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Master Mapmaker...or not.
January 28th, 1891 — Upper Levels of Hogwarts

Addison walked down a set of corridors that felt very unfamiliar, glancing every so often at his notebook and scribbling something inside. He could've sworn this was the right direction, but he still felt very turned around. Some fifth year he was! First years probably had a better grasp on the layout of the castle. Unfortunately, his map-making skills were about as good as his astronomy skills--which was to say, not very good at all.

A portrait of a young group of men and women dancing in a circle laughed at him as he passed, jeering insults, he turned to look at them, sighing deeply.

"I've seen you guys before, 'aven't I?" he said with a sigh, "Some Ravenclaw I am. I think they sorted me wrong, you know."

@Alice Dawson

Even nearly four months after the fact, Alice was still struggling to rediscover her footing within her friend group. Any chances of being forced to converse with Mr. Gillenwater felt too uncomfortable for her to risk meal times or the common room often, but she was also tired of dancing around her other friends. Even Calla recognized something was amiss, not that there was really anything to be done.

She was avoiding her friends once again as she climbed the steps to the Astronomy tower. Ever since her partnership with Mr. Evermonde Alice had put more effort into the class than she had previously. The stars were easier to fall in love with when her star map was as beautifully painted as it was.

Alice was set to continue on past the fifth year on the stairs when she overheard him talk to the painting. "Where are you headed?" She asked, already changing her plans in her head to assist him.

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
"Miss Dawson!" Addison said, a little surprised by her presence, though it wasn't impossible, clearly. There were quite a few things in the upper levels that she might be doing, he thought. Gryffindor tower, the location of which was approximately in Addison's head due to a situation much like this one, was nearby, or perhaps the Astronomy tower, or meeting a Ravenclaw friend--did Miss Dawson have Ravenclaw friends? It wasn't much of his business, anyways.

"I'm trying to map out the castle," he admitted, flipping the notebook around so she could see the beginnings of a map, "But, well, it's like it's trying to spin me around. I've seen this lot already." he tilted his head to the giggling group in the painting, who continued to whisper to themselves. Addison considered making a special note--'rude painting here.'

He was hoping to savor the last few moments of Hogwarts he had left, and it was going to be more difficult if he kept running around everywhere because he couldn't find anything.
A map of the castle! Well, that would be exceedingly useful provided he accounted for all the moving pieces. Did each staircase have only two positions to shift between or was it more? "That certainly sounds like a Ravenclaw endeavor to me," she smiled as she looked down at the offered map.

"It's easy to get turned around. See here?" She pointed to a staircase that she was certain didn't let in where he places. "These stairs only connect to these two hallways." One of which they were standing in. "What floor were you hoping to map tonight? May I join you?"

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
Addison was pleased that she didn't think the endeavour was foolish. He looked at the place she pointed at, nodding his head eagerly, "Oh, I see," he said, making the correction. He wished there was an easier way to correct mistakes in ink, but that's what drafts were for. Once he had this together it would be much more impressive. Hopefully.

"I was going to start at the top and work my way down," he said, flipping a few pages to show the already mapped area around Ravenclaw tower--that much, he was familiar with, otherwise he'd end up sleeping in the library more than he already did. He'd taken notes as well, regarding the door knocker and a trick stair.

He considered letting her join in. It would certainly be helpful--Miss Dawson seemed to know this area a little better than he did, and besides there didn't seem to be much harm in it. He nodded his head, "Certainly!"
Alice gestured towards the direction that appeared to be uncharted as of yet for them to follow. It was, in fact, the way she'd just came from, but her homework could wait a while shs supposed. "I can add in what I know of the Gryffindor tower if that'll help you." She commented cheerfully. "I think it's a brilliant idea to map the castle. Merlin knows I could've used a map in my first year."

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
Addison beamed, "That'll be wonderful. I can't go in there anyways...but if we're making copies it would be useful."

He had always wondered what the inside of the Gryffindor common room was like. He'd been picturing it identical to the Ravenclaw tower, but with their house colours instead of the Ravenclaw ones.

"Right? I still get lost...firsties'll have a bit more trouble than me for sure. We should have maps on the walls or something," Addison considered this. It might ruin the general look of the castle, but it would end up with less first years traversing into the depths of the dungeons when they were supposed to be on the fourth floor.
"Naturally," Alice acknowledged. Just as she couldn't visit Ravenclaw tower or the Slytherin's den, he couldn't peek into the Gryffindor common room. It irked her at times that their houses were all kept so separate, but perhaps that was the purpose of it all.

"Maybe not on the walls, maybe individual copies handed out." That way the aesthetic of the castle wouldn't have to change. Alice imagined some portraits would bemoan such additions to the walls. "They can be customized to your house, too."

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
Addison thought it would be interesting to just peek inside the Gryffindor dorm once, just to see what he might've been like. He doubted Gryffindor would suit him, as he usually pictured himself a coward. Perhaps the point was for competition to encourage them to work harder.

"That would solve one problem...but there might also be students losing them," Addison chuckled, because he was precisely the type who would do something like that, "A charm that makes them different based on the viewer's house could be interesting...don't know how, though..."

He leaned against an empty space on the wall, considering the creation of such a charm. With a sigh, he realized it probably wouldn't be possible for just an OWL student to do.

"Hey, are you sticking around for NEWTs?" Maybe she would be able to accomplish it, or at least ask one of that group of Gryffindors that she seemed to be a part of.
Alice didn't know the charms to manage it either. Their professor might, though, and he might even favor Ravenclaw with extra housepoints for being so thoughtful. "I'm sure you'll find a way." She said brightly. "Plenty of resources in the library, too."

The question made her almost stumble in her footsteps. For so many of her friends the choice to continue on towards their NEWTs was a given. They needn't think about their siblings or their families struggling at home. In fact, Sloane just took it all for granted. She slacked off in classes, focused solely on quidditch. It wasn't fair that those who didn't care — like Mr. Wildsmith — got to continue on without even thinking twice when she'd give anything to be able to justify it.

Frowning, Alice looked away from him towards one of the intricate portraits. "My friends don't know that I'm not planning to." She answered quietly, almost in a whisper. A plea for him not to share such news. "The academic scholarship doesn't cover supplies and I have seven siblings to consider."

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
The library made sense. It was where Addison had spent most of his waking time at Hogwarts, so it was definitely possible to find information there, though he had no idea how to do anything like the charm he had been thinking about. He would have to ask the librarian, if he didn't forget before he went back. His notebook was still open to the map page and he didn't want to smudge it.

He realized that perhaps that was a bit of a personal question a bit too late. Addison didn't like the topic too much himself, though it was perhaps clear from his well-worn robes (still with that hole in the arm that he'd burned a while back) that he was lucky to make it even this far. He understood that, far too often, his wealthier classmates took their educations for granted.

He nodded his head in understanding, tilting his head and taking a step or two closer to hear her quiet voice. It didn't help that she had looked away. He couldn't imagine having that many siblings to consider. His sister had always been a distant, mildly helpful presence, but they were more than a decade apart.

"I-I'm not coming for NEWTs either," Addison said, though it wasn't something he was hiding, just that he was quiet about. Either way, he thought mentioning it might make her feel a little better. Less alone. "My parents can barely afford just me, and that's with Alice – er, my older sister, she's an Alice, too – chipping in."

He glanced at the painting she was looking at. It wasn't like he had something like Wildsmith had offered him to offer her. His father wasn't some rich heir to a company, and his family didn't have connections to the Ministry or anything like that. It was just a bad situation, and Addison understood a part of it. That was something, at least.

That he wasn't coming back came as a surprise, mainly because she didn't know his circumstances well enough to know anything of him. It made sense, though, that nearly everyone of their station wouldn't make it further than NEWTs. Such was more of a fact of a life than startling news. Alice's frown deepened. It just wasn't fair.

"It's a lot," she acknowledged. "I don't want to be the reason the younger ones don't get a chance to attend beyond first year." Although, if she did manage to become a healer Alice would help to financially support the younger ones, too. But, that was still three years away, by which point five of the Dawson children would be at the school.

It simply wasn't manageable.

"I'm sorry you won't be able to continue on." She told him earnestly.

Amazing set by Bee!
[Image: aNalFd.png]
Addison nodded. While his concerns were mostly with his parents, who had barely been able to afford a shabby Pennyworth home even with his sister's help, Alice had younger kids to think about. It wasn't like they could be working jobs to support themselves.

"I'm sure they'll be grateful, at the very least." He would have preferred a world where no one had to make such sacrifices, but by now he was well used to them, "And OWLs are respectable enough, I suppose. Some Ministry, mediwizard. That sort of business."

His disappointed tone indicated that this was not exactly what he wanted. The careers available weren't good consolation to someone who wanted more, to become a full-blown healer as Addison did or even work in a more difficult branch of the Ministry as he was certain others would. He wasn't completely sure which way Alice's ambitions leaned, but perhaps it was one of those directions, if she was concerned about not staying for NEWTs.

"I've known for a while," he admitted with a shrug, "My parents are hopeful that I'll do well in the Ministry. I suppose I just hoped things would change. But they are always a bit unfair, aren't they?"

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