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Author Topic:  air [zhenya]  (Read 440 times)

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Conrad Sturm [ Drakonya Krov ]
97 Posts  •  18  •  played by lianne
air [zhenya]
« on: February 14, 2021, 10:30:36 AM »
Conrad had been so preoccupied with everything else going on in his life -- his cousins and his parents and now Zhenya too -- that he hadn’t realised until he’d gotten back to Durmstrang that he was halfway done with his last year. He’d felt since he was twelve years old like he’d never make it this far-- he’d been so miserable every time he thought about how much more of his life he still had to suffer through -- but finally, finally, finally, he was so close to the rest of his life that he was more afraid of it than he’d ever been of anything else. It felt like standing on a ledge over everything he’d ever wanted, over absolute freedom, and all he had to do was jump.

He’d tried to take advantage of the energy that thrilled terror had given him to do some homework, but the assignment had been pretty dull, and after a while all the excitement of growing up had receded again.

It was ridiculous out here, already getting dark and far too cold to just sit still and wait for Zhenya to turn up, so he was pacing around in front of the locker rooms, his hands shoved in his pockets to keep them warm without gloves, his lips and ears going numb. He’d been running all day on a different kind of jumped-up than the mingled dread and desire -- this was just dread, heavy and sickening, that he was about to humiliate himself. He would be rotten at this -- or, God forbid, he wouldn’t be, and that would be worse. He was hopeful, though. He could barely walk toe-to-heel in a straight line.

Finally he spotted Zhenya hurrying out. He wanted to complain about having waited, but that had been his fault for being twenty minutes early, so he just stopped where he was stood and waited for her to catch up,  with his shoulders hunched around his ears -- he had brought a scarf but it had itched -- and his eyes squinting in the cold.

He had the thought as she approached that maybe he should have dressed a little nicer, like this was a date or something, instead of just wearing his uniform the way he always did (not too well.) But it was too late now -- he shifted on his feet as she approached. Was this a date? What was he supposed to say to her? Definitely not just hey, but that was all that was coming to his mind. “Hey,” he said, and then, rather formally, “How are you?”

Less formally, he leaned closer to her to lower his voice: “I don’t have a broom, has any of your family got one I can borrow or will I have to use yours?”

@Zhenya Shishkina


the show must go wrong

Zhenya Shishkina [ Drakonya Krov ]
111 Posts  •  16  •  played by Inga
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2021, 01:04:43 PM »
Zhenya had been delighted when Conrad had agreed that she could show him some simple moves on an artistic flying broom. She did not expect him to join the artistic flying club; truth be told, she was even glad he didn’t want to join as she feared she wouldn’t be able to focus on the club and teach others if she had her boyfriend around. However, she absolutely loved the idea of showing Conrad some easy positions and movements on a broom on a special date for just the two of them.

They had talked about this already a few days ago but it had taken them until today to find time to actually meet for a little flying practice. Due to the massive amount of schoolwork and training Zhenya felt constantly tired and exhausted these days but when she was with Conrad she couldn’t hide a happy smile. She felt a little embarrassed about that, but at the same time she just loved the feeling that she had when she was with him. Conrad’s presence seemed to put everything else into perspective. The stress she felt otherwise suddenly diminished when he was around, leaving her feeling light and joyous.

The girl had changed into a warm black training catsuit with an emerald green waistcoat and had tied her hair up in a ponytail. She had received a parcel with a new lip gloss this morning that tasted nicely of honey and orange. She had ordered it solely because she hoped that Conrad would like the taste of it, too. While she didn’t want to let her friend wait unnecessarily long, the girl checked her reflection in the mirror two more times before leaving.

“Conrad!” Zhenya exclaimed brightly as she jogged the last few steps towards him, smiling brightly. “I’m well, thanks,” she said, suddenly feeling strangely out of breath. It was similar to how she felt before a competition when she held her breath for too long out of nervous anticipation.

He asked about the broom and Zhenya nodded so eagerly that her ponytail bounced. “Of course,” she said, smiling widely. “You can take one of the brooms that my family donated for the club.” He had leaned closer towards her when he spoke of the broom and Zhenya felt how she blushed as she took in his scent. She licked her lips, blushing even more as she remembered the lip gloss.

“Nobody’s here,” she whispered conspiratorially as she looked him into the eyes, hoping that he got the hint. “A good chance for a proper greeting, isn’t it?” she added, feeling how her heart was beating faster now.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2021, 02:11:58 PM by Inga »

Conrad Sturm [ Drakonya Krov ]
97 Posts  •  18  •  played by lianne
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2021, 10:33:54 AM »
Zhenya took the last few steps toward him at a jog, which made Conrad want to abandon his previous urge to whine (he’d been waiting forever) in favour of uncharacteristic downplaying of his own suffering (forever wasn’t that long). Rather than do either, he rolled his neck and muttered, “Ja, good.” She was grinning at him; he pressed his lips together in an almost-smile back, then pressed his lips together in a more stressful way to fret about his lack of a broom.

“Okay,” he said dubiously. He wanted to warn her that he was crap on a broom -- that the other Sturms picked him last for pick-up games, and that he could fly fast but not well -- but she licked her lips, and he looked down at them, and then back up at her. She looked very pretty, with her hair up and her fancy flying clothes. He looked like a sloven. He hadn’t even tucked his shirt, but he figured if he tried to correct that, he’d just look like a lech as well. The best he could do was wipe his face; he gave his mouth a scrub with one hand.

She wanted him to kiss her -- Conrad wasn’t so thick he couldn’t tell that -- she had just said that nobody was here, but Conrad glanced around first anyway. Nobody was there; he bent his neck awkwardly to give her a little kiss; he opened his eyes before he pulled back.

He was bad at this -- there was no way around it. He just didn’t know how people went in for kisses -- he didn’t know how to deal with the difference in height, slight as it was, or the angle of his neck, or their noses -- he didn’t know how to make it romantic, and he didn’t know to do it without being asked first. There had to be a right way, and a right time, but he didn’t know it -- all he knew was that, somehow, so far, she hadn’t told him he was doing it wrong, which wasn’t much of a comfort when he considered that she, too, had no experience with this.

But there was nothing to do but move on, as with every other time they’d kissed, so he cleared his throat and got back to business: “So… what first?”


the show must go wrong

Zhenya Shishkina [ Drakonya Krov ]
111 Posts  •  16  •  played by Inga
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2021, 12:08:39 PM »
Zhenya couldn’t have wiped the smile off of her face even if she had wanted to. She was spending time with her boyfriend, he wanted to try out riding an artistic flying broom, they were alone. Why couldn’t it always be like this? Right now Zhenya didn’t think of schoolwork, exams, artistic flying competitions, rivalries, and didn't worry about the wellbeing of her family members. At this very moment everything was just perfect in her eyes.

Conrad agreed to take one of the brooms that were there for the artistic flying club. They were Durmstrang brooms now, sort of. Zhenya still felt like they were the property of the artistic flying school but that was not important now and not worth thinking about for more than a second.

As Conrad looked at her, Zhenya felt how she blushed. She half wished she had checked the mirror another time to make sure that everything was just as it should be. However, this was silly. She was probably looking quite presentable, and yet she nervously shifted her weight from one foot to the other and, as he wiped his mouth, she licked her lips self-consciously again.

Conrad looked around now, checking if there was really nobody there. Zhenya sometimes wondered if it would really be so bad if people knew about them. It would be easier to be open about their relationship. However, whenever that thought occurred to her she realised that nothing would be easier. If her parents found out that she was wasting her time with a boy when she could train, she'd be in trouble for sure.

They had kissed several times before - Zhenya had stopped counting how many times - and yet it felt like they were still practising. She was sure that it was possible to do better than they did. Maybe this was the athlete in her that made her be competitive about a romantic thing like a kiss.

Anyway, this kiss now ended a little too quickly for Zhenya’s taste but she assumed that was because Conrad was nervous about flying and that was fine. After all, she felt nervous, too. Admittedly, for her it was a different kind of nervousness, it was more like excitement when, probably, for an inexperienced flyer like Conrad it was rather anxiety.

“Well,” Zhenya said, turning to open the door of a small storage area where she kept the school brooms. “I’ve left my broom in the dormitory so we’ll both take one of these,” she pulled out two artistic flying brooms that were longer than she was tall. “They’re different from other brooms, obviously,” she stated, thinking that everybody was aware that they were longer and had two platforms that other brooms didn’t have. She held one of them out for Conrad to take and shouldered the other one.

“Let’s head for the middle of the Quidditch pitch,” she suggested, “then I’ll teach you how to stand on the broom and, once you feel comfortable enough, we can just fly a lap. If you like, you can hold my hand then,” she offered, beaming at him.

Conrad Sturm [ Drakonya Krov ]
97 Posts  •  18  •  played by lianne
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2021, 09:24:00 PM »
This was just so awkward -- Conrad was already awkward, skinny and bug-eyed and jumpy, but it was a hundred times worse with girls, a thousand times worse with Zhenya. He’d never worried this much about coming up short, before -- he’d never felt this much like he had something to prove. Not even to her, but to himself, like he might be useless at everything else but he had to be able to do this -- Zhenya -- right. It wouldn’t matter if he was bad at flying -- but it mattered that she still liked him afterward.

(Of course, it did also matter to him if he was bad at flying, for the same reason it mattered to him that he was bad at alchemy, or arithmetic, or anything else -- it didn’t seem fair how hard he had to work to be only passable -- but if he could help it, he’d never fly again. This -- girls -- Zhenya -- he had to be good at that or he’d die alone.)

He followed her to the broom closet; she’d left her own in her dormitory (he could fill in the blanks: she probably didn’t trust him with it) and resisted the urge to tell her he wasn’t stupid and stuck his hand out to accept the broom she handed him. It was taller than he was; he turned it, holding it horizontally over the grass, and tried to figure out how he was supposed to get onto it. He’d never really paid attention to that. “Do we have to go to the middle of the pitch?” he said, not moving. It seemed a lot more exposed out there -- even in the twilight he felt all too conspicuous. “I’m fine staying by the walls. If I go out of control at least I’ll run into something faster.”

Holding her hand was something else he hadn’t really decided his feelings on yet. They hadn’t tried it in public yet -- obviously -- and they didn’t have much reason to do it in private either. Conrad understood that it was another of those things that couples just did, but he couldn’t help thinking it was inconvenient. He liked having both his hands to himself, and probably would like it even more if he were trying to balance in midair on a broom.

So much for being good at this, he thought bitterly -- they’d been here for like five minutes and already he didn’t want to do anything she had asked about. Except fly a lap: that sounded exactly his speed, looping the periphery of the pitch and not doing anything fancy. More like a chore than an art. Conrad rolled his shoulders, still holding his broomstick out to his side -- “Do I have to put it down first?”


the show must go wrong

Zhenya Shishkina [ Drakonya Krov ]
111 Posts  •  16  •  played by Inga
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 11:54:14 AM »
Zhenya nervously observed Conrad as he took the broom and examined it a little. He didn’t seem eager to go to the middle of the pitch and the girl felt she knew why - they’d be more visible there than if they stayed by the walls. He justified his wish not to go to the centre differently, though, and Zhenya raised her eyebrows ever so slightly.

“We can stay here for now. However, I think it’s better if there’s no obstacle to run into when you start…” She grinned a little. “You’ll do fine, don’t worry. It’s not like you have to do anything too complicated.”

It was true that what she was expecting of Conrad was not complicated at all to her. She had been standing on artistic flying brooms for most of her life. Keeping her balance was nothing difficult for her. Conrad, however, was an absolute beginner who likely had never even tried to walk straight on a beam. For him this challenge was much bigger for sure.

Conrad asked if he had to put the broom down first. Zhenya realised with some amusement that for her mounting a broom was so much of a routine that explaining it step by step felt quite strange. Well, at least he still seemed interested in trying and didn’t want to back out. That was good. She smiled at him gratefully. She had been looking forward and dreading this moment at the same time, thinking that it would not do their relationship any good if Conrad chose not to try flying, after all.

“Yes,” she said, “you can put it down and then, just like with any other broom command it ‘up’. It’ll hover just a bit above the ground and then you can mount it. You could also just drop it and hold your hand like this” She paused, dropping her broom and holding her hand parallel to the ground. Her broom hovered just a bit above the ground in an equally horizontal position.

“When you mount it, place one foot on the second platform near the tail first and then put the other foot on the front platform. If you do it the other way around the broom will sink and the handle might touch the ground before you’re on it.” She paused, wondering if she was explaining this well enough. “I’ll show you,” she added hastily, stepping onto her broom which rose slightly higher into the air before it hovered a few feet above the ground. 

“Keep your arms stretched out so it’s easier to find your balance, don’t shift your weight abruptly, and don’t move too quickly,” she advised. She had already told beginners in the artistic flying club how to mount a broom but this still felt different somehow. Zhenya tried to offer her boyfriend an encouraging smile but she was actually rather worried that something might go wrong and that it would be all her fault.

Conrad Sturm [ Drakonya Krov ]
97 Posts  •  18  •  played by lianne
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2021, 10:52:56 PM »
“I would rather have the wall,” Conrad said – he might not have particular experience flying into them, but he had a high opinion of his ability to absorb shocks, and he thought he could take it. But she smiled, and he mirrored the gesture with relief, hoping it didn’t look silly. He trusted Zhenya to know what was difficult and easy on one of these broomsticks, but he wasn’t sure if he could trust her to judge his coordination, which still consistently let him down after eighteen years.

He took a deep breath before he started, trying to think of the steadiest things he could, like trees and draft horses; he dropped the broom (thinking a moment later that he should probably have been more careful with it, and shooting Zhenya a guilty look) then stuck his hand out over it: “Up,” he mumbled, and it rose up and hung ominously a few inches over the frosty grass. Conrad had forgotten all his steady thoughts – he tried hastily to recall them (trees, draft horses) and then to absorb everything Zhenya was telling him (she was telling him too much at once, didn’t she know he was stupid?!) and then got on – one foot at the tail, then the other closer to the front. He stood there for a moment, hoping fervently that the broom wouldn’t move any higher or lower than it was presently, and then said, “How do I get down? Do I jump?”

That was what he wanted to do, but he couldn’t imagine it was the proper way to do it. It was just an impulse, like scratching a scab, like the natural response to standing on top of something high – as a kid he’d jumped off a lot of tall things, before it’d started making his mother nervous. He resisted the urge to take a dive now and held his arms out the way Zhenya had hers. It made him feel abominably stupid. He wished they could just skip to running into walls.

At first he’d thought he might have some kind of advantage, having spent so much time on boats. (Here was a steady thought – standing at the wheel of his father’s ketch when he was twelve, with his dad holding his hands steady when the boat hit a swell.) But a boat, he was noticing, the longer he stared at his feet on the platforms, was a good deal bigger than a broomstick, and when he fell on the boat, he didn’t generally have far to go, unless he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to be. Now he did want to jump off, but he swallowed and resisted the urge, furrowing his eyebrows with concentration. “I don’t know how to make it go,” he reminded her.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 07:19:53 PM by Lianne »


the show must go wrong

Zhenya Shishkina [ Drakonya Krov ]
111 Posts  •  16  •  played by Inga
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2021, 12:42:09 PM »
Zhenya knew her boyfriend well enough by now not to take offense too easily. Sometimes it was hard, of course. Conrad didn’t mince his words and was not one to offer pleasantries. The girl, therefore, just smiled as he said that he’d rather have the wall.

“Okay,” she said, hoping that he would not end up crashing into the wall. She really didn’t want to have to bring him to the hospital wing after this. Of course, should he get injured she’d do so without the slightest hesitation but still… She’d much prefer if he would be fine after this little tryout.

From her slightly elevated position on the broom she observed Conrad as he dropped his broom and demanded it up. She gave a little nod as he stepped onto the platforms, noticing how obvious it was that he was an absolute beginner.

“Well done,” she said encouragingly anyway. He was standing on the broom, after all. It was a good start.

Frowning slightly as she heard his first question, Zhenya took a little longer than needed to respond. Conrad had mounted the broom seconds ago and the first thing he was asking was how he would get down again? She tried to hide her disappointment behind the mask of a slight smile.

“To get down you lift the foot from the platform near the tail and move it forward. As the weight shifts forward the broom will sink and then you can step off it comfortably,” she finally explained. She was still contemplating to offer that they’d try getting on and off the broom a few times so he’d feel more at ease when Conrad asked about making it go.

A relieved smile spread across her face. This clearly meant that he was still willing to try this out.

“Well,” she started, realising not for the first time when talking to beginners, how natural everything felt to her and how difficult it was to explain these things. “Bend your knees a little and lean forward a bit. You steer left, right, up, and down by shifting your weight. A lot also happens just like… a voiceless command, though? You can do voiceless incantations, right? This is pretty similar. Think of speeding up, visualise a spot to which you want to fly…” she gave a little shrug. It really was hard to explain these things.

Conrad Sturm [ Drakonya Krov ]
97 Posts  •  18  •  played by lianne
Re: air [zhenya]
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2021, 11:07:52 PM »
Well done, said Zhenya; Conrad, suspicious he was being condescended to, mumbled, “Not really,” but didn’t push the point. He knew he was shitty at this – she could pretend what she wanted to.

He was definitely going to have forgotten how to dismount, by the time it became necessary, but he supposed there was also a chance he would fall off it on his own, and not need to remember, so he didn’t ask her to repeat it – if all else failed, he told himself, he would jump. It wasn’t like he was planning to go any higher than ten feet off the ground. If he was seriously hurt… well, maybe he’d get out of Survival tomorrow, maybe he’d have to go to the nurse and she would tell him he was stupid. He was five months out from graduation. He didn’t give a damn.

In theory, he knew how to do voiceless incantations. In practice, he’d tried to conjure birds in Illusions that morning and they had burst, and he had spent half his lunch scrubbing entrails off his desk. He said, “So, like a normal broom,” and leaned forward – the broom shot ahead and he instinctively launched himself off of it, tumbled over onto his knees and watched the broom stop abruptly several feet away and drop into the grass. He glanced sheepishly at Zhenya, then got up to go fetch it, mounted it with rather more ease.

Slower, you moron, he told himself, and leaned forward significantly less sharply – this time he got it moving at a more manageable pace; he waited for Zhenya on her own broom to catch up – surely that wasn’t hard for her – and said, “Now what?”


the show must go wrong

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