Welcome to Charming
Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1894. 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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Queen Victoria was known for putting jackets and dresses on her pups, causing clothing for dogs to become so popular that fashion houses for just dog clothes started popping up all over Paris. — Fox
It would be easy to assume that Evangeline came to the Lady Morgana only to pick fights. That wasn't true at all. They also had very good biscuits.
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picking up the pieces
He hadn’t been home in months.

The staff of his London townhome hadn’t been made aware of his arrival until he physically stepped through the front door. A flurry of activity had followed him as he toured the house, maids pulling white cloths off of furniture and the housekeeper dutifully removing dust with repetitive swishes of her wand. It was home but not; everything seemed so sterile, so devoid of personality, so un-him. It was nothing like the much smaller apartment he’d lived in during his stay in New York, where everything was warmer and eclectic and more intimate. He’d once thought his London home was small—now he wasn’t sure how he’d fill the space.

It only took twenty minutes for him to feel restless. He had so much to do, so many people to reestablish relationships with, so many business matters to handle. He’d left the Arrows in the capable hands of an assistant in his absence, only the most pressing financial matters making it into his hands during his leave.

But even now, as he took to the streets of magical London—through the floo, because that was about as much as he could handle at the moment—he didn’t want to face what he’d left behind. He didn’t want to face anything, because that meant acknowledging the truth: he wasn’t well. He hadn’t felt well since his bi-weekly appointments in New York began, and he hadn’t looked well since he’d departed.

Fortunately the streets were so packed that it was easy to blend in with the witches and wizards who pushed through the crowds of Diagon Alley. There was apparently a sale going on at one of the shops, and crowds clamored on the sidewalk, creating a line down the side of the street he walked on. He sidestepped one woman, then another. Then another. And another. Soon he’d been driven off the sidewalk completely, forced to venture around the crowd. His signature scowl made a reappearance as he tried to find an opening in front of the apothecary, but it was useless.

There’s no discount large enough that could make me wait outside like this,” he said to no one in particular, his voice loud and clear but mostly lost to the endless chatter. Except one head turned at his voice—one he recognized, one he might have avoided had it not taken a moment to register.

He froze, his eyes caught on her. Yaxley.
Rowan Yaxley

set by lady <3
The Magical Accidents and Catastrophes team had cleared up the remnants of last week’s horrific blizzard more than a week ago and yet Rowan still felt as if the world was falling about her ears. Her family managed to survive, but Rowan’s shoulders ached something fierce. Occasionally she’d been forced into pockets of space where her magic ceased to work, and she was forced to try and dig her way out. So her shoulders were sore - in fact her entire body was sore, and to top it off, Grayson was being an absolute ass this week (apparently he’d confessed his love for a crush and they’d forgotten it during the incident at the end of the month).

Normally, Rowan would be sympathetic to his agony, but ever since - a certain event happened last year - it was fairly difficult for Rowan to feel pity for anyone having trouble with anything to do with love.

And yet every word he’d uttered last August continued to echo throughout her mind at least once a month. Who takes care of you when you're so busy taking care of everyone else? What did he know about taking care of people? She’d wanted to tell anyone about this, Zelda or Maisie but the truth was too humiliating to bear. Not to mention she’d be ruined if anyone else heard what happened; another reason why she felt infuriated every time she thought of his ridiculous(-ly handsome) steely gaze. She couldn’t talk to anyone about it. And so she’d been relegated to feeling like she was ostracizing everyone she knew, even with work. She’d taken to walking as much as she could after work so she could say she was exhausted when she got home. But for some godforsaken reason, she decided to take a different path this time. And of course, that was when she felt someone’s eyes on her and looked up.

Her heart immediately leapt into her throat. Malfoy. Just like that, a haze of fury washed through her and she tightened her grip on her bag, fixing him with the most livid glare she could muster.

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He felt like he was looking at a memory. Her soft black hair, nearly pinned up. Her brows, full and tightly-knit as she glanced in his direction. The familiar scowl that appeared when she registered his presence. Even her glare, which might have startled any passerby, filled him with a fondness that could only develop after being on the receiving end of it time and time again. She was like a portrait, unchanged even after months—unlike him, who had been across the globe and faced more over their time apart than before it.

His jaw momentarily went slack as he sought words that wouldn’t come. Her name kept repeating in his head. Yaxley. Yaxley. Rowan. Yaxley. She was there and she was angry, but all he could feel was relief.

He felt like a fool standing there, blocking the rest of the foot traffic on the already cramped street. He heard someone grumble as they stepped behind him onto the cobblestone street, heard another person say just go around him. He felt the familiar pressure in his chest that he’d begun to associate with his panicked moments and immediately stepped towards Yaxley, attempting to leave room behind him.

He could smell her light perfume. It was cheap and too sweet for his nose, but it was so her. He instinctively leaned down, trying bridging the nearly foot-long gap between them as he spoke.

Yaxley—” he started, only to pause before another word could leave his mouth. There was so much he wanted to say to her—but there was much less, he realized, that he could say.

set by lady <3
All too suddenly he was in front of her. And she could see the change in him, even though fury insisted on remaining the dominant emotion simmering just beneath her skin. It was slowly being overshadowed by shock. He looked…horrible. He was still Malfoy, with his characteristic blonde hair, piercing gaze and aristocratic air to the way he held himself; but his skin looked nearly translucent, which only served to bring the shadows under his eyes into further prominence.

Shock gave way to concern and then immediately after came anger that she was even concerned to begin with! Oh, curse this man, curse him and his whole damned bloodline, Rowan wanted to growl out. Clearly it wasn’t needed, Malfoy had already been cursed and it was likely the reason he looked so poorly. Her lips parted, belatedly showing her shock and she felt her voice freeze in her throat. The effect that he had on her even after months of absolutely no word was nothing short of aggravating.

So she forced herself to fry a move on what she wanted to say, which was supposed to be something of mild concern, but instead she heard herself say: “Still alive then, are you?”

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Raphael had always been the pinnacle of convenience. Sculpted, handsome, statuesque—he’d been on the receiving end of every compliment in the book, and before now he’d never had a reason to dwell on any insecurities he might have possessed. But months spent in near-isolation in a flat smaller than his mothers parlor, spending day after day working through experimental treatments that had weakened his bones as much as they’d strengthened his magic, he felt… uneasy. Uncomfortable. Unattractive.

He hadn’t noticed it around the household staff. He’d been aware of their glances, but their opinions meant nothing to him. They’d always held opinions of him and his family, and he’d never given them any reason to like him except for the fact that he kept them and their families fed. It was different with her. Against his better judgment, he cared what she thought.

His gaze dropped from her face when she spoke, latching onto the spot where the skin of her neck peeked out from underneath her collar. It had been nearly a year since, but he still remembered what the skin there tasted like, salty and warm and distinctly her. He wondered if she still thought about that night, or if she tried to forget. He had, if only because reflecting on it would’ve turned him into a madman.

His cheeks turned pink at her question, the insecurity twisting deeper in his gut until it overwhelmed him. He would’ve fled if they were alone in his room instead of public, where he was certain more than one pair of eyes watched them from the line.

Turns out I’m harder to kill than I look,” he tried, the joke falling flat before it even concluded.

set by lady <3
She nearly snorted. How many crises had they been through where they came out the other end alive? More than was normal, that was for sure. She knew he wasn’t hard to kill because she’d been by his side nearly every step of the day. He was staring at her, his eyes surveying her as they stood amongst the crowd. She could see the blush her words triggered, which caused her own stomach to lurch deep in her gut. And yet she couldn’t bring herself to stop glaring at him. “You can disappear when you want to.” She’d said it quietly, but her tone was spiteful.

She pivoted to walk away. “When you don’t want to be found, it’s clear no one would be able to locate you.”

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He could see it in her eyes—this was going to be a whole talk. One they couldn't have here, surrounded by strangers. The streets of Diagon Alley were different from the streets of New York: there were less people here, but everyone talked. New York was somehow more bustling, more daunting, more strict, and yet nobody paused to listen to anyone's conversations. He'd watched two people argue on the sidewalk form his apartment window more times than he could count, within no one caring to interfere.

Raphael sighed. "Yaxley, I—" I had no choice, I missed you, I was so, so sick. He wasn't sure if he'd have been able to communicate everything he'd felt over the last few months if they'd been locked away in a room where no one could find them. And anyways, he had no right to expect anything of her, least of all her understanding and kindness. He'd hurt her; it was evident in her eyes.

He started to reach out to grab her arm, but dropped it, remembering where they were. He took a deep breath, debating on just letting her go. He knew where she lived and where she worked, and if he was persistent enough in contacting her she'd see him long enough to at least tell him to fuck off. But watching her walk away made his stomach flip, and before he could consider the potential ramification, he was following her.

"Yaxley," he said, more insistent. Only when they were free of the crowd did his strides lengthen, putting him at her sides in seconds. "It wasn't my choice."

set by lady <3
It was only because they were in the midst of a crowd that Rowan didn’t whirl around and snap at him. But people would talk, and that was the last thing she needed after the week she’d been having. And yet, as much as she didn’t want him to follow her, she knew she would be angry if he didn’t at least try. One foot in front of the other, she walked down the path, hands shoved into her jacket pocket as she went. Then he was at behind her hissing her name, and soon he was next to her, slowing his paces down to match hers.

His response only served to infuriate her even more. It wasn’t his choice? Did his father lock him in a prison cell and forbid any contact with the outside world? He could have sent a letter! A small scrap of paper would have been sufficient at least! “Oh, I can’t wait to hear this, please do enlighten me.” She stopped suddenly under the awning of the bakery and pivoted to face him, crossing her arms. A quick look about told her they weren’t within easy earshot of anyone, and so she raised an eyebrow at him, pursing her lips expectantly.

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No person under five-foot-five had any business looking as terrifying as she did. He'd grown used to her ire, but this was differently. In the past, their arguments had been petty or at the very least intentional on his part. He'd always taken a certain joy in riling her up, but on his terms. Being on the end of her anger when he didn't want to do be — having all that compact rage directed at him on the streets of Diagon Alley — well, he could've been given an hour to formulate his response and he still would've ended up staring at her like a startled mooncalf.

"My curse got... bad." The understatement of the century, really. The ink black patter that snaked up his arm had always ached a little, and there had always been days where that ache turned to throbbing (and some days, twisting, stabbing pains), but it had gotten so bad, so suddenly, that he hadn't been able to hide it from his father. He hadn't been able to heat. To do his job, which didn't include very much actual work. He'd always been able to keep them at arm's length by insisting that he was having it seen by a healer, but his father had finally put his foot down.

Should he have contacted Yaxley? Certainly. He couldn't written a letter with a vocal spell command and had it sent off to her, notifying her about his travels, but it had been right after their night together and...


"I was sent away to America for treatment — rather suddenly, if I might say," he continued, hoping it would be enough of an explanation for her. Knowing Yaxley, he highly doubted it.

The following 1 user Likes Raphael Malfoy's post:
   Rowan Yaxley

set by lady <3
His…his curse? Her expression faltered, but only by a fraction as her eyes flicked towards the arm she knew that had been afflicted by the curse. It would certainly explain his appearance, but even that didn’t calm her down, and she continued to glare at him. “You were…sent away to America for treatment?” She repeated incredulously, staring at him with wide eyes. “And you couldn’t write or do anything to let me know that you were alright, is that it?” How many times had they survived death together? The last thing they’d done together was the opposite of death, and yet Rowan couldn’t tell him how that had affected her either. She was too worked up to realize how bad it had to have gotten for him to not write a thing to her.

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   Raphael Malfoy

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"New York," he clarified, briefly wondering if she'd ever been there. She'd probably like it—bustling with people from all walks of life, muggles everywhere, a more laid-back lifestyle despite the backwards laws about magic. He wished he'd been able to spend more time enjoying the culture, if only to be able to tell her about it.

"And I wanted to write you but—"" But he'd been afraid she wouldn't care? That writing was an admission of him caring? That he'd been so uncomfortable and vulnerable at the mercy of his father and the American curse-breaker that he didn't have it in him to share such vulnerable and uncomfortable worries via letter? In hindsight it was silly. She was here, she was upset with him, and of course she would've wanted to know.

"I wasn't myself," he tried, suddenly looking anywhere but her face. Her worn shoes. The same pair of robes she always wore. Her silky black hair, the curve of her ear. He hated this. "I was... sickly. I barely had a chance to pack before I was sent away, and by the time I got there I hardly had a moment alone." For weeks, he wanted to add, but he thought that might needlessly worry her. In truth, it had been a constant surveillance of his curse, which was constantly being poked and prodded with spell after spell, potion after potion. It had helped kill it to an extent—but it had also killed him a little, too.

set by lady <3
As he painted the picture of his time in New York, it hardly seemed like it was a lovely holiday spent languishing at gentlemen's clubs or in high-class lounges with a woman draped over each arm. Was that how she saw him, though? Thus far, complete silence notwithstanding, Malfoy had given her no reason to not trust him. He showed up when it counted, had performed Legilimency on her without question. Her intense expression fell gradually. Because truth of the matter was, she had missed him, had stayed up on more than one occasion wondering where the hell he’d disappeared to. And because she’d worried, she was mad once she saw him in public just now - seemingly healthy, as if he’d been here all this time.

In reality, it sounded like Malfoy had little choice in the matter; one moment he was in London, and the next he’d been shipped off to America without a chance to say goodbye. But now the question that nagged at her her mind: if he had gone willingly, would he have told her?

Rowan stuffed her hands in her pockets, averting her gaze and taking a step back. “I’m…sorry you had to go through that.” She murmured, still unable to keep the bite out of her voice, though her shoulders had dropped from their defensive position.

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