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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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Need a Second Chance at a First Impression
#1
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15 March, 1889 — Fisk Home, Bartonburg

Alfred had been talking himself into and out of this decision for weeks now. He knew how he felt about Zelda, but the entire structure of English romance didn't feel right to him after his return from South America. It was like trying on a shirt that didn't quite fit him anymore — after not having worn a shirt for over two years. But whatever his feelings on the formality of courtships, betrothals, engagements, and marriage, this was really the only thing to do. There wasn't any alternative if he wanted their relationship to continue to grow. There was no future without some sort of formal commitment. They couldn't just keep running around seeing each other 'accidentally' and exchanging flirtatious letters.

He really had no idea how to do this — his prior engagement hadn't been a formal one, only something decided between himself and Lily, which he understood now was absolutely not the right way to go about things. So he had no relevant experience to draw on, and only the vaguest idea of what was expected of him — and he supposed he'd have to figure out the rest as he went. He'd picked what he thought would be a suitable date and time; early evening on a Monday, when Mr. Fisk was certain to be home from work at the Ministry, but unlikely to have any social plans.

What he had failed to account for, not having even the faintest idea of what went on in Judaism, was that the Monday evening he'd picked was also the first day of Passover. His first shock of the evening (but certainly not his last) came when his knock on the door was answered by the Fisk he was least inclined to ever speak to again.

"Uhm," he mumbled, having immediately lost his train of thought. Was it too late to back out? He could claim he'd knocked on the wrong door. "I, er — Evening." That was progress — it was a word, at least. He could do this. Ari Fisk didn't scare him. He just needed to regain his mental footing and forge ahead.

"I was hoping to speak to your father," he said quickly. It was an intelligible sentence, but his nerves were still clearly showing both in the color that had risen to his cheeks and the speed at which he'd rambled it out. Merlin help him.

@Ari Fisk first, then open to any Fisks/relations who would be home for Passover.
#2
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Ari had leapt up at the knock on the door, sure it would be Katia: everyone else was already here, after all. He pulled open the door to the family house with a warm smile. The smile abruptly dissipated when he recognised the face.

Darrow (Captain Darrow) had slipped his mind for the most part, in the last few months. There had been enough going on in his own to much be concerned with the particulars of his youngest sister's life, beyond the question of how long Zelda might hold a grudge against him.

For Dionisia, that was. He wasn't sure she actually knew about his, er, lecturing Darrow back in the hospital.

It dawned on him quite suddenly that perhaps he had been stupid to assume his warning had been heeded, and that - just because he'd heard nothing else about the two of them - Darrow had disappeared from Zelda's life after all. Because he was here now, here on the family's front doorstep on Passover, and that could not just be a coincidence.

The greeting that had been on the tip of his tongue dried up about as quickly as his smile had; the only consolation here was that Darrow seemed as thrown off as he was. Only - Darrow was hoping to speak to their father.  

Why? Ari very nearly said, but hurriedly bit back the rudeness in it, determined not to be anything but civil until he knew what, precisely, was going on. Of course, he was also determined not to budge from the doorway until he knew what, precisely, was going on. He raised his eyebrows in wordless incredulity, a silent interrogation.

He pulled together a more polite, if just as sceptical, variation of this question eventually. "Tonight? Is he... expecting you?"

Was there any way on earth that Darrow had been invited here tonight by anyone in the family? And with their father's knowledge? With his blessing?

Surely not.
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   Ophelia Devine



lady is magical
#3
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The response wasn't overtly hostile, which was a great start given their previous interaction. It was discouraging, though, and Alfred had a moment of internal panic. What was he supposed to do, make an appointment? Surely not. And it was the sort of thing you were supposed to ask in person, wasn't it? It probably would have been easier to just write a letter and send it off (and then fret continuously until the return came), but that didn't seem like the right way to go about things. Should he have sent a letter beforehand to warn Mr. Fisk of his intentions? Tried to meet the man elsewhere and find some other pretense for inserting himself into their parlor on this particular evening? Was he doing this all wrong?

There was something in the other man's tone that implied that tonight wasn't the best time, but that could have just been Alfred nerves jumping to conclusions — or it could have been the fact that, however civil he was being now, Alfred knew that Ari Fisk didn't like him. As far as Zelda's oldest brother was concerned, never was probably a better time for this conversation. But maybe it was a bad time. Maybe Mr. Fisk wasn't even at home. Would that be a disappointment, or a relief? He wasn't even sure.

"Er, no," he admitted, face still flushed. "I didn't expect — I mean, on a Monday evening, I thought — I could come back tomorrow?" he offered. "Or — some other time?"

This was not exactly how he had planned the evening to go.
#4
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Passover was a holiday Dionisia had never had the pleasure to celebrate — if by pleasure she meant being surrounded by a group of Fisks whose eyes were more fixated on her rounded stomach than her anxious expression. It was only made worse by her unfamiliarity with Judaism as a whole; although born and raised a Christian, Dionisia had sworn off religion entirely once entering the magical world. She (wisely) chose to stick to her husband's side for the entirety of the evening, excusing herself every so often for 'fresh air' — something no one argued with her about.

The moment Ari left to answer the door was the first moment she'd been left alone with her newfound family that evening. She straightened her body and tried to look comfortable, but could only fidget as she focused on Ari's hushed voice from down the hall. After a solid minute, she'd had enough.

She rose from her seat, paying no mind to her in-laws as she followed the sound of Ari's (and a familiar person's?) voice.

"Mr. Darrow," she greeted in surprise, her gaze flickering between her husband's raised brows and Mr. Darrow's flustered expression. She remembered the man's words from days earlier at the hospital. "Ari Fisk doesn't like me," he'd said, and until now, faced with the unfamiliar expression on Ari's face, hadn't believed it was that serious.

"It feels like I saw you just yesterday. We're celebrating Passover this evening," she said, hoping to interrupt whatever tension existed between them now. Dionisia wasn't a cunning sort of woman, but Mr. Darrow would certainly be a welcome distraction from all the awkward chatter. "Have you heard of Passover?"



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#5
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Alfred had only the vaguest recollection of meeting Mrs. Fisk, drugged and injured as he was at the time, but at the moment it seemed there was no one he would rather have seen in the world. She remembered him, she didn't appear hostile, and — well, to be honest, she wasn't Ari Fisk, and that itself was enough for him to be relieved by the interruption. She was trying to help him, too, it seemed, by cluing him in on what was going on that evening, though Passover didn't mean much to him. A holiday, he presumed, since she'd said celebrating, but not one that existed in the Christian calendar he'd been raised with. Had Zelda ever mentioned it in any of their letters? Maybe, but if she had it would have only been background noise to him. Even if she had thrown out a helpful detail or two, the chances that he would remember it now were slim to none.

"I — might've heard of it," he said evasively, falling back into the now ingrained habit of keeping any conversation he'd had with Zelda, in print or otherwise, a secret. That was a little silly, he realized afterwards, because the whole point of being here tonight was to come out into the open about all of this and be above-board moving forward. That being said, it hardly seemed like confessing their involvement to Ari Fisk was the ideal way to start off.

"I don't know much about it," he continued, though of course that was obvious. "I don't want to interrupt. I could just come by tomorrow and leave a card," he offered. It would have to be tomorrow, because Alfred didn't have a card — he'd never needed to leave one before in his life, having come from a more rough-and-tumble sort of upbringing and then joining the Navy immediately out of Hogwarts. If it would get him out of this conversation and off of this doorstep, however, he'd be happy to spend his entire day tomorrow having a card made up especially for the purpose of leaving it with Mr. Fisk.

Except how did leaving cards work, exactly? Was the recipient supposed to pop by at some point for a chat after receiving one? The last thing Alfred wanted was Zelda's father showing up at his flat — in the middle of a neighborhood mostly populated by goblins, above a now empty storefront, with a roommate who worked for the Prophet. It wasn't exactly the sort of residence that implied he was in any sort of position to be courting a girl — particularly when that girl was the Minister for Magic's sister. Merlin help him.
#6
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If he were honest, he had been quite enjoying watching Darrow flounder - and might have let him fumble over himself for a lot longer, had Dionisia not appeared at his shoulder. It sounded like she was trying to help Darrow, being a great deal more forthcoming than Ari had planned to be; he recognised the tactic. It was usually him trying to soothe the tension.

Of course, if she wasn't talking to Zelda as she had used to, his wife wouldn't know the full story here. He didn't particularly want Dionisia to think badly of him - want anyone to think badly of him - but hopefully she would assume he had his reasons. He had reason enough, he thought, to refuse Darrow entry entirely, and speak to his father himself. He didn't know what Darrow wanted, but it must have to do with Zelda. And whatever it was, there was a fair chance it would not... go down well.

Especially not during Passover. Especially not in front of the whole Fisk family. As he had found out once and for all himself at the end of last year, facing the attention of the whole collection of Fisks was - quite something. Even the bravest of men might stumble.

So inviting Darrow in was a disaster waiting to happen. Ari knew this. The family did not like surprises. Zelda certainly did not like surprises. He didn't like Darrow, and he was already quite certain he would not like what Darrow was planning to say. Sending Darrow away to leave his card for another day would be the kindest thing to do.

For once in his life, Ari wasn't feeling kind. Darrow had landed Zelda in the worst sort of position (the same situation that had landed Dionisia here, out of her job and married to him, enduring the Fisks regularly at family holidays!), and had evidently not yet been discouraged enough from pursuing her. Well, then. So be it. He ought to have to endure the Fisks, too, and face up to reality. Ari had no obligation to make it easy for him. "Oh, no," Ari said evenly, as if Dionisia's arrival had possibly changed his mind and his manners. "This evening is fine." He stepped back into the hallway, opening the door wide and firmly ushering Captain Darrow in. "Please, be my guest."

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   Ophelia Devine



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#7
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With his confidence having steadily declined since the door was first opened to reveal Ari Fisk, coming inside was just about the last thing that Alfred wanted to do. It didn't seem he was going to be able to gracefully back out at this point, however, judging by the way Fisk ushered him in. He'd just have to steel himself and get on with it, Alfred told himself, and nerves be damned. No one ever died from nerves. There wasn't anything to be afraid of. And if the only actual Jewish person in the conversation thought it would be fine for him to come inside, even during Passover (whatever it was), then Alfred had to believe that it would be fine.

After a walk down a short hallway and into a room absolutely full of Fisks, however, Alfred realized it was definitely not fine. Merlin, this was a lot of people. Zelda had told him her family was expansive, but he hadn't exactly realized what ten siblings and a handful of spouses would actually look like together in a room.

Alfred froze in the doorway and wondered if it might not be better to just disapparate on the spot and leave Ari Fisk to supply whatever explanation he liked.


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