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Clare Victoria Basiltree for Christopher Basiltree.
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The thought of marrying Cecily Gallivan had occurred to Fitz in the way that the thought of marrying any attractive young lady did: a firm maybe and a hasty step away to more pleasurable topics, like sport or brandy.Fitzroy Prewett in Well. That took a turn.
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live like you're everything you're not
#17
Valerian managed a smile when Greengrass squeezed his arm, but his gaze was fixated on the spot where the boggart wisp was swirling around on the floor, his mind still processing the image he'd just banished. In three days his fate would be decided - he'd either he dead, a murderer, or by some miracle he'd walk out uninjured and Macmillan with only a mild wound, but it was just as likely an option as the other two, which as decidedly not good odds. Finally he wrenched his gaze from the boggart and met the other man's eyes, looking as though he'd just seen a ghost and a glimmer of pain in his eyes.

The boggart was not done, and he wasn't sure why that surprised him, but the sudden image it took - that of another man, foaming from the mouth - startled Valerian, but he didn't know who it was or what it meant to Greengrass, but at such a close distance he could see how his shoulders tensed and his body stiffened. Was it his brother? The longer Valerian looked the longer the similarity in features became apparent, and it made sense except Valerian had never gotten the sense that Greengrass really liked his family, let alone feared one of their deaths so much that the boggart latched onto it.

Valerian reached up and put a hand on Greengrass' shoulder, gently squeezing just as Greengrass had done for him on his arm moments ago. Greengrass had been been eager to tackle his demons initially, but he seemed to be growing increasingly irritable and Valerian did not want him to fall victim to something that Valerian wouldn't be able to handle if left on his own. Even when Greengrass bested the boggart for the third time it did not relent; the image of the man began to laugh at him, and he swore he could see the elbow of Greengrass' wand arm beginning to shake. He opened his mouth - maybe to interject, maybe to say something to supportive. He would never know, because Greengrass said the incantation and then moved a jewelry box and Valerian didn't process the entirety of what was happened, but he knew the boggart was gone, and Greengrass had moved away to grab the jewelry box.

Good.

"Mmm," he hummed in response, because he couldn't quite muster an enthusiastic response - or really any good response. He'd always been pale, but he looked absolutely ghastly now, all the color drained from his face in the same way all the energy had been drained from his mind.

Three, five, ten seconds of silence passed, and Valerian tried to think of what to say. Handling boggarts together was definitely more of an intimate experience than he'd imagined, and he almost wished he'd left the room, except doing so would have left Greengrass to handle that all on his own, and despite his insistence that he was good at banishing boggarts Valerian doubted he would have fared well if left alone in the dusty attic.

He opened his mouth to thank Greengrass, because that seemed like he logical thing, all things considered, but his bottom lip began to tremble and he let out a shallow breath, and all of the emotions he'd struggled to process threatened to escape - so he clamped his lips shut and turned his head slightly to the side, focusing his attention elsewhere in the room.
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#18
Obviously, Ford hadn't been paying attention to Macnair's expression while he'd been dealing with the boggart, since he'd been behind him. Truth be told, he was so focused on handling that last iteration of it that he might have forgotten Macnair was there at all, had it not been for the hand on his shoulder as he cast. Now that he could see him, though, Ford was drawn up short by the pallor of his face and the look in his eyes. Ford handled boggarts all the time, and he was good at compartmentalizing feelings like this — he was good at bouncing back from fear the moment it left the room — and sometimes he forgot that other people weren't. It was a skill that he'd learned, not an innate talent that everyone was born with, and it was clearly one that Macnair had never had to practice. The boggart may have been safely locked away in the jewelry box in Ford's hands, but Macnair might very well have still been seeing himself with the pistol in his hands.

Ford had an urge to comfort him, but he recognized that it would hardly have been appropriate for him to do so. They weren't friends; they'd had one conversation in the club. More importantly: Macnair was not Noble, and the impulse Ford had to cross the room and hug him was misplaced. And it wasn't even as though Macnair should have reminded him so strongly of his brother in this moment, because the emotions flickering across his face weren't things Ford had seen on Noble's features — he hadn't had a chance to see anything like that, because instead Ford had pushed him until Noble was so angry he was shaking, and that was where they'd left things.

So he waited, torn between an emotional instinct to do something for the other man and an intellectual knowledge that it wasn't his place, until finally Macnair looked away and Ford felt like he couldn't stay quiet any longer. This might be a misstep, but he had to say something sooner or later.

"You handled it well," he said quietly, closing about half the distance between the pair of them. "It's not easy. And it doesn't..." Ford hesitated for a moment, sure that this was crossing a line but feeling as though maybe it would be worth it to say it anyway, as though maybe Macnair would want to hear it. "— it doesn't reflect on your character, you know. To be afraid of something."


Bree made this because she loves me <3
#19
Every defining aspect of Valerian's life had some aspect of fear associated with it. As the eldest son, his parents' death would see him made responsible for his younger brothers, at least where society was concerned; they were all legal adults now, but being the eldest would mean being the one to offer guidance and ensure they did nothing to tarnish their family name - a responsibility he was not ready to have. As a healer, he lived a life of caution, worried that a single misstep might end the life of a patient, and as a result end his reputation in his field. And ever since that day as a young man, when his potions mentor gained knowledge of his deepest insecurities and darkest secrets, he lived in fear that one day they might be revealed for the world. Valerian knew fear, but this was a new kind of fear. It had stared him in the eye, been so new to his psyche that he'd not had time to process it - and more distressingly, it was a distinct possibility for his future rather than some vague fear that lingered in his mind. He could be a killer. He could be killed. In three days he would know.

He watched Greengrass as he began to close the distance between them, but despite the eye contact he was still in a daze, his mind too far away to process any of the comforting comments. He nodded - not because he understood, but because nodding seemed like an appropriate response when someone said something - and bunched the sleeves of his cloak up in his fists. "I'm not..." He trailed off, not knowing what he intended to say afterwards. I'm not afraid, or I'm not ashamed, or maybe even I'm not worried about it? None of them were true, and he doubted that Greengrass would believe him anyways.


#20
Yes, you are, Ford thought, but he wasn't going to say anything about it one way or another. It was too intimate for their limited acquaintance, and he'd already pushed a boundary by saying it in the first place. The best thing he could do now, he figured, was keep on as though nothing was amiss and give the other man time to work through it on his own. Before he did, though, he took one more step forward and reached out to gently squeeze Macnair's upper arm, in the same way he had a moment ago. He thought this would be alright, since Macnair had held on to his shoulder a moment ago. After just half a second he let go, turning his attention to the jewelry box in his hands.

"So you've got a few options at this point," he explained. "If you don't need to get into this for a while, you can just leave it sealed and starve it out. You can't open it now except with magic, so it should be safe unless someone intentionally lets it out. It can take a while for them to go away, though — decades, sometimes, but it's quicker if you can put it in a room where there's a lot of laughter and no fear for them to soak up. Of course, if you need the jewelry box, I can take it in to the Ministry on Tuesday and transfer the boggart over to another container," he continued. Ford doubted the jewelry box was in very high demand, since it had been collecting dust in an attic, but it might have had sentimental value. If it was meant to stay in the family as an heirloom, someone might take exception to it serving as a boggart prison for the next twenty or thirty years.


Bree made this because she loves me <3
#21
His eyes widened as Greengrass squeezed his arms. He was used to physical contact, but a comforting squeeze from a man who's just been exposed to his deepest fears and cuteness he'd just been pondering on minutes before brought a confusing mix of emotion, and it was hard to call it pleasant. He nodded, more out of a need to to something rather than a real response to whatever Greengrass was saying. The jewelry box, the attic, starving it out - he could do that, and he doubted that anyone in his family or among the servants would come in here and move anything willingly, so it didn't seem as pressing as the vivid imprint the boggart had left on his mind.

"Don't... worry about it," he said, reaching up to place his hand on Greengrass' wrist. He held it there for a beat, but then slowly dragged his hand down until it fell away from his arm entirely. Physical comfort was - nice, but it was also something he wasn't used to and so he didn't know what to do about it, especially from someone he barely knew. He tried to manage a reassuring smile, though, while he gave himself a moment to breathe.

"You've done enough for me. Thank you." If only he could convince himself he didn't regret it.


#22
Macnair holding onto his wrist was unexpected, and it sent a little flash of something up Ford's arm when he felt the contact there. This seemed to be of a slightly different caliber than the physical contact they'd had so far, he thought. Putting a hand on a shoulder was meant to be comforting and affirming, and those sorts of things could happen when there were boggarts involved, because even people who were typically strong-willed and confident and aloof could need a bit of comfort and affirmation when faced with their worst fears. This was a beat too late to be covered by the same sort of umbrella, though, and it seemed to be just a hair more intimate than everything that had preceded it. It was strange, then, but not something Ford was inclined to dwell on — people could do weird things when they had just faced off with their biggest fear, and Macnair's had been... quite a fear.

"Sure, no problem," he said easily, keeping his tone light to avoid having to drift back towards thoughts of Macnair's boggart, or any of the boggart manifestations. "It is my job," he continued, with a slightly teasing tone. He replaced the jewelry box on a piece of discarded furniture and tucked his wand back inside his jacket. "See you at the club, then?"


Bree made this because she loves me <3


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