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Term 57: January - April 2021 Term Fifty-Seven: The Third Wizarding War (Sept 2103 - June 2104)

 
 
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Old 12-22-2020, 04:59 AM
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Default The Pathways


A set of paths, some stone, some dirt, link the courtyard to almost every other area of the Hogwarts grounds. Walking upon these various pathways is a lovely way to clear your mind after a long day of classes. This is a quiet area of the grounds with the soft sound of leaves rustling in the wind or lightly crunching below your feet. Doesn't the air just seem fresher around here somehow?

Take a walk with a friend, find an unoccupied bench to read a book, try to climb one of the many trees, stop to smell the flowers, or play hide and seek in the thick shrubberies just off the beaten path. Be careful not to trip on the loose stones here and there though. These are a lot of pathways for one man to maintain.


Old 01-12-2021, 04:31 PM   #2 (permalink)

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What a horrible term so far. Gemma was on a constant roller coaster of curiousness of the people that had taken over and fear. She hated being curious and wondered if that made her a bad witch or if she was just normal. What she did know was that her mother seemed to be struggling as well and possibly avoiding her? All she really knew was she didn't like.

Taking a seat in the grass she had her notebook and wanted to do some bird watching, but it seemed even the birds knew that something bad was going on and stayed hidden. Sighing she closed her book only to notice one of her mum's cats out of the corner of her eye. "What are you doing out here? Spying on me again?" She never could get over feeling like her mother's cats followed her around.
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Old 01-15-2021, 09:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It was colder than Merlin's ears outside, but sitting in the common room all day every day doing nothing but pestering the older students and gorging herself on sugar quills was not an efficient use of time or any of the already limited mental resources she could confidently say she had left not that she was calling herself stupid and cloud gazing with her cat was the best she could come up with.

Scratch that...

It was the best she could come up with while deranged criminals were overrunning the castle.

Nobody could say she didn't practice self-care.

After the particularly harrowing experience in Williamson's class, well...she figured that she owed it to herself to do something boring. Something grounding or whatever. Something not chaotic and leaving her feeling like she was going to die, and cloud gazing was boring enough. Every cloud looked like a toe though, or maybe a chocolate frog if you were looking at it upside down. She sprawled her arms and legs out like a starfish and looked around. Maybe she could count the leaves on the tree instead. One, two, three, four...
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Old 01-19-2021, 03:18 AM   #4 (permalink)



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What a horrible term so far. Gemma was on a constant roller coaster of curiousness of the people that had taken over and fear. She hated being curious and wondered if that made her a bad witch or if she was just normal. What she did know was that her mother seemed to be struggling as well and possibly avoiding her? All she really knew was she didn't like.

Taking a seat in the grass she had her notebook and wanted to do some bird watching, but it seemed even the birds knew that something bad was going on and stayed hidden. Sighing she closed her book only to notice one of her mum's cats out of the corner of her eye. "What are you doing out here? Spying on me again?" She never could get over feeling like her mother's cats followed her around.
It might not be the best idea to go out walking alone, but Delilah was doing that anyway. Besides, she still didn't have many friends here, so it wasn't like she would have anybody to walk with anyway. In a way, it made her want to go back home...if that were ever a possibility. As she moved further down the pathway, her thoughts bounced back and forth between here and there. If she was back home, she'd be at muggle school today, having fun with the kids she'd known for years.

She paused when she heard another girl's voice, and she looked over to see Gemma talking to a few cats. Huh? Spying on her? Delilah didn't really know this girl, but she'd seen her in classes and heard her name. Without realizing she'd done so, Delilah had walked a little closer to Gemma. "Hey, Gemma," she said. "Those your cats?" Lame question, but cats who spied on people seemed kind of interesting.
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It was colder than Merlin's ears outside, but sitting in the common room all day every day doing nothing but pestering the older students and gorging herself on sugar quills was not an efficient use of time or any of the already limited mental resources she could confidently say she had left not that she was calling herself stupid and cloud gazing with her cat was the best she could come up with.

Scratch that...

It was the best she could come up with while deranged criminals were overrunning the castle.

Nobody could say she didn't practice self-care.

After the particularly harrowing experience in Williamson's class, well...she figured that she owed it to herself to do something boring. Something grounding or whatever. Something not chaotic and leaving her feeling like she was going to die, and cloud gazing was boring enough. Every cloud looked like a toe though, or maybe a chocolate frog if you were looking at it upside down. She sprawled her arms and legs out like a starfish and looked around. Maybe she could count the leaves on the tree instead. One, two, three, four...
The rock from Professor Kitridge's lesson still tucked in his pocket, and it had been ever since the lesson, Atlas had finally mustered the little bursts of courage to borrow without the intention of returning a small handful of supplies from the Art Classroom. They DID have googly eyes and then he had a small little jar of paint and brush. Nothing too fancy and just white but it was a good contrast to the dark color of the stone.

Speaking of feeling grounded, carrying a rock in your pocket helped with that. Everyone should give it a go sometime.

He was looking for somewhere private to tuck himself away and complete his little side project when he spotted her...laying out in the open like that. He had half a mind to just keep the course and hide in the nearest cluster of bushes but...he didn't...and instead moved over to her and stood over her somewhat. Not literally over her but his toes were pointed towards the top of her head and he was bowing at the waist to lean over so he COULD look down at her.

"Hey Beth...what are you doing?"
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:39 PM   #6 (permalink)

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It might not be the best idea to go out walking alone, but Delilah was doing that anyway. Besides, she still didn't have many friends here, so it wasn't like she would have anybody to walk with anyway. In a way, it made her want to go back home...if that were ever a possibility. As she moved further down the pathway, her thoughts bounced back and forth between here and there. If she was back home, she'd be at muggle school today, having fun with the kids she'd known for years.

She paused when she heard another girl's voice, and she looked over to see Gemma talking to a few cats. Huh? Spying on her? Delilah didn't really know this girl, but she'd seen her in classes and heard her name. Without realizing she'd done so, Delilah had walked a little closer to Gemma. "Hey, Gemma," she said. "Those your cats?" Lame question, but cats who spied on people seemed kind of interesting.
The two cats came closer and she reached over and started to pet them. They seemed more nervous than usual and Gemma decided they were feeling stressed from her mum just as she was. As she continued to pet each cat, Juniper jumped to her lap and laid down. "This is new." Her heart felt heavy when she thought about why they were being so nice to her.

Hearing a voice she looked up, "Hi Delilah, actually their my mums. They usually just follow me around to tell her what I am up to, but I don't think they are doing that today." Her eyes turned back to Scorpio who was rubbing against Dehlilah's legs, "I think something is going on with mum for them to act this way." She just wasn't sure.
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Old 01-28-2021, 03:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Fresh air, that's what Nem wanted. Cold fresh air. Wake up the brain, allow them to think a little more clearly. Even after a long run only a few hours ago, they were still not on top form, and it was causing no small amount of frustration.

It wasn't too cold out yet, not as far as Scotland's standards went, but they were already feeling it. They had wrapped themselves up in a jacket and hat, both charmed to insulate, like the rest of their clothes, but wasn't making a whole lot of difference. Not that it really mattered; like anything, Nem had always been able to turn discomfort to their advantage. Why stop now.

After sloping through the pathways for some time, Nem chose an empty bench at random and settled onto it. Hands in their pockets, legs stretched out in front of them, they dipped the lower half of their face down into the collar of their jacket and lapsed into a silent stillness, staring directly at their almost totally worn out shoes, apparently deep in thought.
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Old 01-28-2021, 04:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Fresh air, that's what Nem wanted. Cold fresh air. Wake up the brain, allow them to think a little more clearly. Even after a long run only a few hours ago, they were still not on top form, and it was causing no small amount of frustration.

It wasn't too cold out yet, not as far as Scotland's standards went, but they were already feeling it. They had wrapped themselves up in a jacket and hat, both charmed to insulate, like the rest of their clothes, but wasn't making a whole lot of difference. Not that it really mattered; like anything, Nem had always been able to turn discomfort to their advantage. Why stop now.

After sloping through the pathways for some time, Nem chose an empty bench at random and settled onto it. Hands in their pockets, legs stretched out in front of them, they dipped the lower half of their face down into the collar of their jacket and lapsed into a silent stillness, staring directly at their almost totally worn out shoes, apparently deep in thought.
Bernadette had been in a mood lately, and not just because none of her plans were working out. It may have been a result of normal teenagery things and growing pains and all that (though, alas, she was as short as ever) but perhaps it was also because she was finally coming to the conclusion that just because one turned of age at some point in one's lifetime... did not mean one had all the answers. She could have kicked something (maybe even a cat, and she loved cats) with her pent-up frustration.

Such were the Grantham thoughts, from time to time. Even a blind pig can find an acorn in the forest and so on and so forth.

The fifth-year was a bundle of emotions in addition to a literal bundle of fun crocheted mittens and scarves and thick coats and things as she blustered around the pathways, walking the opposite direction from a certain classmate, and yet nearly encountering the same bench at the same time. She bit back a rude comment but only because she spotted a certain green, rather homemade hat on this classmate's head. It matched her mittens, in fact. Imagine that.

"I made that hat." Had she said that aloud? Bernadette eyed the Upstead from head to toe, because obviously it was Nemesis. Who else lurked on benches with their long ridiculous legs stretched out so some clumsy first year could just trip on them. She sat down on the other side of the bench, still eying the hat. "And you kept it."

Surprisingly, this did lighten her tornado of a mood.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Bernadette had been in a mood lately, and not just because none of her plans were working out. It may have been a result of normal teenagery things and growing pains and all that (though, alas, she was as short as ever) but perhaps it was also because she was finally coming to the conclusion that just because one turned of age at some point in one's lifetime... did not mean one had all the answers. She could have kicked something (maybe even a cat, and she loved cats) with her pent-up frustration.

Such were the Grantham thoughts, from time to time. Even a blind pig can find an acorn in the forest and so on and so forth.

The fifth-year was a bundle of emotions in addition to a literal bundle of fun crocheted mittens and scarves and thick coats and things as she blustered around the pathways, walking the opposite direction from a certain classmate, and yet nearly encountering the same bench at the same time. She bit back a rude comment but only because she spotted a certain green, rather homemade hat on this classmate's head. It matched her mittens, in fact. Imagine that.

"I made that hat." Had she said that aloud? Bernadette eyed the Upstead from head to toe, because obviously it was Nemesis. Who else lurked on benches with their long ridiculous legs stretched out so some clumsy first year could just trip on them. She sat down on the other side of the bench, still eying the hat. "And you kept it."

Surprisingly, this did lighten her tornado of a mood.


Upon hearing Grantham's voice, Nem turned their head to look at her in such away that most of the lower half of their face stayed effectively mufflered in the neck of their jacket. They didn't reply right away, not until she was sitting as well.

"'Course I kept it," Nem said, tilting their head up slightly so their voice could be better heard. "What did you think I'd do with it?"

They stayed perfectly still over on their side of the bench, and made no attempt to approach, or enter Grantham's personal space - it wouldn't do to go poking the bear right now. Nem did, however, keep their eyes fixed firmly on her. "You okay?"
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Upon hearing Grantham's voice, Nem turned their head to look at her in such away that most of the lower half of their face stayed effectively mufflered in the neck of their jacket. They didn't reply right away, not until she was sitting as well.

"'Course I kept it," Nem said, tilting their head up slightly so their voice could be better heard. "What did you think I'd do with it?"

They stayed perfectly still over on their side of the bench, and made no attempt to approach, or enter Grantham's personal space - it wouldn't do to go poking the bear right now. Nem did, however, keep their eyes fixed firmly on her. "You okay?"


Bernie didn't say anything, unusually taciturn for a change. Instead, she slowly peeled back the top half of her mittens, as though she were readying her hands for a fight... but really she was just buttoning the mitten part onto its soft clasp, so the mittens were now fingerless gloves. She then slipped the mittens off entirely and passed them over to Nem.

"You were supposed to have these too," was her nonanswer. "But y'know." A cult had invaded the school, deposed their Headmaster, cut off all communication from the castle, attacked her for her one great idea, tortured her favorite professor, turned the rest into cowards, and basically just ruined her fifth (and most important yet) year.

She could feel Nem's intense eyes on her and turned to lock her own baby blues on theirs with no blinking.

"No. Are you?"
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Bernie didn't say anything, unusually taciturn for a change. Instead, she slowly peeled back the top half of her mittens, as though she were readying her hands for a fight... but really she was just buttoning the mitten part onto its soft clasp, so the mittens were now fingerless gloves. She then slipped the mittens off entirely and passed them over to Nem.

"You were supposed to have these too," was her nonanswer. "But y'know." A cult had invaded the school, deposed their Headmaster, cut off all communication from the castle, attacked her for her one great idea, tortured her favorite professor, turned the rest into cowards, and basically just ruined her fifth (and most important yet) year.

She could feel Nem's intense eyes on her and turned to lock her own baby blues on theirs with no blinking.

"No. Are you?"

Grantham's quiet demeanour was noted. Everything was noted - everything noteworthy, at any rate. Nem's eyes flicked to the gloves, and immediately back to Grantham's face, scrutinising her carefully.

"You have another pair for yourself, though?" they asked, pulling a hand out of the warm confines of their jacket pocket to take the proffered gloves. Nem gave them the once over, but looked up again at the counterpunch.

For a moment, they allowed a flash of subtle surprise to take over their expression, like it wasn't a question they generally expected to get - and, well, maybe that was the case, maybe it wasn't - before it quickly morphed into a smile, and then a laugh, short-lived but genuine enough.

Nem shook their head. "No. No, probably not." But that was not a rabbit hole Grantham wanted to go down, so, "Nobody is."
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Old 01-29-2021, 02:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Grantham's quiet demeanour was noted. Everything was noted - everything noteworthy, at any rate. Nem's eyes flicked to the gloves, and immediately back to Grantham's face, scrutinising her carefully.

"You have another pair for yourself, though?" they asked, pulling a hand out of the warm confines of their jacket pocket to take the proffered gloves. Nem gave them the once over, but looked up again at the counterpunch.

For a moment, they allowed a flash of subtle surprise to take over their expression, like it wasn't a question they generally expected to get - and, well, maybe that was the case, maybe it wasn't - before it quickly morphed into a smile, and then a laugh, short-lived but genuine enough.

Nem shook their head. "No. No, probably not." But that was not a rabbit hole Grantham wanted to go down, so, "Nobody is."
She didn't, but she nodded anyway, making sure her hands were deep within her pockets so they were fine. Bernie had worked hard on that mitten pattern, taken weeks to get it done, gone through almost a whole skein of yarn and several hours of start-overs messy loops in the process, but she liked them better on Nem anyway. Had to match the hat she'd owed him.

And besides that, she told herself, Nem was more likely than her to survive this year and if Nem survived then the mittens and hat she'd made could survive too and that way at least some small part of her might liv---

She blinked at the change in expression, which pulled her from her serious thoughts, but otherwise remained subdued at more of a boil than a simmer. It wasn't anything directed at Nem. Just roiling thoughts in a sea of suffering. Directed at their failed school leadership, more like, amongst others.

"Go on, then," she encouraged softly, still staring, not sharing in the laugh. "You go first."

Sharing time, Nem, share share! They had the rare occurrence of a quiet Grantham, so. Go. She DID want to go down the rabbit hole.
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Having no reason to question further - and also having hands that were particularly susceptible to the cold - Nem slipped the gloves on. They experimented a bit with the glove-to-mitten adjustment; to be warmer but look like a mitten-wearing idiot, or have more dexterity (they thought mainly about needing to draw their wand at a moment's notice) but half-cold fingers? Ultimately, Nem returned them to the fingerless glove state that they'd received them in. Grantham's hands had warmed them up a little already.

"Thank you." Manners, you know?

Without much need to keep their hands in their pockets now, Nem let them rest on their lap, fingers loosely tangled together, as they met Grantham's stare again, considering her and the situation carefully. There was really not a basilisk's chance on a rooster farm that they would go to heart of the matter, but a few drops of truth in the ocean of whatever it was they were doing might be of some benefit.

Except, Nem's reply was evidently hovering near the nonanswer region now as well. "Who would you say is your best friend around here, Berns?"
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Bernie didn't even show recognition of the manners, besides maybe a very small, nearly imperceptible shrug from beneath the relative comfort and safety of her coat and scarf. Didn't matter in the grand scheme of things anyway. Nothing mattered.

She carried on with the staring though she also had a tendency to get a far-off look in her eyes whenever a particularly alarming thought occurred to her. But she was listening, she was, and she therefore was not pleased with the whole answer-a-question-with-a-question thing. Her blue eyes narrowed at her companion somewhat, but she did, at least, gather her thoughts before answering. She'd learned so much, see. She didn't blurt things out as much anymore.

"Don't have one."

Bernie had people she considered close friends but not best friends. She knew Pheebs and Cece were closer than she was, and never mind that she wasn't feeling particularly warm to the former ever since that fiasco at the portraits. She also thought of Blake... but may Merlin have mercy on his soul, he just didn't get her. None of these people cared about her during the summer season, and she'd shared absolutely nothing of her family life nor pre-Hogwarts life with any of them. Ever. Even Blake knew nothing, and she'd snuck away on a summer trip with him one time. Besides all that, it had been several years now since her best friendship had been thrown away by she-who-shall-not-be-named, even though that was the one friend in all her years that she'd maybe liked the most.

So. Bernie wanted to ask a question too but she (thought) she already knew the answer. "And your best friend is your twin, so." What was the point, Upstead. Nemesis usually had a calming presence she liked, but today she was.... even more short-tempered than usual. Apologies and all that.
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:26 AM   #15 (permalink)
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That was interesting, but not altogether surprising. Nem didn't see Grantham around Blaze at all anymore, and when they thought on the matter, it seemed more likely that she bounced around different people, friendly with everyone but not necessarily that level of closeness. Not unlike themselves, actually, but almost certainly for different reasons. Actually, sometimes it had seemed almost like Schmoe was the closest thing to Grantham's best friend in the castle.

Nem could not have thought of something more depressing if they had tried.

They were about to prompt Grantham again, to name who might have been the best out of her regular friends, in that case (there were different ways to interpret the title, according to the data), but didn't even get as far as the the obvious pre-speaking inhale before she spoke again. Nem just looked at her for a minute, let out a subtle sigh, and went back to staring at the ground just beyond their feet again, allowing the silence to stretch out between them.
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Had Bernadette heard any of this analysis out loud, she almost certainly would have laughed.

And then agreed.

Schmoe actually did know her better than anyone here.

And in her defense, it was only because she was his teaching assistant. Obviously. Not because she didn't trust other kids, particularly all these stuck-up-their-own-butts purebloods. Nope. No other reason. And? For the record? It wasn't depressing to be best friends with Schmoe. He needed friends. She needed friends. And he was somewhere between the age of 18 and 64, so why couldn't she be his friend?

"What." She'd heard (and saw) the sigh, since she (at least) was still staring at Nem. She didn't WANT to talk but she also didn't appreciate being huffed at. Even one of Nem's supercilious 'warning' lectures would be better than being alone with her thoughts on a bench. Come on, Upstead.

She continued the (now one-sided) staring contest. "Was I wrong?"
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Old 01-30-2021, 04:56 AM   #17 (permalink)
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While the sigh and the dramatic staring away had been absolutely manufactured to elicit some kind of response from Grantham (like this one), there was an uncomfortable... feeling? Thought? Something... something uncomfortable that seemed suddenly to weigh down on them. In those few moments which were intended to be for woe, Nem's brain ran a million miles a minute, trying to root out the source.

The only possible answers they could see, they did not like. Far from it. So Nem mentally turned their back, with the result that the theories danced even more tauntingly before them. All that was left was to confront it. Weakness, that was what that something had come from. Weakness that they wanted no part of.

Nem had almost forgotten that Grantham was still there, but her question snapped them out of their thoughts. They blinked hard once, but otherwise still stared at the ground, shrugged, and said casually, "In a manner of speaking." Because this was, of course, an act. Of course.

An act intended to keep Grantham engaged in conversation, which meant not fobbing her off so much that she actually got up and left in a strop or something. "A lot of people act like they know what I'm about, or that we're friends, but nobody really asks about that stuff. The real stuff, I mean." There was that audacious something again. Didn't it know they were busy tugging on heartstrings here? Nem didn't need the real thing flouncing in and complicating matters. "I just get tired of assumptions, that's all. I'm sure you can appreciate that."
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Old 01-30-2021, 05:18 AM   #18 (permalink)
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A manner of speaking. O-kay. Well as this was the only Upstead Bernie was particularly interested in, besides MAYBE the dad or whichever was the auror, she didn't even ask for more information on Nem's supposed best friend. Best friends were overrated. Besides, it didn't matter, again, did it? All the Upsteads would probably be fine at the end of this. Whole blasted family. Bernie wondered now why she'd been so obsessed with trying to HELP SAVE THE SCHOOL when instead, she could have been acting like a bookie, taking bets and collecting galleons on who would live and who would die and who would tell their story, and THEN, once she had had ENOUGH, like now, she could take all their cash and find a way to disappear, maybe by flying off on an abraxan...? She could live in Diagon Alley, the Leaky rented rooms, she knew this! Honestly, she didn't get enough credit around here for all her original id---

"What?" She said it again, but this time because Nem was being VERY vague, or attempting to be so, and yet... was this the most sincere they had ever been with her...? Or? "Well, yeah," she half-scoffed, half-sniffed at the bit about assumptions. She'd thought more people would know the expression about assumptions and you and me, but really she was zeroing in on the phrase that's all. Because that was definitely not all. No one who used that expression actually meant it. And she knew this because yes, she was the same. In some ways. Not in others.

See what a good listener she could be when she applied herself?

So, anyway ANYWAY, Nem, she wasn't done with you yet. "What is the real stuff for you, Nem? You're more evasive than...." Than what? She tried to think of a comparison. "A diricawl." She knew THAT creature because it was actually called a dodo. Duh.

Sometimes, she thought she knew things about Nem, but then if she did know, she wouldn't have to ask, would she? Even though Bernadette had been raised by heathens Muggles, she did have a redeemable older brother who had taught her a few things. Like manners. Things you asked about and things you didn't. People to push buttons on and people to leave alone. People you could force to be your friend, like Schmoe, and people you wanted for a friend but who wouldn't let you in, like Nem.

Alas, there went her rotten brain again, thinking kind thoughts about the Muggles.
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:43 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Speaking of rotten brains running rampant.

Nem had suddenly found themselves a little uncomfortable with this avenue of discussion, and it was particularly irksome that they had been the one to lead them both down it, with every intention of getting to this point. They supposed they had always known that nobody but Nemesis Upstead was worthy of being Nemesis Upstead's undoing. Not that this was anything close to that.

All in all, this was entirely too inconvenient. Nem's devious little brain was stalking down lines of thought they had not yet considered worth their time - had not even known existed - and it was, for the record, all Grantham's fault. Also disorienting. Nem could not recall a time before today (read: it simply had not happened) in which they had been in a situation where they hadn't immediately known what to do.

Disgusting.

Whatever.

They made a snap decision and, after a couple of moments of burdensome silence, turned to look at Grantham once more. "I'm taking that as a compliment, just so you know." The diricawl thing. But anyway. "Do you know the feeling where, when you don't talk about stuff for so long, by the time you have the chance, it's like... physically impossible? And even if you could find some words, they'd be all wrong?" Or was Grantham the type to carry things around with her only up until the point that she reached breaking point, and it all came rushing out? Nem supposed a person could be both. It was news to them that they were either. Actually, it was news to them that this even existed. "What I mean is, I don't think I know how to just talk about myself like that, even I wanted to."

Even as they said the words, a flash of ire born from the audacity of truth burned through them; it flared, simmered, died away. Dead. Empty.

"You start, with something about you. I can follow."
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Bernie really tried not to think about the Muggles (rather, HER Muggles) on a regular basis (except in Muggle Studies) but it was difficult not to right now, considering all the things that had been said (and hadn't been said) (yet). So she wasn't feeling monumentally resentful toward the Muggles for their hand in her current school situation, because, per usual, they were blissfully ignorant of everything that happened (and was still happening) at this place. Sigh.

She was feeling less in-her-feelings now, amazingly, or at least less ill-tempered toward the world. Slightly less, but, thank you Nem, for that, and you are welcome as well for being your completely underappreciated character development catalyst.

Ahem.

"I could think of a better compliment for you," she stated, eyes meeting theirs, a bit of a smirk twitching its way to her lips. Better than being called a dodo? For sure. But before Nem could go around getting an even bigger ego than they already had, she added a simple, "Yes."

Consider her surprised that Nemesis Upstead had decided to be one (1) percent forthcoming (unless that was just for appearances or conversation's sake, one never knew with them), but she didn't think so. She did know the feeling Nem had described. She'd spent so long dwelling on things, and being unable to do anything about them, that she either had to explode something or break something or create something (thankfully, she drifted toward the creation side of things) and then once her emotions were done, they were... done. What was the use in discussing them further? No one cared to hear it, she had no one to talk about it with anyway, so.... sometimes she wrote such things down, but that good journaling habit had fallen by the wayside in her later years.

So, yes. She nodded a few times, at Nem, as they spoke some more. And then she sighed. A deep, Grantham sigh, followed by a smaller, much quieter-than-usual Grantham voice.

"I don't know, a thing? One thing? about me?" Bernie wasn't staring at her bench companion anymore, she was looking determinedly up at the sky. Where to begin, though? At the beginning? She could begin there, not that she had any delusion of anyone caring about her answer still. "You'd better answer honestly too, Upstead, when it's your turn, or I swear I will----"

She trailed off with a stern shake of her head to herself. Bernie kept her eyes and head tilted up as she finally spoke again, her voice level and flat and boring, or as boring as she could be. "One time, when I was six, a car I was sitting in exploded. And that was the first sign of my magic, I think."

There was more to that story, absolutely, but once again she didn't know how to vocalize it without becoming emotional. That was all, as the saying goes.
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:29 AM   #21 (permalink)
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You are welcome, Bernadette Grantham.

For the record, if she wanted to throw out some of those better compliments, she was welcome to do so. It would be a waste of breath, mind; Nem believed the intent behind compliments and flattery sent their way about as much as that which they meted out. Even the Big Man was blowing hot air as far as they were concerned, though Nem was slightly more inclined to believe him. Somehow. Or maybe they just-...

No. Whatever.

It was no self-esteem issue; no danger of that. No, it was nothing more or less than the knowledge that Nemesis Upstead was the only one who could appreciate Nemesis Upstead for who, for what, they were. Not to overlook the fact that, when you played games with people, you could only anticipate that they were doing the same with you. Otherwise, you were plain stupid. Otherwise, things got plain dull.

Nem gave a little shrug - sure, one thing - and left the unfinished threat unaddressed. Maybe they'd both circle back around to it, if necessary. In the meantime, Nem watched Grantham closely, body language in particular. Ultimately, they found what she said only half as interesting as how she'd said it.

"What makes you think it was you?" They kept looking - staring, really - right at her, bold blue eyes really taking her in. "Do you remember much about it?"
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:41 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Once again, if ifs and buts were candies and nuts, it would be Christmas every day. And insert other similar expressions here that said Bernie would have loved to read Nem's mind and discover precisely how self-infatuated he was. Shoulda been named Narcissus, not Nemesis, amirite? Honestly. People can change, others can come to understand, and some could try to give folks a chance to do just that. She felt strongly in this way.

If. But. AnYwAy.

She felt the Slytherin's famous stare but didn't give in to returning it. For now. "I remember everything."

Andddddddd that was enough of that! Bernie blinked and looked down to pull herself out of her reverie, because if she kept staring she'd just keep seeing her granda clutching his heart over and over and over and over on repeat, and, more importantly in this moment, she had just threatened Nem, and Nem hadn't delivered.

Now she returned the unflinching stare, her jaw set, her teeth clenched. "Your. Turn."
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:02 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Still Nem stared, their eyes raking all over Grantham's profile, snapping from here to there and back again, seeking out some kind of... something. They were still doing this when she met the stare again, and even then, still longer.

But they couldn't follow after all. At least, not in the logical way that Grantham was perhaps expecting. Nem's life had been hugely uneventful, as far as they were concerned. Things had happened, yes, significant things perhaps, to an outside observer. Objectively, Nem could reel off a laundry list of things, absolutely none of them relevant.

So, no, they couldn't follow that, but it did give them an opening. An idea, a thrilling idea, if they would only seize it, but with thrill came risk.

Nem was still staring at Grantham, a steady stare right into her eyes now, still searching for something. "Are you angry?" The jaw, the teeth. "When you are angry, does it fill you up?" They didn't promise her this was relevant to their point; perhaps part of them wanted to see if she would deliver on that vague non-threat. Actually, no perhaps about it.

But it really would be relevant, provided Nem saw it through.
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:42 AM   #24 (permalink)
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You start, with something about you. I can follow.

That had been the deal, Upstead. Was this latest question about anger an attempt to provoke her or to actually stick to the deal? To follow? Because Bernadette hadn't agreed to be part of some research study/field observation in which Nemesis Upstead stared constantly at her and then learned how to be a human from the results.

There were a million ways Bernie could have gone with her next thought, but she knew Nem well enough by now to not give in (to the anger? repressed sadness? memories?) so easily. This wasn't those Boathouse days, after all. Plenty of waves had been made by this point.

She stared back at Nem, but she wasn’t searching for anything in particular at this moment in time. Jaw still clenched, though she WAS considering slapping Nem across his, she point-blanked asked, with a certain amount of tone, "When you're being a diricawl, is it always this obvious?" Bernie managed to tilt her head slightly at Nem as though she even cared for an answer.

Then she went back to staring straight ahead. There was a lot of looking going on here, wasn't there, and not much else. Thank Merlin the air was cool because Bernadette was not.
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Old 02-03-2021, 04:03 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Nem sighed, only it was far more obvious this time. World-weary. Plain tired.

A slap would have been more entertaining. Warmer, too.

"Funny, seems like you think it's obvious only when I'm not diricawling at all," they said, shaking their head and giving up the stare as well. They folded their arms across their chest and slid down a little on the bench so that they were slouched. With their head tilted back, they directed that stare instead at the sky, and said wearily, "Forget it. You're not ready to hear it. There's no way you'd get it, not right now."

But, to prevent a classic Grantham strop, Nem did at least decide not to leave her hanging. She wanted something deep? They might be able to provide. Thing was, it was only deep in how much it lacked depth, and Nem knew that Bernadette Grantham simply did not have the insight required to understand it.

"You'll have to make do with this. It hardly measures up." They flicked a stray thread from their sleeve. "Right after me and Pax turned eleven, my parents sat us and our brothers down, told us they were having quadruplets. You know, I think that must have been the last time I cried." Oh, the trauma. Oh, the woe. "I swear to you, all Jake and Becca want to do is keep bringing more kids in, and good luck to the rest. As soon as he decides one's a lost cause they start trying to fill the position." Nem half-smiled to themselves. It was kind of funny when they thought about it like that.
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