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Seventh Year Ravenclaw
Seventh Year Ravenclaw
Molly Weasley
Seventh Year
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Jackles

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++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:35 am
I need your arms around me
I need to feel your touch

I need your understanding
I need your love
so much

You tell me that you love me so
you tell me that you care
but when I need you
(baby)
baby
(you're never there)


Molly wasn't sure why Hayes even let them continue with Hogsmeade weekends, not after all the original sentiments from their parents that their precious children had to be monitored 24/7 after the horrors of their ill-fated train ride. She had assured everyone that the protective fervor would wane, but she was a bit surprised it had faded as quickly as it had. One of these days, she would be surprised by society and stop being right about everything.

Today was not that day.

She had no illusions that she was superior to anyone. She knew her place, and knew it wasn't towards the top of anyone's list. Which was more than fine by her. She could maybe name on one hand the people she had invested in enough to earn a place in their brains. If she were being honest, she probably had two hands worth of people she actually cared about, but had really only earned the grace of half of them. She wasn't good with people. She could be if she tried. She just didn't really see herself doing that.

Margo was sick with a cold, and Molly had promised to smuggle in some primo contraband to make her feel better. She had all but commanded Bev to meet her at the Shrieking Shack, one of their favorite haunts to smoke and shag, and despite his complaints that she couldn't order him around, she knew he would be there. Right at noon. Just as she said. Which was exactly why she waited for noon to even leave. He could wait. What was more, he would wait.

She was towards the back of the pack of Hogwarts students, having trailed behind so she wouldn't suffer the misfortune of falling into step with one of her peers. Her plaid shirt fluttered in the slight breeze, the usual cold having been interrupted by a rare warm day, necessitating nothing more than long sleeves, rather than the usual layers of scarves, gloves, and hats. Her fingers appreciated the freedom as they gripped her camera, always ready. The good thing about being unimportant to everyone is how invisible it made her. She could snap her pictures all she wanted.

Lately, however, she had been struggling to find inspiration in any of the friendly faces at Hogwarts. No one seemed to have what she was looking for, which was something she couldn't really place.  Sometimes she almost saw it in Christian Zabini, but he would pull on a brave smile and ruin it all. So, she languished on, unfulfilled.

She rounded a corner and voices met her ears. She tilted her head, deciding to skirt off the path and around a knoll to observe from where was always the most comfortable - a distance.

It was the Jericho siblings, 1 and 2. Molly liked Kathryn. The girl was strong in an unconventional way, clever but unpretentious. She seemed to still enjoy being a kid, which was much more than Molly could say for their classmates. Molly often considered reaching out, offering to pair up in class or see if the girl wanted to smoke down by the lake. Something told her that Kath was too forward thinking than to take up a bad habit and, while not judgemental, perceptive enough to know their worlds were too different to have much overlap. So she settled for dropping into seats next to her and casually listening in to her world. For Molly, that was one of the purest forms of friendship she could muster.

She felt her fingers twitch on her camera and she glanced again towards the siblings, trying to understand the artistic itch. Should she take a picture of Kathryn? The girl had stopped to fix her boot, and was complaining that her brother was fidgeting while she so desperately needed him to be still while she used him for balance. Somehow, she had less experience with the elder brother, knew less about him, but as she watched him look across the path while his sister fixed her shoe, Molly's instincts kicked in. She raised the camera and found his face, faraway, thinking, somehow resigned. She paused, lowering the camera and tilting her head as she looked at him. Now he just looked patient, but the second she lifted the camera again, she saw it all over. A quiet sadness, a stifled emotion, a feeling of distance that she knew because she lived it every day.

She took the picture and the flash caused him to glance around. She was lucky that she was at a vantage point in which they were clearly visible, but she would hardly be noticed. Kathryn had straightened up and was walking off, but Casper was still tilting his head. Molly took the printed picture and shook it in one hand while raising the camera again. Just to look. Just to see, with context.

Kathryn was calling his name and he walked away, saving her the trouble even if she had decided to take another. She tucked her camera into her bag and continued on her trek, shaking the picture and watching it. It was beginning to take form once she reached the village, but with the crowd thickening, she thought it best to tuck it away. She slipped unnoticed through the crowd, and thought she heard Kathryn calling to another classmate once, but she was soon beyond the traffic of the village, dipping under the slats of the fence that lined the property of the shack. It was through one of the broken windows, up the stairs, and to their room.

Huh.

So.

This was what I was like to be wrong.

She could see his footprints, clear in the ever-settling dust of the abandoned building. She could tell he had knocked some of the knick knacks over in boredom. The smell of cigarette smoke was still present. But Bev had not waited for her.

Good for him. She probably deserved that.

She sunk onto the little sofa in the room, staring forward. Her hands took care of her, still able to find her cigarettes and light one up, even on autopilot, and soon the sweet nicotine was working to remind her that she and Bev were barely a thing. He was just a boy and she just a girl, and this meant nothing, just as they meant nothing.

Her hands again betrayed her needs and crept into her bag, pulling out a new photograph, which had finally developed. It was his waist up. Kathryn was facing away, a curtain of hair and a hand clenching his shoulder. His chin lifted slightly, eyes squinted, lips pursed. Almost protective, almost vulnerable, both brave and sad, both in the present and leagues into the future. Molly tilted her head. What was this? What was this look, this pose, this scene? She blinked, righting herself with a flick of her lips, suddenly deciding what it was.

"Interesting."

It was interesting. He was interesting.
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Second Year Gryffindor
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Charlie Jericho
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:41 am
This was a bad, bad idea.

Charlie knew that. He also knew it couldn't even be called entirely Goose's idea, because since the start of the year he'd discovered he was far less well-behaved than previously assumed, and was all-too-willing an accomplice (and sometime instigator) in all the scrapes they inevitably stumbled into. On this particular occasion, Goose had supplied the general blueprint for the escapade but Charlie had filled in the details, finding out which professors were on the Hogsmeade trip and where they'd been posted, the prefect rounds schedule for that weekend, and, given the map's age, which secret entrances and exits had since been discovered and warded by the staff.

Sometimes, Charlie felt a little guilty that his Mum was so trusting with the documents she left lying around her quarters.

(Actually, trusting probably wasn't the word. Charlie doubted Maddie had ever even considered the existence of a sly bone in his body. Somehow that made it both better and worse, though not yet having the emotional nuance to decipher this, it only registered as a vaguely abject and better ignored sense of confusion.)

Sometimes, it was hard to tell which was the Gryffindor and which the Slytherin between them. Ties and badges aside, Charlie's brand of bravery- if it even existed, which he seriously seriously doubted still- was so understated it almost always entailed a serpentine subtlety, while Goose's artful intelligence- which Charlie greatly admired but could never quite emulate- often took a more noble, admirable turn. Not to mention his assurance and nerve when it came to all things magic, which Charlie couldn't even begin to fathom, all things considered. Perhaps they'd been rubbing off on each other after so many months in such close company. Or, perhaps people were far more complicated and surprising than a millennia-old sorting system allowed for.

Not that Charlie would be making such profound philosophies for many, many years yet- or, indeed, ever, if today's plans went particularly awry.

Goose had said that the tree needed to be 'neutralised', which was fine enough, except Goose wasn't actually there to neutralise it. In just another example of what they both considered rather impressive craftiness, they'd conducted all their morning routines and commitments separately, not even stopping to talk at breakfast or find a corner by the window boxes in the library as they often did. No, the two boys had acted doggedly, determinedly casual all day, not at all looking to the world like two antsy, shifty accomplices in an ambitious, intrepid project. Which had been a rather brilliant idea at the time, with Kathryn keeping a closer eye on them than usual and Maddie on her highest alert setting, still.

So they'd meet at the shack itself instead, by which time it would be too late for anyone to suspect the mischief they hoped to manage. It was a fine plan whispered over homework two weeks ago, but standing on the frost-covered grass with his chin tucked into his coat collar and his gloved hands fiddling with the enchanted snitch he'd had prepared for a week, Charlie felt less than confident. Not in Goose's knowledge, because that, of course, had come by way of Jack, who Charlie was sure knew almost everything there was to know about trickery and excitement and then some. And not in Casper's Charmswork, because that, of course, would be flawless if it was so important a favour to his younger brother, who so rarely had the courage to ask for things he wanted.

Which Charlie had assured him it was, just not... exactly in the way he'd claimed.

Oh dear.

Fixing the tree with a wobbly but determined look, Charlie lowered his chin and squinted at the Willow, searching for the knot that Goose had assured him was somewhere around the base, small but obvious enough that "you can see it if you know it's there". His friend was, of course, right. Charlie slowly stepped closer, brows creased in caution, weighing the object on which his life would depend for the next few minutes, which suddenly felt heavier in his hands than it had on the way down. He cast his eyes around the grounds again for any sight of Goose.

Goose, who had been so determined that this plan should work. Who was counting on him not to mess it up. Because they'd already read One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi cover to cover twice while everyone else had been sipping butterbeer and buying sugar quills each month.

He took a deep breath. Thought of Honeydukes and Kathryn's face when he dropped a Chocolate Frog on her lap that evening before she had a chance to tease him with Bertie Botts.

All of a sudden, a swell of anticipation rose in him, the pounding in his chest and tingling in his fingers pushing out the doubts for a second- just long enough for him to aim the snitch in the direction he wanted to go and watch as it launched itself into the air in an arc that was too fast and smooth to be anything but enchanted. It hit the mark with a thunk and fell to the ground, rolling away between the roots. The branches, gently waving, jerked to a stop. Charlie's eyes widened.

Perfect.

"Seeker practice" indeed. Fuelled by that ever-helpful adrenaline and the tinge of disbelief that always accompanied any of his successes, Charlie wasted no time in launching himself across the grass, sprinting towards the passageway whose existence he was suddenly certain of. He didn't stop to collect the snitch, tripping over his own feet and the roots in his haste and then suddenly the ground gave way and he was enveloped in a musty, damp darkness.

The tunnel seemed to be made for marauding First Years, because it wasn't as tight a fit as Charlie had expected. He crawled through with room to spare, keeping his head down and his breaths steady even as he started to feel some of that dizziness that accompanied relief- but more of that exhileration that accompanied adventure.

As he crested the mouth of the tunnel, he could hear some sort of noise up ahead and called out, barely able to contain the excitement that was no doubt shared by his Slytherin co-conspirator.

"Goose? It worked! You were right, I threw the snitch and it hit the knot and the tree didn't move at all-"

He scrambled into the room, stumbling a little on an uneven floorboard. Wiped the grime off his knees. Straightened up.

And froze.

...That was not Goose.
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Seventh Year Ravenclaw
Seventh Year Ravenclaw
Molly Weasley
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:35 pm
Now that it was clear that she would be spending the afternoon alone, she decided to make the most of it. A few hours away from all of the demands of the castle was exactly what she needed, even if it was in a broken-down, musty building that's only warmth came from the rumors that spread like wildfire about the place. No one had ever abandoned the idea that it was haunted,but recent rumors were of a curse, as the building seemed to attract trouble, and yet always survived long enough to endure a new era of destruction. Being a Weasley meant she knew that it was the place where some historical meetings had convened, typically by chance, and she was clever enough to assume this is probably where Lily Potter spent her full moons now that she lived in the castle.

So, she wasn't really alone. The ghost of her aunt and uncles were all around her, sneaking out of school and confronting prisoners. A woman's last breath still mingled in the air after a fire got out of hand and a duel had broken out. She could almost hear the thuds of canine feet on the floorboards, her cousin and the hero Remus Lupin among the company.

It was good she only had nicotine in her system. These ghosts might have been less comforting if she actually believed they were still there.

So, she was alone, her dark fantasies nothing more than the creation of a mind that was too often unchallenged. It wasn't much of a real change. She had never felt particularly close to her family, not even the extended branch. While her cousins clung to each other and devoured the wisdom of their aunts and uncles, Molly couldn't help but feel she had no claim to the family legacy, and no desire to fight for it anyhow. Margo was a tried and true friend, but if they were truly honest, they both knew Margo had barely scratched the surface when it came to understanding her dark-haired friend. Who was left? The Zabinis? Longbottom?

She didn't begrudge anyone for the lack of intimacy. She knew she was at fault for it, seemingly incapable of rousing the interest to extend anything beyond a hollow shell of a person. If she were honest, she sometimes wondered if the shell had more substance anyway.

She tilted her head back, blowing smoke straight up into the air. She rolled her neck, feeling the slight aches and pain relieved as her neck popped. She righted her head and her eyes fell on the photograph again, the corner of her mouth twisting into something that was almost a smile.

She suddenly heard a voice, and her head snapped towards the Willow entrance in time to see who was bursting through.

Well, hello fate.

Her hand moved subtly, slipping the photograph into her bag as her other hand lifted the cigarette from her lips, her dark eyes peering into the wide-eyed, almost fearful face of the youngest Jericho. She blew the smoke from her lips and tilted her head.

"Hey."
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Second Year Gryffindor
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Charlie Jericho
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:50 pm
If Charlie's brain hadn't suffered an unfortunate malfunction at that particular moment, any number of thoughts might have run through it after the stranger's dry greeting and all would have been perfectly understandable for one in his situation.

Is it too late to run away?

Can I still leave without being whomped by the willow?

Would it be rude to leave after she's said hi?

Would it still be rude if she threatened to tell?

Is she a prefect?

What is she doing here?

What am I doing here?


And, perhaps most importantly- Where's Goose?

As it is, as anyone who has been in a similarly disorienting situation will attest, the subtle mechanisms of thought didn't, at that moment, function quite as smoothly as expected for the small Gryffindor.

Charlie was utterly thrown. And, as is the way sometimes when a furiously fretting mind is suddenly accosted with the entirely unexpected, his was blank but for one curious thing. The only question to cross his mind, faced with this blank-faced, wax-work of an older student was- Is she smoking?

It didn't take long for that to progress to This is a big girl and she's smoking.

The only person Charlie knew who smoked was Mum's friend Susan, and Maddie always made sure she didn't do it around him. And he was sure some of Casper (and Kathryn)'s friends did too, because sometimes he smelt it on them but they were all usually very sneaky about this sort of thing- almost as sneaky as this whole endeavor was supposed to be. But sneakiness didn't always quite work out as expected, evidently.

Perhaps, if Charlie had been a boy a little less easily intimidated by the big and bold (and even the not-so-big and not-so-bold) of this world, it might have occurred to him that he was obviously not the only rule-breaker in that room, and that realisation might have calmed him down enough to move or breathe or do something other than stand there wide-eyed and wordless. But Charlie was, as Kathryn had so kindly reminded him on many an occasion, a wuss. Now truthfully he'd started to really question that label of late, getting up to all that sneaky sneaking around with Goose and putting up with the less pleasant aspects of Hogwarts life as stoically as he had. He'd thought that maybe he was- not exactly a Gryffindor, but a little less of a Hufflepuff (Kathryn said no one knew what the hell a Hufflepuff was, but it sure wasn't anything to boast about). Maybe he might even become a Gryffindor, eventually.

At that moment, Charlie knew that he'd been very, very wrong.

He tried to open his mouth to say something, but while his eyelids were happy to blink owlishly at the girl, his lips weren't nearly as cooperative. Which might have been for the best considering what would have come out would've probably been a gulp, or worse- a squeak.

His mind did relent at that moment and allowed him one more thought-

Where is Goose?


And the thought of his AWOL best friend (who was somehow both Slytherin and Gryffindor in a way his not-even-a-Hufflepuff companion was not and probably never would be) was apparently enough to fire up the synapses to his brain and push out one (only half-squeaky) word.

"Hi."

Headlights, meet deer.
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Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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Molly Weasley
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:36 am
She had once heard her mother describe her when she didn't think little Molly could hear her. Molly, even in her childhood, rarely spoke up unless she really felt she had to. Words were typically reserved to state needs she could not herself fulfil, and she she got older they became obligatory reassurances to her parents that she was, in fact, human. Her father didn't seem nearly as concerned - not that he didn't care, his worries just didn't reach fantastical heights the way her mother's did. She remembered her mother pushing her to speak, pushing to ask questions, pushing her to get involved with the family in a vocal manner.

It seemed love could not be silent.

(Molly wasn't sure she believed in love. But if she did, she certainly did not believe one of its requirements meant being spoken to be true.)

But there came a time when Molly finally had questions. One morning she asked how the gnomes didn't break their necks when they were swung and tossed so violently. Months later, she asked what the 'cursed life' of a unicorn murderer entailed. And as an eleven year old, she asked how many people her age died in the Battle of Hogwarts.

Audrey called it morbid. She said "Percy, our daughter has a morbid curiosity." Molly had to look up the word. She thought she understood it, but she wanted a definition, wanted to understand why there was such worry in her mother's voice. The dictionary read: appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects. She felt like that statement held bias. Who decided when an interest crossed from one realm of health to another? And could a subject be inherently disturbing? At a ripe young age, Molly was already preferring unbiased fact to subjective perceptions.

Perhaps Audrey would attribute it to her morbid curiosity, but Molly wondered what Charlie would think of her picture of his siblings. Not necessarily whether or not he found it strange she had it. She was curious if she had captured them correctly.

The poor mouse was regarding her as a snake with its jaws wide open - possibly the only person to picture her with her lips anything but pursed. His words fell just as flatly as hers and she brushed the sofa next to her. Not quite an invitation, but certainly... something.

"Waiting for someone too?"
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:41 am
If anyone close to Charlie had been asked, they'd likely all agree that the defining characteristic of the young boy was his timidity. Now, a good way into his First Year and a few steps forward from selective muteness, they might perhaps pause before casting that judgement, recalling the odd moment of unexpected tenacity, or the not-too-sudden interest in other people, the belated fall into friendship.

All, undoubtedly, would say any small burst bravery had been a long time coming.

Someone close, like his mother, perhaps, would give a more nuanced analysis, concluding that yes, Charlie could be and usually was cripplingly shy. But given even the slightest prompt, the uncertainty could and did give way to a more overpowering curiosity. And as shy little boys often tended to do, Charlie was ever on the lookout for these small signs of welcome, the miniscule gestures that constituted a subtle invitation.

So when the girl brushed her hand over the space beside her, Charlie only hesitated for the fraction of a second before carefully drawing near. He didn't meet her gaze as he took a seat and tucked his hands under his thighs, a small cloud of dust rising between them.

(And truth be told, the thought of refusing an older student's instruction didn't even register as a viable option- especially not in such a risky situation as this one.)

He studied his shoes until she asked her question, and then he glanced to the tunnel from which he'd emerged, a shifty look overtaking his features.

"Yes. Um... Goose, my friend."

Too quickly, he realised his mistake and started in alarm. Why had he said that? Everyone knew the last thing you were meant to do when breaking any sort of rule was to give out your identity. What kind of adventurer was he? (Not a Slytherin one, that's for sure.)

Well, there was only one way to remedy this.

"A-and I'm Charlie Jericho. I'm a Gryffindor."

Despite its shaky start, the statement carried a note of surprising firmness. The hand presented to her was awkward, but his face was set. A grim sort of determination accompanied it. Now she had the full identity of one perpetrator, she wouldn't need the faceless name of the other. Yes, if any reporting was going to happen, Charlie would take the fall. It was his slip-up.

Now if he could only find a way to warn Goose before the other boy caught up, he'd feel a little less guilty about the entire thing and a little more like the Gryffindor he'd just claimed to be.
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:24 am
Moly didn't like company.

She was perfectly capable of keeping herself company. Her relationship with loneliness was a complicated one. Everyone felt alone, and there was this sort of natural sense of sadness that was a subtle undercurrent to living these short, dissatisfied human lives. Loneliness and sadness were the state of affairs to be a human, and Molly could register that said sadness existed within her, and that she could find herself lonely, but it never really struck her as something to be bothered about. She felt no pangs in her heart, no sense that things were wrong and could be righted, no sense that life was ever supposed to rise above that quiet sense of existential uncertainty. Either you felt it, or you didn't. Sometimes she felt it. And the rest of life was a pursuit of a pleasurable distraction.

So no. Molly didn't mind being alone. It helped her focus on what was real.

But what harm was there.

Fate had knocked on her door and given her a fun little twist. Hard to deny that.

And plus, she wasn't one to begrudge a distraction. Especially one as unobtrusive as the little Gryffindor.

And so he sat. The Gryffindor with wide eyes and trapped hands, and the Ravenclaw with hollow eyes and a trail of smoke, a personal fuse leading to the lips that could drop bombs if any of her destructive nature was pointed anywhere but inward. She looked comfortable in her loneliness, and he looked lonely in his discomfort, and there should have never been a timeline in this or any other universe where the two of them were sat on a crumbling couch in the ever-sinking shack, both hands occupied with something to make up for their inabilities to reach out in the ways perhaps they ought.

Life was easier when hands were kept busy.

But he ventured out, and a hand entered her vision. She blew a trail of smoke, lips tilted to angle the stream away from him, as she turned her chin to look at his hand, eyes flicking up to his face, which had none of the confidence his gesture held. But there was a twitch somewhere in the muscles of her cheek and her right arm stretched across her body as her left lifted the cigarette out of the way, taking his hand and offering him a handshake for his effort.

"Molly Weasley." And her lips rolled, a catlike almost-smirk capturing them. "Ravenclaw."

She knew she was keeping him in suspense. Anyone with eyes could read what his face had betrayed, and it hardly seemed fair that she let him think she'd tell his secret. Not when she had a secret, almost about him, that she'd rather keep to herself.

"The professors usually go to the Three Broomsticks," she said. "Not the Hog's Head, but the bartender can be a snitch unless you tip well."
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:37 am
For a second after she spoke Charlie was caught between uncertainty and disbelief, eyes expanding one again in shock, mouth parting in thwarted response. He was unable to offer her much more than a bewildered blink.

Then the literal and figurative smoke cleared, and with her words the sense seemed to flow quickly back into him- and along with it, apparently, his good judgement.

Charlie was not yet at the age where his features would begin that strange rearrangement that transformed young boys into young men. Not even close. Any such changes lay much further along the gently sloping path that was the young Jericho's life. An unreachable, near-mythical distance, from his vantage point.

But at the end of that path, just before the horizon, visible through squinted eyes and in the right illuminating light, was Casper.

Kathryn was there too, in the shade of hair, the sharp chin, the eyes that (less and less rarely, increasingly) set in stubbornness, a dark blue never seen on Maddie and her oldest son. But it was the ghost of Casper that emerged when he smiled, a wide, unassuming curve, suspended from high, flat cheekbones, eyes creased in pleased surprise. A slow, gentle slip into unexpected merriment. A smile that demanded mirroring.

So, he smiled.

Her subtle quirk of amusement was met with a shy but joyful burst of gratitude at the moment of unexpected camaraderie. Because this close-lipped Ravenclaw with knowing eyes and a penchant for poisons was not a prefect after all. She was not going to go running to a professor and deprive him and Goose of the small joy they'd found in planning and executing this mission. She was cool. She was nice.

Perhaps, if Charlie had been a little further along that path, at the point where he might begin attempting the sorts of profound philosophies that had to date eluded him, he might have recognized the change that came over him for what it was: bravery. Or, if that still seemed too ambitious and unlikely a term to associate with the young Gryffindor, then perhaps "confidence" might have done the job.

Whatever it was, whatever he might have chosen to call it, it was enough to elicit a quiet question of his own:

"What about you? Um- I mean- who are- are you... waiting... for anybody?"

Instantly, he cringed.

(Yes, it's a long path, Reader. But bear with him. He'll get there.)
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

on Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:02 am
She had no reason to help the first year. Sure, she had even less reason to get him in trouble - she left the castle for Hogsmeade on random weekends all of the time - and she had never fancied herself a hypocrite. But extending herself (hardly an extension considering how easy it was to divulge what she considered to be common knowledge)  was something new out from the Weasley girl, a disturbing trend of externalized involvement in the people around her. It was something she had avoided until lately, an unintentional side effect of being... whatever sort of person she was. She honestly couldn't find a label she was comfortable with.

Perhaps she felt like she owed him, having just exploited his siblings for her art and her sense of wonder. Maybe this wasn't some newfound sense of altruism and was just a transaction. That was much more familiar.

And she doubted she had it within herself to actually do something from the goodness of her own heart. Goodness was a perspective, and Molly tried to remain as objective as possible.

Her eyes slid over to him, watching him out of the corner of her eye. Where there had been an almost fearful display of nerves before was now a content, wide smile, one that reached deep inside of him and seemed to bring light into the darkness of the shack, a youthful look betraying the unwise optimism that people tended to be good and things always seemed to work out. She envied him that. And she also couldn't help but think the Jerichos were amazing subject for a picture.

And so she let herself enjoy his smile, keeping at bay the cynical voices that reminded her that he could still get caught, that she had hardly done him a favor and now he thought she was kind and he would soon hear otherwise. His optimism was a temporary thing, something to be lost or destroyed as he grew older and wiser. But for now, it was his reality. And she did envy him that. So her lips betrayed her with a smile.

She turned forward, interrupting the moment by taking in a drag from her cigarette, bringing her back to the reality around her. The boy - Charlie, she really should be calling him Charlie, but he just seemed to wear the title of The Boy so well - ventured out, asking a question that guaranteed her head be brought back to the tangible realities of a world that offered as little solace as it could muster. The smile was long gone, but every trace of it left her eyes now, which is why she kept her head forward.

"No one," she told him. "Not really." She paused, and then glanced over at him sideways again. "Not someone I should be waiting for anyone." She leaned forward, elbows resting on her elbows. "Besides. He's not coming."
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Re: ++Never There - Cake, 1998

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