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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 2030 in the Wizarding World

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Re: Hot and Cold

on Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:05 am
Jack's eyes had wandered over towards her half brother, calmed now that she had seen the hardness in Keiran's face that he was willing to get past for the sake of civility. If he could get over it, she supposed it only fair to forgive Kip for being less than open with him. Her expression smoothing over, she gave him a bracing nod. He grimaced back and his eyes flicked up, before he caught himself and looked back to his drink. Jack's eyes followed his original look to the redheaded barmaid, who was matching James' look with a complimentary look of mystery. Jack's eyes flicked up towards the stairs, where the elusive Rory McBain had just shaken her brother.

Weird.

Kenna was rather confident that James wouldn't get anything, or would do something easy. She wasn't someone people took notice of, so she doubted there would be any hard-hitting observations.

Merlin, when she was wrong, she was really wrong.

There was something mischievous in the Potter man's eyes, an eagerness to win, and her own friendly smile of mystery had to remain frozen on her face, else it might slip entirely and reveal something much more vulnerable and upsetting beneath.

Jamie wasn't someone she could laugh off or shake away. Even if he had not been her first love, even if she had not been convinced that he was her forever, the way things ended had unsettled her very sense of self. She had been so wrong. She had been cruel in her attempts to comfort. She had been short sighted, and stupid. It undermined the beliefs her grandmother had instilled in her and made her feel like a useless, idealistic child.

But she blinked, smoothing away the threat of a stormy brow with an inward roll of her lips. She tilted her head and lifted her glass. "Right, so if it's correct, I believe I drink, yes?" She lifted the glass to her lips and drank.

Eager to move on, she set the glass down. "Jack. Can I assume... you've... been in a bar fight?"

Jack cracked a grin. "Don't make me drink for each fight, or I'm bankrupting you." Kenna laughed, perhaps a bit too amused by the joke, while Jack took a drink. "Right. Kev-o, let's see." She squinted. "I imagine with the school, you're done with kiddos now. Three's the magic number and all."

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Re: Hot and Cold

on Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:19 pm
It felt casual at first, to watch the exchange between Kenna and James. But there was something strange about the redhead's reaction, and it caught his attention long enough that he stared without actually meaning to. It didn't, he hoped, come off as too prying. But he did figure it came off as a bit too concerned, so he narrowed his focus down onto the top of the bar where a bit of the wood had been scratched.

Jack's answer was an easy one, but then she turned to Keiran and he had to pull his chin up again to look at her. It would look bad if he said he'd never wanted any to begin with. Not really. He'd thought, a while back, that he might marry into it instead, when they were older. Or maybe never.

So he just stared Jack down for a few seconds before knocking back way more than he really had to in order to fulfill his end of the deal. He was still looking at her when he put it back down, and just lifted an eyebrow before spinning on his chair to look at Kip.

Parsons was nigh impossible to crack. To really get an idea about. Anything Keiran guessed at would inevitably be something Kip could work around. But he had to give it a go; those were the rules.

"Alright, Mr. Chief Warlock," he began, tilting his head as he swallowed again. Perhaps he should've thought before starting. What did he really know about Kip outside of their attempted adventures? Damn James and his stupid ideas. They had been in the same year, though Keiran was older by nearly two years if he remembered right. "Let's go for something innocuous. I'd wager you've never had a pet. Not even in school."
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:06 am
Kip didn't seem to be the sort of man who played gamed. And, in truth, he wasn't. But he also was not the sort of man to deny his friends any sort of pleasure without just cause. It made much more sense to allow them this; after the deceit and uncertainty, the sober lies told to friendly faces, it seemed only natural that they cleanse themselves in drunken truthfulness.

He had expected, more so than his barmaiden counterpart, to be relatively forgotten in this. He knew he did not disclose much, but he also knew he did not seem to be someone you pressed for secrets. He suspected their guesses would be moderate, their answers safely correct, and no challenges be properly made. And he was, for the most part, right. It was a moderate guess. No challenges to be made.

But it was wrong.

He dropped his head and then lifted it with a tilt, grinning the smallest of grins. "I understand the instinct," he said, straightening up. "Practicality and pets don't often align, do they? Having pets requires a certain sense of nurturing, almost maternal really," he said, giving his half sister an almost pointed look, to which she grumbled in response. He looked back at Keiran and settled comfortably into his seat. "I had a rather large bug collection as a boy. Started as a hobby when I was about four. Just fun, picking up beetles and spiders and putting them in jars. But I kept at it. I had one for spiders. One for butterflies. One for beetles and one for gnats. One summer I had a jar with a little bit of everything. When the spider ate the aphids... I knew. I wasn't exactly sad, see. I put them in as an experiment. And here I saw results of that experiment."

Kenna was watching him with wide, curious eyes. Jack's own had sharpened - she hadn't been this quiet all afternoon. "There were fourteen little aphids. Only two died that first day. But I knew which ones they were. I didn't know I knew them so well. I didn't know they could be distinguished until I distinguished them." He curled his hands around his glass. "I was 14. My mother asked I stop keeping them shortly after. So I did. And it was a little sad." He cocked his head towards Keiran. "Not your conventional pets, I'm sure, but I did take care of them."

"I didn't know about that," Kenna mused, still looking thoughtfully at her friend.

"I'm not sure those count," Jack said, squinting.

"You're just mad that I called you maternal," Kip quipped.

"It's your turn, Kip," Kenna said. "And we've all had a go. Ramp it up, then."

"Right," Kip said, turning towards James. Her eyes narrowed and she tilted her head, letting out a small hum. She looked him up and down, trying to figure out now what she knew or what she could surmise... but what she wanted to know. And with a Potter involved, there was always one topic that warranted probing. "You've recently visited family."
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:37 am
They all knew Keiran was doomed from the moment Kip looked up. The Headmaster took a drink for getting it wrong right away, then turned to pay attention to the story. Now, James couldn't be sure, but maybe he was the only one that thought the tale was a bit unsettling. Experiments and the like? That sounded questionable at best, yet everyone just found it curious. Even Hayes had nothing to say about it, other than a second admittance - this time vocally - that he had failed. James squinted one eye a little and drew his eyebrows together, but then the attention was suddenly on him.

His jaw clenched. Figures. Can't get away from the sodding Potter legacy, so why the hell not kick off with that, then. "Drink."

James saw no reason to elaborate, as his gruff, unimpressed voice was certainly enough to do the trick. They wanted to ramp things up, but he sincerely doubted that the redhead wanted him to call her out on the thing he thought he'd observed. Maybe if they were more drunk. The old James would've just decided to dive right in and wouldn't have cared what they thought. But he was trying to be good or whatever - at least in front of Jack. He had a good job, didn't want to get into yet another fight like what happened with Frank, and no real reason to be rude to anybody besides missing his old friends. He did, by the way. His family, too, if you can believe it. The guys at work were all right, really, but there was something so dull about them comparatively.

So he reserved that guess for later on, when they might not decide to kill him instead of answering. But that meant he needed something that they felt was a step up from his previous one. Not that he'd been particularly kind on the first one, if her face was any indication. James sighed. This was entirely unfair; these people knew each other much better than he could hope to in such a short time. Maybe he was the one that needed to be more drunk.

Hah. Perhaps he should just try and get something wrong, then.

"When you were younger," he began finally, "something happened that left you with an extreme fear."

It wasn't like James didn't have a couple of those hidden away deep down..
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:58 am
Kenna was still legitimately surprised by the honesty and novelty of her best friend's comment, as it was rare she learned something new about the man who was as familiar as family. But he had pressed on and she tried to brush it off, tried not to be shaken by this reminder that one could only truly understand oneself and no one else. She followed the collective gaze towards James, a very human instinct to see him suffer at the hands of a question as telling and true as her own. She couldn't imagine Kip asking any question that seemed too personal - but perhaps he didn't see the lives of the Potters as personal. He was an aspiring politician, and they were a political family, like it or not.

Either way, he hit his mark, even if it was he that had to drink. He tilted his head, almost a gracious bow, and lifted the glass to his lips.

James' eyes fell on her again and she tried to push away the sense of anticipation, rolling her shoulders and offering a little huff, as though to say he were picking on her, though her wry smile was quick to assure him (and all of them) that she was still on board with their game.

His attempt was a... curious one. And one she wasn't sure she had a "true or false" answer for. She paused thoughtfully, before finally tilting her head to study the ceiling, running her tongue along her top row of teeth thoughtfully, lips rolling inward before quirking sideways as she tried to find the answer. She lifted her elbow to the bar, cheeking resting against the back of her hand, wrist bent as her other hand drew circles around her glass. "Something happened," she finally said. "But I've always been a bit too stupid to let fear in. Or, at least, let it stay." Her eyes flicked back to James. "Drink up, James."

Jack was straightening up, expecting Kenna to keep to the pattern. But Kenna turned her gaze elsewhere, onto a pair of unsuspecting blue eyes. She was curious. And she had an opportunity. And she didn't care about the circle. She had a guess for Keiran.

"You're more loyal to people than to positions." There was an unspoken "aren't you?", a gentle probe to see if her assessment of the man was correct. She could feel Kip turning a hard, curious gaze on her, and Jack was now squinting at James to see if he was in on this change of rules. But Kenna did not look away.
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:13 pm
At first, Keiran felt the urge to laugh. She had seen him try and fail to fit in with his pureblood ancestry, and the failure undoubtedly came from his lack of interest in the ideals and his lack of respect for the people. Even his own relatives. But then, he supposed that she probably understood how seriously he took his job as Headmaster, so perhaps it was fair to say she was guessing about him. Either way, one eyebrow lifted - not as suddenly as his eyes had shifted to hers when he realized she was talking to him, mind, but slowly. Curiously.

It didn't take all that long, really, for him to decide to drink. After all, there was Robin, who Keiran went after despite responsibilities as a father and at the Ministry. Millie, who he had actually killed for, without even thinking. He didn't really regret either of those choices on a personal level, but he still wished there had been any other way. It was much too late to know, now.

As he set his glass back down, Keiran had to wonder whether those around him approved or not. They'd all looked surprised by the guess, but he couldn't help but feel he actually had pretty valid reasoning for it most of the time. Maybe it would get him into trouble, but still. He shot a pointed look at Jack before finally speaking. "I guess I never learn, do I?" Because if anybody understood what he meant by that, it was her. Many a poker night or run-in had given him away as far as Millie and his family and Robin were concerned. He'd gotten better about two of those things, but one was irreparable.

But now it was his turn, and he didn't know where to turn. He probably could have come up with Kenna in return if it were just the two of them sitting there. But alas, he'd gotten embarrassingly trashed the last time that happened, so perhaps he ought to be thankful everyone else was there. Jack was a safe choice, probably. If he didn't say something that pissed her off.

He knew better than to touch relationships when it came to Jack, but they'd wanted the stakes raised, hadn't they? So he chose to bet on something he had no way of knowing, aside from the fact that she'd never said much (if anything) about it. "You're not close to your parents."
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:40 pm
Jack wasn't exactly perceptive about relationships. She could sense what as important - friend or enemy - but know how other people viewed her had never been as practical to her as their threat level or ability to inflict harm. Beyond that scope she had little interest and, as a result, little experience. But she could sense changes in people. And Keiran was a serious person, and not usually happy with people trying to figure him out. For all of that, he seemed remarkably comfortable in Kenna's presence and under her scrutiny - strange considering that, as far as Jack knew, they were just barely acquaintances.

She didn't have time to consider it further. She had never thought to describe Keiran as such, but it made sense once it hung in the air. She cast an eye around at their group. Perhaps it was a description they could all empathize with. She couldn't see Kenna prioritize a royal over a friend, and she knew she had made a peculiar choice in loyalties more than once in the past. But as her eyes fell on her half brother, his eyes gently travelling across the crowd, she wondered if he might not choose her if duty dictated otherwise.

But a question was flung her way and she turned to meet Keiran's gaze. She blinked and felt Kip's eyes on her. Their eyes met and they shared a small smile, a rare moment in which they truly were the only two that could understand the truth. They didn't have very many convergences of understanding, but they did have that one. She turned towards Keiran. "Half right, half wrong means we both drink, I think. It's a long story otherwise and I'd rather be drinking." So she lifted her glass and clinked it against the Headmaster's, before looking between their group.

She had questions for James. She definitely had questions for him but his tone had implied any follow ups to Kip's might not be as welcome. So she cleared her throat and instead said, "You haven't ridden a broom in over a year, have you?" To the others, it might not have seemed like she was raising the stakes. But as former teammates, he might understand that it was, for her, an important question indeed.

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Re: Hot and Cold

on Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:02 am
James glanced over at Keiran with a bemused smirk, only half surprised to see the Headmaster look so frustrated at the outcome. "You're getting proper destroyed, mate," he muttered, feeling for the moment like he had the upper hand over a man who had judged him right back. But as Jack and Keiran knocked back drinks and James settled in, he saw the redhead's attention shift to him and he frowned.

"...Not in the same way you have, so I guess you win that one," he returned reluctantly, taking a smaller sip than he had before.

Keiran lifted a sardonic eyebrow, clearly returning James' comment. But the eldest Potter didn't bother making any sort of face in response. Instead, he eyed Kip warily. The man was far too serious, explained things too much. At least, if his last response was any example. There had to be a way to get that man to loosen up, or at there would at least be a guaranteed comment that would make him drink. James just knew it. Plus, he was still unsettled by the mention of his siblings. If he had known then what was coming for him, perhaps he wouldn't have been so bothered by it.

So he turned all the way around on his seat, back to the bar, and leveled a serious, searching look on the other man. "The only reason you're so grave all the time... is that you're more unhappy than you want to admit."
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:48 am
Jack hummed thoughtfully at James' answer, finding herself displeased with the answer despite the fact that it was a win for her. Once upon a time, Jack and James had been something like close friends and Albus had been her closest confidant. There hadn't been much overlap in that, now that she thought of it, but in some ideal alternate universe, Jack had been the bridge between two estranged brothers, and in reuniting a family had found a family of her own. But she was trapped in this world, where James had fallen off the face of the planet and they no longer had Quidditch to bond them, and Albus had felt betrayed and-

F*ck it, she needed a drink. So she lifted the glass to her lips anyway, Kip's eyes watching her. She set it down and smacked her lips. "I'm going to get more."

She moved down the bar before Kenna could help, looking a bit absent. But the game moved on and James was looking more serious. It was only now (and perhaps a bit too late) for Kenna to seriously consider the consequences of their game, the real consequences. Showing hands that weren't meant to be shown. Telling truths that soured otherwise pleasant companionship. They weren't drunk enough to act stupidly, but they were all competitive enough for things to spiral out of control.

But the line of questioning was on Kip again, and he drew his head back, looking sincerely surprised. He turned a questioning gaze on Kenna, lifting an eyebrow at her as though she could... what, read his mind and answer him? She gave him a look back that communicated as much and he offered a reluctant, relenting look, amused at himself but still grappling with confusion and surprise. He explained, "I didn't realize I came off as grave."

Kenna knew Kip wasn't grave. At least not in situations like now. She had seen him grave, but she knew the stony mask he put on was not meant to convey a sense of rigid stoicism. She squinted, trying to find a diplomatic answer. But he was frowning at her hesitation, and lifted his head as Jack reappeared with a noticeably fuller drink.

"Am I grave?"

Her lips hovering over the brim of the glass, she said, "You're not winning any Mr Ray of Sunshine awards." She plopped next to him as he turned back his frown to James.

"I'm only just now discovering I'm a grave man. So I suppose I couldn't tell you if it was because I'm unhappy. I can't think of a time I was particularly unhappy so-"

Kenna had betrayed herself and made a small "Well" sort of noise and his mouth immediately clamped shut, eyes turning on her. "What?"

Her eyes widened and she parroted his question. "What?"

"What was that?"

"Nothing."

"You were going to say something."

She heaved a shrug but his piercing eyes were still on her. She let out a breath and lifted a shoulder. "I dunno. Just... hard to identify any particularly unhappy moments without any particularly... happy ones."

The slow uncertain way she stated the last two words did nothing to soften the blow. And of course she was the one to make the game no more fun. Kip's face darkened and she immediately felt as though she had somehow betrayed him and laid all his secrets out for the scrutiny of his friends.

"Kip."

The voice of her brother cut through the sounds of the pub and the group looked up to see Rory leaning over the railing. He gave a look of obligatory apology, though the obligation was evident enough to almost completely counter the apology. Kip shot a look around that could only be described as grave (an irony he might have appreciated had it not been him at the center of it) and he said, "excuse me" and was gone.

Jack clicked her tongue awkwardly once Kip had disappeared upstairs and then looked between the others. "So... should we just get drunk? Or does James win because he broke my brother?"
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Re: Hot and Cold

on Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:10 am
It wasn't surprising that Kip somehow failed to take himself seriously when serious was the only word Keiran would've used to describe him. Moreover, it was predictable in hindsight that James would be the one to throw everything off and derail the evening. That seemed like the kind of goal he would have. And that was an assumption made within a couple of hours of knowing the eldest Potter. But Keiran was pretty sure it was accurate, if only from the sort of interaction he'd had with Jack when she showed up.

Luckily, nobody expected him to comment on the situation. Instead, he looked down at the bar and where his hand rested atop it, fingers curled around his glass. While that was the image he wanted to project, he was really watching Kenna out of the corner of his eye, trying to understand the interaction she was having with someone who clearly trusted her opinion above all others in the immediate vicinity. She was honest, which he respected more than he could really fathom. Perhaps if someone had been more blunt with him about the fact that he was not his father, and was in fact a horrible one himself... Well, then he would still have been with Millie, in all likelihood. He'd changed his behavior too late - or, wanted to, at any rate. So late that she had done something he could never come back from, and with so little explanation or excuse that he was incapable of forgiving her even when he tried to drown his anger in just that: Her. It was wrong, even at the time, when he thought he was okay. It clearly hadn't been.

But had anybody said anything? No. People never asked, so why would they know to comment?

Before he could be completely consumed by the rabbit hole, someone else spoke, pulling Keiran's chin up with the sound. He wasn't sure he liked the tone of that, but it wasn't his place, of course. They weren't friends like Kip and Kenna were. They were poker mates who got together sometimes. It wasn't like Keiran was friends with Frank, on the one hand, but he at least respected Kip. So he didn't ask.

James shook his head fervently at Jack's suggestion. "I do not want to get drunk with this bloke," he complained, gesturing at Keiran. The Headmaster sat up straighter, disdain marring his features. "You need to catch me up on the team, though," James told her, collecting his drink and standing before he moved away to another table, clearly expecting some kind of previous camaraderie to influence her into following him.

Keiran shook his head at the other man, passed Jack an unimpressed look, but swiveled towards Kenna once more. For a moment, he just looked at her, the absurdist in him thinking that he really should have found a way to meet her back when Millie was a problem. Maybe even before. Then she could have told him he was being a shit and needed to wake up. Granted, he expected that she wouldn't say anything in that way. But it would've done the trick, to be fair. So he took another drink, his gaze still on her over the top of the glass, and swallowed before setting it back down. "I think you said something about catching up?"
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