Did you know?

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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Post at least once with the same character every day for a month.


Bridge Over Troubled Water
11th November, 1887 — The Painted Lady
Mason Skeeter
The change in her appearance since the last time she had seen her son was causing her so much worry that Morwenna knew it was only making her look worse. The loss of weight she could do very little to hide, beyond hoping that her son’s observational skills would not turn on her too closely, but she looked tired, haggard, older than ever before and being anxious to boot would not soften any of that. She had tried to combat her own deterioration but there seemed to be precious little she could do – even sleeping all the hours she had free didn’t seem to make her any less exhausted and food turned her stomach more often than not. It truly was a shit state of affairs and she didn’t know what to do about it.

She took a deep breath and sipped her tea sparingly as she waited for him. The Painted Lady had the advantage of being slightly dim at least and she was grateful for that. Anything that might take the edge off was a benefit at this point and she was only glad that the Hogsmeade weekend this month was not so close to the full moon that she looked, if possible, even worse. She rather suspected her colleagues at the Ministry were wondering how much longer she could last given that she was ill more often than she was not.

The bell over the door caught her attention, breaking her out of her morose thoughts, and she spotted her son coming through the door, looking younger and brighter than she could possibly imagine and Morwenna broke into a wide smile at the sight of him. Getting to her feet she called him over and immediately gripped hold of his arms, leaning up to kiss him on the cheek.

“Hello darling, you look well,” and he did. He always did and she felt a weight lift in her chest at the very sight of him. "How have you been?”

[Image: Morwenna_SIG_by_Bee.png]
bury me with this Bee set
Mason tried to see his mother as often as he could. With it just being the two of them, he made the effort as best he could. It was hard however, even though they lived so close, he was hardly always available. Visits to town made it a bit easier than escaping the grounds by asking the Headmaster to let him out, however he always felt guilty when she had to reach out to remind him to visit. Today was odd, usually he went home to see her, but he supposed the tea room was easier and closer. He could have students to keep an eye on at the same time and not shirk his chaperoning duties.

As he entered the unfamiliar shop, Mason was overwhelmed by how out of place he felt, but didn't even have time to try and look for his mother on his own as she was calling his name. It was a shock to say the least. Had he been allowed to look on his own he wasn't so sure he would have recognized her. Mason nearly balked when she grabbed him, but no it was most certainly her, or a shadow of her, he supposed. "Mother," He started, taking the seat beside her at the table. "I've been well." He didn't want to up and ask, but he was dying to know what was wrong. Mason has not always the most observant person, but this was hard to miss.

"And you? Are you well?" Merlin he hoped she was honest with him. He was on edge now and trying not to show it.

Being, as she was, perhaps the furthest she could possibly be from well without actually being dead Morwenna was at a loss for words as they took their seats and her son questioned her as she knew he would do. Why hadn’t she thought this through and prepared an excuse for her appearance? At work they saw her every day so the changes had been slow enough that nobody had really noticed, other than her secretary – Louisa, dear girl, who looked at her as though she was in imminent danger of keeling over almost every day – but after so much time apart…

Perhaps this had been a selfish idea after all? Mason shouldn’t be worrying about her and she could see immediately that he had inevitably spotted the change in her.

“I’ve been feeling a tad under the weather of late,” she lied as smoothly as she could, opining that she was at least being partially truthful even if she was grossly understating both the length of time and quite how bad it had become. She would adjust eventually, of that much she was sure having seen the eventual levelling off of the registered werewolves who dutifully came to the Ministry once a month. None of them seemed to be getting worse – they were hardly getting better, but that was not worth dwelling upon – so she was clinging to the hope that eventually she might regain her strength again.

“It’s nothing to worry about darling,” she added, hearing herself quite how unconvincing she sounded, and, frustratingly, how feeble she sounded compared to the woman she had been only months before. Underneath the table she gripped the head of her walking stick in disdain, a swell of loathing for it rising inside her as she dug moon-shaped grooves into the wood in a pale attempt at vengeance. “Just with everything up in the air at the Ministry and Flint barely doing anything about the, well…the troubles at the moment, it’s been rather a trying time.”

[Image: Morwenna_SIG_by_Bee.png]
bury me with this Bee set
Mason was wholly unconvinced by his mother's assurances. He nodded as she spoke, a feeble attempt at a reassuring smile gracing his features, though he was probably lacking in conviction on that front. She looked a little more than under the weather. Mason hated to say it, but she looked horrid, ill, and for the first time since his youth and his father's death, Mason came face to face with the reality that his mother might not outlive him. It was a childish notion really, to believe that he would not have to deal with her death one day, but Morwenna Skeeter had always been tough and resilient, so much so that Mason often thought she would live beyond him out of pure tenacity. Apparently, though he obviously did not know exactly what was wrong, the laid back visit he'd planned to have with his mother was not in the cards for today.

"Are you sleeping well?" Mason took in all of what she was saying, trying to process it and wrap his mind around it, but if he were being truthful, he didn't exactly know what troubles to which his mother was referring. He was woefully out of touch with most of the issues going on around the world outside of the school. There was plenty to worry about on school grounds, he didn't have too much extra time to spare thoughts on the rest of the world's problems. Sad as is sounded, life was much easier that way. "What's been going on?" He asked, prepared to offer help if he could, though Mason knew that if it was related to her work, he'd be practically useless. He would however, be starting to make more of an effort to come home and see her. Checking up on her was now officially on his agenda.

Her own physical deterioration she could cope with. The monthly agonies of transformation and then the after-effects of the same: the deep bites and scratches she had inflicted upon herself whilst she was under the control of the moon’s whims and the raw, bloody marks on her wrists that stung long after the moon had waned she could treat with salves and grit her teeth against. Even the fear of discovery that plagues her daily, that sometimes made her feel like her every moment at the Ministry was an ever-thinning tightrope walk whilst somebody threw knives at her, was a struggle she could just about endure. But the concern on her son’s face, the evident fact that he knew she was lying to him and he did not understand why… that was something that would trouble her in the middle of the night as she failed to sleep for days to come and she already knew it.

But if she told him the truth… told him… no, she couldn’t, simply couldn't live with herself if she inflicted that burden upon him. Since Edison had died she had tried her best to keep trouble from their door and, to a reasonable extent, she felt as though she had succeeded thus far. Other than the loss of his father she had prided herself on raising Mason without fuss, turning out a clever, level-headed son who understood that a calm and steady life was far from the worst thing in the world. And now she could potentially disrupt all of that because she had been foolish and arrogant in her ambition. Telling the tale of what had led her to being a werewolf would almost have been worse than telling him the fact itself!

“You do lead a sheltered life in the castle if you don’t know about the election dear,” she said with a twitch of her lips, almost back to herself when her eyes danced with amusement and fond mockery. “The Ministry is full of it at the moment. And…well,” she gripped her stick again, this time for support as she kept her voice as level as possible. “If it isn’t the election it’s werewolves, so with Flint running it has left me with rather a lot of work and little time for sleep. Nothing to worry about though,” she said emphatically, reaching across the table to take his hand, highly aware that her fingers were freezing and not having anticipated circulatory issues as being part of the great horror of her newfound status. “It isn’t your job to worry about me.”

[Image: Morwenna_SIG_by_Bee.png]
bury me with this Bee set
Mason nodded along with pursed lips to his mother's explanation, but wasn't sure she was being completely truthful with him. There was no way for him to really question her thought without either upsetting her or provoking her, neither of which he really wanted to do here. He rarely needed to tread carefully around his mother, but something here was just off enough for him to want to back off. He'd certainly be keeping a closer eye on her, that was for certain.

"I'm very well well aware of the election, I'm not that much of a recluse." He read the paper like once a week, that had to count for something! He was also well aware of his mother's feelings on her boss and they were not all that positive. "And the department is lucky to have you." That was a given. While he wouldn't care to see Flint elected, he would like for his mother to get the recognition she deserved.

"Perhaps we should take a short holiday during the winter recess. Go somewhere warm for a few days." He could use that himself. Though he enjoyed job immensely, he rarely felt like he had a lot of downtime between grading, planning, maintaining the greenhouses and everything else.

The concern in his voice cut her to the core and Morwenna could have burst into tears at the very thought of him worrying about her. She had brought this upon him – had been reckless with her own safety and now her son was left worrying about her without even knowing what he was worrying about. But if she were to tell him the truth would it make matters better or worse?

Could they be much worse than they currently were?

“A few days would be delightful,” she said with a warm smile, reaching across the table to take his hand gently. “I know I don’t look well darling but please don’t worry about me. It’s just…” She couldn’t, she just couldn’t. One question would lead to another and it would spiral into the whole miserable story and if the worst happened at least no one could claim he was complicit in her deceit.

“Just my time of life I’m afraid.”

If nothing else, at least she could embarrass him out of worrying!

“And you-know-who doesn’t make things easier at work.”

[Image: Morwenna_SIG_by_Bee.png]
bury me with this Bee set
Mason was already thinking ahead to see if he could take a few days after Christmas, before the students returned for the term. Typically he stayed at the school during the holiday, as he was young and single with no children at home to go see. He only thought it fair that he stay so that his co-workers could go home to their families instead of him, but perhaps this year he would take the time off.

Momentarily distracted by her quip about her least favorite co-worker, Mason had to actively suppress a snort of derision. He was saved by the arrival of their snacks as it gave him time to try and compose himself. His mother was a formidable woman, even in her current state; he definitely had learned from a  young age not to test her. Mason could only assume her co-workers did the same. The man in question seemed to irk her the most however.

"Your life wouldn't be nearly as exciting if he did." Mason was not about to let the topic if her health slide so easily, but he also was not about to lecture her on it either. What was a boy to do when his mother insisted she was fine?

It was on the tip of her tongue to say that additional excitement was the very last thing she needed in her life at the moment but it would inevitably lead to questions she did not want to ask. Merlin, it felt as though everything fitted into that category at the moment! Perhaps one day things would not be quite so difficult?

Yes, and pigs would fly and a werewolf would be Minister!

“My life would be considerably more restful if he did. He’s an obsequious little toad and the sooner he moves on the better,” she said, spirit revived with the usual spite flowing through her veins. It really was amazing quite how much irritation gave her life.

“If we do go away for a few days then having to do some actual work might be a great enough shock to his system that he has to retire on medical grounds.”

[Image: Morwenna_SIG_by_Bee.png]
bury me with this Bee set
"All well, that would settle that then." Mason chuckled, relieved to see a little bit of his mother's usual fire in her eyes. She really did deserve the promotion and Mason was sure she would get it, one way or another...

He still wasn't convinced that work was causing her to look so unlike herself, but Mason was not about to question her any further. It wasn't as if he had any real reason to question her, other than intuition and that wasn't even enough. She'd tell him if she wanted to. In the meantime he would worry like any good son should.

"More tea?" He offered as he moved to fill his own cup. Perhaps this would be a good time for him to make a better effort to get home more often. Certainly the Headmaster would understand... or well, maybe not, but it would be worth a shot, he supposed. At the very least, he would be looking into taking a short holiday over the Christmas break.

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