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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.

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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

Like Nobody's Business
7 June, '93 — High Street, Hogsmeade
Clifford Hillicker Quincey Honeyduke
High Street was actually good for plenty of things, and most of them beyond reach. It had the best shops, but she didn't have enough money. It had the best-dressed crowds, but she didn't have the right clothes. It also had the best security, and that was something to keep an eye out for. One thing it had, best of all, was a wide palette of opportunities. Opportunity was free of charge, after all, and who could argue with free?

There were no coins jingling in the pockets of the young, street urchin. That would have been a bad move anyway. Make one wrong turn past a copper, and those jingling coins would go straight into his pocket, that's the god's honest truth! Might be that they survived long enough to get spent, in which case they'd just wind up in some merchant's pocket, but at least that'd be in exchange for something, usually small and not enough to fill a growing belly but tasty and good to eat. Worst of it, they might wind up in some bookie's pockets, and that meant nothing to eat unless some poor soul would take pity on a starving child on the streets.

Best days for that was Tuesdays and Thursdays. That was market days, when even the people who didn't dress the best came out, too. They were a little freer with their coin, don't ask why. Could be they knew better what it was worth. Give a rich man a galleon, and he'd forget all about it the next minute. Give a poor man a galleon and he'd never stop thinking about it even after it was gone. That made it easier to beg from a poor man, he knew that coin wasn't going to stay anyway. Should have made it easier to steal from the rich man, too, but that wasn't how it worked.

It wasn't Tuesday either. Or Thursday. No, it was Wednesday. Worst day of the week, and hungriest for the scrappy urchin tucking the cap lower over the ginger curls underneath. The belt wouldn't go any tighter to keep the stomach from complaining, so maybe the tighter cap would keep the brain from thinking about it. Can't do much about food if there isn't any, and there was, but who could afford it? Not on a Wednesday. All the market-goers, flush with coin, were back home on Wednesdays. They'd come back Thursday, a little less flush, and a most a little less distracted. Gotta pick up the order that's come in, or what the missus wanted, no time for all that carefree idleness on Thursdays after all.

Still, today was Wednesday. As if the hungry eyes of the street urchin needed reminding of that, peering out from underneath the brim of the cap. With hands stuffed into trousers pockets and shoulders hunched down so low the shoulders of the red vest, tattered around the edges, rose like flags, others on the street paid little mind to the scrawny figure walking among them. This was no Market Day urchin, one to keep a wary eye on but who might have as good of coin as anyone else. No, this was a Wednesday urchin, barely better than a nobody.

Nobody was skulking outside of a particular shop, either. It wasn't an easy shop to pass by, easier on the other side of the street where the smells wouldn't twist an already-empty stomach into tighter pangs. Somehow, the urchin had wound up on this side of the road and a desperate stomach was greatly regretting it, until desperate eyes caught sight of the nobody.

One thing about Wednesdays, it was a day where some people let down their guard after a successful and satisfying Market Tuesday. A good day for nobodies, that's for sure. This one must have had the same idea, because the Nobody was acting pretty funny around Honeyduke's to be a Somebody. So they had to be a Nobody. And somebody just might miss out on what a Nobody got up to, especially on a Wednesday, but not the street urchin with desperate, hungry eyes.

Parking up against a nearby wall, deep in the shadows, the street urchin named Charley watched nobody in particular, but in particular one Nobody hanging around Honeyduke's. The smell nearly overpowered resolve for Charley, but pressing a hand into that hungry stomach kept the Nobody in focus.

If Charley's instinct was right, her stomach would agree it was worth the wait.

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Money went quickly when there were things to pay for — bills and tuition for one, and while Hogwarts hadn’t really been worth paying for when Cliff attended, it was worth paying for his brother. Heath was going places, that much he was certain, so he’d do anything to scrounge up money to pay for his final year at Hogwarts. That meant a lot of things, working on an even tighter budget (and growling at poor Ida when she tried to help him because the Hillickers were not a charity case), and pinching pennies where he could. They’d always grown up poor, but Cliff had worked his ass off the last couple years growing trees and making business connections to get them living at least a little comfortably, even if things were tight.

He’d stolen less after his event with Daffy at Christmas because he’d had spare change for the first time in his life, although it had slowly widdled into nothing the past weeks. The skills he’d honed for survival the last few years felt rusty, and if he was going to start up again, Cliff knew he had practice. What better place to practice than a place with literal children, who wouldn’t even notice if a few pennies went missing? Plus the sweetshop did have some fantastic fudge and he wouldn’t mind pocketing some of that to eat as a late night snack. Or just a snack in general. He was starving.

The little bell above the door jingled as he pushed it open, his feet pausing in the doorway as he pulled in a deep breath of air, the scents of sweets instantly giving him a cavity. The shop wasn’t as busy as he’d hoped, and the shop keep upfront had seen his face a thousand times before. Cliff felt like they zoned in on his presence – not that he could blame him, really – and he just flashed a grin and gave a tiny flick of his hand as a greeting. Well, if they thought he was going to steal something (because he was, at the right moment), then he might as well make a spectacle of it.

So he set to work, picking up sweets and staring at the packages before setting them down in a place that most decidedly wasn’t the place he’d picked them up with to begin with. Cliff moved behind a shelf with one still in his hand, but he wasn’t going to steal this one. He didn’t even like licorice, so being caught stealing it wouldn't be worth it. He'd have to look around and make sure what ended up in his pockets was something he actually wanted - he was starting to have a tiny bit of dignity.

The following 1 user Likes Clifford Hillicker's post:
   Charley Goode

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
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What an odd sort of Nobody! Charley stepped lightly enough inside the shop, past the breeze of an exiting customer, to avoid making much of an entrance. Shops were tricky like that, most had tighter bunghole than a castle. Go in the back, and risk popping up right in front of the owner, or worse. Go in the front, and be on display to every soul in the place, especially the employees.

Charley could swear that every shop keeper knew the key to her soul by now. A piercing gaze singed her cheeks a bit with every step she took, until her cap and curls were a bright, flaming red. Since they were already, the street urchin had the perfect disguise for the place. No one could say she ever came unprepared!

She skirted around the short line of waiting customers, most of them children her age or younger. The older ones swirled around in long skirts, good girls who could afford both candy and gossip in one place, probably spending daddy's money no less. Poor things, none would ever know the freedom of a good pair of trousers. Charley almost lost the catch of what her Nobody was doing for all the soul-searching she had on her plate.

What was he doing? The man stepped behind some shelves, and the urchin leaned in at the man's handiwork on the front displays. One after another featured packages that simply didn't belong, until Charley spied a pattern to it. She frowned and spared a brief, furtive glance at the shelves and shopkeeper first. No, it wasn't time to follow her stomach yet. Charley didn't even let her feet follow, tripping as she leaned too far forward. Only the sore tension in her calves kept the urchin from slamming her hands hard on the counters, instead of the soft landing they made here, lest she give herself away.

When she picked herself up off the counter, the small package flattened against her sleeve came with it. Charley pressed it to her body, opposite the shop keeper and greedy, gossiping eyes in line. Blind fools, the lot of them! What was sweeter, candy bought or candy taken for nothing? It was obvious enough to her. She was good at earning plenty of nothing, after all.

"This yers?" She asked the Nobody in a low voice, stepping behind the shelves with the package turned up to him. Why earn nothing when she could earn a little something for nothing?

Charley wasn't looking at the Nobody's face, not yet. Her eyes were on his hands, and the licorice in them. A tongue betrayed her stomach to the world, and she forced it back inside with her lips only half-whetted. Gawblimy, she couldn't have broken character already. Could be that he didn't notice, but a square jaw wouldn't let the street urchin show that she had either. "I en't a snitch, I just gotta know. Why'd you pass on this? You got big 'nuff pockets."

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Sometimes Cliff felt like he had a flashing sign on his forehead that screamed approach me. If anything, he tried to be the opposite of that, always scowling, always looking unfriendly so people would leave him the hell alone. Of course it made him more susceptible to people watching him closely in their stores (as they should of course, as Cliff also had a reputation of having sticky fingers), so he always watched the adults and the teens who watched him… but never the children. He should because he knew how children could be, his own sister was a hellion, but this was a candy store. What children in here were more interested in watching him than staring at candy?

This child, apparently, as she came up beside him and offered him a package that made him arch an eyebrow at her. Instantly Cliff’s eyes roamed over face, her clothes, taking in the way she looked like she didn’t belong in the store, and as his eyes flicked around, she didn’t look like belonged to any of the adults here. Tongue darted out to lick his lips as he scoffed. “Nope.” The ‘p’ popped as he finished the word. Brown eyes squinted and he wondered if Honeyduke’s was employing young children now to keep an eye on the store.

She wasn’t looking at him but he was looking at her. Knew what being hungry looked like, Cliff had lived that life a thousand times over. Cocked an eyebrow at her question before his lips curled into a smirk and he squatted down in front of her. He reached out to snatch the package out of her hand. “‘Cause if I’m gonna do it, it’s gonna be for something I like.” The word steal or thieve wasn’t going to come out of his mouth just in case she was working for Honeyduke. “Besides, you got a hat and some baggy clothes, easy enough to hide more than what my pockets can hold. Need a lesson?” Cliff was joking… kinda sorta, at least.

The following 1 user Likes Clifford Hillicker's post:
   Charley Goode

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
[Image: UcvylhE.png]
Charley had never met a grown-up who didn't act like one. Oh, there were grown-ups who acted foolish and stupid and got in trouble, just in grown-up ways. The way this one looked down at her, practically looking through her, and drew out a petulant Nope nearly burst the street girl into tears of laughter. Her teeth ground a little to set her jaw tight, looking more like a churlish frown than barely-contained absurdity.

The Nobody was all of an absurdity, really. He suddenly seemed very grown-up all of the sudden, looking at her as if he recognized something. The way that grown-ups could take one look and think they knew her whole life in one glance. Charley added a hand to her hip, her frown deepening to a scowl. She did not like to be examined, especially by a Nobody who was acting far too much like a Somebody in this town.

Maybe he really was Somebody, but Charley would bet a real sickle that couldn't be so.

Charley felt her mouth drop open, unhinged by the Nobody's words. "You don't like 'em?" She held up the package of boiled sweets, then peered at them again herself. At this point, Charley liked just about anything that was sweet, but these were the sweetest. They rattled in the box as she shook them at him. "They're good. You don't even gotta chew!"

She scoffed when he did that examining thing again on her, only this time with words. At least he hadn't tried using his hands yet. Charley could slap and bite, but the Nobody was still bigger than her. "Don't make me laugh. You, giving me a lesson?"

Her eyes roamed across the shop, glad to have something else to look at for once. It's not like the Nobody was ugly or anything, just that Charley thought he could use some character in that face. Especially if he was going to stare at people up and down. "Fine, teach me to steal that!"

Pointing to the delicate confection sitting on proud display in the cases across the room, Charley's face finally broke into a broad, greedy grin of her own.

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Cliff didn’t like children. Well, he didn’t like children outside of his own siblings, although if anyone asked him, he didn't like them either. (Which of course, was a complete lie because he adored them.) They were dirty and annoying, and often stared at him with absurdity that made him frown, such as this girl in front of him. Her lips pursed together in a surly manner, like she was trying not to laugh at him, but he wasn’t sure what the hell that was about because he hadn’t said anything funny.

When she propped her hand on her hip as Cliff appraised her, the annoyance just worsened. Saw a lot of himself in her because this was a lot of his childhood, trying his best to survive while being eyed by adults who thought it was going to do something wrong. In all fairness he probably was, but that was beside the point. His eyebrows pinched together as his smirk morphed into a scowled. “No, they’re disgusting. Honeyduke is known for chocolate, so if you’re gonna borrow something, make it worth your while.” He could get boiled candy anywhere. Go big or go home. Then he laughed, and shook his head at her. “Come on now, I have a few years on ya. You’re still going after child’s play.”

Her eyes seemed to look around the shop and his gaze followed hers, landing on a pastry that Honeyduke seemed to want to sell a lot of, displaying it all nice and fancy in a box. He flicked brown eyes over to her and smirked at her again. “Done deal. First lesson is don’t point at what you want, ‘cause all you’re doing is drawing attention to yourself.” Cliff reached out to push her hand down back to her side. Stupid child. “What’s your name, anyway?”

The following 1 user Likes Clifford Hillicker's post:
   Charley Goode

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
[Image: UcvylhE.png]
Who was this Nobody anyway? Everybody in the whole world liked boiled sweets. The way they melted on her mouth, filling it up with goey swetness that left a trail all the way to her stomach? That was pure heaven that nobody should deny.

Charley's eyes narrowed at this Nobody, he sure was somebody.

"I know it's known for chocolate, I en't stupid," Charley snapped back, palming the box so that it fit up the cuff of her loose sleeve. She'd eat them even if he wouldn't! "And I en't a child!"

Her chin tipped up and she stopped it, grinding her teeth as she glared up past the brim of her cap at the Nobody. He wasn't so big, anyway. The urchin figured she could make him go running with enough a squeal, all she had to do was open her mouth real wide and shout to make everyone look at the strange Nobody in a candy store.

Charley's mouth curled into half a smile she didn't try to hide much at all, and folded her arms across her chest. It stopped the pointing like he wanted, not that she really wanted to agree with this Nobody at all. No, now she just wanted to beat him.

Embarrassing him was too easy, after all, Charley would rather see him look stupid; just like he thought she was.

"Charley, what's yurs?" Then she mashed the toe of her shoe into the floor, annoyed at herself for even answering. Since when was Charley giving this Nobody everything he asked for? She leaned around him, her eyes still fixed on his head, as if it might unbalance him like it almost did to her. "You gonna st—borrah summat or just talk?"

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He remembered when he said similar things, parroting nearly word for word that she was: I ain’t no child. I don’t need any help. What the hell you want, anyway? Knew how difficult it could be to accept help when you were all on your own, but good news for this kid, Cliff wasn’t going to offer to help her. At least not in the sense he wanted to save her from this life and look down on her because she was poor; nah, he might not be her biggest fan, but Cliff (begrudgingly, thanks to his own little sister who looked around this kid’s age) had a soft spot for kids.

Not that he’d ever admit it.

She snapped and he laughed, watching as she tipped her head with pride and beamed at him. Yeah, he could teach her to use that grin to her advantage — people hated yelling at kids and making them cry. At least she stopped pointing to attract attention to them which made her a quicker learner than he would have given her credit for. A wrinkle appeared between his eyebrows as he frowned at her. She was staring and he wasn’t sure what her game was. “Charley.” It wasn’t the worst name. “Cliff.” He answered easily. He didn’t move as Charley leaned around him while staring at him. What the hell?

He cleared his throat. “Can’t just waltz up and take it. Tell me, how many employees do you see hanging around? ‘Cause I see at least one, and he’s gonna notice real fast if I just open the case. Gotta distract ‘em first.” There were a few ways to do that, mostly with magic. Something that drew their attention away and put their backs to the counter. But Cliff didn’t tug his wand free. “If you were gonna do it, how would you?” He cocked an eyebrow at her as he asked the question. Then Cliff smirked, before adding, “‘Cause then I’ll show you how to do it better.”

The following 1 user Likes Clifford Hillicker's post:
   Charley Goode

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
[Image: UcvylhE.png]
A Nobody named Cliff.

For a moment, Charley barely reacted to the naming. She liked considering him more as a Nobody, especially one who thought he knew everything. Nobodies were easy to dismiss, everybody else did it to her, too. Now he had a name, one that fit him too well, and her ears did the thing the urchin wanted least of all. She actually listened to Cliff.

Her hat was bobbing up and down, following along as her eyes scoped out the situation. The lines of shopgoers were nothing, short heads and soft chatters that that worker must be used to after days full of nothing but. The Nobody —Cliff— stood out more as a grown-up, but Charley guessed the shopkeeper had put him out of their mind as soon as Cliff moved behind the shelves. As a grown-up in a candy store, Cliff had that advantage.

"'If I was gonna do it', you would do it," Charley started, tossing her chin up to acknowledge Cliff's height, along with everything else that made him less of a threat in a candy store. "'Cause you're the one they don't blink twice at. You'd go up and ask after it, say summat, I dunno, proper-like. Like yer asking for a shoe-fittin' but for a cake."

Who knew what secret languages grown-ups had, their words didn't sound much different than hers really. Charley guessed the words just sounded more convincing at their age, or their height anyway. At her height, the only thing Charley's words seemed to do was make people laugh at her. Even when they said kind things or agreed, she could see their eyes crinkling in the same way they watched a monkey dancing to an organ grinder.

"Then I'd make a commotion," the urchin continued, and nodded over at the containers on the other side of the shop. There was no end to her choices, hard candies and soft twists and all sorts of sweet nuggets coated in chocolate were stored there. All she had to do was make herself a nuisance, dig a little too deep in one with her grimy hands or even knock something over. Then all eyes would be on Charley and not Cliff's sticky fingers.

Which was where she had to count on Cliff to get her out of it. Cliff, a Nobody, who could just walk right out of the shop and leave her hanging. The urchin looked him over, her eyes scouring the cut of his clothes and the days-old whisker sprouting from his cheeks. He looked just about as trustworthy as she felt, so Charley simply nodded again and finished. "That's when you take the cake."

She grinned, a wide and toothy smile that could already taste the sugary sweet flavor the cake promised for her, "Literally."

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