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time is flying never to return
June 18th, 1889 — Home of Brannon Fisk

On one hand, Arven Fisk had put in the effort — clean-shaven, straight-backed, relatively well-dressed — but on the other hand, he’d brought a ferret to dinner. The Fisks had never met Virgil before, but he was was a good pet and a fine friend. He was long, cuddly, and didn’t smell nearly as bad as he had before Arven had cast a fragrant little charm on that floofy caramel coat. As Arven ascended the steps to the handsome house of Brannon Fisk in high North Bartonburg, Virgil wrapped himself about the tall fellow’s neck like a curious scarf.

Arven pulled the doorbell, cutting a lone figure against the early sunset behind him, and a faint smile twinkled in his eyes. It was perhaps difficult to believe that a man who came home no more than once a year could miss his family, but he did. He missed his family, always — just in his own, peculiar way. Thoughts of them did not follow him around the globe, but when the time came to see them once more, there was nowhere he’d rather be than right here, right now, on these sunlit steps in North Bartonburg, awaiting the sight of their faces.

@Brannon Fisk @Konstantin Fisk @Zelda Fisk @Ari Fisk @Dionisia Fisk @Roslyn Ross @Justin Ross — All family likely to be invited by Brannon Fisk’s household for dinner are welcome to jump in this thread any time. :)
[-] The following 2 users Like Arven Fisk's post:
   Justin Ross, Ophelia Devine
Dinner with the extended family, Roslyn was quite certain, was infinitely preferable to dining with yet another Department Head and his tedious wife. She had informed her husband as much when she had written their apologies to the Bateses, insisting in her letter that her dear cousin was so infrequently home that he simply could not be put off. It was, she reasoned, at least partially true, and thus she would not feel bad for it.

Still, when arriving at her father's house, that same cousin was nowhere in sight—no matter, Roslyn thought as she moved to make conversation instead with one of her brothers. Before long, however, the man of the hour appeared—with rather a tragic-looking rodent draped across his shoulders, prompting the witch to cast her siblings a look of surprise.

Brannon always had mixed feelings about visits from Arven. On the one hand, he was certainly not making as much of a mess of his life as his father Sully had, so it was hard for Brannon to criticize his life choices too much. He hadn't, after all, had the strongest of male role models growing up, and despite that he had managed to... well, not land himself in prison, or anything. On the other hand, he would hardly have been happy had any of his children decided to take up a similar occupation (Brannon could not bring himself to call what Arven did with his time a profession; it merely occupied time). It was bad enough that Julian wrote adventure novels, without actually running about globetrotting.

But family was family, and it was entirely possible Arven could have gotten away with a good deal more before Brannon would consider him a poor enough influence to merit intervention. The Fisk children were mostly grown now, anyway (with the exception of Zelda, who would, quite probably, never qualify as mature), and Arven visited so infrequently that his wandering ways weren't likely to prove a very strong influence.

"Welcome, welcome," Brannon greeted when he arrived, ushering him into the dining room. "So good to see you again, dear boy." It was only after he said this that he noticed the animal, and quickly removed his hand from where it had been placed on his nephew's shoulder. Merlin, what was that thing? And was it likely to bite?
Arvin grinned broadly at his uncle — the dearly loved grouch who'd helped raise him. Brannon often had another hint of a crowsfoot or wisp of grey hair every time Arven saw him, but he seemed well and in good form, ever a fit and fitting patriarch.

But then Brannon's face fell at the sight of Virgil, and his grown-up children exchanged startled glances behind him. "Not to worry, beloved family", Arven reassured them with a gruff brightness, "he's harmless, clean, and really very cuddly. What do you think, Roslyn?" he held out the soft ferret to his cousin, making no move to force the ferret on her but very much offering. Virgil looked at her curiously with large brown eyes.
She thought that it looked as likely to suck out her bone marrow as to cuddle, but Roslyn retained a smile—albeit a strained one—as she answered, "It—he—looks very exotic. Where did you come by such a creature?"

Her hands remained resolutely at her sides, though the witch did not shrink away from the offering. She cast a quick glance at her father, curious as to his reaction.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Roslyn Ross's post:
   Ophelia Devine

Brannon was somewhat gratified to hear that the creature was harmless, but only somewhat. Arven's definition of harmless may not exactly match that of the rest of the family's, traveling as he did through the wilderness of Africa and the Far East and Merlin only knew where else. Julian had lost his leg in such a place, in performance of an occupation that Brannon had been assured (though of course had never actually believed) was on the whole rather safe. For his part, Brannon tended to distrust all things foreign, until they were proven to have some sort of usefulness to him that outweighed their strangeness.

"Where, indeed?" he agreed, eying the creature. He was glad Roslyn hadn't touched the thing — while he did look relatively clean as far as rodents went, he was also a rodent and probably burdened with some sort of strange exotic disease. At the very least, he looked likely to crawl into a woman's hair and muck about in it like a rat's nest. "And how long have you had it — er, him?" It seemed well trained, but that meant very little — perhaps he'd procured it from a circus where it had been taught to jump through hoops for crackers, or something of that nature.
While Roslyn looked curious, and remained politely rooted to the spot, she evidently wasn’t so keen on the idea of a meet-and-greet with the young ferret — which was fair enough. So Arven lowered his arm and returned Virgil to his shoulder, where the little creature sat obediently, one paw resting on the side of Arven’s head.

”I picked him up in Siberia late last year. He belonged to a farmer, Aleksei, who used ferrets for rabbiting. But Aleksei was old, he had a disease of the bones, and couldn’t look after the little fellow anymore. So I promised to take care of him.” He gave the ferret a scritch under the chin. ”His name’s Virgil.”

”Not to worry”, he added, ”Virgil won’t be staying for dinner. He’s well trained; if I take him outside he’ll find me again later this evening. I just couldn’t resist introducing you all”, he threw his family a wink.
Relieved as he was to hear that the rodent wasn’t going to be a guest in his house much longer, Brannon did have some concerns about just letting him loose in the neighborhood. This was a respectable neighborhood, after all, and not one where vermin scuttling across the streets would be considered commonplace. The ferret may have been well-trained, but Brannon knew a few of their neighbors to have well-trained cats and kneazles, too, who may well decide to make a meal of the fellow. And imagine the scandal if he got into someone’s house, or harassed some passerby. Brannon wasn’t sure anyone would know that the thing was let loose from his house, particularly, but it wasn’t entirely outside of the realm of possibility that Arven would be seen depositing him on the stair and the whole neighborhood might soon be abuzz. Was it even legal to have imported the creature? Surely Arven wouldn’t have brought a smuggled animal to his home, Brannon thought, but he wasn’t entirely certain that the boy would have thought to check those particular regulations before he came home. In some ways he was a proper man, but in some others he was still a boy — entertained by all of the things that teenagers fancied, and easily distracted by the exotic.

“You aren’t afraid a cat will get him?” Brannon asked with mild worry; then, remembering what Arven had just explained about the rabbits, added with much more pressing concern, “Or that he’ll... I mean, does he hunt? I wouldn’t want one of the neighbor’s pets...”

To turn up dead, was what he didn’t say. Merlin, what a mess this had the potential to become for them!
Ros was glad indeed that she had not brought Idris along, for she was sure her son would want one of the peculiar (and decidedly not charming) creatures to bring to Hogwarts with him in September. At least it had a pleasant enough name. Virgil sounded quite harmless.

"You were in Siberia?" Roslyn asked, genuine interest in her voice. Her cousin traveled a great deal, making it difficult to keep up with his comings and goings—even for one who didn't have other obligations to tend to. For Roslyn, it was nigh impossible.

Brannon had stumbled (actually moved very gracefully) into worry mode. Arven had always known him to be a warrior in some ways, and a worrier in others. Strong but very human. But short of trapping Virgil in a shield charm, there was nothing Arven could do to entirely alleviate his concerns, so Arven simply smiled, opened the door, and set the ferret down on the doorstep. Virgil twitched his nose then scuttled off to investigate a nearby tree. ”It’ll be fine”, he soothed his uncle, and meant it. Yes Virgil hunted, but he wouldn’t get away with his whiskers if he set his eyes on a cat.

”Darkest Siberia”, Arven “corrected” Roslyn for dramatic effect, swinging round to regard her. ”I very nearly brought back a wolf instead of a ferret”, he added with a twinkle.
Merlin! A wolf!

"Well, I suppose we should count our blessings," Brannon said, shaking his head in bemusement. He wasn't sure that it seemed particularly out of character for Arven to consider a wolf a pet; it seemed only mildly less likely than turning up at the front door with an albino rodent on his shoulder. "The neighborhood cats certainly wouldn't have liked that," he pointed out. Arven hadn't exactly allayed his worries regarding Virgil the ferret, but given the alternative was so much worse, Brannon had to put such fears on the backburner. He supposed there was nothing to be done now, anyway, since the little thing had scampered off. He'd just have to see whether any of the neighbors had complaints in the morning and field them then — assuming, of course, that the ferret made it home safely that night, which Brannon wasn't convinced of yet despite his nephew's assurances.

"What brought you there?" he asked, moving to transition towards his seat at the table so that they could begin dinner.
Roslyn couldn't help but laugh at that—while the ferret had been rather startling, she suspected her cousin had a bit more sense than to bring back a wolf!

Father happily ensconced in conversation, Roslyn moved instead to answer a question from one of her sisters. Though she did love Cousin Arven's stories, she preferred her excitement in smaller doses.

Arven exchanged a smile with Roslyn, then proceeded graciously to the dinner table. He was probably as hungry as a wolf this evening, but would dine with rather more elegance.

”I’d never been before”, he replied, which he realised was a vague, useless, rather arrogant answer — but it was also true.

"But also because I'd seen paintings of the Altai mountain range — a whole café full of such paintings, in fact — and couldn't resist experiencing it for myself. Have you ever been tempted by a flight of fancy, uncle?"

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