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Christmas Surprises
#1
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December 25th, 1890 — Fox & Son, Knockturn Alley, London

Surely no one shall miss me for an hour or two, Imogen thought, knowing full well the untruth of this. It was Christmas night, and while the resort was largely quiet, the Fudges had invited extended family and friends for a large dinner—meaning that many of the guest rooms were in need of tending nonetheless. Still, it was her work that would be missed, not Imogen herself, and in a pinch she supposed she could feign some sort of illness.

(Imogen Fox, housemaid, would never win employee of the year.)

She arrived in the back room of Fox & Son with a sharp pop!, her head spinning slightly. She had learned this year to apparate, and while not licensed (why bother), had grown rather confident in it, so long as her destination was familiar to her. This shop, being where she had grown into herself, certainly fit that particular bill. On her arm, she had a basket of small parcels for the family that had found her—tokens, more than anything of value, though for Florence she'd stolen a brooch from a particularly careless guest at the resort. She doubted anyone but Jay or Eli would be in the shop now, given the holiday—the doors of Fox & Son seldom closed, but foot traffic certainly waxed and waned—but trusted at least the former to ensure her gifts arrived at their destination.

Imogen inhaled the almost stale air and was filled with nostalgia. This was home.

She stepped around the 'corner' created by the shelves, her foot landing on something hard and uneven, like a small log on a forest path. Imogen adjusted herself before she had a chance to go off balance, mentally cursing Eli for leaving things lying about (she had never done that when she was the shop's boy!). Imogen knelt down in the dimness to move whatever it was, her hand landing solidly upon...fabric?

A twinge of knowing went through her then, unrecognizable until later introspection.

Carefully, Imogen Fox stepped over the low obstacle, rounding the corner fully, blood pounding in her ears. Her wand had somehow found its way to her hand, and a soft lumos saw the object properly illuminated at last.

Imogen stared into the unblinking eyes of Simeon Fox, a halo of blood radiating outward from his head.

The basket of Christmas presents fell to the floor with a soft crunch, drowned out entirely by the one word her lips seemed capable of forming: "Help!"
Invitational:
@Jay Fox/@Elias Grimstone @Eli Fox/@Billie Farrow @Hestia/@Amelia Evans @Florence Fox/@Roberto Devine


[Image: imset.png]
Schemes are afoot! Graphics by MJ
#2
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This time of the festive season meant another night as dull as ditchwater. Not that Jay minded when the nights in Knockturn were quiet and invariably customerless; he could sleep a little longer, traipse back up to his rooms upstairs to fetch a book or fix something to eat, or spend some time tinkering with some of the stranger items locked away in their vaults, which was always better than dealing with customers. He had never celebrated Christmas before the Foxes and hardly did now, but he had half-hoped some of the family might stop by just for the company.

He was just at the top of the stairs, a mouthful left of stale mince pie in his mouth, when the cry for help came. Wand out, Jay rushed down to the shopfloor without a care to pad silently as he usually did; it took a moment to see past Imogen and her look of horror - for a moment it seemed no one else was in the room - but the light of her wand, soft and hazy as it was, did not soften the blow. “What -?” He choked out, suddenly rooted to the spot, disbelief stretching out into deep disquiet at this scene.

Then he dropped to his knees, felt for a pulse that wasn’t there, shot a searching glance up at Imogen.


[Image: 4PrLtDw.png]
#3
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Christmas meant Christmas parties for Florence but she had ducked out of one early with her pockets laden with trinkets. She wanted to stop by the shop to drop off her own Christmas gifts anyway and she might as well drop the stolen trinkets there for Simeon to hock anyway. At first it didn't seem like anyone was around as she put down the box she was carrying her deliveries in.

"Jay?" She called out before her ears caught onto his voice shortly before she came onto the bloody scene itself. "Is he? Has he?" She choked out, unable to finish her sentence at all as she took in what she was seeing before her - her 'father' unblinking on the floor, blood pooling beneath him.
#4
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While Eli certainly wasn't the sort for sociable gatherings, he found himself drawn to such things during the holidays. Perhaps it was with the hope that other people's joy might rub off on him, or for the simple fact that he was a pragmatic opportunist. Either way, he had been out of the shop for a large portion of the day and evening. The quiet boy found that folks were particularly generous around Christmas. If he needed to play the role of 'poor, simple child' in order to gain sweet treats, so be it.

It was with random pilfered objects crammed in one pocket, and a few crumbly pastries in the other that he wandered in through the shop door. He had planned to share the food with Jay, since it was likely he might be the only occupant. However, the sound of voices had his quiet footsteps slowing. It was likely that the trio wouldn't realize he had joined them until he fully came into view.

Instead of greeting anyone, his attention was grabbed by the sight of Simeon's body laid out on the floor. Eli's lips pursed, steeling any panic that he felt, but his widened eyes were impossible to hide. He glanced from one adult to the other, the most obvious question plain on his face. What happened?


[Image: sit32P.jpg]

Cuteness thanks to Lady <3
#5
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"Surely h-he can't be..." she trailed off, her wide-eyed gaze fixed imploringly on Jay, the only one who seemed at all poised to have information. Florence and Eli had arrived from somewhere, but Imogen wasn't certain for sure from where or when.

She was not certain of anything.

"It's a ruse, yes?"


[Image: imset.png]
Schemes are afoot! Graphics by MJ


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