March 25, 2019, 05:37:05 PM

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“Some old Nimbus,” mumbled Gene, who had never paid much attention to his broom and did not care much about it. “My parents got it when I was twelve. Didn’t really use it until third year.” He was still working on his first slice of pie, using his fork to break it into neat little cube-like shapes, and a little embarrassed to admit that he had an actually good broom, ten years old or not, that he was doing nothing at all with. He ought to lend it out, he reckoned— let one of the younger students on the Gryffindor team who was still using a school broom borrow it. So long as they didn’t break it or anything.

Murray seemed to find it hilarious that Gene didn’t consider himself an athlete; as he choked on his food Gene sat awkwardly next to him, unsure whether it would be helpful to pound him on the back or not. Luckily it seemed to resolve itself quickly enough and Murray said, grinning, that he wasn’t an athlete, either.

“Yes but that’s different,” insisted Gene. “You have to do farm things, right?” He was not clear on what sorts of farm things Murray or his family did, or even what sorts of farm things anybody did, but it was definitely more exercise than Gene was doing over the summer. Especially now that Ben and Davy could drive, and he and his friends had foregone their usual walking-everywhere policy. “Most exercise I ever get is piano,” said Gene, and waggled his long fingers. This was a good segue into a bad joke but he resisted the temptation.

“Oh, congratulations,” he said sincerely. He wasn’t all that focused on house rivalry, now that he was in seventh year, but he couldn’t help adding “We’re gonna pound you lot, though, November.” He grinned quickly and used his fork to cut another little cube.

The next question came seemingly out of the absolute nether, and Gene was grateful not to have had pie in his mouth to choke on. It was something Murray was bringing up casual as anything, and Gene had forgotten that for most people (for normal people, he couldn’t help thinking) it wasn’t a big deal. He swallowed his discomfort and said, simply— “Nah. No and no. How about you?”
Hogsmeade / Re: Hide and Seek [Murray]
« Last post by Meredith Howell on Today at 01:05:20 PM »
“Murray, please…”  She pleaded in response to his questions.  Mere peeked around his shoulder and then ducked back quickly, hiding her face in the folds of his robes.  Her mother was just up the street, eyes flicking back and forth as she scanned the crowd for Meredith’s tell-tale blonde hair.  “I just need to get off the street.  Now.”  She kept her voice low and hushed, afraid that it might somehow carry over the boisterous sounds of the other students in Hogsmeade.  Holding her breath, she waited, hoping that Murray would still help her even without an explanation.  As reasonable as his questions might be, every second they delayed on the street was putting Mere closer to being spotted by her mum and the last thing she wanted right now was to get into another loud and very public debate with her mother about how to live her life. 

Meredith was momentarily startled when Murray grabbed her hand but recovered her senses in time to step away from the street with him.  She walked close to his side, being careful to keep her silhouette hidden by his.  Any moment she expected to hear the shrill tones of her mother’s voice calling her name or even a clawing hand on her shoulder, dragging her back.  Asking Murray for help had been a gamble because if she was caught with him, she would be in so much more trouble.  However, they passed through the door to the store and down through the aisles without incident.  Coming to a halt in a secluded section surrounded by different coloured quills, Mere took a deep, steadying breath.

She felt giddy with relief and other feelings...  Her heart was beating fast a fast tempo in her chest - apart from excitement of eluding capture, there was the matter of the handsome boy holding her hand.  Mere tried not to read into the gesture which had surely just been for the practical purpose of leading her away.  Murray surely knew better than to try anything and she knew better than to allow it.  Yet his hand felt so nice and warm, so reassuring around her own.  Just as she was daydreaming about shifting her hand to intertwine their fingers, he pulled away.

Trying not to pout, she tossed her hair moodily and pretended to be particularly interested in a set of vivid purple quills.  I shouldn't care whether he holds my hand or not. She reminded herself carefully, missing her earlier days of indifference towards the other Hufflepuff.  Yet something was irrevocably different now.  The Head Girl found herself thinking about Murray when he wasn't around and when he was, it took a little too much willpower not to be bamboozled by his smile.  But so what if she thought he was cute and charming, it wasn't like there was or could ever be anything between them. 

As his voice interrupted her musings, she looked over and saw it - that smile.  It made Meredith want to either kiss him or punch him, she wasn't entirely sure.  All she knew was that it wasn't fair for a boy like him to have a smile that sweet.  Even worse was the fact that her lips automatically rose to mirror it with a smile of her own.  "Well..."  In light of all the personal information they had shared during their unexpected late night heart-to-heart in the Hufflepuff common room, there didn’t seem much point in being evasive so she just got straight to the point.  “Its my mum.  She’s out on the street right now and looking for me."  Mere cast a cautious glance towards the front of the store, half expecting Heather to come bursting in, but thankfully everything remained quiet and undisturbed.  Turning back to Murray she gave an exaggerated sigh before continuing with her explanation.  "Turns out that I don't conduct myself in a manner befitting a lady, so I'm supposed to be in etiquette lessons every Hogsmeade weekend.  That's what she was writing to me about the other day."

Slowly she started to twist one of her blonde curls around her finger, in an uncharacteristically nervous gesture.  "I wasn't going to come.  Really.  But I changed my mind at the last minute."  Mere hoped that he wouldn't think she was making up excuses for blowing off his invitation earlier.  Though she'd been turning him down for a long time, she'd never worried about hurting his feelings until now.  "I thought maybe there might be a better way for me to spend my time..."  Voice trailing off, she looked up at him and gave a little shrug.  She would never have planned to hangout with Murray like this but she was not inclined to complain.  "And someone once told me I shouldn't let my mom rule my life.  So here I am." Grinning widely, the young witch batted her eyelashes coyly as her mind added the unspoken thought - Now what're you going to do with me?
Teacher's Offices / Re: Your Journey Begins Here (Graeme)
« Last post by Graeme Becker on Today at 07:02:25 AM »
Beck wasn’t sure whether he had experienced a ‘sixth sense’ about teaching before.  It was a concept he could relate to.  In principle it sounded very similar to the sense of instinct that security professionals considered so important.  The best in the field were well-trained and skilled but also possessed an innate sense for danger.  On many an occasion over the years Beck had made changes to security plans or last minute alternations to a scheduled route, based on little more than a feeling.  It was something that could not be rationally explained but he had learned to trust such intuition without hesitation.  As such he could easily believe that a Professor might be able to develop a similar sense for the struggles of their students.

“I’d love to watch you teach!”  Beck responded with genuine enthusiasm to the suggestion.  “I’m sure it would be very enlightening.”  He quite liked the sound of Timothy’s classroom and looked forward to having an opportunity to observe the other Professor at work.  Observation of true professionals had always been the best way for Beck to learn and expand upon his own skills, ever since he’d started off observing his mother and father as a small child.  Beck just wished that there had been any professors like Timothy around during his own school days.  He doubted that he could ever have grown bored under this man’s tutelage. 

The war, the dome…  Beck sometimes forgot about how such events were very traumatic for other people.  It wasn’t like he’d spent the war off somewhere in a tropical paradise, he’d been deeply involved in his own way by helping as many families escape from persecution as he could.  However, luckily for Beck, he never really saw things as strictly ‘good’ or ‘bad’ experiences; it was all just experience.  As such, even horrific events did not take any significant toll upon his psyche and although he had seen and done some difficult things during the war, the 30-year-old was not haunted by any of it.  He still saw death as a tragic thing – the snuffing out of a person’s potential – but he observed the impact upon others more than he felt it himself.   

However, he hadn’t lost a loved one and he’d never had to kill anyone.  But that didn’t make him better, just luckier.  At just 26, just barely more than one-quarter of a century old, Timothy seemed too young to have dealt with so much.  It became clear to Beck that such harrowing experiences must have contributed to the young man’s maturity.  That was the best part of human nature as he saw it, the ability to keep moving forward, keep growing and keep improving.  Despite his personal hardships Timothy was clearly successful at his job and well-loved by his students.  That was something that Beck could deeply respect. 

Yet he couldn’t help but ask, “You said during the war you had to kill the love of your life.  How could such a thing come to happen?”  Beck was intrigued by the potential story behind such a statement.  It represented several subjects in which he did not have any real experience; including love and loss.  Curiosity overrode any consideration that another person might have had for dredging up a potentially sensitive subject and the cup of tea in his hand was all but forgotten as he listened intently for Timothy’s reply.
Library / Re: girls and boys [gene]
« Last post by Gene Horowitz on Today at 06:37:39 AM »
She didn’t walk around with her eyes shut— what was that supposed to mean? What was she saying? “What’s that supposed to mean?” Gene said, not really caring that he sounded too defensive. “Come on— come on.”

He’d been caught in stupid lies before, so he was used to the disappointment and guilt, churning weirdly in his stomach. Guilt that he’d lied and then disappointment that he’d lied unsuccessfully, and then guilt that he felt worse about being caught. He didn’t like the thought that it was obvious to other people, what he thought or what he felt about other boys. Or whatever.

He was still grinning down at his essay; he could tell, somehow, that Nell was watching him, and the thought made him feel sick with humiliation. This sort of felt like the sort of crisis he ought to be having in the bathroom with his head between his knees, not in front of Nell Jenkins over his Arithmancy homework. He was still grinning like some kind of idiot; he rubbed his palms nervously on his thighs.

He didn’t think he knew how he was feeling. He breathed out a soft "Hah," because he felt like he should, rubbed his hands up and down his thighs again. He wanted to put his finger in his mouth and chew it but he didn't want Nell to see him do so; he fought the urge for a moment by cracking his knuckles.

Nell didn’t seem to have too much evidence to point to, which made him feel a little better. “Plenty of guys talk about their cocks,” he scoffed, which was also too defensive, but by now it wasn’t like he had any way to deny it. “You know— if you’ve got one, why wouldn’t you?” It was a fair point, that and looking, however she’d seen him look, but Gene felt instinctively like he needed to justify himself. Not that his first thought— that he certainly wasn’t talking about dicks as much as he could be— would help his case. Not that he could say if he knew how he was looking at people.

He wasn’t looking at her, right now— should he be looking at her? It didn’t matter, did it? He could hear, sort of, that she was smiling at him, so he didn’t really want to look. But he did anyway, wrenched his gaze up to stare uncomfortably at her. “Sorry,” he said, and glanced away again, rubbed his hands together under the table. “Sorry. This is really weird.”
“Need a foot massage, there?” Robin asked, watching Fflur stretch her toes. “Or a better pair of shoes, I reckon I’ve got those too.” He shook one shiny burgundy wingtip at her. “If the bride won’t murder you on sight for walking around in ‘em, that is.” Not to assume anything untoward of the new Mrs. Baker, but it felt reasonable to Robin that Fflur would put those sandals on in the first place only under threat.

“I’m glad,” he said, looking back to try and find Charlie on the dance floor. He didn’t have any luck. “I guess we’ll see how this turns out,” said Robin. “Guess we may as well be happy for him, so long as it makes him happy.” He paused for a couple seconds after this, unsure what exactly he was thinking about, but feeling ponderous all the same.

After placing a second kiss on the top of Fflur’s head, Robin pulled back and returned his gaze to her. “Oh, I will,” he said. “I’ll start off describing this moment right now, outfit of yours and all, and how that’s when I knew.” He leaned back against the hallway wall behind him. “When you know, you know, after all.”

Fflur’s suggestion was better. “No, you’re right,” said Robin with a cheerful laugh. “I’ll do my bit in character, then. What d’you think of marrying a gruff old Irish sea captain? I think I could knock that one out of the park.” He gave Fflur a lopsided smile. “That’s a baseball saying, by the way,” he added.  “I know how baseball’s played, now. It’s dreadful.”

Fflur had stood and slunk up close to him, arms around his waist. Slow music drifted in from the ballroom. Robin swayed them a little, teasingly. “You going to let me in on what that meant, then?” he asked, bumping her shoulder playfully. “Guessing something a bit off-color, obviously, but you’ll have to fill in the specifics.”
She was grateful that he’d changed the subject; she didn’t want to think about her mother any more than he seemed to. For the moment she was overcome with gratitude that he knew her so well, that he knew when they needed to shift to a conversation that said nothing of any meaning at all.

“Dance with a veela, duh,” said Barbara. She gave him a playful nudge— “I’m a girl, silly. I’m immune to their charms. Would you rather…”

She shifted her seat, and realised only then that they were sitting dead next to each other, closer than comfortable. She frowned and made a show of stroking her chin, deep in thought, and scooted just a bit away, trying not to be obvious about it. “Would you rather eat an Acid Pop or a Cockroach Cluster?”

This was a easy answer for her— she was afraid of bugs, and did not like the idea of eating them at all, and anybody could easily fix the damage wrought by an Acid Pop with a little magic. Barbie combed her hand back through her damp hair, swept it back. Tilted her head to grin up at him. “Kiss a troll or a house elf,” she said.
“Eggnog Florentine, hmm? Merlin, you two are stepping up the competition,” he teased. He closed his eyes in exaggerated bliss as he popped the remainder of the cookie into his mouth; though, in truth, he really didn’t have to exaggerate much. They were that good.

Ben laughed out loud as she mentioned creating a tournament-style bracket for the cookies, following her lively step out of the hospital.
“Ooh these have got to be good to win out over gingerbread… but I'm probably just biased.” He gave a casual shrug and fished into the tin for another. He hadn’t realized how hungry he actually was until he’d started eating. “Anything mint or gingerbread and I'm sold.”

Blinking in the surprisingly bright December sunlight, he had to squint to properly see Brita’s face without being completely blinded.
“Have you heard of that Wizarding village out in Dorset that’s really into their Christmas lights? I’ve never gone, but I was wondering if you wanted to check them out with me?”
His heart skipped a beat. A Christmas-lit evening with Brita sounded like the ideal winter’s night, in his opinion. She was saying something else but Ben was already nodding, nearly choking on his second cookie in his haste to answer.

“Yeah that— that sounds great,” he sputtered, eyes watering thanks to the bit of cookie attempting to lodge itself in his trachea. “I’d love to. Really,” he added with a toothy grin once he’d recovered himself. There were precious few things he enjoyed more than Brita’s company, and that list got shorter by the day. It was impossible not to want to spend time with her. She was intoxicating in all of the good ways: her smile, her laughter, her boundless enthusiasm, her support, her friendship.

He had known for some time, now, that this friendship was evolving into something more on his end. And he had struggled with whether or not to express it. What if she didn’t feel the same way? Would their friendship be forever changed if she didn’t? He needed to taste his own medicine, in a sense, because if a friend had approached him with this dilemma he would have advised just going for it; what was the worst that could happen? He was twenty-six years old, for Merlin’s sake, and had dated girls before – but somehow was feeling more and more like a sixteen-year-old.

Maybe this evening of Christmas-light display – were they even tonight? He’d been too distracted by the prospect of spending an evening with her to pay attention to that important detail – would be the night. The time for deliberating was past.

[[ @Brita Trickett sorry this is so terribly overdue! also he was very insistent on the forwardness of his internal monologue xD ]]
North America / Re: [new york] star treatment [robin]
« Last post by Robin Byrne-Davidson on Today at 03:47:36 AM »
“Yeah, I s’pose you’re right,” replied Robin, laughing, then feeling immediately that he shouldn’t have when Charlie looked so worried.  “Oh, it’ll be fine,” he added. “If neither of us have destroyed our careers before now, then there’s no way the both of us can get smashed enough to do it tonight, yeah?” He settled his arm around Charlie’s skinny shoulders again and steered him more purposefully down the sidewalk. “Ugh, but now that sounds so fun.”

Charlie was not yet ready to push their relationship junk aside and have fun. Robin nodded vaguely as he made reference to Valentine’s day. Having decided his feelings on whatever Charlie and Kate were back up to were better left unsaid, Robin kept uncharacteristically quiet. He bit idly at his tongue until Fflur’s defensive skills came up. “I can’t say I was planning on pissing her off,” he said with a chuckle, “but I’ll keep that in mind.”

The conversation finally made its way back to imminent drinking, which Robin was much more comfortable with at the moment. “Well, we’ve a worse chance of making idiots of ourselves in front of anyone that matters at a No-Maj place,” he said. “But it depends, also—you know anyone over here who’ll let a rockstar and his stupid mate drink free?” Robin laughed earnestly, mustache tickling his cheeks. “That’s just what I’m imagining being a rockstar is like, so you know. Feel free to set me straight.”
Hogsmeade / Re: Hide and Seek [Murray]
« Last post by Murray Cowan on Today at 03:26:09 AM »
Murray was looking forward to the first Hogsmeade weekend more than ever. Nearly all of his time had been spent on Quidditch since term had begun, not to mention trying to spy as often as he could on other other house teams to make sure the badgers were a shoo in for the Quidditch cup this year. They just had to win. His studies had taken a bit of a hit, but it was still early in the year. He had lots of time to buckle down and focus on his OWL classes later. He'd spent his time at breakfast that morning discussing plans for Hogsmeade with some of his fellow seventh year friends. He needed a few new quills as he seemed to be losing them in droves, but other than that he wanted to make his time in Hogsmeade worth it with a trip to Honeydukes. Murray needed to restock on sweets for upcoming rat races, after all.

He had wandered with his dorm mates down to the village, only separating from them when they announced their plans to hit up Honeydukes and then The Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer. "I'll catch you up," he said. "I need to pick up a few other things first. Meet you for a drink in an hour?" Murray parted ways with his friends. The badger made it only a few feet when Meredith appeared in front of him, looking shook up. He was so taken aback he had no immediate words for the Head Girl. She didn't seem herself, something was definitely off. Then she spun so she was completely hidden behind him and whispered at his back for help.

"Hide from what?" Murray said, trying to keep his voice down so as not to give the Head Girl away in case whoever/whatever she was hiding from was within earshot. He glanced around, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. "Wait a minute, you said you weren't coming to the village today?" Murray questioned quietly, raising a brow. He made a point that morning at breakfast to ask Meredith if she wanted to grab a butterbeer with the badger, and she'd politely declined. He could see the urgency in the look she gave him. "Come on then, quick," he gently grabbed her hand and pulled her into Dervish & Banges, the shop he had been standing out front of when she'd approached. The pair entered the nearly empty store and headed for a more secluded aisle. He had planned on buying new quills, after all. He looked left and right as they wandered down the aisles until he found the spot he was looking for. The shelves boasted different feathered quills of every colour, simple black quills, even quills that yelled aloud when spelling errors were made.

He let go of Meredith's hand when he realized he was still holding it. He wasn't sure what the current protocol was. Murray was unsure how to treat Meredith after that night in the Hufflepuff common room. It was unlike the badger to read further into things than absolutely necessary, but that situation was nothing he'd ever experienced before. It was amazing, really, even thinking back on it. Sure he'd crushed on a few girls over the years he'd been at Hogwarts, and had one or two girlfriends that he went out with for a month or two. But in all honesty, he'd never felt the connection he needed to feel with someone else. That is until he sat for an hour with the Head Girl in the Hufflepuff common room sharing a blanket. In general, Murray didn't open up to anyone. It wasn't his style. He was the funny guy that everyone loved to joke around with and knew didn't take anything serious. For the moment, he shook off all thoughts of that night from his mind as he was way too interested in learning what Meredith needed to hide from.

Murray pretended for a second to care about choosing a perfect quill, but eventually he let both of his hands drop to his side and glanced up at Meredith. "Alright, spill it," the corners of his lips curled up in a curious smile.
Döttrar Vik / [Sept MP] the past is another land {Jürgen}
« Last post by Maja Dörfler on Today at 03:05:58 AM »
Maja had always loved the water.

Closing her eyes, she took a slow, deep breath in through her nose. She’d very much missed the distinct smell of saltwater and brine, and hadn’t realized just how much so until she’d arrived in the coastal town. The late September breeze was chilly off of the Lule River – known to the locals as Luleälven, as she’d learned just a few minutes previously. It gently lifted a few loose auburn tendrils from her bun, and Maja brushed them behind her ear absently.

The almost-twenty-one-year-old drew her cloak more snugly around her, looking out over the river’s choppy surface. The sights and smells hit her with a wave of nostalgia; she remembered the countless hours she had spent at the port, soothed by the roar of the waterfall. It was a strange thought that that castle now stood empty in the wake of Durmstrang’s rather abrupt relocation to Sweden. Well, back to it, she supposed, given that Luleå had been the school’s original location years ago. While Sweden was almost undoubtedly a more appropriate location, Maja herself was fond of familiarity. It felt odd to visit the ‘official’ village of Durmstrang, and not recognize a single shop. To Maja, it almost felt as though something had been lost.
It was true that Durmstrang had moved locations in January of her fourth year, just over five-and-a-half years ago… but her memories of the castle in Kaliningrad during those early years were marred by the invasion of the Russian Ministry: of bed checks, interrogations, and restrictions. Moving to Novaya Zemlya to escape the scrutiny of the Ministry felt like freedom, like starting over.

Though she hadn’t forgotten two years ago, when she and Elias had gotten word that the school was under attack by its own Headmistress during the year that Koldovstoretz had merged with Durmstrang. Then, too, were students subjected to interrogations and restrictions. Perhaps this recent move was rooted in some of the same reasons. To start over.

She was pulled from her musings by the unmistakable form of her youngest brother, walking up the path towards her; Maja raised a hand in greeting in case he hadn’t seen her. After all, he was the whole reason she was here in Luleå today. When the letter announcing the relocation had arrived at the Dörfler home shortly before the start-of-term (she’d retuned home for the last few days in August to see Jürgen off), Maja was intrigued. The youngest two Dörflers had agreed that Maja would come by for a visit during the first village weekend, and as soon as it had been announced Jürgen had owled her. She’d marked her calendar – and here she was.

Maja reached out for a brief hug as he approached. She was quite tall for a girl, but even so he had a good three inches on her.
“How are you? Settling in to the new… ambience?” Maja smirked, then dropped her voice to a whisper. “Seen any sirens yet?”
The German witch had heard that the town was quite close to a siren clan, and that it was not uncommon to see its members roaming about. She knew better than to be openly rude and stare, but she couldn’t deny her fascination all the same.

@Jürgen Dörfler
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