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Odd One Out

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Post by Elijah Krum on Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:02 am

The air still held a hint, the barest taste, of summer but autumn was slinking round the edges, making it crisp and almost, just almost chilly. As Elijah emerged from the clock tower and out into the courtyard he had one arm in his cloak, the other fishing around for its opposing sleeve. A breeze whistled through the trees, lifting the hair briefly from his shoulders, and he shuddered a little as he finally ensconced himself in the warmth of the heavy material. The sun was straining behind the clouds but, after morning classes, it seemed there would be an afternoon of sunshine - just in time for Care of Magical Creatures.

With a contented smile, the Slytherin made his way towards the covered bridge, hoping to get himself a spot to sit down on the grassy hill on the other side. But of course, he wasn't looking where he was going, having gotten preoccupied by a sudden thought about his sketchbook. His gaze had flicked down and his hands had made for the buckles of the satchel that hung from his left shoulder. His hair fell into his eyes, obscuring his peripheral view. You can guess, of course, what happened next. He bumped straight into someone and the collision sent his bag careening to the floor of the bridge, its contents slumping out with a thud.

"Oh Merlin," he muttered, feeling his cheeks begin to burn with embarrassment as he lifted his gaze to his unintentional victim. "I'm sorry, are you alright?"

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Elijah N. Krum
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Post by Lily Luna Potter on Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:09 pm

Lily was floating through the courtyard. It was how she was moving today. If she wasn’t floating, it felt like the stones were cracking beneath her feet, eyes following her, as she slowly sunk into the earth. At least when she was floating, no one watched her.

Which probably contributed to that next part.

The New Kid. Last year she was Prefect. Last year she had been one of the people to walk him around, introduce him to people. This year she was a regular student, a Badge Revoked.

“Ah, it’s fine, I’m an easy one to run into,” Lily quipped, yanking her bag strap back up her shoulder. “Here, let’s get you in order before word gets out I destroyed your books,” she said, a small smile lightening her lips as she squatted down to help gather his book together.
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Post by Elijah Krum on Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:10 pm

Lily Potter. Of course. It had to be. Who else was it going to be. Fame preceded the Potters and Weasleys and they left that shine of popular notoriety behind them in their wake as they moved, seemingly effortlessly, through Hogwarts and the rest of the magical world. But of course, then there was Harry Potter. Or not, as the case actually was.

It was the absence of the aforementioned wizard that left an odd little tinge on the otherwise shining reputation of the family. Where was Harry Potter? It was the question on everyone's lips. Still. Even after all these years. Elijah had only ever spoken to his mother about the Boy Who Lived. Viktor Krum had always had precious little to say on the matter but Elijah had never been able to fathom why. Sadness, he thought, but he couldn't be sure his father felt that emotion.

"No, you're not, I'm sorry," Elijah babbled, his words coming out quickly and clumsily. "I wasn't looking where I was going and I should've. You're not ... I ..."

Elijah exhaled and quietened himself as she knelt down. Even though he'd embarrassed himself, she was still willing to help him. That, he knew, was consistent. She had, after all, been nothing but helpful to him during his first year when it had been Lily's job to show the - admittedly star-struck - new student around. He had never been in such proximity to light wizards. At Durmstrang, regrettably, he was stuck amongst the sons of former Death Eaters.

But, while Lily had not gone down in Elijah's esteem, he had begun to hear things. Not that he put much stock in gossip but ... well, he did listen. He was only human after all. For now, anyway.

"Wouldn't want people getting the wrong idea," Elijah chuckled, recovering some of his countenance as he bent down to assist her. "Thank you, Lily. I appreciate that. Um... how are you? Did you have a good summer?"

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Post by Lily Luna Potter on Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:09 pm

People had the wrong idea. They always did. Find someone with the right idea and Lily still wouldn't trust it. If she had learned anything, people did and believed what they wanted, not what was true. Merlin, she was living that.

Her hand limply waved off his thank you's. "Please, it takes two to collide."

Hmm, how was she. Even if she had any intention of being honest, there wasn't really an answer to that. Ginny had been in Witch Weekly all summer but luckily the only people who read that were her peers' mothers, and who listened to their mother? Still, between Ginny's incessant need to spin conspiracy theories and Lily's recent demotion, the Potter girl would have much rather no one asked or thought about how she was doing. They were going to draw their own conclusions anyway. Why work against that?

"Good," she said, smiling lightly. "It was a nice summer. I did a lot of reading. What about you? Do you-" she paused, wondering if she was pushing too much. "Do you go back home for the summer or do you stay here?" She handed him his book and stood.
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Post by Elijah Krum on Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:27 pm

"And tango," Elijah quipped with a smirk, a satisfied feeling curling in his belly as he correctly used one of the English idioms that always seemed to elude him. "But we won't do that, eh?"

It was nice to see her smile. It was impossible not to smile back. Elijah picked his bag up, stuffing the contents inside a bit more, and straightened himself up. He felt rather high off the ground, now. He'd had another growth spurt over the summer and was beginning to worry what would happen if he had another one. His crowning achievement, though, was the scruff peppered along his jaw that almost resembled a beard. It was the most important signal that he was leaving his awkward early teen years behind.

"Good," he parroted, the smile sticking fast to his face as he accepted his book from her. "That sounds perfect, to be honest. I um ... well, I spent a lot of time following my mother around, honestly. She is trying to get back to acting and fell out with my father over it so Adelina went with him and I went with her and we all went our separate ways which was ... just ..." He shrugged his shoulders. "I guess it was good. The less time spent with my father the better, really. So, I was home for all of two minutes then we headed to London. Paris after that, which was brilliant. Really good. Got to see my grandparents ... then Milan ... oh Merlin. I'm not boasting, honestly," he said, all too aware of how he sounded. "It was a pain, really. I'd have much rather been in one place but ... well, I got a lot of reading done too. And drawing. But I'm glad to be back at Hogwarts. It was a relief that it all ended."

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Post by Lily Luna Potter on Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:11 pm

"Not if we can help it," she said back, the scratch of anxiety always present in her stomach. Even when she was doing well, blending in, talking normally, it was there. People were watching, waiting for her to say something that would give them a peek behind the curtain. They had no idea what monster was waiting though.

"You heading to Care of Magical Creatures?" she quickly interrupted, and they soon fell in to step on their way to class. It would be nice arriving with someone. Normal and innocuous.

Merlin, she had to worry about this less.

He sounded like a bad muggle television show about rich teenagers, or some romantic novel about women and their lovers. He seemed to recognize it and became self conscious, but she hadn't thought he had been bragging. He didn't seem like the bragging sort. He seemed eager to please, or eager to impress, but in a more uncertain, agreeable way. She wanted to assuage him, but as she did she couldn't think of a way that didn't invite familial comparisons, good or bad. She didn't want people to try to relate to her family life. That led to questions.

"Well all that travel probably did wonderful things for your artistic inspiration," she said thoughtfully. "And kept you out of trouble, I'm sure. Idle hands and all," she gave him another small smile, briefly wondering if anyone even bought that she meant it. "There is something reassuring about being back to school. The schedule, the regime, the same teachers. I'm told children require consistency." An actual bonafide smirk twisted onto her lips. So there was a scrap of her sense of humor left after all.
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Post by Elijah Krum on Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:13 pm

Elijah wanted to make a quip about them being ready to dance if they needed to now that he had mentioned it but all he could muster was a smirk before Lily deftly changed the conversation and the pair eased their way down the grassy verge towards the stone circle and the wider grounds beyond that.

“Yeah, I was hoping to get a bit of peace first, while everyone had lunch, and then stroll that way,” He admitted. He still didn’t really find the Slytherin table the most welcoming. Elijah knew he really had to make an effort this year to make some firm friends. Lily was probably the closest he had come and even then he was intuitive enough to know he was way off base with that. Familiar acquaintances was probably the best way to describe them and even then he wondered if he was being too generous.

“Did you find the reading for this year a bit … well, I think the word is ‘quirky’?” It wasn’t exactly a book with an appetite like in third year but Elijah had found his Care of Magical Creatures reading for the summer somewhat grumpy and rather not inclined to actually aiding him with his research. Plus the eyes on the spine, just like the chompy book of past years, completely unnerved him. He was unsure whether it was part spider or mostly spider and whether the book bit came second.

Elijah, cheeks still aflame, smiled gratefully as she spoke. He nodded eagerly, pride lifting his chest a little.

“I filled a few sketchbooks, to say the least,” he told her, chuckling as he added: “It certainly kept me busy. Still, I do wonder whether it would’ve been better to … I don't know.” He shrugged, keeping to himself the earnest wish that he could have spent summer happy with his family … perhaps even on a holiday that didn’t involve his mother schmoozing with the cinematic elite.

“I agree, honestly,” he nodded, reaching up to run his fingers through his hair. “It’s good, the sort of … yeah, the routine.” He grinned as he caught sight of her smirk. “It probably does us some good. The lack thereof is liable to lead to distraction and no good. So, keep us contained and we’ll stay out of trouble.” He was quoting his father, in part, who was endlessly lecturing Adelina about her need to stay out of trouble. It was not a desire she often fulfilled for him.

“Are you looking forward to the Hogsmeade weekend?” Elijah asked, finding himself oddly desperate not to let the conversation ebb away. This was the first time he had spoken to someone his age at any length since he had arrived at Hogwarts and he was determined to savour every moment of it.

"Oh!" He brought his hand to his bag, a thought suddenly striking him. "I took some sandwiches from the Great Hall before I left. Want one? I think they're ham and mustard or something..."

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Post by Lily Luna Potter on Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:16 am

She offered a rueful grimace at his mention of the book. "Ah yes, can't just require a normal book, that'd make it too easy. I found that kind compliments to the book helped. I'm curious to know what that means about how our professor felt when the book was selected." It probably meant nothing, having more to do with the kooks who dedicated their lives to writing about magical creatures.

Lily wished she was one of those people who could shine brilliantly with enthusiasm. Maybe she had at one point, she wasn’t sure. But even the things she cared about, the things she was truly passionate about, they simmered beneath the surface. Watching her brew didn’t reveal some deep passion, some intimate love. She looked like a young woman with a knack for it, moving deftly, executing properly, but there was nothing in her fact that showed the contentment she felt. She wasn’t blank like her cousin Molly, some void where feelings went to die. There was something but it was quiet and pale in comparison to people like Elijah.

He, at the very mention of his art, was humming with energy. Whatever complicated emotions had stormed his countenance at the mention of his family and their summer were no match for the obvious joy he had in his work.

He surprised her with his question, and she found herself stuttering over the simplest, stupidest thing. She blinked a few times and then smoothed her expression and shrugged. "Not sure, I may be visit... visiting family." She cleared her throat, hoping that would be the end of it. That weekend was the full moon. She didn't want to have to think of that. And of course, students would be near the Shrieking Shack. She needed to find an alternative.

He offered her a sandwich and she nodded. "That sounds great, actually. I'm sure we're going to be wrangling skrewts or wrestling unicorns or something exhausting. It's an odd class all things considered." She quirked her head. "Did you have it at Durmstrang? Care of Magical Creatures, that is?"
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Post by Elijah Krum on Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:51 am

“No, no… really?” Elijah brought his hand up to his forehead as he considered all of the wasted hours with that infernal book. He laughed to himself and shook his head, dropping his hand back to his side. “I can’t believe it was that easy. I spent so much time … oh Merlin.” He rolled his eyes, despairing at himself, before shrugging a shoulder. “Oh well. Better to know now than never at all. Thank you for telling me before we needed to revise. I doubt I would have gotten very far with it all."

Elijah nodded when she spoke. Visiting family. Yes. That was probably something he should do. He knew his grandmother wasn't that well but his father had been scant with the details in his letter to Elijah so it was unclear whether the boy should return home briefly to see her or not. Still, he was somewhat disappointed with the answer. He kept himself from deflating too much as she didn't entirely seem comfortable with the direction he had taken the conversation.

"Well, I ... next time, perhaps, if you're not going away ... I wondered if you'd like to go with me?" He offered her a quick smile. "As friends, of course. I don't know if you're really the Madam Puddifoot's sort of girl," he chuckled despite himself, imagining Lily surrounded by all that tat. "But ... I mean, you're probably the closest I have to a friend here and I figure ... well, the least I can do is take you to Honeydukes. Just, you know ... let me know."

Elijah passed the sandwich to the Potter girl and smiled at her again, softly, hoping that he hadn't entirely blown it by being so forward. He took a bite of his own, figuring it was better to keep quiet lest he put his foot in it any more than he already had. He nodded as she spoke, imagining the ridiculousness that they were going to walk into when they entered the paddock. The professor was larger than life and it reflected in their exotic choice of lessons.

Elijah swallowed, the taste of the mustard tingling on his tongue.

"A version," he conceded, inclining his head regretfully. "Mostly theory. But even then ... it's nothing about the creatures themselves. It's just how to avoid them and then, if you can't, how to destroy them. At Durmstrang, dragons belong on boots, not in Romanian reservations where they can be studied." He sighed.

It was their version of the Hogwarts class he loved so much that upset him most towards the end of his time there. Undoubtedly, Elijah was an animal person. His copy of Fantastic Beasts was absolutely battered with pages falling out and the cover ripped just through sheer use. He could still remember the day he had gotten it new - an odd indulgence on his mother's part. Viktor hadn't really agreed with it. Having fought dragons himself, his opinion of the creatures was quite in line with the school's.

"To them, it's as though the wars never happened. Everything that was fought for, died for, won through sacrifice ... it never affected them. It's an old kind of wizardry there - the sort Voldemort would appreciate, I fear. Not really my cup of tea. I'd much rather wrangle some skrewts than learn how to put an end to them. I love Newt Scamander. I think everything he's ever done is just ... mind-boggling - is that the right word? Brilliant, anyway. I'd love to be a Magizoologist. I don't know if it will work out that way," he laughed awkwardly, a little bit of upset leaking into the sound. "I think my father has a plan. He wouldn't want his son gaining inadvertent fame for breeding Kneazles and hugging unicorns."

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Elijah N. Krum
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Post by Lily Luna Potter on Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:01 pm

Lily waved a hand dismissively. "Being at Hogwarts for five years will do that to you. Every year someone decides to choose a 'fun' book, or one with personality. As this point I have a protocol for how I interact with a new book. I can help you figure out whatever monstrosity we get next year. I doubt they're going to break from tradition any time soon."

She didn't look at him as he fumbled through an invitation to join him in Hogsmeade, smiling at him before dropping her head, hopefully hiding the sadness that was creeping into the smile. It wasn't the first time that her condition had cropped up to make a friendship unlikely, and it wouldn't be the last. She made headway and then questions became imminent, so she backed away. But Elijah was kind, and perhaps he would sort of accept that she was inconsistent and couldn't always follow through, even when she wanted to. A friend who could accept that could maybe stay a friend.

She took the sandwich and glanced his way, "If family falls through, definitely. If it doesn't, next time." She gave him a bracing smile, hopefully a reassurance. She took a bite of the sandwich. "This is good, thank you."

She had often wondered what it would be like to study at a different school, somewhere she could enjoy a bit of anonymity. She supposed Beuxbatons was a bust, too many Delacours and others. But with what Elijah was saying of Durmstrang, she doubted that would be any better - in fact, it probably would have been decidedly worse. Perhaps Ilvermorny. Americans didn't seem to care about anything beyond their own little arena, perhaps her name wouldn't matter there.

Well, it was a little late now.

She shook her head. "At least you have an idea about what you'd like to do. From what I've heard, you're one of the few. Perhaps plans could change," she suggested, lifting a shoulder. She wasn't the authority on overbearing father figures, but she supposed she could imagine. Maybe. "Look at Newt Scamander now. I'm sure he had a worried mother or father telling him to put down the bowtruckles and be sensible, but no one would say that about him now."
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