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First names were most often used by childhood or school friends. If the friendship was made after school age, first names would only really be used by women. Men were far more likely to refer to their friends by their surnames, a mark of familiarity. — Documentation

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Emilia Wright for Jude Wright. Casually alienating offspring since 18882.
Separating was also not a great idea, though they weren't doing great at staying together anyway. If she were to volunteer to be the human sacrifice.. well... Hogsmeade had plenty of debutantes anyway...

Barnabas Skeeter in CYOA: Group D

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Complete threads set in ten different forum locations. Threads must have at least ten posts, and three must be your own. Character accounts cannot be combined.


Break A Leg
May 17, 1888 — Auror Office, Ministry of Magic
Theodore Gallivan

If it wasn't enough that aurors were responsible for tracking criminals and stopping crime, they were also responsible for the children who had enough nerve in them to apply for the auror training program. While he always publicly rooted for members of the program to complete the program without having to leave or reapply, he privately found it very amusing when a student found themselves facing expulsion because of errors he'd seen again and again.

Fortunately, not all the students in the program were useless — one such case was of Mr. Theodore Gallivan, a former Ravenclaw and a second year. Out of all the houses, he'd felt that Ravenclaws (at least per their stereotypes) were the least inclined to succeed in the program. Hufflepuffs, while often thought of as soft, had their determination and loyalty; Slytherins were cunning and knew how to protect themselves; and Gryffindors were by some accounts the best suited for the role. Ravenclaws, on the other hand, were bookish and self-interested — right?

Not in every case, but there were always those unlucky sods who did nothing to combat the stereotypes of their houses. Mr. Gallivan was an exception, and as such he'd found no issue pairing with the boy for a joint training exercise.

When the training was completed, Edric passed a towel to the auror-in-training.

"Think you're ready for third year, yet?" he asked with a questioning quirk of his brow. "Field tests may be through for the year, but that doesn't mean it gets easier."

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“I wouldn’t expect it to,” Theodore replied wryly, taking the towel with a grateful huff of laughter.

Today had gone well enough, he thought, but on the whole? The whole two years had been entirely taxing - anxiety-inducing, almost - and if it didn’t ever get any easier, how would he get through it? He hadn’t failed anything outright yet - hadn’t slipped up too much - but he also didn’t think he’d ever been less relaxed in his life. (Not that he’d admit it, but he was quite relieved to have made it to summer and the time off to recover.)

He mopped his face and the back of his neck with the towel, glancing over at Umbridge. “I’m not sure,” Theo answered, not sure it was the Auror way to sound lacking in confidence; but after the exhaustion of the training exercise, he didn’t have the energy left for false bravado. “Did you feel ready, before your third year?” Umbridge was a skilled Auror, that was for certain, but whether he’d always been innately suited or had just learned it along the way, Theodore didn’t know.

Edric had never been notably pessimistic, but some had called him a cynic over the years, especially on certain matters. Luckily, neither of those traits applied to his job; it was one of the few things he'd gained complete confidence in over the years, even if some of his coworkers were inclined to tease him for his unusual strategies.

His youth had been a different story, though, and it wasn't one he remembered an immense amount of details about, either. His struggles during the training program had been more people-oriented than academic-oriented, as he'd had troubles controlling his temper — and mouth — during the earlier years.

"I felt ready," he confirmed, "—especially knowing what the alternative was." He'd never been a child that dreamed of growing up and becoming a crime-fighter, but he'd never discounted the thought either; he'd taken as many NEWT courses as possible at Hogwarts on the off chance that he did choose the career path.

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Especially knowing the alternative, huh.

"The alternative? What, imminent failure and dropping out?" Fear of that result was the alternative - possibly the only thing at all - propelling Theodore forwards in this programme at all. Of course, he wasn't necessarily sure that was what Umbridge actually meant; perhaps Umbridge had had other career paths in mind to take up if the Auror training hadn't taken. Theo peered at him pensively, trying to guess what else the man might've been. Something still in the Ministry was about all he could picture. The man seemed intelligent, and capable, and to-the-point; he probably didn't have the bedside manners of a healer or anything, but.

What would Theo do, if he dropped out - or failed out - anyway? His father would probably be overjoyed if he went into quidditch after all, even if he did so coming home with his tail between his legs. Anything else, though - it would feel awful, look awful, to throw out two whole years of training for nothing, wouldn't it?

Failure aside, Edric had been given a direct alternative to the auror training program — one he'd be undoubtedly expected to pursue in the event he'd failed. "My father," he began, casting a smile in Gallivan's direction, "runs factories across the Isles. Muggle ones, magical ones — and I'm set to inherit the business one day." He'd spent the year after graduation learning the the ropes of the business, and it was the most boring thing he'd ever experienced.

Edric leaned forward, his smile spreading across his lips.

"And let me tell you: I have no interest in spending my life cooped up in an office signing contracts."

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Factories did sound like a far cry from an Auror’s life; he could not quite picture Mr. Umbridge as the proprietor of them - or, well, he could, but it would be an entirely different version of Mr. Umbridge.

“I see,” he said, feigning a sympathetic grimace. “I get why you picked this career.” Secretly, Theo didn’t hate the idea of signing contracts. He’d always been an active person, so on the one hand, it sounded tremendously dull, but he also assumed there was still some use of brains required in business, in order to calculate the risks of signing anything. But something like that, after all this training, would feel like a cop-out. A waste. Something close to failure, really.

“My father’s very into Quidditch,” Theodore admitted in turn, with a lopsided grin, “so I suppose it could be worse.”

Quidditch, perhaps, was the only thing worse than signing contracts. While stardom and attention—female attention—may have seemed desirable for young men with few other prospects, nothing could be worse than being in the limelight. Edric preferred an active job, but an important one, and quidditch was far from that. Would it matter, ten or twenty years from now, if Puddlemere beat Kenmare? Or even if Britain won the Quidditch World Cup?

"Becoming an auror is definitely more meaningful than that," he confirmed without further questioning. He was positive that the elder Mr. Gallivan was a qudditch sponsor, though knew little more of him than that. He'd never had, nor did he ever expect himself to have, an interest in society functions and parties for any purpose other than maintaining appearances—which meant a quidditch party was one he'd never had the displeasure of attending.

"What made you apply for the training program? Deeply-held sense of justice? Desire for an active career? Society's glamorization of us?" he asked, somewhat teasing, especially with his last question.

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Mm, Auror Umbridge did not seem the sort to be especially interested in Quidditch. Not that Theodore hadn't seriously considered quidditch - and probably would have even if his father didn't have the connections he did - as a career, but... it had seemed temporary, somehow. Like it'd be over, and he'd have nothing to show for it. His family was comfortable enough, so he wouldn't go so far as to say he worried about money, but being an Auror had felt like a better step towards independence.

(He hadn't forgotten being impaled on his own broom, either. One injury -

Not that Auror training was any less perilous, from that perspective.

Was that what he was afraid of?)

"Oh, a bit of all of that, I'd say," Theodore admitted, not entirely joking. It was active, but it was meaningful at the same time. "I wanted a challenge," he offered easily enough; "something that'd make a difference." He'd been Head Boy, too: maybe that was what had propelled him into feeling like he had something to prove.

"Not sure why anyone in their right mind could possibly glamorise this, though," he said with a laugh and a roll of his eyes, making another gesture to mop the sweat off his brow - "since I haven't caught any dark wizards yet, I just feel like I've spent the last two years dead on my feet!" (He wasn't an idiot; he hadn't been expecting anything different. Maybe he wished all this training could feel more rewarding but... there was always third year. Third year might not be easier, but maybe it would be different.)

A challenge. It was a reason many pursued the career, though many who did it for solely that reason found that the challenge was one they could not succeed at. Making a difference was a much broader reason, but still admirable, though many with that desire could find purpose in less dangerous careers. Fortunately, Mr. Gallivan's Hogwarts resume—combined with performance in the auror-training-program thus far—suggested that he wasn't one who would find himself flat on his arse at the end of the year, even with his apparent uncertainty.

"One might argue that it is the aurors that perpetuate the glamorization the most," he mused. "It's hard to endure three years of little pay and harsh training and not convince yourself that you're the best of the best. That's why the other departments say we're a bunch of stuck-up prats," he explained with a grin. He didn't consider himself overly-confident; he knew his limits and he knew what he was good at. Unlike the horde of stereotypical Gryffindors that burst through the doors wishing to be aurors, he had little desire to die a heroic death, even if it meant having a goddamn statue of himself erected in the atrium.

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Theodore nodded thoughtfully at Mr. Umbridge's reasoning. It made sense - three years of relentlessly trying to prove yourself, no wonder they'd want to be proud of their accomplishments. Because the alternative... Theodore chewed on his tongue, the alternative - even if he chose to leave, never mind dropping out - was looking like a failure and a fool. A total weakling, who hadn't been able to hack the programme.

Was that shame worse than running on anxiety and reluctance for the rest of his career? He didn't even want to think about it.

So he took the lighter track, and barked out a laugh at what the other departments thought. He expected he ought to assure Mr. Umbridge, as a dutiful trainee, that no of course that wasn't what the rest of the Ministry thought - but Umbridge didn't seem offended by it, joke or not. "A fine line between fame and infamy," Theo agreed, as straight-faced as he could manage in the circumstances, as if fame was indeed why they were here, and why the rest of the Ministry might resent the deparment. "I suppose they're just all jealous?" He joked, quietly celebrating the fact that at least, in spite of how else he felt about the programme, he was managing to get along alright with his superiors?
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   Eldin Bones

Edric gave a non-committal shrug. One wrong move. he supposed, could turn any auror into an Argus Scrimgeour, while any right move could see them printed in the history books. The third possibility - the most common one - was that one would serve a good ten, twenty, or even thirty years (if they didn't manage to get maimed in that length of time) on the force before retiring to work menial desk jobs or the training programs. Some went on to climb the latter in the department, others turned to investigative work, and a small number used their positions to jump-start a career into diplomacy. Even at nearly forty, Edric had yet to decide his next move.

"Some might be, I suppose," he said, a hint of a smile on his lips. "There's a fair few who try the auror training program but ultimately find themselves somewhere else in the Ministry - be it from dropping out or failing to find a mentor." Like the lawyer Byrne, who always gave him a nasty side-eye when in the law offices. "Speaking of which," he continued, "have you yet managed to secure one yourself?"

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Theo tried not to make his sudden swallow audible - his expression, at least, did not falter - but Mr. Umbridge had just scraped at the surfaces of all his fears, there. Dropping out. Why did there have to be shame in the thought? It happened, didn't it? Of course it happened.

But, however much he hated this... all the same, he didn't want it to happen to him.

"Nothing set in stone," Theodore answered, clearing his throat earnestly. He'd prodded at the issue here and there, thought Sterling would probably take him if he asked - but now field tests were done and time was running out. (That would be a way to get himself booted, now wouldn't it? Just by doing nothing, letting time slip by, and then -) With a little more vigour, he forced himself to ask: "Are you taking on any trainees this year?" Was that enough hint?

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