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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 ( Submit your own)
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Brigit Langley for Fletcher Langley.
The Matchmaking Menace
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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Tongue-Tripping
#1
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March 10th, 1889 — Hogsmeade Hospital recovery room

Alfred had just gotten rid of the bad luck in his flat the previous day, but it seemed it had followed him out into the streets — on a seemingly mundane shopping trip that afternoon, he'd been knocked down by a runaway horse and broken his arm in three places. The healers at the hospital had been able to set it up just fine, but with such a complicated break he was advised that it would take a few hours for the spells to knit his bones back together — which meant he'd been stuck in a room of the hospital to wait it out, after being given quite a generous dose of some sort of pain potion. He was feeling a little lightheaded, but since he wasn't supposed to do anything except sit down in the bed with his arm splinted, he supposed that wasn't a problem. He was also feeling a little... foggy, for lack of a better term. As though he wasn't quite there.

He had to ask the mediwitch who came in to the room to repeat her introduction, as he'd missed it the first time, but when he did get a chance to actually process her name he brightened immediately. "Miss Fisk," he said with a smile (missing entirely that she had said Mrs. Fisk and that she was obviously pregnant, at least for the moment). "I know your — sister, maybe, or cousin? I'm not sure. Miss Zelda?" The Fisk family was a large one, that much he knew, but aside from Zelda and the Fisks that he had been at school with, he wasn't sure exactly how large, or in which directions it extended. He wasn't even really sure if all of the other Fisks he knew were Zelda's siblings or extended family. He ought to have asked her more about her family, during one of their letter exchanges... but he didn't care much for his brother, who was the only remaining member of his immediate family, so he tended to forget that other people weren't constantly at odds with their siblings, too. The one time they had talked about family had been about her brother getting married, which — probably wasn't the sort of information he should be relying on in casual conversation with one of her sisters/cousins/nieces/whatevers.
#2
Her time at the hospital would soon be coming to an end — for now. A handful of people seemed to be very aware of her condition, but management had not gotten around to questioning her on the matter. Her stomach, though visibly round when in plain robes, was often covered by the thick hospital-approved cloak meant for the hospital workers who didn't fare well in the chilly halls.

The head mediwizard, having learned of her condition during periodic training exercises to her dismay, had immediately reeled back her outside work, turning her into something of a trauma nurse. Broken bones, failing hearts, dire poisonings — it was unpleasant, but not difficult for the seasoned mediwitch to handle.

She entered the room of Mr. Darrow, a surname she recognized from her years under Professor Darrow but that had no other significance to her. He was pleasant and subdued and obviously under the influence of a potion; she couldn't stop the corners of her lips from curling up into a smile.

Unfortunately, the smile drooped at the mention of Zelda.

"She's like a sister to me." Although the state of their relationship had certainly shifted since she and Ari announced their sudden engagement without prior warning. "I'm her sister-in-law — the wife of Mr. Ari Fisk." She didn't say anything further and instead busied herself with the papers tucked into his file.



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#3
"Oh," Alfred said, smile falling. "You're that one." He didn't mean anything by his tone, but in his present condition (high on pain potions), he wasn't in a position to filter much. He'd certainly heard quite a bit about her from Zelda, particularly in their letters — all of it complaining. He was somewhat surprised to actually be meeting her after hearing so much. It was like meeting a character from a popular fairy tale, or something.

It occurred to him belatedly that his response could have been taken poorly, so he tried to think of a way to salvage the situation. He didn't really know this woman, whatever Zelda had said about her, and he didn't want her thinking that he disliked her. He also didn't want to get Zelda into any trouble with her sister-in-law by implying that she'd been demonizing her in print, or anything.

"You two used to be really close, right?" was what he came up with. Maybe acknowledging their friendship would soften the blow slightly? "She talks about you a lot," he added.
#4
She cast Mr. Darrow a side glance at his words, but didn't immediately reply. Even before she and Zelda's relationship had suffered, Dionisia didn't remember Zelda ever speaking about male friends she had. Work friends, yes, but nothing in Mr. Darrow file — it would be a lie to say she wasn't scanning for any information on his life outside the emergency room, which was probably against a rule or ten — indicated that he worked alongside her at the Ministry.

"We did," she answered simply, trying to keep emotion out of her voice. The topic of her and Zelda's friendship was still a sore subject, but she had hopes that Zelda would one day forgive her. Zelda was a stubborn woman, but never before had she refused to forgive Dionisia for hurting her feelings. (She just hoped Zelda would realize she'd never meant to.)

"I wasn't aware that Zelda still spoke about me," she added crisply, peeking up from the file to meet his gaze. "I hope her words haven't damaged your initial impression of me?"



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#5
Alfred was a little taken aback by Mrs. Fisk's response. He hadn't recovered as well as he'd hoped, then, from his initial reaction to hearing how she and Zelda were related. "Oh, no, of course not," he assured her. Even if he was going to let his opinion be entirely guided by what Zelda had said in her letters, nothing that she had said would have lead him to believe that Mrs. Fisk was a bad person, or anything like that. Only that Zelda didn't exactly appreciate some of her decisions lately. As far as he could tell, she was more hurt that Ari and her friend had been carrying on secretly, not that they had been carrying on in general.

(Which, now that he thought about it, was a little hypocritical of Ari Fisk, given the way he'd literally attacked Alfred for surreptitiously continuing to see Zelda).

"She tells me lots of things," he explained, to make it clear to Mrs. Fisk that it wasn't at though Zelda was going about yelling her feelings on the subject in the street, or anything. He was still focused on making amends for his initial slip-of-the-tongue, and had not even considered the implications of what he was saying as it related to him.
#6
"Oh?" she asked, putting down his file. She moved to grab the empty potion bottles instead, not really doing anything productive but rather trying to seem more interested in her work than the conversation. She was a mediwitch, not an interrogator; she needed to maintain a healing presence rather than allow her feelings dominate the conversation.

"I'm surprised she hasn't mentioned you." She wasn't actually; Zelda had scarcely said anything beyond basic pleasantries and small-talk over the past few months, usually while in the company of other relatives. "It's nice to meet you, though; any friend of Zelda's is a friend of time," she added.

"Your file indicates that you've spent a lot of time inside the hospital," she said, trying to tie their conversation back to the task at hand: his injury. "Have a dangerous job?"



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#7
Alfred frowned at the shift in conversation, somewhat puzzled by her question. "I guess so. I don't know. Sometimes." He didn't really tend to think of his day-to-day life as very dangerous, but he had been shipwrecked and stranded in the wilderness for years, which wasn't an occupational hazard for very many people. Plenty of his shipmates had died, so... yes, he supposed he would have to admit that his job was dangerous.

"Most of that's probably the quarantine period, though," he said, almost as if to defend himself. "I was stranded in South America for years. I made it through alright, but they had us in the hospital for two weeks after we were found." As far as actual injuries went, he had a fairly clear track record — and the injury he'd gotten today didn't have anything to do with his career.

"I'm not surprised she didn't mention me," he said airily as his thoughts drifted back to Zelda. "Ari Fisk doesn't like me much."
#8
She listened and she nodded, taking mental notes of anything that might job back a memory of sometimes Zelda had mentioned him. She only remembered Zelda taking interest in one man, and she hardly remembered the details nearly a year later — especially since the kiss she shared with Zelda that evening overshadowed anything else that was discussed. Zelda had had male friends, she knew, but most of them were her age. Mr. Darrow was, what? In his thirties? She didn't move to check.

What he said next was infinitely more interesting than anything he'd said about his job. It was about Ari.

"What did you do to Ari?" she asked in a tone that was more accusatory than she'd intended. Despite the awkwardness in their marriage, Dionisia firmly believed Ari Fisk was an angel on Earth; she'd never heard of him being rude to anyone.



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#9
"Nothing," Alfred said immediately, his tone matching the abrasive quality in hers. "He doesn't like me, that's all." Even out of sorts as he was, he wasn't about to go into details on the encounter Ari Fisk and he had had in this same hospital. He hadn't even told Zelda about that, and he didn't ever intend to. What would it benefit? She would either be mortified at her brother's behavior, further alienating her from him, or she would be disappointed in Alfred for caving after a single knockback jinx. He was quite content to leave that forever in the past.
#10
Dionisia wished to push further, but fortunately had enough restraint not to. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at him, scanning his facial expression and trying to make out anything — guilt, hostility, anything that might tell her more. It seemed he was as done with the subject as her. "I didn't mean to offend," she tried slowly, cautiously. "I only meant — Ari doesn't seem like a man who regularly dislikes people. I'm sure you've done nothing wrong."



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#11
Her change in tone threw him off, and he wondered if his tone a moment earlier had been out of place. He looked down at his legs somewhat sheepishly.

"He didn't like me talking to Miss Zelda," Alfred mumbled, almost an apology. His gaze shifted evasively to the far side of the room. "I don't know. Maybe I'd feel the same way about my sister, if she was still alive." It was a different dynamic, of course — Alfred had been the youngest even when his sister was alive, which didn't give him much opportunity to feel protective of her. She had also made a much sounder choice as far as men were concerned — Alfred could freely admit that with his background and his peculiarities, he wasn't exactly a catch for any young woman who was looking for a suitable husband.
#12
A change in tone was all took. She had her explanation — and a little more context.

"Men can be protective of their sisters. I wouldn't take it personally." She's dreamed of marrying into the Fisk family when she was a young Hogwarts student, not for love but because of how close they all seemed. Dionisia had never imagined that by marrying into the family she'd also be isolating herself from a number of them — her best friend included. "Zelda's work situation makes her more susceptible to rumors, anyways. I'm sure he was merely trying to keep her from public criticism."

She couldn't find any words to address his sister; it was too personal, and maybe a little too close to home. She hadn't seen her sister since she'd found out she was a witch, and for all she knew her sister could have perished long ago.



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#13
"Mm," Alfred agreed. It was easy to understand Ari's actions in the abstract, even if thinking of specific interaction still left him feeling irritated. That was still his first reaction when he remembered it, and he didn't particularly enjoy trying to rationalize it out and humanize Ari Fisk. He was all to eager to be distracted, and the mention of Zelda's career was a perfect way to do so.

"Her job is amazing," he all but gushed. "And she's great at it. Have you seen her work? She can fix anything." A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but true in his experience. He had gotten out of the habit of using magic for anything at all, and he thought it was incredibly impressive how she always knew exactly what to do in any situation. She'd lifted a whole ship out of the water with a mere flick of the wrist, and she'd rid their flat of its curse after two adult men had simply had to endure the problem for months.

"She's wonderful," he added with a dreamy sigh.
#14
The conversation was going in all different directions, but Dionisia the direction it was going in now was peaking her interest. His tone was different — definitely not the way most men spoke about a woman he was only friendly with.

"I've seen her with a wand many times. She was amazing even before graduating Hogwarts," she responded, the corner of her lips tugging up into a mildly amused smile. Perhaps it was the potions talking, or perhaps he wasn't aware of how he came off. "Have you known her for long?"



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#15
"Oh, uhm," he said, looking up towards the ceiling as he tried to calculate how long he actually had known Zelda. It seemed as though it had been forever, but maybe that was only because they'd been talking so consistently for the past few months. Prior to that, they hadn't exchanged so much as a word from his closet conversation with Ari Fisk up until she'd written him about Ari's wedding. And, of course, before that had been the extended, painfully awkward silence during the Avalon expedition. If he hadn't had so much actual work to distract him, that silence might have driven him mad. He'd spent enough time as it was imagining a million different things she might be doing, thinking, or feeling, without so much as a dot of ink to go on.

"I suppose — over a year," he answered. When had they actually met? It had been while he was living at the Sandition, so sometime between September and December, but beyond that he couldn't have really said. No, wait, before Halloween, because he'd seen her in a costume after he'd taken her sailing. That narrowed it down, since he'd been living with Evander up until the last days of September. "Two years in October, I think. But we've really only been talking for a few months. There was — well, I was away," he said hastily, a slight pink tinge coming to his cheeks as he realized how close he'd come to talking about their post-coital estrangement to an almost perfect stranger. "I was out of the country a lot during 1888."
#16
Her attention was entirely removed from her job, her gaze now fixated on the shifting expressions of Mr. Darrow. Maybe she had heard about him before. Maybe he was that gentleman — the one Zelda spoke of. She couldn't be certain, and it wasn't at all like her to jump to conclusions, let alone be so bold to speak them aloud.

"I'm surprised I haven't heard more about you," she said, watching as his cheeks tinged pink. "If you've continued your acquaintanceship through all that... " Well, she and Zelda hadn't been in a disagreement for that long. A few months, but not two years. "You must be fond of her," she concluded.
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