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Justin Hardy

"Yeah, man, I can definitely get that taken care of for you... if the price is right."

0 · 852 views · located in Magus Grex School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

a character in “Magus Grex School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”, as played by throne


Justin Hardy


Basic Info

Name: Justin Hardy
Age: 16
Gender: Totally a dude
House: Vulpes
Pet: An undersized owl named Cougar
Birthplace: Salem, Massachusetts
Astrological Sign: Scorpio
Wand: 11", blackthorn & veela hair, pliable
Patronus: A scrawny looking wolf

  • Potions
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • Mental magic
  • Quodpot players
  • Money
  • Elaborate pranks

  • Girls who want him to go shopping with them
  • Authority figures
  • The Dark Arts and practitioners thereof
  • Divination
  • People who can’t take a joke
  • Heights (he's deathly afraid of them)


Justin is a conniving bastard. There’s no denying it, but he does use his powers for good rather than evil. Well, mostly. He’s quite brilliant and quite lazy, making him a far-cry from the typical Vulpes academic stereotype. He’s much more interested in finding ways to benefit from magic than in impressing teachers. Nobody’s quite caught him at it yet, but it’s rumored that he uses Polyjuice potions to take tests for peers who can afford to pay for his services, among other things. He's very much an individualist, and constantly and vocally questions any rule or punishment that doesn't make sense to him, even if its inflicted on someone he hates.

He’s quick-witted and can be quite a bitch when he wants to. He’s quite good at reading people (and a natural Legilimens, though most don’t know that bit), and as a result, just as good at getting under their skin when he wants to. He has the ability to function on cold logic or absurd irrationality as it suits him, and is extremely difficult to win an argument with. His intellect is off the charts, and while his true passion is Potions, he's also quite adept with any magic that affects the mind and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Other subjects interest him less, and so he simply half-asses it most of the time then scores absurdly on his tests.

He’s quite open about the fact that he’s a Mudblood, and that he’s a homosexual. It’s almost as if he wants people to give him shit on either point, or both. His preferences tend toward the more physically developed of his classmates, but he doesn’t really come across as the “relationship” sort of guy. In fact, most people tend to think he's a bit of a slut, and it's a notion that he encourages with constant flirtation and suggestions (whatever the truth may be).

He’s quite sociable, and a fixture at parties. Some of his custom potions are quite popular among his peers, and he uses them liberally himself, affording all the enjoyability of dangerous drugs with few of the side-effects. While he does enjoy the whole getting fucked up aspect, he's also been using the party-culture at Grex as research regarding the properties of some of his custom potions and magic, which he plans to publish and go into business with after graduation. One of the many reasons he doesn't care how his OWLS and NEWTS come back.


Justin grew up poor, the son of two Muggles who never quite managed to make it out of the lower class. The fact that they had seven children didn’t help matters, and Justin was the fourth of the litter, eternally lost in the shuffle and clad in hand-me-downs.

The fact that he was bright went unnoticed at home, but not at school. The label “nerd” hit early, and Justin didn’t like that at all. He began to intentionally do poorly in school, and hung around with a bad crowd in hopes of enhancing his image. When his latent magic began to manifest, he used it to aid in thievery and vandalism, setting a precedent for his magical career.

When he was ten, a year before the letter inviting him Magus Grex, he learned of the existence of the wizarding world. He had previously thought he was just special, an aberration, but a man in a black pin striped suit kept showing up for a few days. By the time Justin noticed, it was too late. The man caught him alone and kidnapped him, intending to use the Dark Arts to bend the boy to his will and install him in the wizarding school as a spy. Justin managed to escape, but not before acquiring a profound hatred for dark wizards that burns bright to this day.

When the letter came, he was happy to leave his life behind and begin learning to better hone his gifts. For once, excelling in school had actual value beyond the promise of a good college- the more he learned, the more he could do, and the more powerful he became.

He didn’t get on very well with his house-mates. Vulpes was an excellent fit academically, but Justin was also a social creature. He liked to party and play at intrigue, too, and so he developed some pretty wide social circles.

His best subject by far was Potions, but he excels at nearly every subject other than Divination, Care for Magical Creatures, and Flight (the lattermost due to a nearly crippling fear of heights). His talent for potion brewing led to a steady source of income; by “liberating” supplies from the school stores, he could make love potions, study aid elixirs, and even drugs that his more conventionally wealthy peers were happy to buy.

When he was fourteen, he finally decided to act on the feelings he had for his best friend, an Arietem named Collin. Collin rebuked him, terminating their friendship and spreading vicious rumors about Justin, who became much more cynical after that regarding romance. When the taunts started coming, he turned them against those who wielded them, embracing his inner gay and coming over the top. The worst offenders received owls the next day bearing flowers, chocolates, and other gifts, along with Howlers from Justin declaring his love. The shaming spectacle ended all thoughts of bullying forthwith.

The only secret that Justin guards closely is the fact that he’s a Legilimens. In part, it’s because of the stigma he’d encounter, but it’s also because such a rare gift is much more useful if nobody knows about it. He used considerable cunning to get his hands on some learning materials related to the subject, and has been studying it independently in his ample free time.


Do you know much about the Harry Potter Universe?:Indeed I do.
How often do you get online?:Daily
How often can we expect you to be able to post?:Daily
Password: Copper Cauldron

So begins...

Justin Hardy's Story

Four extremely large tables were situated in the Great Hall, each representing their own House. The Ferre table stood to the far left, next was the Vulpes table, followed by Cervus to the right of center, and Arietem on the far right. The Hall was full of bodies, the mixed sounds of hundreds of conversations filled the large stone room. It was the beginning of the year feast, and the students of Magus Grex School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were back for another year. At the back of the room, there stood a raised platform, where all of the faculty were seated.

To the far left sat Nolan Pillsworth, the Flying Professor, who leaned in to whisper something in Logan Applebome's ear, the Astronomy Professor, both laughing at whatever was whispered. Ivy sat to Logan's right, speaking politely to the Head of Cervus House, Simone. And to her right was Markum, head of Arietem House, who was watching Arietem's table with interest, no doubt scoping out the new students that had been sorted into his house. To the far right sat the Divination Professor, Quinn Tobar, who was dressed in robes of bright purple, her hair sticking out at all angles. Next to her was a new face at Magus Grex, Grace Ashby, who had replaced the most recent History of Magic Professor. She sat with a smile on her face, gazing out at the mass of students. Next to her was Oscar, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, whose face was neutral, almost cold, and sat with his arms crossed, not partaking in any conversation. Graham was in deep conversation with Margaret, who as the Deputy Headmistress sat to the immediate right of the Headmaster himself.

The Headmaster rose, and stepped forward to his eloquently crafted podium, which stood at the front of the platform. Quickly, the chatter died down, and the attention of every body in the room turned his way. No one was stupid enough to interrupt Headmaster Rockwell when he spoke. He gazed out among the many faces, looking sullen as he always did. "Welcome, new students and returning students alike. The faculty and myself are very excited for this school year." The statement might have gotten a few silent chuckles out of the students, seeing as the Headmaster never seemed excited about anything.

He continued on, ignoring the few snickers that echoed around the room. "I trust you are all as ready for the school year as we are." He paused, his eyes scanning the room. "You all know what is acceptable behavior in this school, and any students found participating in unacceptable behavior will be punished accordingly. Keep in mind that our wonderful caretaker is always watching." He gestured to the front corner of the room, where a figure was hiding in the shadows. If you looked close enough, you could see that he was an extremely weathered looking man who had a frown on his face. He bowed ever so slightly towards the Headmaster.

"The faculty are planning some rather large events just for you students, so I trust you will all treat them with the respect they deserve, especially since they are going the extra mile for you." One final look around the room. "Let's all have a great year, shall we?" He stepped back from the podium, and returned to his seat in the middle of the faculty table.

The chatter rose up once again.

It was just like Headmaster Rockwell to make his speech short and to the point. Rose sat picking at her food more than eating it, and listening to the multiple conversations that were going on around her. She had ended up sitting next to Micah, who she didn't know very well, but was nice to look at. Of course, she could hardly be bothered to watch him when Emerson was so close. She stole glances at him whenever she dared, but never for too long. He was always smiling or laughing, and it only made him look more attractive. She felt heat rising to her cheeks, and directed her stare down at her plate.

Her mind wandered, and thought on all the rumors she'd heard about Emerson. They just couldn't be true. He was so handsome and nice and funny. People were just jealous of him, so they tried to spread mean rumors about him. She just wouldn't believe what they told her. Although she would never be dull enough to actually tell someone she had a crush on him. They would probably just laugh right in her face, and call her stupid.

Rose picked at her potatoes, barely tasting them as she ate. She let a soft sigh escape her lips. She had no idea why she was feeling so down. Truly, she was excited to be back at Magus Grex once more. Her best friends were at the school, and she had Care of Magical Creatures to really look forward to. The thought brought a small smile to her face. She would see Bliss again, who made her feel like more of a person than anyone else. The girl had some crazy ability to make Rose climb out of her skin.

A loud ruckus came from the table next to hers, and she gazed past the person sitting opposite to see the Vulpes table. Of course it was Justin. She didn't know how one person had the ability to be so loud. She didn't think she could even if she tried. She glanced quickly to her left, seeing Micah. She didn't have any reason why she'd never spoken to him much. She tried to think of something to say to him, but couldn't come up with anything, so she gave up.

In all honesty, she couldn't wait until the feast was over, so she could retreat to the common room and read a good book. Out of habit, she wrapped her robes close around her, as if she could shrink within them and not be seen.

After the Headmaster was done with his speech, which was always gloomy, Finn began to eat hungrily, as he always did. He had to keep up his strength, after all. He was seated next to his best friend, Felix. He was extremely excited to be back, not having seen any of his friends for the entire summer. There was so much to catch up on. He hadn't had too much to do over the summer, and had mostly spent time on the beach, and surfed whenever the waves were good.

Braelyn was sitting across from him a few seats down, and he gave her a smile as he made contact with her. Georgie was also close, and he smiled at her as well. He couldn't believe it was his last year at Magus Grex, and made a promise to himself that he would do his best to make it his best year yet. These people were in his house, and while he was friendly with them, they weren't exactly great friends. He needed to work on getting to know everyone better before he left for good. That didn't mean that things needed to get out of hand, however. He didn't really approve of breaking the rules, and normally refrained from doing so, no matter who asked. He got a lot of crap for it, literally from everybody, but it didn't change his ways. It was rooted too deep down into him to change.

He nudged Felix and asked, "So how was your summer, man?" He still continued eating, grabbing the variety of foods that were sitting in front of him. "I'm just really excited for the Quodpot matches. It's my last year, and I'm determined to beat Arietem this year." It wasn't that he had any real problem with the house, but they had been rivals long before Finn had attended the school. It had even seeped into his blood a little.

"And ugh, we can't forget about our all important NEWTs this year. I swear that's all we're going to hear the entire school year. I'm going to be lucky to scrape a passing grade..."

#, as written by throne
Justin Hardy – Vulpes House

Justin just couldn’t help himself. He was elated to be back. The so-described ruckus, well… with a bit of Transfiguration and Charms work, the lanky young wizard had set most of the unused silver and flatware at the Vulpes table to performing an impromptu rendition of the beloved Disney musical number “Be Our Guest”. Forks hopped about, weaving between the dishes heaped with food with their tined heads bobbing back and forth. Spoons and knives spun gracefully around one another, occasionally colliding with a metallic clatter then falling inert to the table as his spell-work was broken. Plates rolled on their edges, making neat turns at intervals. It was a fairly impressive display, and yes, quite noisy, but he just couldn’t help himself. Brilliant though he was, he hadn’t worked out a means to shake The Trace just yet (not for lack of trying), and an entire summer without magic had nearly done him in.

The Muggle-born students of his house seemed quite amused as he swayed in his seat, using his wand like a baton to conduct the affair as, in a terrible French accent, he sang the song. Students from wizarding families were a bit perplexed, and more than a few were rolling their eyes at his antics, but he couldn’t help smirking as he watched them try to figure out exactly what combination of effects he was using to achieve the feat. It was pretty much the only reason that the bookish-by-large Vulpes were so accepting of a reprobate like Justin; lazy and goofy as he was, he was undeniable one of the finest wizards in the House, and his skills with Charms and Transfiguration paled in comparison to his Potions work.

Throughout his little performance, he did his best to catch two particular pairs of eyes; first Emerson’s, then Felix’s. They, surely, would have appreciated his showmanship and the raucous results it had. It wasn’t long at all before Professor Hutson arrived and “politely” asked Justin to discontinue… which he did, mostly because he couldn’t remember all the words to the song anyway. Besides, he had business to conduct. He’d noticed several of his more regular customers eyeing him since they’d been seated, and since he wasn’t all that hungry, he decided to get business out of the way so he could move back to pleasure. First, he slung a quick, one-armed hung around Bliss, then shot off a quick salute to Teiver. With that accomplished, he slipped from his seat, slinking down the aisle between his table and the Arietem table after slinging his messenger bag over his narrow shoulder.

What followed looked more or less like old friends catching up; he’d clap his hand on a shoulder, or shake hands, grinning and laughing and joking like a fool. Anyone watching very closely would note that vials of various colored liquids were changing hands, along with plenty of sickles and even galleons. The Arietem were his best customers- small wonder, there. When he caught sight of Bellona, he paused for just long enough to blow her a cheeky kiss before continuing on his way. He often wondered why he hadn’t been sorted into that House; he certainly had plenty of friends there. Like most things, it didn’t bother Justin for overlong. He had much more important things to think about.

This way the year. He’d decided it that summer in a fit of loneliness. This was the year that he would finally tell Emerson Caldwell how he really felt about him. This was the year that he snuck or begged or trampled his way out of the friend-zone and into the arms of one of his oldest friends. Wearing a crooked smirk that wasn’t at all indicative of his intentions, he changed course… making his way toward the Cervus table, where his not-so-funny crush could be found.


Vance Abernathy - Arietem House

“She’ll be finishing out her education at Beauxbatons, for the umpteenth time,” Vance drawled, his patience wearing extremely thin. His sister’s little coven was abuzz with Nevaeh’s absence, and they couldn’t quite seem to grasp a year at Magus Grex without her. They have no idea how little she thought of them. They were little more than tools, stepping stones, but even with her gone, they go through these motions, feigning how upset they are that she’s gone. “She’s lucky, frankly. The education in Europe is much better, there’s more… tradition. I’d hoped to transfer to Durmstrang myself, but… there’s something of a legacy regarding Abernathy men and this school, and I can’t blame Father too much for keeping it alive.”

He’d been rehearsing this little song and dance all summer long. It was all he could do not to grind his teeth as one of the little sycophants went on and on about how they should dedicate the first party of the year to Nevaeh, sort of as the going away party they’d never gotten to throw. Generally, that sort of party is called a wake, he thought grimly. Beneath the table, he flexed his right hand, working his thumb and fingers a bit. The craftsmanship of the mechanical replacement was goblin caliber, but he still didn’t trust it, even if the big-eared little things were renowned for this sort of thing.

As he looked across the table, slowly scanning the faces of Arietem House, he could see the way they were looking at him. The way they were sizing him up. Without Nevaeh, his stature in the school was halved or worse. They were wondering if they had what it took to unseat him and rise to the top of the social food-chain. He almost laughed aloud. It was a testament to what was left of his composure and his breeding that he managed not to. Let them have it; he wouldn’t even fight them for such an empty honor as to be the biggest fish in this dismally murky pond.

Could he actually trust them? Trust anyone? Nevaeh couldn’t have been the only student recruited for… whatever it was his grandfather and those hooded cohorts of his had been planning. There had to be others. Being at school might keep Vance safe from the adult wizards who might want him killed, but their student-pawns? Those he’d have to remove from the board by himself.

He watched his peers carefully, looking for any indications of ill-intention. Most of them smiled at him, but their eyes were unsmiling. Vance had no illusions about his status. It was built on fear and respect, not affection. Not a one of these cretins was a tenth as adept at playing the game as he was, though. Not a one of them had blood half as pure.

He was dragged into a conversation regarding this year’s Quodpot team. ”Well, Zinkley is out,” he put in quickly, almost automatically. ”We’ll have to hold a try-out to fill his spot, but otherwise, the championship roster will go untouched.”

”And who says you’re captain again this year, Abernathy? It was starting already. The querent, a brick-faced wizard of middling heritage who certainly could have beaten Vance in a Muggle-fight, was staring at him hungrily.

”Ah, no one did, that’s true…” He took that opportunity to cut his meat, revealing his dragon-skin gloved hand in full for the first time since he’d sat down. With deliberate precision, he dissected the ham he’d taken for himself into tiny pieces. The smile he directed at the other 7th year, Barstowe, yes, Barstowe, he recalled now, was absolutely pleasant… but there was murder in Vance’s eyes. ”But of course, it simply goes without saying. Do try to keep up.” He shone his smile around the table, and most of the Arietem began to laugh on cue. Outplayed and intimidated, Barstowe stared at his plate. Let them come indeed, he decided, spearing a rectangle of ham with his fork and levering it into his mouth.

As Headmaster Rockwell was droning on about behavior and school and other crap that didn't matter, Felix was slowly moving his hand towards the pile of food literally sitting in front of him. He picked up a roll and slowly brought it back to his mouth. He then slowly shoved it down his throat, all the while never breaking eye contact with Professor Rockwell. When he got to the part of behavior problems, Felix rolled his eyes. He couldn't help but think it was being directed toward him. It's not like he broke the rules for fun, he had serious and legitimate reasons for doing the things he did.......he would just have to have Justin come up with them later. The moment the Headmaster ended his speech, Felix dug into the food. He made himself a nice steak sandwich and some potatoes, his favorite. he still barely got all this weird wizard food and cooking styles. It seemed Finn was a lot hungrier than him. He chuckled a bit when he saw Finn scarfing the food down. "Whoa, easy there killer. Leave some for the rest of the house, will ya?" Felix said to his best friend in a joking manner, a small smile upon his face. Finn swallowed his food and then turned to him.

"So how was your summer, man?" He still continued eating, grabbing the variety of foods that were sitting in front of them. Felix let the question air in his mind a bit. he then looked up across his table to the Vulpes table. He spotted Bliss taking to her friends and smiling........God that smile. It caused Felix to have a massive smile spread across his face. He quickly looked down at his plate, but the smile wouldn't recede. "It was good, Finn. I....I actually spent most of the summer with Bliss. Instead of having me work his farm, the Old Man had me come with him when he took car of some business on the east coast and i ended up running into her. So, yeah it was really cool.....and stuff." He slowly felt the smile die down into his usual small grin. he then looked back over to Finn. "So, looking forward to our last year here?" Felix asked, quickly trying to change the subject. "I'm just really excited for the Quodpot matches. It's my last year, and I'm determined to beat Arietem this year." Finn said enthusiastically. Felix just sort of looked at him. Now Felix didn't particularly like the majority of Arietem house, but he liked a few people over there and tended to not judge people by house. Finn, on the other hand, had fully embraced the mentality of the school and especially the rivalries between the houses. Then again, Finn was a jock. It was odd for Felix to have a jock as a best friend, seeing as they beat the crap out of him during middle school and the short time in high school. Then again, Finn wasn't your normal jock. He just smiled and sort of accepted the world and lived his life by his own ethics and code, and Felix couldn't help but respect him for it.

"Dude, they don't stand a chance. If you completed that move you came up with awhile ago, Ferre is going straight to the top, and your going to pave the way. There isn't a doubt in my mind, man." he said with a warm smile, patting him on the back. Felix meant every word, Finn was damn good at Quodpot. Felix found he sor of had a knack for it, but never wanted to join the team, but liked to help Finn practice. He still thought Quodpot, like all wizarding sports, we're silly and weird. Give him Baseball over Quodpot any day. He would never say that out loud, else he be ostracized like a leper. Felix then turned his attention back to his food.

Not a minute later, he heard some clanging and what sounded like Justin singing in a bad french accent. He looked up and saw Justin conducting the silverware of the Vulpes table in a rendition of "Be Our Guest." from Beauty&The Beast. He eyed him with a smiling expression as if to say "What the hell are you doing?" Felix then just sort of laughed. He laughed even harder when Professor Hutson told him to stop. He sort of took his eyes away from Justin and they fell on Bliss once again. Felix couldn't help but look. He couldn't believe how one person's smile could light up an entire castle. It was insane! She then suddenly turned and noticed him. Felix immediately played it cool. He jutted out his bottom jaw, crossed his eyes and waved rapidly towards her. He stopped after a second and chuckled to himself. Felix kept getting flashes from the summer they spent together.It was the happiest he had been since........since he had been with Rebecca. He remembered when Bliss, Summer and him went go-karting and she spun out. Felix stopped to help her, just to have her peel out and beat him. Man, she was great like that. The whole summer was amazing. Flix sort of shook his head and stopped smiling. 'Fletcher, get a grip on yourself. She's Bliss Turner. She is your friend and that's all she will ever be. Your lucky hat she's even that. Do you honestly think you deserve a girl like that?' Well, I don't know, I think I...'Do you?' .........No. 'Exactly, now stop being an idiot and eat your food.' Felix grabbed some more juice and went back to his food.

#, as written by Skwidge
Teiver had kept her attention focused on each of the teachers individually, taking in the newer ones and remembering the old ones as the Headmaster spoke the same old speech which he always did. Once he finished, however, her thoughts immediately turned to elsewhere. She was going over plans for this year, and trying to remember all the corridors which she had explored over the years. She'd just have to wait and see though. Unfortunately, her plots were disrupted by Justin's abhorrent French accent.

Teiver's hands were clenched on the table, her wand out and in her hand. Who could bloody focus with that freaking racket on!? Her eye twitched and she finally called out clearly and precisely "Silencio!" The tableware continued its dance, but without its pointless chatter and screeching. She let out a sigh, rolling her eyes and returning her wand to its place on her figure. She silently picked up an apple and a piece of a turkey leg, and met Justin's eyes as he saluted her. She allowed the faintest of smiles to crack out along her features, but it soon vanished. She wasn't really hungry at all; more focused on the many areas of the castle just calling out to be explored.

Teiver had absolutely no desire to talk to anyone, and she didn't really need to. She had zero friends other than Rose, and she was perfectly fine with that. It left her more time to explore. Inside, she was smiling brightly and eagerly, and she pushed herself up from the bench, quickly turning and heading down the Great Hall and to the exit. She quietly opened the large door, and slipped out, her robes flickering for a second behind her until they too disappeared out of sight.

She smirked, letting out a loud sigh. A small creature hovered nearby, slinking along through the patches of shadow before entwining itself between the girls legs. 'Another year at Magus Grex. Let's go check on our work, shall we?' The cat merely looked up at her, and gave a small meow. "What do you mean you didn't check already, Garrison?" Her voice was quiet and a bit withdrawn, looking down at the feline with a sort of laughable glare. 'Well I wanted it to be as much as a surprise as anyone.' The girl once more rolled her eyes. "Well, we should get a move on then, huh?" She leaned down, ripping off a chunk of the turkey leg and handing it to Garrison, who, in turn, took it into his mouth and quietly chewed on it as they moved along.

After Garrison had finished off his chunk, he looked up expectantly at Teiver, who dropped a piece on the floor. 'You expect me to eat that? Off of that floor!? Revolting! I must have you know, I am a cat of standards.' Teiver chuckled, looking back down once more. "Well, if you're so hungry, why don't you just come up here and get some more of it yourself? Or I'll just drop some to you and feed you like a dolphin." The girl smiled sweetly, stooping down and picking the piece of meat off of the floor before opening a window and dropping it out for one of the ground's creatures to get to.

Afterwards, the two continued on down the main hall before veering off to the left. They stood before a wall like any of the others before Teiver brought up her wand, placing the tip three centimeters away from the stonework. "Alohomora." She whispered, watching as the stones reorganized themselves in that of a door, and Teiver opened it easily, Garrison following closely behind.

As the crowd hushed, the Headmaster started his annual opening speech in an elevated podium that looks over the whole faculty and students. Some acted bored while the first years listened with eagerness and doe-eyed looks. Personally, Bellona wouldn't care about anyone talking but she knows her manners and decided to give the Headmaster a respective attention and she was right, it doesn't usually last very long and soon hungry students attacked the food as if they haven't eaten for days. Bellona give each one of the hungry looking students a raised eyebrow, a shaking head and a judgmental look. She waited until everyone was satisfied with the pile of food on their plates. Luckily, Vance and some of her so called "friends" in Arietem were as composed as she was.

She was forking some fresh fruits on her plate when Vance gave a weary sigh and spoke, "She’ll be finishing out her education at Beauxbatons, for the umpteenth time,” Then he paused and continued, "She’s lucky, frankly. The education in Europe is much better, there’s more… tradition. I’d hoped to transfer to Durmstrang myself, but… there’s something of a legacy regarding Abernathy men and this school, and I can’t blame Father too much for keeping it alive.

And inside her mind she couldn't help but agree. She had always dreamed of attending Hogwarts instead of Magus Rex, she would have if her parents haven't attempted to disown her when she challenged them with her decision. She couldn't quite understand why, many years have passed and they still didn't want to talk about their reasons for not wanting to move back to London.

Bellona decided to speak up for Neveah's drones have been annoying the hell out of her as well. They've been talking and asking about Neveah since she saw them again from Summer break, "Ladies, relax. Can you not properly function without Niv? Has she accidentally brought her controllers with her back in France?" She gave them a mocking smile and took a bite of her strawberry. Then all of a sudden Justin started singing and performing for the crowd, Bellona couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy when he suddenly gave her a blow of a kiss. She looked at him with disgust and turned back to the girls.

"Really girls, I'd sooner than not advice you to work on your grades rather than wallow in sorrow for Niv's decision and realization that she is better off at France than in her with you." The blonde girl who regarded herself as Neveah's "right hand" suddenly sat stiff as the others looked at her with shocked look in their faces. Only Bellona dares defy their small group of "society girls", they would let Vance or Neveah talk mockingly to them but never other people. But somehow Bellona always does. She particularly disliked Neveah's little army of whiny girls and in fact she never got along with the girl herself. Yes the Venator's and Abernathy's are particularly close but since she was in diapers, Bellona never understood the fascination of other people with Neveah. Vance is another story, she really doesn't have a problem with the guy. As long as he doesn't harm her she plans to play civil towards him. His aura is a whole lot different than that of his twin sister but she'd rather talk about with other people than her best friend, Summer

Speaking of her best friend, the short time she get to spend with her before the great feast was too short for catching up. Not that she didn't spend some time with her over the summer but because she has a lot to say to share with her regarding her family's short vacation in Rome.

"How was your summer Vance?" She felt like she needed to ask him that. It was part of what her parents taught her. "Father and Mother wanted me to send their regards for your parents. They said that it has been too long since they've invited them over for dinner. They were wondering if the three of you would be willing to have dinner at the house on my parent's anniversary. Just a small dinner." She took a sip on her goblet and suddenly the flavors of rich Italian summer filed her taste buds with tang.

And as she savored the fine taste a small thought had entered her mind, it is indeed peculiar that she hasn't seen a single shadow of Neveah's. She would often see more of the girl than Vance during breaks but this recent has been very different. She shrugged and assumed that she was indeed busy with moving to France. When suddenly almost everyone's attention was interrupted by a wild cajooling from Justin's antics. Bellona rolled her eyes and instead continued to create a conversation with the only bearable person around her, Vance.

"I believe Father and Mother would like to send their regards to your sister and grandfather as well," Bellona smiled towards Vance and spoke again. "Now if you'll excuse me. This feast has immensely made me feel bloated. I guess a little walk would do me good," The girl excused herself and stood as she smoothened her robe and smiled at everyone. A lot of other students started looking at her plate, where a few melons and a few pieces of grapes and pears and looked at her with disbelief. How could anyone get too full from eating a few bites of fruits? But of course, Bellona would rather faint than to care about their thoughts. The left overs on her plate would be an obvious sign that she'd rather walk towards Summer's table than to sit with most of them and besides Vance was getting occupied with a little rift with another student about Quadpot. They can save their drama on their own. "I'll see you later at the Common Room. I have something to give you." She softly told Vance and tapped his shoulder. She turned and proceeded.

Bellona spun around and almost crashed into Justin. Luckily, Bellona's reflexes are as quick as that of Fidus', her pet fox. "Oh goodness, what would Magus Rex allow next time? Circus performers?" With a cold and crude voice, she made herself clear enough for Justin to hear and walked away.

Her newly bought shoes clacked on the marble floor as she sashayed with grace across the Great Hall. She eyed Summer's seat as she directly approach her from behind. When she was at near her best friend she spoke up, "Save me!" She sarcastically whined as she grabbed a piece of chicken strips from the girl's plate. "Seriously, how come your food is some much better than our's?" She chewed and grabbed another. Summer would know she was just being silly, foods that were served are all and the same in every house.


Savant let his gaze wander as the students, old and new alike, started filling their plates. He was always looking forward to his days inside Magus Rex even if he misses his family. One of the reasons why is the food, the comfortable beds and the reality that he is a wizard.

His attention was first caught by Summer Turner, the girl was indeed fascinating to look at. He should remember to ask her out for a pizza one time, one could never know what the friendship might lead to. Next was Georgie, the girl had fire inside her or so Savant usually portrays her in his sketches. And as he turned his head around his eyes landed on Teiver and most especially on her eyes, a nice hot cup of cocoa with her would probably be nice as well. He should remember that.

He was still scanning the Great Hall for a few familiar faces when Justin started singing and making tricks with his wand. Savant snickered and quickly glanced at the Faculty table and wondered what they would make Justin do this time.

He was still laughing from watching Justin's little show when saw the girl from Arietem stand up and walk across the Great Hall and towards their table as she sneeked behind Summer and stole some of her food. Sav never understood how a girl like Summer had managed to have a strong bond with a girl like Bellona. If his friend's name felt all crisp and warm, Bellona would soon freeze everything in her path in an instant. Maybe they were able to balance each other's personality. Sav shrugged and dug on his own plate. He was chewing on his pasta when he turned to two of his good friends in the same house, Emerson and Micah, and asked, "do you guys think of Bellona?" He asked curiously. "I mean how does a girl like Summer manages to put up with her? I'm not saying she's evil but Summer and Ice Queen?" He rarely asks about other people's business but the idea kind of bugged him.

And as soon as he was about to ask his friends a few more questions he heard a few other students arguing and betting about the year's Quadpot Tournament. "Oh shoot, I just remembered do any of you guys want to try out for the Quadpot team this year?". He looked at his friends with high hopes that at least one of them would join him.

Bliss Turner

Magus Grex School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The castle's beauty was breathtaking. As she took her first step on campus, the surroundings just wrapped her up in a blanket of beauty that made her feel more at home every time she made the journey each year. Something was different this year because this would be the last time she'd ever get the feeling of complete happiness from the school she had called home for so many years. She was just about to let the realization of it ending when she felt an arm around her waist. Summer.

"Bliss, it isn't the end. It's just getting close to the next chapter." Bliss took in Summer and all of her love as she could see her sister knew exactly what she was feeling. Before she knew it, she had her arms wrapped around her little sister. She knew her sister was right, but it didn't mean she wasn't still sad about it all. She was glad that she had her moment out here where nobody would notice instead of inside where plenty of students would be able to see her breakdown. She hadn't spoken a word because she felt like as soon as sound would escape her lips, so would the tears that she was holding back. "Come on, B." Her sister whispered as the arm that was placed on her waist gave a slight push forward.

It seemed as though nothing had changed once inside. She smiled at a few students who spoke her name, always flashing that smile of her's. She gave a quick kiss of the cheek to her sister before heading towards their own table's. Of course as soon as Bliss spotted Justin, she sat down beside him. She had no time to even say 'hi' as Headmaster Rockwell began his first speech of many that would give this school year the first sign of beginning. As soon as she saw the Headmaster step from the podeum she watched as Justin managed to steal the spotlight from all other houses as he very successfully performed a piece from Beauty and the Beast. "You are never a disappointment." She said with the quick hug she received from him.

With students getting up from their tables to mingle with other houses, Bliss took this time to look around to find Felix returning her gaze already. As he quickly changed his facial expression, she let a her smile come across her face before putting one finger up towards him as a symbol that she'd be over there in just a second. She stood quickly making her way over to Braelyn, giving the girl a hug from behind. "We have a lot to talk about." She whispered into her ear before continuing, "We will have to talk later though, okay?" She said as she tugged at the girl's arm. "Come on. Let's go talk with Felix and Finn."

Bliss knew that Braelyn would (hopefully) follow her over to the boys that seemed caught up in the conversation of Quodpot. "Really boys.. Always about sports." She spoke up before wrapping her arms around Felix from behind, squeezing as she felt her hands connect on the other side of him. "You do realize there are more important things to discuss.. Like how you have both underestimated the ability of Cervus to beat both Ferre and Atrietem." She couldn't keep a straight face at the unlikelihood of Cervus even winning one match. She let her arms unravel from Felix before they returned around the body of Finn. "I've missed you two so much." She said this directed towards Finn and Braelyn. "I haven't had time to miss you yet." She laughed with a soft kick to Felix's shin."


Summer Turner

Headmaster Rockwell never seemed to phase Summer because she somehow forced herself to see the good in everybody, so now as a few chuckles escaped throughout the Great Hall, she let herself smile as Rockwell didn't even hesitate with the words that continued to spill from his lips. She felt herself glancing throughout the hall to find a few faces of people she knew. She caught sight of her sister with Justin right next to her and rolled her eyes before hearing the Headmaster's speech end. It only took a few seconds for the whole student body to explode into conversation again.

She began grabbing various items from the plates of food from the table. She absolutely loved the food at Magus Grex, and she did not hide this as she at least grabbed a taste of every single tray of food. She nibbled here and there until she looked across to see Justin showing off again. This was like her enemy she didn't have. She just couldn't force herself to like him like Bliss did, but she couldn't say that out loud. Letting her hair fall in front of her face, she quickly caught it before it could touch the food on her plate. "How was everybody's summer?" She asked aloud getting quiet a few response before she saw the sight of a hand grab something from her plate.

She was about to grab the hand until she heard the voice that went with it. Hearing Bellona made Summer take a deep breath full of relief as she quickly spun around, "I've missed you!" She ignored the question Bellona asked her as she found her arms practically chocking Bellona's neck. "Me save you? Seriously.. Look what I'm having to deal with." She said as she pointed over to Bliss whose arms were around Felix. Bellona was the only person that knew that Summer had been crushing on Felix for years. "The only thing keeping me from killing her is the fact that I no longer care.. I think." She said as she felt her glance pull towards Savant. "He is going to keep me sane." She said as she looked at the people he seemed to be talking to.

Emerson and Micah, who Summer absolutely adored. "Let's go interrupt the manly talk for two seconds, please. I haven't said hi to Micah yet. You aren't my only friend, I think." She said with a laugh before dragging the girl further down the table to see the three boys. "Hello lovely gentlemen." She smiled towards Savant letting her eyes stay there a little too longer before facing the other two. "Micah! I've missed you." She gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head before giving them a quick wave of goodbye. "I'd love to stay and chat, but we have to catch up on a little girl talk.. Unless you three are dying to know the lately fashion in the Wizarding World?" She didn't bother hearing their answer as she turned all of her attention to Bellona, curious where she might lead them off to.

Emerson's smile was broad and unwavering, he looked around the Great Hall, elated to be back for another year at Magus Grex. He sat himself at the Cervus table across from Micah and next to Savant, his closest housemates. The feast was glorious and he was starving but waited respectfully through the address , knowing it would be a short one. As always, the close was short and unceremonious, Emerson tore into the food grabbing as much as he could from every plate near by.

This was his favorite time of year and not just because of the feast but because he got to see all his friends together after months apart, well mostly. He spent almost the whole Summer with Micah at a Quodpot field outside of the city or lazing about with whomever he could, even some old Muggle friends. The break was a ton of fun but he was happy to be back and had decided that this was going to be the best year yet. O.W.L.s were done with and N.E.W.T.s were still far away, so this was the last year he could goof off and enjoy being an adult, which would happen in just a few months but without really having to worry about the real world. Also, Emerson just knew the Quodpot team would be amazing this year, they had some really strong seventh years that could definitely carry the team to victory, despite what the other houses thought.

With musings of the championship and the intensity of his eating he nearly missed the clamor of plates and silverware going on behind him. He didn't even have to turn around to know who it was, but he did anyway and laughed heartily at Justin's intricate display. His friend's terrible singing and charmed utensils kept his attention and when their eyes met he gave a big smile and a wave then turned around as Professor Hutson put an end to the show.

The room moved around him, people got up to say hello to friends, Micah struck up some conversation with Rosina but Emerson did not waste the occasion to eat almost everything in sight, but he would be interrupted over and over again. He tore at a piece of chicken, dipped it in something and was happily chewing eyeing when Savant spoke, something about bologna and deciding to acknowledge his friend followed Sav's gaze and found Bellona and Summer. He drank from his goblet, then swallowed but the girls in question had already arrived at the table. He was no longer confused by the question and figured out pretty quickly why Sav cared who Summer talked to the way they gazed at each other. Their visit was brief and Emerson had begun eating again when Micah spoke first. With his mouth a but full, he agreed, “ Yeah, and maybe it's some kind of opposites attract deal, ya know, yin and yang.” He made fluid motions with his hands to illustrate the deities of balance. He couldn't stand all this unspoken love stuff, the stolen glances, the uncomfortable conversations, all the soft advancements that were never acted upon. He was glad for his friend but plucking petals off of daisies was never much fun.

The next question, however; got his full attention, he even swallowed before speaking, “Oh, I'll be on the team! You don't have to worry about me being there.” He looked at Savant now, ecstatically “ Are you trying out? Sav, you've got to try out, you'd be great!” he shouted “ And just think of how the girls'll swoon when they see you on the pitch, half the stadium will be out cold!” He threw his hand to his forehead, gave a high pitch sigh then slumped backwards almost all the way to the marble. He chuckled, and from his upside-down vantage he saw Justin walking towards the table, he grinned then struggled to get up. He looked again at Justin, right-side-up he could see the look on his face, a look that Emerson knew all to well. Justin may have been much smarter and could easily fool anyone with his expressions, but this one was a give away. There was no subtle gazing or daisy plucking, this was the face of determination, determination to throw one wild pants party that Emerson didn't want an invitation to. When would Justin understand that he just wanted to be friends, no benefits. If he weren't so terrified of the complexity of romantic involvement he'd prefer one to be more intimate than what Justin always seemed to propose.

#, as written by throne
Justin Hardy – Vulpes House

Justin loped on up to the Cervus table, still very much grinning that grin of his. He might have had a bit of a blind-spot, so far as Emerson was concerned, when it came to his powers of mental dissection, but he could read the slight change in the other boy’s eye easily enough. He’d seen it a hundred times before, probably more. It was the way he reacted to inevitably being hit on, this slight contraction of his very being that was easy to miss.

”Hot guy,”, he greeted Micah with an upnod. He repeated the upnod in Savant’s direction. ”Other hot guy.” His hand delved into his messenger bag, and he extracted a bouquet, which he offered to Emerson.”M&M.”* No, not flowers; that was a bit too conventional for his tastes. Bunched up in his hand were somewhere in the vicinity of two-dozen popsicle sticks, sans popsicle. Half of the cheap would was discolored, faint red or purple or orange, but there were little words printed on them. During the summer month, Justin’s younger siblings went through frozen treats like Kleenex, and he’d managed to scavenge together and clean up some of the better cast-offs. See, each stick had a joke on it, the punch-line to which was only revealed once the popsicle had been removed. He figured Em would get a kick out of them (they were just the sort of terrible pun-driven bits of humor he delighted in), and this sentimental, sweet gesture was only the first step in his as-of-yet-undetermined-number-of-phases plan to win the Quodpot jockey’s big ole’ heart.

He was watching his friend’s reaction carefully as he casually folded his scrawny arms across his chest and regarded the three of them in a more general sense. ”How was everyone’s summer? Mine was awful, but then, they always are. Did you hear that Nevaeh Abernathy went to Beauxbatons?” His grin got even wider and goofier, a touch scandalous. Knowing just about everyone and many of their secrets meant that Justin was usually pretty on top of the school’s gossip grapevine, and he had just paid a visit to the Arietem table, where it was all anyone could seem to talk about. ”Oh, I almost forgot.”

He reached into his bag of tricks again, withdrawing three small vials of brown liquid. With somewhat frightening dexterity, he tossed them in quick succession, one to Micah, one to Savant, and then one to Emerson. ”New merchandise. Put three drops of that in anything besides milk or orange soda, and it’ll look and taste just like butterbeer, but… decidedly more potent." He wasn’t quite sure why orange soda was exempt, but, that was magic. ”Try it out, share it around, you know the drill.” Then he remembered something. ”Only three drops. Not four, unless you want some gnarly mutton chops. They only last a couple days, but, not everyone can pull them off.” He peered at Micah, canting his head a bit. ”You probably could, actually.”

He’d lost his train of thought, imagining Micah with gnarly mutton chops. He tapped one of his long index fingers on his chin. ”Where was I? Oh, yeah. Tentative name is ‘Betterbeer’.” He shrugged. ”But yeah, I just wanted to say hi and drop off presents. I’ll let you guys get back to your testosterone-fest.” This was crucial to his plan. Do something nice, something sweet, then disappear so that Emerson could reflect on how nice and sweet it was before Justin had the chance to slip up and say something perverted.

*Note: it’s worthwhile to mention that Justin’s favorite nickname for Emerson (a play on the common truncation “Em”) is best not spelled out phonetically in order to avoid confusion. Justin associates Emerson with the brightly colored candy, tough on the outside but sweet on the inside produced by Mars, Inc., not the American recording artist Marshall Mathers.

Before even Bellona could refuse her best friend, Summer had dragged her all the way towards the table where the three boys were eating and talking. She remained quiet and just stared as Summer said her hi's and hello's but what caught her attention is the way her best friend locked stares with the quiet boy they called Savant. A little curious yet mischievous smile crept across her face. And before she knew it, Summer was dragging her away yet again.

The gardens are most likely full with students trying to catch up with summer stories with their friends who wanted a more peaceful place to talk than the Great Hall. Neither of them can go to each others House Common Room. "Where do you suppose can we-" Bellona was about to ask her friend when she paused and came up with an idea. She shut her mouth and held Summer's hand this time and lead the way. She went straight for the grand stairs but if some of the students would usually take the stairs going up she lead Summer towards the steps that went to the lower grounds, turned left on the first hall and then another left on a lower area. She exited an archway and they were welcomed by the cold wind and darkness only lit by a few torches rounding the archery field. This was her usual haven, most people would rush towards the Quadpot arena, either playing, practicing or girls drooling over the players while she targets the bulls eye with a sharp arrow.

She approached the stone bench supported by two small looking gargoyles that was probably made to scare most people but not Bellona. They were like her personal stone soldiers who kept her company. Most students would joke that she is as cold and expressionless as the stone figures but she knows she scares a lot of them as well. And that was Bellona's intention, she was never the social one it was always Summer who would talk to anyone and instantly become friends with them.

Privacy was a big thing for her, especially now. She was about to tell something to Summer but she guessed it can wait, but somehow she could feel the letter deep in her uniform pocket as if it was burning a hole.

As soon as her bum got comfortable on the cold slab, she let Summer take a seat and blurted, "I thought you liked Felix?!" She gave her a curious look and continued, "So why were giving Savant googly eyes earlier?" Summer unintentionally revealed her crush on Felix before she left for Rome.


Just as Savant was asking his friends about the two girls, the subjects of their conversation approached their seats. He grew silent and looked at Bellona then at Summer. But he was soon in an exchange of gaze look with the latter. He smiled and gave her a small nod, acknowledging her presence. Summer was the first one to break the stare and gave his friend a kiss on the head and was gone as fast as she came.

He knew he had to move fast and build up on that courage to ask her out- soon. Just then Micah spoke and interrupted his thoughts, "I can't say I know too much about Bellona," he said. "But you know Summer. She's so softhearted, and sees the good in everyone. It doesn't surprise me too much that she'd somehow find a way to see it in Bellona too."

Soft hearted, Savant thought.

Just then Micah directed his words towards Emerson."Well of course we'll be playing this year. At least I will be, I'm assuming you still plan on it, too?"

To which Emerson replied to, “Oh, I'll be on the team! You don't have to worry about me being there.” Savant was glad his friends were on the same rock as he is. Emerson then looked at Savant now, ecstatically “Are you trying out? Sav, you've got to try out, you'd be great!” he shouted “ And just think of how the girls'll swoon when they see you on the pitch, half the stadium will be out cold!”

Sav chuckled and shook his head, but it was true. Somehow some girls (or probably just one dedicated girl) had the habit of leaving Chocolate Frogs on his locker or desk often times. Some even have a poem or letter attached to it. But he didn't dare eat of any it, not that he was a snob or asshole he just didn't want to risk getting affected by probable love potions. He knew the effects are undesirable and silly.

"Yeah, I gave the thing a little thought over the summer as I was packing some grocery items," He then spooned some mashed potatoes and stuffed it inside his mouth and spoke with full mouth. "Any idea when the try outs will be and at what time? You guys have to give me tips, i don't think I know too much," He sipped his juice when Justin approached their table.

He each gave a supposedly praise on Micah and him but regarded Emerson with his own personal nickname. He almost choked on his drink when Justin blurted his pet name towards Emerson. He liked the guy for his humor even if sometimes it can be too much.

”How was everyone’s summer? Mine was awful, but then, they always are. Did you hear that Nevaeh Abernathy went to Beauxbatons?” Justin asked as he handed them a bunch of popsicle looking things.

"Muggle stuff," He mumbled as he continued to eat still thinking if he should care about Neveah's transferring. Maybe he should just be glad that the school had gotten rid of one Abernathy and now he just have to deal with just one. Somehow he wished that both of them had moved to another school and Magus Rex would be so much better.

”Oh, I almost forgot.” Justin then revealed something else. He explained his Betterbeer as Savant continued to eat and soon bid them his own personal of goodbye.

He returned his attention back to his friends as his stomach feasted on food.

Emerson Caldwell

With a low sigh he redirected his attention to Savant and said, “ I think try outs are in a week or so, maybe two, but yeah, until whenever that is we can go down to the pitch and toss it around, maybe go over some of the techniques, and see if we can get you at all used to the whole explosion in your arms thing.” Just as he finished, Justin had reached the table. He turned around and smirked at the way he addressed them, even at the goofy term of endearment he was given.

The little wooden sticks seemed like an unusual gift and a decidedly sober one, that is until he inspected more closely. He remembered these from Muggle school and lit up immediately. His teeth and head once ached from devouring the frozen treat to uncover the punchline at the end of the stick. He shuffled through them, with his grin spanning from ear to ear. He tried not to read them, not wanting to cause a scene but he also wanted to save as many for later as possible. He didn't want to say that this was the greatest gift he'd ever received but it was very thoughtful. He gave Justin an enthusiastic thanks and tried not to let his face give away just how excited he was.

Emerson didn't care much for gossip, this portion of the table as a whole probably didn't care at all that someone changed schools and all the social implications, but he responded anyway.

“That's interesting, I never really knew her though, she was kind of shady anyway,” he said so passively so that the comment didn't go wasted.

What Justin did next was expected, always peddling his ingenious concoctions but just like Savant he was wary to try out a gift from an admirer, even though a dazed and cuddly infatuation probably wasn't
what Justin was interested in. He chuckled at the thought of half the school sporting some hardy chops and more still at Micah's already unchecked facial hair.

Just like that Justin was gone and Emerson bid his goodbye, he'd really enjoyed the gifts but he couldn't help wondering why he ran off so quickly. He hardly said anything and certainly avoided saying anything perverse or suggestive. He had no time to be suspicious as too much food rested uneaten on his plate.

#, as written by throne
Justin Hardy – Vulpes House

And just like that, the lanky prodigy was off. He snatched an apple off the Cervus table as he strode away. He’d been about to swing by and tease Felix about a few rumors he’d heard, which had been basically confirmed by sneaking a few glances at him and Bliss, but he changed course and headed out of the hall when he spotted Vance Abernathy, of all people, moving toward his friend. He was in too good a mood to deal with the likes of Vance, even if it was tempting to razz him about his sister’s absence. Vance was a douche-nozzle of the first order, but Nevaeh… well, even Justin was leery enough of her to steer clear.

He remembered distinctly when, last year, she’d been caught in the crossfire of a minor prank war he’d been having with a third-year Arietem. He’d been on his way to class when she’d practically materialized in front of him, jabbed her wand into his crotch, and then smiled and politely asked him to refrain from any further pranks involving the Arietem common room. Any other time, Justin might have quipped something snarky in that situation, but every instinct he had told him that the girl was perfectly capable of unleashing a hex on his favorite body part, and not an elementary one. He’d nodded tersely then bolted instead.

”Good riddance,” he murmured darkly, shaking off the memory. He was in the corridors now, already en route to his destination in spite of the distraction. He couldn’t help but continue musing about the ramifications of her absence. Out from under Nevaeh’s shadow, maybe Vance would develop a soul. The odds were low, he decided, but it was possible, even if only for the fact that he didn’t have one of the school’s most capable witches in his corner anymore.

He cut an abrupt turn down a seldom used hallway that led to the Astronomy tower. Justin had been extremely discriminating when choosing the location of his preferred secret room. He knew the castle about as well as anyone, and so he knew that there were quite a few more exotically hidden areas, but most of those had rumors attached to them, and it was common for third- and fourth- years to hunting for them as a matter of course.

That wouldn’t do, for Justin. He had too much staked in his little laboratory to have some unwary kid stumbling in, never mind the danger involved. No, his hideaway was right on the way to a class, albeit one of the least taken classes in the curriculum after Arithmancy and Divination. He’d worked out an independent study of sorts with Professor Applebome when the prospect of actually climbing up to the observatory proved more than Justin could handle (he’d tried, and wound up having a crippling panic attack every time), so he actually had reason to be here every so often. It was perfect.

He drew his wand when he reached his destination, flicking his wrist artfully. The common lock on the door responded with a click, and after one last cautious look over his shoulder, he swung the door open and stepped in.

It wasn’t more than a large closet, and it was positively teeming with junk. There were stacks of out of date textbooks, star charts, models of the solar system, broken-down telescopes, and even more exotic star-gazing paraphernalia stowed away inside, so disheveled and stacked high that the room was basically full, a precarious tower of odds and ends that for some reason, Applebome couldn’t bring himself to clean out.

He locked the door behind him with another flick of his wrist, and then performed yet another silent spell, this one a bit more elaborate in the wand-work. Seemingly of their own accord, the massive pile of equipment began to silently sort itself out into neat stacks against the walls, revealing the floor beneath. He rapped his knuckles thrice on a small, filthy, circular rug, and then pulled it up. A section of the floor came up with it, revealing a tightly spaced stairwell that spiraled downward. Without the knock, the rug would simply come up if pulled, leaving the floor intact and the entrance to the lower reaches of the tower unmolested.

It was perfect because of how poorly defended it was. In the magical world, one used magic to guard valuables or secrets. All that stood between the students and teachers of Magus Grex and Justin’s private retreat was a single locked door, a tower of crap, and an admittedly clever hidden trapdoor… but that simplicity was exactly what he counted on.

He drew a deep breath as he prepared to descend. Even though he knew it wasn’t very many steps down, he always got a little uneasy on the stairs. In the darkness, it felt a lot longer than it was. He lit his wand, and then went down far enough to close the trapdoor above him. It sealed perfectly, and he undid the spell that had organized the junk, causing it to slowly and quietly resolve itself into impossible clutter once more.

After that, there was nowhere left to go but down.

Vance Abernathy – Arietem House

The Arietem drew to a stop when Felix came out to meet him. He didn’t bother commenting on the convenience of that. No doubt, he thought to protect his little housemates from whatever unkindness he imagined Vance intended to inflict upon them. A gracious smile bowed his lips almost automatically as he looked down at the other seventh year. Vance clasped his hands neatly behind his back, glancing askance quickly. They were far enough from the table to have the degree of privacy this conversation required.

”According to Professor Hughes, you can.” He canted his head back toward the dais. Let Fletcher infer what he likes about what was said, he decided. It could very well be that the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher’s gesturing this way would substantiate what he was about to propose enough that the other teen might actually agree.

There was no love lost between the two of them, that was certain. Nevaeh had always been a bit wary of Felix Fletcher, but Vance had no such feeling. The boy was a self-righteous nuisance, little more, the prototypical Ferre who couldn’t help but stand tall in the face of adversity. Vance hardly had to lift a finger when it came to Fletcher; the staff usually took care of that, when one of his “outbursts” became tangible enough to warrant attention.

He was banking on two things. Firstly, that a humble request would be hard for a noble Ferre to deny. Secondly, that Felix would immediately find his motives suspect, and his curiosity would lead him to see it through. At the very worst, he’d simply rebuke Vance and then make claims that would be astonishingly easy to deny. No one in their right mind would ever believe that Vance Abernathy had gone to Felix Fletcher for help.

”You see,” he continued after the slightest of pauses. ”My future somewhat hinges on obtaining an ‘Outstanding’ on my Defense Against the Dark Arts N.E.W.T., and my own feelings on that subject are that the best defense is a good offense. It works very well in application, but Father assures me it will not hold up for a theoretical examination.” Vance was prone to getting a bit lecture-y, and had the presence that he was seldom interrupted, so he just plowed right along. ”I’d asked Professor Hughes if he had time to work in some extra lessons, and he instead suggested that you, his most promising student, might be willing to provide a bit of tutoring.” A pause, there, to let the full nature of his request sink in.

Fletcher didn’t need to know the truth of the matter. Vance hardly believed that the anti-authoritarian do-gooder could ever be part of the conspiracy his sister had been involved with, but that didn’t mean he was bringing him into the fold. No, he certainly didn’t need to tell him that the real reason he wanted to brush up on Defense was the fact that he expected to find himself the target of the Dark Arts before the year was out. He couldn’t tell Hughes that, either. That man was the least trust-worthy being in the entire school.

He needed to sweeten the pot, he knew, and act enough like himself that Fletcher wouldn’t be inclined to question his motives too much. In an almost bored tone, he continued. ”I can compensate you for your time, of course, in gold, though I imagine you’d prefer a more creative… payment… which I would be willing to comply with provided it not involve letting anyone else know about this arrangement.” Something in Vance’s expression changed; his lips became a competitive little smirk, and his eyes held an unspoken challenge. ”I wasn’t going to ask you, even with Professor Hughes' recommendation, but then I realized something.” Another perfect pause followed. ”In the very least, I know you won’t hold back against me.”

His smirk exacerbated into a somewhat disturbing grin. "And I wouldn't want you to hold back."

Micah Jeffers

Micah laughed at Emerson's pretty accurate imitation of girls swooning over Savant. "You really should definitely try out," he told Savant. "I'll help you out however I can."

Just then, Justin came over, handing a popsicle stick bouquet to Emerson. Micah smiled and shook his head. You had to give him credit for his determination. He gave little thought to the comment about Nevaeh Abernathy, as he didn't really even personally know the who who had practically been the queen of the Arietem house. He gladly accepted the vial Justin tossed his way, interested in how this potion worked. Betterbeer, he had called it. And definitely three just three drops, not four, even if he could pull off the "gnarly mutton chops" look. He attempted committing it to memory. Three drops, not four... Three, not four... Three, not--

His attention broke off there, even before Justin had left them, and he began looking around at his other housemates catching up with each other. Then he notice Rose sitting ever so quietly beside him still and wanted to hit himself. She probably thought he was completely blowing her off after having started a conversation with her just to turn right around and get into talk of Quodpot and the Summer/Bellona friendship and Betterbeer with the guys.

"I'm sorry about that, Rose," Micah said to her, sheepishly. "I don't have the best attention span in the world." His AD/HD was a long-time source of embarrassment to him since his diagnosis in elementary school, and he had found it easier to play it off like he just didn't care to focus on things rather than he couldn't. In this case, however, he definitely didn't want Rose to think he simply didn't care to pay attention to her. "Where were we?" he asked her. "Books, right?"


Braelyn Tanner

Braelyn watched the playful exchange between Bliss and Felix, completely not buying the whole "friends" nonsense that Bliss had mentioned, but satisfied for now knowing that they would be talking about it in more detail later. She laughed at Felix's comment about Finn leaving him alone with two beautiful ladies, but was disappointed that he had up and left so quickly. Brae couldn't help but wonder what had caught his attention and made him leave like that.

"Alright, courtyard it is," she said to Bliss. "See you later, Felix. Have fun with.. whatever that is," she nodded towards Vance heading their way. She grabbed Bliss's hand and headed for the door, waving over at Georgie. "We'll see you out there, okay?" she called to her.

As soon as they reached the courtyard, where some people had already gathered in small groups here and there, Braelyn led Bliss to a bench in a relatively quiet spot. "Arlight," she said, smiling and placing a hand on her hip. "Talk."

Demetrio’s Perspective

Eying all the students in the hall, Demetrio nervously chewed through a few cookies before sipping at a glass of tea. Bleh, magically brewed tea was never as satisfying as Yoya’s homebrewed Sun tea, but beggars should not be choosers. Watching Justin Hardy play with silverware, and then move from table to table like a slut, Demetrio remembered what he once heard about him: Justin was gay. Feeling no fast issue to believe Justin was gay or straight, having never heard either from Justin's mouth, Demetrio made no quarrel about it. Though he couldn’t help but wonder. Back home in the Sierra Pelonas, the concept of gay or straight was very thin and undeveloped; Demetrio was reared into only one thing: act and behave and think like a man, and everything else will be natural. But gringos had a different way of viewing the world.

A few of Demetrio’s fellow Cervus house students were conversing near, though he had no inclination to engage in conversation just yet. Too soon was the school year, indeed only the first, for him to simply ease into his pigeonholed niche of the boyish jester. A few nervous jokes here, a few faint smiles there. But nothing serious. As for the other tables, students from every year were joyously dancing, metaphorically speaking, with the exuberance of a new school year; at least most everybody. Vance Abernathy seemed solemn and cordially cold, as usual, though he was bothering Felix for some odd reason. Justin seemed to have vanished sometime on. Almost all of the Ferre kids, except perhaps Felix, were never really interesting. Interesting enough, however, Finn had followed a Vulpes girl, Teiver, whom Demetrio admired yet knew she was a tad bit prejudiced, after Headmaster Rockwell's speech.

Uninterested, Demetrio finished his tea and lifted himself from his bench, unsurprisingly not startling anyone around him. For years, Demetrio had earned the reputation of the somewhat annoying Cervus kid who’d go around and share inside jokes with just about everyone, apparently even the teachers. On a few rare occasions, he was able to make Mr. Wicks smile, and Prof. Dahlin seemed to quite enjoy private tutoring with him. For years, Demetrio had attempted to build a relationship with Headmaster Rockwell, though such endeavors were hopelessly fruitless.

Walking through the halls to the bathroom, he spotted Justin at the end of the corridor go off towards the Astronomy tower, apparently needing some sort of astronomical data to eat his food. The halls were quite ornate, embellished with the carvings of Northern California’s natural environment. Large, stone Sequoias lurched over careless bears and peaceful hippies. Yes, Northern California was the antithesis to Demetrio’s Southern California, where the largest trees were fat but not terribly tall, mountain lions shepherded over the various valleys and passes, and the dry yet softly salty air cascaded down over your eyes in the beautiful harmony of ugly and beauty.

Demetrio, washing his hands, heard somebody stride into the large bathroom, with such hurried pace and irritated breath. The stranger, though obscured by the various walls of the bathroom, seemed to have taken care of his business and began to leave, to which Demetrio shouted, “Wait! Are you not going to wash your hands?!” Flustered and hurried, Rockwell came around to the sinks and took the one next to his. “So, Demetrio, ready for this year?” he asked, cold and vaguely uninterested.

“Never, sir” Demetrio replied.

“And why not?” Rockwell asked, magically twisting the nobs of the sink and shutting off the water (lazy!). He looked up at Demetrio and waited patiently, somewhat unusual.

“And why aren’t you ever ready?”

“What makes you think I am not ready?”

“For four, now five years I have noticed this same fact: on the first day of school you come rushing to the bathroom to ‘take care of your business’, though I know you just want an excuse to escape one last time before the year starts up.”

Oddly enough, Rockwell nodded his head, reached his hand over to touch Demetrio’s shoulder, and patted him. Now, amicably speaking, he said, “Well said, Demetrio. Cute, but well said.” And Demetrio knew Rockwell, not being a man to smile or laugh, found it humorous in the best way he could. Demetrio took silent pride in this. Rockwell reminded him of his uncle whom was killed by a pack of wild mutts; Tio Marín was cold and bittered from life, perhaps never seeming to enjoy anything, though Demetrio knew he loved everyone and took pride in the simple tasks that fell upon him. Rockwell seemed to be the same way, bittered by so many years, though generally benevolent and loving(in his own odd, distant way) to the years of students.

“Well, sir, you best be getting back to the table,” Demetrio smiled, “you wouldn’t people to start spreading rumors about us.” Smiling, Demetrio gave a small chuckle to an apparently annoyed Rockwell. The Headmaster replied, “Demetrio, I’m not sure anyone could ever envision you shacking up with anyone, let alone a Headmaster,” gave a small twitch of his mouth(a smile?), and then continued, “Don’t stay out there too long, today, okay? There’s been a nasty endemic of beach troll this Summer, and we wouldn’t want our star healer to be out there on his own in a fight.” And just like that, having surprised and terrified Demetrio with his semblance of omniscience, Headmaster Rockwell rushed out.

Demetrio NEVER spoke a word to anyone of his penchant for healing, not even Prof. Dahlin, whom he loved and admired very much. Rockwell was a mage of uncertain power, that was certainly certain. But what’s more, Demetrio was a bit crushed that Rockwell knew of his times out by the beach. Nobody know of that. Nobody. So how? Demetrio pushed it out his mind and left for the beach, handing a smuggled cookie to Mr. Wicks, who graciously let him walk right out the front door, past the stabled horses, past the special garage where Headmaster Rockwell’s grand carriage was hidden, past Prof. Dahlin’s personal flower garden, past the entrance columns, and out towards the beach. It was about a 20-minute walk from the school to the beach, though Demetrio never minded such a small walk. Back in the Sierra Pelonas, he would often find himself on the other side of the Mountain Ridge by noon and back by midnight.

Finally finding his sacred spot, a small, hidden nook where the beach meets the forest, and the fog rolls over just perfectly to produce a nice little pocket between air, earth and water. Demetrio sat down and attempted to pull of his black cowboy boots, the only reason why he dreaded his boots(nasty little things always seemed to love his feet).

“Yap!” Dieguito was on his way to Demetrio. Having let Dieguito go off into the forest early in the morning to have some fun, Demetrio was quite glad to see his best friend back. The little coyote bolted out from the forest and hopped right on Demetrio’s back, who responded by grabbing his friend and rolling in the sand.

“Dieguito, que pasó?” to which Dieguito yapped, yipped and barked his response to his human friend. Dieguito was more than a pet, he was a life-long companion, with whom Demetrio shared his most inner thoughts. Dieguito, having be named for San Juan Diego, the humble native man who saw the Virgin of Guadalupe, had long been a trusted friend of the Magallón family. The coyote was the symbol of both sides of the family, and most every family witch had been accompanied by a coyote from the same family.

Demetrio couldn’t help but feel he was being watched, as if he wasn’t alone, or some distant eye gazed at him. But regardless, he needed to have this time now. “Ready?” he whispered to Dieguito. Jumping up, gently removed his yellow-lined Cervus uniform, and threw it to the sand near his boots. Dieguito reared his head up and gave a short, squeaky howl, and waited in anticipation for Demetrio.

Pulling out his large, black oak wand, Demetrio still felt like he was watched, but didn’t pay much attention to it. Founding his feet into the sand, he slowly silenced his thoughts. Centering focus from the cold, Northern California environment to the warm, diamond-hard heart within, Demetrio slowly began to let his body form and shift to the push of the wind and the sound of the cold Pacific waves. His hands loosened up and followed in sync to his deep breathing. Tongue to roof, breath through nose, belly expand. With his wand, he helped move the air in and out his lungs; as he breathed in, his hand and wand gently glided to close to his nose, and as he exhaled his hand and wand reached out to follow his blowing out.

Now dancing in a ecstatic dancing of breath and prayer, Demetrio had forgotten everything around. He felt only the sunshine of the Sierra Pelonas, the sweet wind of the mountains, and the peace of his childhood. Silently, Demetrio cast various spells for the year, hoping to improve his health and focus and confidence.

Demetrio heard a snap, jolted from his peace.

“Oh shi…” he had little else to say, seeing the ugly mug of a beach troll…

#, as written by throne
Vance Abernathy - Arietem House

Vance hadn’t expected this to be easy. No, he expected Fletcher to make it as painful, as laborious, as annoying as would be humanly possible, from virtually the instant that Hughes had suggested him. It hardly mattered though, as long as he said yes. There was a brief spell where Vance thought about chucking the whole idea. He could study privately, be even more cautious, ferret out some trustworthy allies. He wondered vaguely if Vulpes’ resident potion-peddlar was capable of making Veritaserum. That would go a long way toward ensuring that he could actually come to rely on someone.

No. This was the best way. Brushing up on his defensive theory with a skilled wizard who hated him slinging the spells was the surest way to protect himself. Perhaps afterward, he could start assembling a few loyal followers to help him cut out the infection from the student body.

Through most of Fletcher’s invective, Vance remained non-plussed, just standing by patiently with his hand and mechanical hand clasped behind his back, watching the other boy and waiting for him to finish up. The mention of Nevaeh hit it’s mark, though; or rather, it hit a mark. Even Fletcher likely couldn’t imagine what had occurred between them, and if he knew, he’d likely never speak of it, certainly not in such a casually cruel way… unless Vance was wrong about the Ferre.

His smile went quite brittle at the mention of his sister. Part of him, the part that vaguely resembled the golden-haired younger boy who had always, always wanted to be as strong as his twin, wanted to let him in on the fact that, in the end, Vance had come out the victor. Another part, similarly buried deep, felt quite ill. The strongest urge he felt was to cross to Felix and put the strength of his goblin-forged hand to the test by seeing how long it took to crush his windpipe.

Instead of doing any of that, he forced himself back toward composure. It was remarkable, how he could swing between thoughts of murder and polite conversation in a matter of seconds. Well, remarkable was one word for it, anyway.

”You have an interesting method of negotiation, Fletcher.” There was no way the other boy had missed his tensing up, so he decided to run with it. Slowly he unclasped his hands, letting his right arm hang at his side. The ebon dragonskin glove he wore was probably worth more than most of his peers’ parents brought home in a month, beautiful really. He slowly flexed the mechanical hand beneath it into a fist, and then unclenched it to play his fingers. It would be too noisy to hear the whisper of the gears, but he was hoping Felix wasn’t too dim to notice the glove itself.

”Agree to assist me, and I’ll tell you why Nevaeh went to Beauxbatons. If you’re uninterested, then…” he shrugged minimally. ”Well, I did try.” His handsome features were once again a mask of genteel charm. Fletcher would only manage to get under his skin the once.

Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom! (Justin)

Down, down, down. He’d always had the sneaking suspicion that whoever had been responsible for this secret passage was either smaller-than-human or very young. He didn’t have to duck to make his way along the stairwell, but he only barely had enough clearance after his last growth spurt to avoid smacking his head against the bottom of the steps he’d only descended a few seconds before.

After what seemed like forever but was only roughly thirty seconds, he touched down on the landing. The slight trickle of anxiety that had been building during the voyage down evaporated all at once, like the incredibly useless Disappearing Draught he’d invented on a lark. It looked like common water, but when someone attempted to drink it, the potion would just vanish. The Disappearing Draught was emblematic of Justin’s approach to magic: it was well worth forging together incredibly potent effects (the potion’s absence actually relied on a system not dissimilar from Apparation), provided that one could make either a profit, or in this case, a laugh, in the process.

The stairwell and landing were pitch-black. If it weren’t for the blip of light at the end of his wand, he wouldn’t have been able to see his hand in front of his face, never mind the hole. The tower itself was very tall. The ground was definitely a terminal velocity’s worth of falling below, and that was how Justin had discovered the room in the first place. He’d been outside, enjoying one of his favorite psychedelic concoctions, when he noticed what looked like a dark spot on the tower wall. It was so high up he could barely tell, and sort of built into a bevel, but it was definitely there.

He’d nearly fallen in the hole, which led into a ten meter sharply declined chute that would have deposited his bony ass into freefall if he hadn’t hopped over it at the last possible second. The room’s last user had probably flown up to get in; it was just big enough to accommodate someone riding on broomstick. He’d since laid a piece of wood over it, but his stomach still did flip flops whenever he crossed over it to reach the large, heavy door.

It was a fearsome door, the sort of door that was usually only employed to keep particularly strong monsters from passing through it. There had been a few enchantments worked into it when he’d finally made it down, weakened by age and easy enough for him to disarm. He hadn’t bothered refreshing them since. Opening the door by means of his own strength was impossible; really, it would have taken five of Justin to accomplish the feat. He extinguished his wand and then brought it through a figure eight. The mammoth door groaned, and shuddered, and then finally swung inward.

A sweeping gesture set the torches within ablaze, immediately bathing the entirety of his hideaway in soft light. It wasn’t massive by any standard, and when he’d found it, it was barren save for a single cot and a dog-eared issue of Transfiguration Today from ten years before Justin was born. He’d left both there, in deference and respect to whomever had come before him, but had brought an awful lot more in.

There were three six foot long work tables, all of which were heavily laden with the tools of his trade. Cauldrons of a variety of metals, the magical equivalent of Bunsen burners, all manners of flasks, beakers, and vials, and enough plastic tubing to tourniquet a small army. Most of it had been pilfered from the school, but a few of the more specialized items (a rather ingenious magical centrifuge that had been popular in the Nile Valley a few centuries ago, a diamond knife with an amethyst hilt required in several archaic recipes that originated in aboriginal Australia, a monster of a scale that could weigh nearly a dozen items at once separately, and be tuned to indicate proportions, among others) he had acquired himself and smuggled in.

The real value, though, lay in a small hutch that rested in the easternmost corner of the room. That Justin had laden with quite a few protections, each worse than the last. It took him several minutes to undo all of them, and even then, there were three key holes to contend with. One key, he kept in his bag. The second was tucked in his right sock. The third and smallest he kept in a tiny incision he’d cut in his own inner-cheek, an old Muggle magician’s trick he’d read about and then greedily employed. The keys had to be inserted in one sequence and then turned in another, but not before he worked a Bubble Head Charm on himself. The final protection was mostly mundane; upon being opened, the hutch emitted a cloud of aerosolized Draught of Living Death that was potent enough to put a grown man to sleep for a week.

The effort was necessary, and well worth it. The hutch had an Undetectable Extension Charm, and contained Justin’s entire fortune. There was some gold, but that was just his rainy day fund. He had herbs and ingredients in that hutch that he was reasonably sure Professor Hutson would have slept with him to obtain. He’d liberated more common bits from the school’s potion stores over the years, but at this stage, he’d become self-sufficient enough to buy in bulk. Also inside were several stopped vials of some of his more incredible (and expensive) creations, including a single tiny teardrop shaped sample of Felix Felicis that Justin hadn’t decided quite what to do with yet.

He’d needed to restock quite a few of the more common ingredients, and he spent several minutes transferring the jars and boxes he’d bought over the summer from his messenger bag to the hutch. He reserved a few petri dishes of lacewing flies that he’d been dutifully stewing for the last three weeks, setting them aside on one of the tables, and then selected the other items he’d need.

”Now where did I put the powdered bicorn horn..?” he murmured to himself, rummaging a bit before he finally laid hands on it. Polyjuice potion was absurdly useful, and so he tried to keep it in ready supply as much as he was able. He’d made the complicated potion so many times by now that he didn’t even need to measure, and so it was (relatively) quick work for him to get three large cauldrons going. Once this initial work was done, it was only matter of checking in every couple days and giving a few stirs, and in a month, he’d have… well, quite a bit of the stuff.

He also mixed together some more Betterbeer (a tenth of an ounce of goosegrass, two fairy wings, a strand of starthistle, and two pickled slugs to every four cups of butterbeer), enough for about a gallon. The real trick to it (aside from the fact that he was making people drink pickled slug, which was a different sort of trick) was the brewing process. He got to work with a mortar and pestle, turning the base ingredients into a uniform brownish paste, then added it to the end result’s near namesake. It had to be boiled hard for nearly an hour, which was too short a time to bother leaving for, so he decided to work out more of Operation Emerson.

Lying down on the abandoned cot was actually one of his favorite methods of ruminating. He curled up, rolling onto his side and closing his eyes, and just listened to the sound of his Betterbear angrily roiling in the cauldron.

Okay, Justin. He liked the popsicle sticks, well done. Step… two? of Phase One, the Phase of Gifts, should be arriving by the end of the week, but it might be a good idea to hold off on giving him that one just yet. In fact, it’s probably a grand idea to stop trying to organize this into steps and phases. Before that, you should… hmm. Some kind of gesture. Yes. Yes! An action that encapsulates your affection, your remorse, and your ability to not hit on him.

He frowned. But what? What would Em appreciate? He likes dumb jokes, but you already covered that, and his Quodpot fetish will be taken care of with Step Two, so… what’s Step 1.5? What will make a good segue? He sighed. He’d never actually wooed anyone before. Seduction he could handle, but this just wasn’t his weal house. Maybe ask Bliss, or Felix, or Teiver. No, not Teiver. Bliss or Felix. Probably Felix. He’s a lot like Em in some ways, the ways that I don’t really grasp, anyway. Yes. I’ll ask Felix, and he’ll ask me why I’m even interested in Em like he always does, and then I’ll casually mention Bliss and he’ll know exactly why I did it and shut up about Em, and then I’ll figure out how a quirky jock likes to be courted.

He almost felt exhausted, after all that thinking. At least he had more of a plan, now. He rolled onto his back and clasped his hands over his flat stomach, staring up at the stone ceiling. I know I fucked things up, Em, but I’m going to make it right. Just wait and see.

Rosina Garenne

Justin took his leave, faster than she would have thought. He was normally stuck to Emerson's side like glue. Either way, she relaxed a little when he was gone. She didn't know what it was about him, but he definitely set her on edge. Although the bit about Neveah was interesting. She personally thought that Magus Grex was better off without the Arietem girl. It didn't really affect her though, so she didn't dwell on the thought for too long. The food on her plate looked absolutely revolting to her now, and she shoved the plate a few inches away from her.

Her stomach felt like someone had twisted it into a million knots. She spared a quick glance next to her, and saw that Micah just seemed to be looking around the hall, lost in his own mind. It was like she didn't even exist to him anymore. It made her think of all the times in the past where people hadn't seemed to notice her. I mean, it was like she had an invisibility cloak on or something. All the times she'd sat next to Emerson in class, and he spent the entire class talking to his friends, not even looking her way. Thinking about it made her slightly angry, and she had the sudden urge to throw her fork at someone. But she dropped it on the table instead.

Her eyes found the large oak doors, and she saw Bliss slip out of them with Braelyn. What she really should do was go out and be with Bliss. Being around her always made Rose feel like so much more than she actually was. And that's how she wanted to feel right now, like all these people were so wrong to ignore her. She was worth something. She was just about to get up from the table when Micah turned his attention back to her.

He apologized, and her heart melted a bit. What was she thinking, getting all mad? He didn't ignore her on purpose. She started to feel silly about getting so upset. She gave him a soft smile, shrugging her shoulders. "It's okay, Micah," she said quietly. She placed her hands in her lap, crossing her fingers together. She had to keep him interested now, and she clenched her fingers together, nervous about that thought.

She nodded at his question, looking down at her hands for a second. But she made herself bring her eyes up to meet his, and keep his attention on her. "I was just saying that I would love to see what books you brought with you," she said, glad she actually got to finish the sentence this time. The knots on her stomach seemed to loosen, and she felt her entire body relax slightly. She took a deep breath in, and let it out slowly. "Maybe you can show me, sometime?" she blurted out quickly. Immediately, she regretted saying it. She never did things like that... what had just come over her? Her cheeks grew really red, and she took her eyes off of him.

Finn Pollack

He was sprinting as fast as he could, yet suddenly something white appeared next to him and darted past, coming to a stop before him. The animal reared on its hind legs, and he skidded to a halt in front of it, more out of shock than anything. "Crap," he muttered, seeing her come up next to him. The cat came after her, staring up at him in a creepy way. He took his eyes off the cat, meeting Teiver's instead. So he was supposedly heading towards an unused girls bathroom. If she was telling the truth, that is.

And of course he didn't buy any of her bologna on heading to the Astronomy tower to get a head start. If she wanted to do that, she could have taken the normal staircases to get there, not taking a way that would get her in trouble. He folded his arms, leaning against the wall, determined not to go anywhere. He let her get all her quips in, not responding to any of them. She could say all she wanted, he wasn't going to just walk away now. He did have to chuckle at the one about the girls dying without him. "Somehow, I think they'll live without me for one night."

The part about Herve did give him pause, though. As honorable as his intentions were, if he was found in an area he wasn't supposed to be in, he would be in just as much trouble as Teiver was. Thankfully for him, no one was going to find them anytime soon. He just had to find a way to stick with her, and find out what she was doing in this hidden tower. Not only did he have the feeling that he wanted to do the right thing, but he was actually extremely curious what was going on. He wasn't going to let her deter him from this, no matter what she said.

Unless they were about to get caught. Then he'd run like a bat out of hell.

He decided to go along with her lie, just to give him an excuse to stick around her. Obviously him running around like a mouse in a maze wasn't going to get him anywhere. He certainly didn't want to actually run into a girl's bathroom, deserted or not. He didn't want to run off of a ledge either, although he didn't know if she was being truthful about that or not. "Very well," he said to her, pushing himself off the wall to stand up straight. "If you're headed for the Astronomy tower, I'll go with you. I could use a head start as well." He walked a few paces away from her, and away from the girl's bathroom. He gestured ahead of him. "Care to lead the way, since you're the expert?"

His left hand reached into his pocket, grasping the end of his wand. He needed to be careful, knowing she was a frequent rule breaker. He didn't put it past her to hex him or curse him, since she'd already cast a patronus. He had to be ready for anything she was ready to pull.

#, as written by throne
Introducing! The remarkable Lyle Brightham (Ferre House)

Lyle was smack in the center of a cluster of fourth and fifth year Ferre students at their table. He didn’t have anywhere at all to run off to, he was enjoying catching up with his friends. So much had happened over the summer! His eyes were wide as he listened to one of the boys talk about a trip his family took to London, and when he was done, Lyle immediately began to prattle on about some of his favorite places in the city, oooh, had he visited there? How was Diagon Alley, amazing, right? He laughed and joked, at one point some French fries wound up in his nose, and a moment later, milk wound up coming out of it. The group of boys was loud, the source of several explosions of laughter and a great deal of table-slapping.

The discourse was interrupted briefly when stuff began clattering over on the Vulpes table. Lyle leaned a bit and strained his neck trying to make out who was doing what, and began laughing riotously when he spotted Justin doing… well, he wasn’t sure what, but it was hilarious, and then Teiver silenced the dancing plates and knives and stuff and he quickly lost interest.

”Guys, guys, guys,” he interjected, using his hey this is serious voice and eyebrow placement (riding a bit high on his forehead). He waited a few deliberate beats, and then: ”I’m totally trying out for the team this year. I’ve been practicing all summer, and I think I’ve finally got the hang of the sport. Do you think I have a shot?” The conversation quickly dissolved into a dozen different Quodpot related topics, but most of them were quite encouraging. He’d glanced around, hoping to catch Finn’s eyes, but he wound up furrowing up his brow instead. Where had Finn gone?

He hung a spoon off his nose, nodding solemnly while another fifth year lamented their upcoming O.W.L.s. Lyle’s cheeks flushed a bit. ”Oh, man, I just don’t even want to think about it. I’m sure to get a Troll in Potions, I just know it, and probably Transfiguration too. I might scrape an A in Charms, maybe, if I can get someone to tutor me…” Then the spoon fell off, somehow landing perfectly in a bowl of custard, and everyone was laughing once more. Lyle’s sheepish grin threatened to consume his ears, and then his eyebrows shot up once more.

”Oh! I’m taking donations for that spell disaster relief fund. I guess a major mishap happened over in Russia. Really guys, anything you can spare would help a lot.” He dragged his backpack into his lap and pulled out a large envelope, which he began passing around. That sort of thing wasn’t too uncommon for the plucky Ferre, and he quickly remembered another issue as well. He produced some parchment, a quill, and a little pot of ink. ”And this is a petition to lessen the restrictions on underage magic, so, you guys should all really sign. Some of my pen-pals at other schools are doing it too, and we’re going to send them to all the Ministries at once. Cool, huh?”

He lowered his backpack to the ground once more, grinning enthusiastically as people gave and signed. His grin diminished, though, when he spotted Vance Abernathy coming over. He heaved a sigh of relief when Felix got up; if anyone could handle the Abernathty’s, it was Felix. What the blazes did the two of them have to talk about though? He strained to eavesdrop, but couldn’t make out a word, and he’d never been any good at reading lips so he gave up after a moment.

His puzzlement was lost when someone elbowed him and handed him the envelope. He gave it a shake, lighting up when he heard a fair amount of jingling. ”Thanks, everyone. You’re all awesome!” Tucking it away- he’d make the rounds once he’d finished eating-, he helped himself to a heaping pile of cookies and sweets. Someone pointed at his face, and he realized he had an ersatz moustache made of milk, which he made a big show of licking off.

He tilted his head, listening with intense curiosity as word of Nevaeh’s absence finally made it over. Now that could be a story. Nobody particularly wanted to talk about her though (Lyle did reluctantly nod when the consensus seemed to be that she was hot), so the conversation soon took yet another turn.

It was good to be back.

The opening speech was the same as always, but Myra listened intently, giving as much of her full attention as possible. She'd sat by the head of the table, as usual, so as to be near the teachers, should one of them need to talk to her. She tutored on occasion, so they needed her often. Once Headmaster Rockwell had finished his memorized speech, she turned and piled her plate high. Mentally thanking her mother for a fast metabolism, she pulled a book out of her bag and opened it, beginning to read where she'd left off as she maneuvered forkfulls of food to her mouth. She had become dimly aware of Beauty and the Beast being sung along her table when suddenly her fork flew out of her hand to dance along with the rest. Turning, she watched as Justin 'conducted' his impromptu musical. While she loved the movie, Belle had always reminded her of herself, she loved food more. Frowning, she was struck with an intense desire to talk Justin into harnessing his talents, and not for the first time. Not very many students could pull off such a sport (however un-elaborate the charms-work was in Myra's eyes). Taking out her wand, she waited for her fork to pass her again, and when it was in the perfect range muttered "Finite Incantatem," the fork falling promptly into her open and waiting hand. She began eating and reading again, letting the professors take care of Justin's rouse.

She listened in momentarily to some of Vulpes' house Quodpotists talking about the up-coming try-outs and winning the house cup. A short burst of excitement hit her in the stomach, practically causing her to choke on the water she'd just gulped down. She thought of her broom and the practice quod up in her room. She bit her bottom lip, considering whether she'd be brave enough to try out this year, then let the thought go as a blush ran up her cheeks at the thought of being scrutinized. What if she wasn't as good as she thought she was?

Losing herself in the book again, the chatter of all the separate tables became white noise. She lost focus of time and only ever glanced up to add more food to her plate. Vaguely she was aware of Professor Hutson briefly chatting with her. Something about someone needing a tutor for Potions, which Myra agreed to help with, of course. Politely disengaging herself from the conversation, she returned to her book. She glanced up every now and then, when movement caught her eye.

She'd noticed as Summer and Bellona had found each other and had a brief twinge of guilt hit her. She should put the book away and go talk to them too, but then they wandered to talk to Savant, Emerson, and Micah momentarily. There went Summer's very light blush, and Savant's posture changed ever so slightly just now. Myra couldn't help but smile softly at the interaction, and Bellona's minute boredom. She watched as they dismissed themselves and wandered from the great hall. They'd most likely seen her with a book and known she'd catch up with them later, besides, talking to cute, funny guys was not Myra's strong suit. She made a mental note to ask Kaplan to find the girls for her later.

She'd also noticed Bliss' laughter, trickling down the table like a warm Autumn shower. How was she just so perfect? It seemed that at least everyone had stopped by Vulpes' table just to say hi to her, or smile at her. Myra considered that for a moment and shot a short glare at her book. She knew that it was sort of her own fault that she didn't have too many people beating down the door to get to know her, and that it was probably that she always had her nose in a book, but what could she do? You cherished what you cherished, and some people were better at some things than others. I bet if I was on the Quodpot team people'd want to talk to me... The blush returned, so Myra picked up her book again.

After reading a couple more paragraphs, Myra was startled when her consciousness pricked as Vance passed by. He'd been talking to Arietem's house head, and was now making his way towards Professor Hughes. Their conversation seemed less than amicable to say the least, but they both were professional as far as Myra could tell. As Vance turned to leave she caught that look in his eye again. Her heart gave a small throb of sadness for the boy, her lips turning down in a small pout as she watched him. Where did that pain come from? It wasn't there last year, that's for sure... Damn! She ducked her head quickly as he passed by her, hoping against hope he hadn't seen her looking at him.

She decided it was a good idea to return to her book and only emerged for more chicken a page or two later. She conspicuously watched as girl after girl stopped by the Ferre table to talk to Finn. He smiled at them, that warm, tender, polite smile and talked to each of them. He was always so genuinely pleasant, so friendly. Myra smiled in spite of herself, enjoying her candid viewing of Finn's Flock (as she liked to call all the girls who fawned over him.) When his head started to turn in her direction though, she immediately dropped her eyes to her book and "read" as intently as she could. She'd never be able to go talk to him like the other girls, so what did it matter? She watched out of the corner of her eye as he excused himself from the table and left the hall. Was it just her, or did a little warmth leave the room with him?


Some time later Myra sighed, placed a bookmark in The Dream Oracle and pushed her plate away from her. She'd overeaten again, and chided herself as the inevitable "food baby" made itself known. Thank god for robes, she thought with chagrin. Tilting her head to the left she looked down her table. "Oh!" The exclamation left her mouth before she had a chance to register she was making noise. There were very few people left. She looked around, surprised to see how empty the main hall was. How long had she been reading? Better yet, how much had she eaten? Oh dear... She noticed Naire, then, wandering out of the hall with his owl and his camera. Her first genuinely large smile spread itself across her face. Near! Oh, how she'd missed him! They'd spent a week over vacation together, and sent owls back and forth, but that was not nearly enough contact. She wiped her hands on her linen, daintily wiped the corners of her lips, took one last sip of water, and stood. Tucking her book into her side bag, she scanned the great hall again, and waved to Professor Kass, reminding herself she'd have to stop by her office later or the next day to chat.

Hurrying out, Kaplan slinked up beside her, rubbing on her ankles and purring. Scratching behind his ear, she picked him up and followed Near to the Willow tree. Myra smiled to herself at the adorable little owl playing in the water. Setting Kaplan down, she grabbed a couple of owl treats from her bag, then pointed her wand at Near's camera. "Geminio!" she whispered, an exact (if useless) copy of his camera creating itself at the tip of her wand. Grabbing it, she tossed a couple treats to Chopstick, and plopped next to Naire, making clicking noises as she snapped fake pictures of him. "Hey shutterbug! How are you?" She smiled warmly at him as Kaplan immediately curled into Naire's lap, his tail lazily wrapping around his waist.

#, as written by throne
Lyle Brightham – Ferre House

At the sound of the screeching note that Lyle’s unintended stealth had resulted in, the boy winced and his pair of ferrets quickly scurried for cover. Two mobile lumps appeared on his shoulders as Skip and Scamp disappeared into his collar once more. Even with the sunlight faltering, Lloyd would easily be able to see the lumps scurrying in a spiral down his torso beneath his robe. Despite the fact that he felt really, really bad about interrupting her, he couldn’t help a bit of giggling as their little paws danced over him. Realizing how much worse that probably made things, he quickly stifled. His cheeks flushed red and he reached up with one hand to rub the back of his neck as well.

”Oh, um, I was actually looking for Naire but I heard you playing and couldn’t help but come over.” His mind caught up to his mouth a few seconds later, and he realized that he might have just insulted her, sort of. ”But I was hoping to see you too! We didn’t get to talk at dinner, haha, sorry, I got all wrapped up in stuff. Did you have a good summer? Mine was great. I’m really glad to be back, and oh! I’m going to try out for the Quodpot team this year, isn’t that something? I’ll have to find someone else to take over the sports column, because I’d probably be biased, but I’m really excited. So excited. This is going to be the best year yet, I can feel it, can’t you?”

He never quite seemed aware of how hard it could be for people to keep up with his rapid-fire manner of speaking. His father often remarked on how little he seemed to need to breath, if only when he was talking, which he almost always was. There was a brief pause, where she might have been able to get a word in, but probably not. Again, he only seemed to have digested what was said, this time by her, once he’d quieted a bit and had time to actually let the words bounce around his skull a few times. ”You’re right though, we should head in. I guess I won’t see Naire till tomorrow, that’s too bad.” His brow creased a bit. ”Should I have a question for you? Did something exciting happen?” His eyes were wide, eager, waiting. Quite reminiscent of a puppy, he scampered after her towards the school.

Vance Abernathy – Arietem House

He nearly flinched when Lee mentioned that his siblings were at the French wizarding school that Nevaeh would supposedly be attending. He’d nearly forgotten that little fact, forgotten it enough, at least, that he had to rapidly make several decisions. He had faith that he could convince Lee not to share anything that would disrupt the cover story, but very little faith that the boy would have the good sense to keep his mouth shut on the matter unless expressly told to. That meant he needed to tell the flamboyant younger man even more than he’d intended to, which didn’t sit well with him. This was the one area where he’d always trumped his sister. She’d ruled her flock of female friends and male admirers exclusively with fear, but he was much better at the game. It was his grandmother who had called it that, the concept of identifying people as pieces and maneuvering them across a metaphorical board. No doubt, if Nevaeh were in his shoes rather than the cold ground, she’d already have her wand to Lee’s throat, a threat ready to pour like poison from her lips.

”Very eventful, I must say.” He had taken a bit longer in coining his reply than was required, something that Lee would surely notice. ”But all in good time.” His fingers unwound, and he reached over with his remaining hand to give Lee’s shoulder a brief, Vance’s-version-of-friendly squeeze. ”This year will turn out to be just as eventful, I think.” That should have been sufficient to whet Lee’s appetite for secrets while satiating his appetite for affection, however brisk.

He lengthened his stride by a half-pace as they drew nearer to the entrance of the common room of Arietem House. ”Lordly lineage,” he whispered into a brazier by the door after a quick, surreptitious glance to ensure that no one was in range to eavesdrop. The heavy stone door slid aside, revealing the short flight of steps that led down into the common room proper, plushly appointed as it was in the greens of the house’s standard.

Normally, Vance relaxed ever so slightly upon entering the Arietem-only cloister of the school. In part, it was to convey a bit of trust that barely existed; it was also because maintaining poise could be laborious throughout an entire school day, even for him, particularly on a day where he had to deal with Fletcher. Not so, this year. This year, anyone could be an enemy.

He vaguely remembered Bellona mentioning something about a gift when he spied her by the fire. He offered her a courtly nod, then allowed himself to sink down into an overstuffed chair across from her. He was careful to choose one with another adjacent, so that Lee wouldn’t have to pout, or worse, make a show of dragging a seat closer to him. ”What a tiresome evening this has been,” he remarked earnestly. He’d sleep well tonight, if he didn’t dream of fire, green light, and cold, pale girls.

And then there’s Justin – Vulpes House

Normally, lazing about on a cot for a spell with nothing more intensive to do thank keep track of time would have been restive for Justin. He couldn’t keep unbidden scenes from the past from his mind, though. Two young boys, on a slender whip of a thing with spikey hair, the other a bit sturdier with a shaggy mane and a goofy grin. The former leaning heavy on the latter, practically clinging to him as he limped along toward a first-aid tent a stone’s throw from the cacophony of a Quodpot stadium teeming with fans.

That same spikey-haired boy never failing to notice when the shaggy-haired boy was about. They were both a little older than they had been, both a little more certain of what they wanted. A dozen or so instances of the two of them avoiding one another’s gaze or presence, the cloying desire to break their shared silence, the cold stare of another boy, indistinct in memory, who might ever be a wedge between them.

A kiss, the first and only kiss they’d shared, only they hadn’t really shared it. The formerly spikey-haired boy, who’d finally realized that gelling his hair into tines didn’t do all that much to make him look badass, had stolen it. The true punishment for his crime: the only chance he might have had stripped from him.

Justin’s dark brown eyes snapped open. He planted his feet on the ground and stood, using his wand to carefully levitate the boiling cauldron from the flames onto a rack, where it could cool. While it did, he busied himself with changing out the cartridges of sleeping gas in the hutch and restoring the protective enchantments he’d layered upon it. It was tedious, but he didn’t mind just them. The images from his reverie were hovering at the fringes of his mind and the task helped keep them at bay. He was nervous, he realized. This whole affair was a Hail Mary, an act of desperation, almost certainly doomed to fail.

Justin never wore insecurity well, and so he clamped down on those thoughts. Instead, he focused on a siphoning spell, drawing the brown liquid from the cauldron in a thin stream that he snaked through the air, passing it through a cheesecloth set up for just this purpose in order to filter the scum away. A bit like making consommé, really, he never failed to think. Maybe he could conspire a way to cook for Emerson. The boy loved food, and anyone who was successful at Potions was a worthy cook with his mind set for the task.

Something to think about later. When the Betterbeer had cooled enough, he began drawing up pipettes of it and transferring it into glass vials, which he stoppered with tiny corks and then threaded through loops of cloth he’d sewn into his messenger bag for the express purpose of carrying potions. The bag itself was ridiculously enchanted, Extended, of course, but it featured a few other Charms as well, similar in nature to the Breaking Charms used in broom-making. In the event that he took a tumble with his bag, the contents would remain relatively undisturbed. It was a necessary safety measures; there were times when his little bag held enough volatile potions to take down an entire hallway of the school, never mind any unforeseen reactions that some of his more interesting concoctions might have had with one another.

All that was left now was to ascend. He lit his wand, and once outside the chamber, brought it through the reverse of the motion he had used to open the titanic door in the first place. It groaned closed, and he stepped lightly over the sheet of wood covering the hole to take the stairs two at a time on his way up. He’d need to hurry, if he wanted to be back to the common room by curfew. Not that he was worried about being caught; it was more a matter of getting to socialize with the friends he’d missed in the Great Hall. Thank whoever that Bliss and Flint get along. It’d be Hell if the two of them ever decide to become those sorts of exes, particularly on me.

The clutter above the trapdoor silently arranged itself once more, and Justin clambered out as quietly as he could. He’d never been at all athletic, and actually hoisting his own body weight out of the circular aperture put more strain on him than he’d ever admit. Once the flooring and rug were back in place, he moved to the door, waving his wand a final time in order to restore the mess to its natural state of messiness. He extinguished his wand silently, then cupped a hand to the door to listen.

The long hallway was a perfect conductor for sound. Hearing no one, he quickly slipped out, simply flipping the switch on the knob to re-lock the door. No magic needed. Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his robes, he strolled on out of the Astronomy area and started for the small stretch of school that he thought of as home more than the house he’d been raised in.

#, as written by throne
Justin Hardy – Vulpes House

Justin was ambling along down the hallway, hands still hidden away in the pockets of his robes. His usual stride was a sort of rolling step that was actually quite entertaining to watch when he moved quickly. Aside from having quick hands, Justin had all the athletic potential of a turnip. He couldn’t fly, thanks to his crippling fear of heights, he ran like a scarecrow in the midst of a colonoscopy, and his upper body strength was about on par with a third year girl’s. He’d tried a few times over the years to bulk up a bit, to improve his stamina, but it just never took. His body had an aversion to adding muscle mass, so he’d accepted his slim profile. The boys seemed to like it well enough, so why mess with perfection?

He spotted something interesting as he passed by the open door to the library. Summer and Flint, on their way out. It took about as long to dissect their expressions and body language as it did for him to turn to face them, cocking his head to one side as he inspected them openly. Summer might not, but Flint would know exactly what Justin was doing. He segued neatly from examination to a playful grin and extracted a hand from his pocket to waggle his fingers at the pair.

”How was your summer, Summer?” He spoke the same five words to her every single year when school started up again. He delivered it like someone would a terrifically funny joke, as if the fact that she shared her name with the season that had just expired was something incredibly witty that he’d just come up with. Clearly, Emerson was a bad influence on his sense of humor.

His right eyebrow arched just so as his eyes slipped to Garrett. ”And how was yours?” He asked it a little more cagily of his friend. Not that he disliked Summer at all, but she wasn’t exactly a friend. She’d never managed to make much of an impression on him, other than being Bliss’s sister and extremely sweet.

The caginess he engaged in was right on par with the caginess that Flint had cancelled their summer plans with. It had been abrupt and suspicious, out of nowhere really, but Justin had let it go without more than an odd look. He’d been looking forward to having him around. The last summer had been one of his best, mostly because there was someone around with whom he could talk magic, and because Flint was just as adept at making mischief in the Muggle world as he was at Magus Grex. He’d been insanely curious, of course, but he trusted in either his ability to ferret out the truth or Flint telling him eventually- whichever came first.

”My mom asked after you,” he continued, his smirk still in place. Justin was by far the better mimic of the two; he had his mother’s obnoxious Boston accent and mannerisms down perfectly, even emulating her usual expression to a degree as he did his impression. ”Wheyah’s that nice boyfriend yah braught home last yee-ah?” Ever since he’d come out to his family a few years ago, any male he brought near the house or mentioned was immediately dating him or screwing him, in their minds. His mother had made a point of popping into the room they’d shared unexpectedly (Justin’s eldest younger brother was away at junior ROTC camp for most of the summer, freeing up a bed in the room they shared), as if she expected to catch them in bed, or painting each other’s fingernails, or something similarly inane. If only they had a bumper sticker for that: Proud parents of a gay wizard honor student, or something like that.

"And how was your summer, Teek?" Justin was not immune to the owl's charm. "Kept this one from getting into too much trouble, eh?" He jerked a thumb toward Flint. They seemed to be making an exit, so he didn’t bother going in. He just lingered in the hall, waiting for them to answer and join him so that they could converse on the way back to their respective dorms. He slipped the hand he’d used to wave into his messenger bag, extracting first one, and then two vials of Betterbeer in preparation of handing them off. If Summer was going to be around more often, he might as well start getting used to it, so she’d get one too.

He was practically mutilating his tongue, literally having to bite it in order to avoid saying any of the forty or so snarky things that had come to mind upon seeing one of his best friends with his exes’ (who another of his best friends was interested in) sister. Those could wait till he and Flint were alone. Things were going to be complicated this year, he decided, but probably amusing too.

Garrett Flint

"Hopefully the girls are just after Teek and not you," Summer said, to which Flint cracked a grin. "I wouldn't worry about that. I know who's important to me. And Teek's always more than willing to pull out their hair if they get any funny ideas." He raised his eyebrows at her. "And we're wiiingmen, remember?" he said, emphasizing the word to poke fun at her lame joke, "We help each other keep the bad ones away in addition to snagging the keepers."

Deciding it was best to head back now that their talk was done, the pair made their way out of the library, perhaps behaving a little more couple-ish than Flint intended. Of course he really enjoyed Summer's company, and found himself quite incapable of realizing that other girls existed when she was around, and realized how much help she could be in the days to come, but he couldn't help but want to be more cautious this time. Summer may not have had to deal with the idea of bouncing back into a relationship so soon, but Flint did. And even though Bliss seemed to be having little trouble with the idea, Flint right now was focused on making sure no one got hurt from this. It felt right, and he was willing to see where it went, he just wanted to make sure to try and take things slower this time, especially with the weight on his mind.

And there was Justin. Flint had hoped to have a good talk with him before the night was out, and he supposed he still could, but now Justin had developed impressions on the situation before Flint could even open his mouth. That, and he figured Justin wouldn't be too happy with Flint spending the majority of his first night back either alone, or with Summer, and likely was getting extremely suspicious at his friend's behavior. There wasn't much Flint could about that now.

Flint rolled his eyes at Justin's question about Summer's summer, but made no comment. In fact, he'd likely have made the same joke if he hadn't been interested in Summer, and not trying to annoy her. It was just too easy, after all.

"Complicated," he said about his own summer, and no more. He hoped Justin would leave it for the moment, though he feared that tantalizing bit would only intrigue him further. Flint did plan to fill him in, and soon, just not now, and not here, right outside the Great Hall. He grimaced at Justin's highly accurate imitation of his mother's Boston accent, practically able to see the woman before him, completely convinced that he was one hundred percent gay. But Flint was nothing if not willing to accept and be patient with people, and so he didn't mind, both Justin's mother's incorrect conclusions, and Justin's own occasional tendency to hit on him, even if he knew well his orientation.

At the mention of his name, Teek flapped around above Justin's head and hooted at him, big amber eyes gleaming in the light. He wasn't quite friendly enough with Justin to attempt perching on him without receiving permission, but it was still obvious that the owl had taken a liking to Justin, typically sharing the same friends as Flint did, even being much slower to trust as he was.

They set off back towards the common rooms, Teek moving around surprisingly stealthily above their heads, floating from perch to perch. "Oh man, you're a life saver," Flint blurted when Justin revealed the Betterbeer he'd brought, gratefully accepting one and starting work on it immediately. Though he only seemed to have brought two... Flint hoped he had already had one or something. He knew Justin had never really bonded with Summer in the past, and hoped it wouldn't be too much of a problem if things kept going the way Flint imagined they would.

"You pull off that Beauty and the Beast thing at the feast tonight?" Flint asked offhandedly. He was curious, as he couldn't help but admire the idea, always the troublemaker as he was, but he also just wanted to make sure things weren't too quiet on the way back.