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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.

Where will you fall?

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“Cheese and Crust” - an exclamation common among the lower classes. A perversion of the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ, though considered somewhat respectful for its veiling of the oath. — Bounce
Maybe a choice shade of grey - the closest thing she had to mourning clothes - as a symbolic marker that her relationship with Victor was dead.
dining is pageantry

I just died in your arms tonight
1 January, 1893 — Around 1AM — Daphnel Residence

He hadn't expected to be home this early on New Year's Eve, but he also hadn't expected to be on Bea duty tonight. He shouldn't have been. He should have been spending the night dancing with his wife and sharing goals for the upcoming year, or taking shots with friends and reminiscing about the year past. He shouldn't have been concerned with her at all. But Jasper was feeling ill tonight, and Oscar had already accepted an invitation to a party elsewhere, which meant the options were just him and Kate... and honestly, shepherding Beatrice through an event like New Year's Eve was a two-person job, anyway. So while he'd had a few dances with Christabel, shared a handful of drinks with friends, and squeezed in one short but flirtatious conversation with Leo, most of his energy tonight had been devoted to hovering around Bea and trying to save her from herself. Which, honestly, seemed to be a more involved task than it had been even earlier that year. It was a wonder they even made it to midnight in the first place.

"Shortfield could have been interested," Victor sniped as they made their way in the front door and began unburdening their winter cloaks to the servant who had greeted them. As soon as the cloaks were off, Victor waved them away — he did try not to criticize Bea in front of the servants when he could avoid it, through by this point they all knew how she was. "And he'd be a decent match. He's got a Ministry career — you could certainly do worse. You could have said something when I introduced you."

Fabulous set by Lady!
Bea had been miserable the entire evening. She'd been forced out - yet again - when all she'd wanted to do was stay home and read but not only that, Victor had been in a foul mood from the start and that was bound to do nothing but sour the evening. When he'd finally agreed they could go home, as soon as they'd stepped out the ballroom door she'd gone silent, refusing to grace him with a single word even in the carriage ride where she was normally comfortable to talk.

As soon as Victor dismissed the servants, she flinched before he'd ever spoken a word. She knew what that meant. She'd displeased him and she was now bound for an earful. Oh, Shortfield. That's what had driven him over the edge. Beatrice was tired. She wanted nothing more than to find a maid to help her out of this gown and then go to bed. Not list to her arsehole of a brother drone on about her evergrowing list of failings.

"Well maybe I would have been more enticed to socialize when my brother doesn't introduce me as the equivalent interest of a wall with a pretty smile. I might be shy but surely even you can find some selling points about me still."

[Image: nK4mS23.png]
MJ is truly magic!!
Oh, now she had plenty to say, did she? Were he less annoyed with how the night had ended, Victor may have conceded that his introduction had been somewhat lackluster, as many of them were these days, but if he had any failings in that department they were only learned through experience. It made him look an ass when he called her clever or charming only to have his assessment disproven within the first thirty seconds of the interaction. If she couldn't at least pretend for a conversation, why should he?

"If all it took was a good introduction, you'd have been married years ago," he contended as he headed for the stairs. "Don't try to blame me."

Fabulous set by Lady!
"No that isn't what it takes but it certainly doesn't help my chances at a decent conversation. Shy and dumb are two different things, Victor," Beatrice snapped, stalking after Victor for once rather than letting him leave and win the conversation with the upper hand just like every other time.

She was angry. Boiling. Why had she been dealt this hand? A brother who saw her as nothing but a burden. Not a single positive feature. Nothing but her cripling social anxiety. She hadn't asked for this! She hadn't wanted to be so bad at what just came easily to everyone else. But that didn't discount the rest of her! For goodness sake, she wasn't just a single thing. And she was clever. She was intelligent. She loved to read. She could hold discussions about books and authors. She liked art. But no one - her own brother included - could ever bother to make more than a passing glance at her. Could never try to meet her in the middle. It was always her who had to give. It was always her who had to be the failure. Always her who had to be the dimwitted sister who Victor was just waiting for the first man gracious enough to take off his hands so she could be moved from sitting pretty in this house to sitting pretty in another house.

"I'm so tired of you Victor. So tired of this endless routine where you berate me and act like I'm inferior to you. Like something is wrong with me. Like I'm broken beyond repair. Well, breaking news, brother dearest, nothing is wrong with me. Maybe just maybe, the one with something wrong is you."

[Image: nK4mS23.png]
MJ is truly magic!!
Victor was wholly aware that his sister wasn't stupid, which why it frustrated him so much that she seemed almost determined not to let anyone outside of their family see it. Growing up as children, Beatrice had been normal — or at least it had seemed so to him, from his vantage point ten years her senior. She'd gone from a perfectly fine, intelligent, polite girl to fairly shy by her teens and then now, not even twenty, she was dumb — at least in the sense of being mute to anyone who might take an interest in her.

Her trying to turn the argument around on him seemed, to Victor, a rather flimsy deflection. She didn't want him to call her out on any of her other behavior at tonight's ball (and fair enough, maybe he ought to give it a rest and go to bed early, before he ended up with a headache like Jasper) and so she'd invented some fault of his to magnify for the purpose. He wasn't going to take the bait, because in every way that they were discussing, she was inferior to him. He'd done the whole song and dance that was required of him; kept his nose clean and his vices out of the public eye and found himself a charming wife. He'd played his part; she was still trembling in the wings, refusing to go on.

"Stop acting like you're the only one with an inner monologue, Bea," he replied sardonically. "You don't get to pretend you're superior to us all because you don't like talking to people. Breaking news: I don't like talking to half the people I meet," he said with a roll of his eyes. "But I pretend, because I realize the world doesn't revolve around me and my feelings."

Fabulous set by Lady!
"I don't think I'm better than anyone, Victor." Her voice cracked and for a moment the anger leached out of her words, replaced just for a second with the overwhelming pain, fear, and panic she felt. She left herself feeling her fear for the future. One where she was scrapped off to the first man who offered with no regard to his intentions just because her brother is so, so desperate to be rid of her. Where she spends the rest of her life under the iron fist of another man with expectations she can't meet. A society wife. A hostess. Able to make demur conversation with whatever man's wife that might progress her own husband's career. Or worse, she'd become one of those wives the others whisper about behind closed doors. The ones whose husbands have... other intentions for.

But she shoved the feelings behind a wall, lest they overwhelm her. She can already feel the tightness in her chest. The one where she can't even breathe anymore. And maybe once Victor might have understood that if she tried to explain, but now it would only become fuel. Another reason she was wrong and broken. Because god forbid that Victor the perfect being get off his high horse and think about someone's feelings and life other than his own.

"Is it too wrong for me to ask that my brother of all people to maybe have some understanding that this whole thing is hard for me? That I do try. That instead of thinking I'm just going to magically get over it the next ball you force me to that maybe you could meet me halfway and work with me not against me?"

[Image: nK4mS23.png]
MJ is truly magic!!
If this had come up in another context, not in the middle of an argument, Victor would have been more sympathetic. Coming on the heels of her accusing him of not trying hard enough with her introductions, or of there being something the matter with him, this turn of the conversation sounded mercenary to his ears. A manipulative twist here, so that she could cast herself as a victim who deserved his pity rather than a combatant. He didn't even want to fight with her any more, was the thing, but he wanted even less to let her feel as though the waver in her voice had worked. It would do her no favors if he let her believe edging towards tears would get her out of all her responsibilities for the rest of her life.

"I'd meet you more than halfway if you weren't stuck at the starting line," he said wearily. He'd reached the top of the stairs and hesitated, not sure whether he should head to his bedroom (to end the conversation) or to the study (to continue). He'd prefer the former, but had the sense that as her oldest brother — or, more likely, as the de facto head of the household while his father was away indefinitely — that he had a responsibility to try and talk some sense into her, if he could. "It's like you don't even try any more. You gave up after your first season and now you're just — being petulant and hoping we all give up, too."

Fabulous set by Lady!
She clinched her fist and squeezed her eyes shut, trying desperately to take deep, calming breathes but only ending up with short, hyperventilating ones instead. "You really think I don't try?" Bea bit back, eyes flaring open as she pressed forwards, advancing on her brother as he faltered at the edge of the steps.

"You don't know anything, Victor. You don't know how hard I try. You don't know all the times I've cried myself to sleep because I know just how much of a failure I am? How much of a disappointment I am to you? To Momma? To Pappa? To everyone?  Because I know how much of our money I've wasted trying to find a husband? You don't believe me? Ask Pansy. Tell her I told you to ask. She's the one who to deal with my swollen eyes in the mornings. Or talk me down when's all just to much and I feel like I can't  even breathe?"

Her eyes were wild, unrestrained and bordering on the 'hysterical' label Victor liked to taunt her with. He'd done it. She'd snapped. She'd reached her breaking point and she just as much felt the roaring rage as she felt disconnected, a passive bystander to the whole scene. Still Beatrice advanced, pushing forwards faster than Victor could get away, her hands outreached like she wanted to grab him. To shake him.

"Do you think I like that all of society - my own family included- looks at me with pity? That they think I'm nothing more than a dimwit better suited to a country home than any kind of social scene?"

One last step and she closed the distance between the pair, her hands grasping his lapels and trembling. To grab him. To shake him. Like it would help him understand just how hard she tried. She had wanted nothing more than to make her family happy. That they'd be pleased with her for once in her life.

"No, no, no, Victor. That's the problem. I do try. I try so hard. I care far to much about what everyone thinks. What you think!"

To grab him. To shake him.

To push him.

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"Bea," he breathed as she began railing at him, but he didn't think she heard him. She was clearly distraught, and he regretted the last remark — not because he thought it was untruthful, or even particularly cruel, but because she clearly hadn't been ready to hear it. If she wasn't listening then it was pointless to try and say any of this, which meant he should have just said goodbye and went to bed — but now she was having a moment, so he'd have to say something to talk her down from this. Well, he'd have to talk her down from this once she stopped; there was no point trying to say anything until she'd had her moment. Nothing to do but wait her out, let her rail, and then figure out how to pick up the pieces once she'd run out of energy for this. He wasn't even that alarmed when she rushed at him, because this was Beatrice, his slight, silent sister. Even if she'd wanted to hurt him she wouldn't have been able to manage it; she was probably half his weight, without much muscle.

But she'd had momentum on her side, and when her hands hit him it was with more force than he'd anticipated. His shoes were wet from the snow they'd walked through to get back home, and slipped on the wooden floor of the hallway — and then, he realized with surprise, he was falling. The wall wasn't there to stop him, because he'd been at the top of the stairs, and he was falling. He reached out to grab the railing but missed. He started to reach for his wand, but he was never going to be able to get it out of his jacket pocket in time to avoid making impact. Victor tumbled down the stairs, one painful crash after another, until at last he caught himself on about the third from the bottom and managed to stop in a sitting position.

Or rather, he stopped — his body didn't. He looked at himself at the bottom of the stairs, momentarily unable to parse what had happened.

Fabulous set by Lady!
And at the sickening thud the all-consuming rage wisped away in the blink of an eye, leaving her with a deafening coldness, like a hearth gone too long without a fire. Slowly, she dropped to the floor eyeing her brother's body, too fixated on the physical to notice the other Victor. He wasn't moving. Victor wasn't moving. No. No. She hadn't meant for this to happen. He wasn't supposed to be so close to the stairs. He wasn't supposed to move. He wasn't supposed to fall! She'd only wanted to show him that she was serious and words didn't seem to be working so maybe just maybe if she pushed him just a little - she wasn't even strong enough to do anything or so she thought.

Keeping low to the ground, she crept down the stairs, crawling more than walking as she didn't quite trust her legs to keep her upright if she attempted to climb down. He was dead. He had to be. He wasn't the type to pull this as a joke. Maybe if it was Oscar she'd entertain the possiblity of it being a joke but not with Victor.

A glimmer of motion caught her eye then and she froze halfway down the stairs. Wait that was Victor. Oh thank goodness he was alive. She's just been so worried she was imagining things. "Victor! Oh you are okay! I'm so sorry I didn't mean for you to fa-" Her voice creaked out as she slowly processed the fact she could see Victor through Victor.

[Image: nK4mS23.png]
MJ is truly magic!!
At the bottom of the staircase, Victor's neck was at the wrong angle. Beyond that and the stillness, it was hard to tell that anything was the matter. His eyes were open and still looked surprised. There wasn't any blood on his clothes, and though falling down the stairs certainly felt like it would give him bruises, none of them were visible on his skin yet. He looked fine, if someone could just reach over and straighten out his neck. Victor lifted his hand on impulse to do so, to just fix it, and noticed for the first time that however his body looked at the bottom of the stairs, he had gone translucent.

"No," he said, caught between disbelief and panic. He barely heard his sister approach as he clawed into his jacket pocket, desperately looking for his wand. It was still in its pocket, thankfully, and unbroken, but when he drew it and cast nothing happened. Not so much as a spark.

"Fuck. Fuck," Victor muttered. This was probably the first time he'd ever sworn in front of his sister, but propriety was hardly his chief concern at the moment. He nearly asked to borrow her wand, but it wasn't his wand that was the problem. "Go get Jasper," he told her, without looking at her. Aside from drawing his wand, he hadn't been able to pull his eyes away from his own body. "Fuck. Fuck!"

Fabulous set by Lady!
She'd flinched on reflex, curling away from her brother in shock. For a split second fear shot through her as he dug for his wand unable to rationalize this translucent, aggressive version of Victor with her annoyingly calm, unruffable Victor. What would he do when he found his wand? Was he mad at her? Angry? She had just... killed him. She supposed it would be understandable if he was angry at her even if she really really hadn't meant to do it. Would he turn on her when he found his wand? She had no means of defence of her own not when tonight had been no different from her normal habit or not bringing her wand along to parties and it was, instead, in her room. Could ghost even use wands?


He'd found his wand and nothing was happening. Bea felt a wave of guilt at her own relief as she scrambled up, backing up the stairs too uneasy to turn her back to the ghost just yet. When she hit the top of the stairs Beatrice whipped around and staggard down the hall to seek out Jasper as told though her vision was warped by the tears.

[Image: nK4mS23.png]
MJ is truly magic!!
He barely took any notice of Bea disappearing up the stairs. His eyes were still glued on the body. Even if Jasper got here immediately, even if he used a spell and fixed Victor's neck, was there any way to walk back from this? Victor was outside of himself. He knew what that meant If someone did perform first aid that rendered his body capable of supporting life again, could he even go back? Was there any chance of reparation, or did the fact that he was here and not down there mean that they'd already crossed the point of no return?

Victor was dead. The thought was a bucket of icy water: it hit him all at once and sent a shock through him, but there was a quality to it that crept in slowly, too, soaking him through until he was cold all over. He was dead. He was here, but everything was going to change now, in ways he couldn't even begin to wrangle with. He wouldn't be going to work on Monday morning, he supposed. Christabel was a widow, technically. They would have to have a funeral, because they would have to do something with the body.

The thought of a funeral brought with it a sudden panic: they would have to decide what to tell people. He was dead, and it had been an accident — he knew that Beatrice hadn't meant for him to fall, whatever they'd been talking about when she'd pushed him. Would anyone else believe that? He could not have his sister labeled a murderer, either formally or in the eyes of society gossips. The strain would kill his mother.

They had to move the body, he realized, before someone saw it and things spiraled out of control.

Fabulous set by Lady!

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