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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1892. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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“Got the morbs” was Victorian slang for a temporary melancholia — Dante
In a panic sort of reaction, she shut the door but neglected to make sure she was on the other side of it.
the thrill of the chase moves in mysterious ways


Private
it was enchanting to meet you;;
#1
Jan 16. 1982 - Malfoy house, London (early afternoon)

Basil was in awe of his mother and elder brother’s powers of persuading him to do the very exact thing he hated doing most, all while he had full responsibilities elsewhere. There was no justification whatsoever that he ought to be doing this, and yet, here he was, traipsing down the street in London, dressed up and freezing his tail off in the cold January air. In hand he had a fresh bouquet of blue periwinkles and white acacias, chosen specifically to spite his family and contradict their wishes. Blue periwinkles were symbols of early blooming friendship, while white acacias very clearly drew the line between friendship and romance. Sour and fully plotting to pack his things and head back to Hogwarts in the morning, Basil seethed. He still wasn’t sure how he’d managed to get spun around three times for this!

The youngest Foxwood was currently on his way to court (bleh!) the youngest Miss Victoire Malfoy. That would be the name of the woman he’d been chatting with on New Years Eve, apparently. (If Atticus was to be trusted, which Basil severely doubted.) There was no true heart behind the action and he felt ridiculous even holding the damn flowers as he stomped along. This was an empty gesture and frankly, he pitied the poor girl for having to put up with him this languid, cloudy Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t that he hadn’t liked Ms. Malfoy, truly. After their initial awkward er… not quite introduction, Basil hadn’t minded conversing with the woman all too much. They had absolutely nothing in common and ran out of friendly topics in a few minutes, but she had been pleasant enough. In all truth though, Basil wasn’t sure he could pick his interaction with Ms. Malfoy out of a lineup with other debutantes if someone had asked him to. They were all very much the same, some with a little more zest than others. Victoire? Well she was… less pretentious, he supposed. Less pretentious by far than some smug professors he knew, for sure.

Still thinking about the ambush he’d walked in on that morning at breakfast, his face was dark. Basil sucked in a deep breath as he arrived at, what he hoped, was the right door. Shaking some of the cobwebs and storm clouds from his face, he knocked respectfully three times. Perhaps Miss Malfoy would be out. That was the only cheering thought he could cling to as footsteps approached from the other side of the door.


#2
Had Torie expected Mr. Foxwood to call? Certainly not. Was she used to not addressing him as Professor? Also no. However, her mother had informed that since she was no longer his student, well never had been really, that she should be addressing him in a less professional manner. It would take a bit to break the habit she was sure, but she would be entertaining him and paying attention to it of course, so maybe it would sink in.

The knock at the door had come as a surprise and the announcement that Torie had a gentleman caller was less of a shock. It had taken a few minutes but she now saw in the family drawing room, perched on the sofa, hair immaculately put up thanks to a quick spell, dress pristine, though she hadn't any idea what to expect from this visit. Her mother was pleased and her sisters shooed from the room, which was always highly amusing.

"Mr. Foxwood, what a pleasant surprise." She chuckled, immediately noting his bouquet; the was easy to interpret already.


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#3
Awkwardness crept up Basil’s spine and into his face betraying him as red splotches on pale cheeks. As he faced the ever lovely Miss Malfoy and she addressed him with evident confusion, he cleared his throat. Yes, what a surprise indeed.

“Miss Malfoy,” he greeted simply. Then, moving towards her, he handed the young blonde the bouquet in hand and took a decisive step backwards. “I hope you like them,” he tried. “These colors seemed to fit your, erm, countenance.” And they did, in truth. Blue and white, despite his hidden intention behind the choices, seemed a very flattering duo against her pale skin and fair hair. Not that Basil noticed these things, surely. His face remained peaked with red. She did look rather lovely, he had to admit.

Lacing his fingers behind his back, the professor tried to keep his eyes from darting rudely around the room. He didn’t meet Ms. Malfoy’s eye, but he didn’t dare meander about like he knew her or her family with any confidence. In fact, he rather looked like he’d prefer if the room swallowed him up altogether standing there nervously. He had no inclination whatsoever to make polite conversation, and frankly, no idea how even to begin a social call of this sort. He supposed there was likely a time limit he had to satisfy so as to not appear wholly rude or calculated and he wished, desperately, that he knew what it was.

“Lovely weather today,” he said rather stupidly. As soon as the words left his lips, he cringed internally. What a dull thing to say! For someone who spent so much time with their nose in the crease of a book he ought to have a little something interesting to remark. The worst part? It was as dreary and dull a day outside as ever in London. “If you like the rain, I suppose.” he amended. By George, could this interaction get much worse?


#4
The colors certainly, were among her favorite and she wasn't sure if he knew the meanings behind the blooms themselves or if he had truly just picked them out for the colors, his words and the flowers were sending mixed signals. Still, she stood and accepted them gracefully, taking a self-indulgent sniff of the fragrance as any girl would. "They are lovely, thank you very much." Before she could waffle on what to do with them, a maid swept them from her hands, no doubt to be placed immediately into a vase and then perched within view in the sitting room.

"Please have a seat," She invited him to join her, motioning to a nearby chair as she resumed her seat on the sofa. "I don't mind the rain," Torie was nothing if not a master of conversation; she could take any lead and run with it, even if it was about the weather. "A little gloomy perhaps, however, I enjoy the sound on the windowpanes, I find it soothing." Not to mention she was not all that outdoorsy, she burned easily and wasn't exactly athletic.

Knowing tea had already been summoned and they would interrupted soon, Torie eyed Mr. Foxwood curiously. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit today?" It was hard to tell if it was a social call or a obligatory one, judging by the flowers, but she rather thought she could save them both some time and cut to the chase.


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#5
Basil was still reeling from the stupid question he’d posed when Ms. Malfoy, ever the gentle lady, offered him a seat. He looked at the chair for a moment too long before accepting it, and shuffled awkwardly. He was lucky the young woman was as socially competent as she was; she more than made up for his failures in that regard.

Listening to Miss Malfoy speak, however, relaxed Basil just a touch and he nodded, impressed by how she could so easily find a delicate way to answer his stupidity. The rain was a soothing sound on the windowpanes, especially when one was curled up with tea and a good book in front of a fire. Basil almost smiled at the thought. He was just starting to try and find a delicate way to change the subject when his hostess managed to do so and rather cut to the chase. He froze a little bit, anxious about what the correct protocol here might be.

On the one hand, he could tell the lady that he was here as a suitor and wanted to get to know her a bit. That was certainly what his family had intended, and the duty he was fulfilling by his presence. On the other though, Basil felt the need to be honest with her and admit that he really was here just out of duty and that he was no more interested in courting not only her, but anyone, than he was leaving his post at Hogwarts at present. But that seemed impossibly rude. He shifted in his seat.

“Yes. Well…” Basil paused and cleared his throat searching for what to say. I just thought it might be nice to….? After our conversation over New Years...? I’m here because my mother forced me to call… Basil shifted again.

“Quite frankly, I don’t really know why I’m here,” he finally admitted. “I don’t have the… most intuitive social instincts. I apologize terribly if the interruption is unwelcome or if you had other plans that have been waylaid on my behalf.” Basil gave her the most pleadingly apologetic look he’d ever felt before, hoping he could communicate without words how distressing this was for him, too.


#6
Torie hummed out a little noise of amusement. "Your flowers tell an interesting story." She would have to have them whisked away to her bedroom before her mother saw them and was completely scandalized. Had Torie not already become a bit acquainted with Professor Foxwood, it would have been akin to a societal slap in the face, the combination of flowers in the bouquet. Luckily for Professor Foxwood, Torie was not her sisters and therefore not easily offended, especially when his answer to her question was so forthright.

"No intrusion at all, if nothing else, you've given the staff a bit of excitement for the day. We haven't had many callers, as I'm sure you know, it's not typical this time of year." Plus she could rub it in her sisters' faces, nicely of course. She let her voice trail off for a moment as the tea cart made its way in, pushed by one of the kitchen maids who clearly was interested to hear what was going on. "Thank you Marley, that will do." Torie chuckled under her breath as the maid retreated with a bit of a pout. "See?"

Taking a minute to fix her cup, Torie surveyed Professor Foxwood curiously, learning back with her tea in hand. "Am I to guess who volunteered you to visit or will you share?" His admission of not knowing exactly why he was here had solidified her suspicions.

The following 1 user Likes Victoire Malfoy's post:
   Basil Foxwood

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#7
Basil felt his cheeks warm a touch as Ms. Malfoy pointed out his flower choices. They had been deliberate; he’d grown up knowing all the intricacies of the so called “language of flowers” women liked to share because of his mother. He had meant for these choices to symbolize friendship and new beginnings, but nothing more. Evidently Ms. Malfoy was well versed enough to recognize as much. Basil cleared his throat. “Yes,” he agreed. “I… had hoped to become better acquainted with you…” As friends. He paused a moment, scratching the back of his head. It was lucky then that the maid interrupted with tea just as Basil balked internally about how to say as much.

He hated to give Ms. Malfoy the wrong impression. He hated being here, firstly, but he also hated the very implication of his calling on her to be romantic. Perhaps he ought to have fought back a little more decidedly against his mother and brother’s wishes. He had no such inclination to lead Ms. Malfoy afoul for affections that were not his to give. Not really. Nodding as the young lady pointed out the staff excitement, Basil suddenly paused - pulled from his internal guilt monologue. He eyed the maid curiously as she curtseyed and left them alone, noting just what Ms. Malfoy had said in the woman's face. Interesting. Even more fascinating was Ms. Malfoy’s next quip which took all the flame out from under Basil’s anxiety.

She knew.

The Transfiguration professor let out a tremendous breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding. Then, he laughed. It was a light, airy little laugh that was more astonished than anything. Perhaps he hadn’t given the young lady enough credit. “Am I so obvious?” He finally asked, sheepishly. There was no point denying it if she’d already found him out. He was glad, too, in a way. It wasn’t like he was willing to go through with the sham himself.

“In reality, I have to place the blame on my brother.” Basil admitted. “He saw our conversation over New Years and decided it was as good a premise as any to have me trespass on your hospitality. He doesn’t feel I do enough to find a respectable wife on my own, so he… meddles.” It was as kind a version as Basil could, or wanted, to give of the affair. He knew Atticus must have seen his conversation with the young lady that evening because he’d been there, at the event, and she was the only such young woman Basil had spoken to. At least more than just banal pleasantries. (He hadn’t stayed long, after all.)

“I do hope you don’t mind too terribly?” He said again. “Please consider my accepting the ludicrous proposal as a compliment to your temper and manner, if nothing else.”



#8
"It is not so much that you are transparent, as much as I was well-trained to notice such things," Torie chuckled, hoping to ease his concern over the matter. "I am far from easily offended, Professor." Torie's self-confidence tended to border on arrogance in certain situations, but she did pride herself on being able to read people and a room. With a complete season behind her now, she was still confident in her ability to find a good match. Frankly she had been relieved not to last summer, as she wanted to enjoy the chase for a bit longer.

"Your compliment is quite satisfying, as is your company today, please do relax." Torie teased lightly, thinking he rather looked like a rabbit ready to flee, perched precariously and eager to get out as soon as possible. "I am not above making friends on such visits." In fact, she quite enjoyed it. The pressure of being perfect was alleviated, as well as the need to impress him. It would be easy enough to play off the visit to her mother as well, he was just being polite, after all. After this they could safely enjoy one another's company at social events as well. It was nice to have a friendly face in the crowd.

After a pensive sip of her tea, Torie thought through his admission that it was his brother who had sent him. "Having my mother over my shoulder is enough, I cannot imagine either of my older sisters interfering, of course they are both unwed as well, so they have little room to get involved." In fact they would likely do the opposite and try to dissuade any potential matches. "Is your brother married then?" She had to wonder if it wasn't a bit hypocritical if Professor Foxwood's brother was still a bachelor himself.


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#9
Basil wasn’t sure if he preferred being addressed as Professor or Mr. Foxwood given the current predicament he was in. It made him feel slightly inappropriate to be considered her professor - especially given Miss Malfoy’s apparent age - while in the same vein, it was familiar and easy to lean into. Mr. Foxwood sounded much too formal, and left a window for propositioning that he didn’t much care for. Shifting awkwardly in his seat, Basil nodded. He was glad she wasn’t easily offended. It said something of her character to be able to read the room and ease her companions, even when they were as fidgety and flighty as he.

Attempting to do as she asked, he settled further into his seat and nodded again. Friends, yes that was it! Basil shifted. “How machiavellian of you,” he replied quietly, with a hint of a tease and smile. “Thank you.” It wasn’t meant as an insult, in fact, it was an easy compliment and Basil was glad to think Miss Malfoy would see that. She’d seen much already, and he hoped they might settle on an understanding here.

He eyed the tea then, wondering just how put off she’d be if he settled about pouring his own cup. Tea was a small comfort in moments like these, as they gave one something to do with their hands. Instead however, he looked back up to her blue eyes as the woman spoke and resisted the urge to reach for his wand. “No, actually,” he replied wryly. “He just thinks he knows best when it comes to these things, as older brothers are wont to do.” Basil sighed a little and gave a small look of ‘que sera, sera.’ He was used to it he supposed; Atticus had always been there for him: protecting him, caring for him, aiding him when he most needed it. Basil wasn’t ungrateful, per say. He knew he was lucky to have a brother who cared so much but it was stifling. Especially when he also had his mother to contend with.

“He means well,” Basil conceded. “He is…” Obtrusive? Interfering? Determined to solve the worlds problems without being asked? The brunette struggled to find a good term to describe his brother without giving too much away about their fractured relationship. “…pragmatic.” Basil sighed. “He’s dedicated to our family and to doing what he thinks is best for all of us, sometimes at the negligence of his own needs.” And it was true, now that Basil thought about it. Atticus was always worrying about and interfering with his business, instead of putting himself out there to find a wife. Or perhaps he had and was just far too selective for his own good? (Pot meet kettle.) Basil shrugged a little bit. “I suppose he just wants us to be comfortable or even happy in our lives and uphold the good Foxwood name.”

The brunette shifted in his seat, wondering if he’d said too much. He cleared his throat then. “Do you have any older brothers?” He asked. “You mentioned two sisters before, are there only the three of you?” He knew he ought to know the answer to this question but Basil paid little mind to society and its ton. He hoped Miss Malfoy would not think less of him for it. He didn’t know why, but her good opinion was starting to weigh on him.


#10
"Machiavelli had no concept of friendship. It was be loved or feared, but never liked." Torie countered with a chuckle. Her history was not always that good, but she had found Machiavelli to be quite the character with his ideals for princes and courtiers. The ideals were not too far off from what was expected of a debutante after all, at least on some level.

"What is it about older siblings?" Both of her sisters also thought they knew everything, Raf too. "I do have an older brother, he is the eldest of us all. He is by no means any better than my sisters most of the time, but I don't think he quite feels society's pressure just yet." Raf wasn't really old enough to have to succumb to the need to marry just yet. "That falls on my dear Estelle, as the oldest sister. She is not making it easy upon herself, however." Neither Angel nor Estelle were all that approachable. Sometimes Torie felt that their success was riding on her. If she at least got married, she could provide some better connections for her sisters. It would look poorly though, if she was to marry first. Everything was such a mess, even if they didn't let on.

Torie took a sip of her tea, allowing for a natural swap in conversation. It was sort of nice to have someone to commiserate with.

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   Basil Foxwood

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#11
Basil couldn’t help the brilliant grin that stretched across his face, open and honest, as Ms. Malfoy countered his quip on Machiavelli. So she was rather clever academically, after all! He actively decided he liked her all the more. How splendid.

At news of her siblings, Basil tried to put faces to his imaginings of the elder Malfoy siblings. He was scarcely able to fish for a name in the dark void that was his supposed acquaintanceship amongst the upperclass. Estelle did not in the slightest ring for him, but then again, neither had Victoire before Mama had announced it so eagerly. He nodded understandingly at the lady’s commiseration but refrained from commenting on the eldest’s difficulty. He knew it was not a gentleman’s place to inquire, nor were they friendly enough yet for Basil to feel privileged.

With that thought however, he was finding it rather easier to relax in the young lady’s presence. She was sweet, in that picture perfect younger sister kind of way Basil had always imagined. (He’d always wanted a sister growing up, and he’d even asked Mama for one on his fifth birthday. She’d only laughed and said that it simply wasn’t possible, whatever that meant.)

“Siblings do rather make it hard to live one’s life peacefully,” Basil quipped back, a small joke shared between them. “That said, I do think you’d actually quite like my brother,” he offered with a small, ironic laugh. “Despite his faults, he seems to be what all aspiring debutants might look for. Charming, witty, comfortable.” Basil felt the pain with every compliment tickle at him and he laughed again. “I’d be willing to pay handsomely if you or any of your sisters should like to take him off my hands,” he teased. Two birds with one stone, how fortunate for them both.


#12
Torie nodded, containing the roll of her eyes that threatened to accompany it. "Especially as the youngest." Her older siblings were all very much their own people and also very much in her way. It was harsh, certainly, but how in the name of Merlin's beard was she supposed to actually get anywhere if Estelle and Angel didn't get married? It would horrible if she were to marry first, or if she was allowed to marry at all before them!

"You're doing such a wonderful job selling his virtues, why on Earth would you need anyone to be paid for him?" Torie teased. "We can swap, a sister for a brother?" Would that not be hilarious? The pair of them had settled into an unusual friendship, which Torie was fine with, but it was rather amusing neither one of them seemed to feel anything aside from that. They could however, easily use that to their advantage.

Musing the thought over, she knew Professor Foxwood was no match for either one of her sisters, but he might be onto something with his brother. "Honestly though, tell me about him, I am intrigued." To say the least.


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#13
Basil chuckled as Miss Malfoy responded in kind. He was pleased at the rather tame friendship that seemed to be blossoming. It was odd, though. Basil didn’t have many friends, and even less of them were female. It would be nice this upcoming season to find a friendly face in the crowd when he, inevitably, was forced into ballroom after ballroom by his hurried family. He made a friendly, faux-grimace at the idea of a swap. “How on Earth do you imagine me to be a match for an unmarried sister if I can’t even escape a rather unattached, overly involved brother!” he replied, feigning shock.

Basil shifted slightly in his seat then, deciding it was as good a time as any to prepare himself a cup of tea. He was much more relaxed now than when he’d first arrived, and at this point he had much less of an inclination that he’d offend Ms. Malfoy by doing so himself. Pulling out his wand, Basil tapped the edge of a tea cup and slowly the instruments danced to life. He considered her question then.

“If I am a misanthrope, my brother,” he mulled, contemplatively. “Is… a bit of a self-righteous moralist.” Basil grinned again; they were both exaggerated extremes. “But I mean that in the least objectionable way possible, really!” he added, hastily. “He means well, I know he does. But he tends to push a little harder than necessary at times. He thinks his way - or, better yet, our father’s way - is the right way. The only path forward.” Basil resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “In fact, he lives his life in the most typically upperclass fashion possible,” the brunette chuckled. “He’s focused, avoids scandal, and is dedicated to our family in a way…. in a way frankly our father never was.” Never was… with me. Basil sighed. (He knew Atticus tried to make up for their father’s favoritism by being overbearing.) “He wants what any bachelor should want, a family - a wife and children - to call his own and for my to follow in those same footsteps. It’s… sweet, I suppose.” Basil paused to look down at the cushions on the seat he’d taken.

“Atticus has always been there for me though,” he added, more quietly. “He’s always there for all of us. Poppy, Tillie, even Anthony.” Basil looked up at Ms. Malfoy again and offered her a sad little smile. “He’s the most reliable person you’ll ever have the chance to meet.”



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