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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1893. 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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The first patented espresso machine was in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. — Fallin
They hadn't been thieves before, at least. Noble had not been a murderer before either. Now he was one. Did thieving make a difference, at this point?
but the system is done for

but the system is done for
January 26th, 1893 (technically early hours of 27th)— Greengrass Home, Bartonburg

Ford let out a long breath as he slipped inside the house and shut the door behind him. It was well after midnight and he'd left Wellingtonshire hours ago, but his heart had yet to stop racing. Fortunately it was late enough that he didn't expect to run into Mama or the girls tonight, so he didn't have to worry about composing himself too much before he got inside. That was good, because he certainly didn't want to stay out in the dark winter night a second longer. There was no reason for anyone to notice him walking through the same streets he walked through every night, but he'd felt exposed and vulnerable all the same.

The lamp in the sitting room was still illuminated, which made sense; Noble was often up late. Ford wasn't sure whether he'd been hoping to see his brother tonight or not, but it wasn't a surprise. He hadn't thought through whether or not he wanted to tell Noble what he'd done tonight. He hadn't thought through any of this, actually, because even getting this far had seemed unreasonable when the idea had first occurred to him. Even while he was going through the motions of preparing for it, a large part of him hadn't really believed he would go through with it. Noble was probably going to ask, though — this was the first time since their conversation in December that Ford hadn't come home directly after work, and hadn't communicated where he was going to be for an evening engagement, so he expected that Noble would have at least taken notice. How much he was willing to push for an explanation — and how much Ford was willing to push back — remained to be seen.

He moved into the parlor, shifting the strap of the satchel at his side so that he could more easily stride across the room to the fireplace. He waved his wand to take the floo offline, then pressed on towards the bar and started to make himself a drink. It was then that he noticed that his hands were still shaking, when the gin he poured sloshed too much. Ford set the bottle down for a second, took a deep breath, then topped the drink off to a double.
Noble Greengrass Cassius Lestrange

♡ Set by Bee ♡
Noble was a night owl. He'd never had a job that stopped him from staying up late, and his insomnia had gotten worse after the Sanditon hurricane. If he went to bed before he was exhausted, he saw grasping, drowned hands reaching for him. So now he stayed up, and when he finally collapsed into his bed every night, he dreamed about drowning instead of letting it keep him awake.

Eventually, he'd noticed that Ford wasn't home yet. And it wasn't that Noble was staying up to keep track of his brother, but he was worried — what if Ford was doing stuff like that again, and what if he'd gotten caught? The last thing the Greengrasses could weather was a scandal — and even worse than that, they couldn't afford a lawyer.

So he was drinking in the sitting room when Ford got home. (Alcohol helped him sleep, too, and he was trying not to think about that.) Noble watched his brother cross the room, watched him pour a drink, watched it slosh and watched Ford double it. And then he spoke, "Everything alright?"

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It was probably the most mundane question Noble could possibly have asked, but Ford still had to take a second to consider how to answer. He wasn't sure he really knew yet. Things seemed to be fine so far, but everything could still crumble in the next hours, days, weeks. He didn't know what to do next; he didn't know what he was doing at all. There were so many ways that things could go sideways, so many pitfalls he hadn't even considered how to avoid yet... but on the other hand, if it worked, this was the first truly positive development his life had taken in a while. He just had to get through the next few weeks without blundering... and learn to look past the source of his 'good fortune.'

He took a drink. The satchel was heavy and the strap dug into his shoulder, but he didn't want to take it off yet. He was going to have to figure out what to do with some of this stuff, he realized; it hadn't occurred to him he'd be walking away with anything other than money, so even in his vague imaginings he hadn't considered how to get rid of anything other than coin.

"I think so, yeah," he said. The absurdity of answering this question with any degree of uncertainty struck him and he laughed, short and slightly manic. "We'll know soon enough, I 'spose. Nothing to do about it now."

He took another drink.

♡ Set by Bee ♡
Noble's eyebrows knotted into a concerned line on his forehead. It was the confusing nature of Ford's words, and his brother's manic laugh, that had him nervous — he'd had a difficult time trusting Ford lately, and while he didn't want to act suspicious — he was suspicious.

Why wouldn't he be suspicious? Ford was drinking a double, and he was home late, and he liked men, and they were running out of money, and sometimes Noble was worried that if he didn't take over they were just going to go broke, and soon.

"Ford?" he asked, carefully, after a beat.

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Noble was worried. Ford would have to explain himself, at least to some extent. He didn't know where to start. He tugged at the strap of the satchel again, readjusting where it sat against his shoulder. He could start there, he supposed, except that he still wasn't ready to let go of it. He took another sip of his drink.

"I bought an invisibility cloak last week," he said, which was as close to starting at the beginning as he could come. That was the first concrete action he'd taken, the first step he'd undeniably taken. He had the urge to laugh again as a thought occurred to him, but suppressed it and instead added wryly: "Some of the London shops still take our credit."

♡ Set by Bee ♡
Noble's eyebrows shot up. He stopped himself from saying we can't afford that, a fact which Ford certainly already knew, by taking a gulping sip of his drink. "Why?" he asked, instead — his tone implying the question he'd held back.

But he was curious. You didn't buy an invisibility cloak for no reason.

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How many reasons could one really have for buying an invisibility cloak? "Because I was doing something I didn't want to be seen doing," he supplied, entirely unhelpfully.

He did want to tell Noble. He wanted someone to know, and if anyone was going to know it had to be Noble. But it was also — maybe safer if he didn't tell Noble too much.

Instead of explaining, Ford reached into satchel and came back with a handful of galleons glinting in his palm.

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   Tycho Dodonus

♡ Set by Bee ♡
Noble leaned forward in his chair, trying to get a count on those glittering golden coins. His heart rate had sped up at the sight of them, and he hated himself for it — because they weren't thieves.

They hadn't been thieves before, at least. Noble had not been a murderer before either. Now he was one. Did thieving make a difference, at this point?

"How many? From where?" Noble said, hating himself again because he sounded — excited.

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set by MJ
Noble hadn't recoiled or cringed, which gave Ford a little more confidence. Noble had leaned forward, even, like Ford was in the middle of telling a good story and not admitting to something he never could have imagined doing a year ago. (He was grateful for it, and yet somewhere in the back of his mind he thought: being in love was incomprehensible to him, but this - is not).

"Dunno," he admitted, letting them fall back into the satchel where they audibly clinked against the rest of the metal in the bag. "I haven't counted yet. Do you — do you want me to tell you where they came from?" he asked.

The implication was probably obvious. The specifics (the safe in Mrs. Rufina Mulciber's study, which was now lying ruined in the forest outside Hogsmeade) were perhaps better kept out of everything.

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   Noble Greengrass

♡ Set by Bee ♡
This could be — helpful. This many galleons would certainly be helpful in dealing with some of their creditors. And Noble didn't particularly care where it came from — as long as Ford had been careful. But now he couldn't be entirely confident that Ford had been careful, so he nodded and said "Yes."

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Noble's response sparked, for just the quickest moment, the same rush that sneaking in through the unguarded floo of the Mulciber home had. "Lock the door," he said, with a nod towards the rest of the house. Then he slid the satchel off of his shoulder, letting it fall heavily at his feet. He followed it down until he was sitting cross-legged on the floor, with his drink at his knee, and started taking things out of the bag and spreading them on the rug in front of him.

"It's — stolen, obviously," he said, with a mildly exasperated shrug, as though he did not want to have to say this but could come up with no other way to start. "It's — I got a safe from —" He hesitated once more, hung up on the idea that maybe Noble shouldn't know the exact specifics, but then pressed on. "— the Mulciber house, in Wellingtonshire. I knew they had cash to hand because I'd heard one of the footmen talking about getting a galleon for a Christmas bonus when they were going by. She lives right near — a friend's house," he said, avoiding at least that detail so as not to incriminate Tycho, either in this or in any sort of relationship. Tycho was entirely oblivious to this, of course; he hadn't even been at home tonight. Getting him out of the house had been so easy Ford had immediately felt guilty about it. Did you see this show in London on the twenty-sixth? I wish I could go, but I've already got a dinner party— and of course Ty had offered to go and let him know if it was any good. Tycho's housekeeping staff hadn't batted an eyelash at Ford's arrival that evening, claiming he'd forgotten something and Tycho had said to just go ahead and take a look for it, because it seemed so entirely in character for Ty to let a friend have free run of his house. No one had cared at all that he was there, and from Tycho's parlor he could peer across the street and watch to see when the lights in the Mulciber's front room dimmed without intervention.

"The house is mostly empty since her husband died, never any guests," Ford explained. "And she was out tonight. Birthday dinner for one of the cousins — they're related to the Longbottoms and the Prewetts and all that, so there's a dozen of them at least. So I knew there'd be money and I knew she'd be out, so I — flooed in, and wore the cloak, and looked around until I found the safe."

♡ Set by Bee ♡
Noble locked the door and nudged himself even further forward in his chair to see Noble's splayed-out goods. He listened to his brother's story, and his main thought through it was this seems like something I would do. Burglary wasn't very Ford-like behavior; or, again, it hadn't been before. Noble sold abortion potions, which were flat-out illegal, and sometimes sold semi-controlled potions under the table. Ford was — Ford.

But he'd stolen the Mulcibers' safe, and now it was Noble's job to make sure that neither of them got caught for it. And besides that, they were going to need to figure out how to hide this windfall — and what to spend it on.

"How'd you get into the safe?" he asked, not even bothering to hide his interest at this point. "Did you take all of it?"

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The adrenaline had taken over his narrative by now, pushing aside any hesitancy he had about keeping details of this back for the safety of others. If he ended up getting caught — well, Noble had a better poker face than he did, anyway, so maybe he could lie and say he hadn't heard a word about it.

"I didn't expect it to be locked in, so I hadn't practiced any charms or anything for that. So I just — took the whole thing," he admitted with a shrug. Fortunately he did know a spell for easily moving things that were too awkward and heavy to move, because he'd had to use it to periodically relocate Cash's dementor-in-a-wardrobe — which was what had given him the idea to take it out to the woods in the first place. He already knew a secluded spot, easily well enough to apparate there. Ford felt another manic laugh coming on and took a drink to force it back. "That's what I spent most of the night doing, actually, trying to get into the safe. It must've had some crazy charms on it because nothing was working, but eventually — well," he said with a hapless shrug. "I just — blew it up, actually. And then I took everything. Even —" He lifted an old-fashioned hourglass out of the satchel, with pinkish white sand at the bottom of the glass. "— I don't even know what some of this stuff is. Heirlooms, maybe? Or something magical? I just took everything and figured I'd sort through it later, since the later I walked home the more strange it would be if anyone saw me out on the streets. But I did it," he said, with a tone that implied he still did not entirely believe it.

♡ Set by Bee ♡
Noble was now, despite the risks — impressed. He wouldn't have expected this from Ford. He still half-anticipated another shoe dropping; how had Ford been pushed to this point? "We can't sell all the heirlooms at once," he said after a beat, "Or all together. We can make a plan for all of it."

An unexpected windfall — and wasn't this what they deserved?

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   Fortitude Greengrass

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set by MJ
Ford nodded, seeing the sense in what Noble suggested immediately. "There's no rush," he agreed. "The galleons alone could pay off two or three of our shop tabs. Though it's probably better to spread it out — pay down a dozen rather than clearing any. Less suspicious," he reflected. "But we can take our time with the rest of this. Er, I mean — I can," he said. "You don't have to help. Unless you want to. But I can — it's my thing, right?" (Crime was what he meant when he said thing — it was his crime). "I'll handle it all. Definitely all the — you know, the parts anyone might see."

♡ Set by Bee ♡
"I think I'd like to help," Noble said quickly. He cleared his throat. "With — this part, at least." It was Ford's crime, but now that Noble knew about it — well, why wouldn't he want to be involved? He shrugged his shoulders. "It's helping our family, right?"

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