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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


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Chapter 130: The Third Sister
#1
February 17th, 1892 — Quidditch pitch

Never, Almost and Forever. These were the names of the siblings in Richard's novel. Never was the main character, and had been raised by his two older sisters (a circumstance quite unlike Richard's real life upbringing, which had featured two whole parents and no siblings at all). But the young novelist was umming and ahhing over this fictional little family, double-guessing himself, wondering if it was quite right. There was something missing.

It was early evening on a Thursday, so soon after dinner that most people were still eating in The Great Hall. The weather was cold, still, and greyer than an aging professor's beard. Richard sat under a tree on the edge of the Quidditch fields. Perhaps an odd place for him to be right now, but he needed an odd place. Somewhere bracingly different to think about the issues with his novel; parchments of which he currently had stacked on his lap, the tip of his quill hovering an inch from the surface. He was still stuck.

Richard sighed (his gentle breath looking like silver steam in the cool air), and looked up. Once dinner had ended properly, he had no doubt that Quidditch players would be straight out here practicing for the upcoming match. But for now it was quite empty --

And that's when a Quaffle came flying at him. The nimble lad dodged at the last second, but the pages of his novel scattered spectacularly.

@Sloane Bixby

#2
Sloane was, as per usual, a bit of a mess. Things were better, she supposed, but she still felt like there was some weird space between her and Cameron that just lurked like a bad habit. Something was off and it was eating away at her.

So naturally she made her way to the pitch to fly herself exhausted so she could just pass out after her Transfiguration homework without letting her anxiety get the better of her; then she'd never sleep. Splash followed her out this time. Her large, part-kneazle-part-Norwegian-forest-cat was almost half her size, but Sloane enjoyed the company of her pet more than people most days (with a few exceptions of course).

After dragging the chest with the practice balls inside, Sloane tossed Splash one of the quaffles to play with, watching the large white fluffball basically bat and toss it around herself. It was pretty funny to watch. Splash was usually pretty aloof, but apparently had a ton of energy as she raced around with the quaffle. Of course she got a little too rambunctious and the next thing Sloane knew, the quaffle was scattering papers of a Slytherin she hadn't even noticed yet.

"Whoops!" She called apologetically, hurrying over to help collect the flyaway parchment.


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#3
While one's instinct was surely to act with frustration at such a commotion, Richard had long trained his frustrations to abate when other people were involved. For showing frustration was no way to make good contacts. Not that someone who'd fling a Quaffle at him was necessarily top of the social food chain.

Richard got swiftly to his feet and grabbed what parchments he could, looking up to glance at a freckly girl he recognised to be a Gryffindor a year or two below him. He reached into his robe pocket to grab his wand and shoot some summoning spells at some of the pages getting caught up in the breeze, his chest paining him as he imagined someone reading his secret words.

"Don't... read that... thanks", he murmured as he reached out to swiftly take some of the pages the girl had caught, realising a little late that don't read that was a very tantalising invitation. Richard attempted to change the conversation quickly as he continued gathering papers; "what happened? With the Quaffle I mean. I understand you Quidditch players are supposed to be in control of the things."

#4
Quick hands and reflexes saw Sloane catching several pages, reading them not even an option in her mind, as she was too busy snatching parchment before it flew away. Not to mention trying not to crumple it either. Of course, using a wand was  the smart choice, but Sloane also didn't have hers on her at the moment, so all she could do was watch as the Slytherin summoned some more of the flyaways.

"That happened," Sloane chuckled, pointing at her massive cat as Splash continued her assault on the quaffle, unperturbed by the flying parchment. "Your logic would also apply to chasers, but alas, I'm the seeker, so my job is to catch things, not throw them." Sloane shrugged as she tried to arrange the pile of papers in her hand neatly to hand back. Clearly she was good at catching things.


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#5
Richard still felt a painful sting of anxiety deep in his chest as he realised he'd have to go through all these papers later (each suffering from varying levels of dampness) and determine if any were missing. But for now it looked as if they'd done a good job, between the two of them, of retrieving his flyaway novel. The people-pleaser in him wanted to thank her further, but integrity prevented him. It was partly her fault that this had happened, after all.

And partly his for choosing such a haphazard writing location to begin with.

He accepted the papers appreciatively nonetheless, and looked to where she was pointing. "Oh. What a sweet cat." Granted, Richard's tone was somewhat unconvincing, but he did rather like cats. And that one looked like it would be quite amiable -- when asleep.

"Of course -- the Gryffindor seeker. I didn't recognise you stationary." Like her cat, she seemed pleasant when still. "I'm Richard Everly. Not a Quidditch player, but I rarely miss a match."

#6
Sloane vaguely recognized the Slytherin from classes, but couldn't bring to mind a time when they had purposefully interacted before. "She's a menace, don't let her fool you," Sloane assured Mr. Everly with a wry smile. "Sloane Bixby, and that's Splash." The cat, upon hearing her name decided now was a good time to saunter over. The enormous cat, next to the petite seeker was a hilarious dichotomy, but the pair were rarely seen without one another these days. If Splash wasn't with Sloane, she was pestering Calla or Ned, it seemed like. She had favorites, clearly.

Mr. Everly didn't strike her as a quidditch fan, but she smiled nevertheless. "I had come out to practice a little bit, is that going to bother your... writing?" She could always do laps along the edge of the lake if so.


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#7
The cat -- Splash was it? -- was pretty, but her looks hadn't fooled him; she'd already proved herself a menace. But animals were animals, unpredictable and inconsistent, and not altogether occupied with the concept of dignity, unlike their human counterparts. Well, most of their human counterparts.

He nodded his head, gesturing that it was nice to meet Miss Sloane Bixby. He would have much rather had a proper introduction, but such things weren't always possible -- especially when the young lady was out here chaperoned by nothing but a cat.

"Practice away", he waved his hand briefly at the pitch as if offering her a fine meal. "It's your space."

What a funny sort. Richard knew girls like this one existed, but couldn't think of the last time he'd spoken to one. Now that the shock of the chaotic introduction had abated, the novelist in Richard was observing Miss Bixby quietly but curiously. There was something... here.

"If you don't mind my impertinence in asking", he began, and already guessed she probably didn't; "what possesses a girl to choose such a physical and competitive pastime? Perhaps I'm being foolish and the answer is the same for a girl as a boy..."

#8
Relieved she wouldn't have to take her practice elsewhere, all Sloane could do was shrug at the question. "Everyone else in my family did or does. My next eldest brother plays on the house team as well; another makes brooms; my mother works in the Broom Regulatory Office; and both my eldest brother and my father played professionally. My father now coaches." Quidditch ran deep in the Bixby bloodline. "I started flying shortly after I could walk." And she was infinitely more graceful on a broom than on her own two feet.

Shouldering her broom once more, Sloane nudged Splash away from the Slytherin before her, but the cat would not be dissuaded. "You can tell her to scamper off, she'll find something to hunt sooner or later." She added with a laugh as the half-kneazle cat eyed the quaffle again.


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#9
Bending down briefly, Richard extended a slender hand towards Splash and offered a scritch behind the ear. She was even bigger up close, a stark contrast to her petite owner, and no doubt more than a bundle of trouble. It was a wonder Miss Bixby managed to remain popular; though perhaps, in fact, the funny cat was a reason for it and not a deterrent.

"I think I'm familiar with your family. Quite the legacy", he noted graciously. "But I must be frank..." he decided he could be a little bit impertinent or playful with this one; she seemed the type not to abide by the rulebook; "you didn't quite answer my question. You've said what your family does, not why you chose to do it too." He looked at her with innocent interest.

If "because my family does it" was really enough of a motivation, Richard would already been training to become a Healer.

#10
"You must not have older siblings," Sloane mused aloud, thinking it through. "Youngest, only girl, extremely competitive family." She supposed she could have had a choice, but it seemed highly unlikely. "I've spent most of my life trying to best them at their own game and I pretty much have. It's a weird thirst to want to prove oneself at something everyone else in the family is also pretty good at." Sloane had made the team at the youngest, worked the hardest to be good at what she did. Rufus was good, and apparently her father had been in his time too, but Sloane had no doubts she'd be drafted immediately after graduating either, if she managed to make it that far.

"But that's why I practice so much." Of course it was also an easy excuse to get out of the common room when it started to feel suffocating as well. She needed the excuse far too often these days it felt like.


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#11
Richard nodded at Miss Bixby's observation that he was unlikely to have older siblings -- she was correct. "I know what it feels like to be overshadowed", he responded in a rare moment of personal truth, "though not to have the skill and perseverance to catch up." Richard had long settled into his state of being lesser.

Never, Almost and Forever. These were the names of the siblings in Richard's novel. And as he looked at Miss Bixby, he was suddenly hit with inspiration: Never needed a third sister. The youngest sibling of them all, but also the most driven. Overshadowed but persevering. And perhaps she should have freckles...

"So when does it end?" he asked with calm but evident interest; "striving to become the best. If you stand out among your family and make it to the top, where do you go from there?"

#12
"Mmm that is the question," Sloane hummed out, thinking that she didn't exactly have an answer for that. "Being the youngest, they'll have all moved onto better things, I assume. My eldest brother still plays, but is now married and I'm sure will be starting a family soon, so his career is practically over." Neither Alvin nor Harry had much interest in the same things the rest of the family did, trying to carve their own paths. Who knew what Wally would do at this point, though with his graduation looming, he should probably figure it out sooner rather than later.

"Guess I'll figure it out when I get there," The fact that she would probably jump right into the professional league right after graduation was nothing special, but she knew that she would rise quickly. Sloane was very much a Gryffindor in many aspects and she knew when she was good at something, so she was confident in her abilities and where they would hopefully take her. "It doesn't even matter to anyone but me, so there's that too." She laughed. As long as she didn't wind up embarrassing the family or disgracing herself, she was pretty sure her parents would be just fine with whatever she chose. "As long as I don't become some tamed housewife, I'll be fine." Ugh, that was her worst nightmare.


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#13
It was an unfair question really, especially when placed on someone who may still have a few years of school in front of them. Not only "What will you do when you grow up?", but "Then what? And then what? And how about after that?"

It was almost as if Richard was on the brink of a fantastic new character but needed help getting to grips with her story.

But when Miss Bixby proclaimed that her future didn't matter to anyone but her, Richard could not help but exhale with some vague expression of amazement. "What an enviable position", he admitted. "And if that's true, I don't think you need to worry about being a housewife", he added.

He then decided that the Third Sister in his novel would be of marrying age but altogether uninterested in such a pursuit.
The following 1 user Likes Richard Everly's post:
   Sloane Bixby

#14
Sloane wasn't so sure about enviable, but it would be freeing. She was supposed to care about society's thoughts on her choices, but she really couldn't bring herself to give a damn. In fact she was pretty sure she would never get married, especially the way things were with Cameron at the moment, so she really ought not to fear the boring possibility of running a household.

"Only one way to find out, which is when I get there." She shrugged. "I'm going to squeeze in that practice now, if it's not too much of a distraction for you?" She could use the distraction still.


sorry for the wait! probably a good place to wrap with this or your next post?

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