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Arthur Callum
 Posted: Jan 28 2014, 06:54 AM
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It seemed like it'd been ages since the man went window shopping. Except, it'd probably only been a few weeks in actuality. It was the kind of hobby that could easily be forgotten about, even if he kept returning to it like it was a grand, new thing. Arthur enjoyed it, though. Something about spending a few hours doing nothing but peering into shops to see what they sold was calming to the wizard. It didn't mean he was overworked or stressed of course. Arthur may have just turned forty five some odd weeks ago, but he hardly had lost his lust for a good, hard days work. It was just that now---or rather, for a little while now---the Ravenclaw alumni found he appreciated taking a break every now and then. They never lasted too long---he wouldn't risk becoming a homeless bum. But they were long enough.

He was dressed in a darkened blue, a suit, of course, as was he normal attire for many, many years now. His hair, lined with random few strands of silvery white was combed back, though age had made the man become slightly careless, whether he would admit to that or not. As such, there was a small section of his hair that hung to itself just below where the rest of his hair was combed back. Arthur's eyes were still quick to find imperfections, and as soon as he realized some of his hair was drooping to one side, he paused and used a hand to push it back, staring intently at it through his reflection in a window. He must not have used enough product to make it stay though, because no matter how many times he tried to comb it back with his fingers, it continued to droop back to where it had been.

Grumbling in frustration, Arthur continued to try and tame his hair, almost too stubborn to pull out his wand and just glamour his hair to stick. A younger Arthur wouldn't have thought twice about using magic to fix something askew about his appearance, but age once again had worked its own kind of magic on the wizard. He was much more aware, now, of how peculiar it was for a man to openly prim himself at every reflective surface he encountered in public. Add in that he definitely didn't look as young as he used and the whole idea just seemed more shaming than it once had felt. Of course, if his hair wouldn't cooperate, he might not have had a choice.

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James Monroe
 Posted: Jan 28 2014, 09:14 AM
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James was scared.

He didn't like admitting that. Especially not when he'd only been to places so far where he'd never felt anything but safe. Hogwarts? He ruled Hogwarts. He knew every nook and cranny, or very nearly. He was more at home in Hogsmeade than his own home town. And speaking of, even if the boy couldn't possibly know every part of London, he'd still lived his whole life there--excepting school--and he at the very least knew how to get to most places, or how to figure it out if he'd never been. And anyway, Diagon Alley was easy enough to know.

But still there was an awful churning feeling in the Gryffindor's gut. Sure, everything was the same, but it was also different. He was sure that shop next to the Apothecary hadn't been there before. Had the wand shop moved, or did a new coat of paint on the facade just confuse him? "New" coat was relative. It was a different color. But it was starting to look kind of shabby, like it'd been applied years earlier and was in need of another soon. He was only hanging around Diagon Alley because Hogsmeade was making him even more uncomfortable. The bartender of the Hog's Head had literally shooed him out with a broom. He'd also been muttering some nonsense about being haunted or having a nightmare or something, so James mostly assumed the man was just as confused as he was. It didn't matter, anyway. The boy hardly had any money on him. Just the loose change that had been rattling around in his pockets, and a couple galleons he'd found in the jacket he had borrowed from the only person at Hogwarts he knew at the moment. Unless the family fortunes had changed drastically in the last twenty-odd years, the kid could probably spare two galleons. Still, even if James was an asshole, he wasn't the kind of asshole who stole money from his nephew. It wasn't like he knew for sure that he could pay the kid back.

So that just left the lion to wander, grateful that the jacket was a bit too long in the sleeves for him since he'd forgotten to also borrow gloves. He was hungry, but couldn't do anything about it. He was starting to get that tell-tale tremor in his hands that was becoming a more frequent companion, but couldn't satisfy that need without chancing another encounter like the one he'd had at the Hog's Head. He just wanted to go home. The boy knew he wasn't going to find the answer of how while wandering around Diagon Alley, but he just... needed to be away. For a little bit. He wasn't sure why. He was just feeling restless. That was nothing new.

He wasn't paying attention. James realized this was the dumbest of things to be doing, all things considered, but he'd turned his head to look at a store front that seemed unfamiliar, and he didn't realize he was veering off to one side until he was nearly on top of some poor bloke. "Sorry!" the boy said, jumping back. "Sorry, I wasn't looking where I was--" he cut off abruptly with a curse loud enough to make a passerby stare at him reproachfully. The Gryffindor didn't notice. Everything from that day--the confusion, the fear, the frustration at those two feelings--were culminating in a feeling of sudden panic, causing the boy to swipe desperately at his pockets for his wand. Except it wasn't where he'd expected it to be--it was still in his trouser pocket, and so there was that extra few seconds of fumbling with an unfamiliar coat before he could get to it. That moment was long enough for the eighteen year old to realize that the man in front of him couldn't be Horatio Callum. The devil he might be, but thank Merlin, James' stepfather was not actually immortal. He'd have to be at least well into his sixties by now, and the person James was looking at looked about the same age as Horatio had looked the last time he'd seen him. Except, on closer inspection, it became very obvious that they didn't look exactly the same. They were just similar enough that a quick glance in the wrong state of mind made them easier to confuse. Even so, James wasn't entirely sure he shouldn't draw his wand anyway. For good measure, the eighteen year old backed up to put a few more feet between himself and his brother.

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Arthur Callum
 Posted: Jan 7 2015, 12:05 AM
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Tired as the man's eyes were, they weren't so old that he couldn't recognize the phantom before him. Arthur had the eyes of someone who'd spent much of their life finding the tiniest of imperfections in everything they glazed over---meticulous, prying eyes that needn't even twitch to see the whole of whatever he was looking at. All the wrong in something was simply drawn into the old man's vision; sucked neatly into his mind to be dissected and picked apart. But for as skilled as the man were at critiquing whatever he saw, and for as wrong as the sight before him was, Arthur couldn't truly manage to process the image. It was like the man was stunned; dreadfully detached from his physical state and leaps and bounds away from being able to unscramble the mess his mental state had become. It just wasn't right, wasn't probable, wasn't possible. His brother was dead. Had been, for many, many years now. It may have been a doppelgänger---one devilishly good one---but that look in the eyes; of detestment, of familiar confusion, of familiar distrust. You couldn't recreate such fine, intricate mannerisms. No matter how nature worked, eyes and the way they portrayed emotions was as unique as a thumbprint. These eyes in particular, Arthur knew quite well.

He didn't know how much time had passed from when he thought he'd tried to mutter something to now. Perhaps a year, perhaps a mere second. Shock had a way of befuddling the mind; of tampering with one's sense of time. Still, the man tried, his hands patting against his gut because he felt like he needed to be grounded somehow---like he needed reassurance that this wasn't actually a dream.

"I-," he scrunched his face, his eyes averted to the ground. "N-Bu-" Stammering wasn't the most dignifying thing to do. Shaking his head, Arthur closed his eyes, his gut expanding large to draw as deep a breath as he could. He held the air for a count of three---one, two, three---and then let it go, keeping the world black to him for just a second longer. When he opened his eyes again, color rushing back, he was still there. Still standing, still breathing, still alive even when he really shouldn't have.

"What are you doing here?" Arthur asked, almost in a whisper, a frown wrinkling his face, his confusion as blatant as that of the graying in his hair. "You--you aren't supposed to be here." This time there was a hint of anger in his tone, accompanied by the thought that even in death, his brother still managed to find a way to break the rules.

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James Monroe
 Posted: Jan 7 2015, 01:38 PM
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There was a moment, a brief instant, when James seriously considered getting away. Turn tail and run. He didn't want to see his brother, not the version he'd left in the past or this strange, old one in the future. He was pretty sure that cutting things off had been the best decision for everyone involved--himself especially--because, really, who wanted to force themselves to spend time with people they couldn't stand? It was the most logical thing that he seventh year had ever done in his life, even if his reasoning had less to do with logic and more to do with anger and bitterness and a whole host of other things he hadn't fully conceptualized because he was eighteen and that wasn't how his brain actually worked.

Besides that, though, as the lion stood there, waiting for his brother to recover from what was probably the shock of a lifetime, it occurred to him that there were a whole host of things he didn't want to know about. He tried not to think about the future too much--it was looking pretty damn bleak at the moment, and that was just what he'd thought before today. He already felt like he'd seen too much. Like he'd ruin everything now because he thought about it all too hard and made the wrong decision somewhere down the line, screwing it all up. That seemed like a thing James would do, didn't it?

The boy took another step back, feeling marginally more comfortable the more distance there was between himself and Arthur. Crossing his arms over his chest--both a stance of defiance and an effort to keep himself warm, the sleeves of the unfamiliar coat falling over his hands. His nephew's coat. Arthur's son. That thought was almost too strange to comprehend. What year was it even? Was his brother actually old, or did he just seem old to James because the last time he'd seen the man, he'd been nineteen years old? He was old enough to have a kid who head boy, apparently. Though for all James knew, his brother could have half a dozen brats running round who were much older than school age. More things that he didn't want to know.

Was it strange to feel relief when Arthur sounded angry? It didn't even matter why. Angry was good. James knew how to deal with angry. He could do anger. "I don't know," he hissed back. "I didn't choose to end up here. I just woke up like this. What do you think, I figured out how to jump ahead thirty--" wild guess "--years?"

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Arthur Callum
 Posted: Jan 9 2015, 11:16 AM
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Arthur nearly bit his tongue once he realized what could have happened. If he weren't sensible, he might have even had to wrestle himself to avoid throwing himself off a cliff for as dense as he'd been. Time travel---that was always the answer to any weird situations where it seemed like a ghost from the past came back. As far as Arthur knew, his brother couldn't possibly have gotten himself a time turner. Even then, he wasn't sure how stupid his brother could be to try to use it to go forward in time---did they even go forward? He'd never had an interest in temporal magic, so he was hardly an expert. Still, the idea that his brother had fiddled with something enchanted with that kind of magic---perhaps it wasn't a time turner---seemed enough like something he would do. Even more likely was the idea that his brother didn't know what he was doing. Somehow, someway, this was all probably James' fault. He didn't know how precisely, but Arthur didn't know how to else to explain any of it.

It was a little weird, to think that even after all these years, Arthur still had something to be disappointed in his brother about. Although, it was a strange kind of disappointment, one that was... A little relieving. It'd been so long since he'd heard that whiny voice, so long since he'd heard those 'it's not my own doing' excuses. Disappointment, he realized, wasn't the right thing he was feeling. It was something lighter, something he thought was a little like appreciation. It felt... Nice. Nice because it was like he'd been granted a rare opportunity to be upset with his brother over something again. When would this ever happen again? Probably never.

Grumbling to himself, the man crossed his arms, his frown still present because it felt like that was the only expression he was supposed to offer his brother. "I'm sure it's not your fault," he said carelessly, looking at his brother a little closely, taking in the sight of him because Merlin, it still felt weird to see him alive. He realized then that he couldn't be so carelessly with what he said; not like a moment ago. James could have inquired why he wasn't supposed to be there, and he... Honestly couldn't have thought up a believable excuse.

In his examining of the wizard, Arthur realized he could recognize the jacket he wore. "... Did you meet him?" He asked a little hesitantly, a small bout of fear bubbling within his chest. If James had met his son... He wasn't sure if he would've been happy for it or not. On the one hand, his brother would have seen a nephew he never would come to know. And that was something that Arthur almost, kind of, wanted. But on the other, who knew what kind of consequences could happen if they'd met, if they'd exchanged any information. His brother being there was a danger to the timeline---that much he did know about time travel. The last thing he wanted was to lose his wife and son simply because his brother had somehow traveled to the future and mucked something up.

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James Monroe
 Posted: Jan 9 2015, 02:41 PM
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James should have told his brother that there were a bunch of people in his situation running around Hogwarts right that second, but he didn't. He knew that tone. He'd spent his whole life hearing it, and he could guess easily enough what Arthur was thinking. That of course it was James' fault, whatever had happened. It was always James' fault. The eighteen year old was half-convinced that his family had only ever tolerated him for so long because he made such a convenient scapegoat. It was the only thing that made any sense to him. Though the lion couldn't imagine what he might have "done" to make this happen. It all seemed improbable, at least to him. Then again, so did leaping forward in time a few decades, period, but there he was nonetheless.

At Arthur's question, the Gryffindor glanced down at the jacket he was wearing, his brow furrowing. There was a slight moment of delay while his brain registered the fact that they had shifted to something other than what a screw up he was, which shouldn't have felt as bizarre as it did. There was a fine line between narcissism and masochism. "Briefly." As he answered, James recalled something that had bothered him the tiniest bit--enough to snag onto. "He gave me a reccommendation for some book he apparently borrowed from me. Or stole from me. He was kind of vague on the details, only that future me shouldn't expect it back, I guess." The seventh year was going to say something about how Arthur should tell his kid to watch out for paradoxes like that or something else that would shift the focus away from James, but something about the whole thing wasn't sitting right in the boy's mind. Besides the obvious. Just the way the whole interaction had played out. It just felt... odd. James couldn't put his finger on it without jumping to conclusions that were probably too far a stretch of his imagination. So he settled on the thought that was easiest to identify--at what point in his future was he on close enough terms with his family that his nephew could borrow his books? What kind of madness had led to that? Eighteen year old James couldn't fathom that. Forty-something James evidently could, but the lion was starting to think forty-something James was kind a useless sod, considering he hadn't done much to better their image in the intervening years.

The wizard's stomach rumbled suddenly, bringing him back. James realized that they were still standing in the street, looking like Merlin knew what to any nosy passerby. Forget this. "Do you have two galleons?" he blurted out suddenly. Reaching into the coat's pocket, he pulled out the coins that had been rattling around in there. His hands were trembling a bit more than they had before, but James ignored that. There was nothing he could about that while standing out in the street. "I'm starving and I need a--well, I'm just hungry and all I've got is about five knuts and some muggle change, but this was in the pocket. So if you've got two galleons, you can pay your kid back. Or yell at future me to do it. Whatever." Every time James talked about "future him" there was an odd prickly feeling on the back of his neck and he thought he felt a little ill. He had the horrifying idea suddenly that if he still lived in London, he might end up running into himself. He didn't want to know what he was up to in the future. Really, really didn't want to know.

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Arthur Callum
 Posted: Mar 6 2017, 09:55 AM
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Had his brother always had that bulbous nose, or had the man's faded memory of his face been far too kind? Arthur couldn't tell for a moment, his astonishment from before discarded to make room for something that was far more familiar to him, and that he hadn't been able to do in a terribly long time: judge his brother's looks. It had been a bit of a game for him in a time when their relationship had been petty and barely worth even acknowledging---but then, hadn't that been the way they'd spend most of their lives before James died? In reality, they'd spent maybe a day---a handful if the former eagle wanted to be so honest---in something of a reconciled relationship. The last time they'd spoke before his brother had died, Arthur was fairly sure he'd had only a fragment of a headache, which was showing a lot of improvement considering the usual torture it had been any time he had to spend a prolonged amount of time talking---nay, even looking at his younger brother. Their school days together had been dreadful during Quidditch just for that reason. Not only did Arthur never make the team for his house, he happened to like the sport enough to watch, and with his brother annoyingly better at it, he had to endure hours of watching the wizard excel at something he couldn't manage to get better at himself. He'd thrown up at least once, after watching in absolute fury as his brother actually scored a goal.

Disgusting.

But something like that wouldn't happen again. Not in this lifetime, in this existence now. The present situation would only be temporary. This, really, would be the last time Arthur could berate his brother for something petty and insignificant. Or else be kind to him, if he really wanted their last interaction---for him---to be something he wouldn't regret. Had he regretted the last time they spoke? He couldn't help but wonder then, his mind struggling to grasp at the memory as it been so long and so... unimportant, at time, if he were completely honest. His brother's words then had almost seemed like they were hallow promises, and his own words matched, like neither of them truly believed that after so much time of loathing each other---after both had lost their fathers, one having murdered the other and them teaming up for a moment to bring justice to James Sr., Arthur being left with nothing but guilt in having a hand at sending his father to Azkaban, despite being a killer---after so much turmoil, so much tragedy, the man supposed that at the time, somewhere inside he had really thought they would just fall back into the same routines. Their relationship wouldn't improve enough to where they could be friends, let alone acknowledge each other with the same brotherly love that others gushed on about. It just didn't sound right. James and Arthur being on good terms? Being chummy and actually talking nicely to each other?

Maybe in another universe. In another time, another place, with different parents and different personalities altogether. Then, maybe, they could have been brothers, the kind that helped and supported each other, and that weren't so stubbornly proud to admit they maybe, kind of, liked how the other was just so different it brought a sense of comedy to the outside looking in.

Arthur tilted his chin up faintly, remembering how fondly he liked the slightly higher view he had over his brother. All his thoughts aside---they weren't really important in the long run---James asking for money right then brought a delicious kind of empowerment to the former eagle that he had so dearly missed. He was about to say something about how typical it was for his brother to ask for handouts, but he bit his tongue, somehow quietly fearing that the comment would just... send his brother away, before he could decide on how exactly he wanted this encounter to go. For James, this was nothing but an inconvenience. Arthur knew, he could tell from the way his eyes mimicked those of a dead fish. But this James didn't know his future. This James wouldn't be able to sweat under the same sun that Arthur did, or relish in the same cool breeze that he could, not outside this one point in time. For Arthur, this was truly one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that would never come again.

"Two galleons?" He asked, simply to echo the amount to make sure he had it right. He dug into his pockets, coins rattling inside before he picked a few up. In his palm, the man had a bit more than two galleons, but he wasn't about to just donate it all to the charity before him. He was a giving man, but not wholly stupid.

"Here, take three and a few more knuts. You can have a sickle as well. If you see him again, just tell him to keep the change - he's responsible with his money," he added, a flicker of amusement in his eyes as he shot his brother a partially judging look. Teasing his brother---he forgot how enjoyable it used to be. Of course, that made his comment about telling future him to do, well, anything, a little hard to swallow, but Arthur was too careful and in control over himself that he wouldn't dare let it show that the very suggestion stung in a more significant way than he would ever expect. What would James be doing then, if he'd been alive? Would they have beaten the odds and managed to salvage a relationship good enough that they could stand checking in on each other now and then? Would it have been acceptable or commonplace to have seen his brother pop in over the weekends, maybe, even, to hang out with his nephew while Arthur and Ellie went out on the town? Would they have had suppers together because they actually planned it? Would they have spent time together, alone and with their sister, bonding over something---anything? Maybe they could have learned to play those card games that muggles liked so much. Or played wizards chess, or drank whiskey together, or reminisced on the things they'd done in school. Maybe they could have even started talking about their mother; or at least learned to visit her grave together---the three of them, like siblings.

As if to reach for one positive thing---just one, tiny thing to try to makeup for the future they'd never share---Arthur hesitated as he handed over the coins, hand hovering close to James', contemplating holding it. "What's your favorite thing to eat?" He asked, brow furrowed as he looked intently at the wizard. Quietly, he tried to calm the anxious flurries that swirled inside his gut, his question so simple and yet, so meaningful as Arthur was sure this would have been the first time he had ever asked his brother something genuine.

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James Monroe
 Posted: Mar 6 2017, 10:21 PM
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    "I--" James stared dumbly at the coins that dropped into his palm, which he reflexively held out. He wasn't expecting this turn of events. He'd just wanted the okay to use the money in his pockets without guilt. This was not guiltless money. The Gryffindor was going to remember that he owed his brother money, and it was going to bother him. Because he couldn't pay him back. For some reason it was one thing to imagine some nebulous idea of a future version of himself owling two galleons to this nephew who didn't even exist yet in his own time. It was another thing entirely take money from Arthur, who somehow felt more real to James, maybe because he existed here in this slightly terrifying future, and in the, if not comfortable, at least familiar past.

    None of this was rational, and part of the lion knew that. But his entire day had been irrational, what else was new? He'd left "rational" far behind, and he had a feeling that it wouldn't be coming back any time soon, whether he reverted back to his own, proper time soon or not. Everything felt wrong. His body felt like it was itching all over. He just wanted to go home. The places where James was supposed to feel comfortable and happy felt alien to him. He didn't belong there. He didn't belong there.

    The coins disappeared into his pocket, jangling as they connected with the coins already there. It wasn't a conscious decision, but once it had happened, the Gryffindor didn't think to remove them again, to give them back. The reasons he needed the money hadn't gone away, after all. He'd figure out what to do about his discomfort with it later. Maybe past-Arthur would get an anonymous owl when James got home. Maybe. There was also the fact that, even in his usual state, the boy didn't have endless amounts of money at his disposal.

    He was so lost in his own ponderings for a moment that James almost missed Arthur's question. "My what?" The boy blinked at his brother, momentarily baffled. It wasn't the sort of question he'd expect his brother to ask, now or at any other time. Had Arthur just decided that it was time to leave the lion completely confused? Was this retribution somehow for turning up unannounced, like a phantom of the past? "Lasagna," he said finally. "Like Curly makes... made." It occurred to James suddenly that his family's house probably wasn't cooking for anyone but himself at the moment in his time, and had probably been dead for a long time in Arthur's. The seventh year suddenly felt guilty that this was the first time he'd given the ancient house elf a thought in months. He shook off the feeling, unsure what to even do with it, and instead asked, "Why?"


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Arthur Callum
 Posted: Mar 21 2017, 02:21 PM
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Unexpectedly, the man chuckled, eyes closed for a second as he shook his head. Of course. Of course his brother would pick something he could never taste again himself, his memory of their former house elf and his cooking far, far too gone now for him to even attempt to recall how it tasted. It was almost typical of his brother, to only give him half of a useful answer; it was just enough for him to be partially satisfied, but the longing he felt claw at his heart, to have something in the present that was devoid of any kind of bitterness as was with most of his memories of his brother, couldn’t be fully satisfied by that. It was something, he supposed, even if he couldn’t do much with it. Though to be frank, Arthur wasn’t sure what purpose the knowledge would have. He supposed it would have just been something new he could add to the profile of his brother in his head; something he didn’t know and wouldn’t have if this younger James hadn't popped up out of the blue.

Arthur allowed his chuckle to taper off, tired eyes returning to his brother and his question. “I need a reason to ask my brother things?” Maybe he’d forgotten when this James came from, and of how soured their relationship was at his point in time. “Don’t look into it too deeply, I was only curious,” he added, an edge of stubbornness returned in his voice, as if he were trying to give his brother an order. His face remained a little softer than it had been despite his tone, lingering through the wandering thoughts at the back of his head. What had it tasted like? Had he always thought there was too much tomato sauce, or that the noodle was too over-cooked, or that there had been too much meat and not enough seasoning? It was a pitiful attempt to even try to ask himself. He already knew he’d never recall – no matter how much he wanted to remember.

He took a deep breath, as if the small act of laughing had exhausted him far beyond words. There was more he wanted to know. Much, much more that he wanted to say. Arthur may not have been the most in touch with his emotions, or the most candid about them, but even he had allowed himself to contemplate things he might have wanted to say to James; be they insults, the passive aggressive comment here and there, or simply a struggled, awkward word of something similar to a compliment. Like, of how, he supposed he could applaud his brother for having found a job in the ministry – a feat that seemed to still bring the old wizard to raise a brow of a surprise at, as he thought of it. And as a hit wizard no less – certainly, it must have spoke to his brother’s skill, if he could manage a job so… time consuming.

… Even in his mind, the man couldn’t find the right words to stitch together to convey what he felt.

Had that been the work of their parents? Of Horatio, specifically? Had their lives really only amounted to them being pawns the man could move and manipulate as he pleased? If he hadn’t been around – if he hadn't latched onto the idea that he needed Arthur to prove his blood was better than that of James Sr., would they have gotten along? Would Arthur, at least, have learned how to give a simple praise to his own brother?

It was, perhaps, fruitless to consider a past that would never come to be. Their future was what Arthur had lived through, what he currently resided in. This James had yet to know; but he would. Someday, he’d find himself crippled by some means; shuffling his way back into Arthur’s life, revenge clear in his tired eyes. Maybe James had given up on life at the point that he’d shown up again all those years ago. Maybe, despite the loose flicker of sincerity in his voice when they’d spoken last, James had already decided that his work had been done. Horatio went to Azkaban; his father’s murder avenged. Justice had prevailed with the bad sent away, the hero’s journey completed in the most bittersweet of ways – all those tropes had been checked off for the former lion, so perhaps the only end he could see was in the embrace of eternal darkness.

How selfish would that have been?

The urge to inquire why his brother was so completely full of himself rose from the hypotheticals burning in his thoughts, but he refrained. This James wouldn’t know how to respond. All this James had for him were answers to the simple things that Arthur should have asked when they’d lived under the same roof. Like of what his favorite color was, or his favorite thing to drink, or what he liked to do for fun since they’d hardly ever spent time together; all his likes and dislikes, all those easy, basic details that would have made up who exactly James Monroe was. Or, had been, when he’d been alive. He wouldn’t go down that path, though. Arthur had his one question; he knew that was all the universe would afford him. Everything else, he’d have to live with being unanswered. He’d managed so far; what difference was it to the rest of his life?

Arthur didn’t really know what to say then, though. It was all rather sad, to think he didn’t know how to talk to his brother. But, he’d never really learned how to, outside of arguing with him, and, really, there was a kind of woe-some nostalgia tied to the awkwardness of it all. He did all about he could think to do, and merely crossed his arms over his chest, ignoring that quiet, deeply buried urge to reach out and touch the other wizard. As if doing something so silly would somehow be something Arthur would want to do.

“Won’t be finding a place that serves it quite like that, I’m afraid,” he managed finally, voice a little awkwardly soft. It didn’t suit him to speak so… like that to James.

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@James Monroe

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James Monroe
 Posted: Apr 3 2017, 10:28 AM
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    Later, James wouldn't be sure if it was something Arthur said or did--or didn't say or do, maybe--or if it was a combination of everything that had happened that day finally coalescing into a coherent, terrible thought. That feeling like he didn't belong didn't fade. It was getting stronger. The boy turned his head away from his brother, instead staring intently at an unfamiliar shop sign across the street, like he was looking for an anchor, something to hold him in reality. The second-hand shop was supposed to be there. Had they moved? Gone out of business?

    "No," James agreed. God, he wanted to go home. He didn't even know what that word meant anymore, but he wanted to be somewhere else. And he wanted someone to obliviate him right now so that he could forget the thought that was running through his head. He didn't want to think what he was thinking, he wanted to go back to thinking about where he was going to explore next in the castle, or about quidditch, or about what homework he had to do, or literally anything else.

    Knowing the future was dangerous. James had read enough time travel books to know this--two. He'd read two--and he didn't want to mess with it. Hell, this was why he didn't take Divination. If you didn't know your future, you couldn't muck it up. Or cause it to happen anyway just by knowing. The future was either fixed or it wasn't, as far as the lion was concerned, and he didn't think him knowing would help one way or the other. James was reminded suddenly why he should be steadfastly avoiding everyone he knew. That should have been obvious. Maybe he really was an idiot. Maybe this was the moment that finally proved it.

    He didn't want to know. But now that the thought was in his head, the boy felt like he needed to know. Turning back to his brother, James asked, "Am I dead?" The thought had come to him with unsettling clarity. It felt like he was walking through a dream world, where everyone he should know kept looking at him like he was an alien. Or a ghost. The seventh year didn't actually think that Arthur would tell him if he was dead or not, mind you. James thought Arthur was a lot of things but he didn't actually think his brother was an idiot, even if he wouldn't admit to such a thing out loud. But he thought that maybe he could read something in his expression. In his reaction to the question. Maybe. It was all James had to go on.


@Arthur Callum

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