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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

if I get to meet you;;
August 30th, 1891 - Hogwarts Castle Grounds (early afternoon)

If there was anything Basil Foxwood enjoyed more than his research, it was escaping Atticus on the last day of summer when he finally got to go back to Hogwarts early for a fresh start, to a new term. After an endless holiday of pageantry and faux chivalry, it was all he could do to keep it together and not skip out the door clicking his heels like a leprechaun. Today was that much anticipated day however, and as Basil stepped out from the stone walls onto the grounds for the first time since May, he couldn’t help but suck in a deep breath and let out a sigh.

Hogwarts was his respite; his escape from the exhausting responsibility that came with being a Foxwood. His family (and extensions) plus all their affairs were more than the quiet, eccentric professor could handle most of the time. He relished in the relative peace that came with being at the castle. Yes, there was always some drama or another with the students - someone to correct, aid, or give detention - but there was a modicum of respect that being a professor commanded and the same was not always true or apparent at home.

Having finished unpacking his office and organizing the too-tidy space with his usual beginning of term clutter, Basil had decided he would take a tour of the space he’d so desperately missed while away. On general principle, there was little that could draw him out onto the grounds save for official professor business, a new snow, or in this case: nostalgia. Still, he meandered about taking in the peace and quiet that would soon be disrupted as students arrived later that week. He’d just made it to the Quidditch Pitch and started looking up into the stands from below when something nearby made a noise. Basil started, but quickly realized it was another person.

Turning to the new figure as it approached, he took in a young, unfamiliar face. This must be the new flight instructor. He’d heard rumors that the previous would not be returning, though he’d never been particularly close with Mr. —. Offering the man a small smile by way of apology, Basil cleared his throat. “I didn’t think anyone would be out here at this time. Please, forgive the intrusion.”

It was surreal being back here again, on the Quidditch Pitch at Hogwarts; Thomas hadn't been here in nearly a decade, considering he'd been signed professionally just after finishing his fifth year. He stood in the middle of the pitch with his eyes closed, just reimagining all the games he played while he still wore scarlet and gold, when he was always sporting scrapes all over his body from practice and a shit-eating grin because he knew that he had a whole future as a Quidditch star, not knowing that one day it could all end in an instant. A smile crept onto his face only for a moment before he reopened his eyes and refocused on walking back towards the broom shed to take inventory so he could prepare for the first years flying lesson that week. While Thomas had been doing a lot better since the accident, he wasn't sleeping all the time, in such a deep depression that he didn't want to do anything, he still felt a pit in his stomach because he knew something was missing in his life now. He hoped that by teaching the future of Quidditch, seeing the hope and dreams in these students' faces, would spark something new inside of him. At least he could still fly for a little bit with his injury; it wasn't ideal, but he could keep up enough for his regular duties as referee and instructor, and for that, he remembered all of the healers at the hospital he stayed at telling him to be grateful.

Thomas was bringing out a heavy box of Quidditch supplies so he could count them and check for any indication that they'd either been tampered with or needed to be repaired or repurchased when he heard someone join him on the field. Looking over, he noticed a man who seemed to have also just noticed him as well and he quickly apologized for intruding. Thomas grinned, a playful smile, one he always had when meeting another person, waved to him, "No problem! The more the merrier! I'm just checking some things out and I don't mind the company." He set the box down in the grass, closer to the man so they were at an appropriate distance to meet one another and he stuck out his hand to shake, "Thomas Aldridge - I'm the new Referee and Flight Instructor. Are you at all a fan of Quidditch?" He'd asked because that might be a reason he was out here instead of inside, preparing like some of the other instructors, which reminded him that he hadn't really introduced himself to them either. He supposed he was getting the first day of school work jitters. Moving back to the box, Thomas popped it open and began inspecting things, but kept glancing up to look at the other, to let him know he was listening, "Haven't been back here in ages. Feels like a dream, you know? Have you been working here long? Is it hard to get adjusted you think?" Perhaps he was talking this poor man's ear off a little too much, but that was just how Thomas was - he talked a lot, he was loud, he was energetic, and sometimes forgot some people were more introverted. A blush covered his cheeks, he looked up again from the box, "Sorry. I'm Thomas and I don't know when to shut up." And just like that, he had that dorky little grin on his face again, like he was fifteen and winning a Quidditch game.
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   Basil Foxwood

[Image: ik09fz9.png]
Lovely Set by MJ!
Basil watched as the man brought out a rather heavy looking trunk of Quidditch paraphernalia. He appeared even younger up close, though Basil could frankly say the same about himself. (He was distinctly aware that there were rumors floating about the school as to his eligibility as a bachelor, but the very thought made Basil’s cheeks flame and he tried not to dwell too heavily on it in general. Young girls could be so silly, really.) Turning his attention back to the stranger, Basil found himself mollified when the man dismissed his apologies and struck out for a handshake. Accepting it, the professor chuckled.

“Basil Foxwood and, ah, not particularly.” He replied with a wry smile, lacing his fingers behind his back. It wasn’t that Basil wasn’t a fan of the sport per say, not really. He’d just never been quite as enthused by it as the rest of the wizarding community seemed to be. He’d come out regularly to support Ravenclaw as a student, and even now as a professor he didn’t miss a match (though he did have to be careful in showing too much bias), but Basil had never been one to frequent professional matches, or frankly even follow along with who was in them. The young ladies certainly seemed to, so he heard the odd name here or there in the corridors, but that was the extent of it.

As the young man - Mr. Aldridge - began inspecting his articles and asking questions, Basil grinned a touch. He was energetic, and eager it seemed, so he would be a good match for the over zealous students who considered themselves professionals already. As Mr. Aldridge turned a charming smile onto him with a self-deprecating quip, Basil felt something flutter in his stomach uncomfortably. It had been a long time since anyone had made that feeling stir in his gut and he quickly squashed the thought before it could iron itself out.

“I’ve been the transfiguration professor for about three years now, this will be my fourth,” he said pleasantly instead. “It certainly takes some adjustment, but I don’t doubt you’re up to muster Mr. Aldrigde. The students will take to you like flies to honey and after that, well, the rest is simple.” He offered the man another grin.

This was the turning point in the conversation where Basil usually bid his farewells and made off on his own again. Finding he had nothing better to do on this lovely, sunny day however, he decided to linger and perhaps take advantage of Mr. Aldridge’s company for awhile. He’d only just met the man, but there was something familiar about him, almost comfortable. It went without saying, but such findings were rare for Basil. “And you?” He inquired politely then. “What brings a charming young man like yourself back to Hogwarts?” Instead of to some other wider, more exciting career? he didn’t add. Perhaps it was general curiosity, or perhaps it was the echo of a lasting sting from previous experience that made Basil ask. Either way, the question was out now.

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   Thomas Aldridge
Mr. Foxwood's name was a little bit familiar and perhaps it was just being immersed in the wizarding world long enough that you started to remember who the pureblood families were, or maybe it was because he was a few years ahead of him while he was in school, but it wasn't enough that he really knew anything about him. Not that it mattered to Thomas, really - sure, reputation was important but to a degree, he found he'd rather figure out for himself who he liked and disliked rather than base everything on rumors and scandal. "Ah, fair enough. The sport isn't for everyone," he admitted, and while he lived and breathed Quidditch, himself, he certainly couldn't fault anyone for not having an interest in it. But, it would explain why he probably didn't know who he was - and while in his youth this would have been an insult, young Thomas was big on having the 'I'm going to be famous someday!' attitude, whereas the older Thomas had some humility to him. And honestly? After the total embarrassment of the injury that ended his career, fading into obscurity sometimes didn't feel like the worst thing in the world. "I've always been a fan of it, myself, but, in my experience - even if you don't like Quidditch, you can still enjoy a nice broom ride on a particularly agreeable day." And it was his hope that he was able to pass that to his students as he knew there would be a fair few that were reluctant to even get on a broom in the first place and he didn't want any student in his class to feel traumatized.

It was a relief that Basil didn't seem to be annoyed by how Thomas spoke about a mile a minute, throwing question after question at him as if he was one of his Transfiguration students rather than one of his colleagues. Even while he was sifting through the large box, still making sure to be thorough in checking for any defects in the equipment, Thomas tried his best to keep looking up at Basil to make sure he knew that he was still listening to what he had to say. It was like a wave of relief fell over him when he told him that the students would like him and while he could always just be saying that, giving the same sagely professor advice to every young newcomer, Thomas was going to believe him anyway. "I certainly hope you're right, Mr. Foxwood. I imagine every professor must say it when they start, but I hope that I can inspire a love of flying in my students, even if it only becomes a simple hobby. I mean, it's not probably as important to learn as Transfiguration, of course, but it's a great way to keep active and it can be good for relaxation," And for those who eventually wanted to go into professional Quidditch just like he did, he wanted to make sure they were prepared for the realities of doing it and were ready to really commit to playing the sport and training, and not do it just because they wanted to be famous or because it made pretty witches swoon.

Thomas decided he liked Mr. Foxwood, which, wasn't a big surprise as generally speaking, Thomas liked everyone and did his best to make sure everyone liked him back, but he made him smile and even blush when he called him charming. He was sure that was just your average compliment, but for it to come from someone handsome like him, he couldn't help but feel some sort of way about it - even if it was not something that would ever be spoken aloud. "I'm pretty certain I'm not old enough or skilled enough to coach professionals," which, was a sort of half-truth. Thomas shut the box of Quidditch equipment and then sat down on it, thinking - it was still raw, hard to talk about now, but it wasn't a huge secret what happened. In fact, the only reason Basil probably didn't know was he didn't care for Quidditch enough to read about it in the paper. "Last year I had a... horrific accident with a bludger in a game against the Chudley Cannons - I was a Keeper for the Appleby Arrows, you see - and it basically ended my career. Didn't really know what I was going to do after that until I was offered the position here to coach students and I figured, you know, what the hell. So, here I am, hoping I don't mess this up," Perhaps, it was a bit too real to talk about with someone he'd only just met, but to lie was just stupid and pointless. He shrugged and put on his usual dumb smile.
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   Basil Foxwood

[Image: ik09fz9.png]
Lovely Set by MJ!
Basil chuckled at Mr. Aldridge’s comment about anyone being able to enjoy a nice broom ride. While he was sure the young man believed that, Basil certainly had no intention of ever flying on a broom again. He’d been wretched at it as a child, and by golly was there nothing in this world to ever tempt him to try again. He kept his opinion to himself however, not wishing to be rude. Aldridge’s motivations for being a professor were admirable though. They echoed Basil’s own really and he found himself smiling stupidly at the man again.

“All subjects are equally important Mr. Aldridge,” he teased delicately. And Basil meant it, for the most part. He wasn’t so sure about etiquette or astronomy, but to each their own. “I do admire your passion for it though,” he continued. “It says something about a man when his motivations are honest.” Basil tried not to lay it on too thick. He was finding he generally liked Mr. Aldridge, however. Like himself, the young man seemed enthusiastic about his subject, and Basil could find reason for compliment in that.

As the other man came to shut his trunk then and sit atop it, Basil shifted his own position a touch. A concerned frown crossed his features and he felt horribly guilty all of a sudden for bringing this up. “My dear fellow,” he apologized. “I’m so terribly sorry.” Basil hesitated then. He felt he ought to show some consideration but he’d only just met the man so putting a hand on his shoulder was out of the question. He didn’t quite know what to say next either. Basil couldn’t imagine his life without the one thing he cared for most in the world; to have given it all up and settled for second fiddle, well, that was simply tragic. (Not that Basil thought teaching was second fiddle to anything, but given the circumstances…) He shoved his hands deep into his trouser pockets.

“I do wish I could offer you more than condolences,” Basil admitted after a long pause. “I've a chocolate frog in my office, if you’d like it?” He tried to smile then, hoping to lighten the mood with a joke.

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   Thomas Aldridge
Of course, Thomas believed that; he couldn't even fathom the idea that someone out there couldn't love flying around on a broomstick. Maybe it was because he was a Muggleborn wizard and there had been a point in his life where he would have never even dreamed of such things even being possible, that he knew what it was like to be so boring and mundane and it was actually quite frightening to even think about he could have grown up his whole life not knowing about magic or Hogwarts and never know about such pleasures, but Thomas may as well be surgically attached to his broomstick. But, he supposed, if someone did say that they didn't like it, even if they were only doing it for fun and not for sport, he would do his best to be understanding, and perhaps working this job he would meet a few people like that.

A bashful look crossed his features at Basil's response to his statement, "I know you're probably just saying that, but it's good to hear anyway." There was no way anyone would consider flying around on a broomstick as important as something like transfiguration. It was certainly just as important to him, sure, but transfiguration was an academic subject, and maybe it was because Thomas grew up with an elder brother who considered athletes to be the sort with socks for brains and a proper, intelligent man would go into being a scholar or a doctor, not something as useless and pointless as a Football or Quidditch player, that Thomas didn't think someone who taught a subject like that could believe it was important. "I believe passion is an incredibly important thing to have. I'm sure you're very passionate about transfiguration, right? I certainly couldn't imagine getting up day after day to teach something I didn't have a passion for," he smiled, beaming as Basil continued to compliment him and his noble motivations. He truly hoped the rest of the professors were as kind as him!

It was hard, not feeling sorry for himself and putting on a smile when not everything was okay, but he'd been getting better at it. He still sometimes got letters from fans that wished him luck and condolences for what happened, and even some old Quidditch buddies would check in with him every so often to let him know they were still thinking of him. Mostly, Thomas stayed out of the spotlight following the accident, even when he should have said something when the papers started to smear Astorwood, blaming him for what happened. But, when he took this job he vowed to stay upbeat and positive and give it a chance, and so he would. Thomas couldn't help but crack up when Basil offered him a chocolate frog, it was the kind of laugh he couldn't hold back and really tore through him. This is what he liked - dealing with sad moments with awkward humor! "A chocolate frog! I love chocolate frogs, how'd you know?" he was grinning like a madman now, pushing himself from the box and standing back up, "Thank you, Mr. Foxwood, I appreciate your condolences. But, perhaps this won't be so bad at all! I mean, working with you ought to be a pleasure in and of itself, but I get an entire chocolate frog!" He winked.
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   Basil Foxwood

[Image: ik09fz9.png]
Lovely Set by MJ!
Beaming a little bit like a giddy school-boy, Basil nodded as Mr. Aldridge mentioned passion and transfiguration in the same sentence. If there anything that defined Basil Foxwood, it was his passion for - well - Transfiguration! All sides of it too: research, teaching, practicing, and even publishing! He didn’t say as much, knowing if he did he might come off a bit like an eccentric to his new colleague, so instead he merely continued to smile and agreed. “Quite right!”

As they discussed the accident next, Basil was glad to see that Mr. Aldridge could have a positive attitude at the very least. He knew it must be hard, but he appreciated the effort. (If the man’s honest laugh tickled at something inside of him, Basil ignored it.) Instead, he echoed Mr. Aldridge’s grin with his own and tried to keep himself from noticing too terribly how endearing the flight instructor’s personality seemed to be. He was young, bright, and effortlessly sweet. It gave Basil too achingly a sense of deja vu, but the brunette was dismissive of it. “I’ve not got it on me,” he admitted, playfully. “But the next time you’re up in the castle, stop by and I’ll be sure to hand the little buggar off.”

The sun was beginning to move across the horizon and Basil figured he ought to leave the other to his own devices. There was a bit of research he wanted to get a jump on too before the students returned. He was sure Ms. Chang would come in like a whirlwind wanting to lend a hand and there was yet much for him to prepare before he could hand anything off.

“Well, I’d best leave you to your devices,” Basil said then. “There’s always a lot to prepare before the students return and I’m sure you’ve much to accomplish yet.” Nodding at Mr. Aldridge, Basil pulled a hand out of his pocket and offered it to the other. “It was a pleasure.”

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