Charming

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October 9th, 1890 — Hogwarts Library
Crystal was surprised at how fast the last month had gone. It felt like the year had just started, that she had watched the first years – for the last time – get sorted into their houses.

It hadn't taken long to get into a routine where she wasn't expecting to see Acacia at the Ravenclaw table. That's what she told herself, anyway, it had definitely taken her the better part of September to get used to not seeing her elder sister's face everyday.

Even stranger was the realisation that she wouldn’t have a close relationship with her new younger brother. With Mordecai starting Hogwarts next year, and her just finishing her seventh and half year at Hogwarts, they'd have four or five months out the year getting to know eachother.

Because of this fact, she was mildly upset (again) at the fact that the Ban had put her a solid year behind in her schooling. She could deal with any of the friends she'd made during her first four years were no longer at school. She could deal with failing Charms despite having a grandfather who taught the subject. What she didn’t want to deal with – but could, because she had no choice – was not getting to know Mordecai.

She was thankful, however, that she'd had extra time to decide what she had wanted to do after Hogwarts. Up until almost two years ago she hadn’t an inkling of what she'd wanted to do, and that would have put her firmly in her sixth year.

She frowned at what she was working on. The work load was so much more than she'd expected; it wasn't more than last years, but somehow, with everything that had happened over the summer, she'd forgotten how difficult NEWT courses were.

"Dunstan?" she was surprised when she looked up and saw her younger brother sitting across from her, also doing his schoolwork. "How long have you been sitting there?" she asked warily.

@Dunstan Ruskin/@Bragi Holm
Term had begun with a vengeance, sudden and rainy and somewhat chaotic. From the journey on the Hogwarts Express, in which he'd caught up with old friends and discovered a few of them were finally starting to catch up to him in height, to the start-of-term feast, in which he'd applauded a new group of First Years as they were sorted into Ravenclaw. From his first night back in the dormitory, listening to owls hooting on the tower roof above, to breakfast the next day, when he'd received his Third Year timetable. It was all a lot. And his new classes, while fascinating, piled him with more homework than he could ever remember getting in previous years. All this resulted in the first weeks of term flying by like a Firebolt — and suddenly, it was October. The leaves were turning orange, and the drowsy Summer heat was beginning to ebb from the sprawling Grounds.

Dunstan liked this time of year. He looked out of the library window once more, watching a spider sleepily pick dewdrops from its silken web. Then he turned back to the book he was reading: Numerology and Grammatica. Arithmancy was a very interesting new subject he was taking, but it was also complex and required all his focus; to the point at which he was closed off to all else for quite a while before he was startled back to reality by a very familiar voice.

He blinked. Chrysanta — his blonde-haired Slytherin sister, now in Seventh Year — was sitting right across from him... apparently without either of them realising it. "Uh — about an hour. How long have you been sitting there?"
Crystal was surprised at her brother's answer. Almost an hour. How had she not noticed him when she'd sat down to start on her studies? She'd registered someone sitting at the table when she had sat down, but hadn't noticed that had been her brother.

"About half an hour." If that long. She didn't think she'd been in the library that long, but she could be wrong. She could've been here longer, but she was certain it hadn't been more than fourty-five minutes.

"What subject are you working on?" she glanced down at her own Transfiguration essay she was planning on writing. Eventually. Soon. Maybe. She wasn't even sure where to begin.

@Dunstan Ruskin/@Bragi Holm
Half an hour and she hadn't noticed her brother sitting there. Perhaps he was musing too deeply over a very innocent mistake — and after all, he'd been too immersed in his work to notice Chrysanta either — but... he'd felt like his older sisters had been a little distant lately. In February, to their eyes he had "come back from the dead" — but to Dun it had been just another day. They'd lost him, grieved for him, and started to move on. Perhaps that was why he felt more distant from them now than he had before. Or perhaps it was just part of growing up.

The fact that the family now had a new younger brother, Mordecai, also factored into the equation. Their step-brother was younger, more innocent, untouched by death. Dunstan would not judge his sisters if they felt an inclination to start anew with a younger model.

Thoughts getting away from him, Dun blinked, then looked back down at Numerology and Grammatica. "Arithmancy", he replied quietly. "It's one of my favourite new classes. Alright so it's not full of spectacular jinxes or explosive substances, but it's deep, you know? I get lost in it. In a good way."
Crystal wished she knew what her brother was thinking. If she could, she wouldn't know where to begin. She could, however, see that he was trying his best not to show how the very fact that she hadn't noticed him when she sat down hurt. Even if just a little. She hadn't, to her knowledge, intentionally ignored who she had sat down across from.

She just... she didn't know how to talk to him. To him, nothing had changed after the World Market. Until this past February, that was. To him, he'd never died. They'd never grieved over the death of their youngest sibling.

To the rest of his immediate family, however, it wasn't the same. And she wished she knew how to handle that. It felt like Acacia always knew what the correct thing to say was, to all of them. Crystal, however, felt the complete opposite. She wasn't sure if that's how Orinda or Dunstan felt.

She wasn't sure how to treat their new brother. Factoring any new sibling they'll probably be getting... she just. She didn't know.

Listening to Dunstan talk about his Arithmancy class made her smile. While she'd never taken the course herself, she was happy that Dunstan was enjoying it. "I'm glad you're enjoying Professor Vorona's class." She would've hated for him to be stuck in a course he wasn't enjoying for the next two years.

@Dunstan Ruskin/@Bragi Holm
In terms of academic achievement, Dunstan was more gifted than most — but about average for a Ravenclaw. His schoolwork wasn't the aspect of him that turned heads. So he, too, was glad that he was enjoying his new classes — yes he was a year behind his full-blooded human peers, but moving into Third Year was still a big step.

"How about you?" he asked, leaning over slightly to glance at the parchment in front his sister. It looked like Chrysanta was working on an essay — or at least starting one. Dun was asking what subject she was working on, but he also wanted to know what her favourite subject was these days. She was quite different now... for her little brother had died, only to rise from the dead as if nothing had happened. That was enough to change anyone.
"An essay for Ancient Studies." Chrysanta replied, glancing back at the parchment that only had her name on it in fancy writing. She frowned at it for half a second before turning back to her brother. She'd have to work on it later; there were to many things she was thinking about and none of it was on the task she was trying to complete.

It didn't even cross her mind that Dunstan was possibly asking about what her favorite subject was.

Most of her thoughts were on trying to figure out what her brother was thinking, and what he was feeling.

Trying. She didn't like how everything had changed when he'd come back from the dead - not that she wished he was still dead, she just wished he'd never died or that they'd gotten to never live the day he'd died to begin with.

"What is on your mind, Dunstan?" Since she couldn't just know what he was thinking anymore. He wasn't easy to read; and maybe it was because she was out of practice with him or she'd been subconsciously avoiding trying to get to know him again. She hoped he didn't feel like she, Acacia, or Orinda had been ignoring him.

@Dunstan Ruskin/@Bragi Holm
Dun would've been quite content to take their conversation to the topic of Ancient Studies, for he'd strongly considered the subject before opting for Ancient Runes instead. But there was some notable crossover.

However, there was a lingering something between them that neither could shake — a sort of awkwardness that had never been there in earlier years. He was glad Crystal proceeded to address it. What was on his mind...? "We're probably thinking much the same thing", he theorised quietly after a pause (for he was a lawful chap, and hesitant about speaking in the library); "that everything has... changed. And so suddenly, too."
The Slytherin wanted to comfort her brother, but didn't know how to. He was right, everything had changed at a pace far faster than she would have preferred. Usually things changed slowly - deaths not included; those were never anticipated and nobody could prepare for those - and that was how she preferred it.

"I'm sorry if we don't seem as approachable as we used to," she whispered, referring to herself and their other siblings.

@Dunstan Ruskin/@Bragi Holm
Dun could not help but feel that Chrysanta's voice softened to a whisper not just because they were in the library. She perhaps didn't know how to talk of this; he didn't either. It was so strange, after all. Sometimes what had happened to their family felt like the strangest thing that had ever happened to anyone.

"You needn't be sorry", he said quickly. "I just..." he gazed back down at Numerology and Grammatica without actually reading it. "I wish I could find some way to fix everything."