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Time After Time
See Inside 
May 30th, 1889 — Hogwarts Coming Out Ball
With nothing better to do with his night, Jack had taken it upon himself to slip in among the Hogwarts Coming Out Ball attendees. He wasn't exactly marriageable age yet but he could afford to marry sooner than most if the inkling struck him. Which it didn't. He was mainly here for the nostalgia, drinks and food. The pretty girls didn't hurt anything either. Some of the graduating students had been among those that he had considered so young when he had been a seventh year himself. And now they were also adults. It was amazing how time worked.

The girls, formerly awkward preteens to him, had grown into beautiful young women. Speaking of which, he had already danced with a couple of them and was now about to approach another. "Care to dance?" He inquired.

Open to any 21 or under female

set by MJ!
Jemima was so glad the school year was over. The stress of OWLs had been next to nothing; the worst that could have happened was failing all her classes, in which situation she supposed she'd had reasonable trauma this term to account for it, and if she had to leave school, then that was wonderful, she could lie low for a few years until everything was forgotten, never have to see half the people in the school who hated her again, and possibly even leave the country to ensure it.

Of course, she hadn't been looking forward to the Coming Out ball as much as she had hoped all last summer. Not that she was Coming Out yet (and it would be her last if she failed everything), but this was still her first time attending. And an excuse to wear a pretty dress. She may not have the prettiest of characters - the world knew that well enough by now - but she could, at least, put on a nice frock and fake it for a day.

Unfortunately, the awkwardness was proving difficult to shake off. Everywhere she looked it was a valiant struggle to meet anyone's eye - friends or foes, or even the professors lurking in the corners! - and Jemima didn't dare do anything to make a fool of herself tonight.

So, as yet, she had not dared do anything, except stand safely by the wall in her lilac dress and look positively engrossed in the sky-ceiling. She was trying to figure out whether the constellation she had pinpointed was actually Cassiopeia, when -

Care to dance?

"Oh!" Jemima said, tearing her gaze away and alighting on a young man she knew to be a quidditch player. And a former Hufflepuff, though he wouldn't remember her. "Yes, of course," she said breathlessly, reaching out her gloved hand for him to take just before she realised... he had not been talking to her at all, but the debutante in white just beside her. Fuck.
[-] The following 2 users Like Jemima Farley's post:
   Aldous Crouch, Jack Humphrey-Mavis

bee is wonderful
Jack's eye had been on one of the newly debuted young ladies but rather than her hand accepting a dance for them, their attention both shifted to a younger girl - likely still a student. The debutante laughed in a way that didn't sit right with Jack. He had a feeling that she was expecting him to laugh as well and whisk her off to the dance floor away from the younger girl.

Being of kind nature, Jack instead smiled at the girl as if that was who he had meant the invitation for in the first place. Only the three of them would be sure to know the truth, he figured. "Shall we?" He said, taking the girls gloved hand and moving to escort her onto the dance floor. Jack was understandably oblivious to the girls notoriety around Hogwarts and would likely continue to be so unless someone chose to enlighten him.

set by MJ!
Oh god oh god oh god she'd really gone and done it now, hadn't she? She ought to be impervious to embarrassment after all this time, shouldn't she? And still her cheeks were hot with humiliation as the other girl laughed.

The boy - young man - was smiling, and Jemima felt her heart tighten in a vice. Only... the vice loosened again, unexpectedly, as the smile did not slip into a laugh - a dreadful, vicious hyena laugh like the girl's, resounding in her head - and he did not recoil from her hand as he should have.

Well, wasn't he a saint? Jemima let out a breath and tried to keep her posture straight, too relieved to worry about the knot of shame in her gut that wanted to remind her this was only pity, only politeness. After the year she'd had, she was grateful for pity. She smiled back at him bashfully, trying to decide whether to address the elephant in the room or merely concentrate on being so poised he forgot all about not having asked her to dance with in the first place.

Alright, so the latter was a bit of a tall order. Shyly, she prepared herself for the music to begin, resting her hand lightly on him and trying not to flutter like a leaf in sheer nervousness. "You're very kind," she said softly, silently thanking him with her eyes more profusely than she dared say aloud. Nothing had obliged him to do this - it could have turned out so very much worse.

bee is wonderful
Jack waited to see if the young girl would accept despite now being aware that she had not initially been his intended dance partner. He was quite happy to not mention it at all if she so wished. Jack had never really had any embarrassing school years so he couldn't really relate to such moments but he did possess a compassionate sort of heart.

Jack moved into position with her and smiled. "It's my pleasure. Is this your first time being able to attend?" Jack asked conversationally. He could not recall seeing her in attendance the year before and she seemed rather around the age of a fifth or perhaps sixth year.

set by MJ!
“Oh yes,” Jemima confessed, a little mortified that he had guessed it so quickly, never mind that she was wearing colour and looked the age of a student. Clearly she was lacking in the elegance of the rest. She must be a warning beacon of inexperience! “I was very excited to attend at last. Perhaps a little too eager,” she added - to explain away her lack of restraint, with an awkward giggle to match.

Hopefully she could make up for by being a passable dancer, and not get too overexcited at the music. Some casual conversation, Jemima, and don’t stare too long, lest you start drooling. The most she had managed before was occasionally exchanging words with some of the boys in seventh year; but any graduate was a man and not a boy any longer, and Merlin knew a professional quidditch player had no trouble conversing with ladies! Did he enjoy these balls for that reason or another, or had he only been forced to come?

“But I wonder if the charm doesn’t wear off, when attending is not quite so novel?”

bee is wonderful
"That's quite all right," Jack chuckled when the young lady professed that she had been perhaps a little too eager to attend the ball. "It's something wonderful and new, I'm sure you're not the only young lady to be a little over excited." From his own school years, he could remember the girls talking about the event for months in advance.

"I can't say that it has for me - but then again. I do enjoy dancing and becoming acquainted with lovely young ladies such as yourself, Miss-," he let the last word hang a bit, in the hopes that she would provide her name.

set by MJ!
Well, he was either earnestly forgiving or well-practised at being disarmingly pleasant. Jemima didn’t mind too much which it was: it looked to be an enjoyable five minutes for her. And it wasn’t as though he would recall her by the end of the night, save, embarrassingly, as that overexcited girl. It was almost a pity to put her name to herself, but overexcited was still, Jemima considered, a light adjective compared to most she’d been getting from her peers. “Farley,” she said with a bashful smile, “Jemima Farley. Of Hufflepuff.” She had tried to drop that fact in casually, as though she didn’t know perfectly well he was a former Hufflepuff too. She noticed things.

(She probably shouldn’t notice things so often; the diary debacle ought to have taught her that, really. Better to notice nothing, and avert her eyes from life at all costs!) She also didn’t imagine Mr. Chudley Cannons Keeper meant that he thought her lovely specifically, but Jemima was more than happy to take that nugget of gold and cherish it.

bee is wonderful
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Farley. I'm John Humphrey-Mavis though most people just call me Jack," Jack chuckled, as usual forgoing the whole "Honorable" part that he was supposed to formally tack on. "I was a Hufflepuff as well." They had been some of the best years of his life though he had since kind of drifted apart from the Badger Cete of friends he'd had.

set by MJ!
“The pleasure is entirely mine,” Jemima protested in haste, beaming at him now, and only relieved that if there was one thing she didn’t seem mortifyingly terrible at, it looked to be dancing. She might make a successful debutante of herself one day yet!

She felt quite certain he was from a titled family, but she did, in fact, possess the self-control not to correct someone on their own name. Instead, she looked brightly at him when he admitted to being once a Hufflepuff as well. Wasn’t that wonderful, to have things in common? “And do you miss it?” She inquired. Hogwarts, I mean.” The Coming Out Ball may not have lost its sheen to him yet, but she imagined all his schooldays had washed quite over him and out. “Though school must seem terribly dull compared to your life now?” She prompted, wondering if he would drop in that he played quidditch of his own accord, or whether she would have to coax him to that, too.

bee is wonderful
"Oh, quite often," Jack admitted easily enough. "School is a marvelous place for making friends outside off your usual circles that you might never have met outside of school." Zelda, Oliver, Frank, Miss Tamsin Skeeter.. who knew if he would have been friends with them were it not for the fact they had all been in Hufflepuff and Hogwarts together.

"And true enough - I play quidditch for the Chudley Cannons though I played for Appleby as a second string before that," Jack provided with a smile, wondering if she followed Quidditch at all.

set by MJ!
“Yes,” Jemima agreed, nodding as fervently as she dared without ruining their dancesteps. “Yes, it does. I shall miss it.” In truth, she would be glad to get out of school in two years and leave behind all the peers who had not gotten to know anything of her, beyond what had been embarrassingly unveiled of her innermost thoughts. They were a base, cruel bunch, and she would be pleased to be beyond it, and only meeting handsome eligible gentlemen who would never reduce themselves to laughing at her expense.

The Coming Out Ball was so far an exception to Hogwarts’ failures, Jemima allowed. Case in point.

And he had now mentioned quidditch. He might be out of her league in status, but she was ready for this. A little teasing, a little flattery, oodles of interest, let him talk about whatever he liked. “Oh, well then!” Jemima exclaimed, a little more animated. “I grew up near Tutshill, I’m afraid, so the Tornadoes are the team I am doomed to follow,” she said sweetly, “but as far as I know, the Chudley Cannons are usually a fierce contender.” She made an attempt to flutter her lashes. “What position do you play?”

bee is wonderful
"The Tornadoes! Any friendship we could have had destroyed in an instant," Jack said, making sure that it was obvious from his smile that he was only teasing. After all, he had originally been on the Appleby Arrows team. And like any allosexual, red blooded male, Jack was not immune to flattery when it presented itelf. "I'm a keeper," he said. "I make sure the goals are only done against the other team. Do you follow the sport closely?"

set by MJ!
“Oh dear!” She giggled at his first joking remark, though she could not deny that her heart had skipped a terrible beat at the thought he might possibly be serious about that, for what a tragedy that would be! Never mind the Tornadoes, Jemima would disown them in an instant, whatever she pretended. After the shock of it, of course, Jemima did feel she was beginning to relax - though perhaps that was the work of the dancing, the movements loosening her limbs a little, keeping her otherwise in check.

It would be a lie, too, to pretend she had not nearly said I’ll bet you are when Mr. Humphrey-Mavis - Jack - mentioned that he was a keeper; but thankfully one effect of her horrible year at school was that she was a little better-practised at keeping her mouth shut than she ever had been, and had learnt, mostly, to think before she spoke.

So she just smiled widely, and let him explain what a keeper was, although she knew perfectly well what keepers did (dear Merlin, she’d admitted to being a Hufflepuff and thus not the brightest of the bunch, but she did have a few braincells floating about in her head!). “Mostly only the Hogwarts games, I confess,” Jemima said (though usually more for the players than the intricacies of the sport), but, with eyes alight, she added, “though I should very much like to attend a real match someday.”

bee is wonderful
Jack smiled as she giggled, not above being delighted at making a girl giggle. It had been his hobby during his school days, not that he had been much of a flirt. At least, in his own opinion. (He was very unaware that he tended to do it without thinking.)

"You must come see a professionally played match. It's quite intense!" He was a player and even he had not been completely prepared for the rigors of a professional match that wasn't played by awkward teenagers still figuring out how their own limbs worked. "I'll send you a ticket to my next match." Probably not a promise he ought to be making to a girl just met but he meant it.

set by MJ!
It was rather refreshing to be laughed with and not at again, just this once. A pity she could not erase her whole social slate and begin anew: this fresh acquaintance was proving to be no less than pleasant. A shame, then, that the dance would soon be at its’ end.

But somehow he had made this even better by what he said next! “Oh, you wouldn’t really?!” Jemima exclaimed, fighting not to let her hands slip from his in sheer excitement. Though perhaps she shouldn’t hold him to it; he did not know much her about her at all, and she wasn’t sure how often quidditch players actually did that, sending people free tickets.

Although she supposed they must like the attention.

She beamed at him sincerely. If only she had kept up her daily diary: this would be an entry for the ages! (Perhaps she would have to note this evening down nonetheless. For posterity.)

bee is wonderful

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