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Potter’s Army is a roleplaying site that's been up and running since 2007. We pride ourselves on fostering a welcoming and helpful community where all levels of writers are accepted.

In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

It is 2031 in the Wizarding World
It is the 2030 - 2031 School Year
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:35 pm
Keiran hated the way that Liv's expression was so downtrodden, he really did. But his hopes still rested in the idea that, perhaps, she would agree with him in the end and see that, really it was for the better. Or, if he himself were proven wrong, at least he would have been in ownership of a fantastically well-reasoned excuse for being up in arms about the whole thing.

He didn't really comment on Jack's attitude, though it amused him to some extent. He certainly understood the level of impatience that she had about the whole thing. What he really needed was to get around to seeing Simon before he decided he didn't want to anymore and ruined everything. More than that, he needed to hold onto his temper in the hopes that it would affect the other man enough that he would do something stupid. Perhaps that would better his mood, in the end.

Unfortunately, Keiran doubted it. As proud as he would be to save Livia from a terrible relationship she didn't deserve, seeing her in pain was obviously less than ideal.

He followed Jack right away, swallowing back the choice words he had for the guard as they passed him. He couldn't help but agree with Jack, though. "And you know we would," he muttered under his breath.

When they reached Simon's door, he stepped out of the way so that they could gain access and open the door, and Keiran was actually surprised by what he found there. Simon was sitting there, facing the other way on the pathetic excuse for a cot that he had been given - somehow, it was even worse than the one given to him at the Ministry. Rather than looking too terribly afraid or ragged, the man was mumbling the words to some song Keiran didn't recognize.

He must have been clean shaven the day before, because although he had some level of bristle to his jaw, it wasn't too bad. So he had only been brought in that morning, then, had he?

Simon felt like it had been much, much longer. He knew very well, by now, that lack of human interaction was what really drove a person mad. The singing was... well, it wasn't particularly in tune, as he lacked any real talent in that area, but it was also rather sad. Mainly because of the Dementors but also because it had registered that if they could bring him in for next to nothing, even if charges had never been filed against him, then there was little to no chance of him getting out of here.

At least, he supposed, they hadn't given him another number. He already had his first one, scored across the skin over his heart as though the caster had known how guilty he felt. His fingers pulled at the fabric of the shirt he had been given, wondering how long it would take to unravel and start falling off. Or how long it would take for him to be nothing but skin and bones, leaving the shirt to hang and nearly fall right off anyway. It had taken him nearly the whole year to regain the strength and stature he'd had before, and he was about to lose it again.

The words died out and he began to rock forwards and back slightly, feeling like something wasn't quite right. Even for a place like this.

"Marek."

Simon spun around, surprised that he could even move so quickly when he felt so very cold and ghastly. But he definitely did not expect to see Keiran Hayes stride into his cell, scowling at him. His hand instinctively went for his pocket, but not only was he chained down, he definitely did not have his wand anymore. So he just scooted backwards until he was pressed up against the wall, staring at Keiran and then - Jack?

Simon leaned to the side, trying to figure out how many people were going to be in on this murder or whatever Keiran had planned. But there was one person there who he refused to believe wanted him dead.

"Liv. Księżniczka."

Keiran turned sharply towards Liv, eyes narrowed. "What does that mean, Liv?"

Simon could feel himself deflating despite her presence. She wasn't supposed to see him like this. She shouldn't have ever been forced to so much as imagine him here, so he glanced between everyone, the shame building until he finally saw Millie there and his gaze fell to his feet at the edge of his bed. She'd been the nice one, and now she looked put out. With him, undoubtedly. Even Jack was mad at him. So he wasn't about to get his hopes up.
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:21 am
There was so much that Livia did not understand about the situation unfolding before her. In part, she conceded that not all of it she had any right to know but it rankled with her somewhat. She wanted to know. She wanted to be involved. She figured that she probably wasn’t on the outside, in the unknown, on purpose – or at least she hoped not, anyway – but she wished she’d been inside sooner. She wished she’d known sooner. She had no idea what sort of difference it would have made to way had happened to Simon but she couldn’t help but wonder whether, somehow, she might have been able to help and do something. She steeled herself, deciding to put what was bothering her about it all behind her and focus on what she was going to do immediately and what she intended on doing.

She smiled a little at Kip, disquieted but reassured by his nature. When Jack turned and announced who he was, however, who he actually was, Livia turned and looked at him, her mouth falling agog. This was … not what she had been expecting at all, to say the least. She considered Keiran powerful and influential – even if it was just daddy-baby bias. But in her mind, he was it. He was in charge and he could wield his power and his influence and he could get things done. She was doing a rather spectacular job of subverting it, she knew, but she still respected him, even if she was quietly rather furious about everything between them. Still, she didn’t think that much of it would get beyond Keiran. This was something he could fix, she was certain of it. Though she could remember something Simon had said about people helping him, she hadn’t realised he’d meant the Chief Warlock! That was … well, that was … just a little bit amazing, really. And her pa knew these people personally? He could summon them with a wave of his wand! Liv took herself out of herself and tried to remember she was still angry with Keiran – however much she wanted to throw her arms around him at that moment.

“Thank you,” she spoke Kip earnestly. “I mean it. Thank you. You don’t know how much this means …”

She turned her head and pulled at Kip’s sleeve before hurrying along after Jack and Keiran who had struck out ahead. Millie was duly bringing up the rear, though Liv only supposed as much rather than actually knew. She didn’t glance back. She was more focused on trying to keep a normal pace and not run. She didn’t want to overtake them, as much as she actually wanted to sprint down the corridors in search of Simon. She was beginning to feel the iciness of the Dementor presence. They weren’t near, she didn’t think, but she didn’t want to chance that she’d run into one. She knew what they’d summon to the forefront of her memory and she cringed at the thought of it resurfacing for the second time in such a short time period. She willed her sister out of her mind, demanded some sort of presence of mind from herself, and focused on keeping moving. Forward. One step in front of the other. Cell after cell until…

“Simon!”

Livia burst forward, damn near barrelling through Keiran and Jack in her haste to get inside. If she had moved any faster, she probably would have rivalled a snitch. She couldn’t register the filthy conditions, as much as it appalled the part of her that did notice and did take offense. All that the main part of her being could focus on in that moment was Simon. She skidded to a stop at his feet and took his face in her hands, bringing him nose to nose with her. Her eyes feverishly searched his, burning with the silent query of whether or not he was alright. She knew it was pointless to even ask it in her heart. She could see it in him that he wasn’t, that if he wasn’t frightened then he was consumed with an even worse sort of feeling … that maybe he deserved to be there, or a feeling even worse than that.

His skin was cool to the touch but there was life beneath it. He was still there. And knowing that made Livia feel reckless, even within the confines of her own mind. She thought, ‘to hell with the Minister, he should be free.’ He should have been able to feel the sun on his face. He should have been able to meet and have coffee with her that day. They should have been able to stroll through the parks and talk about everything and nothing at all. But he couldn’t … and she didn’t care what he had done. She couldn’t help but feel steadfast in her conviction that whether he’d done wrong or not, it wasn’t here that he deserved to atone for it.

Her fingers drew a path from his hairline down to his jaw and she rocked forward, her lips parting a little with the urge to kiss him. Not here, whatever scrap of sense was left in her counselled. She took a breath and tipped her forehead against his, turning her body to sit beside him. However much she wanted to, it wasn’t right.

One hand snuck down and she gripped the cold metal that bound his wrists, wishing that she was strong enough to break it. She took a breath, willing herself not to cry, to summon instead whatever little bits of Gryffindor she had in her. Bravery. She had to find it. She had to be brave. Brave in the face of great strife. That was what they prized, wasn't it? She let go of the shackles and brought her hand to his chest, searching for the thrum of his heartbeat. She opened her eyes as she felt the soft beat vibrate against her fingertips, not realising that she’d squeezed them shut. Her fist closed around the shirt reflexively, as though she was trying to grasp inside of his chest and hang onto the life, to hang onto the hope for them both. She lifted her head a little and nudged her nose against his, her lips parting again, though this time with words.

“I won’t rest until I can rollock you sillier,” she whispered, “until they can’t have you anymore. Until you’re free. Until your name is cleared. Until you can fly again, until you can play. They don’t get to keep you. I will come back for you, Simon. No matter what. Every time.”

She lifted her head and brought her fingers through Simon’s, lacing their hands together as she would have done had they been anywhere else in the world in that moment. She closed her eyes for a second, concentrating on the feel of his skin against hers. She was determined to remember it, so that when their time was up and they were frogmarched out of the prison, she could hang onto that feeling. That night, she would be able to huddle tight under the covers and remember the way his hand felt. And she could wait on that feeling until she could bother Jack or Kip to let her see him again – as frequently as possible until he was home. Wherever home was for him. As long as he was free. As long as she could see him in the sun once more with a smile on his face.

“I don’t know what the word means, papa,” she sighed regretfully, reopening her eyes, not noticing the slip of the tongue. “But … I know what he means. Feels, too, I think, when he says it. I don’t … I don’t need to know what it means to understand. And as it’s for me … I … I don’t think you need to understand, either. And that’s okay. We’re okay.” Her eyes reached for Simon’s. “We’ll be okay,” came her soft amendment.

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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:16 am
Simon's eyebrows pulled together so much it nearly pained him. He didn't want a moment like this. Moreover, he didn't want something as important as their first kiss to be in a place this horrible. It didn't feel right at all, despite what they had decided they had. His expression merely made him look agonizingly pained, even though he couldn't draw his attention from her face.

It didn't help, obviously, that they were in an Azkaban cell. But worse than that, they weren't even close to alone. Jack, her quasi-parents, the Chief Warlock... it was so uncomfortable. As much as he loved to know that she cared, he couldn't believe she was so openly affectionate. It wasn't at all something he was used to - perhaps mainly because of his years on his own or with particularly callous criminals within the walls of Azkaban. And the Guards weren't exactly friendly, either. Still, he couldn't help the way he kept watching her, dumbfounded by her blatant acceptance of what was going on.

Keiran, for his part, was thoroughly unhappy. Though that wasn't entirely new, as of late. His face scrunched up at Liv's display, grateful that Simon himself merely took it rather than doing anything in return. He missed, of course, how Simon gripped her hands a little too tightly. It did hit him, though, as he turned his head away and his eyes settled on Millie, that the ridiculous pair in front of them had something that he and his wife so clearly didn't.

Sure, upon his return, there had been the expected panic and affection and time spent. But on the same token, how long had that really lasted? Rather than reading through the letters he had made a very concerted effort to write despite everything, Millie had gone to sleep. Rather than make time to help in hers and Elliot's shop, then, he had worked with Oliver instead. It was partly for fear of being in her way, but also because he so badly felt that he needed something to sort him out, and he knew absolutely nothing about flowers despite living with Millie for three years.

Perhaps, if Millie happened to look over and was of the mind to notice, she would've caught the flash of heartbreak that struck through him and across his features. At that realization of how far they had fallen, Keiran's temper simmered down into something like a memory and he crossed his arms over his chest protectively.

Liv was talking again, to him. Keiran turned to look at her, his expression bland and quietly sorrowful rather than angry. He wasn't sure that she noticed, though, which was probably for the best. He'd come here with the intention of saving her, in his own way, and wasn't prepared to give that up yet.

His eyebrows did lift, though, at her reprimand of sorts, and he shifted his weight, turning his attention back to Kip and Jack. "What's the plan?" He asked with a resigned sigh. He still wasn't sure what his plan was, but it wouldn't hurt to ask. "How were you supposed to get him out?"

Simon had been staring at Liv, surprised that she didn't understand it exactly but pleased to find that she had gotten the gist. Still, he was jolted back into the rest of the room at Keiran's questions, having fully expected to be torn to pieces by everyone else. If Hayes was on his side, though...

He squeezed her hands again. Whatever this was, he didn't want to jinx it by saying anything.
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:02 am
Jack moved as though she hardly noticed the dementors' presence, but there was a cynical part of her that kept reminding her that if she slipped too far from the safety of Kip's falcon, she would most certainly hear a familiar but unwelcome growl of a voice, hear the cries of a friend she was too late to save. Boggarts and dementors, possibly the only two creatures Jack had made an effort not to work with during her time in the Ministry.

Any hesitation she might have had however did not register on her face, a face that seemed closer to thirty than it did twenty three. Kip could feel an aggressive energy radiating from the redhead, though that much wasn't exactly a development. However, there was something preemptive to it, he could think of no better word to capture it.

He found himself walking alongside Livia, who in turn seemed led with uncertainty and fear. Though whereas Jack's confident nature had something cynical in it, Livia's energy seemed driven by a hope, a desire, a purity. She, too, had something personal with this prison but she was holding onto hope. She had pulled him along and he felt that interesting new protective side of him piqued, though he was certain it would be relatively kept at bay. He had a remarkable talent for staying unattached.

Had this been a comedy, Jack might have broken off the tender reunion of two young lovers with a brisk non sequitur, or spoiled the mood by blowing air through her cheeks and jerking her thumb at the couple, sticking her finger into her mouth and rolling her eyes at Kevin. In truth, she had made such a motion and Kip had reached out to tap her wrist, only to find that she was summoning her own patronus, a distant look in her eye. The wolfhound landed patiently at her side and she exchanged a glance with Kip, and the cloudiness was gone, but certainly still present. Because that was thing, wasn't it? This wasn't a comedy.

Jack was unsettled more by the affection and this grown woman's use of a 'papa' for a man only a decade or so her superior than she was by the condition in which they found Marek. Not to say he hadn't suffered - he had. That much was obvious. In his eyes was age, in his posture was defeat. But by his side was someone consumed by the idea of reclaiming him, and she knew that this Liv girl, as much as Jack might have found her too young-minded or sunny-hearted or whatever ridiculous combination of words fit best, she was going to help much in the way of rehabilitation.

Keiran's words brought up a question Jack hadn't considered. The whole getting into Azkaban thing had been right up her alley. The whole getting out.

She glanced at Kip, who had already taken his cue. "As far as I know, he hasn't been given a trial date, nor has any sort of bail been set. You should have had a hearing to establish where you were to be kept until your trial date, and would have resided in the cells managed under the Department of Law Enforcement. Jack, I believe, was working out your case with the Head, Bishop-"

"Yup."

"-and because they have you in on a relatively nonthreatening charge, there is no reason for you to be moved to Azkaban. That move should have had my approval, anyhow." He looked towards Marek. "No bail, no hearing, and no counsel - you've been wronged, my friend, and that bodes well for you in the long run, even though it's certainly miserable now. As far as your past crimes, those were settled. Until a special hearing approves the motion to reopen that case, none of that should contribute to your being here."

"Great, so we just flounce out of here?" Jack said, raising an eyebrow, certain that couldn't be the case.

Kip straightened up, a quill appearing in his hands with the flick of his wrists. "I'm going to step aside to draft up a quick order to move, as I prefer to do it the legal way even if someone else didn't, and send it off. My secretary should have it approved in a matter of minutes. It takes just one other signature and will also get your hearing moved up considerably. Jack, you might want to warn Claire-"

"On it."

"-and then yes. We flounce out of here."

((I even attempted to do my research on this guys. I figure either Rivah or Hermione might sign off on it, and if not, one of the other mystery members of the Wizengamot ;D))
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:00 am
At first, Simon just listened as they discussed what was to be done. But then Kip's firm words struck him and he registered what was meant to be happening. They were leaving. Whether Liv noticed or not, he couldn't say, but Simon felt his pulse jump with two questions:

First, if they left him, when would someone come back? And second, if they didn't... Well, rather, would they? Perhaps he, too, could flounce out. It sounded positive, though the first word was new to him.

He had actually sat up a bit without really thinking about it. But then he remembered. It wasn't that simple. He deflated again, shaking his head even as he passed his thumbs across Liv's wrists.

"It isn't really that easy, though, is it?" He asked finally, forcing himself to speak up before they all took off to do whatever they were doing. "It wasn't just one charge. It was three. And Acker wants to re-open the case because I let him tricked me into a duel a couple of weeks ago. And now this. So he has an excuse. So now it's four things against me. Assault. Public Intoxication," he listed them reluctantly, "and Illegal Potion Trafficking. Plus the original case that I somehow murdered that girl without ever knowing where Tobias lived. I hadn't even met him before, but what does that really matter?"

He lifted his eyes to the ceiling, sending up a silent prayer or two even as his head fell back against the wall. Even though he was now staring at the ceiling, he was fully aware of Keiran's dubious frown.

"How do we know you didn't do it?" He asked. "The court believed you had, so what's due to change?"

Simon leaned forward at that, leveling the group with a completely, deadly serious look. "My best friends testified against me. It didn't matter what I said. Memories can be altered. Taken away. Even though I'm very sure that's never happened, they decided that my knowledge of Tobias's family and their location had been done away with. Possibly by my own hand."

Keiran's gaze shifted to Millie, who would know far more about such things than he would. He spoke regardless, though. "Again, how do we know you didn't do it?"

"I would wager," Simon began sarcastically, unable to pull himself back, "that someone with some knowledge of memory altering could tell if these things had happened. Perhaps you should ask them. I'd suggest you just take a look at mine and see, but it seems you are not experienced with that, and we have no pensieve here anyway. So maybe you should come up with a new plan."
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:57 pm
Though it could be said that such an act was more suited to a character whose heart beat on their sleeve, Melissa Hayes did look away as the young pair collided. She lifted her hands away behind her back and her fingers looped together – holding her level or holding her together. Something. She didn’t dare chance a look in Keiran’s direction. Like Livia could take solace in a good feeling that was communicated on a plane she didn’t understand, Melissa, for all of her misgivings, knew when the game was up between her and her husband. She didn’t need to look. The evidence was crackling thickly in the air between them. As much as she attempted to fuse her fingers together, time still poured between the gaps between them. They poured, simmering apart into the drains that ran along the cells. She bit down on the inside of her cheek to keep herself steady, searching in her mind for something to focus her magic on, something happy – but the Patronus flickered out and died. As she looked down at the space where the cat had inhabited, Melissa couldn’t help the odd feeling that settled over, the feeling that perhaps it was the last time she’d see it because she also felt as though this might also be the last time …

Livia’s heart bounded hopefully within her as Jack and Kip spoke. She bit her lip, trying to button the smile. She bounced a little her fingers squeezing just a little bit more around Simon’s before loosening back to the clinging grip she’d had before. There was an impish little consideration in the back of her mind that perhaps this was a game to see whose blood circulation got cut off first. She ducked her head, then, as the smile did come. It was a fight with herself to regain some sobriety. But she couldn’t. She almost entirely couldn’t. She was beginning to grow delirious at the thought that they could get him out of there that day. That he could be out of those horrible clothes, thrust under the hot jets of a shower and urged to live again. They could do it. That day. She wanted desperately for everyone to just sit in that moment and marvel at it but then she considered that she was probably doing enough of that for everyone. Part of her mind was already spinning with thoughts of what she could do to thank all of them. She had no idea what her tips at the Hogs Head could stretch to but at that point she was considering even going to Gringott’s and sweet-talking a Goblin for a little loan for just a smidgeon more extravagance. If there was only one thing her mother had taught her then it was to thank with every ounce of yourself and her father’s playful addendum to that had always been that a little bit of scrimping and saving for one month was worth knowing that someone knew how much the good deed mattered.

At the listing of his crimes, Livia left the sunniness and her mind sharpened in concentration. At the listing of his crimes, Melissa’s head began to turn, the cranking of the gears hailing the livening up of her senses. Assault was commonplace enough. Elijah could do away with that if an exchange of favours was completed. There was plenty that Melissa owed the man after years of knowing him but Elijah owed her a few favours, too. Discretion was nine tenths of the law, not possession. And he was the law. She’d always been discreet on his behalf. So much had gone unnoticed by the Prophet. She had him there. It was something that could be wiped away. Public intoxication was something that could go out along with it and, Millie suspected, merely an addition to strengthen the catalogue. The potions trafficking would need a little bit of work. It was an insult to Robert’s own present sensibilities and hang-ups. That was what was keeping him there. It must have been. She was interested, then, to know what exactly Simon had been moving.

An eyebrow lifted curiously as Keiran’s eyes found her and hers him and Melissa suddenly felt odd to still be standing in the doorway. She felt as though this was probably her cue to do something and, indeed, Melissa knew she should. She was curious, too, to see what lay in store for the young man in his future. There was a part of her that, with the departure of her Patronus, doubted her ability to do it, to see. Memory was a delicate thing. Sensing whether or not it had been tampered with was a tricky connection of two skills. Magic was strange. Power waxed and waned. The ability to see stayed constant in the blonde witch, though. She felt on the wane. Exhausted. But that extra sense … it was still alight. The future. The past. The present. It was all there. And all she had to do was reach in and peer at it. But for that moment, as she came to crouch in front of the wizard, she wondered if she could do it.

“I think I qualify as someone with some knowledge of memory altering,” she said softly to the pair as she knelt down in front of them. She took out her wand and pushed it behind her ear, reaching to cover their hands with one of her own as she did so. Melissa bit her lip as the images of their future buffeted against her mind, pushing feverishly against her, determined to spill into her head what lay in store for them. She rolled her lips together and resolved herself, pushing back at them. She could keep them out, she repeated over and over in her head. Until she was ready, she could keep them out.

“Veritaserm,” she began through clenched teeth, willing herself to relax, “is somewhat undercooked. It should be able to prevent a lie but it cannot if it is a true lie – if what they believe they are telling is real, has happened, and is true. It’s not perfect and if no one checks…” She took a breath and her eyes furrowed as their future pored over the top of her shields, flooding into every crevice of her mind. Her hand tightened around theirs and she took a breath, closing her eyes to try and ride through it. What shocked her most was how, one after the other, the pictures of their future flowed from the same source. It was one book, not two separate ones. Their stories were joined, their lives intermingled and their future was just that: theirs. Millie stole back her hand and with a metaphorical slam, landed back into the cell in Azkaban, in the present. She took a large, gasping breath and blinked, jumping at the grip of Liv’s hand around her shoulder.

“Are you alright?” She asked Millie before glancing up at Keiran, concern cutting across her face.

“Fine,” she shook herself, taking her wand out again. “I’m fine. Let’s … let’s have a look shall we? Oh, um… mind what coffee table you buy.”

“What?” Liv spluttered incredulously. “Millie are you sure you’re okay?”

“The, um … the one you like, Liv, it won’t go with the colour scheme so just … listen to Simon. I’m alright,” Melissa nodded, reaching up to touch Simon’s temple. The images jolted through her again and she had the control, this time, to only make cursory glance. The same. It was the same. In him on his own terms, as well as in them both. It was so strong that it left her breathless. She had only ever seen a handful of fortunes that set in stone. Like it all you want, nipper, but please don’t try and predict my future … I see teddy bears and doilies and little socks! Millie blinked and rubbed her hand across her forehead. “This might hurt a bit.”

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Mills? Don’t you think that Simon’s already been through enough?” She asked sharply, looking between Millie and Keiran, her eyes lingering on the latter, absurdly looking to him for some sort of interference. “He’s not guilty! He’s not—”

“In a court of law, it’s not enough to just believe in someone,” Melissa cut over her gently, her voice patient and sympathetic. “I can check and I’m sorry that I have to but I must. We need to know, Simon,” she met his gaze, regret curling at her lips. “It will be uncomfortable but if you did alter your memories yourself then this will hurt a damn sight less than that did.” Her eyes returned to Livia. “That hurts. That truly hurts – for all sorts of reasons other than the mere physicality of changing your memories. You don’t just change what you remember when you fiddle with your mind. Like with all magic, it’s never quite that simple. You can also change so much of yourself in the process … and it doesn’t always happen straight away, either, it …” she pursed her lips. “It’s not something that you should ever play with lightly.”

“It will feel like a jab,” she went on, turning back to Simon as she readied her wand. “You’re Muggle raised, aren’t you? I’m sure you remember those,” she found a smile for him. “It will be like that. It’s much of the same. I just need to see.”

“Do it quickly,” Livia huffed, her features straining with concern.


“This … I …” Millie sighed, pursing her lips, amusement playing in her eyes. “Alright. I’ll do it quickly.”  

She lifted her wand and felt her magic sneak down through it, pushing past the block that she felt in the middle of it, the block she knew wasn’t in the wand but in herself. It was an insignificant thing, really, given what was to come. She didn’t need to be a Seer to feel the turn of the tide. It was against them both. The rock that the raging sea had been buffeting against for so long as finally crumbling.

The memories. The memories. The memories.

She whispered the spell and slid past the front of his mind, slipping silkily in through the thoughts and concerns in the same way Athena had cautioned her to. Don’t touch what you don’t need to see. You can cause untold damage by being careless. She knew how far back she needed to go. It was a remarkably well-ordered mind at its most basic level and it was for that reason that she could turn to them within a few moments of looking. And there they were. She didn’t go into them. She didn’t want to make him relive it any more than she truly wanted to see it. She did agree with Livia on that front. He had been through enough. Besides that, she was not the most stable of leglimencers. Athena would have been better suited to looking through them. Millie could get in and wander around but beyond what she had been instructed to look for, she did not truly have much grasp on the present and past mind. If she was going in with the intent to alter, though, she would have felt somewhat more confident in her ability. So instead of looking, she handled them gently, turning them over without breaking the surface, looking for the tell-tale marks that would be sitting within her own mind in that moment … the marks of tamper.

“It’s not there.” She exhaled, pulling out of his mind through the channel she’d created. She twisted her wand a bit and closed the way in she’d created, not wanting to leave it to a different prying leglimens. Athena would be proud, she hoped. “They’re clean memories. They are just as they are when they were made.” She turned, addressing the other side of the room. “Take it up with a pensieve if you do want to see the ins and outs of what happened. But … he’s not a liar. You’re telling the truth,” Millie smiled, patting her hand against his cheek. “I’m sorry for having to do it. I hope you can forgive me. Both of you. Also, uh …” she smirked a bit, almost feeling a little bit ridiculous but there was something in her, a flash of the impish, younger, happier witch that made her say it. “You were a cute baby, Simon.”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Thu Sep 01, 2016 2:32 am
It was probably the prolonged effects of being exposed to the draining powers of the dementors that fueled Simon’s determined negativity. For all of her efficiency, sometimes the redhead lacked patience. Jack opened her mouth to tell Simon to shut up and leave it to them to worry about, but once again, Kip displayed some sort of psychic ability that prompted him to jump in. “They can’t count the old charge against you, not yet. And only one of those charges is serious, and certainly not serious enough to land you here.”

“If public intoxication and assault were all it took, I’d have a permanent address here,” Jack said by way of quick explanation. She shook her head, almost a reassuring gesture. No, that wasn’t enough.

It was apparent that Kevin was probably the least enthused to be assisting Marek, which made Jack ponder what he was still doing here. Why had he come? Why had he been the one to send the patronus? If he didn’t want Marek helped, and the two women depended on his connections to achieve it, why hadn’t he withheld? The answer came before the question even fully formed in her mind – family made you extend yourself in ways you had never been willing before. No one could understand it from the outside but inside, it made total sense.

Besides, she had her own share of unexplained loyalty.

The moment that the words ‘memory alteration’ stumbled out of Marek’s mouth, the spectral wolfhound flickered out of existence, but was swiftly brought back with a determined flick of her wand. She could feel Kip’s gaze flick towards her but she stared forward as Millie began to move forward, refusing to acknowledge the moment in time that seemed so fleeting it hardly existed.

She had learned long ago that thoughts of Nemo rarely got her anywhere good.

Millie was kneeling between them now and Kip caught Jack and Keiran’s elbows, leaning forward. “I’m going to draft the letter.”

Jack turned, “Don’t you want to hear-“

“I want to get him out of here,” he said, voice low. “It’s not on us to believe him. Just to treat him fairly.” He glanced towards Keiran with the hint of an apologetic expression. “I’ll add a post script with Millie’s findings.”

He stepped away and Jack turned to conjure another Patronus to send off to Claire, before turning back and shifting to stand next to Keiran, the two of them silent onlookers to an intimate trio. It was only then that Jack felt the weight of her distance from the gathered group. With the connection between Simon and Livia, and the connections of the younger girl to the married couple, Jack suddenly felt very wrong for bearing witness to the trials of this family, invited or not.

With Kevin having stepped forward to steady Millie at the first time of trouble, the solitude only grew. Jack turned and her eyes absently scanned the cells. Azkaban was probably one of the few prisons in the world not constantly brimming with criminals. It was supposed to be a last resort, the place you went if they were certain your mind was set on making more trouble, causing more cruelty.

She had been here for Aaron Marcheti, back before she had any sort of Ministry ties she had any interest in maintaining. With almost no incentive, and an almost absolute certainty that he had earned the time, she had helped him escape. Why? Because back then, with nothing else to hold her up, she just had to do something. And Aaron was an ally - on the exact opposite side of the conflict, sure, but still a respected colleague.

Being here for Marek felt strange. She had been invited just to be a stranger. Kip was the useful one here, the one that could actually do something. On her own, she would have muscled her way in and sprung Marek out without a thought for the ramifications and they would have all been in trouble. Naturally, she would have spoken too loudly and too rudely, a technique that would have earned her exactly what she sought : the blame. Deflected off of the Hayes and Livia, the three would have been free to work with Kip while she suffered whatever new consequences came her way.

But Kip was here and while that was all for the best, Jack felt like if she dissolved right there, all would have been fine.

The wolfhound flickered again but returned with a new vigor.

F*ck self pity.

It was done. A proclamation of innocence tumbled from Millie's lips and Jack found that it oddy changed nothing. Did it make it a little easier knowing she wasn't dealing with a child killer? Yes, certainly. But this whole ordeal had become so impersonal that Jack found herself adopting Kip's clinical view. Marek deserved a trial. That's what they were here to secure.

Kip was ambling over now, a scroll rolled in his palm. Jack swung her arms forward and clapped them. Looking at her face, no one would have known. Which seemed fitting. No one ever did. “Right. Sorted. Shall we?”

Kip was already scrawling something onto the parchment. “Legalities, Jack, legalities. Defeats the point if our next Azkaban reunion has us sharing a cell.” The parchment disappeared with a swish of his wand. “It shouldn’t take long. Granger and Trenton can typically be counted on for a speedy response.”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:50 am
Watching silently was easy enough at first. That is, until Millie nigh collapse because of whatever she had done or seen or- Keiran didn't know. She said something and he had already taken a step forward, concern wracking him despite the chill that had been lingering between them for months. It was pure instinct and fear that set him into motion, had him using her name as a question, but he was almost immediately yanked back to propriety when Kip took hold of his arm.

Keiran tensed, holding himself back for a second, but only listened to the beginning of what Kip was saying before stepping forward and pulling his arm away.

One hand reached for Liv's hand instinctively, regardless of how she clung to Simon, covering it. The other one went for Millie's shoulder as he leaned forward and eyed her with concern. He knew what he would've asked if they had been alone somewhere. And maybe he would, later.

Can you tell me what it is you're afraid of? Can you tell me why I'm afraid it's me?

He felt removed from the situation despite knowing exactly what she was reacting to. Something about Simon and Livia and that made him feel a bit sick inside but it also boded bizarrely well if she was meaning they'd be picking out furniture. Even if he hated the very idea, surely that meant he moved past it? Keiran's eyes flicked to Simon, but the young man didn't react. He was staring at Liv again.

Still, Keiran could feel some sort of weight on Millie's shoulders besides just the Dementors and their expectations. And he knew instinctively that it was to do with him. It was like he'd been blind for a long time, and like something had gone entirely wrong but he couldn't see quite what it was. He felt it, though, and he realized in entirely the wrong moment that she did, too.

Keiran didn't respond the way Livia wanted him to when she looked his way. He just shook his head, giving Millie's arm a pat before he set his hands on his knees to balance himself and keep from distracting her. He didn't want to think about why she knew what memory alteration might feel like, so he didn't ask. Instead he sat himself down against Livia's legs, looking down at Millie's feet rather than her face so she wouldn't feel the pressure of the situation from yet another person.

Simon let out a sound of disapproval when she went in, making Keiran cringe at the very idea of it. But Simon held still and didn't even crush Liv's hands more than before, which he decided must be rather impressive. He could see the pieces she rifled through, grateful that she didn't wander elsewhere just because she could. She wasn't lost, and he couldn't even picture doing something like this to someone else. He wasn't remotely skilled enough to keep from doing it wrong.

When she spoke and backed out, Simon relaxed against the wall and Keiran looked up sharply, his gaze moving between Millie and then to Simon. He hadn't done it. Keiran's eyebrows pulled together and he turned to look at Kip when he came back in, regret sinking in.

What kind of person was he if he trusted Theodore and Athena and sometimes even Elijah but not this man? The room blurred in front of him as he let himself zone out, turning away from the cot and pressing his shoulders back against it though he put space between himself and Livia. Regrettably, it didn't make him feel he could put any less faith in the first two, even as he felt a need to trust Simon, at least through Liv.

They would be out of here. Simon would come with them, in some capacity, too. Tobias was after him. The Ministry aurors had taken him too seriously and put him here. Would Simon really be safe, even after leaving a place this terrible? Keiran wasn't sure about that. Simon was thanking Millie at nothing more than a whisper when Keiran turned back to them and made Marek jump in surprise, unsure what to expect.

"You won't be staying at your flat after this, kid. I won't have it. If they're still going for you after all this, it isn't smart for you to stay there. Stay with your family," Keiran essentially demanded.

Simon's lips turned down into a brief frown but he nodded slowly and clearly. He doubted Keiran would know if he didn't do it. Livia would, though. She knew, now. He just hoped she wouldn't turn him in. He didn't need the help of a man who hadn't believed in him. Not when he had Liv and a job of sorts and a place to stay. It wasn't smart, it was stubborn. It was a horrible idea and he would regret it later. But he didn't need the Hayes' invading while he tried to remember how to smile. While he tried to recall how he had behaved around Livia without the eyes of anyone else on them.

He wasn't going to be himself. That was the big problem. He wasn't sure Liv understood that yet. That just leaving wouldn't fix him. That this group knowing his innocence wouldn't revive him and bring back the jokes that used to come so easy. Or that he pretended were easy, at any rate. He would never again be as he was in school. He was just grateful that Livia hadn't seen him, then. Otherwise she probably would have been disappointed.

Or, more so, anyway.

Keiran wanted to leave Liv to sorting Simon out, so he reached out towards Millie again, asking if she were okay, because he knew Simon wasn't, he said, but she seemed tired, too. He also wanted to know what it was like, unaware of if that would make Simon uncomfortable. The Polish man wasn't listening, though. So when Keiran spoke again, it was weirdly serious and inappropriate for the moment. But he wasn't sure how to comfort her after something so foreign.

"So you- you could see anything?" He asked. "It works on anyone," he said, more like a claim than a question. Merlin, if they could go back and remember. He didn't know, of course, that she had altered her memories of him. How much of a rage he would be in when he found out that his disappearance made her want to forget him completely. Because of course he would misinterpret it.

It was a shame, in some ways, that he wasn't the sort of man to cry. Because he could have at the thought that they'd forgotten why or how they worked. Maybe it was the Dementors. Keiran seriously doubted it.

It took Hermione less than ten minutes to read and write a letter of agreement regarding Simon's release. She also said that she would call for a trial as early as next week, if a date was available. That she would send Simon a letter herself, once it was settled.

So it felt like everyone was watching Kip for their cue. And Simon? He couldn't breathe.
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:08 pm
It would not be until much later, until, in fact, it was too late, that the young woman would come to appreciate the hand on her shoulder, that warm, strong grip, and the person from whom it came. It would not be until much later that she would realise how much she needed that hand, that reassurance, and the man who had made her feel as though she could do anything and everything and who, in that moment, gave her the strength to slide into Simon’s mind and to go straight to what she needed, to not waver, to not make a mistake. As the moments elapsed she could feel the threads of her magic begin to fray and unfurl but she surged forward, the ghost of the pressure on her shoulder kept her level and reminded her that in spite of everything, she could do it. It He made her strong, even as she felt her strength buckle amidst the rising tide of weakness … because, at some point, if stretched too much, everyone’s magic eventually splits. If brought to dizzying extremes, it was liable to fracture, rupture, and destroy itself. As she pulled back out of Simon’s brain, she felt the first crack.

A sudden feeling of nausea settled in the witch’s stomach as she rose to her feet. She brought her hand to her forehead and rubbed between her brows, dread welling in her. She managed a smile as Livia turned to look at Simon proudly, her own lingering fears placated by the news. Her faith in him had not wavered but knowing for certain that her faith was well-placed… that mattered. Melissa wasn’t sure how she was supposed to look at Simon now that he had been exonerated. Guilt gnawed at her. They should have believed him. At the very least, they should have trusted Livia’s judgement. She was a clever, sensible girl. She wasn’t capable, in Millie’s mind, of doing something foolish like that. She had a nose for trouble. She would have known if Simon was fooling her. But then, the happiness in Livia’s eyes was blemished, Millie was also certain, with relief. Relief that she’d not been wrong. So, really, the best way to look at Simon was to look at him as a stranger, to put this behind them, and move forward and form a relationship with the man dating Liv. Well, once it was all over, of course.

When Keiran got up, Livia reached into the pocket of her jacket and drew out some teeny-tiny clothes, like those that should have belonged to a doll. Carefully, the witch resized each piece until she had a pile of clothes neatly folded on her lap. She smiled, pleased with herself, and put her wand between her teeth before picking up and unfolding the thick, woollen jumper that sat on the top. She held it out to Simon, a pointed, pleading look shining in her eyes. It was cold out, was what she tried to convey from behind the wand. Livia frowned and spat out the wood into her hand before repeating herself more firmly. At the very least, she added, he needed to shrug that on. Azkaban was hardly the most insulated place, after all. If he didn’t catch his death of cold from the prison, Livia thought to herself, then he damn well would when he got out onto the rock.

“I was hoping it would work out,” she explained, bobbing her hand that still had the jumper in it as though underline that that was the reason why she’d had the clothes to hand. “Optimist at heart, I suppose. Though, I was a scout. Would you like some privacy? I can transfigure one of my shoelaces into a screen if you like?”

Millie had fallen into her own thoughts but was roused from them by Keiran’s voice. She looked up and stared at him for a few moments. She opened her mouth and squinted a bit before blinking and willing her mind to focus. Keiran. It was Keiran. She knew who that was. She brought a hand up and rubbed at her neck, recalling what he’d said. She nodded, unsure of herself on so many matters in that moment. She glanced in the couple’s direction, glad that the young woman’s nattering would cover their conversation. Her eyes lingered a little longer on Simon, as though she was trying to determine whether or not he was alright or whether she’d hurt him and he was just trying to cover that fact.

“It’s so dangerous,” she murmured, stepping closer to Keiran so that she didn’t have to lift the volume of her voice. “I’m hardly qualified,” her furtive eyes reached up towards his and she winced, wishing she’d not even said as much. “It is relatively straight forward when you know how. Simon doesn’t have much training in occlumency, I don’t think, if he has any. Or perhaps he just let me in, I’m not sure. He was quite easy to get through to. His mind felt clear. People who are better at it are harder to get into and even if you do … I mean, Athena told me once that it feels like you’re trying to walk through jelly but an open mind lets you straight through. It’s not quite Leglimency, I don’t think, but … it sort of is. The same basis I think?” She raised an eyebrow and shrugged her shoulders.

“I don’t want to do that again in a hurry though,” she added gravely. “At least not that quickly. I think Liv should stay with Simon for a while. I was careful but I don’t know if I’ve hurt him. I could have nicked something on the way through and ruptured a memory. He could be … he could …” Millie took a deep breath and tried to stave off the panic that was rising in her. She reached up with both hands this time to rub at her eyes. Keiran’s assessment of her. Tired. Exhausted. That’s what she was. And devastated. As she felt her magic fritz and crack, feelings welled up within her that she’d tried to keep out, that she’d tried to control. Memory. Memory was beginning to resurface. Past loss punctuating what she felt coming.

“I’ll be alright,” she answered his first question finally as she dropped her hands, concern shining in her eyes as she looked up at him. “Are you okay?”

“Is he free or not, Mr Parsons?” Livia’s voice pierced through the bubble and the haze as Millie wrung her hands together. “Can we please just go home?”
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Re: There's a Big, Black Sky Over My Town

on Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:21 pm
Simon didn't feel right. As he looked around at everyone, he understood the main idea: they believed him, and he was being released until a trial could determine what he really deserved. As he tried to think back on what Millie must have found in order to believe him, he just couldn't figure it out. Nothing came to mind, and he was really starting to feel a headache coming on after Mrs. Hayes had dug around.

But then Liv moved, and he turned to look at her, eyeing the things she held out for him rather cautiously. Solemnly, though, he lifted his hands and pointed out the cuffs that still held him there. She sounded pretty hopeful, though, and he felt bad that she had come with them and tried to be helpful, only to have him be sour about her attempts.

"Once these are gone, that would actually be great," he decided, tone as casual as he could manage it with the confused mood he was in. As thoroughly pleased as he was to be leaving the Dementors and the chains behind, something didn't feel right at all and he couldn't place it. He turned away, trying to get the attention of someone who could help him, his brow furrowed. It was like he had forgotten a whole list of things rather than just one, and something in his gut was upside down.

Keiran, for his part, was actually fascinated. Trying to understand something he had no knowledge of was nearly impossible for him without some sort of hands-on, practical attempt. Theory wasn't necessarily something that equated to comprehension for him. He wanted to reach out again when she expressed visibly how she felt. But something held him back that he couldn't actually explain, and it made him feel sick inside. But perhaps that was nothing new, and he'd just told himself otherwise over the past few years.

Her question gave him pause, and he determined that the odds of anyone catching his meaning besides Millie was slim, even though he didn't doubt they could hear him if they wanted to.

"I don't think I've been okay for a long time. And I don't think you have, either. ....I think we need to talk."

Liv's question drew his attention, and Keiran turned away to help free Simon from the shackles. "Liv," he began, glancing at her as he released one wrist and then the other, "I was wrong. Millie thinks that maybe you should stay with Simon at his until he gets sorted out again."

Simon rubbed at his wrists as he watched the others in turn, squinting slightly. These people couldn't really make up their minds about anything, could they? But then Keiran looked straight at him and Simon straightened his spine a bit, backing up towards the wall and staring right back.

"I'm sorry," Keiran said after a moment, dropping his gaze immediately after. "I should have waited until I had difinitive proof to judge you."

Simon's shoulders relaxed and he thanked the older man quietly, wondering if he really deserved any sort of respect from Keiran when he himself couldn't put the pieces together.

When Keiran continued, though, Simon frowned properly. "Unless I find myself with another reason to be concerned, I won't get in the way of you and Livia."

"I don't under-"

But it was time to leave, and Keiran said he ought to just change at his flat, into his own clothes despite how helpful Liv had been. Keiran assured Jack and Kip that he owed them a favor, offering a meaningful expression that would turn into a round table discussion in the future, and then turned towards Millie, holding an arm out. He moved to wrap it around her waist, determining that he would be as comforting as possible if she would let him.

They had to collect Simon's things, but then they all held on while he did his best not to splinch himself and get them all to his flat. Perhaps, if he had remembered what he should have, Simon would've been more embarrassed by how simple his flat was. He hadn't updated anything since being convicted the first time, and although it was fairly clean and he'd had the money to buy whatever he wanted. But his lack of interest in his living quarters was probably apparent, if only in lack of recent pictures or anything suggesting he had been interested in any products created in the last four years.

Immediately, he drew away from the others and moved into his bedroom, eager to put on something fresh, and came back to Keiran asking if Liv needed them to bring her anything, even though Simon had never actually agreed that she should stay. It didn't seem like he had much of a choice, though, so he just leaned against the doorway and waited for them to come to some sort of conclusion, wondering how long it would be before he was allowed to get a proper rest in a proper bed.
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