Broomsticks and Other Things
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Broomsticks and Other Things

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Post by Ariel Damian Greyback on Tue May 12, 2020 7:44 pm

Broomsticks and Other Things 9pIH
Summer, 2022

"Ariel, I need you to help me at some point today."

Cora's tone was pointed but her words were delivered in a sing-song that almost took the sting out.

Ariel looked up from the book in his lap and eyed the landing outside of his bedroom door, imagining his mother stood halfway up the rickety stairs.

In his mind's eye, Ariel could see her upturned chin, her hair hanging haphazardly in the bun she had pinned it up in that morning, and the purse of disapproval on her cherry-red lips.

His father had once commented that Ariel looked like Cora. Perhaps as a child, Ariel might have wrinkled his nose at that but, as he had grown up, he had come to find that he did not mind that fact much at all.

Especially given the fact that he could have been truly lucky and ended up looking like Fenrir Greyback.

Ariel had hidden upstairs that morning under the pretence of reading for his entrance exams. After receiving his exam results, Ariel had decided to join the Ministry of Magic. At first, he had entertained the idea of becoming an Auror but the incredulous look he had received from the Auror recruiter he had spoken to had put him off of it altogether.

As always, the surname Greyback had been enough to make the very impression Ariel had not wanted to make.

Instead, Ariel had decided that he would train to be a portioner. There was a small school for such careers in the north of England, near where the Lake District met the Yorkshire Dales. It seemed like a good way to while away a few years while Ariel worked out what he actually wanted to do.

Until then he passed the exams, though, he would be working for his mother - making broomsticks.

It wasn't ideal but he was never going to be the sort of Hogwarts student who got a job straight out of seventh year. That was a daydream.

Ariel put his book down and unfurled his long legs from beneath him. He set his feet on the floorboards and got up off of the bed. After shoving on his trainers, Ariel drifted out onto the landing and found his mother exactly where he imagined her to be.

"Ah, good," her lips spread into a wide, appreciative smile. "Come on, love."

Ariel sighed gently and gave a sharp nod.

"Are you alright, Ari?" His mother asked as he made his way slowly down the stairs. "Are you feeling alright?" She clarified.

"I'm fine, mum," Ariel replied, offering her what he hoped was a convincing smile. "It's just weird knowing I won't be going back to school in the autumn, that's all."

"Oh, I understand," she wrapped her arm around his shoulders and the pair descended the rest of the steps together. "I felt exactly the same way when I left Hogwarts. It gets better, I promise. There's a whole world out there for you to explore, Ariel."

Well, not me. You, maybe. The thought bubbled up unbidden in his mind without Ariel even having to consider it.

"Come on. Where's your real smile?" She urged as they walked together through the dishevelled back room that served as storage for all of the odd bits of broomstick that were more or less useless but his mother refused to part with regardless.

"It's loading," Ariel chuckled despite himself.

"Well, load it quicker. You never know who might walk through that door today and what do I always say?"

"First impressions count," Ariel recited, smirking wryly in her direction.

"Exactly!" Cora declared, pride colouring her cheeks. "Now, go and relieve James from the till. He's spent all morning flirting with Mrs Dobbs and you know she doesn't come in here to buy broomsticks."

Ariel's chuckle bubbled up again before he could stop himself.

"Has he really been that bad?"

His mother made a face. "She's a very attractive woman, my love," she conceded. "But she's also very married. James should watch it. Josiah Dobbs is not a man to be trifled with."

"He's a Potter," Ariel scoffed with a smirk. "I'm sure he can handle himself."

"He needs to go back to his day job," his mother said as they walked out onto the shop floor. "And stop pretending he still works here."

"I thought you said you need the help?" Ariel retorted, raising an eyebrow at his mother.

Cora Mariatos huffed and muttered something about going to sort out the broomsticks she was working on. Her flaming cheeks told her son that, as much as she complained, she liked having James Potter in the shop as much as she liked him being there. She was right, though. Eventually, Mrs Dobbs would tell her husband about James and the last thing they needed was for the Daily Prophet to come down on their shop with a headline like 'Potter's Broomstick Love Nest.' It would be a disaster.
Ariel Damian Greyback
Ariel Damian Greyback
Seventh Year Slytherin
Seventh Year Slytherin

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Post by Jack Dyllan on Wed May 13, 2020 11:17 pm

Jack woke up in the early morning with rock n’ roll in her blood.

That was what she was calling it. It had been a rough week. Every morning, adrenaline immediately flooded her body the second the day began, and it wasn’t getting better. She increased her morning running to five miles, seven, eight. But the adrenaline wasn’t leaving. It was as if Anxiety had developed Anger Management problems, or someone was stalking her in her sleep, turning the switch on in her body to Flight Mode. But she awoke to the same room, unchanged, unthreatened, but still her pulse raged on. Maybe it was a week long heart attack, or maybe this was just who she was now. She was trying to make it normal, rob it of its power.

Besides. Rock n’ roll was a better name than “existential crisis.” So that was what she was sticking with.

The shady boarding house she now found herself in was not exactly the home she had envisioned for herself post-graduation. She spent eleven years and six summers resenting the house (not the home) she had been born into and her seven school years had reaffirmed how little she belonged to Hogwarts. The idea was to graduate and make a home somewhere. But all of her plans had gone right to shit, hadn’t they? Seemed right that she ended up here.

Avis Otters in the apartment next door was already singing. She wasn’t sure why the man insisted on singing his strange, haunting songs all day long, but it certainly increased the Creep factor of this place. And then there was the yelling that never stopped from the Goosander’s place across the hall. Just a real cacophony of horrors.

In a weird way, it almost suited her.

Knockturn Alley was a bad place for a muggleborn to end up, for a lot of reasons. But she was making it work. She had to. She had nowhere else to go.

Six years wasted.

The singing reached a louder pitch and Jack turned, kicking the wall. It never stopped Avis, but it sure made her feel better.

She made it out of Knockturn unscathed, pulling on the lightweight green jacket that had become one of her signature looks. Her red hair shone brilliantly in the sunlight, frizzy and wild as ever. Diagon Alley was already churning with people and she had a mission. She had licked her wounds for long enough in the wilderness, had finally settled into her new place in Knockturn, and now she needed a job. Well, another one.

She knew exactly where she was going.

She pushed through the crowds of Diagon Alley, faintly aware of how powerless it felt to be a nobody adult. In school, people got out of her way - often for their own safety as she barrelled down the hallways, but she did enjoy knowing that all of her strength training also gave her a bit of a bubble. But no such bubble existed now, and she found she had to plant herself squarely to avoid being knocked over as she looked up at the storefront. What better place for a failed aspiring pro player than a broommaker’s shop.

Okay, the plan. Demand a job. Shit, she looked bad. Her jeans were torn. Did people still care about dressing up for retail jobs? She stepped inside and glanced inside. Behave, behave, behave. Act normal.

“Oh, shit. Potter!”

All pretense forgotten, Jack’s lips formed a lopsided grin as she skipped over to James Potter, giving him a friendly shove she probably had no right to give. In fairness, he had been her Captain, and she had inherited the role the year after he graduated. But now he was a Big DealTM and she probably should have been respectful and reverent if she ever wanted to form the connections she needed.

She wondered if he knew that she had almost become a peer again. She wondered if he knew how badly she had f-cked it up. She wondered if people could tell, just from looking at her, that she was not in a good place. And not just literally.

But her face was shining with mischief anyway as she said, “Wait, do you work here? Shouldn't you be filthy rich and annoyingly famous? Shit, if you work here, put in a good word in for me. I don’t mean to brag but I have a month before I run out of money.” She smirked, lifting an eyebrow.

She was well aware she had not given him time respond, let alone introduce the woman he was speaking to or make excuses for her insanity. She wasn’t sure where all this excitable energy came from, but it was something to hold on to. Maybe it was nostalgia, making her feel a bit like herself. Or maybe it was shame as she faced a symbol of what she had lost. Or maybe it was just that adrenaline, the adrenaline of being alone in the world, with no safety net and few allies.

Call it what you would - she was going to call it rock n’ roll.

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Jack Dyllan
Jack Dyllan
Seventh Year Gryffindor
Seventh Year Gryffindor

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Post by James S Potter on Thu May 14, 2020 8:22 pm

"You really need to leave her alone. James? Can you hear me? James. You're staring. James! Oh for the love of–"

"–Ow!"

James Sirius Potter tore his gaze off of Irene Dobbs' endless, truly endless stocking-clad legs. His hand flew to the back of his head and looked around for the offending article that had connected with his skull.

Sure enough, Ariel Greyback was stood with a Quidditch magazine in his hand an imperiously unimpressed expression on his face.

If James had been a more easily cowed man, he might have had the grace to look somewhat apologetic. Instead, he offered his friend a silly smirk that only seemed to irritate the former-Slytherin more.

"You need to leave her alone before you end up dead in Knockturn Alley," Ariel warned as he carefully unfurled the magazine.

"Perhaps you ought to ask Irene out," James suggested, watching as the blonde man smoothed the magazine out before setting it back on the counter. "It might lighten you up a bit, Ari."

Ariel brought a hand to his chest. "I have a sense of self-preservation, Potter."

"Perhaps you've just never had the thrill of the chase, hm?" James offered as a counter-argument.

Ariel arched an elegant eyebrow at him, his expression embodying the phrase: really, James? Then, of course, James twigged what he had said and he barked out a laugh that caught both of them by surprise. Reluctantly, Ariel chuckled also and the pair shook their heads at each other, Ariel in mock despair, James because he couldn't believe he had forgotten who he was talking to. Ariel was a werewolf. He lived for the thrill of the chase. Well, at certain times a month, wolfsbane allowing.

James opened his mouth to say something else when he heard the bell over the door jingle. Before he could orientate himself to have a look at who was coming into the shop, that person that entered found him. The voice was unmistakable.

"Jacky!" James trilled, wrapping her up in a tight hug. He released her after a moment and took a step back to look at her. "Still got all your limbs then!" He grinned.

James smiled at her words but before he could reply, Ariel inserted himself smoothly into the conversation - equal parts amused and condemning - his eyes still on the Quidditch magazines.

"He is filthy rich and annoyingly famous. Emphasis on annoying."

"Greyback, I'm hurt," James pouted, before looking to Jack. "I worked here every summer from third year. Cora's the best. She'll give you a job no problem, right Ari?"

Ariel looked up, his eyebrow quirking upwards a little. Then he turned to Jack, recognition brightening his face.

"If it means I get you out of my hair, Jamie-dear, then I'll hire you myself, Ms. Dyllan."

"He's so formal with girls he likes," James mock-whispered to Jack.

"Oh go stick your head in a pot of broom polish, Potter," Ariel said with a roll of his eyes.

James couldn't contain his grin, though, because no acerbic rebuttal could detract from the way Ariel's cheeks went pink. The Greyback man turned on his heel and headed in the direction of the back of the shop, stating that he was going to find his mother.

Once Ariel had disappeared out of sight, James looked at Jack, a serious little furrow in his brows.

"If I offered you galleons, would you take them or would you tell me to stick my head in a pot of broom polish, too?"
James S Potter
James S Potter
Gryffindor Graduate
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Special Abilities : Animagus, Parselmouth
Occupation : Explorer in the Dept. of Mysteries

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Post by Jack Dyllan on Fri May 15, 2020 2:29 am

If Jack had any friends close enough to share her life with, she was sure recounting the way she stiffened at a hug from James Potter would send them into throes of exasperation. Famous in name, rich in talent, swimming in galleons - she was crazy to do anything but bask in his attention. But Jack was an odd duck, and she grumbled like an embarrassed teenager receiving a hug from their mother in public as James squeezed her to his side, complaining “It’s Jack”. As her eyes rolled to demonstrate her apathy, she caught sight of the other person there and found herself straightening up.

Right. Ariel Greyback. Somewhere in her small stash of knowledge about the boy, she knew his mother was a broommaker. But she didn’t know she had a shop here in Diagon. If she had known… Merlin, Jack wasn’t sure what to do with that information.

Her actual run ins with Ariel had been brief and unremarkable - save for the one with the dragon firework out of the owlery. Most of her experiences regarding the Greyback boy had more to do with her confrontations against Godric Malfoy, that git, and his cronies. Jack wasn’t sure why their taunting struck such a nerve, but it had, and she found herself often carefully watching Ariel to see if Malfoy dared make a move.

You can learn a lot about some from afar. But that’s weird, so she wasn’t going to go into that.

Her grin widened as Ariel taunted James, and she tutted at the Potter boy. “See, no amount of coverage in Witch’s Weekly can fool the people who actually meet you.” At the comment about her limbs she waved a hand distractedly. “Yeah it was a close call, but they managed to keep me mostly intact.” Maybe he had heard then. Jack wasn't ready to dissect the unleaky string of events that led to her present need for alternative employment. Once she processed it herself, then maybe she could talk.

“Nah, just some people know how to be professional, Potter,” she joked quickly, flinging an elbow towards his ribs as Ariel turned away. James suddenly looked serious and Jack’s mouth went dry. She didn’t want to talk about the Falcons, or that last rubbish year-

“Oh, shit. I mean, if it’s that’s a job offer, sure!” she said, leaning against the counter. “But if it’s charity, then yeah - broom polish for you.” She grinned. “And if it’s a job, it’s gotta be something proper shit so I don’t feel bad about the nepotism. Something really awful, like being seen with you in public.” She grinned widely as her fist barrelled into his shoulder, hard for the average person but she was sure her old teammate could more than handle it. It felt good to tease. It felt normal.

“I’ve been working as a mover muggle-side, but thought getting into the broomstick game could help round me out, as it were,” she picked up a pair of gloves that were being sold next to the till, admiring the leather absentmindedly. “Didn’t realize this was - this is Ariel’s mum’s shop, isn’t it? I probably should have done my research but I, uh, made the decision yesterday.”


Last edited by Jack Dyllan on Sat May 30, 2020 10:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Jack Dyllan
Jack Dyllan
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Post by James S Potter on Sat May 30, 2020 7:25 pm

Jack’s retort only served to make James Potter’s grin widen that little bit further. There was nothing James enjoyed more than a witty to and fro. It perhaps explained why he had stuck to Quidditch dressing rooms rather than go out into what might be perceived as “the real world.” His job at the broom shop had been something of an exception, though it was more of a dry run before actual fame than a real job. He had been known everywhere he went, even before Quidditch. There was something about the famous Potter mop and a gait so similar to his father’s that made people stop him in the street and look at him for far longer than was comfortable. At least nowadays, it was because of something he had actually done rather than because of the spectre he reminded them of.

“I am a delight,” James replied archly, lifting his nose in the air and touching a hand to his chest as if the prospect of being anything other offended his sensibilities. “And I am, after all, Witch Weekly’s Hottest Man four weeks running, now,” he added, reopening his eyes.

“Well, that’s good to hear,” James chuckled, running a hand through his hair. “Can’t have you losing life and limb. It severely limits one’s opportunities.”

“I just call it as I see it!” James protested, raising his hands in surrender. “Besides, he could do with lightening up a bit. His wand is twisted tight these days.”

“I heard that!” Ariel called over his shoulder.

James shook his head and turned his attention back to Jack as she spoke. He knew it. He had known it as soon as he had opened his mouth. Of course, that didn’t stop James from wanting to ask. It didn’t stop him from asking. He needed to check, of course. It was the least he could do to help her – if not out of genuine affection for the redhead then out of the fact that the galleons sat in Gringott’s were only collecting dust and were better off spent by someone who likely had substantially better taste.

“It’s not going to be shit, it’s Cora,” James shrugged. “She’s the nicest person in the world. Can’t tell you how many nights I have spent at her dinner table over the years.”

It was better than going to his own family home, in any case. He could slink in around nine o’clock, spend an hour with his mother or whoever was downstairs, and then head to bed. When he wanted to be a Potter the least, he had had a way to escape. James would never know for certain if Cora had figured out what he was doing. If she had suspected, her hugs were never less warm for it, nor was her eagerness to set him a place diminished in any way.

“I owe her a lot,” James conceded thoughtfully.

James let his eyes flick out around the shop while Jack spoke, figuring that he needed to at least pretend that he was keeping checks on the customers. An elderly lady was milling round by the children’s broomsticks, her granddaughter eagerly tugging on her hand. It was a sight he had seen a thousand times over the years but it was one that would never cease to make him feel warm and fuzzy inside. James may have jealously guarded his independence but he would have been a liar to say that he did not desire the simple domesticity of a harmonious, anonymous family.

“Nothing a bit of broomstick polish won’t cure,” James smirked, recalling an afternoon when Cora had made him polish every single broomstick on display. He had forgotten what he had done to incur her wrath. The wrath never lasted long but the lesson must have stuck because he never found himself doing it again.

“Sure is, the one and only Cora Mariatos,” James said with pride that he should have reserved for his family members and his gut twinged guiltily within him because he knew it. “Don’t worry about Ari. He’s alright. He’ll be away soon enough once he gets into potions school. He’ll leave us all in the dust and create the next Wolfsbane, I bet.”

“It’s more likely to be some sort of hair gel, knowing my luck,” Ariel muttered, appearing out from behind one of the displays, his eyes on a clipboard containing their stock counts.

James jumped a little and scowled at the blonde. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” Ariel asked innocently, looking up from the board. A smile was pulling at his lips, threatening to bloom on his face.

“That. What you just did. Appearing out of thin air! You’ll frighten poor Jackie, here.”

“Well, I’m sorry, Jack,” Ariel said, his eyes gliding smoothly from the brunette to the redhead. This time, his smirk did give way. “Mainly because you have to be in the company of someone so easily spooked.”

“Hey!”

“Alright, alright, you two.”

Cora Mariatos appeared from behind the same display her son had. The two were of a similar height and equally as willowy. Ariel had also inherited his mother’s shock of white-blonde hair, though hers was piled high on top of her head with a miniature broomstick fixing the bun in place. Her clothes were functional – jeans and a pretty blouse that was partly obscured with a brown apron.

“Hello, there,” she smiled, her mouth spreading wide as she held out her hand to Jack. “I’m Cora. Ariel said you were looking for a job? I hope you know your way around a broomstick. It’s been hard to get competent staff lately.”

With that, she glanced pointedly in James’s direction.

“Madam, you offend me,” James groused, coming out from behind the desk. He pressed a brief kiss to Cora’s cheek and sidled away from the trio, heading over to help convince the grandmother that regardless of however much her granddaughter begged, she didn’t need anything wildly out of their price range.

Cora smirked as James disappeared across the shop and Ariel shook his head, taking up James’s prior position behind the counter.

“So, if you know James, you must know your way around a broomstick,” Cora stated, her eyes returning to Jack.
James S Potter
James S Potter
Gryffindor Graduate
Gryffindor Graduate

Number of posts : 109
Special Abilities : Animagus, Parselmouth
Occupation : Explorer in the Dept. of Mysteries

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Post by Jack Dyllan on Sat May 30, 2020 10:36 pm

Style, baby

This felt so normal and comfortable. It had been quite awhile since she felt like she was welcome company. The graduation ceremony felt strange with no one there to celebrate with. Besides jostling Hayes and passing a grin to Lestrange, that day had felt rather solitary with no family or friends to offer congratulations. Her warmest treatment had come from Binns, as he woke with a start during the ceremony and mumbled, “Yes, yes, well done, Miss Davies.” Inspiring, really.

The brief stolen moment in her family garden with Charlie had been nice. Charlie didn’t quite understand the unspoken agreement between the Dyllan matriarch and Jack that the latter was no longer welcome - not that she’d have moved back for all the money in London. On the rougher nights in Knockturn, when the unfriendly gazes of the patrons at Borgin’s told her she needed to make sure she was inside by dark, she remembered the tight hug her adopted sister had given her as she was called in for supper. At least the little girl seemed happy. For now.

Jack dropped the gloves and picked up a powder meant to help reduce blisters. At this point, her hands were so calloused she didn’t know if it would do anything whatsoever, but she inspected it with mild interest while pointedly rolling her eyes as James recounted his four week reign. She grinned at him and said, “Oh I’m sure it’ll be nice working here. I’m saying if I work for you it needs to be shit - so I can, y’know, live with myself.”

But she did want the job, and a shadow of seriousness flicked across her face, revealing this. The other leads thus far either were not for her - they needed a clerk with an absolute sunny disposition, or a skirt was required for the uniform. This seemed like a natural fit… well it was until she stepped inside and placed two and two together. Not that working with the Greyback boy turned her off the idea - in fact, there was this gnawing curiosity inside her about what it would be like to work in a place where a friend could be expected in (as it seemed Potter was a fixture) and a person of interest was close at hand. She was sure the odd kinship she felt towards Ariel was invented, projected onto him by a girl with few friends and too many issues to make friends properly.

A bit of the silliness subsided as James began to speak of the shop owner, of Cora, Ariel’s mother. There was a sincerity on James’ face and a slight tenderness to his words as he spoke of his experience, a workplace turned home by the sounds of it. She had no expectations of that, of course, she was not the personality that attracted a maternal comfort - apparently.In fact, she was sure this was all setting up the certainty that she would not quite make the cut. But it was a nice thought.

At his assurance that Ariel was fine, Jack glanced up at him. For a moment, she grinned to herself, wanting to make a teasing remark. Something about him and fireworks. But a second later, she was glad she didn’t.

James flinched at Ariel’s appearance, and the disruption to his easy demeanor caused a laugh to burst from her lips unexpectedly, and it kept going. Even over her barking laughter she could hear the word Jackie and she shifted, purposefully stepping on Potter’s foot as she said, “Oh sure, scare me. No apologies, Ariel. I got a front row seat to that wonderful display.”

Potter’s protest was followed by another voice and Jack turned, her good-spirited look of mirth suddenly sobering as she realized the job introduction was beginning. The woman was so like Ariel there was no mistaking her as the esteemed Cora. She was beautiful but her beauty didn’t hold the meanness she was used to in her own mother. She struck Jack as a smart, competent woman who didn’t feel the need to impress - and that effortless appearance always made someone all the more impressive seeming, of course.

Jack stumbled forward, taking her foot off of James’ so that she could offer her hand, loosening her usual bone-crushing grip as she nodded. A grin touched at her lips as she teased James, putting her more at ease. Now left alone with the woman, Jack only had to keep her foot out of her mouth.

“Oh, right, yeah. James and I were on the house team at school. Beater.” She pointed a thumb at herself. “I was scouted by the Falmouth Falcons and all set to go… but, erm, things didn’t work out. Had an injury but I’m better now… now that the season’s already started.” She grinned, trying to keep the disappointment in her stomach where it belonged. “I love brooms. Mine’s an old model but I keep her in great shape. You take care of your broom, it takes care of you. It’s in the magic.”

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