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  1. In the short time Maddison had been attending the University the library had quickly become a safe haven from the busy campus. City life was not treating her well, she was over cautious at all times, unless she was in her room or situated with her back to a wall. Much like she was now. It hadn’t taken her long to find a desk in a corner of the library, where most didn’t venture to. It was nice, almost like her secret space. She had numerous textbooks spread out on the table, a notebook filled to the brim in front of her and earphones plugged into both ears playing music through her magical adjusted music player that she was humming lightly to. Maddison planned to spend a couple of hours here before heading home. As much as she didn’t mind her roommate, the other girl made it hard to study in peace there. Those plans quickly came crashing down around her when she felt another’s presence take up the other side of the table. Slowly she raised her head from her work to decide if this person was worth fleeing from.
  2. Friday night in the city of Melbourne, loud and alight with people celebrating the end of the business week, Muggle and wizarding folk alike. The night was warm and thick, but no one here would ever pass up the opportunity to enjoy a few hours without the Sun high in the sky. But there were too many people out on the streets because they had no other place to be. Too many who never had a chance to celebrate, or anything to celebrate. And that's why Leanna was where she was tonight: in the event room of a luxury, high rise hotel. Joan had tried to take control of the benefit. She wanted to rent out a huge, expensive space and fill it with floating candles and hire people to decorate lavishly. She tried to hire really high end caterers, gourmet chefs, and a DJ of all things. She had even advised Leanna to hand out little gift bags to the people attending as a little incentive. They had argued about it over and over, but Leanna finally put her foot down. No way were they spending what money had already been donated on a fancy party just to impress the benefactors and kiss their asses. The money was for kids, the benefit was to help the kids. Period. But that had left Leanna with a dilemma: she knew she did indeed have to impress potential backers, but she would not let it turn into an extravagant glorified circle jerk fest for them either. Not one she was going to use the money for the kids to fund, anyway. As it was, when she started reaching out to a few people she knew to be sympathetic to her cause, the owner of this hotel had contacted her. He was a fellow Muggleborn wizard who had grown up in England and with very religious parents, so his own childhood had been a rough one. He had been one of Leanna's initial major contributors that helped get this charity off the ground, and he had immediately contacted her to offer up his event space and event services free of charge. Leanna had been extremely hesitant to accept his offer; the last thing she needed was people assuming that she used funds from the charity for this. Plus, she assumed he had some other reason for offering so much whether it be to gather more business for his hotel or some sort of tax thing. But he had insisted and Joan had looked at her with wide puppy dog eyes when Leanna had told her about it. So here they were. The decorations were simple but elegant enough to impress. A platform with a podium at the far end, a long table with gourmet food and snacks along one wall, and a fully stocked bar. Several round tables covered in deep blue tablecloths charmed to be stain-proof and simple white candles surrounded by simple white flowers as centerpieces. At every setting was a card holder with cards that instructed anyone who wanted to make a donation today to speak with Joan or to fill out their contact information on the back if they wished to be contacted at a later date. All in all, it looked nice but it wasn't in your face or anything. Leanna was actually kind of pleased with how it came out. As everyone got settled into their seats, Joan approached the podium to get everyone's attention while Leanna fidgeted in her seat at one of the tables closest to the platform. She was dressed to the nines, in a fitted and very dark blue three-piece suit and matching tie. Her dad sat on one side of her in a tux and his wife on his other side, and on her other side was her little brother Lee looking very adorable in his little tux. Joan came to the end of her little introduction and gestured toward her; everyone's head turned to get a look at her. Leanna rose from her seat, looking stiff and grim, when in reality she was trying to calm the knotting in her stomach. She really, really hated public speaking. When she got to the podium, she paused. She looked over at her dad, who gave her a thumbs up, and Lee beamed and gave her a little wave. Leanna knew a few faces in the crowd from school and Quidditch, but most others she only knew by name and reputation. After the moment was up, she took a deep breath and started to speak. "Thank you for coming out tonight, everyone." Solid start to any speech. "Most of you know my name already, whether from school or my Quidditch career, or of course, the invitations or Joan's speech or the sign outside or... actually if you don't know my name, you're probably in the wrong room." An appropriate chuckle went up from the people watching. The corner's of Leanna's lips twitched up slightly into a little smile and the slight quiver to her voice evened out a little. "I started this little charity a year ago this past Monday, shortly after my appointment to the National Australian Quidditch Team as one of their starting Beaters. And I started it because of a growing problem within our community, a community in which the wizarding world intermingles so closely with the Muggle one. A problem I experienced myself first hand as a child, and that is the problem of Muggleborn children abused by their Muggle families for their magic." A pause to observe the room and their reactions. No one looked particularly incredulous. They knew what they were there for. "Of course, as a kid, I thought I was the only one, just like every kid does. And you might look at me now and say, 'Well, you seem to be doing just fine for yourself now' and you would be correct. After all of the abuse, the fights, the mental and physical scars, after the people who had raised me ultimately disowned me, I had my real family to take care of me and love me. And with a lot of hard work and support, I did turn out okay. But the fact is, as I got older, I realized I wasn't the only one, and that too many others didn't have the support system to fall back on like I did. No kid should ever have to go through that." A few people in the crowd mumbled and nodded to each other; her dad was beaming. Another deep breath, and Leanna continued. "Now, if you're here tonight, you probably already agree with me. I hope you do, anyway. Our first year, we were mostly funded by myself and a few like-minded individuals I knew, and we made some efforts but we want to do more. We want to do more, spread to other states, and extend our resources to Squibs and halfbreeds in bad homes." At the mention of Squibs and half-breeds, Leanna saw a few sour faces and Leanna allowed herself a moment to grind her teeth in anger. Oh, sure as long as you were protecting kids from the hands of abusive Muggles, everything was peachy, but gods forbid the wizarding world itself could ever be in the same boat as them. But she relaxed almost instantly and continued. "And to do that, I need your help. The kids need your help. Our help. Please, help me help them." One more deep breath and a smile. "Thank you." Leanna stepped away from the podium, noticing for the first time that her legs felt like jello. Thank you, anxiety and fear of public speaking. She managed to not stumble, somehow, as Joan returned to the podium. "A round of applause for our amazing host!" There was a slightly more than polite amount of applause, and Leanna nodded. "Now, if you've made a final decision to help the children, you can see me about the particulars, and if you prefer to be contacted at a later date, please fill out the information cards at your table and we will contact you at a later date. In the meantime, please enjoy the refreshments and open bar provided courtesy of the hotel! Thank you, everyone!" Leanna stepped off the platform, then helped Joan down. People had started moving about, chatting amongst themselves, as Leanna approached her family. Rick kissed her on the forehead and his wife gave her a hug, expressing how proud they were of her and gushing repeatedly. Lee cheered loudly and hugged her tightly around the waist, and Leanna laughed and picked him up to hug him. Joan interrupted and tugged at her arm. "Come on, Leanna! You've got to mingle! Schmooze these elite snobs! 'Kiss some asses', as you like to put it!" Leanna groaned. "I already gave a speech, isn't that enough? I don't like mingling!" Joan shook her head. She was almost 20 years older than Leanna, assigned to her by the team to be her PR person and ended up being her assistant when she started the charity, and she really liked to Mother Hen the hell out of Leanna. "You know that it isn't enough, Leanna. Now go on!" She shoved Leanna a little toward the crowd. Leanna told her family she'd catch up with them in a bit, and Rick picked up Lee and they headed over to the table of snacks. Leanna glanced at Joan one last time, but she already had a couple of people approaching her with questions and wanting to donate. Leanna made a little mocking face, then started approaching people and greeting them with a very suave, "Um, hi. How are you this evening?"
  3. The race was on. No one knew how the tradition had started. According to Alan Burdett, it had been a thing when he was in school. Adele didn't give a damn how or why or when it started, only that it was. It was Donut Wednesday, and she was damned if she was going to miss out on all the good donuts. At the stroke of eleven, she was out from behind her library desk, murmured a quick farewell to Caleb (made him promise not to leave the office and go wandering off down the road, though he had Sapphire with him so it was unlikely he would anyway), and high-tailed it out of the library and down to the Gawler Building with DJ cradled in one arm. Some of the few students that had remained over summer moved aside to let her pass, but they weren't surprised or confused by her fast walk. Across the school, professors and school staff were walking as fast as they could, each with the same goal. Alan had the shortest walk of all of them and you knew that he could sink five or six donuts before anyone even got near the door. Hopefully he would be too busy and distracted with his new baby to race to the staffroom, but they'd been wrong about that before. Adele sure wasn't letting DJ be a distraction. Donut Wednesday was one of the few good, pure, and truly untainted things in the world. Around her was misery and drama and chaos, but Donut Wednesday was immune to all of that. Adele quickened her step as she got into the Gawler Building, noticing that Alan's office door was ajar (as always) and Alan was still behind his desk. That was unexpected. Finding Alan doing his work at any point in time, let alone when there were perfect rings of sugary deliciousness to be had... Adele knew she had to sieze the advantage. Sneaking a chair from a nearby empty office, she caused Alan's office door to swing shut as if by the wind---and jammed the chair under the handle. Sure, magic was great for locking someone inside a room... but in the end, you really couldn't go past a genuine physical obstruction. That done, she raced up the stairs and into the staffroom. "We did it, DJ," she said, breathless with wonder at the giant pile of sweet rewards that sat in the middle of the staffroom table. "We're first." And without further ado, the librarian heaped herself a small plate worth and found her favourite chair. Who would be next? Would Alan ever escape? Had she accidentally locked his children in the office with him? She would find out soon enough.
  4. The common room was filled with the insignificant chatter of strangers. Evangeline stepped inside and let the sounds wash over her like a blanket on a cold day. Even though she had a guarded childhood she had never been accustomed to being alone. Even in the large family home, someone was around to tell her what to do. Going to school had proven very different then she expected and the witch couldn't stand to be all alone studying in the library. So even if she had no one to talk to the witch was going to surround herself with strangers in the hopes that it would eat away at the homesickness in her heart. Arms full of books she looked for an empty seat, it seemed everyone had a similar idea to her today. As someone pushed past, Eva felt all of the books tumble out of her arms. Huffing softly, she retorted, "Excuse you!" Kneeling the blonde began to gather the textbooks, her notes tumbling out of the pages and only making the mess worse, "Merlin's beard this will take me so long to organize." The words were laced with the thick Scottish accent of her homeland.
  5. Amber forgot her cousin was a New Year baby. Amber forgot about something so crucial to one of the most important people in her life. Ultimately, Amber forgot about how to be a productive member of society, and most importantly her family, by being an absolutely disgusting human being and forgetting the birthday of a cinnamon roll. And this machine was her penance. The Spencer had spent the better part of the last half hour obsessing over a crane game in a little arcade in town that took full advantage of Narragyambie being a campus town. She couldn't forgive herself over getting Samantha a Christmas gift, but nothing for her birthday. Given that they lived out in the sticks it was too late to actually go and order something due to how long it'd actually take anything to arrive; so, instead, she had to get something locally. Something she dreaded. After wracking her brain when trying to figure out what else to get to the girl that would like a T-shirt straight out of the trash if you gave it to her, Amber ultimately decided on a plush for the sheer irony of it - the whole festivity had been a giant joke over a girly plush given to Amber, and she felt like she had to repay the 'favor' (but make it a good one). She ultimately found a nice little Rowlet plush stuck inside a crane game machine, and given that the little Pokémon reminded her of the happy-go-lucky Bourke she decided to just go for it. What she didn't plan on, however, was to run out of quarters so quickly. Attempt after attempt after attempt, she failed every time. She could swear the thing was rigged, but it was no time to complain - she was down to her last quarter. The game was on. "...I'm not gonna have anything to give to her, am I...?" She muttered to herself, all too hesitant to put the coin in the machine to start it up again. She sucked at these things...
  6. The school year was finally drawing to a close. That didn't particularly affect MJ either way - while there were things she certainly enjoyed doing on school grounds, there were plenty she could put her time to during the break as well. She found herself with some extra free time that day, with all the commotion in school surrounding the End Year Ball. She wasn't attending, having nothing to wear for such an occasion. It wasn't her type of thing to go to either, so it didn't bother her much to be in solitude. She could put that time to good use and engage in one of her several solitary activities instead, since she had no commissions backed up to sell. The girl wound up near her little hideout by the Korrowi Creek, opting to further prepare her little shelter. It was a bit of a game to her: she didn't exactly expect to actually live in such conditions at any point in her life, but she did enjoy having her own little special place away from the world. Wanting to prepare it further, she realized she needed to outfit her shelter with food reserves. She knew how to cook pemmican to stock up, but for that, she needed to hunt. To hunt, she needed weapons. She had spent the better part of that afternoon preparing a makeshift spear; but at that point, as the sun started to set, she switched her sights to creating a bow. Finding a fairly long piece of dry wood, she took it back to base. Sitting by the water, she retrieved a switchblade from her pocket and proceeded to care for what would become the grip of her bow - removing its twigs, its bark, and shaping it in general for better effectiveness in handling. It would be a long process, but a worthwhile one...
  7. Another day off of training. At least Amber had made a full recovery and was throwing herself off of high places again, and embodying what a bumping technician should be (as put by one of her idols, Mayu Iwatani). But much to her chagrin, as the break ended, everybody was moving on with their lives. Mairead and Alyona were busy with their school things, Meadow was obsessing over the distant SPIDER exams, Samantha apparently got a job (and, of course, she forgot about Travis again)... It wasn't like she could ask Gem or Keira to hang out in the middle of a work day either. She had to find someone who would put up with her that cloudy afternoon. It's not like her parents would have a choice, right? They were dead and buried, they'd just have to deal with it. Amber sat by the headstone of her parents' graves, whom were put to rest side by side. It read 'Fisher and Elisa Cross - Always stood for what was right'. A few nice little words for two people whom perished defending rights that weren't their own without being too obvious and confusing Muggles about it. The Spencer crossed her legs, not seeming too sad about the little encounter. "Heya. Been a while. My bad." She spoke with a little more pep in her voice than someone in a graveyard would normally have. "Sorry, been kinda busy with a dead back. I'd cut it off, but, y'know, I don't think I could flip without a spine." She couldn't help but chuckle at her own little joke, but a prolonged silence followed. She could tell them about all the things she had gone through lately, as usual - meeting that weirdo pretentious chick in Tally, destroying her back with a bad bump, Keira and Evelyn double teaming to make her Christmas celebration absolutely miserable, the adventure in the lakes, bringing cats to class... There were so many things she could bring up, but one stood out the most. "...Am I too childish?" Her tone lowered ever so slightly as she spoke, almost as if she was ashamed of admitting it. She wanted an answer she knew she wasn't getting, for better or worse - she knew that to be the case, but she didn't exactly want to have it confirmed. Instead, she wanted to be reassured it was a normal thing. With everybody moving on with their lives and her being stuck to pop culture and pro wrestling like nail to flesh, there was no other logical conclusion - she needed to move on as well somehow. But it felt wrong. It didn't feel like she'd be becoming someone that she wanted to be. "Pretty funny of me to ask this of people who are gone for their beliefs, eh? I bet you don't regret it one bit." Even so. She was tired of being treated like a child. How could she possibly become a grown up in other people's eyes? Would she ever? She let the topic simmer in her brain, gaze cast to her crossed legs.
  8. The curfew had been lifted for the sake of the ball - Danielle was free to wander out to the campus without risking punishment (not that she was formally a student just yet to begin with) and she didn't want to be cooped up in the Southern Cross Tower. It had the unfortunate coincidence of being a tad too close to the Ball that she refused to attend, and as such, the noise was absolutely deafening. She needed a reprieve. As the sun set and she grew more comfortable with being outdoors (low visibility, less flaming orb in the sky), the Dhampir left to the Grounds. She wasn't sure why she was going there, she wasn't too much of a fan of open spaces, but that's where her feet were taking her. She wound up at the Quidditch pitch. She had always been a fan but could never actually partake in the sport - before due to the fact she was on the run, and presently due to the fact she was in hiding and her psyche seemed to vehemently disagree with any crowded location that was out in the open during daylight. But it was night time then. She couldn't help but be relieved at the fact her anxiety wasn't flaring up. She felt quite comfortable instead and headed into the pitch proper, walking slowly on the recently trimmed grass and taking in the view. She wound up sitting with her back to one of the closer goal posts, and let her eyes flutter shut. She had resigned to the fact she'd be spending the night alone, as Travis was going to the Ball; might as well make herself comfortable in her solitude.
  9. The weather was finally cooling off (even if temporarily) in Narragyambie, and a certain Sturt duo took the opportunity to venture outside. Rachel Ryan, in particular, was quite happy about this turn of events - not even all the sunscreen in the world could protect her from the wrath of the sizzling sun, and that had been the second Summer she had to endure in one year. Why did Australia's weather have to be backwards? Blasted science. Wooden bat and baseball in hand, she had taken her new acquaintance to the lake area of town, wanting a reprieve from the school's atmosphere. They were on break, right? What sense did it make to stay on campus? The blonde that followed her agreed mostly out of boredom, and they wound up playing a few rounds of batting near a spot they'd most certainly have to make use of during the hotter days. "Baseball player, huh?" Lisa, Rachel's acquaintance, spoke as the ball she had thrown previously at the redhead was launched back at her. She caught it without much difficulty and tightened her grip around it as she prepared herself to throw again. "More like drunk pinata hitter if you're lucky. Is that all you got?" She didn't even mean the little jab - she was just tired of Rachel missing everything she'd thrown up until then. It couldn't possibly be Lisa's fault - she was the star Chaser of her Quidditch team, and that came with excellent aim. Maybe Rachel was just rusty? She only wanted to get the girl to do better. And boy, did it work. "Shut up!" Spouted the redhead in anger. The response she got was the baseball launched her way, and for the first time that afternoon she hit it. Hard. It had been much harder than they even agreed to, so they wouldn't lose the ball to the water; Lisa's head jerked in the direction of the ball as it flew through the air past her and into the distance. "Damn, I take it back." She found herself saying, legitimately impressed at how far the projectile made it with the swing. Rachel, however, panicked. "BALL!" She yelled out in that direction as she noticed the ball was hurtling towards someone...
  10. The rainy weather recently had been rather wonderful recently, something that the rural areas often needed in a country like this, not that Stardust would ever complain about sunny days either. Whatever the weather, the petite woman always seemed content and happy to be outside, finding some way to enjoy herself. Right now, she was crouched at the edge of the main lake, a hand full of beetles and worms and seeds, along with a small container next to her with more still. She smiled brightly at the waterbirds that clustered near her while she offered the food to them - much better for them than the bread that people tended to toss out there, didn't they know it was bad for the animals' stomachs? The younger ducks were easy to pick out, with a few soft downy feathers still existing beneath the more mature ones near their bellies. It was a few of these that tended to hang around her the most, vying for goodies from the raven haired pale woman. She grinned at some of their antics as they pushed at one another and fought for her attention. The fact that it was also raining right now did not appear to bother her in the least, despite the thin fabric of her summer dress that basically clung to her and the hair that was plastered to her head and shoulders. A soft giggle erupted from her as a couple of ducks flapped their wings, splashing her lightly, however she hadn't paid much attention to the small gaggle of geese that had also noticed her from another spot and had waddled their way over. The container beside the woman was suddenly tipped up and it's contents raided, before she turned her head, only to end up being shoved by one of the largest geese she'd ever seen. Splash! The tiny woman ended up losing her balance and fell head first into the lake, the flock of ducks breaking up as they fleed the scene. Submerged for only a moment, before she popped her head back up, she coughed a little before wading back to the edge. "Oh, you're so greedy," Stardust sighed at the gaggle that ate up the insects and seeds that were spread on the ground now, "You know it's rude to push people around and steal all the food, don't you?" A couple of the water fowl turned their heads toward her as though they maybe understood what she said, but then turned away again to continue their eating, drawing another sigh from her lips. Geese never seemed to care about being rude, did they? So pushy.
  11. New Year's Eve. January was coming, and with it, the isolation from most of her family. Amber wasn't at all looking forward for the Hammonds to go back to Melbourne - even if could visit whenever - because it was extremely inconvenient to her not to be able to drag people along whenever she saw fit to do so; she needed something to do for the coming month. One could argue she could just play guitar all day, but could her fingers really withstand such a workout? And it was not like she could do an actual workout, her back was still messed up from the bad bump she took earlier in the month and she didn't exactly want her guardian to scream bloody murder at her for making it worse. She'd give her fingers a different type of workout - video games. The heat seemed to be soaring again, albeit slowly, but she didn't particularly care - she went out smack dab in the middle of the afternoon, no sunscreen, cap turned towards the back of her head rather than shielding her face from the incoming UV rays. The reckless girl carelessly made her way through Tallygarunga Road until she came across her destination of choice, the only games shop she knew about in the area. As she entered she waved at the Muggle attendant whom she was a bit too familiar with (a painful reminder of just how often she visited that place), and soon the Spencer disappeared into one of the few aisles inside of the small shop, out of view from the Muggle - but not from security cameras, of course. She wound up in front of the Nintendo Switch stand. She had already bought the console, so what drew her attention was the game being advertised in the bottom row, directly below the consoles - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. She had never gotten around to purchasing it due to a mixture of exams, accidents and celebrations. It was time to correct that mistake! She knelt down and grabbed a copy, flipping the case to confirm it was a full price title. After a mental 'yikes' at the tag and deciding to take the new game home with her anyway, she froze. She couldn't get up. Try as she might, it was too painful to get up on her own. It was as if her muscles knew the exact moment to lock up in place to strike and humiliate her as much as possible. Of course, she refused to go down with just that - pride overflowing, the girl clumsily gripped one of the upper shelves (which were, fortunately, tightly bolted to the wall) and tried to pull herself up from her precarious position. "...C'mon... God damn it...!" She grit to her teeth as her arms shook under the force applied to the sturdy shelf, doing her best to no avail. Oh, how she wished Samantha was there...
  12. "Yo, Samsung!" Came the boisterous greeting, forcing Samantha to look up from her copy of 'The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection' to see who was the invader of her personal space. She recognized her cousin instantly as the Spencer plopped down on the grass before her, crossing her legs and looking quite bored. "You're running out of creativity? I've heard that one before, not even from you." Samantha couldn't help but tease the girl, watching as her nose scrunched up in frustration. A few seconds passed before a look of brilliant realization was transparent in her face, excitement quickly defeating frustration. "Oh, I know! Samsonite!" Amber exclaimed, pumping her fist in victory. It prompted Sam to giggle, covering her mouth for a short period before nodding in acknowledgement. "Okay, okay, you win. To what do I owe your company?" The Bourke lightly bent the corner of the page she was on before closing the school book. Amber glanced at it, scooting over just enough so she could better read the upside down title of the cover. "Whatcha readin'?" She asked. "Defense Against the Dark Arts? You're studying when there's such fantastic weather outside? When it's a weekend?!" Amber almost looked offended. Indeed, the sun was shining, and it was hot enough for the school-mandated uniforms to start getting slightly uncomfortable. It wasn't the weekend just yet, but a Friday afternoon still counted as such, right? Plus, Samantha just plain studied too much - grades notwithstanding, of course. "You're probably the last person I'd ask to evaluate my studying habits." The half-Veela replied as she placed her book back in her backpack before letting the bag rest on its own under the tree her back was pressing to. "No offense, of course." "Fair enough."
  13. The quietness of Korrowi Creek that night was rudely interrupted as a loud crack echoed through the area. Evelyn didn't particularly like how loud Apparating could be at times, but fortunately it was night time - there would be nobody around to hear her at the time, in all likelihood; it was also good that the Bushland was dense enough to deafen sound past a certain distance. The Auror let the very welcome cold breeze of the late evening greet her face as she walked through the clearing in which she had Apparated in towards the trees along the shoreline. She took a seat under one such tree, facing the rapid water, letting her posture relax for once as she pressed her back to the trunk and stretched out her legs in the cool grass, gaze fixated on the liquid rushing down the creek. That particular area was one she held dear to her heart, one she visited when she needed to think, and the one area on Earth where she truly felt at peace with everything. It was there that she had spread her mother's ashes after her father passed away. She felt in her heart that it's what she would have wanted, and her remains were one with nature from that point on as they were sprinkled onto the water. "Ten years..." She muttered to herself, not talking to anyone in particular. A decade to the day she had done such a thing, and from then on she had visited the Creek semi-regularly; although, it had become a less frequent venture through the years as she felt more and more removed from her own nature, and more in sync with that which she detested. It took her a few minutes before she moved just enough to be able to lie down under the same tree. Her gaze fell momentarily on the cloud of leaves before her, the near-full moon peeking between between the little holes of sky that the foliage didn't manage to cover. After a few moments she glanced at her right hand instead, after lifting it off the ground. Could she reconnect with her nature? Could she make her mother proud? Air combusted around her hand as Evelyn's pyrokinesis manifested, fingers set ablaze. It didn't seem to burn her. The flames danced along the hand as she observed them and pondered on her life situation. It was the one thing she had from her mother (past the natural charm, of course), yet, for once, she felt like she didn't deserve it. She was going down the same path Seth did, and wasn't entirely sure if she even wanted to go back to begin with.
  14. The end of the world was approaching and all Keira Hammond could do was sit by herself at a bar, drink some fine whisky, and hope she'd get drunk enough to forget about it until the time came. It was Christmas season at last. The political pundit had mostly forgotten about it until she got a reminder for herself, along with her sister, to remember to go to the McCarthy manor in Narragyambie to spend the holiday vacations there until January rolled around. It was the second Christmas she'd spend with her family in a row, given all the ones before were with the Sherman family; but it was the first she'd face with their ongoing little predicament. Samantha was going to be there. She would be in close proximity with the girl for an extended period of time, all the while trying to control minute details of her body language so not to let anything bad on for her to latch on to. And if she miraculously succeeds in this endeavor, then the sibling she lives with would have to accomplish the exact same. The odds were most definitely stacked against them, and the fact it was a huge house didn't make her feel any less uneasy. But that was tomorrow Keira's problem. That day, she feasted on alcohol. She sipped the beverage while hanging out by the counter of The Tipsy Mozzie, keeping mostly to herself. Setting the glass back down on the wood, she idly spun it around with her fingers while her gaze was distracted by the melting ice within the cup. She would be as good as dead the following day. She desperately needed the liquid encouragement.
  15. Holly wasn’t actually sure why she’d decided to do this. It was, after all, a stupid idea. A really stupid one. However, repeating the fact that she was stupid for even thinking about this; let alone actually doing it really didn’t have any effect on the outcome. She’d still found one of her nicer silver dresses, shoes with small tidy heels and had a long arduous conversation with her Daughters babysitter about where everything was, when bed time was and what to not allow a precocious five year old do. Instinct told the young woman that she would still come back to her small two bed apartment to some kind of disaster. Something that she really couldn’t be too annoyed about if it happens, since, she was essentially going to this event for the purpose of seeing the man who happened to come out of (insert years here) coma. This man also happened to be her biological father. The sad thing was he didn’t even know she existed, well, that was the impression she had always been under. Arriving at the Drunken Roo didn’t take as long as she hoped it would, especially since she’d walked slowly there, stopped a few times and at one point even turned around to head home. Curiosity won out in the end though, coupled with the desire to see not only this modern medical miracle but to observe him surrounded by his friends and family whilst she could blend seamlessly into the background. This thought had bolstered her confidence enough that she had pushed the door open and entered the pub. It was called a Mocktail Party, something that she appreciated, after all, when one was acting as an observer keeping your wits about you was a good idea. Dodging through the crowd lightly, apologizing every time she knocked against someone or trod of their toes. Finally she reached the safety of the bar. “Sunshine Swizzle, please.” Holly said whilst ferreting around in her bag looking for the exact money she would need, then quickly adding “Virgin.” Just in case the bartender actually decided to make her the alcoholic version.
  16. Finally, the searing heat had subsided. Danielle found an opportunity to head out to campus without having her flesh boil, quite literally, under the imposing gaze of the Sun. Nevertheless she took precautions so not to let her affliction be too detrimental to her in the little trip she had to do - she had the school standard cap on her head, copious amounts of sunscreen on her face (thank goodness she was somewhat pale to begin with), and her dress shirt's sleeves weren't rolled up as they should be with the hot weather. The heat itself made her uncomfortable and permeated the skin of her arms with a light sheen of sweat, but it was worth it so not to become a living barbecue. She had gone to retrieve a much needed supply of animal blood, which she packed in her new backpack for safekeeping. She also acquired two stacks of blood-flavored lollipops: one for herself, one for her younger sister. One of them was, in fact, sticking out of her closed mouth as she walked back to Tallygarunga. Paranoia struck halfway down Tallygarunga Road and she stopped, looking over her shoulder. There was no stranger following her (that she could detect - at least, there were plenty of pedestrians going about). There was just what she could identify as a small, patchy, young white half-Kneazle sitting there, looking at her. The first thought that came to her was that it was an Animagus. There was no collar, and it was fixated on her. She consciously rationalized it as a coincidence despite the fear creeping up in her being and kept walking. Further along, as she crossed the Murrigal Bushland, she stopped again. The half-Kneazle was still walking along as she glanced over her shoulder. After a few steps, it sat and mewled at her. She released a shaky breath - soon, she'd be in school grounds. There was nothing to worry about since nobody could hurt her there without consequence. Soon, this Animagus would be caught. With that thought in mind, she steeled and nerves and kept walking. Thinking she was out of the woods (which she was, in the literal sense) upon arriving to the school premises, she decided to take a detour to the Whitlam Bilby wing. However, she decided to take the long way around through the gardens, just in case - she didn't exactly want to give away her sister's location either. Just when she least expected, the half-Kneazle that hadn't been following her anymore strolled in front of her and stopped. "...Oh, come on..." She muttered under her breath. The feline approached and she unconsciously reached for her wand holster, ready to retrieve it at the slightest provocation-- To her surprise, the animal simply rubbed its small frame against her ankles rather than transform, jump and attack. Did it just want her to pet it? Dumbstruck, she stood there like an idiot, looking at the pleading animal in disbelief.
  17. It was a well known fact that Shane Robbins had one of the worst luck streaks in the country (if not the world), but that morning was definitely taking the cake. An issue at the bar made him miss half a final exam, he was mistaken for a sexual harasser after bumping into a woman on accident and was nearly tackled by another random pedestrian because of it, he was branded as creepy for helping a child get a balloon they lost, he got his face scratched up after retrieving a cat from a tree at the request of a neighbor (thank heavens Jamie was actually nearby to heal him), and he witnessed Alex and Cole being a little to chummy for his liking. All in all, too many bad things in the space of just three hours. His school work was already complete for the day at least, but he had a bad feeling about going home. He didn't want to be held accountable for accidentally breaking half of the bar's supply and the last thing he needed that day was to have his mother scream his ear off. Figuring a somewhat deserted location would make him mostly impervious to whatever was out to get him, Shane decided to head down to the beach. Not a whole lot of people would be there on a cloudy Monday anyway. He ended up sitting by the water, settling down at the stairs near a large pier. He stared out into the distance, but soon he found himself quite bored - he wasn't accounting for that, but it wasn't like he brought swimming trunks along anyway. Plus, the water would probably be freezing cold. He was better off just staying put and let whatever dark cloud that had decided to stay over his head to go away on its own. For all he knew, he was summoning a tsunami just from being in close proximity to water. He did 'summon' something, alright - he felt a drop of water land on the tip of his nose, a few more on his face, and just like that it was raining down in the area. "Of course..." Murphy's Law - if something could go wrong, it would. He sighed to himself and got up, seeking shelter under the entryway of a nearby building. He was dripping from head to toe and couldn't exactly use magic to dry himself off. Not only was he in public, but he'd probably set himself on fire instead anyway. All he could do was sit down on the floor and ride it out.
  18. Of course his rest day also had to be the roughest of the week. After collapsing at home at around 3 AM from the extreme training session he had endured, Jamie was woken up just a few hours later by a close friend and she nearly yelled his ear off during an extended discussion. After that, he had to clean the whole house since his sister had neglected to. When he was about to sleep, a frantic manager blew up his phone to demand why he had been spotted with a girl down at the park. It took him at least ten tries to get across the point of that girl being his sister, and so he wasn't in a breach of contract. That call had taken a solid 30 minutes. At some point he just figured he wasn't getting any sleep anyway, so he decided to watch a movie and make some lunch. Noticing Alex wasn't coming home and wasn't responding to texts, he got mildly concerned and decided to visit their usual bar to see if she was hiding out there. Bingo. As he walked into his best friend's bar, he spotted his target seemingly out of it at their usual booth. She was hunched over the wooden table, face hidden in her arms as she apparently dozed off. There was an orange juice filled glass near her - and what an odd choice it was - that she hadn't touched. He slid into the booth and sat down in front of her, which elicited an unintelligible groan for a greeting. "You didn't even bother coming home yesterday, did you?" He got a mild shake of the head as a response. After watching her for several seconds, he decided to take her beverage and sip it himself. Her head shot up in protest, revealing a copy of 'Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team' opened where her head once was. "Hey! I was gonna drink that..." Even so, the usual spunk that accompanied Alex's attitude was mostly absent, and she didn't complain much further. Jamie, on the other hand, visibly winced upon seeing her face. "What happened to you?" He spoke as he saw the bags under her eyes and the utter and complete exhaustion full on display in his twin sister's face. "You bombed your exam, didn't you?" He asked as her face landed once again on the book she was supposed to be studying. As it did so with a light thud, she raised one of her hands just enough to show him her middle finger. That got a good chuckle out of him, and he used his free hand to grasp hers and bring it back down to the table, mildly surprised at how quickly she gave that one up as well. "Oh, man. I needed that." It was astonishing how Alex always managed to bring his spirits up, whether from hanging out together or at her own expense. "...Not fair..." He heard a muffled mumble and shook his head, trying to contain his laughter to sip some more of the precious orange juice.
  19. It had been sometime since he had found himself in this little part of Tallygarunga as a smile is beamed onto his face while he sat back on a bench. He hadn't been within any formal teaching attire which left him to be just another fool trying to escape the wrath of someone, probably Audrey. His eyes shifted left to right conspiratorially as if he were up to no good which was a pretty good chance if anyone knew of the man dubbed as 'Sparky', unfortunately for him that wasn't something he could risk even hiding in secret like this. The situation with the Auror's still wasn't solved and a sudden spark of a fire just for the sake of S'mores wasn't worth alerting and then getting a long speech. Besides, legitimate safety reasons for the other students required that the Auror's not be sent on a 'Boy cries wolf!' scenario. Derrick hated having to act like an adult in a lot of cases but it was a necessary 'evil' as he would put it. This was a moment where he could be a bit more relaxed and less uptight about what he was doing or seen doing as a bag of marshmallow's settled on his lap cracked wide open. His hand dug into it shamelessly as he took one of the soft cylinder puff in between two of his fingers and tossed it up into the air. Head angled upwards with mouth agape trying to follow the trajectory as it tumbled through the air and struck him at the tip of his nose before rolling forward into his mouth where he closed his lips smoothly and started to chew on it. "Still counts, I don't care." A self remark as he chuckled and leaned back and processed a sigh of relaxation and ease letting his eyes trace around the area. There didn't seem to anyone for the most part though whether there was or wasn't held no consequence for him. His hand fished inside of the clear package once more as he leaned back and pressed another marshmallow into his mouth conservatively gnawing at it just enjoying the calmness that the area seemed to drum up.
  20. Saturday, May 26th 11:36 AM This was the place Evony had been told about. earlier in the week she had started asking about the local sites, more specifically where was a good spot for a swim. A few had mentioned that Korrowi creek had a few spots that were tucked out of the way. While most of the creek was shallow and not very wide, there were a few spots nearby that emptied out into deeper wider spots. One, in particular, was fairly close by and offered a scenic place to cool down when the sun got too high. It was described as having soft sandy banks with many grassy sections shaded by several nearby trees. The slow-moving current carried nothing but cool crystal clear water. In short, it was an oasis of sorts, a small slice of paradise for anyone who could find it. She had been eager to get here, even going so far as to prepare her things the night prior. Not much though, just a blanket, some snacks, one of her books, and some water. SHe had planned to spend the day in the shade reading and relaxing. Upon arriving Evony was shocked to discover that the descriptions of the other students fell short of the place she now stood. Yes, it had everything that she had been told about, but given the surrounding terrain, it made this small green gem stand out even more. SHe couldn't understand why other students weren't crowded around here on a nice day like this, but she didn't dwell on the thought, it was their loss and her gain. The first hour or so she spent laying on her blanket reading her book. It was one of those trashy romance novels that feature a chiseled hero on the front, with long blonde hair, and his shirt open. It certainly wasn't the kind of material that had any real value but for some reason, she was hooked on these kinds of books. The idea that there was always some overly dramatic love affair that always worked out, and was filled with unbridled passion just appealed to her. After a bit, she found that even in the shade she was becoming warm. Her focus shifted now from her book to the inviting cool water flowing just a few feet away. She had intended to go for a dip and now seemed like a good time to cool her skin in the water. Evony took a quick look around to determine that there was no one around. She wasn't worried about being spied on, but it was a habit now to look around before doing something like this. After a few moments, she stood up and shed her clothing, A white slip that covered her lower half and a t-shirt that bore the insignia of her old school, before making her way to the water. The water itself, while deeper than the rest of the creek, only came up to hips. For a normal person this would be deep enough to hide for sure, but for her, it meant she needed to kneel down in the water to soak up to her shoulders and hide from view. It was as cool and refreshing as she expected, and for a time she simply frolicked, splashing around and submerging herself entirely at points. It was absolutely lovely. On the shore, sitting on her blanket was her clothing, food, and her book, all completely forgotten for the moment.
  21. Squiggy was hungry. Mumma had been supposed to send a care package this month -- they were always the best, filled with homemade foods and the occasional new dress if zir mumma had fabric to spare. Squiggy lived off of those bits from home. Food at Tally was fine, but ze was so small, and the other students so big and intimidating, that most days ze only managed to grab a bite or two before sliding beneath the table and leaving. No one seemed to notice if Squiggy was there or not anyway. So Squiggy saved the foods Mumma sent in care packages and supplemented zir meals that way. Except this month there hadn’t been a care package--only a letter from dadda, spelled to talk since he could read any better than Squiggy could, saying mumma was having a rest right now, and that he was busy with Innocence and Freedom, and that he was sure Squiggy understood. Squiggy didn’t understand. Resting was something that took a few minutes, so ze couldn’t understand why other minutes couldn’t be spared to make zir care package. Ze had been counting on the snacks to afford zir extra time in the library this evening while the other students were at dinner. Instead, ze went down to the food hall uncertainly, one hand hovering just outside zir mouth--not quite sucking zir thumb in fear, but not far off, either. Once glance into the great hall was almost enough to send Squiggy running in the other direction, but ze put zir Big Brave Elf pants on, like zir dad would have told zir to, and went in. The furthest end of the Flinders table was mostly safe, almost, and Squiggy got a plate and put on a bit of meat and veg and a roll. And then a rambunctious boy--twice Squiggy’s size--shouldered zir, and ze fell off the side of the bench ze was sitting on. Squiggy closed zir eyes, tight, and fought the urge to cry. Ze didn’t even want the other kids to think of zir as an equal--ze just wanted to be seen, at all, and acknowledged. Squiggy had to get on tip-toes to grab the plate from the table, and then ze wandered the perimeter of the Great Hall, finally tucking into a corner of the room with the plate. If ze was invisible anyway, ze might as well have some privacy.
  22. It was early in the evening as the older looking van pulled up to the front of the school. The temperature, while not sweltering, was still warm, warm enough to be uncomfortable. Surprisingly it was rather humid, which contributed to an almost oppressive heat. There was the promise of rain, though many of the locals had insisted it was not the case and that there would be several more days before any sort of relief would be felt from the heat. Evony peered out her window, looking at the Academy that would be her new home. She had been excited to see it, though now she had felt strangely disappointed. It was nothing like academy she had come from, Beauxbatons, which in its own rights was a palace surrounded by scenic mountains and forests. This was nothing like the home she had known for the last 5 years. Still, she had elected to this exchange voluntarily and was not entirely put out by the quaint look of Tallygarunga Academy. In truth, she now felt even more excited to see it inside, for it wasn't a secret that many of the quaint places in the magical world held many secrets and vast beauty just out of sight of prying eyes. Perhaps, like the cab she now sat in, which on the inside was more like a spacious train car, this place would hold similar secrets. The driver hurried around the outside of the cab, opening the back and removing her things, before making his way to her door and opening it. He gave her a nod and a toothless smile as he gestured hurriedly for her to exit the cab. As soon as the door opened she was greeted by the sudden and almost violent change in temperature. The compartment she had been relaxing it had been rather comfortable, and now she struggled to adjust to the sudden change. A small cough escaped past her lips as she stepped out of the cab. first her front legs, then her second. It had been a marvel, and perhaps a bit of magic, how she had managed to squeeze herself out the open door, which even now as she turned to look back at it, seemed far to small for her massive frame to fit through. Once she was free, and after making sure that her tail was not in the way, the driver closed the door again, locking the cool air inside the rustic looking vehicle. He nodded again to her, showing his still toothless grin, before scurrying off to the driver seat of the cab and driving off without a word, kicking up a trail of dust behind him. Evony watched as he left, before turning to face the school again. Her smile broadened now as she drew her wand and pointed it at her trunk. "Locomotor!" she declared, her accent causing the words to flow rather sweetly as her trunk lifted a few inches off the ground and began to follow her. With her large stride, it didn't take her long to actually reach the front doors, which seemed to open on their own as if to invite her in. She was shocked to see that there was, at that very moment, no one there at all. Had their been some kind of mistake? Was this even the right place?
  23. This was perhaps the rarest of sights for someone like Tyson. Typically one could find him training his butt off at the Quidditich Pitch or even near the West End of Tallygarunga going at a blow-up sparring doll for his more muggle martial arts. Something that still didn't sit too well with some people, well, except the one student whom he had met that found it fascinating. That caught him off guard but it was something refreshing and gave him a better understanding that there were people who followed or at least at interest enough to maybe study it in the future. At the very least, to understand the positive possibilities that such activity has for a persons health both mentally and physically. Today, it was a different form of preparation and it had been one that he was completely out of his depth with doing even with the additional help from Violet over the course of the vacation and even afterwards. Part of his personal assignment was to better understand the economics and design of living on his own without the covering and assistance of the school. It's how he found himself under a tree with a breakfast burrito in one hand that lingered just at his lips readied for any sudden chomp for its benefits while he glanced downwards at a news paper that held a red marker connected to it as well as various red circles around specific advertisements for 'Housing'. A frustrated groan is let loosened while his head leans back against the trunk of a tree and a slow sigh pushes outwards to keep himself from going too insane with everything. While he had a bit more time he didn't like the idea that he had not one viable thread to check out yet, not truly. He sets the marker down after clicking the top of it into place securing the writing nature of the tool and the pulls both of his knees upwards settling the soles of his shoes on the ground firmly. Arms draped over the point of his knee caps and he took a very healthy and unrestrained bite from his burrito letting the presence of the food be a relaxation for him. "Gonna' have to start savin' up, that's for sure." He mused to himself as he lets his head tilt slightly enough for his eyes to narrow back towards the newspaper and it's various markings. "Might need to ask that old dude to let me take the rank up test. . . That should get me a good payout as an Assistant instructor, that's for sure. At least for a decent apartment."
  24. Most of the time Anthony was all too happy to remain on campus and do what ever work out that needed to be done during the day. However, something about the time of year always made him a little squirrelly. He always claimed it was “something” about spring weather but he knew it had to do with his wife. He knew it was just as hard on his daughter, but she had at least managed to make some friends and he was actually quite delighted to see her get back to her usual cheerful self. It had been a bit of a gamble when he moved them from their home in the states to someplace on a whim. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. However, it had not backfired. That was at least a win in his book. He had helped the MLE here- which had been why he had gone into consulting in the first place. What he had not anticipated was making that shift into teaching. However, that had been the right thing for the family. His daughter was settled, more settled anyway. He had disrupted her life quite a bit already- he had not wanted to do so again. Though he was fairly sure that she was not too happy with the fact that her father was on campus and able to look over her shoulder when he wanted to. He did his best not to meddle, but it was damn near impossible. That and as she got older, she looked so much like her mother. It sometimes took the wind out of him when she turned the corner and he was not expecting it. However, it was a good thing, to see that their kid took more after her. It could have been terrible for her had she looked more like him. The thought made him chuckle. Tony had started running along the creek, it offered a few different challenges that he didn’t get on campus. The water, the pavement and the trails. Tony liked the way it felt to have the different challenges. He was a man too easily bored if he did not challenge himself. He had learned early on in his career he needed to keep his mind just as sharp as his body. Human behavior was complicated. You had to be able to predict some things… which was a whole hello of mess honestly. Tony slowed his pace to a walk his hands akimbo as he smiled. The feel of the burn, lactic acid build up… It was a good feeling. Walking towards the bench just ahead he took a swig of the water bottle he had in his hand. ”Mind if I use this piece of bench.” he questions propping his foot up for a moment to rest. ”Not a terrible day right?’ He said through pants.
  25. "Well it fucking stinks in here." was probably not the first thing Ash should have said when he wandered into Hoots & Whispers on his mission to buy his beloved Niece a pet or two. He hadn't even bothered to say it under his breath nor did he hide the movement of bringing his hand up to his nose to block the assault from the animals scents all mixed together. He should have been super posh and brought a handkerchief with a much more pleasing smell on it too hold over his mouth. The problem was he was neither posh enough to own such a handkerchief nor was he the sort of person who carried handkerchiefs. So instead he allowed himself to get used to the assorted smells, reminding himself he’d been in places that smelt much worse than this, so much worse. It also helped that he was here with a particular goal in mind. To get a pet for Nina, after all the girl had lost her Mother and now had to live with her Mothers doppelganger. She needed something of her own, something she could lavish feelings onto. Something that was simple minded enough that he wouldn’t really care who it went to live with or how many times it was shoved about from pillar to post. Taking a deep breath and pushing some of his curly hair back the man descended into the shop, passing the accessories and food for the various animals he could smell and heading to the part of the shop that housed such creatures. His dark eyes grazed over toads, rats and something small, spherical and fluffy. The round puffy thing interested in long enough that he stepped closer to investigate it, which was until a long and thin tongue whipped out from the middle of the beast and tried to insert itself up his nose. Stepping back swiftly enough that he knocked the display behind him, he pointed at the creature that admitted some kind of low humming noise “Here, we’ll be having none of that now fur ball.” He said, straighten up his shirt slightly and turning away from the creature and deciding something that was going to try and do things to his nostrils was not a creature he could bring into his home. Shooting the offending creature one last look that bordered more on amused than annoyed, he headed to what he knew would be a safe bet. The Cats.
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