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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 3+ times in three or more class threads during the course of a school year. Must all be done with the same character, be they a professor, student, or school portrait or ghost!
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Cities in Dust
#1
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October 8th, 1888 — The Museum of Magical Miscelleny
@Timothy Ainsworth

The day of the meeting with Mr. Ainsworth was upon him before Thaddeus knew it, and he felt woefully unprepared despite all evidence to the contrary. He was staring critically at his desk, which was covered in a variety of leather-bound notebooks. One in particular was jammed so full of notes and other miscellany that it could just barely be tied shut; it held the bulk of Thaddeus's research notes.

How to best explain months worth of research in a way that wasn't entirely rambling gibberish? Thaddeus was pondering this conundrum as he fished in his desk drawer for the small shaving mirror he kept for such occasions and propped it up on a stack of books so he could set himself to rights. An attempt had been made on his part to look halfway decent: Thaddeus wore a nicely tailored grey suit with a blue striped waistcoat, and had made sure everything was freshly pressed.

Maybe the fact was that he was too prepared, and that was the issue. The anxiety of waiting was an ever-preset itch under his skin, and Thaddeus paced aimlessly in front of the window after stashing the mirror. He pointedly did not look at his watch, though he wanted to; what good did watching the minutes tick by do?

After what felt like forever, a knock sounded at the door and Thaddeus felt his stomach lurch with familiar nerves. Clearing his throat, he crossed to the door and straightened up to his full height before opening it and ushering Timothy inside with a polite, "Mr. Ainsworth, how good to see you." He offered Timothy a hand to shake in greeting, firm but politely so. "Please have a seat, if you would."

Clearing his throat, Thaddeus began tentatively -- he knew a little of Mr. Ainsworth, given that they had both been in Ravenclaw for a few overlapping years, but not much to be overwhelmingly familiar with him. At least he knew that Timothy ran in similar academic circles; it gave Thaddeus hope that his request for academic criticism wouldn't seem too crazy.

"I have been doing a lot of reading on Egyptology, both magical and Muggle schools of thought. I think the public generally likes our collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts here, but that we need to have an exhibit that reflects the newest scholarship." Thaddeus added after a moment, "Plus it couldn't hurt museum attendance that the fog was caused by an Ancient Egyptian artifact--now might be the time to capitalize on that interest."


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#2
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Timothy was somewhat looking forward to seeing what Mister Davies had to share with him and how he could help with it. He had a thing about being panctual, especially for things such as this. Arriving at the museum, he was directed to the office of Mister Davies and he knocked on the door. "Mister Davies, good to see you are well," Timothy said as he shook the other mans hand.

At the offer of a seat, Timothy took it, his attention on the other man. Egyptology. It made Timothy recall that horrible ordeal that came with the fog and going on the Irvingly expedition. The other man had also been a part of it but in another group, if he remembered correctly. "I rather heard enough of the fog," he couldn't help but say a little grumpily. "I suppose you're right that in time interest will be there but people might be wary. Being trapped and without magic was not the highlight of anyones summer."


#3
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Thaddeus sat back in his seat, one hand fussing with a bit of loose paper for a moment before stilling, watching Timothy with genuine interest. He remembered a little of Timothy from school--a stereotypical Ravenclaw much like himself, but far more taciturn that Thaddeus could ever hope to be. Perhaps that was a biased judgment, since Thaddeus presented himself as buttoned up to the average person too, but then again, Thaddeus had only ever known Timothy to be unerringly studious to the point of stodginess.  

It was odd, Thaddeus considered, to be so grumpy and yet so young. Timothy was only slightly younger than him, but Thaddeus felt far older than his own years, worn down by hardship. Even Thaddeus, who was notoriously bad at fashion, had to admit that Timothy cut a fine figure by any person's standards: suit cut to the most fashionable trends and accentuating his lean, very tall figure. Perhaps he had made a mistake in asking for an opinion, and for a brief second Thaddeus considered washing his hands of everything entirely.

Raising an eyebrow in carefully conveyed amusement, Thaddeus quipped, "Witch Weekly certainly did not suffer for readership, fog notwithstanding." He was not about to let a little grumpiness get under his skin. If anything, the magazine's readership had probably increased as people sought out explanations for the fog's sudden appearance. "I think you would agree that the greatest struggle we face as academics is how to make our studies accessible to others, Mr. Ainsworth. Far be it from me to not take the chances we've been given to make things relevant to the modern-day visitor."

He pulled at the piece of loose paper he had been messing with earlier, tugging it free from the larger sketchbook and laying it out on the desk. "I had an idea for an updated exhibit that would tie together the Egyptology mania and the need for the general public to be entertained." It was a sketch of a temple, with priests magicking amulets using ivory wands. "Charmed mannequins, if you will, that would demonstrate the various things we know about Ancient Egyptian life and magic use. They would accompany our existing collection of artifacts."


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#4
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"I wouldn't trust Witch Weekly for any sort of valuable explanation," Timothy stated. The rag was well known for making up outlandish lies about people, potions and a whole variety of things. "Witch Weekly is nothing compared to a prestigious place like your museum so it is hardly right to compare the two." Was he slightly judging the man for bringing up that gossip rag? Maybe. But the man did have a point.

"Maybe we should come up with our own magazine," he said, mostly serious and partly joking. He did have that muggle press machine stored away somewhere. Coming next to the man as he presented a piece of paper, Timothy turned it towards himself for a better look. His mind already whirring with ideas as soon as he took it in. "Do you have wine or tea, Mister Davies? I think we have a lot to talk about this afternoon," he murmured, his fingers already itching to add in his own ideas and minor adjustments.

"Yes, yes, that would work. I also have this projector that I've fiddled with," not strictly legal but Timothy had his ways around that little hiccup. "That could also be utilized."


#5
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"No valuable explanations, yes, of course," Thaddeus ceded, making a note to burn whatever copies of the 'rag' he still had squirreled away at home. The fog had been so exceedingly boring he had been forced into reading it (at least that was his excuse should he ever be pressed!), and he still had copies in untidy piles in his study. "I meant only that one ought to study their tactics."

Thaddeus watched Mr. Ainsworth carefully, like he was trying to discern if he was teasing him or being sincere with this magazine proposition. It was mostly so Thaddeus wouldn't get his own hopes up, but the lurch of excited, giddy fervor had already happened -- to try and tamp it back down behind his typical calm facade would be nearly impossible. Thaddeus found that more importantly he didn't want to; he wanted to embrace the fervor of inspiration until it drove him to dreamless exhaustion, because at least this was a feeling he could control.

"And what would such a magazine publish?" Thaddeus queried, reaching into the depth of the lowest cabinet for a nearly full bottle of gin and two glasses. It was too early for such strong drink, but it was what he had at hand--the remnants of his seclusion after his wife's passing. A frown crossed Thaddeus's face as he looked at the bottle, and he got to his feet, murmuring, "Please, do sit down." He indicated his own chair with a flick of his wrist and reached inside a top desk drawer to extract blank sheets of paper and pencils, which he placed on the desk top. "Peruse at your leisure, Mr. Ainsworth. I will return momentarily."

Thaddeus slipped out quietly, making for the makeshift kitchen area in the back of museum. He returned with a wooden tray laden with a teapot, two mismatched cups and saucers, and the cream and sugar bowls. Setting the tray down gingerly on top of a low bookshelf, he poured a cup of tea for Timothy and himself. "I like my tea strong, I'm afraid," Thaddeus said, grinning. "Cream or sugar?" After adding in any requests, he passed the teacup to Timothy.

"I am sorry if it is hard to read," he began apologetically, but Thaddeus' handwriting was neat. It was more the sheer volume of notes, crammed in margins and between drawings, that made it hard to read. "What are you thinking, Mr. Ainsworth?"


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#6
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"Perhaps. They do take in quite a bit of the more feminine demographic." Timothy definitely wouldn't be surprised if a few men also read the magazine. Not that he held much good opinion on anyone who was easily taken in by the rag. Then again, he also didn't hold a good opinion on most individuals. He really was a bit of an ornery old man in some aspects.

"Academic features. Our own theories about a variety of things. Make our knowledge more accessible to the public that possibly can't trek to the museum. Things like that," Timothy said. He had known many of his Working Class peers to be quite brilliantly minded but simply unable to afford to spend years at the school when they had families to support. It was quite unfair.

Timothy absentmindedly nodded his approval of the gin, already having quite forgotten what time of day it was. His mind was on more interesting things than the time. He settled into the seat that he was presented and eagerly thumbed through the information that Mister Davies was being so kind as to share with him. As a fellow academic and an inventor as well, Timothy knew quite well how selective a person could be.

"That is quite fine," he murmured when Mister Davies said that he liked his tea strong. A nice jolt of caffeine was never amiss. "Cream, please," he murmured absently, eyes still on the papers before looking up take the tea cup. "Oh do not apologize. It is all quite fascinating to read. I think you have a brilliant mind, Mister Davies and I am glad you thought of me." This was going to be an exciting project to work on, Timothy could feel it deep in his bones.


#7
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Thaddeus had just doctored his own teacup and turned to find a seat when Timothy spoke of how fascinating he found his notes. The teacup and saucer shook gently as his hand trembled and his face turned a mottled shade of pink -- Thaddeus was all of a sudden at a loss for words. It wasn't necessarily that he had never been told he was smart before, since that was practically a requirement to being Sorted into Ravenclaw, but it was rare to be told as such by a peer. Academia had a tendency to be rather cutthroat, and so Thaddeus took any compliments with a healthy grain of salt.

He remembered to breathe again and cleared his throat awkwardly, placing the shaking teacup down on a clear patch of desk, still quite unable to look at Timothy as he settled into a chair. The difference with Mr. Ainsworth was that he was too blatantly honest to say anything that was untrue; Thaddeus knew enough about Timothy to know that sometimes this tended to go awry in their shared academic circles, but it was something that Thaddeus appreciated.

"You flatter me," Thaddeus managed at length, still flushed but otherwise recovering from his earlier shock. "Either that or you are deflecting attention away from your own prodigious intellectual acumen, Mr. Ainsworth." Thaddeus couldn't help the faint grin that tugged at the corners of his mouth as he added, "Or you want something from me. Perhaps it's both?" Thaddeus took a sip of tea and shrugged, fixing Timothy with a look that was clearly amused, even if his tone was evenly nonchalant."There's truly no other reason for such praise."


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#8
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Thankfully for most of Thaddeus's dignity, Timothy's focus was on the notes and now on how pink Thaddeus had turned. As it was, Timothy was the sort to give credit where it was due. He wasn't a part of the academic world for his own ego but to quench his insatiable thirst and hunger for knowledge. For new curiosities, new creations. And Thaddeus Davies seemed to have a plethora of things for him to devour.

The shaking, however, he did notice and finally looked up at the man in mild curiosity. The man seemed to be unable to look at him which piqued his curiosity even more. Was the man the shy sort? How adorable.

"I only speak truth," Timothy said, amused somewhat by the mans words. Inwardly, he was mildly flustered but kept his usual stoic visage. Was he being flirted with? Timothy had been around long enough that he felt like there was a bit of that tone there but it was also just as likely not to be the case. "What I want from you, Mister Davies, is to let me be a part of this," he said, an actual slight smile on his lips as he indicated the papers.


#9
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It wasn't necessarily that Thaddeus was shy, but insecure -- he found it hard to believe that he was worthy of such praise, and was quick to wave it off as a result. Faced with Timothy's honesty, he was flustered and uncertain, but there was a frisson of pleasure that came along too -- Timothy meant what he said, and Thaddeus couldn't help but be flattered.

It certainly didn't help matters that Timothy was attractive in a bookish, ink-stained sort of way. Thaddeus felt his stomach flip nervously at Timothy's slight smile; it made him want to see a real smile, want to coax Timothy into laughing, just to catalog the many expressions he could find. He wanted, in that moment, to open Timothy like a book and discover all the secrets hidden inside.

Instead, he took a sip of tea to ease his parched throat and met Timothy's eye. "Ask, and it shall be given you," he countered, a wry smirk stealing across his face. "Unless you ask to include sensational, unfounded drivel in our exhibit, and then I simply must put my foot down." Thaddeus laughed amiably. "Ask for anything else you like -- I fully believe in collaborative partnership, not creative tyranny."

"Tell me more about this projector. Is it based on the Muggle Magic Lantern?"


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#10
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Timothy actually chuckled at the idea of himself trying to include unfounded drivel. Sensational was great if there was a foundation that it was built on to support it. Not so much if it was just coming out of some conspiracy theorists mind. Not that he wasn't guilty of his own conspiracy theories but he always got them off of actual information that meant something.

"It is. I found what the muggles had managed to create and fiddled with it so that it would work with our own type of photographs and portraits. Ours move while theirs stays still so I wondered how their little invention would work with our type of photos. The result was quite fascinating."




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