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The Australian Home of Magic Tallygarunga is an 18+ post-Potter non-canon forum RPG, featuring Australia's only public wizarding school Tallygarunga.
Location: Rural Victoria, Australia
Current time: May 2018
Term Two: April 18th-June 30th
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Theodore Spellman

Taking It All In (Jan 5, '18)

By Theodore Spellman, in 2018

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Cottage style living was one wonderful way to spend the summer when most of what you wanted to do was be nestled in a corner doing some kind of academic endeavor. That's a huge part of the reason why Teddy decided to stay for the summer session that year. He was typically surrounded by books no matter what time of year it was, but the exciting thing about the summer session is that they could be whatever books he wanted and if they were assigned books for his courses he could read more things he liked during the year. It wasn't uncommon to find him in his current state; sounded by different books in stacks around him organized by topic with his knees up to his chest and a sizable tome opened on a round desk he dragged in front of the upholstered chair he preferred. He was living the life.

Right in this moment he was focused on learning more about how magical objects for wizarding games like Wizarding Chess and Gobstones were crafted. So, he had a very advanced Charms textbook and a very advanced Transfiguration textbook open in front of him and he was taking notes on parchment. He wanted to make sure to take what was useful so that he could potentially craft his own game by the end of the summer. He was very detailed in all of the information he took down and took note of different concerns that came up when charming and transfiguring objects for use in games. The task was a test of his knowledge of all of the basics that preceded in his schooling, so it was a task that would truly help him to review and prepare for his final year of studying the subjects.

When he finished taking notes on a chapter from the Charms text, he looked up, trying to take note of who had entered the common area, but the light from outside was too bright and all he saw was the silhouette of someone who clearly knew what they were doing in the gym.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Preparation was key! Aiden had spent a large amount of his holiday break re-arranging his room back home. Adam insisted that both he and Valerie spend at least one night a week with them, as part of maintaining their family unit. And, Adam said, so they could catch up on all the latest Star Wars theories together.

So he'd organised himself a proper "study nook", moved his bed, and changed the positioning of his desk half a dozen times until he finally got everything where he wanted it. Then he'd had to put all the books back where they belonged, which was no small task. That, along with the regular family trips to the great outdoors, camping, fishing, and trying not to die on the old rope swing that hung over the Goulburn River, had... transformed Aiden somewhat.

He'd hit his growth spurt early in the last year, going from a pudgy boy to a gangly awkward teen. Now he was starting to fill out, and his accidentally active lifestyle was showing. This was never more obvious than in how he carried far too many library books into the dorm, with greater ease than ever before.

A dumb grin was on his face.

"Mrs Tallenery got the books I wanted!" he crowed, dropping the heavy stack to the floor with a thump. This was going to be an excellent summer program. Aiden could feel he was getting closer to an answer---it had to be here!

Aiden would never regret how much time he spent studying for this "lost cause". He told himself he wanted to get into the medical field anyway, so none of this was really wasteful, even if Matt never woke up.

He sank himself into a chair, wiping his brow on his shoulder. It was hot outside. For all the changes that had occurred in his body, Aiden saw none of them. He still felt awkward, too bony, and un-used to his changing body. He couldn't see the man he was fast becoming. But nothing delighted the boy more than new information to sink into.

Aiden grinned at Theodore.

Now Teddy---Teddy understood that delight. It was something Aiden had liked about him from the beginning, when he'd first encountered the older boy with his nose stuck in a book. Somehow, Teddy managed to be academic and cool, and over the years Aiden had recognised Teddy as an excellent source of information and help. Like.. understanding words he'd never seen before, which happened a lot with medical texts.

"You got some treasure too, huh?" he asked, nodding to Teddy's own big book.

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy's mouth slid open a bit when he realized who it was. He didn't understand how he went the whole summer without hearing enough from Aiden to notice that he was... beginning to look better than him. He was not sure how to feel about little Aiden growing up from the kid that treated him like a medical dictionary into a... well someone more his age.

He quickly shook his head and closed his mouth, trying not to think anything to loudly or say anything too stupid, because he was suddenly... very distracted by Aiden. He was still the same kid, though, in his actions because he never let too long of a moment pass until he showed that he was the same kid looking for the answer to a medical problem he still wouldn't tell him about and finding him at the best moments.

Yet, in the past couple of years, the game they played got less annoying and became more enjoyable. It was good to realize that he was doing things the right way and that someone was inspired by it. Aiden reminded Teddy that he had good balance in life and that Teddy wasn't incompetent or unlikeable, something that was hard to when his anxiety made him think that his constant need to have someone in his presence made people find him annoying.

Teddy smiled back up at Aiden as he placed his books down admiring him.

He snapped out of it, shook his head, and responded to him, "I am glad she was able to help you find the books you needed. I know you were looking forward to really get into the nitty gritty on what it was that you were looking into." There was something about that determination that had previously let Teddy open up to Aiden instead of directing him to a medical dictionary. Perhaps it reminded him of himself.

"I am looking to invent my own magical game that uses charmed and transfigured objects like Wizard Chess or Gobstones, but my own newly invited game. It's the ultimate way to review the two subjects together," Teddy began. "These beauties are practical application texts on Charms and Transfiguration focused on explaining objects just like what I seek to make for my game, so I'm taking pretty extensive notes on it. They're very useful. Who knows maybe I'll become an inventor after this."

He laughed a bit at his comment. It was nice to have someone he enjoyed the presence of around instead of the students who weren't in the mood to talk today in the commons. Trying to focus on that and not the chiseled jaw Aiden had gained, Teddy went back to taking notes.

It was difficult to focus with Aiden there now, something he'd never admit. So, he tried to continue taking notes.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

One thing that had not changed about Aiden since the end of the 2017 school year, was the innocent and wide-eyed way that he listened to Teddy's every word. As Teddy described his project, Aiden was in genuine awe. He would never have contemplated something so complex, and so straight up cool.

It also allowed him the ability to ignore Teddy's casual probe into his own study, and he brought his feet up on to the seat (well that was a lot more difficult than it had been last year), keen to hear more.

"What sort of game were you thinking?" he asked, suddenly imagining all the muggle games he knew as wizarding re-creations. Snakes and Ladders would be.. terrifying. Aiden didn't like ladders.

Reaching down, he lugged up a huge tome on dream walking, not really intending to read it, but letting the pages flick through his fingers with that delightful new-book smell. Aiden was yet to confirm the rumors that Matt had been sighted outside of his physical body, but it was a possibility he was willing to explore.

"You seen some of them muggle video games? My brother loves them---it'd be pretty cool to make something like that, only more real." And wouldn't that be something? Exploring the world of Kill Death for real, rather than just through a screen. Probably dangerous, though.

Probably definitely dangerous.

Actually, there wasn't much about the prospect of hunting Death through a dark city underworld that wasn't dangerous.

Aiden sighed. Why were so many good ideas so downright death-inducing?

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Aiden seemed to always ask all of the right questions. He made Teddy think about the specifics of what he was going to do and how he was going to accomplish them by asking the kinds of questions that he did. This helped him to make sure that his project turned out well. So, he considered his ideas before giving Aiden a definitive answer. He wanted to be sure of himself before telling the other young man.

"I think I'm going to try and make some kind of table quidditch where you control the pieces kind of like Wizard's Chess," he answered. "That would be really exciting, but that's just the idea that has been most on my mind. Does that sounds like something too complicated?"

Aiden then asked him if he thought it would be cool to make a muggle 'video game' real. He responded saying, "I don't think I'd suggest making video games real, that would quite dangerous, seeing as we don't necessarily have a redo at this life. I wouldn't say that I want to risk death in that way. However, the idea does sound exciting because we could experience the games on new levels that we haven't before."

Teddy took some more notes on the book, making diagrams of what the texts were talking about. As he drew the different Wizard's Chess pieces, marking them with the respective spells and processes that had to take place, he said, "Isn't it funny how some of the things that can be the most exhilarating are simultaneously the things that are the most dangerous for us? It's almost like the world is daring us to live life on the edge of its end."

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

The idea of tabletop Quidditch seemed to ignite something in Aiden. He was pretty terrible at Quidditch, Aiden was pretty terrible at flying in general, so being able to play from a comfortable seat on the ground very much appealed to him.

"Probably complicated, but worth it." Aiden agreed. "Just cause something is complicated doesn't mean you shouldn't do it."

Again, that broad and genuine grin. Aiden was helping. After all these years of seeking Teddy's help, it felt a little like he was able to give something back. Also, the idea was that stupid good that how could he not be enthusiastic about it? For a moment, he sat back to envision the fun that would be table Quidditch, pinging tiny balls around a miniature field of life-like figurines. Yes. Aiden decided he liked this very much.

"Some things that are supposed to be safe turn out to be the most dangerous, too." Aiden added to Teddy's observation, his smile turning wry. "So maybe it's better to live dangerously? At least then it's no surprise when you get hurt. Imagine living your whole life, staying out of anything fun or dangerous, and then it's crossing the street where you get hurt."

Another reflective pause. This time for the truth in that statement, and the unintended reference to Matt's accident. The example had just jumped to him, he hadn't thought about it---his ears began to colour a deep red. He shouldn't have said that.

Now Teddy was going to remember what everyone knew. That he was tragedy kid, with the coma brother and jail dad. And he'd done such a good job of avoiding it all lately.

"For example, I mean." he finished lamely. Totally a hypothetical example, right? Right.

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy was quite enjoying having a companion with whom he could speak through the idea he had for his big summer project. It was a great way for him to make sure that he was operating with enough confidence to get the job done. He smiled at Aiden widely, unable to ignore how much the younger student’s smile was making him blush. He fanned himself to make it appear as he was just a little warm.

Aiden was right. He was fully capable of doing it. It was definitely something worth doing and if everyone dismissed it as too complex or as unachievable, then no one would achieve it.

Aiden made a pretty valid point when he responded to Teddy’s comment about safety. The young man was beginning to get to a point where he brought forward ideas and thoughts that challenged norms and brought people to think about how they follow standard conventions.

Teddy thought that Aiden’s example was good, but then he reacted pretty strongly to what he had said. Teddy wondered what it was that made him upset. Then, it hit Teddy like a ton of bricks. Aiden’s brother had been in an incident that put him in a coma.

It hadn’t occurred to Teddy that this might be why he was doing so much medical research before, but he began to put the pieces together.

Teddy would never judge Aiden for trying to do that and he definitely didn’t want to ask about it because he didn’t want to upset or embarrass him. He was a good kid. He didn’t deserve that.

Noticing how embarrassed Aiden was for even bringing up the topic, Teddy said, ”That is actually a very fair example. Maybe I should do more to challenge and push myself to do what I find fun more. Thanks, Aiden.” He did so taking time to show he wasn’t judging him with his facial cues even if he was a shade of red himself. That was for a different reason...

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him
"Y--yeah." Awkward Aiden was back. Cursing himself inwardly for bringing it up, and even so his mind wouldn't let it go. He felt the need to explain the example, to excuse himself from this sudden weirdness he'd created. Almost apologise for it.

He was aware now, of the spine of his book, tilted toward Teddy and in clear, readable view. Aiden shifted, adjusting the book across his lap in ways that looked like perhaps he was hiding something else.

"Don't want to be stuck, um. Not able to do things you really wanted. But didn't when you had the chance," he mumbled.

The awkwardness was only made worse with that innocent Thanks, Aiden. For Teddy, it was just a sign of gratitude... but to Aiden it was everything. Recognition. Usefulness. Here he was, giving Theodore Spellman advice. He didn't feel worthy. Teddy had once showed him a better way to tie his shoes, so they wouldn't come undone through the day---Teddy was a legend.

"Adam says we gotta make the most of what we've got. Leave the past behind, and have good futures." Aiden added, as if to admit that the helpful thought had not been his---but that of his wiser, older half-brother. So it was really Adam that Teddy should be thanking, when he thought about it.

"He says I should study less. But isn't studying supposed to be a good thing?"

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy didn't like when he made others feel awkward, so he was a little perturbed by the situation. He had the feeling that it was his fault. Trying not to make what was going on in his head clear, he smiled at Aiden, trying not to take note of the way in which he folded his book in his lap.

He appreciated the input because it was right. He would miss out on fun if he didn't just do it. Maybe that would be nice. Perhaps he just needed to have a party at the beginning of the year to let loose and have a little fun. He could celebrate his accomplishment and have a little fun with his peers, all while putting his creation to the test in the field.

After hearing Aiden's new remarks, he noticed that Aiden was seeming to want to distance himself from the advice he had given. "What was it that made him uncomfortable?" Teddy couldn't quite put his fingers on it, but he wanted to make sure that he wasn't doing anything wrong. Normally Aiden was very comfortable around him. Was he picking up vibes that Teddy was maybe a little bit interested in him in a different way? No, there was no way he was giving off that vibe. Was there?

The lingering question rented Teddy's mind, demanding a response from him after what probably seemed like a thought-filled moment on his behalf. He chuckled a bit and said, "Of course it is good to study, but sometimes it's good just to have fun. I think Adam is just concerned that you never give yourself a break or have fun because you're constantly trying to study. I wouldn't read too much into it." He then looked at Aiden, his brow furrowed, thinking "I didn't do something to upset you, did I?"

OOC: Note: Italicized text is thoughts and bolded text is speech.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him
"He thinks I'm obsessed." Aiden admitted, frowning deeply. Maybe he was? But he still didn't see how that was bad. He didn't want to be a burden on Adam and Cass in the future either, so he was going to need excellent grades to get through to VMU. Support himself while he trained in medicine properly. The prospect was as daunting now as it had been when he first decided, but his resolve had never wavered.

"I want to be a proper healer. Be someone that... that can help when things go bad." articulating that desire had always been hard. He'd only been six when his world imploded, and yet he still felt like he should have been able to do something more than cower and cry. He wanted to exorcise that terrified little boy forever, replace him with someone useful.

"So it's going to mean a lot of study. There's a lot to learn, and I don't even know what I want to specialise in yet. I just know this is what I want." Aiden's fingers drummed the heavy textbook on his knee. Of course, he knew exactly why Adam tried to pry him away from the books: Adam knew well that Aiden was looking for a cure. Adam had given up, it seemed, and wanted Aiden to as well.

That wasn't happening.

"And you don't give up on people," he murmured. "No matter how hopeless it might seem. You fight until the very very end."

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy could easily see why Adam may feel that Aiden was working himself too hard. He pushed himself until there was no more push left and studied constantly. He was so determined to become a healer that he seemed to throw away his opportunities to just be a kid.

Observing that Aiden's demeanor and words seemed to display some other underlying issue, Teddy wasn't sure what the appropriate response would be. He understood that studying was important and that if Aiden wanted to be healer, he needed to study a lot, but not to the point off constraining other areas of life. Teddy knew, however, that there was more going on. There was a sense of urgency about Aiden's search and his constant studying that didn't just come from studiousness. He felt for him in that way.

Then, Teddy caught it. Aiden talked about never giving up on people. He must have wanted to be a healer so bad because he wanted to learn how to help someone close to him. It must have been his brother because Teddy couldn't think of anyone else who would motivate him in that way. This made him more wary of revealing that he found out.

Instead, he continued the conversation as normal, saying, "Aiden, I think that you do need to consider some self care. It's important to relax and have fun, too. It helps you to perform better. Of course studying is important, but so is balance, and as a healer that's even more important." Teddy then added in, slyly, "Speaking of which, I'm thinking of hosting a secret party on campus at the beginning of the term, would you be interested in joining?" He smirked at the other, hoping he'd say yes and that he didn't read into things too much.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Aiden blinked.

Of course, Adam had given him essentially the same speech. Adam had even brought charts and data to support his points. Adam had tried just about every trick in the book to get Aiden to pull his nose out of study and relax a little bit.

Every trick... except for being Teddy Spellman.

It was like a light had finally been installed, and switched on. Right. Balance. Balance between study and fun, and fun and study---and yes, yes... he was reducing his own ability to perform by pushing himself too hard. He could see that now!

Somewhere, Adam Longhurst had the deepest desire to slam his face into a brick wall in relieved exasperation... and he didn't know why.

Aiden's head tilted a little at the mention of "party", the impressionable young man all-ears. He liked parties. Would there be fairy brea---oh. Probably not that kind of party. A secret party... which sounded... like trouble. But then how bad could it get? If Teddy was organising it, he was basically the most trustworthy student on campus, it was bound to be sensible.

Maybe there would be fairy bread.

Aiden grinned broadly.

"A party sounds awesome!" don't ask about fairy bread, don't ask about fairy bread, and for goodness sake---don't show you're disappointed if it's not there on the day! Aiden willed himself to strength and resilience.

"Will there be... um. Food?"

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

In a situation like this, things could have gone in two very different directions. Teddy could have kept pressing and reached and impasse, upsetting Aiden and causing some sort of awkward strain in their friendship, or as it turned out, it could have gone completely smoothly and his assertion made sense to Aiden. He was glad it was the latter because he didn't want to have any altercations with anyone going into his final year at Tally.

He was also glad because he did worry at times that Aiden spent too much time looking into medical books and not enough time being a teenager and having fun. There was something about being able to have that balance in his life that gave him the opportunity to not fall into an eternal mess of anxiousness. So, he hoped that one day Aiden would learn that for himself. It seemed he would be the one to instill it.

Aiden had talked about the party a little more loudly than Teddy had expected and he looked around, noticing a few others around. He looked kind of nervous, then turned back to Aiden and said, "Well yeah, it's my birthday soon." He then winked at him and gathered his books up, walked over to Aiden, and whispered in his ear, "This needs to be a more private conversation, would you mind if we relocated to my room?"

Teddy looked at him nervously, hoping that he wouldn't be offset by the suggestion or that he wouldn't think that he was creepy or anything like that. He also hoped that they wouldn't do anything they'd regret in the room. He liked Aiden, he was a good friend to study with and with whom to spend time to avoid having panic attacks and he'd hate to lose that.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

It was certainly true that Aiden needed a better life-study balance. He didn't really have a circle of friends of his own, he'd never... needed one? While most other kids his age had a handful of good friends, Aiden was quite content just knowing and getting along with most people. Flinders was a good house for that. Aiden could say with great authority that there were very few people around that he wasn't on good terms with, but at the same time he was never really part of anything.

Aiden was something of a loner, in the sense that wandering puppies were also loners. He sat on the edges of groups, but never got very close to anyone. Now in fifth year, most friendship groups were set in stone and he couldn't have found a way in if he even tried. It had never bothered him, though.

He perked up further at the mention of Teddy's birthday. This was useful information, and he would have to find a way to make the day special. Although Aiden had no strong attachments to friends his own age, he certainly had his idols. Cass teased him regularly about his "crushes", which was very silly---he just thought they were very clever and the sort of people Aiden would like to be one day.

So it was that when Teddy suggested moving the conversation to a place more private, notably his room, Aiden didn't bat an eyelid. He didn't sense anything suggestive or creepy, he simply nodded and stood up eagerly.

"Okay," he said, placing the book back on its stack. This was also a perfect chance to scope out Teddy's room, gather some information that would help him find the ultimate birthday present. You could learn a lot from how someone decorated their room.

He waited for Teddy, completely at ease---lifting a hand and pointing to one of the corridors.

"It's that way, right? Your room?"

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy gathered some of his belongings in a bag and then with some hand gestures and a quick, "Wingardium Leviosa" had the many tomes in his possession trail behind him. "Yes, actually, that is the corridor. Have you been following me?" he added, jovially. He hoped that his more dry humor came across to Aiden well.

It was nice to feel comfortable being in his own room every once and a while in the summer, because he was mostly made to sleep in a room by himself for the summer and had to work himself down to it and get people to at least walk him to the room. So, it was even better to be in his room when he wasn't trying to sleep.

They made their way through the corridor, Teddy feeling, per usual, nervous about hitting his head on something due to the low ceilings. He kept glancing back to make sure that the books were still there. He was glad he was getting so good at windless magic, as they managed to make it the whole way there.

He opened the door, for some reason he felt his nerves build up as he said, "Welcome, Aiden." and gestured for both Aiden and the books to enter his abode. The room had posters of different pop-cultural and historical figures from the muggle and magical worlds, mostly of the feminist or queer variety, and he had an old globe, some crystals, a personal library in a small nightstand that acted as a bookshelf. Very little natural light came into the room through the deep red curtains and he smiled nervously, noticing his clothes on the floor. He quickly bid them to their place with a charm and said, "Sorry for the mess, this is my humble abode. Too bad the other side looks so bare."

He then gestured for Aiden to have a seat in the chair on his desk, shut the door with a point of his finger, and sat on the bed. "So yeah, there's going to be food there. I'm sorry I derailed the conversation by talking about my birthday, I just don't want the party to be stopped. Is there anything you had in mind?"

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Uh oh. Caught out. Aiden tensed, his cheeks starting to grow red once more.

"Following? N-no!" When Teddy put it like that it sounded so stalkerish. Aiden had a general idea of which direction most people broke off towards at the end of the day, he noticed things like that. But he also did know, down to the room number, which door was Teddy's. Not... that he was a stalker or anything, just he took extra notice of the life of Teddy Spellman.

"I mean there's not really that many ways you could go..." Aiden tried to laugh it off. He only managed to sound more awkward, his voice breaking to a high squeak at the end. He'd thought he got through that bit of puberty by now! How embarrassing.

But his mind was soon occupied with other thoughts as he entered the bedroom. He looked around with wide-eyed and unabashed curiosity. He recognised most of the popular faces, and he was surprised by that. These were names and faces that other people just... didn't know. In Aiden's house, under the guidance of Adam and Cass, most of these people were heroes.

"You like Tahdi Glaster?" he asked in awe, gazing up at a poster of the highly-successful non-binary actor. They had shirked all the constraints of gender preconceptions, accepted roles for male characters, female characters, and everything in between. And played them all brilliantly. There was no role that Tahdi Glaster couldn't bring to life. Aiden had watched everything they had ever been in.

"Wow." Aiden dropped himself to sit on the edge of the bed. Before he stepped in here, he'd idolised Teddy. Now Teddy was approaching a god-like level of cool in Aiden's eyes.

"Anything I...? Me?" the question came out of the blue. "Oh, food? For the party? Um."

Don't say fairy bread. Don't say fairy bread. Don't say---!

"Fair.... um. I mean." Aiden coughed, but couldn't think of a decent alternative. "... uh fairy bread is good." he finished in a mumble.

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Aiden seemed to take the following comment a little more seriously than Teddy had thought he would. Teddy felt bad about it, he was really just trying to pull Aiden's leg. Teddy didn't want Aiden to feel guilty for noticing something about him. "I'm just pulling your leg, mate," he said when Aiden's voice squeaked. "Don't worry about it."

Teddy smiled as Aiden sat at the end of his bed about a person away from him. Then, he really did it. Aiden brought up the Tahdi Glaster, only one of the most iconic queer actors of contemporary film. Teddy smiled widely, saying, "Mate, I don't just like the Tahdi Glaster, I'm obsessed. They are my hero. They've managed to make some real difference for the queer community in this area that has not been paralleled. They're one of the most iconic queer actors out there. I'm so happy you know of them." Teddy blushed, realizing that could have sounded a little forward.

Teddy was very impressed with Aiden's knowledge of queer culture. That made him open up to the lad in new ways than he had before. He felt like he could trust him a lot more, knowing just how deeply he supported the community.

Teddy smiled a little bit of a crooked smile with Aiden said that he wanted fairy bread to be at the party. It was a good idea, considering that once people were on billywig stings and drinking, they would let their dumb egos aside and enjoy nice things and not push them aside as childish with little to no reason other than maintaining a reputation. He looked Aiden in the eyes and said, "No reason to be embarrassed, mate. It sounds like a great match for a back to school party and once people get into a party mood they will let the kind of inhibitions that stop them from enjoying things like that aside. It may have to be an end of party surprise though, to wait for the inhibitions to fall, that is. Smart. I like it. Did you want anything else to be there?"

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

This moment was pure magic. It was like a dream---no. It was better than that. It was like a movie. Here he was, the poor peasant boy meeting the king after years of watching him parade majestically through the streets... and they had so many important things in common. Aiden didn't like putting posters on the walls, but if he did---these were the posters he would have.

People who mattered. People who had fought the world to be recognised. And maybe a few overly attractive celebrities of minimal substance, but---Aiden was still a young man. And a young man who was really only beginning to discover that side of himself.

Perhaps, if he didn't screw this up, Teddy would allow him to hang around more once school went back properly. Teddy was so confident when it came to talking to other students, maybe---oh, maybe they could invite Mae to the party!

"It's against the rules in our house to not know every line of their movies." Aiden said with solemnity. "My brother Adam met them once. He's got a signed photo hanging over his desk, and he says it reminds him that even when things get really tough---we've fought hard and won this far, we can keep fighting."

Aiden paused.

"Not we as in me---I mean. As in the queer community. Adam's a big part of it. Him and Cass help with the youth programs in Melbourne." Proud younger brother was showing, in the puff of his chest. Which fell slightly, his gaze returning to the poster of Tahdi.

"I'm not.. in that community," Aiden said, with more than a hint of sadness. "I like a girl. So."

Aiden bit his lip.

"... So I guess that means I can't belong, doesn't it?" He let out a deep breath, full of wavering anxiety. He hadn't told Adam about his crush yet. He wasn't sure how to do that. Even though he knew Adam wouldn't care what his orientation was, Aiden worried that if he did turn out to be... well. Regular and boring. That Adam would feel more distant from him.

And then he'd not really belong in his own family.

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy was quite enjoying having Aiden along for a chat in his room. It was nice to open up to him in this way. The young man had always seemed to want to hang out with him, but until this point Aiden seemed more like someone to mentor than a peer. The relationship was becoming more personal. Teddy may not have perceived it that way, but it was.

Teddy scooted over on the bed, a little bit closer to Aiden because he wanted to listen to him more with more intention. The galaxy-patterned comforter on his bed pulled more taught away from the two of them and the sheets bundled in the thin space between them. He felt for Aiden in a way. He understood the need to belong in a community, especially considering the many queer folk in Aiden’s family.

Attempting to comfort Aiden, Teddy put a hand on his knee and said, "You are very fortunate to have a family that would likely be supportive of you no matter what, Aiden. I can imagine that being cisgender and having heterosexual feelings can be alienating when those closest to you identify as queer, but your family is important to you and you are clearly a great ally. Don't beat yourself for being attracted to a girl."

"Plus, that's just one person. Sexuality and gender identity are more complex than a feeling you have about one person,"
Teddy continued. "You don't know how things may end up. Just don't beat yourself up over who you find yourself attracted to or who you are. That would defeat the purpose of the queer struggle. You're beautiful the way you are and you are who you are in part because of how well they have done raising you. I am sure they will be proud of you no matter what."

Teddy realized that, while he was just trying to be comforting, his actions could be interpreted as him coming on to Aiden. Even if he did find him attractive, he didn't want to come on to him so quickly. He turned a bright red when he realized this and placed his hands back on his own thighs, rubbing his hands off on them. Why was he so stupid?

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Again, Teddy's words had a soothing effect. It was as if he had some magic spell that helped Aiden really take to heart what he was saying, and as Teddy described him as beautiful he felt his cheeks and ears heat up again. So much praise.

He did try his best to really understand the life that his brother and Cass lived, and he had an advantage in that he'd not really known much different. Were Aiden placed with a different family, he probably would have found it much harder to relate to them if they weren't a part of the queer community.

But he always felt that he ever-so-slightly missed the point, purely because he was not like them. Because he'd never fought that fight and earned his stripes, and likely would never have to.

"I haven't told them yet." Aiden added. His crush on Mae was... a secret. A secret he kept locked deep in his heart, he wasn't sure what to do about it. She was older and she was perfect and he forgot words when she was near.

He turned back to Teddy, his expression slightly desperate.

"I talked to her once, and... and... she's so nice." She hadn't teased him once. "She likes books and she's smart, and she smells like summer. Do you think I should tell her? Should I write a letter or tell her myself? I don't---what do I say? What if I forget what I want to say? I'll forget, I know I'll forget. We---we don't have classes together or anything, so it's hard to just... bump into her, I..." Aiden crumpled a little.

"I don't know how to do this."

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy chuckled a bit when Aiden described this girl he was crushing on. It seemed as if Aiden really was beginning to feel infatuation for someone. Teddy knew this feeling all too well and honestly felt that he should not be the one giving advice on the matter. He said so because he normally just bottled up those kind of feelings, not wanting to ruin his friendships and instead ended up randomly kissing people when he was at parties. That couldn’t have been healthy.

Yet, here Aiden was, asking him for dating advice. So, Teddy did his best and gave him the best advice he could intellectually. ”You could always tell her that you’d like to get to know her better and ask her to come to the party with you at the beginning of the school year. I’m sure she is great and she’d give it a shot and if she isn’t, then she isn’t worth your time. Although..” he said. ”I guess I wouldn't be the best person to ask for advice on this one because I'm not exactly a veteran in the relationships department. He scratched his head nervously and hunched forward a bit after saying that, feeling the weight of the ending as he said it.

It was beginning to seem that Teddy was normally as red as a strawberry at this point because he kept blushing after saying things that embarrassed him. He wasn't sure if Aiden had heard about his misadventures, but Teddy was known to be the person kissing random guys at parties and he hadn't even really had a relationship. It was mostly his fault, at least in his eyes, because he made himself come off as just looking for the next cheap thrill. Yet, it was more complicated than that in reality and perhaps if he was forward enough to ask someone out it would work out for him. He just didn't want to bring up his own self-doubt in front of Aiden because his anxiety would show and he really didn't want people to treat him differently because of it, especially someone who looked at him like Aiden did.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Oh. Of course! The party! He could ask---no wait. He couldn't. He really couldn't. Aiden's hands started to shake just thinking about asking her to the party.

Aiden wasn't especially familiar with Teddy's exploits, he wasn't the sort to keep up with gossip. He'd been burned by that sort of talking very early in his school career, and he had no time for tales of things that did or didn't happen. He preferred to hear things from the source and ignored all else.

But while he'd watched Teddy closely all these years, it still struck him as very strange that the older boy had never had a proper relationship. He was perfect in every other way, so it seemed... illogical.

"I don't think I can ask her," he sighed heavily. "I'll mess it up."

Aiden bowed his head, rubbed at his cheeks in frustration. Now Teddy had him thinking about actions and he knew he had to do something. He couldn't just admire her the way he had, he wanted... he wanted to know her. He wanted time with her. Like this. Like he and Teddy were having right now, where they could just be themselves, but that would never happen. He'd trip over himself too much. He'd never relax.

"There's gonnna be... alcohol, right?" Aiden said slowly. A plan was beginning to form in his mind. A Bad Plan. Adam had let Aiden try his drink once, and it had been so delicious he drank way more than Adam wanted him to. And then he hadn't shut up for half an hour. He'd felt confident and free.

"Just a bit. I mean. For Dutch courage. So I can talk to her and not... not be a fool." Aiden chewed his bottom lip. "I won't go silly, promise! I just... I need a way to get her there, is all."

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

Teddy was shocked that Aiden would suggest alcohol as a coping mechanism for his nerves. He put his hand on Aiden's back to comfort him and looked at him reassuringly. Aiden was a good kid and he didn't need alcohol to ask some girl out and frankly if she didn't like him for who he was, then she didn't deserve him. He wanted to make an impact on the world and truly cared about the people in his life. He deserved someone who would care for him the way he cared for them.

"Yes, there will likely be alcohol there. I do not suggest, however, that you use it as a way to open up to her because you'll just ned up pissed and embarrassing yourself. I should know..." Teddy trailed off, embarrassed by some of the things that he had done at parties that other people knew about. It wasn't so much that he'd take the actions back, but because people didn't take him seriously because of it. "Plus, you'd have to ask her out before the party and it's not like we have alcohol lying around in the dorms. It's not a good idea. If she likes you, then she'll like you for who your are, Aiden, not some different version of yourself."

Teddy sighed. It felt weird giving Aiden advice because he didn't feel like he was good enough to be giving it. On top of it all, Teddy felt weird that it was Aiden. There was something he couldn't quite place his finger on that made him uncomfortable with the idea of giving Aiden advice to date someone. Teddy knew that Aiden was quite attractive now, but he never felt this specific feeling before. He never really felt this way before about anyone. He found other guys attractive and made out with them at parties or developed crushes on them, but he never felt uncomfortable giving them advice or telling them how he felt about something. Yet, in this moment, something was making him uncomfortable.

Teddy tried to brush off the feeling by focusing on helping Aiden. He wasn't too sure about it, but he went ahead despite himself. "How about this, Aiden? What if you practice on me? Ask me, like I'm this girl you have a crush on." He smiled at him but he was not exactly happy. He still felt his stomach curling in on itself. It was like his body was trying make him stop, but he couldn't leave Aiden hanging. That wasn't the right thing to do, so he did his best to help.

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Flinders ★ Mousie
15 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Suddenly, Aiden felt stupid. Abominably stupid. Of course---Teddy was right. Adam would have been horrified to hear those words out of his mouth, so would... just about anyone else he knew. He deflated visibly, even as Teddy's hand held steady and warm against his back.

"Well if it's a big party, maybe she'd just... be there. I dunno." Aiden shrugged. It seemed hopeless. There was no way he would ever be able to ask Mae to join him at a party. "She's older, and.. probably just thinks I'm a stupid kid anyway."

No. No, he had to fight that. He couldn't let this defeat him without trying. Teddy was here and trying to help---if anyone knew how to solve this, it had to be Teddy. Aiden took a deep breath, and tried to think positive thoughts.

"Practice...?" Aiden looked up, turning that idea over in his mind. That could... be useful. Yes. Maybe if he knew what words to say, he could stumble into Mae's general vicinity and blurt them out fast enough that he wouldn't forget what to say. And Teddy would tell him now if they were good words or not. Teddy knew a lot about words.

"Okay." Aiden took another deep breath. He tried to imagine Mae was there. Recalled the scent of her perfume, the way that light bounced off her curls, the bony knobble of her elbows that was strangely adorable. The way she had hugged him so unexpectedly. Slowly he opened his eyes, looking up into Teddy's.

"Um---there's. A p-party going to happen and um. Uh..." Maybe he'd recalled too much of her. He was flustered. "If you. Um. Um. Want---I can... can you... want to go?"

Aiden finished with a soft whine. No no no, not good at all!

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Repository Sammy
17 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him/His/Himself

At first, Teddy thought helping Aiden out by practicing would be a decent idea. He was a great person for Aiden to practice on. Teddy was calm and Aiden would feel more comfortable with him than other options. Boy was he wrong.

Aiden wasn't the problem, even though Aiden would have liked to think that he was. Teddy was. He was suddenly nervous. He started to feel his heart rate increase in a different way from his panic attacks. His palms started to sweat. Was he? No, there was no way. Sure, Aiden was handsome, but he was still they guy who asked him to define big words and looked to him for advice.

Teddy was just being dramatic. He needed to calm down. He took a deep breath and tried to keep it all together. He seemed to calm down a bit, but many of the physical signs remained. What is going on with me? Teddy thought.

Trying to keep everything reigned in, Teddy responded, saying, "You're doing great. You said some of the right things. Just try again. Since this is practice, you don't have to feel bad if you stumble or mess up a bit. You can just try again. Why don't we start again from the beginning?" He wanted Aiden to really get a chance to feel comfortable asking his crush to the party, so he wanted to do whatever he could to solidify this practice and help him get to asking out whoever this mystery girl was.

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