ he thought. ‘But this isn’t ’bout either of us. It’s for Cissy.’ With that in mind, he raised his hand and commanded, “Up.”
Sam and Ryn both tried to stifle amazed gasps as the broom shot into Danny’s hand. But their amazement soon turned to amusement as the broom kept rising, lifting Danny off of the ground as he clutched the ash broom handle.
“Oi! Get me down from here!” yelled DuMorne as he hung a dozen feet above the Qudditch pitch. Below him, Aeryn and Samantha virtually rolled with laughter.
“Fine!” an irritated Danny shouted down at the girls. He began to swing his legs back and forth, trying to figure out how to flip over to the top of the broom, which only increased the laughter from below. Stopping, he scowled at the broom and yelled, “Down, you floor cleanin’ hunk o’ junk! Down or I’ll chuck ye in the fireplace! I Say DOWN!” With that, the broom dropped from the air, depositing Danny, not so gently on his rear.
Wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes, Aeryn rushed over to check how Danny was. “Any landing you can walk away from is a good start,” she chuckled.
“Easy fer ye to say, Ryn. You’ve not been dropped on yuir arse by an infernal broom.” Dan scowled at the Comet. “If wizards were meant t’fly, we’d all been born as falcon animagii…”
Ryn had been hounding Danny about their next flight lesson for days. But between his schoolwork, scheming with his mates, and the ache in his rump every time he thought of the last lesson, Danny was in no hurry to repeat the experience. But three days after Aeryn’s first attempt to teach Danny the finer points of flying, Danny found himself in a situation which he could not escape.
Dan strolled up to the door and quickly puzzled out the eagle’s mathematical conundrum. “You should have taken Arithmancy,” the bronze bird adviced sagely.
Snorting as Dan sauntered through the heavy oaken door, he commented, “I dinnae think so. D’you know how much homework is involved in Arithmancy?” Turning, he found himself face-to-face with Nicolette.”Hello, Miss Ainscough. Loverly day, isn’t it?”
“Hello, Danny.” Collette had a smile on her face that made Danny uncomfortable. “Have a lot of studying to do this evening?”
“Nae. I know you won’t believe this, but I’m actually all caught up.” He grinned, knowing that despite his telling the truth, she wouldn’t believe him and would demand proof.
But Nicolette did not play to type. “Oh,” she said, walking over to glance idly out toward the mountains.”Then you and your disreputable Hufflepuff friend will be involved in some sort of mischief, no doubt.”
“I wish. But Foozle’s got some sort of house thing tonight. I cannae imagine what it is.” Danny could not discern at what his housemate was playing.
“So, you are completely without direction or purpose tonight?”
“Aye, pretty much.”
“Perfect.” Nicolette theatrically pulled back one of the dark blue silk draperies lining the windows. “Aeryn, he’s all yours.”
Aeryn’s face broke into a broad grin. “There. You said it yourself, you don’t have any excuses to avoid another flying lesson. So get your broom.” Her broad smile widened to impossible levels as she turned to Nicolette and asked, “Would you care to join us?”
“Hmn. I don’t care much for Quiddich but. . . Someone needs to be there to help you haul his bent and broken body off the pitch when he crashes into the ground at full speed.” Nicolette smiled a combination of teasing and something close to mirth.
“Oi! Thanks fer the vote of confidence!” He turned to Aeryn, but there was no sympathy to be found there.
“Hey, you should feel honored I care about your well being at all. Now off to the gallows!”
“Well, you heard the lady. Go get your broom.”
With the two of them arrayed against him, Danny knew it was hopeless. He marched up the stairs to the boy’s dorms, and returned with his broom minutes later. Nicolette took Danny’s broom and left arm, while Aeryn, with her own broom, took his right. The two girls frog-marched Dan out of the castle and down to the Quidditch pitch.
“Right. Let’s pick up where we left off last time,” Aeryn said as she and Nic got Danny onto the pitch.”Put your broom on the ground and repeat the Up command.” She chuckled a little. “And try not to zip off into the sky right away this time.”
Danny was confident that this he could do. He set his broom upon the thick green grass of the pitch and straightened. Extending his left arm, palm above the broom’s handle, he commanded “Up.” The broom twitched, and leapt into his awaiting hand. “How was that, Ryn?” he asked, a lopsided grin on his face.
“Much better,” Aeryn smiled, looking past Danny to see the smile on Nicolette’s face. “Now for the fun part. Mounting the broom.”
“…and be sure to grasp the broomstick firmly.” Aeryn finished, a mirthful glint in her eye.
“you may have to exert some force to keep it from getting away from you” Nicolette added for the sake of the joke.
“Oi, an’ they say we boys are bad!” Danny threw a leg over his broom and got a good grip on the handle. He took a stance that, in his mind, mimicked the stance of Benny Llewelyn preparing to launch before a match. “How’s this?”
Dan looked almost comical in the stance he had taken. Suppressing her laugh, Aeryn managed to squeeze out, “Looks good. Now lightly kick off and hover a little off the ground.”
Nodding, Dan kicked off of the ground and rose, shakily, to about six feet off of the surface of the pitch. He took a deep breath and looked around as he hovered in the air. Glancing down at the young ladies, he started to smile, but then wobbled a little and cluched onto the broom for dear life. “N-n-now what?” he asked from above.
“Awww.” Nicolette gushed, holding her hands to her chest. “It is like watching a baby learn to walk.”
Aeryn looked up to Danny hovering there. “Slowly lower yourself back to the ground again.”
“Um, okay.” Danny pushed the front of his broom down and leaned forward His broom started to lower, but slowly began to pitch forward until the tip was touching the ground and Danny had gently slid forward and was lying face-down in the grass. Lifting his head, the Ravenclaw lad said, “Well, at least I kin walk away from it…”
The corners of Nic’s mouth tightened as she fought off laughter. “That’s one way of looking at it.”
Dan stalked toward the pitch with determination, carrying sets of Quidditch padding along with his broom. He grinned at the waiting Aeryn. “I’m surprised you were so eager for your next lesson,” she said.”Is Cissy pressing for a flight? And what’s with all the padding?”
“Nae, she’s not,” Dan laughed, putting on the elbow and knee pads. “And I thought I should have some protection from my, um, natural ability.” He tossed his broom on the ground and commanded “UP!”grabbing the broom as jumped into his hand and climbing aboard in a stance much improved from his last lesson.
“Damn. I owe Sam five Galleons,” Aeryn muttered to herself as she stepped over to Danny. “Nice work. Are you ready to try flying?”
“I guess,” he replied. “You gonna fly along to coach me?”
Aeryn nodded in the affirmative. “But don’t expect me to catch you.”
Dan kicked off of the ground and rose a few feet into the air. He still had issues with going too high, especially given his last landing. “Okay, Ryn. Now what?”
“Let’s try some acceleration and braking” she said. “Watch me and follow my lead.” With that, Aeryn rocketed forward and came to a stop several meters away. “Now you try.”
Danny, on the other hand, did not fly so smoothly. He jerked forward, slowed down, and jumped forward again with a jerk, shooting some meters past Aeryn before making a jolting stop that almost flung him from his broom. “How was that?” he asked.
“Not another five.” she grimaced. “That was.. um.. a good start. Wanna try coming back over here now?”
Dan grinned sheepishly. “I, uh, don’t know how to go backwards, Ryn.”
“Well, I might make some money back,” she thought. “Don’t worry about that, Danny. Just slowly fly forward and make a gentle turn.”
“Um, okay.” Dan shot forward on the broom and began to turn, but he couldn’t stop his acceleration. He flew faster and faster, spiraling tighter until his broom was practically spinning in place, drifting downward toward the ground. He hit with a thud, and fell off of his still-spinning broom.
“Are you okay?” asked Ryn with a sense of deja-vu.
Dan stood up, looking a bit woozy, and said “Doing fine.” He started to walk towards his broom, and fell over again. “But I’ll be much better when the pitch stops spinning.”
“Looks like I might get to keep my money after all,” she snickered.