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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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WANTED:

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.

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Winter Blunderland
#1
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November 17th, 1888 — Hogwarts Courtyard
Paxton Fudge

Winter was beautiful. The days of plucking wet hairs of her sweat-dampened forehead was over, as were the uncomfortable minutes following the dash between the castle and the greenhouses on the way to Herbology. Not to mention that fashion opportunities practically doubled when the first snowfall came; she now wore her Slytherin scarf and an over-sized hair bow that matched. The first snowfall of the year became the chatter of the corridors for a variety of reasons: some complained they were cold, some were excited about the upcoming holidays, while others were more concerned about how long it would be until there was enough snow to make snow owls.

Flora was still concerned about her schoolwork, but had taken the courtyard—flaunting her winter accessories, of course!—rather than confining herself to the dungeons. She sat down on one of the benches surrounded by a small group of friends, only to find that they disappeared one by one, presumably to find food. Or better entertainment, Flora thought gloomily as one of her friends left chattering about a live demonstration by the CoMC professor.

Soon, the only friend left was Paxton Fudge, a fact that left Flora's cheeks pink (at least the weather could account for that). Their friendship was much easier to navigate when they were in a group, and propriety ensured that most of the time. Though a chaperon loomed in the distance, they were alone—no one could hear their every word.

"What is your best subject, anyways?" she asked, mindlessly flipping through her Potions textbook. The instructions and ingredient lists were helpful, but Flora knew the only way to get better at Potions was through practice. "I'm no good at Potions. It always turns the wrong color in the end."




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#2
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Why was the cold a real thing that existed? More importantly, Paxton thought to himself as he sauntered across the courtyard to meet with Flora and Co., why was anybody willingly allowing themselves to go outside in it when there was a perfectly comfortable hall that was actually warm! Or, even better, a common room! He figured that a common room didn’t make much sense seeing as his friends seemed to consist of people from each house.

Once he was seated, Paxton very quickly became aware of his fashion blunder: shorts were definitely not the right attire for this kind of weather. He’d remember that for next time; though at least he had his robe to keep him kind of warm.

His group of friends had decided to have a bit of a study session for their Potions class and if Paxton were to be entirely honest with himself, he found it all rather boring and that fact was evidenced quite obviously when, each time someone mentioned an ingredient or specific potion, the Gryffindor would groan and glare at whoever dared speak about school work on a Saturday. Still, it was nice to have friends.

Until they all abandoned him and left him with Flora.
Flora… It was strange with her. Though he was very loud (obnoxiously so) when in a crowd with her and with friends, every time they seemed to be alone (as much as they could be) together, he felt a knot in his stomach and he found it hard to even look at her – let alone open his mouth! Had she hexed him? Probably. Who knew what girls thought.

Paxton shrugged at her question, “It’s not potions. I hate potions. I’m worse than you.”
And then, as if the textbook had insulted his entire family, Paxton threw it on the bench beside him before he finally turned to actually look at Flora.

“Oh, erm,” and then as if someone had obliviated him, he’d forgotten what he was going to say. How long had she been wearing that bow? Why was it green? Oh right; she was a Slytherin. That made sense then.

“Erm, oh. I think…” Paxton nodded, “I think it’s Charms. I’m good at that,” Paxton’s eyes then drifted forlornly toward the ground for a brief second, “Kind of,” and then he turned back to Flora, “What’s yours?”

He knew the answer. What a stupid question.
He was in practically all of her classes. He knew what she seemed to be good at.
Why was he even asking that?

#3
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Flora grimaced as the textbook hit the ground, but was quick to shield her face with an open book. She only placed the book down when she was confident that all the redness on her face had been replaced by a neutral expression. Both she and Mr. Fudge were blunt, but Flora was more careful with her opinions, whereas Mr. Fudge spoke without reservation. While she admired his ability to speak his mind without concern for what others thought, it often came off as... brash. Aggressive, even. (Fortunately, today's only victim of his criticism was Potions class.)

"I'm sure you're not that awful," she offered comfortingly, resisting the urge to pat his knee as she might with one of her female friends. "At the very least, Professor Valenduris has not dubbed you a safety hazard." Flora rarely made mistakes in class that caught the attention of her classmates, but other students—usually ones who weren't paying close enough attention—found themselves in a cloud of smoke.

It was funny to think of Mr. Fudge doing anything remotely academic; he was so loud and physical that she'd been almost certain that he'd make the Gryffindor quidditch team in September. Seating arrangements in class meant her interaction with him was minimal, and the few times she'd looked at him was when he was being notably loud...

"Charms is nice," she agreed. "I like Herbology. And Transfiguration." Her studies in the latter was fueled by her determination to return Mr. Afton (her pet toad, who she loved dearly) to his human state.




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Paxton scoffed a little at her attempt at complimenting his potions ability. In their last class, Professor Valenduris had tried to get them to brew a basic Cure for Boils potion in one of their first lessons which had just two parts to it and no more than eleven steps. Simple enough to do and only used a few ingredients.

And yet – and yet – Paxton somehow managed to turn the potion into a tar-like sludge that was beyond unfixable before the second part of brewing had even started. So he’d been tasked with simply studying it so the next time he tried it, it would not become tarmac.

“Being a safety hazard is fun though,” Paxton shrugged nonchalantly, “It’s not as boring.”

In his eyes, at least. He’d rather go off on dangerous adventures than sit in a library studying though alas, the availability of adventuring for Paxton in these antique halls was nothing short of, well, unavailable. School sucked sometimes.

Once Paxton had declared that he was good at Charms, Flora seemed to perk up a little and Paxton nodded in agreement. He liked them too. Kind of. Herbology was an odd class for him. He found it mostly boring but seeing the different magical plants and such was quite interesting. Of course, he’d never show his interest.

“Transfiguration is fun. I wish we did more actual transfiguration though,” the young Gryffindor began, “I don’t like studying the formula of it – I want to cast spells. But I suppose you have to learn how to do it before you start trying to tu-”

At that moment, Paxton caught a glimpse of Flora watching – listening – to him intently and his tongue became a twisted knot.

“Erm,” he blushed a little for some reason as yet unknown to him, “I want to – er – just cast spells!” He raised his voice overconfidently in order to detract from the fact that he was actually enjoying studying some classes. He was Paxton Fudge! He couldn’t enjoy school! He had to be a troublemaking good-for-nothing spell-throwing adventurer destined for greatness!

“What, uh, what about Defence Against the Dark Arts? That’s my favourite subject.”

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Flora giggled at his response. Leave it to Paxton Fudge to actively wish for trouble; but after their adventures at the Sanditon Resort during the summer, she was wholly unsurprised. "Being a safety hazard gets you expelled, silly," she replied, lowering her eyes as he caught her gaze. It was much easier holding a jovial conversation with him without meeting his eyes; she didn't have to worry about stuttering or getting all tongue-tied—like him.

"If you think of class as a competition," As a girl who's primary focus was becoming a carbon copy of her mother, Flora refused to have that sort of mindset, but she knew students—girls included—who did. "It's less boring. Besides, I'm sure your education will assist on your future endeavors. What did you plan to do? Become a wealthy inventor?" she teased, catching his eyes once more.

It was a topic that reminded her of their difference in status. She was the only daughter of Ernest and Rufina Mulciber, and he was the youngest son of the Sanditon Resort proprietor, who also happened to be a ghost. They were a strange pair, and only that surely had an expiration date... but Flora didn't want to think about that.

She blinked once more and glanced up at Paxton, surprised to find that he was just looking at her. Silently. No words. She smiled faintly, her cheeks flushing pink, and before she could say anything, he fortunately continued.

"Casting spells is fun," she agreed, almost solemnly. "I wish I could be more skilled at it. I've been practicing, but I'm not a natural by any definition of the word."




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#6
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Paxton could see the logic in what Flora was saying. Being dangerous – a safety hazard – was unacceptable. It was inherently bad though he saw a flaw in what it was she was saying for the simple act that she had said she was a safety hazard and yet here she was; not expelled! He was going to call her out on it but he didn’t want to get into an argument (he knew that if he said anything, she would say that wasn’t what she meant, and he’d have to have proven her wrong. It wouldn’t have ended well for anybody.

As they began talking (if this was what you called a conversation), Paxton scoffed at the suggestion of becoming a wealthy investor. He went to retort with an unamused look spread about his features though the moment their eyes did meet, Paxton was silent. So he did as any normal person would do and simply talk about spells and Defence Against the Dark Arts.

“You’ll get better,” Paxton shrugged a little before turning his gaze to a loose stone on the floor, his sole focus on the little piece of rock. He saw the faint flush of her cheeks a moment ago and it made him feel funny. He wasn’t sure he liked it.

Though, in all honesty, he wasn’t entirely certain he didn’t like it, either.

So for now and for lack of anything else to say without feeling embarrassed or flustered or awkward, Paxton just… stared at the stone with his hands holding the end of the bench they were sat on.

#7
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Every socialite was meant to excel in small chatter, and was perhaps the first time Flora realized that she had a long way to go before she could compare to the conversational eloquence of her mother. She could not find the words to gracefully transition this awkward conversation to something that would see both she and Mr. Fudge bright and cheery once more, and it bothered her. Terribly.

With fair skin and flushed cheeks, Flora sat on the bench like porcelain doll, unmoving as she considered every possible conversation route. The talk of magic—as absurd as it seemed—was boring, and it only led to she and Mr. Fudge putting themselves down, and it didn't appear he was in the mood for jests, however well-meaning.

"I suppose, yes," she said, quietly and without any spirit behind the words. And then—her escape from this boring topic. It came from no where, but it brightened her up almost immediately.

"I'm lucky we won't need to be using our own magic in the Christmas Carol play," she commented. "I'd hardly wish to make a fool of myself the first night—my mother, father, and grandmother will be there!"




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The way Flora had said her next three words had put Paxton into a sort of sad-but-not-really-sad-it-was-more-of-a-bored-but-also-sad kind of mood. He couldn’t quite put his finger onto why he felt bored and sad (but also not at all). He just did. Maybe it was because there wasn’t much stimulating conversation happening and he didn’t really feel up to talking much?

Oh well.
Not every day had to be good.

Or it did.
At least, that’s what it felt like when he noticed a small flicker of joy in Flora’s strangely bright looking eyes. Do you think Merlin had cast a spell to put candles in her eyes so they lit up all the time? It certainly seemed that way sometimes.

“You won’t!” Paxton exclaimed, throwing his hands against his lap, “because I will if I have to do anything and if my father is there – then he will… err…” What could ghosts even do? “Erm,” Paxton’s focus then shifted to the sky as his eyes narrowed in thought, “uhh… I don’t know.” Inquisitively, his gaze then snapped to Flora, “Can ghosts that are not the Hogwarts ghosts enter Hogwarts?”



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