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The Language of the Flowers was a popular method to express feelings where words might be improper, but did you know other means of doing so? Some ladies used their parasols, as well as their fans, gloves, and hankies to flirt with a gentleman (or alternatively, tell them to shove it!). — Bree


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Ester Montgomery for Thomas Montgomery. The one that got away (with the pornographer...)
This boy, then. He wasn't new. Wasn't one of the worst people in the common room, those rotten rich boys - like Mr. Jailkeeper - who could not fathom a world beyond their own farts. Was a good working class lad, so he'd heard. Had a bit of a weird looking face, and a bit of a weird thing for preaching. Still.

Aubrey Davis in The Under-Sofa


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Robbers & Cowards
#1
Private 
May 14th, 1888 - Lupin House
There was something about Lyra's interview that rubbed him the wrong way.

Maybe it was her list of stated goals; trust-building with vampires and wizards, while she was lying to the paper. But he understood why she was lying. So maybe it was the claim that she had never come back to Britain before now; the impending sense of doom he had, that someone was going to figure it out. But it was not as if Lysander was under any more risk now than he had been before. So maybe, instead, it was her eyes staring up at him from the paper, the fact that he still wanted to see her, and the letters he kept starting without sending.

So before Elsbeth could come break into his house, August decided to come to hers. He had a copy of the article on Lyra. It was wrapped around an unopened bottle of wine. The thing with buying his sister's house was that August had kept a key, and so rather than knock on the door and wait, he let himself in and was sitting in the parlor when she stormed by - presumably to go harass him.

"Elsbeth," August called.  

#2
August had not responded to the notes she'd left in his home several days ago. She'd forced one of the maids to stand guard outside the window that had a clear view of two exits of his house across the street, just in case he'd decide to use the doors to return. The creature had fainted because Elsbeth had forgotten about her. She hadn't put much thought into how long a person could stand at a window before there were bodily issues... and she'd waved away the other servants who had expressed their concern, having been much too occupied with her obsessive thoughts.

It was only when she was alerted that the thing had fainted did she realize that she probably should have told her to take shifts with another of the maids or some such. Either way, the window was unattended at some point and it was pointless to even bother now. August had likely floo'd or apparated back to his house already as it was.

After she received the paper that morning (her lady's maid had pretended to forget it and had levitated it to her from the hallway before running off), she pulled a repeat of the morning of her last visit to her brother's home. As she huffed past the parlor in a flurry of flamboyantly colored silks, she heard his voice. Her steps slowed and she did a double take. She'd only missed a beat before she redirected herself into the parlor and slammed the door.

"It's about time you showed up!" She tossed the crumpled newspaper in her hand in the direction of the sofa he was sat upon, "Please tell me you haven't had anything to do with this."
#3
Elsbeth's crumpled newspaper tumbled to the floor. August held up his newspaper-covered wine bottle as a peace offering. "Got a corkscrew?" he asked. He knew that she had a corkscrew, or at least that there was a corscrew in the house. No one drank as much as Elsbeth without a corkscrew.

"And oh, I just thought it would be so much fun to talk to the press with my vampiric ex-fiancee," August snarked, "No, I had nothing to do with it."
#4
Elsbeth stepped forward and accepted the peace offering. He hadn't returned her notes or contacted her in any way, simple content to leave his poor sister in a panicked frenzy. The wine wouldn't make it better, but it would serve as a salve to her wounded pride.. for now. She impatiently brandished the cork-end toward him, "Magic, August, use it for Merlin's sake." If she'd been a witch, she'd have done it herself and summoned a pair of wine glasses from the liquor cabinet (there was one in nearly every room, considering whose home it was.) Instead, she fully intended to drink straight from the bottle. If August wanted some, he could help himself to a glass or take turns.

"So you had no idea she was going to go to the press? Did you know she was back in town?" She narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "Hell, you haven't been sleeping with it again have you?" She loved her nephew as much as one could love a half-vampire that was spawned by her favorite brother and a monster she'd tried to have killed twice, but even a vaguely doting aunt knew it was a terrible idea to go and make another one of them. No, August's next child would be legitimate and pureblood... or at the very least, fully human.
#5
August rolled his eyes and pulled out his wand. "Accio Elsbeth's corkscrew," he said. He did not respond to Elsbeth further until the corkscrew clattered onto her coffee table.

"Don't be such a twit," August said dryly, "She warned me that she was coming back to town, and I haven't seen her." No matter how much he wanted to, August hadn't gone for it.

#6
Well, he certainly could have mustered a bit more magical effort there - having opened the wine bottle with the damned thing - but rather than pester him further about it, she scooped it up and skillfully uncorked the bottle.

"Do you want to see her?" She pressed before taking several unladylike gulps straight from the bottle. She offered it to him, "She's up to something, I just know it. Why come back after all these years? You don't think she's going to out you do you? Out us? Lysander would be ruined just as much as the rest of us. Leo would be a laughing stock - he can't go to Hogwarts with a known half-vampire cousin. Lysander wouldn't even be allowed in! They'd have to have private tutors..." The thought that her son would be ostracized from Hogwarts exactly like she had been was horrific.
#7
August drank straight from the bottle for the duration of Elsbeth's rant, and handed it back to her when she was done. "Hogwarts won't be a problem for Lysander anyways, they got rid of the half-breed ban already," August explained with a surprising degree of patience. "As to what she's planning - well, the manifesto implies that she's starting the vampire revolution."

#8
Elsbeth took a swig and waved August's fact-checking about her not-nephew's Hogwarts attendance away. She hesitated on asking what 'manifesto' meant - he was already annoyed with her. If she were to admit that he had used words she was unfamiliar with, she'd spend up the August patience coins. She was given a stack each day. Depending on the day, she'd spend the coins relentlessly and he'd get peeved at her and would avoid her until her stack was regenerated. Today, she was going to spend those coins wisely.

Dumbfounded, she repeated, "Vampire revolution. What vampire revolution? What is there to revolutionize? Nobody even likes vampires." She took another swig of the bottle before she handed it back to him.
#9
August took a sip of the wine. "I believe that would be the point," he said mildly, "Not that she's told me." And, there, that was the source of his irritation: Lyra was here to do political work, and she had not involved August at all.

#10
"She's a fool if she thinks she's going to change anyone's mind," She held her hand out for the bottle, "They drink blood to survive. Disgusting. Not to mention their skin - ugh," She shuddered and nearly gagged, "-there's no amount of makeup that'll cover up that corpse look." Because what was most important was a woman's appearance. Even plain women would get chosen over a vampire. Well.. depending on the man. August had his pick of the litter when it came to women and he still had sex with Lyra. So, there was that. Maybe the reason he hadn't found a wife yet was because Elsbeth was only steering him toward women who were actually alive and attractive. It was a pity ghosts couldn't reproduce. Although then she'd have a half-vampire nephew and a half-ghost(?) niece. No, it was probably better to begin looking for women who were thin and frail with a sickly pallor. That was more her brother's type.
#11
"Enough, Elsbeth," August said, as his sister's species-ism went and depleted one of his patience coins.

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#12
"Fine," She bit her lip to keep herself from spewing out everything else she wanted to say about the matter, "What do you want to discuss then?" He'd been the one who had appeared inside her sitting room. Surely he'd done so with a purpose in mind. August never went about things willy-nilly. Well, that wasn't entirely true. She couldn't believe that he had planned to impregnate Lyra. That had to have been an unhappy accident. If he'd just discussed with her the nature of that relationship, she could have taught him a thing or two about contraception.
#13
If she'd shown up at his house, this would have been the end of it. But no, he'd come here, where it was obvious that he was bothered. Stupid. He ought to have gone to Thom's instead, or hunted down Leon - they did not know nearly as much about Lyra, and would not have been able to be nearly as annoying.

"Anything but that," August admitted, though he would much rather have been pulling literal teeth.

#14
Elsbeth gave a dramatic sigh of defeat. Fine. They wouldn't discuss Lyra any longer. This meant that she'd gotten too close to the heart of things, which had made him put up an immediate block. She knew better than to pester him about it. Pestering only made him more annoyed and less likely to divulge anything.

"The Coming Out Ball is in two weeks. I expect you'll be there?" It was phrased as a question out of politeness (and her awareness at his terseness with her), but was really more of a demand. He had to be there. He was getting on in edge and she was getting well and tired of his bachelorhood.
#15
"I guess," August said blearily. That was what people did, wasn't it? They went to the Coming Out Ball, met boring pureblood girls with large dowries, got married, had four or so children, retired to the countryside, and died. This was what awaited him, so long as he was giving up on fighting it - which maybe, finally, he was.

#16
"Good," She pressed her lips together curtly, "We need to go over our list for who you need to talk to when you're there. I've already started one." Elsbeth pulled a folded sheet of parchment out from her bosom, "Young, pureblood, wealthy, passably pretty... any other requirements?" He'd probably want someone who would talk to him about politics and law and other ridiculously frivolous things. If he wanted that, he should marry a man! Women didn't care about such nonsense. It's not like they had a say in any of it anyhow.


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