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..HNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG

*pant* *pant* Koushiro, your body is amazingly flexible, but you *puff* need to work on your stamina! And I thought I could simply go through my normal exercise routine as if nothing had happened.....


BUT ANYWAY!! For our last flying class before our entire company scatters to the four winds for winter break, it's time to practice... BRAKING!!! And for that purpose, there is now a huge pile of snow at the end of the Quidditch pitch! Younger students will combine turning practice with braking practice, while older ones will work on high-speed braking and power moves like the Filipino Flip! So, everyone get out there first thing tomorrow morning -- and don't forget to dress warmly; neither chill nor icy blizzard will keep us inside!!!
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What a glorious day! The sun gleams so brightly off the snow-capped mountains and the air is crisp and clear -- remember, kids, you'll need your gloves and boots for tomorrow's flying lesson! And guess what it's finally time to start?

SPEED TRAINING~~!!!!


That's right, you're going to be doing rapid acceleration and hairpin turns --so be glad the snow's arrived and you'll be falling off onto something soft!

..And did I hear something about a SNOWBALL FIGHT???
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Yosh -- listen up, Hogwarts! It is finally time to reveal the AWESOME POWER OF THE SHAKESPEARIAN THESPIAN ..what... I mean, the news you've all been waiting for!

I, the wizarding world's GLORIOUS PROUD GREEN BEAST, am no longer your Charms TA. That post has been given back to Zidane Tribal, who SHALL BE KNOWN AS DARTH nonono, who just arrived from THE NEW YORK COMICON TO SAY... wait, is my journal acting up again? *sound of the journal being whacked with his wand* ..But never fear; I am not going away! Instead, from henceforward, I will START AND NEVER STOP ..well, that, too....

I AM THE NEW FLYING TEACHER FOR FIRST THROUGH FOURTH YEARS!!! *stares suspiciously, then draws a thumbs-up as he sees there are no more extraneous words* So you will all get to meet me on the Quidditch pitch BRIGHT AND EARLY next week for your first lesson!!


*throws open the door to his old quarters in the teachers' wing, only to find....*
..AUGHSPIDERWEBS
..I see Halloween started a little early in my room, eh? AHAHAHAHAHAReducto! Reducto!! ..hah, that takes care of them....

..how come my mail wasn't forwarded again? So many letters -- hmm.... *shuffling paper* ..wait, this isn't addressed to me--

IS THERE A GAU MEGURO IN THE CASTLE??


[[Cleared with Gau-mun. This is clearly going to lead to madcap hijinks. XDDD And all those very readable strikeouts are derived from HERE. *dies laughing*]]
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It's RAINING.



[[Private?]]
*due to magical bleed-through where Reparo didn't do such a good job on Gai's ripped-up journal, a few words from his private notes are accidentally open to all readers....*

..at the Apparition point knows me by sight!! And for good reason; it's been
                    waiting is the hardes
          mbledore said (but it was as confusing this time as
...

[[/notprivate]]


..I should probably use that charm again. In class. On the targets. The turning of the year shouldn't be dreary and droopy. Even Auror training and especially Professor Marchbanks needs a little perking up up once in a while!! >D


[[Hello, exceedingly vague can-has-no-details post. ^^ Just a placeholder for certain matters. Oh, look, something shiny!]]
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*lands by the Hogwarts gates, slinging his broom over his back before walking through the wards and up the hill*


Silence... from all corners... is this the eye of the storm?


Good grief, it's WARM today! If not for the shining white melting snow scattered all over the land, I would think spring was on its way! But I remember the way of these winters in Scotland... so mild, and then..... *wicked grin*

In a day or so, I shall be going to Hong Kong to participate in the shockingly early celebration of the Chinese new year!!! THERE WILL BE PICTURES!!! Lee, I can hardly wait! But work must come before pleasure, and I have my patrols to do today!

Sakuraaaa! How about that run? The lake path looks all cl*SCRIBBLE*

..ACKPBLTH!!! WHO THREW THAT SNOWBALL???
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*emerges from the Ministry telephone booth and throws a sheaf of papers up in the air with glee*


BWAHAHAHA!!! I DID IT! I FINISHED MY HISTORY OF DEFENSE EXAM!!!!


*darts around the square in a fit of excess energy, catching each page before it touches the ground; wipes away a few TEARS OF JOY, clasping the papers to his heart* Ah, Professor Constantine and Sir Integra would be proud of me today!! And the next section is Stealth and Tracking. With my training, it should go by like a mild summer breeze!!!!

*strides down the sidewalk, oblivious to the stinging rain, grinning at all and sundry, and pulls out his journal, which has naturally caught every word preceding*


Hahaha, now to get back to the school a whole day early!!! I can't wait to see Lee's face... and Hirako says it's snowing up north... I wonder if the Drama Club decided what they're going to do next... or whether Fakir found his stalker yet.... and winter break is coming right up....

..training in the snow.... I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!!!



[[Strike nearly unhackable, especially to Lee, because Gai wants to surprise him. ^^ He'll be walking back up the Hogwarts steps shortly before curfew.]]
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*walking toward the Ministry from his London flat; pulls out his journal and takes a few notes*

No answers yet. Practical this Friday. Hokage might know something. See you all next w--

*a few smears of ink and water*

..Rain.....

*glances up at the sky, blinking as the rain soaks his hair; pulls his cloak tighter and walks glumly on*


[[Backdated to yesterday; strike hackable to associates. Didn't manage to get on campus today -- sorry! Mell, feel free to mess about with Bob's latest post.]]
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A rainy afternoon slowly fades into grey evening as the cold autumn wind whips tendrils of fog across the grounds. The odd ray of low-slanted sunlight withdraws in defeat, and the dark earth and dusty clouds seem to leech all the color out of the world. As night comes on, rain pounds the slated Hogsmeade rooftops and hammers at the heathers and grasses beyond the little town.

Slowly, creakily, the gates of the castle swing open and a lone figure strides through, his brow furrowed like thunder. The rain has soaked his robes; he can move no faster than his current brisk walk, but strains with every nerve to reach the castle, where -- against all odds perhaps -- he might gain some measure of peace.



[[AM BACK FOR A FEW DAYS. YOSH!!! Gai left his journal at Hogwarts and has no idea what has been going on in his absence. Come on, everyone, confuse him! XDDDD]]
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*CHARGES DOWN TO THE SHORE*

YOSH!!!! It's a perfect day to FROLIC IN THE LAKE -- come on, people, let's go SWIMMING!!! It's a perfect diversion from upcoming exam study, and it's also great exercise. Ever try to spar underwater? There's NOTHING LIKE IT ON EARTH!!!!

Uchiha, I can see your common room from down here!


[[Backdated to yesterday (drat having realtime stuff to do), and strike illegible like whoa, unless a Slytherin can see him from their underwater window. XD Gai will be wearing a wetsuit, as pictured, because he has his Bubble-Head Scuba Certificate and intends to swim down (to a safe distance, of course!) and hobnob with the Giant Squid.]]
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[[Private]]

My last few weeks as a student here... it's enough to make a grown man weep. Summer will doubtless be choked with the assignments I need to fill my duty roster for the next half-year. I can't believe Kakashi's missing the end of the term. That must be some assignment -- but I'LL TRACK HIM DOWN IF IT TAKES ME ALL SUMMER!!!!

I must find that artifact. I WILL find that artifact. If I don't find that artifact, I'll double my NEWTs revisions every evening! If retracing my steps doesn't help, then... mind-magic? The Pensieve? *shudders* As unsettling as that would be, keeping the Eye of Rassilon out of enemy clutches is too important to leave any stone unturned.

[[/private


What a blustery day this is -- with the wind pouring down from the mountains like this, it's a challenge to make any headway at all. *PROUD WINDSWEPT POSE* But when I return to the castle with the gale at my back, I'll probably get to set a new record for sp--

*slapped in the face by a lengthy sheet of parchment* SAKJHKFHDS?!!! *flails* Whose homework is this???
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Neji, that black eye is SPECTACULAR.

I'm going to train outside from now on -- it would be ridiculous to waste all this GORGEOUS SPRING AIR. Heather, it's good to see you back in the school!!! And has anyone seen Sakura Haruno?


[[Private]]

If you're reading this, Neji, cut it out.

[[/private]]


*blank space where a piece of parchment has been stuck between the journal pages*

There... this isn't part of the journal, so it should be safe from prying eyes. Though Neji isn't loose-lipped by any means, Sir Integra said that no one was to know about this.

There are too many Dark Wizards around. Whether they follow Voldemort or a dead Muggle fanatic, it's horrible to realize that there are people so twisted that they might plan to attack a school. They won't get away with it, though -- not while I'm here. This is exactly why I plan to become an Auror: for the ability to protect the innocent and stop these villains from hurting anyone else. But if Hogwarts becomes a battleground, there are bound to be injuries unless the students have a chance to escape.

Wait -- the secret Hogsmeade passages!!! There are... what, seven? And Filch probably knows about four... but it doesn't matter who finds out if they can be used to evacuate the students in case of danger. Of course, one's under the Whomping Willow... I wonder if Immobulous would stop the branches? And the one behind the fourth-floor mirror is treacherously damp. I'll have to look in again and see whether it can be shored up with magic.



[[Testing the byakugan, whut!! Italics unreadable. Don't worry, these developments won't affect the population at large. And Gai's looking for Sakura to work on Transfiguration, but doesn't yet know that she's been fighting with Itachi.]]
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All this fog... you'd think we were still in London. Bludger practice is impossible today. Therefore, I'm going to spend the rest of the day indoors, catching up on my books.


[[Private, 30% hackable]]

*leafing through the first chapter of The Tale of Genji*

So this is what Sir Integra spent all that time reading when she was fifteen. The inside cover says it's one of the first novels ever written. But ugh... the plot is hard to follow. I never read novels. It seems like such a waste of time and energy -- who are all these people? Why should I want to read their histories?

Wait -- what's this?

Handwriting!?

Somebody annotated this!! Who was it? There's nothing in the front cover. But the whole book is full of notes! *gasp* Could it have been... her!?

[[/private]]


[[Heh heh heh... what's written there? Spells? Codes? Biscuit recipes? Nana, feel free to claim or disclaim! And pretend we already know whatever happened with Tatsuki.]]
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*grumbles* Didn't realize I was running out of crayons... I'd better Transfigure a few more. It's all good practice, anyway. *rubs hands gleefully* At least Dr. Kurosaki's Pepper-Up Potion took care of my hay-fever.... so I can face the day with CLEAR-HEADED ZEAL!!!


Ordinary black robes are far too pedestrian for the BRIGHT PROMISE OF THIS GLORIOUS SEASON.

Sakura, you really should reconsider. Pink DOES go well with green.


[[In honor of springtime, Gai will be casting Orchideous at random points around the school, as well as surreptitiously Transfiguring suits of armor into youthfully cute pastel versions of their former selves. Due to lack of time between activities, he will attend class wearing his usual training outfit (green jumpsuit and orange legwarmers), along with a yellow and black Hufflepuff tie, under a newly Transfigured set of bright pink robes. There's also pink paint in his hair. JARETH, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. XDDDD

Edit: Thanks to Kurosaki, now there's smoke pouring out of his ears as well. If anyone wants to rib Gai's fashion sense, this is definitely the time.]]
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*pulls open a window in the Hufflepuff common room and leans out into the fresh air*

AHHHH, what a MAGNIFICENT day. Sunny, comfortably cool, with a light breeze and occasional clouds... a perfect day for outdoor training!!! Sakura, Lee, meet me in the south courtyard! Come on, quick as you can -- YOUTH'S GLOWING FERVOR CANNOT BE POSTPONED!!!


[[Private]]

Finally getting somewhere -- good thing McGonagall never asked me what that library pass was for..... gaah, this is harder to understand than one of Jareth's mazes. But this is one of my special goals, and I'LL DEFINITELY GET IT, OR ELSE I'LL... I'll... I'LL JUST TRY HARDER!!!

[[/private]]


[[Yes, he's researching Animagi again! Feel free to spot him in the library, hunched and squinting over musty tomes... whenever he's not outside in the GLORIOUS SPRING WEATHER, working with Sakura and Lee.]]
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Well, look at that. It's raining. The sky is a beautiful pearly grey. And that's a MASSIVE puddle down there -- goes all the way across the street. I wonder how deep it gets.


[[Filtered from Lee and Kimi]]

Honey's sending Lee some pictures of Hogwarts!! If anyone wants to send anything to Lee or Kimimaro, bring them to Hufflepuff House and he'll send them along!!!

[[/filtered]]


[[Private]]

They're saying both Lee and Kimi will be released some time this week!!!! I can't wait to get back to school... but what is being done about Gaara? I haven't heard from Temari. Or anyone at all. What are the professors doing while we're stuck in London? I wonder if Dumbledore even knows the five of us are still here.....

Off to the hospital again. Kimi seemed... upset this morning. They should be done with the tests or whatever it was by now. Maybe I'll get to talk to him.

[[/private]]


[[Doesn't even think of asking for anything himself. Gai's so noble!! And since he considers weather (and deep puddles) a CHALLENGE, he will arrive at the hospital soaked.to.the.bone.

And hey, I updated his info: it now includes relationships. Egad, that took all DAY!!!]]
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*jogging around the lake, watching a purple sunset over the mountains as his breath freezes in the last rays of the setting sun*





[[Auuugh. Been one of those days where the words just don't fit together, so? Cue messing about on Photoshop. This takes place sometime before the ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN. And now, back to your regularly scheduled drama.]]
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Professor Marik, didn't get a chance to tell you -- that field trip was FABULOUS!!! I learned a lot, especially about thestrals! And Demyx, we have to do that again sometime. *big wide grin*

LEE!!! Training in the Great Hall in the morning? *macho workout stance*


[[Private]]

That picture in Lee's textbook....

There's no question now. Gaara's his childhood friend, the one he speaks of with such affection. It's certain that Lee has no idea of the rift between them now. And if Gaara's escaped from the Hospital Wing.... well, I'm glad Kimi was looking after him during my field trip.

This... I don't know if it changes anything. The fact is that Gaara threatened to kill him, and nobody has any idea why. Whatever happened to him in those two years... he was long out of Lee's life by then. Why wouldn't Lee tell me his friend's name? It's as though something in his instincts has already told him what he doesn't want to face. Oh, Lee... don't you know that will only make it worse?

I wonder if Dumbledore knows about this too.

[[/private]]


[[Temporally uncertain -- how long did the field trip last?
I'll hopefully be online tomorrow.]]
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*looking around the Great Hall*

[[Private]]

Huh... looks like some of those owls were a bit too enthusiastic. At least they didn't all get delivered today.....

[[/private]]


Man, this rain... it's washing all the snow away. There's something oppressive about the atmosphere... as if something's going to happen... but if there were any truth to that kind of feeling, it would be so constant around here that nobody would notice it anymore.


*notices Lee at the other end of the hall, thinks* That look on his face... something's bothering him. LEE!! Weren't we going to go over your physical therapy regimen today?
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*grumble* Somebody needs to install revolving doors and a snack bar in the Hospital Wing, given how many people have landed there in the past week.....

[[Private to Oruha]]

Would you look at that sunset! The colors of the clouds reflecting from the snowy hills, liquid yellow and ruddy gold.... a beautiful end to a baffling day.

So... you wanted to tell me something about Lee's letter?


[[This takes place last night, and explains how Gai missed the whole candy mountain thing. I swear, I go home for the day and everybody decides to post..... XD]]
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Lee's recovering so quickly... I could SHOUT FOR JOY!!! Thank you, everyone, for coming by to visit. Your friendship fills our hearts with gratitude.

..I've been down here for three days. But with Lee awake and Honey here too, the time has just flown. And IT SNOWED AGAIN! The air outside is sparkling with beautiful, tiny flakes of snow. No good for packing, though -- it's just as well for Sakura-san that this kind of snowfall happened while I wasn't going outside anyway. *reminiscent grin*

Dr. Kurosaki has approved some physical therapy for Lee, specifically a semi-intense breathing kata redesigned for someone who isn't standing up yet. That will keep his stamina up and his muscles in condition without wearing him out. He's promised not to over-exert himself, and I'll see that he sticks to that. But his natural resilience is making the healing process incredibly rapid. Not that I expected any less from his gallant, unbreakable spirit!!!


Could someone send my Arithmancy book down here? I think I left it in the common room.


[[With Lee on the mend, Gai's back to his old exuberant self. In fact, he's BUBBLING OVER WITH YOUTHFUL HAPPINESS. He's now doing pushups in the Hospital Wing while Lee works on the breathing form. Feel free to whack him on the head or something. ;D]]

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Maito Gai

March 2009

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