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Clare Victoria Basiltree for Christopher Basiltree.
Meddlesome mother, but make her a squib <3
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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Complete five threads where your character experiences good luck, such as finding a sickle on the ground or being saved from a fall!

May 2nd, 1888 (but like 1 A.M.) - May Day Celebration Wrap-Up
Say something that can move me / Just say something at all

The flower crown on Kieran's head, of black roses twined together, was the only color that did not do anything to the wearer. He would know this -- he was one of the people who was responsible for the charms. He put the crown on early to dissuade anyone from saddling him with another kind, and now that they were packing up, well, he might as well leave it.

Kieran was gathering the remaining leaflets into a box; those that had never been picked up could be repurposed for their next event. He had the box resting against his hip and his wand tucked behind his ear, and stepped over some leftover fireworks detritus to set the box of leaflets down on the table. Their event had gone - surprisingly well, actually. In the distance, the last of the fireworks were going off, lighting up the sky over magical London. He ought to be tired - it was late - but instead he was very awake, still amped up by the success of the day.

That he found Jude wasn't a surprise; it was really just a matter of time as he picked the box back up to wander towards the Augurey. "Did anyone tell you what that does?" Kieran asked, indicating the red flower crown perched on Jude's head.

It had been a long day, but a good one; tomorrow - well, the rest of today - would probably feel hollow and small in comparison, as they and everyone who'd been by Diagon Alley today sank back into the mundane.

People had seemed to enjoy it. Especially judging by the mess that was left, the debris and disarray that became plainer as the crowds gradually dispersed for the night. Jude, having finished helping to dismantle some stalls and pack away some children's games, collected up some unclaimed flower baskets and loose roses that had been tossed about to carry back towards the café.

He had been circling back for the leaflets, but he found Kieran there with them already in hand. Jude greeted him with a smile, more effortless than the one he'd used all day with strangers. He considered leaning against the table for a brief break from being on tired feet, but supposed that once he sat down, he'd be hit with proper exhaustion, and so he just hovered for a moment, waiting to walk with Kieran.  

"What do you mean, what it does?" Jude asked slowly, wondering if he'd even heard the question right. With his free hand, he reached up to touch one of the wreath's flowers gingerly - but it still felt like an ordinary flower, and he hadn't noticed anything particularly different about it all day. He'd almost forgotten he was wearing it, and just how ridiculous it looked.

Kieran's kind of suited him, though.

Oh, now he had a dilemma. He could tell Jude what the flower crowns did - or he could keep looking at Jude in the red flower crown. It was only supposed to make him appealing to the opposite sex, but the way it perched on his hair - well. It wasn't as if Jude needed any help appealing to Kieran, anyways.

He was going to have to tell him. Kieran took several quick strides until he was at Jude's position, and reached up to tap his own flower crown. "A few of us decided to enchant certain colors," he said, "That one - well. Made you particularly appealing to girls, while you wear it."

At least it wasn't the coral one. Kieran was not willing to explain how that one worked.

Jude held his breath in anticipation as Kieran moved to join him, unsure of whether he was going to answer him, and even more unsure of whether he ought to be expectant or wary about that answer. Probably the latter.

He was right about that, he found out soon enough. Ah. Well, that did elucidate some of the encounters he had had today. And he'd spoken to a young woman wearing the red roses as well, which explained that spiralling crisis about how noticeably attractive she had been. That was - a relief to know, actually.

The expression on his face was closer to exasperation. Of course Kieran would be behind this sort of thing. "No one told me that," Jude replied (though that much was obvious), promptly pulling off the red crown and stuffing it into one of the flower baskets he was carrying. Not that he was in danger any more, by this time of the night.

From girls, that was. Jude couldn't entirely ignore that his heartbeat had quickened as Kieran had approached, nor that it had not quite settled even now. It was a ridiculous reflex, Jude told himself, eyeing the black roses nestled in his brown hair. "And the others?" He asked, a little distractedly. "What, um - what does yours do?" Was it working on him? Did he want to know?

[-] The following 1 user Likes Jude Wright's post:
   Ophelia Devine

Well, there went the crown. Kieran was a little morose to see it go, but some of the blond strands of Jude's hair were now sticking up almost ridiculously. It was adorable, an entirely unintended side effect of Kieran's earlier shenanigans, and he grinned happily at Jude.

"Mine? Doesn't do anything," Kieran said, reaching out to tap one of the black roses, "We wanted to play with flower symbolism, and black roses are all... death and destruction. So." He didn't want to curse anyone, just cause a little bit of mischief. And none of the child-sized flower crowns were enchanted.

"You wouldn't like the coral ones," Kieran admitted with a wry smile.

Kieran was grinning at him. Jude wasn't sure why he was, but it diffused warmth, right to his insides.

Not quite as much warmth as when Kieran said his black crown didn't do anything; at that, Jude's cheeks flushed visibly. "Oh," he said, a little too quickly. "Right." (But that... couldn't be right. Maybe he was messing with him, just to see him flustered?)

He nearly missed the rest of the explanation, simmering in his own mortification. In an attempt to recover himself, Jude shook his head, offered a knowing roll of his eyes. Death and destruction; trust Kieran. (One might think he'd had to deal with enough destruction to want to adorn himself with more, however good it looked.) "Ever the optimist, aren't you?" Jude sighed, though it was nearly a fond huff of laughter.

The coral ones were still a mystery, though Kieran apparently knew he wouldn't like them. "Wouldn't I?" He countered, both more curious now to find out what they did and a little put out that he was so supposedly predictable. (Not that all his friends didn't know him inside out, but... it would be nice to prove Kieran wrong once in a while.) Besides, what was it that he could possibly find so much more objectionable than the wretched red flowers he'd unknowingly been wearing all day?

[-] The following 1 user Likes Jude Wright's post:
   Cassius Lestrange

Despite everything, it was kind of fun to show off for Jude. Jude was significantly more skilled in magic at Kieran was - or so Kieran assumed, because Jude also had two more years of schooling and a tendency to hone things. But getting the chance to explain some complicated charmwork that he had done, (with help,) was making Kieran warm, especially when Jude almost laughed at him.

Kieran grinned again. "Coral means desire, among other things," he explained, tapping his fingertips against the side of the box, "So the coral flower crowns... stimulate the wearer, in that way. Just a touch." Kieran had tested that one to make sure it wasn't too strong; the crown had caused that familiar buzzing need for warmth in his gut, but not enough that moral people would actually act on it. (Actually, it was a feeling that he sometimes got looking at Jude, but that was best not discussed.)

[-] The following 1 user Likes Kieran Abernathy's post:
   Bella Scrimgeour
After a beat of confusion, Jude managed to put together what Kieran was saying, about the crowns - stimulating desire. Despite his best efforts, his flush only increased, burning another shade deeper on his cheeks, any happy warmth he had been feeling transformed to a... different sort of warmth.

He ought to be relieved he hadn’t put on a coral crown, then, really, and he ought to be pleased he wasn’t still wearing one now. The problem was... Jude wasn’t entirely sure wearing one would make any difference, at this point.

Not in this particular company.

Worryingly convinced the erratic state of his heartbeat was going to give him away about this, Jude swallowed and blurted out the first response he could think of. “You’re terrible, you know that?” He reached out to give Kieran a light nudge in demonstration of his exasperation, but he regretted it as soon as he had, and hastily followed that by raking his hand through his hair (and managing to miss most of the strands still in disarray).

“Clearly that wasn’t what today was supposed to be about,” he said, more in defeat than in reproach, since it was not as though Kieran wasn’t fully aware. (Jude supposed he should be grateful the charms hadn’t been potent enough to cause mass chaos.)

Kieran tilted his head back and laughed, a cheerful sound that echoed off the nearest building. Jude wasn't really mad - Kieran knew full damn well what Jude looked like when he was really mad, and he wasn't. Instead he seemed flustered, with his hair all astray, and his cheeks that faint pink color. If he was trying to discourage Kieran from shenanigans, then nudging him and looking like that was not a good strategy.

"Well, May Day is fun," Kieran pointed out, shrugging his shoulders so that the contents of the box shifted loudly. "And that - can be - fun."

Shit. He'd spoken too clearly, too much truth; Kieran's cheeks were flushing a similar shade of pink, and he laughed again, a low-pitched nervous sound.

[-] The following 2 users Like Kieran Abernathy's post:
   Jude Wright, Ophelia Devine
Jude was a little irked at himself for how he was acting, but he was even finding it hard to be exasperated at himself when Kieran's laughter sounded so infectious and so genuine. More than he'd used to, he appreciated Kieran's good moods now, the times when he was cheerful in spite of everything.

He supposed it didn't much matter if it was at his expense, either.

And Kieran's latest counter was. Er. Well. Apparently flushing was contagious, because if Jude's face had not been burning before, it was now. "I'll - take your word for it," Jude said with an awkward smile and a hearty dose of self-consciousness; it was not really the response he had wanted to give - this conversation was quickly reaching a new level of candour - but he had had to say something, hadn't he?

"Are you... seeing someone, then?" He asked hesitantly, chancing a sidelong glance that he hoped to Merlin looked casual and only incidentally curious. Or 'interested in', or - Jude didn't know how people talked about these things. Not that it was any of his business (although he had been teased about marriage enough before that this might not come across as notably odd; maybe it was even deserved). And, well... he and Kieran knew each other far better than they'd used to - were frank about plenty of graver things - but it was suddenly starkly obvious that Jude had no idea if Kieran was. Seeing someone, that was. Leeny acted more like a sister to him than anything else, he was fairly certain of that; but that was not to say Kieran did not have a life outside of the Augurey and what Jude knew of him.

(Kieran hadn't worn one of the flower crowns that actually did anything in that regard, though.)
[-] The following 2 users Like Jude Wright's post:
   Bella Scrimgeour, Ophelia Devine

Kieran's cheeks were still pink, and he didn't think they were likely to stop anytime soon. He didn't know what to say - usually he just let people assume he was with Eileen - but he didn't want to trick Jude. Nor did he want to tell the truth - that he wasn't seeing anyone in that sense, but he wasn't opposed to casually fucking people either, and sometimes things just came up.

Not for a while, though. There was the occasional rando - for a while Kieran had been on a kick for angry blonds, for obvious reasons - and for a while he'd casual seen Monty, but that had been years ago. There had been Ishmael, a few times, when he was feeling particularly self-destructive - but he had not seen Ishmael at all for a while.

"No," Kieran said, a little embarrassed, "I'm not." He shrugged.

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Merlin, why had he asked that? Yes, maybe he felt like there was a lot he still didn't know about Kieran and maybe he was actually quite invested in the answer and maybe the answer he'd provided had prompted a wave of relief in Jude's chest, but... now he had to respond to that like a reasonable human being would.

"Oh," Jude said. He wasn't sure he'd ever felt less reasonable.

But whatever Jude felt was utterly irrelevant, because Kieran saying no didn't mean anything. It certainly didn't mean what he wanted it to mean - that spark of hope that he was still struggling to suppress had made it hard to ignore what he did want - but he shouldn't even imagine that Kieran might have the same sort of predisposition, the same preference. It was what Jude had meant, about not caring about getting married; and even though there wasn't much scope to articulate it aloud, he was certain that the knowledge had been buried somewhere in him for as long as he could remember. Maybe always.

For the most part, it was an understanding that had remained theoretical, a mere concept, an abstract - frankly, Jude wasn't sure when that had changed, but he knew that even today Betsy Cooper and the red garland had done their best to test it, and now, looking over at Kieran, he was still quite sure that he was doomed.

Doomed seemed like a good word for it. "Not even - Eileen - ?" He asked, trailing off into a murmur, even though Kieran had already admitted no and Jude was sure he'd never seen them affectionate in that sort of way; she threw boots more than kisses. In spite of himself, his mind had decided to wrack his memories for any sign of Kieran showing interest in people, just so that at least he'd have a reason to stop wondering... but he wasn't coming up with much. "Maybe you should have worn one of your other crowns, then," Jude joked halfheartedly instead, which felt equally awkward and was a feeble attempt at rescuing this conversation, but. Too late now.  

There was something about the way Jude looked at him.

Kieran spent a lot of time invested in Jude's looks, trying to get a reaction, poking and prodding. He'd cataloged most of those looks, had them lodged and labeled in his brain, but could not fathom the expression on Jude's face now. Kieran squinted up at Jude, and wished they were not moving these boxes - if it wasn't for the victory, and the crowns, and the embarrassment of this conversation, then maybe he could make sense of it. If he could lean into Jude, touch him a little, then perhaps he could gauge his comfort level.

But they were in the street, so - it wasn't worth thinking about.

"Maybe," Kieran echoed, glancing up to see the edge of black roses angling over his hair. "But - no, never Eileen."

Eileen was his cover, and in many ways he was hers - she had more freedom living with him than she would with family, and no one looked twice at Kieran if they thought they were sleeping together. He sighed. This was risky, it was a risky conversation, because if Jude figured it out and reacted badly...

"I think you're the only person who hasn't figured me out," Kieran mused. He grinned, but it was soft around the edges.

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   Elladora Black, Jude Wright
Never Eileen. It still didn't mean anything, didn't mean enough, but - at least he'd been right, in that.

All wishful thinking aside, he was still missing a piece of the puzzle, Jude thought, and Kieran all but confirmed it with his next sentence. The only person who hadn't figured him out; Jude’s brow creased, his face flushing from chagrin again in the dim glow of the street.

He wasn't sure whether Kieran was disappointed or relieved - or maybe just amused - at Jude's failings, but they were, weren't they? His failings. They'd known each other for years now, and Jude could have sworn he knew some of the others without blinking, inside out... but Kieran had been different. Perhaps he'd been too dismissive of him at first; perhaps it was his fault, for not having tried hard enough to know him back then, for not paying attention.  

But he was now, had been for a long time, he was paying so much attention that he was sure he'd memorised the sound of Kieran's laugh, and the line of his face in profile, and the image of charcoal dust-stained fingers; he knew now where the tension from the full moon touched him, how the exhaustion always settled, what the very worst of him was... but he also knew the best of him, and his heart was on the verge of bursting out of his chest from all of it, from any of it, in a way beyond ignorance and beyond denial. And somehow, still, the more Jude discovered about him, the less it seemed he knew. It was - impossible. Kieran was made of secrets.

Could he really be the only person who found him so hard to understand?

"I'm trying to," Jude countered, his expression gravely earnest - but his eyes and his tone grew softer, like Kieran's smile. Believe me, I want to. "I hope you know that I’m trying."

He was allowed to say that, he thought. He wished he could say something more, wished he could forget where they were and who they were and all that had come before and just - do something -

He didn't, but it took effort; it took all the willpower in the world.
[-] The following 4 users Like Jude Wright's post:
   Edric Umbridge, Elladora Black, Esteban Zavala, Kieran Abernathy

This was what killed him about Jude. Kieran snarked and he sassed and he said terrible, cynical things - and still Jude tried, he was trying, he didn't stop. Jude Wright's life would have been easier if he had given up on Kieran years ago, or at least months ago, when Kieran confessed. But he didn't. He stayed. He tried. It was commitment on a level Kieran was baffled by; devotion that would have shocked anyone around them if they knew the truth. It was something like love.

Every time Kieran thought he could make it through this, every time he thought maybe it was just a crush, Jude hit him with that earnestness and he knew, no. This was it. He was going to love Jude until one of them died, and everyone - everyone - except for Jude was going to figure it out.

"I know," Kieran said, wistful and earnest and perhaps a little introspective. "You know I know. And you know you don't have to do that."

Jude already did too much for him. Too much, and Kieran was just - well, he was never going to be enough, was he?
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   Aleksei Nichols, Annabelle Bones, Esteban Zavala, Flora Mulciber, Jude Wright
Kieran said he knew, but Jude was sure that he didn't. Kieran didn't know why he was trying. And maybe Jude tried with everyone - would always feel obliged to try and help, to try and understand - but Kieran clearly couldn't see that it wasn't just an obligation to Jude. Maybe it was more than want, but the need this had become, the having to do this, was borne of something more than logic or ethos or conscious choice. The need was sheer instinct now: an impulse in his gut, the blazing in his chest. He couldn't imagine any alternative, couldn't imagine what the world would be like if Kieran was not in it and Jude was not somewhere by his side.

This was not to say Kieran wasn't still the most infuriating person he had ever met. Here he was, a cheerful pessimist, sharp-edged but so very gentle, committed to things he didn't believe in, constantly making things harder for himself and brimming, always, with contradictions. He didn't make trying easy.

And somehow, it was.

He couldn't put this truth into words, though, so he settled for a look - and even then, didn't expect Kieran to understand. (Couldn't begin to imagine how Kieran would react if he did understand.)  

"No, but I want to," Jude answered instead, sincere as ever, but trying to be lighter about it so that everything else he wanted didn't spill out with their sudden seriousness. "So you know you can't really stop me," he added with a fond smile, and reached over with his free hand to straighten Kieran's flower crown by nudging one of the black roses up a little higher on his curls, because apparently he couldn't always stop himself, either.

(Kieran could stop him from trying to help or to figure him out, if he asked, if he ever changed his mind about letting Jude in. But as long as he didn't, Jude would be here.)
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