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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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Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:57 am
Back home, stores would be full of muggles stocking up on processed meats to burn to a char, and tinder boxes full of fireworks would be erected on every street corner. Red, white, and blue would be tackily slapped onto every t-shirt, backyards would be weeded and prepared, pools cleaned, kegs filled. In more ways than one, it was a fruitless, kind-of ridiculous, self-serving holiday that she had never really been all too excited for.

But she was missing it.

And it felt strange.

She had been stuck in this godforsaken country living off of the money her parents had donated to cause of her sorting things out regarding her late brother. Things were getting shaky already and with a hold randomly placed on the case, she was basically treading water. Not to mention that her landlord was selling her place and she now had the joy of looking for a new place, toying with having to consider how long she would be stuck here. The last thing she wanted to do was make a further commitment.

She couldn't breathe.

So, dressed in a way that she'd usually consider to be idiotic but comforted her sense of nostalgia and un-belonging, she stepped into the most comforting place she could think of - a book store.

Sloane had frequented Flourish and Blotts more than any other store, so she slipped inside and hefted her bag further up her shoulders and cast a slow gaze across the store. She turned towards the biographies and slipped down an aisle, fingers tracing over the spines as she went. She turned the corner and jumped a bit in surprise as she nearly ran into someone restocking the shelves.

"Oh- sorry," she said, her American accent really accentuated by the apology. She offered a small grimace and slipped by him, glancing his way again. "Putting the books away by hand. I get that. There's something about handling books, keeping that connection."
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:38 am
July was a dreadful month to be outdoors, particularly down in Rottingdean, but at least they had the beach there. It was a touch better in London, but even so he found himself surrounded by witches and wizards who could cool themselves off with naught but a flick of their wrist.

He missed his ship.

This world was fascinating, and he was close enough that he could keep up his research through the London museums and libraries in the evenings, but he just.. he wanted to be part of it for a little while. So he could handle putting away books despite Keiran's tendency to just drift them across the room when he walked in. He could handle the fact that he didn't necessarily understand what the customers were after and the inevitability of their frustration with him. But he was learning.

He just... Yeah. He missed the rebuilding and the planning and being surrounded by people asking questions about things he knew beyond a doubt and, of course, about things that captured the very essence of passion within him.

It took him longer than it probably should have, even without magic [God, magic], because he found himself peering at every title, ever odd name and unrealistic subject. He had a habit of flipping through pages, looking for pictures so he could try and piece the words together with the images.

Barnaby looked up sharply at the squished personal space and the different accent. Perhaps if his family had moved later, he would have retained his original French accent, too. American, though, this woman.

It wasn't the first time someone had mistaken his actions for something other than what they were. After the many months of his time in the Wizarding World [Goddd, though. Wizarding world], he'd sort of gotten over his initial embarrassment. What could he really be embarrassed about at that point, anyway? It isn't like it was something he had a chance to change. It couldn't be helped. So why bother trying to hide the truth?

"Ah, no," he shook his head. "I mean. Yes, I like using physical books as well. But, well, I haven't any choice in the matter of how I put them on the shelves. The owner of this shop, he just sends them all flying into their spots. I know very well how much time that would save me," he conceded with a warm, crooked sort of smile.

"Were you looking for something in particular?" He asked, just in time to catch sight of the patriotic attire she had donned. Curious. British colors though they were, as well, he could easily recognize the flag of her country. He half wanted to point out that they hadn't anything on the local sights or things to do, but something about her seemed tired. Tired of London, maybe. Tired of the shopping area. Maybe just worn down. So he didn't.

He just leaned slightly, one arm up against the shelf, as he waited to see what he might help her with.
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:33 am
There was something immediately apologetic to his words, a quick amendment despite the fact that he could have let her believe whatever she believed. It was a simple show of honesty, a casual expansion upon an idea - gosh, she was starved for company.

Her head tilted with interest, revealing herself as she had never been much of a poker player. A squib, perhaps? Some other magical malady? She blinked. Interesting. Something in the way he held himself, about his interaction with the books, reminded her of her roommates at NYU coming across her boxes of Bertie Botts and other strange items she could not quite explain.

Surely not, though.

She didn't push though. It wasn't in her nature to push. She wasn't a pusher, she was a floater. She went went along with where she was led, and he was leading the conversation back to books, which was probably for the best. Her eyes turned towards the shelves, scanning the titles nearest her, the smallest hint of helplessness touching on her face, on the spot to express her interest. But she had none - none specifically anyway. She was just trying to create some semblance of a life.

"Uh..."

It was a start.

A laugh, seemingly at her own expense, tripped out of her lips as a hand fluttered to her hairline. "Sorry, just-" She cleared her throat, and her smile flattened, shaking her head as she cleared her throat once more, face becoming more serious. "No, I don't. I'm a bit lost." She coughed. "Bookstores do that to me."
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:25 am
"Vous ne devez pas corriger la grammaire de quelqu'un, Barnabé."

Her grandmother's voice chimed through his head as she spoke, reminding him to listen for the point, not for the little details. Particularly not the negative ones, and particularly not when it applied to a stranger.

The woman's nerves seemed to be showing themselves, what with her laughter and fidgeting, but he wasn't quite sure what he'd done to cause it. So he decided he must have inadvertently set her off. Maybe he seemed so friendly that he was coming off.. well, too friendly. Toning it down, he offered a more simple, casual smile.

"Well, I've worked here a number of months, now. I don't know much about, well, any of the subjects, to be fair. But you're obviously welcome to browse or sit and just read for a bit."

Barnaby shrugged, glancing down at the little stack of books held by one arm. If they were in a Muggle bookstore, he'd have absolutely smashing suggestions. Even though he would never, ever say 'smashing' out loud. That was something his grandfather had loved the idea of, though he of course couldn't say or hear. The word, in itself, had been enough, because Barnaby had been forced to explain it to him in French, and that had not gone well at all.

"I do need to put these up, but, any suggestions I can give while I do so, let me know."
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:04 pm
Sloane became a haunt of the bookstore. It was one of the few places she didn't feel so lost. There was no shroud of grief in a bookstore, there was no blaring cultural differences. All that defined her time in the land across the sea seemed to fall away when she stepped inside and amused herself with the books and the mysteries they might tell. Mysteries that had neat resolutions, even if they were not always pleasant or happy. There were no long, strange intermissions. No one to say "please hold, there's something we need to look into" that kept one lurching on the edge of indecision and uncertainty.

Skylar's body had been cremated.

She was there for it. She watched as his body, expertly maintained by magic, went into a room and came out in a box. A box so small she was not sure how they had crammed her brother inside it, her brother who had always seemed so large and infallible to her. But here he was, condensed. Miniscule to the bones and muscles that once made him, enormous to the molecules and bits of matter that he still was. Death made people small.

She wanted to go home. But a visit from Claire Bishop had guaranteed she would be there at least until Christmas, which was when she would be given back the ashes of her brother, when she would (supposedly) be allowed to go home. Until then, it was more months of knowing no one, of postponing grief, of missing her friends and her parents, and of picking up books Barnaby had suggested.

She had not asked him to. They had not exactly gotten close, or anything of the sort, but seeing each other once a week did breed a sense of familiarity, even if few words were spoken. Her name appeared on the requests shelf, with a book tucked inside it. And she took it, she read it, she enjoyed it. A history book. About women in colonial America. The next one was about Vikings. And so on. She offered a polite thank you, read for an hour, browsed for ten minutes, and left with her purchases. Week after week after...

She paused. The book was one of her own choosing, magical colonization in the Americas, and Barnaby was pushing by with a cart. She knew there was no one else in the store. She came in a lull hour, when the only person that might wander in was the girl that was allowed entrance to the office with a stack of books, always from the same section. But the girl was not here and Sloane, forced to wait for so long, couldn't wait any longer.

"How did you find out about magic?"
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:22 pm
Barnaby had grown used to having Sloane around, and actually quite enjoyed her company. True, they weren't especially talkative most days, and he had maybe gotten a little sneaky in his attempts to find her some things to read. Keiran had even let him purchase a few Muggle books for her the store. It was kind of like having a friend, though he wasn't sure she would genuinely say the same. Barnaby had always been something of an odd duck - loving books and art and artifacts more wholly than most people. But people hadn't always done right by him, and many didn't understand or care about his passions anyway.

But he could share the books with Sloane, and she appreciated them. So he was going to count it, for now. Particularly since-

He looked up at Fiona's entrance, offering a smile that was honestly more generic than friendly. He'd never spoken to her for more than a couple of seconds at a time, and that was alright. She was working for the boss, in essence, so that wasn't something he had any interest in interfering with. So Barnaby was about to finish his thought, only to be cut off again by a question.

He turned a little too sharply, blinking at Sloane. He had never expressly stated what she apparently knew, and he wasn't bothered that she knew, really, so much as what it might mean. Often times, when people found out, they asked if he was imperioused, which Keiran had been forced to explain, grimace on his face and all. He of course hadn't been. So then their next question was why he hadn't been Obliviated, and he technically wasn't allowed to answer that. Phaedra would probably murder him - and not even in his sleep. No thank you.

Barnaby knew he had implied it quite heavily when he first met her. He'd done so before the reality of his situation had fully sunk in, and she had not asked, so it hadn't come up again. Until now. Why now?

"I wasn't supposed to," he conceded after a moment. "Some sort of fight broke out near Camden, I think - um, Muggle London somewhere. This bloke realized who I was and wanted my help, so he promised to introduce me to this world in exchange for it. I'm not sure the Ministry people even realized I'd seen anything, because he took me away from there before I could be obliviated."

That was probably vague enough. Maybe not. He was a truly terrible liar, with an even weaker stomach, as evidenced by his serious aversion to apparition and the uncomfortable hue of his skin as he answered now.
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:12 pm
She had surprised him, which was fair. On all sides, it was a surprising question. They hadn't talked about it, he hadn't told her, and it was a tricky grey area of legality, she supposed, unless he was a squib, but that didn't seem right either. She wasn't one to trust intuition but she was so far from home and all the order and sense that came with being somewhere familiar. Some days intuition was her only companion.

He recovered fairly quickly, all things considered, and she listened to him, hand resting gently in the crook of her book to mark her page, less interested now by general colonization and more interested in the French muggle's colonization of the world. She could hardly imagine what it would feel like, going from a life without magic to one with it, but still unable to participate. She knew a thing or two about feeling like an outsider but she supposed it was nothing to what he felt, every day.

She nodded and dropped her gaze thoughtfully, chewing on her lip. Finally she ventured, "I've never gotten used to it, if that helps. Every day it feels strange and impossible. Might be because my parents aren't magical, or because I've chosen to spend a lot of my life in the muggle world. The muggle world spends a lot more time studying people than the magical. Studying charms and transfiguration feels a little empty in comparison." She shrugged, before lifting her gaze back to him.

"You've stuck around though."
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:24 am
Barnaby probably should have been relieved, considering she didn't actually read into his mistake of saying that someone had looked for him specifically. It wasn't actually true. He'd just been in the right place at the right time, and Frank had been convinced that the museum curator could be of use. And, evidently, he had been. Although it had never been mentioned again, right after they got what Phaedra was after, he'd been called the hero of their mission.

And since then, he'd been ignored and left to his own devices by most of them. Keiran had given him a job, but was never around because of family and school and some other nighttime obligation that Barnaby felt he wasn't supposed to ask about. So he hadn't. And God only knew what Phaedra had been up to since then. Not to mention that Eric bloke. Barnaby was pretty sure that the other man disliked him, though he didn't know why, precisely.

Of course, that left Frank.

"Well, I didn't really know anybody in London. Frank - the man that asked for my help - has become my best mate, here. And I came to the city to do research anyway, so once the opportunity came up to also learn about the magical world, I couldn't resist. And maybe one day I'll be caught, or whatever, and they'll take it away. But for now it doesn't seem like a waste. Besides," he added, a little spark of frustration trying to show itself, "I don't see how the so-called Halfbloods -- that's a rubbish name by the way -- even exist if they didn't at one point marry a Muggle. And if that's true, why keep Muggles out at all? Doesn't make any sense."

He shook his head, little rant over. Barnaby drew in a breath, shaking his head as he released it and moved past it. "At any rate, if I've got the chance, I'm taking it until it's stolen from me."
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

on Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:53 am
Maybe that was why they felt so comfortable in silence together. She would not go so far as to say she was a researcher, but she supposed she was an academic sort. She had never felt more at home than she had in college. It had taken so long to decide a singular subject to wriggle into, and she wasn't sure she had made any true or interesting discoveries during her time, but she had learned, and she had enjoyed learning. She wasn't the most clever or the most studious. She wasn't the best student but as a student she was at her best.

She must have been lonely, if she was stretching this far to make a connection with the Frenchman. She shouldn't cheapen the pleasant camaraderie by trying to invest more into than what it was. Enjoy the stars for what they were, don't try and turn them into gold - all that.

She smiled a bit at his little tangent, tacking on, "Any word that denotes blood is just a bit blatantly racist, isn't it?"

But she considered that thought, the thought of Barnaby having this truth stolen from him. Months of time just stolen away, friendships severed, and in its stead... nothingness? How was nothingness so frightening? It wasn't better or worse than anything. And yet fear shrouded it.

She lifted herself from her musing, turning to look at Barnaby. "Have you ever held a wand?"
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Re: Yankee Doodle Lonely

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