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How Charming Of You
#1
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March 16th, 1891 — Slytherin Common Room

Holly did not like to practice her magic in her dorm room, because her dorm-mates were there and she hated being watched. It wasn't because she was self-conscious about her homework—Holly rarely struggled with the practical work assigned to her—but rather because she often tried practicing spells that were not meant for their age group, and she was usually met with negative reactions from both professors and students when she tried new things on her own.

So naturally the next-best place was the common room, and the best time was late in the evening when most of the sensible Slytherins had already slithered off to bed. In the past four years Holly had claimed a corner of the room to herself, a small area on the floor with a few sitting cushions that she usually placed her books on to prevent any unwelcome faces from joining her. She'd plopped down there, her charms textbook and supplemental readings spread out around her, and her wand tip lit up so she could see in the dark.

She held her wand over the book in her lap so she could see the text, the brightness making everything around her look dark by comparison. As she went to flip her page, the sound of footsteps filled her ears when only the sound of page flipping should have, so with strained eyes she lifted up her lit wand and - "For Merlin's sake!" she gasped, her eyes briefly widening in alarm.

It was that girl—she was a Slytherin from the year above her. What was her name again?
@Venusia Crickerly



set by MJ <3
#2
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Venusia was a bit of a night owl. Sometimes she had already gotten ready for bed and then found herself unable to sleep, thinking of everything, including the work she didn't want to do in the morning or after classes tomorrow. And sometimes she would decide to go back to the Common Room to work instead of lying in her bed and waiting.

She hadn't meant to scare the younger girl, but it was sort of funny that she had.

"Hello," she said, with a slight smile. She was in her nightgown with her blue night jacket loose around it, and her hair was hanging down on her shoulders, instead of up - so it was lucky that she ran into a girl, instead of a boy. Crick held up her Transfiguration textbook, as if as a peace offering, or justification for her presence. "I didn't mean to scare you. Holly Scrimgeour, right?"

#3
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Holly settled back against the wall, her breath still a little shaky from the sudden fright, but now she felt a little silly and determined to prove that she was not as shaken as she probably looked. "You didn't - didn't scare me," she tried to insist, but the argument fell right through her lips and her cheeks flushed a little pink. She hated looking stupid, and she wasn't sure that she'd ever looked so stupid this late at night before. "But yes, Holly. I forget your name."

She knew her surname began with a Cr- sound, because she could almost envision their professors calling on her in class. She looked different in the evening, though; her brown hair hung down her shoulders, and she wore a nightgown instead of her plain black robes. Holly patted on the cushion for her to sit down.



set by MJ <3
#4
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"Venusia Crickerly," Venusia said, not particularly insulted by Miss Scrimgeour's inability to remember her name. She wasn't a nobody, or anything, but she liked to know more about other people than they knew about her. "Or Crick, if you're talking to Elijah Urquart." And others, of course, but Elijah was sort of the alpha of their friend group, and it was important to establish that one was not an odd loner.

She dropped into the cushion next to Miss Scrimgeour and flipped her Transfiguration textbook to the appropriate chapter with a casual shuffling of pages.

#5
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Venusia Crickerly, that was it. She smiled slightly at the nickname, because it was weird and unique and Holly had always enjoyed nicknames although she rarely gave them out except in an antagonistic manner. It was easier to picture Miss Crickerly in her head now that she'd mentioned Elijah Urquart, because Holly knew him in passing and had seen the girl at his side on more than one occasion.

She nearly said something, but then Miss Crickerly sunk to the floor across from her with her textbook in hand, and suddenly Holly was wondering - why? Nobody ever sat with her, and part of that was because she actively made an effort to fill the seats next to her in class or in the Great Hall with anything that would prevent someone from sitting with her, but the that someone would willingly join her instead of being forced to because of the lack of space was foreign to her. Holly watched her curiously, and then slowly dragged her gaze down to her book (although she couldn't resist glancing back up to her as a few minutes passed in complete silence).

Finally she worked up the courage to say something, and peeked over at the Transfiguration book she was holding. "What are you studying?" she asked quietly, because schoolwork was the one conversational topic she usually excelled at.



set by MJ <3
#6
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Venusia lit the tip of her wand to read in the dark, and with both hers and Miss Scrimgeour's wand lit, it was almost as good as if the candles were lit.

She hadn't expected Miss Scrimgeour to speak to her, although she was not necessarily opposed - it was just that Miss Scrimgeour had a reputation for being antisocial, and usually antisocial people didn't want to talk during schoolwork. Still, she smiled at the question, and turend her textbook around so that Miss Scrimgeour could see the chapter title.

"Vanishment theory," Venusia said, "I think it'll be on O.W.L.s." Vanishment was hard, in a way that most practical magic wasn't - she had to have a full handle on it before the exams, because N.E.W.T.s would only be harder in the fall. "What about you?"

#7
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With great hesitance Holly leaned forward, her eyes on Miss Crickerly until the pages was visible to her to ensure she was not intruding, because usually when she talked to people she was not worried about intruding—she usually did so, on purpose. But Miss Crickerly was the type of girl she ought to befriend, and she was not standoffish like Seneca was when it came to her readings, so she did not want to seem as though she was being purposefully bothersome.

"I've read about that," she replied, her eyes scanning the words. Although fourth and fifth years generally covered the same topics, fifth years had additional books and lessons that fourth years did not. Vanishment was one of those. "I was studying the summoning charm, but I think I have it down. I like to look ahead when I have the chance," she explained, holding out her own book, where the chapter Theory of Conjuration & the Inclusion of Charmwork.

"Are you good with practical magic, Miss Crickerly?" Some people weren't, and from her experience girls were more likely to admit when they were not.



set by MJ <3
#8
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Oh, conjuration and charmwork, the theory chapter. Venusia half-smiled at Miss Scrimgeour's book in turn, remembering the first time she'd seen the chapter towards the end of fourth year. The question of practical magic was welcome, and she smiled, crooked and genuine, at the opportunity to answer it.

"Practical magic is my favorite," Venusia said brightly, "Especially Defense and Charms. What about you?" If she thought she had summoning charms down, then Miss Scrimgeour was probably at least decent with practical magic — but whether that extended past Charms, Venusia couldn't say.

#9
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Another girl whose favorite kind of magic was the practical sort—Holly knew they existed, of course, but most proper girls tried to make it seem like they enjoyed combative magic less than they actually did, and that made them poor conversational partners in class.

"I like it, too," she admitted. Like was sort of an understatement; her coursework (and Miss Sykes) was the only think keeping her at this school, because she hated almost everything else about it. She hated being paired off with people in dorms that she didn't like, she hated the restriction to information in the library (an argument she'd had with the librarian plenty of times), and she hated being stuck in the building all year round. She hated being home too, so she'd just accepted school as a part of her life and hoped to soak up as much as she could.

"My favorites are Defence and Potions, though. I do like Charms, though." She found her Potions book in the pile and sat it fondly on her lap.



set by MJ <3
#10
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Venusia grinned at Miss Scrimgeour. "I wish Potions was my favorite," she admitted, "Of the practical classes, that's the one I have to put the most work into — but of course I'll be taking it at the N.E.W.T. level."

Venusia was taking her success on her O.W.L.s as a given; not because she did not think she could fail (she was sure that she could), but because she had invested so much time in studying for them already, and because she was one of the smartest people she knew.



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