Wizarding Realm
Winter 2018

Welcome to Wizarding Realm! We are an alternate universe Harry Potter site set in the present day at Hogwarts. With the end of November, arrives the Winter Term! Snow isn't the only thing to dust these cold, Scottish months; many new and exciting events await the students and staff as they prepare for both the holidays and the new year. In the meanwhile, they can skate across the lake, go gift shopping in quaint Hogsmeade, or stay indoors and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa!

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 * Calling all Corpses, Ria <3
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Halloween was bittersweet, but in the past months, everything had be bittersweet - a cake with more than just the suggested amount of salt in it; like those poor attempts of baking Octavius had dealt with before Finch had thrown him out of their small kitchen because the result had been a true disaster. Not to mention that the herd had almost caught fire. Hadriana was more skilled when it came to such things, and he was aware that she was taking Magical Home Economics in order to help out at home. That should not be her duty, because he was the older brother and her legal guardian. But unfortunately, even Tavy could not do everything all by himself, and he had to leave some things to Ria, no matter how bad it made him feel. But tonight, all these things were supposed to be forgotten for a while, as it was All Hallow’s Eve, and his sister had someone managed to dress adorably even though they lacked all the money for fancy costumes. He had not even bothered with trying - the only thing that hinted at being dressed up was the hair band on his messy hair, fixed with bobby pins so it was not going to fall off.

The small pumpkins bobbed up and down with every step he took, walking up all those stairs from the Hufflepuff dorms towards the first floor. He almost blended in with the darkness of the corridors, given he was dressed in all black, pulling those sleeves of his jumper over his calloused fingers. No sound was made by the sneakers he wore, just the soft tap, tap when he climbed up the stairs. Other students in costumes crossed their path, and it reminded him of those times when their father had allowed them to go trick-or-treating with him, hand-sewn, orange bags in their hands with a pumpkin face drawn on them dangling from their arms. He had accompanied them of course, because living in close neighbourhood with muggles did not necessarily mean to trust them, and Tavy remembered the prettily lit pumpkins with candles inside them that had decorated the doors of the houses, and the other children in their homemade costumes - or bought, because some looked too good to be done by unskilled hands.

He remembered how Ria’s little hand had felt in his, and how he had often picked the sweets she liked best out of his bag to throw them into hers. Some things never changed, and in this moment, he felt the hole in his heart more than he usually did, swallowing down the lump in his throat. He missed their father so badly. But Tavy was not going to show these emotions, he rather reached out and petted Ria’s arm softly before smiling at her. “That’s the door, right?” he asked absently, already reaching for the doorknob without really paying attention. The tall badger took the lead, for a moment surprised by the way the hallway towards the Great Hall seemed to be darkened - but that most likely belonged to the decoration just like the floating Jack-O-lanterns and the real-life bats that decorated the ceiling. With a soft sigh, he retrieved his wand from the back of his pants, muttering “Lumos" before he almost took a stumbling step back.

This was not the Great Hall - it was a grave. No, not exactly a grave, as the distinct scent he connected with death was lacking. But there were skulls upon skulls stacked along the walls, smiling faces of death and decay with eyeholes that looked even more eerie due to the fact that he had raised his wand. Octavius could have sworn he saw the flimsy legs of a spider appear from the hole where the nose should be located, and he shuddered as he reached out, hand wrapping around Ria’s wrist. “We should leave,” he stated firmly - and it was then when he heard a sound from behind, like the lid of a casket or a chest being opened slowly. One, two, three. No, counting up did not help, and neither would counting down. This was real, and it was too late to turn away.

@Hadriana Pursglove
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Once upon a time, the thought of Halloween had been exciting. It had meant candy, spending time with her brother and father, and of course, those costumes that she always spent weeks looking forward to wearing. In retrospective, her choices in attire had been all too expected, feminine, and unsurprising: a ballerina, a princess, a fairy, an angel, a mermaid, the list went on and on, but it wasn’t as if she could help it, as those were simply the things she liked and such a fact was something she would not even bother denying. The costumes had been pretty and colourful, and all too well she remembered the beautiful sight of those shimmering fabrics; the way she had smiled at her mother, how she had twirled in those skirts, and even how she had sat patiently as her hair was braided with so much care. That Halloween night, there were braids as well, her caramel blonde hair styled into a low chignon onto which flowers of pink and lilac shades had been placed. Apparently, some things never change, as even if she no longer was the little girl she had once been, her choice for a costume had still been dressing up as a fairy, and one too many hours had been spent preparing for that Halloween.

Why? Why did she care? Why did any of it matter anyone if it was far from those Halloweens which’s memories had turned bittersweet? Perhaps it was because it gave her the illusion of normality, allowing her to pretend that everything was still just fine, that nothing had changed since last Halloween and that she could enjoy the night eating candy by her brother’s side. The problem was that too much had changed for Hadriana to pretend she did not notice those things anymore, because even preparing for that night had taken so much more effort than what it had in the past, her costume made by her and not bought. How many hours had she wasted visiting thrift shops to find the perfect dress to modify? It was shorter than what she would have liked, and the chill temperature of the corridors made her wish she had had the luxury to bother with wearing tights that could so easily be ripped and torn. There was discomfort, and uneasy thoughts filled her mind as she walked through those corridors, gaze falling onto jack-o-lanterns that no longer looked as mesmerizing as they had in the past, almost as if all the enchantment about All Hallows Eve had been forever lost. Disillusionment, a sensation she had grown used to the past few months, like the feeling of watching those snow globes she had once liked to collect, and how they lost their charm when they were accidentally dropped from shelves because of a child’s carelessness.

It was sad, and that was another sensation she realized she had grown familiar with, yet despite it all she found herself smiling faintly, keeping up that lie of a normal Halloween as she looked at her brother. Tavy. Tavy who had always been there for her and wanted to see her happy. Tavy who she knew would have done anything for her. Tavy mattered more than anyone in her life. It was for him that she needed to be strong, as during the past few months Hadriana had learned that sometimes being strong also meant lying to those who she loved about the things she felt and thought. So, when he pet her arm, she simply smiled in response, fingers of purple painted nails finding the sleeve of his sweater almost instinctively - as she had done ever since they had been mere children. How long would she be able to smile? How long would she be able to pretend as if everything was alright? The uneasy feelings never seemed to leave her, and in fact they only found themselves increased as Octavius reached for the door, her green gaze blinking to adjust to the sudden changes in lighting. There was something strange about all that, because even for Halloween things did not seem quite right.

No. Nothing was right, as it was not the Great Hall they had reached, and the girl felt that knot tighten in her throat as she looked at her surroundings, gaze falling onto the hundreds of skulls that were aligned along the walls. Death. She wanted to leave, she wanted to run out of there and forget all the memories that came with the sight of coffins and skeletons, but there was the part of her that reminded her that it was Halloween, that those were just decorations, that it was all supposedly to be harmless and there to make the castle look spooky. She was supposed to be strong, she was supposed to enjoy herself as she had done so every Halloween, yet instead she felt watched and scared and just wanted to hug her brother and ask him to take her away from that place. “Tavy,” she whispered softly, voice shaken, and it was then when his hand wrapped around her wrist, pronouncing those words she had also been wanting to say. It was too late, as there was a rattling sound that sent chills down her spine, moving closer to the older boy as if he could protect her from whatever harm may have come. In her mind, he could, because he had always been able to do just as much.

---
@Octavius Pursglove
|Costume|

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The rattling sound should have been a warning.

Even when it came to wizards, everyone knew that a coffin that suddenly began to wobble by itself would likely always mean trouble, and it wasn’t much different in this particular situation.

The creature stirred within it’s hideout, surrounded by darkness, sensing the presence of the young wizards who innocently thought they would get to enjoy their night at a party. The creature was hungry. It wanted out, it wanted to face them, to feed on their worst fears and nightmares. Which would it be? Which form to take? Who would it face?

The rattling became louder and louder, noise almost unbearable until there was sudden silence. It was free, it appeared right before them…

Remember, when facing a Boggart, it's always best to have company.

Dice Roll: 1d18: 17 = 17
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As if the Halloween decoration did not already wake all too many memories Octavius almost desperately tried to suppress, his little sister’s costume only added to it. Once more he was reminded of better, happier days when they had still enjoyed their lives and money had never been a question. They did not have to worry about the prize for costumes or candy, and all too well he remembered the sparkly and colourful costumes Hadriana used to wear, one more precious than the other. He did not know how she truly did it, but she still managed to look flawless when one did not look too close and saw the irregularities in her haircut and the fact that they had run out of money for high class makeup. It was one of those nights when he wanted to apologize to Ria, as if it was his fault that they had to roam thrift shops for clothes and sometimes even their school accessories, because this world was an expensive one - especially when one had a reputation to uphold and pretend that everything was okay. Nothing was okay, and it showed on the badger’s face, even when he forced a smile on his face for Hadriana.

“You look awesome today,” he said quietly, admiring how much effort must have gone into making the fairy dress look the way it did now. She shouldn’t have to suffer so much all the time, she should be allowed to buy pretty costumes and dresses without having to worry about fixing them up all by herself. Tavy reached out and pinched the bridge of his nose for a moment before his faux confidence was ruined by the sight of skulls and bones instead of the floating pumpkins of the Great Hall. This was a nightmare, and it seemed like the Pursgloves had stumbled straight into it. If anyone knew about nightmares, it was the two of them - they had seen enough to fuel the bad dreams of several children, and yet they were still here; smiling like the perfect pureblood offsprings most people still took them for. One only had to come close enough, and the cracks in the surface would become all too visible, showing in the insecure way his sister’s voice was shaking.

It took the way her slender fingers wrapped around his wrist to pull him back, and he reached out, holding onto her. “We should leave, this is a bad place,” he stated quietly - words that were only underlined by the rattling that kept going on. “Go back to the stairs, I am coming,” Octavius added quickly, gently nudging Ria back towards the staircase as the rattling was becoming increasingly louder, and a sudden banging sound made several skulls crash to the floor where teeth and smaller bone parts were falling off. Tavy closed his eyes for a moment, raising his wand - and then, the whole room turned dark for a moment. “Ria? Ria?” he called out, only then noticing that the light of his wand had been extinguished as well. “Lumos!” the boy muttered once more. When he lowered the wand away from the empty holes where eyes were supposed to be located in a skull, the light fell on a body on the floor - a body wearing beautiful fairy wings that shimmered in the shine of the glowing tip of his wand. “Ria?”

Octavius’ breath hitched as he stumbled forward, his knees giving way. Hadriana was lying on the floor, still wearing the fairy dress while single strands had escaped her carefully crafted hairstyle. Pale eyes were staring at the ceiling, empty and lifeless. “Ria, no...not you too...Ria…,” he whispered, reaching out to touch her shoulder. Her flesh was cold, ice cold. “Ria….” The young man’s voice broke as he clutched his hand in front of his mouth, tears streaming down his face while he was staring at his dead sister. It was not fair. Tavy did not feel the warm blood running from his right nostril as he dropped his wand. Once more the room became dark, and he leaned forward, resting his upper body on the cold corpse of Hadriana, his sudden pained cry in the only sound in the darkness he could hear.

@Hadriana Pursglove
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’You look awesome today.’

Did she really? Was that just one of those things Tavy said because he was her brother and he wanted to see her happy? Hadriana Pursglove was no stranger to receiving compliments on her appearance, as such things came almost as a given when being a girl in a society like the one they had been raised in. It was like when people said ‘How are you?’ to each other; no one ever cared about the response, and no one ever expected to hear anything that wasn’t positive and easily to dismiss as the conversation went on. A thousand people may have told her she was pretty in her lifetime, and she still was unsure if she believed any of them, but she did believe Octavius, for she knew all too well that even if he was wrong and she did not look awesome at all, he believed she did, much alike the way she believed that those little pumpkins on his head looked adorable with the way they bobbed as he walked. “Thank you. Though a fairy costume isn’t very original, is it?” She admitted, allowing herself a gentle giggle as she reached up to poke one of those pumpkins, watching the way it swung back and forth before her gaze set on her brother’s. “I could have made you a costume too, you know? It’s your last Halloween at Hogwarts, isn’t it supposed to be memorable?” Despite her words, there was no reproach in her tone, for Hadriana also knew exactly why Octavius had not even bothered with such a thought.

If only she had known exactly why that Halloween was going to be memorable. If only she had been able to guess what kind of terrible nightmares awaited them as they stepped into those catacombs that should not have even been there to begin with. Yet Hadriana was no diviner or seer, and all she could rely on were her intuitions. Those same intuitions that pushed her to move closer to her brother, that made her voice shake as she held onto him in a desperation ever so silent. He asked her to move, to go back to the stairs, but not a single step was taken by her shimmering ballet flat - those which had been covered in purple glitter just for that evening. She felt weak, frail, like those porcelain dolls that could so easily break, quite sure that she would fall to the ground if she dared take a step. She wanted to call out to Octavius, to ask to leave with her, but before words could be spoken, darkness came. “Tavy?” The young witch called out, and she watched him when the light returned, watched him as he called out her name in increasing distress. Could he not hear her? Could he not see that she was right there? “Tavy? What’s wrong?” She asked then, wishing she could move, wishing she could reach out and take her brother out of that place. There was something else, and one hesitant step was taken forward as the boy dropped to his knees.

It was then when she saw it, and oh how she wished she had not seen a thing. A chill ran down her spine, eyes growing wide as she attempted to understand exactly what was the scene she was looking at at those moments. No, she knew, because it was the same image that had stared back at her from the other side of a mirror that afternoon. Herself. Paler, fallen onto the ground like a puppet with no puppeteer in sight. She looked broken...no, she looked dead, and the realization made her stomach twist and turn, trying to stop those increasing feeling of nausea that made her want to throw up her dinner as she reached out to support herself on the wall. But it was not the wall that her hand touched, instead something smooth and cold, round, a skull of yellowed teeth that stared at her through those dark hollowed cavities where eyes had one been. Her breath hitched, immediately jerking back and holding her own hand. Why? Why was all that happening? Hot tears rolled down her cheeks, likely ruining the makeup she no longer could concern herself with. In the distance, she could hear the sound of Tavy’s pained cries, and it was a sound that brought her back to reality, wondering when was the last time he had heard such despair in the voice of that boy she loved so much. Never, because Octavius Pursglove could not afford to show such pain, not in front of her.

It hurt her. It angered her, and it also filled her with concern. Nothing about that made sense, and no matter how many times she said her brother’s name, it seemed her voice was never heard. “Tavy. Tavy, please…” the girl whispered hopelessly, her own voice interrupted by sobbing as she moved closer, looking away from the fallen body that looked so much like her. It could not be here, she was not dead. “Tavy. Tavy, I’m here, please look at me.” She begged, feeling how cold the ground was against her bare knees as she kneeled in front of him, trembling hands placed on his cheeks. “It will be alright, it’s all a bad dream.” But was it really? What other explanation could there be? She did not understand it, and she did not care for understand at all, gaze so fixed on her brother that she almost did not notice when the corpse between them disappeared, when it turned into a darkness that shifted its shape into something else. There was a sound, new and different yet one that was familiar: heels inpatiently tapping onto hard floors.

Hadriana.” Once again, she struggled to breath, for the voice was cold, one she could not forget no matter how many months had passed, one that haunted her nights more often than not. Tears fell onto her dress and as she turned to face the person addressing her, she did not wipe them away, for she could barely even move, her hands dropping from Octavius’ face. There, in that room that was so filled with reminders of death, was Phillipa Pursglove, her heels being the only remnant of her usual elegant clothes, instead wearing a simple striped dress that looked worn out and old; her blonde hair was not in tied up as it once had been, instead messy and full of knots, and no makeup adorning her hateful expression as she looked down at that girl she was supposed to love. She looked different, yet it was still her, still the woman who had taken everything away from them. Her wand was in hand, and behind her, there was a corpse. “It has been long. I expected you to visit me long ago.”

“Mum,” she greeted, but only terror filled her voice.

@Octavius Pursglove

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If Octavius noticed the small moment of hesitation, he did not let it show. When words were repeated too often, they lost their meaning - much like replying to the question concerning one’s current state of feeling with I’m fine almost automatically without thinking about it too much. In a world where not all that glittered was truly gold and not every pumpkin was seen fit to become an enchanted carriage for a princess, the truth was not valued as much as it should have been. No one wanted to hear how much their heart and head ached with every step their acquaintance took and how much their breath heaved at times becomes even opening their mouth for the much needed air had turned into effort. No one wanted to see those two alleged orphans that had not only lost their parents, yet also their home, the family’s business and their fortune. The image of picture-perfect children who had lost their parents in a tragic accident rather than having lost their father to their cold-hearted mother was carefully stored away, and only Hadriana and him were allowed to see it. But towards each other, they could still be honest - and every time Tavy stated that Ria looked great, he meant it.

For him, she was always going to be the prettiest girl, his little sister he needed to protect from all the harm of this world even if he knew that it was impossible to do. “Most people would choose a scarier costume, so a fairy is definitely different from everything else,” he replied quietly, looking at Ria and offering her the smallest of smiles that for once even reached his eyes and brightened them for two seconds. Then, he already felt bad again because he thought he was ruining her costume with his own - sweatpants, a sweater and the hairband with the happily bobbing pumpkins. Octavius knew that she did not mean to accuse him of anything, but Hadriana’s words still reminded him of the fact that he had put close to zero effort in this so-called costume. “I did not want to bother you with it, it is just Halloween,” the boy muttered, awkwardly running a hand through his messed-up hair. Although he could not keep himself from laughing as Ria poked the pumpkins that started dancing even more.

Only few minutes later, Octavius wished they had never walked down these stairs and had just returned to their dorms, passing by the kitchens to grab some pumpkin pies and other Samhain-themed snacks instead of trying to blend in with the crowd. All thoughts of celebrations were abandoned as the world stood still and all he could see was Hadriana’s dead body, looking even more fragile and usual - a discarded doll no one was ever going to pick up again because she was broken. He did not hear his sister’s calls or saw her - there was only darkness and the body he was holding, slowly pulling Ria’s head on his lap while shaking fingers caressed her soft and silken hair. “I am sorry, I am so sorry..,” Octavius kept repeating, even if he did not know what he was apologizing for. All of the sudden, there were hands on his face and he looked up through a veil of tears. It’s all a bad dream. He blinked, and when he looked down to the floor, the body was fading away, and his hands reached for his sister’s - only then realizing that they were already gone again.

The familiar voice of Philippa Pursglove cut through the catacombs, and only then Tavy believed that Hadriana was indeed alive. He looked up, only to see his mother in the grey dress of Azkaban prisoners, looking as cold as she had in the night she had murdered their father - and there, right behind her was a dead body, this time not Ria’s. Slowly it dawned on Octavius that they must have ran into a boggart. Trembling hands reached for his wand as he got up. The terror in his little sister’s voice was enough to grant him the strength of raising it, staring at his mother how she must look now - wrecked, no longer as flawless as he knew her. “R-riddiculus,” he whispered - yet how did one defeat a true nightmare while the image of Hadriana, dead, was still imprinted on his mind?

@Hadriana Pursglove
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At some point in their lives, most little girls wished to be like their mothers; looked up to them, admired them, imitated their every move and even wanted to dress just like them. As much as later she would have liked it not to be that way, Hadriana Pursglove had been no exception to that rule, and hours after hours had been spent following her mother, patiently watching the way she applied make up every morning as if she were painting a masterpiece on her own face. Sometimes, Phillipa would be kind enough to let her daughter sit by her side next to the vanity, the child having to stretch her neck as much as possible to properly see her own face in the large mirror, her feet dangling because she was too small to even reach the floor as she sat on that comfortable white bench. She remembered the feeling of the woman’s elegant and ever-manicured fingers gently holding her chin, how the brush had tickled as it painted her lips of soft pink, and she also remembered the reprimanding words when the feeling had caused her to giggle - told to keep quiet and stay still. Eventually, despite all that, perhaps those were some of the best memories of her mother the girl would ever have, although at those moments, during that Halloween night, she definitely did not think of those times.

When had it been that she had stopped admiring Phillipa Pursglove? When had she stopped following her and wishing to be the carbon copy of who her mother was? It had been long before the woman had turned into the nightmare that stole away Hadriana’s sleep, but as much as the young witch wished to pinpoint a particular moment, it just felt if that was the way things had always been. Every thought of Phillipa came accompanied by thoughts of the things she had done; of the way she had yelled during that terrible summer night, how the sound of her voice had awakened her children and concerned them, how they had wanted to know what was occurring and been permanently changed because of what they had witnessed that night. As much as she wished to forget, she couldn’t, and the scenes were often repeated in her mind, just like they were repeated as she gazed into those eyes that stared at her in anger, making her wonder how it was that her mother was there that night. She wanted to ask, but no words came, instead just staring at the witch - at her Azkaban robes, her uncared-for hair, and how she looked so terribly hollow and thin. At those moments, her fear was accompanied by guilt, and if her tears could have poured down with any more strength they would have, because her mother was right, and even though Hadriana knew she should have visited long ago, she could not bring herself to do as much.

It was only when the incantation was pronounced that she remembered of Octavius’ presence, the sight of her mother being one shocking and terrifying enough to make her forget everything about their situation. Riddikulus. If anything, it served as a call to reality, a reminder of where they were, of the date, and of that Phillipa Pursglove couldn’t have possibly been at Hogwarts when she was truly locked away in a cell. A boggart, that was what it was, and that was also when the girl remembered about the sight of her own corpse, all pieces suddenly clicking into place and making sense. But despite all her sudden understanding, fear was not something that could be easily washed away, especially because their mother was still there, her stare was still cold, her wand was still in her hand, and the corpse was still right behind her. Nothing had changed, Octavius’ spell had failed, and realizing as much made her eyes widen in horror, temptatively reaching for her brother’s hand as she could not look away from the woman whose cold eyes still stared directly at her. “Tavy…” She mumbled, and her own voice broke then, unsure of what was it that she had even wanted to say. As much as Hadriana wanted to cast the spell herself, she couldn’t even find the strength to reach for her own wand, and that was when the boggart took a first step towards her.

There was, unquestionably, a horrified scream that Hadriana would likely later forget, squeezing her brother’s hand as she tried to bring herself to do something, anything at all. If the boggart approached, would it attack Tavy again? Would it turn into that dead body that looked so much like her? Somehow, the thought of once again seeing her brother in such pain resulted to be even worse than the sight of Phillipa Pursglove as she had seen her when the woman had been taken away, and it was enough to get her to move, to rise to her feet and pull onto the boy, turning away from that creature that looked so much like the mother that had taken it all from them. “Tavy, we need to go. We need to go right now,” Hadriana said, and while her voice was soft and quiet, a mere whisper in that room of death, this time, it did not shake or hesitate. Dirt marked her knees and dress, her makeup was ruined because of the tears that refused to stop falling, but the girl did not care, her only concern being reaching the stairs, never daring to let go off her brother’s hand or look back at the place where her mother had stood so menacingly. And there was one thought of which she could not let go, one that made her steps even more hurried than they already were and that had caused nightmares before: if the Aurors had not arrived to stop Phillipa, would she have killed her children as well?

@Octavius Pursglove

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Octavius Pursglove has never been his mother's boy - and maybe one of the reason for such a thought was the fact that he was a boy and not a perfect little doll that could be dressed in adorable skirts and dresses. Unlike Hadriana, he would not watch his mother apply makeup, but would follow his father like a fateful puppy, trying to absorb whatever wisdom Mister Pursglove had to share with him - be it about Quidditch or brooms in general. At this point in Tavy's life, he had always believed that he too would be a broommaker one day, working side by side with his father and making him proud - as proud as he had made him by succeeding his first flight on a broom without falling off. Oh, how well he remembered the day when his father had given him the custom-made broom, and how much joy he had felt when he had hugged his father with almost unnatural passion. Tavy was a calm boy, not prone to outbreaks or exceptional highs or lows. But on this day, his whole body had felt like it was filled with happiness - happiness Ria must have felt when she had been given her beloved horse. It was painful to think how the days they had to sell both the horse and the broom were the dark mirror twins of their happiest days, although seeing their father dead on the floor was a darker, more terror-inducing thought than losing his broom for the tall young man.

Their mother had always been cold, although for others she pretended to be the loving mother, tugging their hair and clothes in place and public and drawing their children as if they were her most precious treasures. Her paintings had been sold as well, as they had given them the money they so desperately needed now - and while the shock of having seen Hadriana dead on the floor was still lingering in Tavy's veins, it was hard to resist the sudden hurricane of memories he experienced as he looked into Philippa's face. Was that how she loojked now? They should have visited her, but he could not bring himself to face her without the images of the fatal night flashing in front of his eyes. She had taken everything from them - their home, their father, his love and their lives, because nothing was the same ever since that night. How bad was it for Hadriana who always seemed to have been a little closer to their mother? Did she feel guilt or regret? Octavius did not know, as all he felt was the increasing worry and the terrible exhaustion, only now tasting the blood that had ran from his nose down to his lips - coppery and metallic, although not unfamiliar at all.

Even though the connection between the images - the dead boy and their mother - and a boggart had come to his mind, the charm failed because there was nothing he could imagine that would turn their mother into something more entertaining. There was a small spark emerging from the tip of his wand, and all of the sudden, he heard his mother's laughter - unnatural, fake and high-pitched as it had often been when she had laughed at the joke of some other pureblood during those balls and gatherings, holding a glass of wine or champagne in her always so carefully manicured fingers. Now, her nails were no longer painted or taken care for - they looked dirty and chewed on, almost a living corpse's hands. "Pathetic and weak, just like your father," Phillipa laughed, throwing her haggard face back as she laughed again. It was the warmth of Hadriana's hand that pulled him back into the reality, cobalt blue and now red-rimmed eyes staring at his little sister in nothing but utter terror. Their mother - no, the boggart - was approaching them, and there were only few chances to escape them. What happened when one could not defeat one's boggart? Tavy did not know, but he also did not wish to find out today, squeezing Ria's smaller hand.

He allowed her to take the lead, hurrying after her - up all those stairs and past the skulls that seemed to grin at them in a mocking way, yellowed teeth laughing at their fear. They were like Hänsel and Gretel in the forest, running from the evil mother - but in their case, the mother was their own and not just the new wife of their father. Octavius' breath came too fast, and every breath he took was hurting him. Finally, the door was reached, pushed open with ease and smacked close with force to lock the boggart in the catacombs that had shaped seemingly out of nothing down there. Slowly, the bagder sank against the wooden door, still holding his little sister's hand before he allowed himself to reach out and pull her into his arms, clinging to the smaller body in the now distorted dress. "I'm sorry, Ria, I'm so sorry...," Tavy whispered, only then realising that he was crying, staining his sister's dress with tears on top of the dirt and dust from the crypt they had been caught in.

@Hadriana Pursglove
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"Everyone thinks that we're perfect"
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Sometimes, when life got too hard and she felt as if she would not be able to handle another breath, Hadriana liked to close her eyes and pretend. She imagined things that had happened once and things that perhaps would never be, all those which conformed her happy place. It was silly, she knew as much, but there was something strangely comforting about thinking of those endless fields of white; of the cold of frost making her cheeks and nose redden right before she decided to pull up her scarf. If she focused really hard, she could even hear the gentle neighing of her horse as she caressed the side of his neck, feeling the movement of every muscle in the creature’s body as she sat on its back. Sometimes Octavius was there too, reminding her to be careful, smiling at her, or even laughing as they made angel figures in the snow. Why couldn’t they return to those winters when everything had been perfect? Those when she had spent afternoons outside riding her horse, when Tavy and her had played together in the snow, when their father had taken them on sledge rides, and when the only real reason she had had to run from their mother was because she insisted on making her wear even warmer coats.

At those moments, the girl wished the only reason she had to run from their mother was not wanting to wear a coat, fearing she would trip and fall with everything step taken by those ballerina flats that had definitely not been made to run anywhere at all. In fact, nothing about Hadriana Pursglove was truly made to run, as dolls were not supposed to participate in such activities, and her mother had always said a lady was never supposed to rush. Ironic, was it not? How even when running from her, even when not daring looking back, she could not help but remember the teachings of that woman she had grown to fear, tears clouding her vision as she made her way up those stairs that probably shouldn’t have even been there. The girl could feel her chest burning up, every breath coming out laboured by the time they reached the door, barely even hearing the sound of it being smacked close as she stopped on her tracks. At first, she didn’t turn back to look at Octavius, her left hand placed over her stomach in a futile attempt to ignore the pain, doing her best to steady her breath before being pulled down with her brother, suddenly finding herself in the arms of the boy.

It was warm, and nice, and when she closed her eyes, she could see vague and blurred out images of home; of their childhood, of sneaking into her brother’s room at night and asking him to tell her stories as they hugged. The problem was that as much as she wanted to think of those things, she couldn’t, because the images kept being corrupted by the sight of her own corpse, by that of her mother wearing those stained Azkaban robes, all of it intertwining together and making her cry even more. Would she ever be able to think back to those days without thinking of how much things had changed? Without having perfect moments being shattered by the realization that none of it had ever been as perfect as she had claimed? Over the sound of her own cries, she could hear the boy whispering something, a sound which made her dig fingers into the fabric of her brother’s soft sweater as she tried her best to listen to what he said. I’m so sorry. Why was Tavy sorry? None of that was his fault, he had no way of possibly knowing where those stairs would lead, that they would end up in some creepy place full of skulls and run into a boggart that would show them terrifying things. It was not his fault, none of it was, but of course he blamed himself for it, because that was just simply what Octavius always did, just like how he did about everything that happened after their father passed, feeling guilty for the fact that they had to live such a life and constantly lie. Was that because he was the heir? Because he was supposed to be the adult between them and was her legal guardian? If that was the case, then it was stupid, because after all, he was barely a year older.

“Tavy,” she whispered, all too aware of the sound of his cries, of that tears likely stained his cheeks as much as they did hers, such thoughts being as painful as thinking about what they had left behind. Once again, she closed her eyes, taking a couple of deep breaths that were interrupted by cries. She wanted to say she was sorry too, she wanted to tell him he had no reason to apologies, but none of those words came at those moments, instead sinking deeper into her brother’s embrace, wrapping arms around him in the hope that it would make all the pain and fear go away. It didn’t, of course it didn’t work at all, because in the silence, all Hadriana could think of was of Phillipa Pursglove. “Tavy, I…” Another deep breath, pressing her forehead against the boy’s chest while trying to properly word what she wanted to say. “I’m sorry you had to see that. I’m sorry you had to see her.” The badger said then, and it was also then when she understood what Octavius said, that he wasn’t apologizing for the presence of the boggart but because of what they had seen, because it had shown them what his deepest fear was.

“I’ll leave you, I promise. You’ll never have to see that again.” Even though it was just a whisper, there was nothing Hadriana wished for more than for those to be true, for she never wished to cause Tavy such pain again.

@Octavius Pursglove

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After all that had happened to Hadriana and him in the past months, Octavius should have known better than to allow his sister to linger in the room full of skulls and bones for longer than necessary. He blamed himself for what had happened - yes, he even blamed himself for having agreed to attending Halloween at Hogwarts. Instead, they should have gone home and eat candy with Finch rather than submitting themselves to this. Even the Halloween had lost its charm, its childlike innocence due to what both of them had seen and made the other see in the process. Had it all been a cruel trick, approved by school staff? He did not think so, as boggarts could be all too dangerous from what he had learned, and depending on their strength, it was so easy to get lost in the fear of the moment, to lose all common sense. How Ria and him had escaped in the end, he did not know. But once the door towards the catacombs that had not been there before fell shut, relief washed over the young man, together with a sudden exhaustion that spread from his chest over his whole body like a reversed fever - pleasantly cool rather than scorchingly hot.

Holding Hadriana in his arms was comforting - and despite the year of an age difference, he had those blurry memories of sitting in between too many, too stiff cushions, the small child placed in his arms while his father helped him hold his baby sister. It was exactly how it felt now, like holding the fragile baby she used to be. Just that it was worse now, because he had barely known her back then, this soft, nice-smelling little thing that looked more like a toy than a real human being. He reached out, running long fingers through her hair and humming - more to soothe himself than to comfort her in this moment, while Tavy was trying his best to forget the image of her dead body that kept bubbling up in his chest. Things had been so much easier when they had been younger, when a hand on their back or head had been enough to calm every outburst of tears and every scraped knee. He wanted those days back so badly that the sadness shook him even more, but he could not allow himself to show more weakness - not now, not after all that had just happened. “Shhhh, it is fine,” the badger whispered, hands still brushing through his sister’s locks, closing his eyes while waiting for his breath to steady.

It was not her fault, and yet Hadriana apologized to him, making him want to cover her mouth forcefully. But Octavius did not. “Please,” he muttered, sighing heavily because he had no more words for what had happened down there, for their worst fears that had gotten so easily exposed. “We should just go back to the dorms,” he finally suggested, forcing himself to take charge of the situation as he always did. They might not be six and five any more, but still he gently unlocked their embrace, hesitating for a moment before he crouched down to offer Ria those piggy back rides they always do to when smaller. He needed the comfort of something familiar, and those hallways were abandoned either way - students who actually enjoyed themselves crammed in the Great Hall to dance rather than running into boggarts with vile intentions. She was heavier than she used to be, and Tavy made sure to hold his little sister in a secure grip was he walked back to the Hufflepuff common room, relieved that there was no one - neither human nor creature - crossing their path. Once they arrived, he let her down carefully, quite sure that none of them wanted to be alone right now.

Instead, he pulled the hairband from his head and dropped it on the table, starting to pull cushions, pillows and blankets alike from the couches and armchairs. In between two of the latter, he carefully spread one of the blankets as a ceiling, building walls out of the thick cushions before stating a quiet: “Wait a moment.” Octavius disappeared in his dorm, grabbing the bedding and the book from his nightstand and carrying all of it towards his sister, spreading it underneath the blanket. It was just another memory: their father building pillow forts for their games in the living room until their mother complained. It had never stopped him - instead, the pillow forts had moved to their rooms, sometimes Tavy’s and sometimes Ria’s. “I know it’s not as good as dad’s...but would you want me to read to you here, anyway?” he offered with a small smile, holding the blanket open for Hadriana to join him. All the blood and tears could be forgotten underneath those dim lights that filtered through when he offered her his arm, curling up beside the smaller girl just like they always used to do. At least for the moment, all was well again.

@Hadriana Pursglove
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