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It's summertime in Scotland; the weather has begun to clear, and the flowers are in full bloom! Now is a time for bonfires, stargazing and long nights spent with friends and family! Welcome to Wizarding Realm- an AU Harry Potter role play set in current day hogwarts!
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 No More Yielding, but a Dream, Nessa!
Sunny · 17 · 6th · n/a · Pureblood · 5'6"
Ravenclaw
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Jun 6 2018, 11:48 AM   Link Quote
“Are you sure you’ve done this right?” Ronan asked, sitting cross-legged on top of one of the room’s wooden desks. He held a goblet in his hands, filched earlier that morning from the breakfast table in the Great Hall. A vapor of lavender-scented smoke rolled in lazy waves over the cup’s silver lip. It tickled his nose. As he breathed it in, there was a pleasant tingling sensation that crept across his brain like morning fog over the grounds in April. His eyelids grew heavy, and he raised a hand to cover his mouth as he fought back the urge to yawn.

“You know,” he rubbed his eyes, “it’s meant to be an invigoration draught, right? The smell alone’s about to put me to sleep.” The boy set his goblet down to rub his eyes with both hands. On the desk beside him, a pewter cauldron continued to bubble, surrounded by scraps of dried billywigs, a near empty phial of infusion of wormwood, and a rather sad-looking edition of Advanced Potion-Making that appeared to have been tossed off the Astronomy Tower on more than one occasion.

Once he finished rubbing, Ronan lowered his hands and blinked his eyes into focus. He looked over at his cousin who had come up with this whole brilliant scheme. She was always on about her ideas. ’Come on, Ronan,’ she would say. ’It’ll be fun, Ronan! Don’t be such a tight arse. What could possibly go wrong?’

Well, as it turned out, a whole lot could go wrong when Nessa was involved. He remembered a time a few summers before when she thought it would be a good idea for them to spend a night camping in the forest behind the estate. The next day they had both woken up with so many bowtruckle bites that it looked like they had come down with a bad case of Dragon Pox. They spent the rest of the summer alternating between trying to drain the pus from the bites and trying not to scratch themselves raw.

Ronan wrinkled his nose at the memory before picking up his goblet again. The lavender haze wafted over him, and this time he couldn’t keep himself from yawning. It did smell nice, though, and the goblet felt warm in his hands. Maybe a sip wouldn’t hurt.

Raising the cup to his lips, the Ravenclaw took a taste of the clear liquid. It felt like silk on his tongue, smooth and warm with a hint of peppermint and a floral aftertaste. He lowered the cup and peered down into the goblet’s silver depths. Then he took a second sip. The fog encroaching on his brain thickened. Someone must have tied weights to his eyelids.

“Nessa? You must’ve done something wrong.” His tongue was thick and heavy in his mouth, and he stepped down from the desk onto the floor. The air seemed to press down on him. He sat on the ground, robes tucked under him, and ran his fingers over the cool stone of the floor before laying down on his back. Spotting his bag under the desk, he pulled out a fat textbook to place under his head. Another yawn escaped his lips.

“Yes. Something’s very wrong,” the boy said, more to himself than to his cousin. “Nessa, it’s meant to be an invigoration draught. We’re supposed to stay up to study, remember? But my eyes, they won’t stay open. And my brain? It’s gone fuzzy. I can’t feel my nose. Is that weird?” Scrunching up his face, he went cross-eyed trying to spot the tip of his nose. When he found it, a little giggle escaped him. “Nessa? We have to study, you know? For exams tomorrow. But I need my nose. I can’t show up to exams without my nose. Have you seen it?” He yawned, the room spun gently around him, and his eyes drifted shut.

“I can’t see anything at all. Have you seen it?” He rolled onto his side and pulled his robes tight against his body. The weight of sleep pulled him down, down, down, deeper into that swirl of lavender mist. His body relaxed, his breaths slowed into a steady rhythm, and the boy fell fast asleep on the classroom floor.

And then he was awake.

He sat hunched over a wooden desk. His quill scratched at a sheet of parchment rolled out under his nose as his eyes squinted down at his work. The steady ticking of a mechanical clock echoed against the stone walls of the hall in which he sat. Engrossed in his work, Ronan didn’t look up, but he could hear the footsteps of someone pacing along the top of the room, each step falling in time with the beat of the clock. There was a cramp in his hand and his back ached as he leaned over the desk. After writing a few seconds longer, Ronan sat up and set his quill down to massage the knot in his hand, but as he looked down, he found that the parchment was blank.

What in Merlin’s name . . . ? he thought to himself. Lifting his eyes from the page, he swept the room with a glance. It resembled the Great Hall, but all the tables and banners and floating candles were missing. At the front of the room, a figure paced from wall to wall along the podium where the professors usually sat. It wore a long cloak that trailed the flagstones as it walked, hood drawn over its head to hide its face.

Ronan watched it for a few long seconds as he sat at a lone desk in the center of the room. Or, at least, at first it seemed like a lone desk until a sound to his left drew his attention. There was a second desk. Another student sat there, bent over her work in much the same way he had been moments before. Her pale hair was unmistakable.

“Nessa?”

@Nessa Ivers
Ani · 16 · 6th · N/A · Pureblood · 5'4"
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Jun 6 2018, 01:55 PM   Link Quote
Warning: Explicit Language

Bright, azalea-colored eyes rolled back into her skull. It was a common occurrence, being a teen, but whenever she was around her older-than-her-by-a-few-months cousin, it seemed like she did so even more. While his comments lacked ill intent, they still managed to get on her nerves. Nessa didn’t have much patience to begin with, even after the years of practice with her cousin, so a small jab and she was driven mad.

“Yeah, Ronan, I’m sure I’ve done this right.” Her voice was soaked with irritation she didn’t bother to hide; he couldn’t read it anyway. Ronan lacked the ability to read social cues, something that over the years had gotten them into a myriad of minor spats, and a handful of large arguments. They all ended the same, however: Nessa throwing up her hands in defeat and Ronan still being confused.

He decided to remind her of the potion’s intent, as if that could now change the contents and effects of what she had finished brewing and served. Sucking in a deep breath through her nose, nostrils only slightly flaring, the girl bobbed her head. “Yes, Ronan,” she said, words exhaling from between her teeth along with her breath, both showing annoyance he wouldn’t pick up on. “I know. I know it’s supposed to be an invigoration draught. Maybe you just have some weird reaction to smelling it.”

Knowing her cousin, it wouldn’t have been very surprising.

Nessa was the type of person to avoid blame’s acceptance or burden. She was often pushing it off of herself. It wasn’t her fault they had come across a cupboard full of spiders and Ronan hadn’t been able to sleep for a week because he swore he could feel them crawling all over him. It wasn’t her fault that she had wanted some adventure. It was Ronan’s fault for being scared, or her aunt and uncle’s faults for not cleaning better. It wasn’t her fault Ronan had gotten detention because he failed to be sneaky enough getting to a party she invited him to, even if she had practically begged him to and threatened him if he didn’t.

So when her cousin took a sip of what she brewed up, and told her that she must’ve done something wrong, the girl’s chest popped out. “No I didn’t!” she shouted back, reaching out and snatching the goblet from him. He was supposed to get two, but of course he didn’t listen and only got one. “Potions is one of the things I’m actually good at in this stupid school. I did not mess it up. Here.”

And, to prove that she didn’t, Nessa promptly raised the goblet to her lips and finished off what was left. Within a matter of three gulps, the heavily scented yet transparent liquid was gone from the inside of the goblet stolen from the Great Hall, sans a few droplets. With her desperate attempt to prove Ronan wrong and right her creation’s purpose, the liquid barely touched her tongue, and so her tastebuds were left with a faint spring-y taste.

That wasn’t how she remembered the invigoration draught tasting, but . . . Whatever. She had confidence in her potion brewing abilities.

From below, someone started complaining. The girl blinked, her head swiveling on her neck, until it tilted downward instead, chin resting against her neck. It was Ronan, who had apparently decided to sit on the floor. “You’re having some weird reaction, Ronan. Just give it a minute. You’ll see.”

Nessa’s legs slowly but surely began to feel like jelly. Swaying where she stood, she set the glorified cup down onto the countertop they had stationed themselves at, and braced herself against it as she slid down to be seated also on the floor. She was only doing it to take care of Ronan, she told herself, make sure he was okay.

Then, a yawn streamed from her lips. “Damn it, Ronan. You’re making me yawn too.” Shaking her head to clear out the sudden exhaustion, the blonde scrunched up her nose. “I know we have to study, you idiot. And I know exams are tomorrow! That’s why we’re here-“ Another yawn escaped, interrupting her angered spat.

She wasn’t sure when it happened, but it did. Sleep came out of no where and mugged her of her consciousness. Slumped against the desk’s legs, the girl tumbled away from her body.

Apparently from the classroom, as well, because when she opened her eyes, she was in the exam room.

Panic instantly filled her as she clutched the quill tight. 'Shit, shit, shit,’ she thought to herself. Nessa wasn’t big on regretting things or playing what-ifs, but she found an overwhelming feeling of dread and regret as she sat in the desk, the packet in front of her entirely in gibberish, and the silence of the transformed Great Hall making the blood pounding in her ears all the more noticeable.

”Nessa?”

It broke the silence. Her heart skipped in her chest before her eyes raised, desperately trying to find the source of the name calling. She didn’t have to look far; seated in alphabetical order, Ronan was close by. Well, with only two desks in the room, he was the only other one seated.

“Ronan!” she called back, but it didn’t matter. As soon as the words left her lips, the Great Hall’s wide set of double doors was flung open. Nessa’s head turned to look back at it, and her eyes went wide. “Ro-“ she tried to call out in warning, but it was no used. A massive, tsunami-sized wave flooded into the large room, picking up the desks and the students in them with it. Nessa tried to let out a scream, but then she was underwater, lungs full of the chilling liquid.

Desperate to breathe, she utilized long strokes to try and reach the surface. It felt endless, the chase for air, but at long last, she broke through. Gasping, she treaded water. “Ronan!” she cried out again, trying to find her cousin.

Instead, she found the Giant Squid surfing on the Slytherin table.

~~~~~

@Ronan Ivers

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Sunny · 17 · 6th · n/a · Pureblood · 5'6"
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Jun 6 2018, 07:53 PM   Link Quote
Her chin lifted as if in slow motion when he called her name. Pale hair fluttered in a bob along her jaw, and when her eyes met his, they were the color of water in a tin. For the beat of a second, Ronan held her gaze before a curious noise coming from beyond the closed doors drew his attention. He had only enough time to catch the scent of salt on the air when the sound of his own name splintered through the silence and the doors burst open.

In an instant, the water rushed in and through and over him. The wave crashed down with enough force to sweep everything in its path into a swirling vortex of salt and foam. It washed Ronan arse-over-end until he lost all sense of what was up and what was down. The pressure under the water howled in his ears, and he squeezed his eyes shut as his arms scrambled to find something to hold on to. But there was nothing, just this void of cold and dark, squeezing in on him from all sides until he thought he might pop.

Then the torrent slowed. The crash and roar of the initial wave faded into the unknowable distance, traveling beyond perception into the absence of anything at all.

When Ronan opened his eyes, he didn’t realize they were open at first. The landscape was painted in a shade darker than black. It held him, weightless, suspended by the force of something he couldn’t understand. Slowly, he let out a breath. As he did, silver bubbles streamed out from between his lips. He watched them shudder in the empty space, each one producing a pinprick of light that hurt his eyes to look at. He focused instead on the spaces in between, watching from his periphery as they traveled away from him towards a distant horizon.

Where are you going? Ronan wondered. Don’t leave me here alone. Pushing his arms behind him, he struggled to propel himself onward. The bubbles shimmered always ahead, always out of reach. The boy followed them against the weight of the abyss drawing him back. He kicked and clawed ahead, not sure if he was moving forward or up or even making any progress at all. The horizon hung at a taunting distance, and yet, the more he struggled, the lighter the weight around him started to feel.

It grew lighter and he grew heavier. He picked up speed, the only evidence of which was the whistle of the wind through his hair. The atmosphere around him thinned until he didn’t have to push himself forward anymore. No, now he was falling.

His heart leapt from his body. He wanted to scream. If this was any ordinary dream his body would have jolted awake, draped in the tangle of his blankets in his bed, but the draught’s hold on him was too strong. Instead, he tumbled over himself while the air around him turned from black to grey to the pale blue shade of water in a tin.

Splash.

Ronan hit the water. His body plunged down a foot before bobbing back up to the surface. The salt burned his lungs and nose as he coughed up mouthfuls of sea water, his arms working to keep his head above the surface. Sputtering, he wiped at his eyes and squinted against the water blurring his vision. Somewhere nearby, someone called his name. His head swiveled towards the sound.

“Nessa?” he cried. “Nessa! Where are you?” His eyes searched for any sign of his cousin in the endless blue. A flicker of movement caught the corner of his eye, but it turned out only to be the Giant Squid riding the Slytherin house table over the waves. As Giant Squids are naturally prone to do.

Shaking his head, Ronan focused again on his search. It was a few seconds before he spotted his cousin bobbing nearby. “Nessa!” he shouted, swimming towards her. “Nessa, are you all right? What the hell is going on? Did you see me? I fell out of the sky! Oh, bollocks that. Did you see that bloody squid?!”

@Nessa Ivers
Ani · 16 · 6th · N/A · Pureblood · 5'4"
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Jun 8 2018, 03:52 PM   Link Quote
It seemed to vivid to be only a dream. It was why Nessa refused to believe it was. The water around her rose and fell with loud crashes, the tide tugging her this way and that. “Here! I’m over here!” she cried to the voice, desperate to find her cousin. Sure, he could be as annoying as a robbing niffler and as stubborn as a hippogriff, but she loved him. Over the years, he was the only family member she could tolerate for long periods. Knowing Ronan with his weird ticks and odd personality, that was saying something about the rest of the Ivers.

Once her cousin came into view, she aided in closing the gap between them. “Thank bloody Merlin,” she panted, shaking her head, exhausted from panic, treading water, and the wearing off of adrenaline. Ronan, somehow, wasn’t as out of breath as her. That was a bit sad, all things considered. Nessa liked to think she was a bit more athletic than her cousin. He spewed words at her, and most of them went over his head. It was something about falling out of the sky and the squid.

“Y-Yeah. I saw it,” she assured him. Glancing around, she attempted to find the aquatic animal once more, but it seemed he had zoomed out of sight. “If it’s in the water? There’s no telling what is. We need to get out: Quick.” Searching once again, the only light coming from the crackling Great Hall ceiling as it illuminated with lightning, she desperately attempted to find the desks they had been seated at before, or another house table. The former would be more difficult to navigate with two of them on it.

Fortunate enough for them, it was the latter the blue eyed girl found first.

“There!” she shouted at the other Ivers. “We have to make it. Come on, Ronan!” And with that, she began to paddle as hard as she could to reach the table. As she grew closer to it, she found that it was clad in blue. Normally? Nessa was a bit house-biased, especially during quidditch season. But in a time like this, one couldn’t be prejudiced. Utilizing a bench that was floating near by, she pushed off and up onto the wooden surface.

“Give me your hand!” she shouted into the water down below. Clutching onto the side of the table with one hand with the other outstretched, the lioness was eager to grab and hoist her cousin up and out of the water. It took a couple of tries, with slick fingers, but soon he was tugged up as well.

Sprawling out across the table cloth, the blonde heaved to catch her breath. The bewitched ceiling above them instantly calmed, soothed by the pair’s successful swim and climb to safety. Of course it decided to stop as soon as they were resting. It had been exhausting, and she wasn’t exactly the best swimmer- . . . Wait a minute. She couldn’t swim at all!

“Ronan!” she screeched again, rolling over so that she could crawl towards him on her hands and knees, ensuring that he was okay. “Ronan? I-I can’t swim. I can’t swim, and I don’t think this is, like, some situation where you learn because you have to. You know, sink or swim? That’s not how things like this work . . . Right?”

If she couldn’t swim, then how could she all of the sudden swim? Sure, she understood the basics of it, had seen a couple of idiots end up in the Great Lake during her time at the school, but never had she actually learned. How could she have known how to do it then?

“Ronan . . . Ronan? Something isn’t right. I can’t swim, and there’s no bloody way the Great Squid can surf. How did water even get in here anyway? A-And where’s all the other students that should be testing?!”

Turned out ranting was a Ivers family trait, capable no matter what the circumstance.

~~~~~
@Ronan Ivers

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Jun 8 2018, 11:10 PM   Link Quote
Ronan heard his cousin’s small voice calling out to him over the rush of the waves. He paddled towards her, slow with the weight of his sopping clothes threatening to drag him back beneath the surface. Nessa swam to meet him halfway, and his fatiguing muscles sighed as they met. The boy took a few seconds to wrestle the clasp of his robes free, and a few seconds longer to shed the garment from his body. It sank immediately, swallowed down into the black belly of the ocean. He wished he could remove his sweater as well, but the effort it would take to drag it off over his head was more than his tired arms could bear.

Meanwhile, Nessa expressed her relief at having found him. Ronan heard her sigh followed by her labored breathing. He tipped his ear towards her when she spoke, his eyes roaming the scene while his arms and legs worked in synchrony to keep his head above water. All he could see was an endless landscape of blue stretching out in all directions, fading into a distant hazy grey before vanishing where it met the horizon. Wherever they were, it was clear that they weren’t in the Great Hall anymore. There were no signs of the desks or walls or even the Giant Squid, just open, constant blue. More blue than Ronan had ever seen before, and that was saying something given that he was a Ravenclaw.

His cousin must have noticed the creature’s sudden absence as well, because she was quick to suggest that if the Squid could appear here of all places, there was no telling what else might be lurking below. An urgency crept into her tone. Ronan felt something in his chest pull tight as the bristles of his hair seemed to stand on end. It felt like a static building in the air around him. Then, quicker than he could comprehend, there was a crackle and a spark of light that left him dazzled, his vision floating with spots for a moment before he blinked them clear. Overhead, the mirror blue of the sky over the water grew dark. Fat storm clouds paraded above them, black as a Grim and twice as ominous. With the first clap of thunder, Ronan pressed his hands to his ears, his eyes stretching wide and locking on his cousin.

The boy hated storms. He hated the way the rain lashed against his windows. He hated the darkness falling like a shadow over the Earth. The thunder rattled his bones, the lightning made him jump, and it was impossible to focus on anything beyond the constant noise of it all. He recalled childhood summers spent hiding in the cramped space in the back of his wardrobe when the black storms rolled over Ireland in June. Now, a simple silencing charm and a few hours spent tucked up in his dorm while the storm passed was enough to get him through. If only it could be so easy now.

Ronan couldn’t keep his hands over his ears. He needed them to tread water. With every crash of thunder, he winced and fought back the impulse, or else his head would slip down under the waves. The storm stirred the white caps to wash against him, tossing him like a bottle in the foam. Desperately, he kept his eyes locked on his cousin, paddling to stay as close to her as he could while she searched out their rescue. The tension pulled tighter in his chest with every flash of lightning and every wave that boxed his ears. When Nessa cried out, he almost didn’t hear her over the roar of the storm.

Keeping close, he fought to follow her towards something long and solid floating several lengths away. Every stroke of his arms and kick of his legs was a battle against time and tide. The sea battered him. His sweater dragged him down. Every muscle ached. He closed his eyes and pushed forward, forward, until Nessa’s voice cut over the wind and screamed for him to take her hand. His fingers searched for hers, and then she had him.

How could such small hands be so strong? Ronan thought to himself as his cousin hauled him from the water and onto the safety of the table. His chest heaved and his heart beat like a fish out of water against his ribs. Once on the table, he flopped down on his back and fought for breath as he watched the sky shift again, clearing as quick as one could snuff out a candle.

“What sort of magic is this?” the boy panted. He wiped the water from his face with his hands and then turned his head to look at his cousin as she screeched his name. She babbled on, something about swimming or not swimming or something. Exhausted and confused, he couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

“Nessa? Nessa!” he tried to get her attention, “slow down! What’re you on about? What’s happening? I don’t understand. I fell out of the sky! Where’s the squid?” His scrambled thoughts ticked like a broken clock, but one in particular stood out. His eyes went wide. He sat bolt-upright. “Nessa! We’ve got to get back to the school! We’ve got finals!”

And that was when the scene began to change again. All around them, a green tinge started to spread through the water. At first, it was barely noticeable, but then it deepend. The waves began to calm, and then they went still. The green grew richer in shade, deepening from turquoise to emerald. As the foam retreated, grass sprouted in its place, and all around them thick-trunked trees stretched their branches from the ground. They reached towards the sky. Leaves bloomed from their crowns, shading the two Ivers in patches of dappled light.

Ronan watched the transformation, his jaw going slack. His heart still beat too hard and fast in his chest, and his brain spun for any explanation.

“Nessa? I don’t think we’re at Hogwarts anymore.”


@Nessa Ivers
Ani · 16 · 6th · N/A · Pureblood · 5'4"
Gryffindor Prefect
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Jun 11 2018, 10:26 PM   Link Quote
It seemed that, when in the high energy situation, neither one of them could make any sense of the other’s babbling. Nessa, however, felt on the edge of an epiphany. There was no way she could all of the sudden be able to swim, especially not with the height of the towering waves and the strong yanking of the tides. How in Merlin’s name did one all of the sudden develop something that took some weeks of hard practice to learn?

After Ronan snapped her out of her ranting, the bright blue gaze had sunk and tilted away from his laying figure so that she could focus on her thoughts. It wasn’t too difficult to tune out her cousin, even with his insistent tone and annoyingly set pitch. None of it made any sense, not really.

In the few moments she zoned out to try and think, their surroundings changed entirely. Her eyes had been focused upon the rich mahogany surface of the Ravenclaw table, and so when she at last looked up, the scene was stark in contrast. Lips parting, she scanned the area. Where wild waves had just been, grass the shade of limes appeared in their place. The table had settled down nicely onto a particularly large patch of grass, a beam of light shining down between the canopy above. It was an intricate weaving of branches, spreading out as far as her eye could see- Except for directly above them. How . . . Convenient.

“Ronan,” she said in a semi-stern voice, attempting to prompt her cousin to gather control over himself. “Ronan!” She said louder, shaking her head. “There’s no time to get back to the school, okay? I . . . I don’t think those were finals- Like, real finals. Where was everyone else? We aren’t the only sixth years in the entire school!”

And then he was off being dramatic and pointing out the obvious. “Yeah. No crap, Ronan. You should think about joining the aurors with that kind of detective skills.” Rolling her eyes, Nessa hopped down and off of the table. The grass below was cushiony, bracing her impact and even making her bounce a bit.

What to do next? Nessa searched the options: Stay here and talk, or move and talk. The latter was something more her speed. Exploring would lead to answers faster than sitting and doing nothing would. With such a decision made, she began to march off down the largest path. “Okay. I don’t know how to swim, other classmates should’ve been there, and there’s no way in hell you can just fall out of the sky after being underwater first. Right?” she asked her cousin, looking over at him with raised pale brows.

“Right,” she answered for him, even if he did sputter out something. “And don’t even get me started on the squid, or how in Merlin’s name we got here. None of it’s adding up.”

“So then what could it b-“ Something interrupted her. Nessa stopped in her footsteps and looked around, blinking. “Did you . . . ?” she asked in a whisper. The noise repeated, this time echoing all around them. It sounded like- “Laughter?” she questioned, glancing at her cousin. “Are you the one laughing?”

He didn’t have to answer. Out of no where, the wind picked up. It blasted through the trees, sending Nessa nearly flying. She managed to snag a branch before she did, and held out a hand to try and catch Ronan if he didn’t stop himself. With the wind came a loud whistling sound, and in it, there were five different pitches of laughter- One for each of her female cousins.

She didn’t know what the hell was going on, but she sure wanted to figure it out and make it end.

~~~~~
@Ronan Ivers

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Jun 13 2018, 10:36 AM   Link Quote
The spontaneous transmutation of the scene silenced both of them. The Ivers watched, eyes wide, lips parted, and heads tipped up to the sky as the nest of branches knitted itself into a loose canopy above them. Fingers of sunlight poked holes through the leaves, freckling the forest floor with a mosaic of light and shadow and warming Ronan’s skin in patches where it fell. The boy’s eyes strayed from the rambling branches shading over them, watching instead as the undergrowth split from the ground, leaves spreading to bask in the sun.

He spotted wood sorrel and honeysuckle, their white flowers easy to pick out among the green. The musk of thimbleweed and moss mingled with the smell of soil, damp and heavy, so rich he could taste it in the back of his throat. A stiff breeze (or perhaps it was the uncanny familiarity of this place?) stirred goosebumps to crawl up Ronan’s skin where it was still wet from the sea, and he crossed his arms over his chest as his body began to shiver. The weak sunlight filtering down through the leaves could not compete with the way his soaked clothes bled the heat from his bones.

Then the sound of his cousin’s voice called out to him. Ronan pulled his eyes from the scene to look at her, but he was only half-listening to her monologue. There was something about this place that prodded at his memory. He felt the name of it weighing on the tip of his tongue, almost there, but hovering just beyond his grasp like an itch in his brain that he couldn’t quite reach.

He plucked at the loose thread of the thought, thinking that, maybe, if he could pull it free then the whole mess would unravel its answers into his lap. But it was hard to focus. Nessa kept talking, and there was the constant rattle of his body, and the smell in his mouth, and the incessant chattering of the leaves in the wind, and that thing in his brain that itched and itched and itched until he closed his eyes, covered his ears with his hands, and drew up his knees to bury his face in them.

That was better. He could focus now. Drawing in a slow breath, he laid out the events in his mind. First, they had been in the Great Hall with the cloaked figure monitoring their exam. When Nessa disturbed the scene by calling out his name, the ocean swept in. But that wasn’t normal. That wasn’t something that happened, not even at Hogwarts where strange things always happened. The water had become the sky around him, and then he fell, somehow, into even more water. What did that mean? And once they reached the safety of the table, the scene changed again to this forest that felt all too familiar. He knew this place. He knew he knew it, from a fantasy or a memory or a . . .

Ronan teetered on the cusp of a breakthrough when the wind struck him. It knocked him from the table onto the ground, forcing the air from his lungs on impact. Eyes flying open, his fingers clawed at the ground as the wind dragged him through the soil. His hands managed to snag on the rough bark of an exposed root, and he clung on as the wind tore the water from his eyes. A distant noise echoed through the trees, filling his ears, and the sound of it hit him like a slap to the face. The thing in his brain clicked, his chest swelled with the thrill of having figured it out, and he turned his head against the wind to seek out where his cousin had flown off to.

“Nessa!” he screamed. “Nessa! It’s a dr--” before he could finish, something black and silky flew square into his face. It stifled out the sound of his voice, wrapping around his head and blinding him to the world. Ronan risked letting go of the root with one of his hands to pull the sheet from his face. The fabric came easily away, and as he squinted against the wind he realized what it was. His robes. Of course.

Held in his fist, the robes flagged in the wind. They caught the air and threatened to pull him from his position, but, this was a dream, right? And if it was a dream, it meant everything happening was all in his head, and if it was all in his head, it meant he could control it.

Closing his eyes tight again, Ronan thought hard. He focused on what he wanted: this bloody wind to stop. He reimagined the scene without it, everything still and calm the way it had been when it first appeared: the leaves quiet, the sun warm and soft, the air cloaked in the smell of the woods.

As he focused, the wind slowed. It calmed to a trickle of a breeze, and Ronan released his grip on the root. He exhaled a slow breath before opening his eyes and getting to his feet, brushing the dirt from his now-dry clothes. With his robes still in hand, he pulled them on over his clothes, and then turned to look for his cousin.

“Nessa? It’s a dream,” he repeated. Somewhere in the distance, he could hear the steady ticking of a mechanical clock. The laughter on the wind seemed to wander away from them, retreating deeper into the woods until it vanished into the stagnant air. “It’s a dream,” Ronan said again. He rubbed his wind-burnt cheeks. His hands shook. “It’s a dream. It’s a dream. It’s a dream.” A breath of laughter escaped him. “Nothing’s real. It’s only a dream. Nessa? Where did you go?”


@Nessa Ivers
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Yesterday at 12:12 pm   Link Quote
The laughter quickly manifested to be more than she could handle, echoing in her ears and driving her crazy. Ronan had caught a nearby branch, leaving her with a free hand. However, as the wind continued to blow, she found herself needing two hands to grip. Somehow, the laughter was worse than the five girls’ collective one- The real five girls. So high in octaves, it might as well have been a single-pitched banshee screech.

At long last, she gave up holding onto the branch and desperately sought to plug her fingers into her ears.. As soon as she let go, the girl went sailing backwards. The wind grabbed her bright hair and whipped it about in her face, momentarily blinding her. Despite having the dark forest as a background, the light coloring of her hair being whipped directly in her eyes prompted lack of sight.

Which meant she didn’t see the earth reach right up and swallow her whole.

Down, down, down she fell. When she landed, it was with a noise of surprise. “Oof,” she exhaled, the noise more a reaction than a calling out of pain. No pain was felt at all, actually. It wasn’t that the dirt she had landed in braced her fall, because it shouldn’t have. If anything, it only should’ve made it hurt more. Yet, there she was, a good ten or so feet under the ground, completely unscathed.

The hole she had fallen into disappeared, the dirt above her molding to cover it. Under the ground, now without light pouring in from the hole, it was pitch black, with mixes of earthy tones that left her unable to see- Even once she managed to brush her hair out of her eyes. Slowly but surely, after some unknown period of time to the girl sans watch or another means to tell it, her bright eyes began to adjust to the darkness.

As the blackness cleared, it gave way to a tunnel, and then another just off to her right. After a few more seconds, Nessa realized just what she had gotten herself into: A whole underground system of tunnels. It seemed that every few feet or so, there was another large chasm leading off in a completely different direction than the ones on either side.

Not one to admit to growing claustrophobic, Nessa found discomfort developing in the pit of her stomach, but attempted to shove it away. The thought of being loss down in the labyrinth only made the discomfort grow into something more. Suddenly it felt like she couldn’t breathe. What if there truly was no getting out? Or, somehow even worse, what if something was lurking down here, and it would be the reason she couldn’t get out?

Just as the fear began to paralyze her, a bright flash of hope illuminated the way. At a quick speed, the creature flashed by her and down one tunnel. For a few moments, she blinked in awe, dumbfounded. In it tracks, the creature stopped. Its bright nose scrunched up and down at her, wiggling in expectation. It wanted her to follow it.

Wide-eyed, she moved zombie-like towards it. The bunny moved in quick hops, darting this way and that. Her pace began to increase too to keep up with it, and by the time natural lighting began to stretch into her vision, relief flooded her. There would be no battling of some awful creature to be released from the tunnel scheme; instead, the bunny apparation led her right out.

”Nessa? Where did you go?” rang out her cousin, voice shrill and elated at the same time. The bunny’s ears twitched at hearing the shout, then looked up to the blonde, as if to question the call. “D-Do you know where he is?” she asked it, and the animal answered by sniffing the air, twitching its ears, and then hopping off.

~~~~~
@Ronan Ivers

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Yesterday at 07:37 pm   Link Quote
His voice rang out between the trees, answered only by silence. Lowering his hands from his face, Ronan let his eyes skim the forest around him. He turned in a slow circle, feet shuffling the dirt beneath him and his robes catching in the undergrowth, but Nessa was nowhere to be found.

Any elation he had felt moments before sank with his stomach. His heart inched up into his throat where it beat against his windpipe. Swallowing it down, he wiped the sweat from his shaking hands off on his robes and called out again.

“Nessa . . . ?”

Not even the hint of a breeze whispered back to him. A mounting panic seized his chest, and he was struck again by the disquieting feeling that he had experienced this before. It teased him in the familiar, fleeting way of a dream half-remembered, the kind of dream that stuck in your gut long after waking, and even longer after the details had escaped your mind like air through a pinhole.

“Déjà vu,” he named the feeling to himself in a mumble, as if maybe giving it a label would stifle out the discomfort that slithered beneath his skin. Then he gave his head a shake and reminded himself: “It’s just a dream, Ronan.” The air was so quiet that he couldn’t be sure if he’d said the words out loud, or if he had thought them loudly enough to imagine that he heard them. His fingers fidgeted at his collar as he continued his slow circling, eyes searching for any sign of movement against the motionless foliage.

Nothing. Nothing but shadows and sunbeams and layers of green on green on green. Nothing but the distant ticking of a clock, marking out the seconds with a rhythm so constant that it melted into the background and out of Ronan’s notice. The table still sat in the grass a few paces from where Ronan stood, and he stepped closer as his eyes continued to sweep the area.

“Nessa?” he called out again. “This isn’t funny. Come back!” The boy climbed on top of the table to give himself a better view of the area. He cupped his hands around his mouth and called out his cousin’s name again.

Then he heard it: the snap of a twig to his right. His whole body pivoted and he squinted towards the sound of the noise. “Ness?” he said as his eye caught a flicker of white, the flutter of black fabric, and he heard the rustle of something brushing through the undergrowth. The figure dodged between the trees at a sprint, and Ronan took a half step backwards as his fingers fumbled for his wand in his robes. Before he could draw it, the full figure of a girl stepped out from behind a tree and into view.

He let out a loud sigh of relief.

“Nessa, I thought you were gone,” he said, fingers relaxing around his wand and his hands falling back to his sides.

“There you are, Ronan,” the girl said back. She stood with her hands on her hips and her chin wagging in the air. “I knew you wouldn’t have gone far, but your mum’s been looking for you. Says you’re expected at the house.”

The Ravenclaw blinked down at the figure of his cousin. “What d’you mean? I’m not expected--”

“Ronan!” Nessa interrupted. “Don’t tell me you forgot.”

“But I didn’t--”

“Hurry up! Uncle Alby’s there already, and so are the wandmakers. You’re late! And,” she paused, nose scrunching, “what in Merlin’s name do you think you’re doing on that table?”

At her words, Ronan dropped his eyes down to see the table under his feet, as if he had forgotten that he’d climbed up there in the first place. He hopped back down onto the ground. “Err, sorry, right,” he mumbled, walking closer to his cousin with his eyes still cast down.

The girl rolled her eyes and started leading the way into the trees. Only, before they could get further than a few steps, a rustling noise came from behind them. Both cousins came to a stop. They turned to watch as a small white rabbit popped out from under a root. Ronan’s brow wrinkled at the sight of it. He had never seen a white rabbit in the forest before. Curious, he went to step closer for a better look when a second girl appeared. She strode out from behind a tree, appearing in much the same fashion as the first girl, and looking very much the same as the first Nessa in every conceivable way. From her short-stature to the bob of her white-blonde hair, everything about the second Nessa was indistinguishable from the first, except, perhaps, for the expression on her face.

Ronan stood, face blank as he stared at the newcomer. Then his eyes shifted from her to the Nessa standing beside him, and he watched as she moved to stand in front of him. She positioned herself between him and the new Nessa. Drawing her wand, she raised it and pointed it square at the new Nessa, but when she spoke it was to Ronan.

“Ronnie! You have to get out of here. Get back to the house. Quick! She’s trying to make you late for the meeting!”

“But--”

“I said go!”

But he didn’t move. He stood where he was, his gaze shifting from one version of his cousin to the other, his brain too tangled in how quickly everything happened to make any sense of what in the name of Merlin was going on.

@Nessa Ivers
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