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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1891. 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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As clocks and other timepieces were expensive, working class folk who could not afford to rise with the sun could employ a “knocker-upper” to tap on their windowpane at a scheduled time. Knocker-uppers would work through the night and into the early morning. — Kayte
But then Miss Dempsey paid her so great a compliment that she wanted to hurl herself over the edge of the theater balcony in delight.
sobing alone in front of a haunted piano


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Pressure To Party
#1
29th March, 1891 — Ottery St. Catchpole, Xena’s Wedding
It was... difficult to be at a wedding and avoid thinking of his own. Of course, ruminating on whether or not it had been a sensible idea or the worst mistake was not something he could acknowledge at a festivity, particularly not one filled with family. But he could only imagine Dionisia was doing the same, thinking of all the ways her life had changed.

So he had been sure to quietly give her a little space to breathe when he could; with the reception in full swing it was easy enough to mingle with other guests, and after circling the room and avoiding the dancefloor he spotted one of his siblings sitting alone.

“There you are,” Ari said, as if he’d been looking for him, though dropped into an empty chair nearby his quietest brother for no particular reason. “Had too much of the wedding already?” It was light enough to be a meaningless joke; he didn’t expect an honest answer. Still - he had expected to see Nemo orbiting Leo and Zelda and their increasing state of giggly upbeat drunkenness, and if not them then Dory (who was, wherever he was right now, no doubt even drunker), or another of his friends; he must have a friend or two here? But no, if Nemo was making any progress towards getting drunk today, it was apparently alone, and he didn’t look much in the mood for celebration.

Ari poured himself a glass of champagne from one of the bottles left behind on the table, more to nurse than anything (he did not let himself get too drunk in front of people, not in years, not since that night with Ben and the ill-advised kiss and the broken glass after it; it almost made a strange sort of wedding, considered from here), and for a moment absently watched the dancing.

#2
Nemo had wanted to enjoy today, should have been enjoying it with his best friend in tow, but that wasn't even an option. Penny had decided to hop on a Merlin forsaken cruise boat and hightail it out of the country when his sister was getting married. Just peachy. He'd really fucked things up if that's where they stood.

He'd managed to put on a happy face for the ceremony and up until this point in the reception, but frankly it was grating on him. Everybody around him was getting happily drunk, but Nemo knew himself well enough to know that adding alcohol to this mood was a poor choice and so he nursed a single whiskey for well over an hour as he sat on the outskirts, trying too hard not to mope.

With his glass loose in his fingertips, Nemo swirled the amber liquid around and watched the people around him. He wasn't surprised when Ari sank into a seat at his table. If anyone was going to notice he was off, it would be Ari. "Just tired." Which wasn't a complete lie, but it wasn't realy waht had him all out of sorts.


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#3
Ari pushed his champagne flute around the table, using the base of it to smooth out a crease in the tablecloth, and shot a casual glance at the whiskey Nemo was not-really-drinking, trying to figure out if tired was all.

He suspected not. Nemo was as patient as a Fisk could possibly be, and although a room full of all the family and more was a big ask of anyone for too long, his youngest brother did not usually look quite so downcast.

“I know the feeling,” Ari said, with a sympathetic smile. Although he wasn’t that tired, and he had nearly fifteen years on Nemo, which ought to give him extra excuse to be easily tired. “Safer, I think, on this side of the room,” he said, raising his eyebrows idly at some of the more zealous dancing now going on, before settling back in his chair, supposing he might as well actually let his feet rest while he checked on Nemo. “Work been busy, then?”

#4
Ari had every reason to be tired; a demanding job, a toddler at home. Nemo had no excuse really, other than he wasn't sleeping all that well thanks to the added stressors in his life that he couldn't actually tell anyone about. That said, it made him feel guilty about using it as a cop-out for the only answer he could think of when asked indirectly if he was alright.

"Yeah." It wasn't much to go on, a vague response to both his brother's statement and question, but Nemo didn't know how to elaborate any better than that, so he took a sip of his whiskey to buy himself a moment to think. "Same for you, I'll wager." Nemo would do just about anything to turn the attention off of himself, his only tactic to employ in hopes that Ari wouldn't be suspicious of his current mood.


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#5
He wasn’t being especially talkative - and Nemo had always been quiet - but Ari couldn’t shake the sense that something was not quite right. “Oh, as always,” he admitted, not about to press the issue in case Nemo did not want to talk about work at all. Maybe something had been needling him there; Ari knew he sometimes carried things over from the hospital. That said, busy as it always was there, it did sometimes feel good to briefly be somewhere else, and he cast Nemo a joking smile to that effect. “I’m just glad to get to stop and sit down today.”

But Nemo was sitting alone, and surely, if the family had made him want to retreat into it, his young friends would have dragged him out of his shell? “Did Xena not let you invite any friends along?” Ari inquired, a little bemused. Xena might have had a well-thought-out vision for the wedding she’d been waiting for for so many years, but Ari didn’t think she, unlike most of the Fisks, would have ever been opposed to more people there to see her big day.

#6
Nemo made a noncommittal noise of agreement with a little shrug. His head was miles away at the moment and he felt bad for bringing that to his sisters' wedding, but it was hard place to be in. Clearly Ari had noticed, but Nemo didn't know how to articulate what was going through his mind these days.

"Oh, she did." He said absentmindedly, before realizing that opened the door to why he was sullen. "Just didn't pan out." He tried to keep the tone even and nonchalant. There was nothing to be done about it. What could he have possibly said to Penny about it? Nothing, he had no place to ask her to stay for this, not when they were on such rocky terms. "It's alright." He cast Ari a look, but didn't elaborate.


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#7
By this point Ari was fairly certain just tired was not the entire explanation for Nemo’s quietness, not by a long shot. And something had not panned out – which sounded reasonable enough by itself, but coupled with this plaintive mood? If it was not something wrong at work, and it hadn’t seemed to be, then it must be a fall-out with a friend, Ari supposed. Or – and maybe other people’s weddings just brought it out in people – trouble in the romance department.

The look Nemo cast him didn’t tell him much more, but there was something in it that kept him probing. “Sure you don’t want to talk about it?” He said, with a shrug that said this could be confidential, that there was no pressure to, if he would rather drown it in the whiskey. “If it’s friend troubles, I’ve had a few of those in my time,” Ari admitted, only half-joking.


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