Did you know?

Fern-hunting parties became popular, allowing young women to get outside in a seemingly innocuous pursuit with less rigid oversight and chaperoning than they saw in parlors and drawing rooms. They may have even had the occasional romantic meetup with a similarly fern-impassioned beau. — Bree

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"The Prodigal Sister" for Ophelia Devine. Faked deaths, scandal, and schemes!
Now that he had walked up to them, he couldn't exactly whirl around and get going. That would be rude. And was not, presumably, how straight men seduced their future wives.

Cassius Lestrange in Eyes on the Screen

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The Dozen

Complete a twelve-post thread in which each post has exactly twelve words. At least three posts must be your own.


The Death Of You & I
Running into one another, feelings come flooding back again
You say you've been with many others, but that it never tastes the same
Now you don't know how to feel wiping tears from your eyes
Nothing ever felt so real, since the death of you and I.

June 6th, 1888 — Padmore Park, Hogsmeade
Finally the games were over. If Ursula had known how long they would go on for she would have had thought twice about her plan of action. As it was, she was well past second thoughts. It occurred to her that she could just leave early and cowardly retreat without anyone being the wiser, it wasn't as though she had planned on attending until she realized it would be a perfect segue for her inquiry.

The lady she had been sitting next to for the past hour had eventually given up trying to converse with her and they had fallen into a tense silence while Ursula radiated unease. Was it the long wait to approach him that was making her more agitated than a dog in an electrical storm or was it that she was intentionally approaching him for the first time since they had parted ways? She thought she ought to see it as a mark of progress that she was doing so, that she felt comfortable enough to not only approach him but to request assistance from him as any acquaintance might. Except she didn't feel comfortable doing it at all and she thought that she probably should by now.

For all her dread and reservations, Ursula didn't actually have to do it at all. It was an entirely self-imposed torture she was subjecting herself to and if she dared dwell on it, she'd have to face just how voluntary it was. Yes, she wanted to get Sirius the best broomstick for his birthday so she could guarantee his affection for her before he went off to school, but realistically she could ask anyone about broomsticks. The fact was he had been her first thought as soon as she came to the idea of getting Sirius a broom. Who knew more about brooms than Thom Pettigrew? Broommakers and broom salesmen probably, but she suddenly reasoned that Thom knew Sirius better, that he wouldn't take advantage of her ignorance to sell her something inappropriate, and he probably had better contacts and all sort of secret knowledge. All she wanted was the best for her son.

That was the mantra she kept repeating to herself so she wouldn't have to face the alternative that subconsciously she just wanted an excuse to see him. It was still the first time she'd be approaching him though and the idea that he might read into it terrified and embarrassed her into the jittery mess that she currently was. She both wanted to flee and was terrified that she wouldn't be able to get him alone.

The last game had been over for a good fifteen minutes before Ursula forced herself to actively seek him out. She had reasoned in the interim that he'd probably be busy and it would be worse loitering nearby to catch him alone. To her relief and disappointment she spotted him quickly. Her legs felt clumsy beneath her as she approached and she only hoped her speech wouldn't be so hampered by her unprecedented nerves.

To her horror she accidentally made eye contact with him from a few feet away and, as if on cue, the person he'd been speaking to excused themselves and departed, leaving her unable to make a last minute getaway without it looking highly conspicuous. "Mr. Pettigrew." Her voice seemed to die in her throat as she was forcefully reminded of how it must look to him. She had to cut to the chase, quick. "Might you have a moment?"


Thom was on cloud nine, and had been for most of the day. The earlier luncheon at the Pendergast School had gone off rather well, and Hannah had been in good spirits for the entire event, at least that he had seen. Of course, Quaderash had been his true focus for the day, and even if his wife had begun to flag during the tournament he would have considered it a success if the game had been reasonably well received. It had been that, and more; the crowd had seemed interested, some sales had been made, and several of the top players from the day had been awarded free Quaderash sets, which would hopefully increase the game's popularity and help it spread. Best of all, though, Hannah herself had participated in one of the tournament matches, and in watching his wife two dozen feet above him atop a broomstick, Thom thought he had caught a glimpse for the first time in a long time of the enchanting young woman he'd fallen in love with.

The game having concluded, his first thought was to go and find Hannah to try and impress upon her how thrilled he was with her performance that day (both socially and on the Quaderash field), but he was finding himself detained by well-wisher after well-wisher, and of course he couldn't very well just turn them away at such a crucial promotional moment.

And then, suddenly, there was her. "Mrs. Black," he greeted, eyebrows raising in honest surprise. He hadn't realized she had been among the guests, nor would he have expected her to be. "Of course. Did you enjoy the game?"

He was plainly surprised to see her. Ursula's stomach knotted. Why had she put herself in this position? He was going to assume all sorts probably. How much could he read into the fact that she'd willingly approached him? Far too much. "It was very pleasant." She regretted her hasty choice of words instantly; she'd barely paid any attention at all but 'pleasant' seemed like a poor choice indeed. Now he would think she hadn't thought much of it at all because she ought to have said something more along the lines of 'exciting' or at least 'entertaining'. It took her a moment to remember that she wasn't supposed to be in the business of minding his feelings anymore and that any offense he might decide to take could only be a good thing as it would widen the chasm between them.

"It's quite ingenious." The compliment sounded gratuitous once it was spoken and she regretted it even more than the unintentional nonchalance she had unwisely been trying to make up for. Ursula's eyes glazed over a little as she internally seethed at her sudden and very obvious loss of social grace, as well as the fragile state of her composure. Would that she could get her hands on a time turner and prevent herself from attending at all.

Realizing that she'd been staring vacantly at his right ear for a couple seconds longer than could be called normal, she forced herself back into action. "Broomstick." ...Was not the first word that was supposed to come out of her mouth. She didn't need a mirror to know that her face was rapidly changing color. What an inarticulate idiot she was making herself look! "Y-You know a great deal about broomsticks." Rather than a statement, it was supposed to be a polite question to steer the conversation to its intended destination but now she sounded even more foolish and what had become of that mythical thing called composure. Ursula fixed her gaze upon a random patch of grass over his shoulder and prayed for her sudden and painless death.


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