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Jinx is perfection.
Timeline: (probably) AU ATT
When you had six kids, you sort of had to get used to the idea that one day, they'd grow up and leave the nest. Some days--those days when all six have the same flu bug, or they all want drastically different things for dinner, or the ten thousand other things that came up constantly--it was hard not to look forward to that time when they'd be off building their own lives. Harry was sure he'd have all the usual mixed feelings when the time came. What dad didn't?
The feeling, if not quite the day, had come much sooner than the man had expected. His kids were still too young to be running off and getting married, but the time had come his little niece, who wasn't so little anymore, to take that trip up the aisle. And even though Lily wasn't his daughter, when it came right down to it there had never been much of a difference. He'd done all the dad things. He'd spent more time, given more support--financial, moral, whatever--than the girl's real dad had done. And he loved her as much as he did his own children. In all the ways that really mattered, she was his daughter, even they never really talked about that. It was complicated. And there was still too much discomfort surrounding those first ten years when Daniel was only around when someone forced him to be--usually his mother. And then he only finally came around when he proved near useless at conceiving when he was actually trying. Though, in retrospect, that turn around might have been partially caused by his wife's prodding.
At any rate, it was all awkward, and no one really talked about it because the past was the past and bringing up old feelings was a good way to make everyone... edgy. And then Lily got engaged and asked Harry to walk her down the aisle. Even though there was Daniel, more than willing to do it. Or Alan, who was a fine enough chap and seemed to have just fine as a stepfather for the last decade and a bit. But what could he say? He was honored. He wanted to. And could still get away with at least pretending to not pick up on social cues when it was obvious that it bothered his cousin, even if Daniel said it was all right.
The retired eagle pushed his way out into the hallway that led from the rooms where the men were getting ready to the main lobby of the church. Like with most weddings the man had had the privilege of being apart of, this one was already descending into chaos. Or at least that's what it seemed like. Harry had returned from a trip to the toilet to find the groom jumpy as hell because both Daniel and Alan had taken turns explaining just what awful fate would befall him if he ever hurt Lily in any way. Harry would've been embarrassed if he hadn't considered doing the same thing once or twice or a dozen times since the two had started dating. At any rate, the man decided it would be better to just leave the boy to it.
Out in the hallway, Harry was met almost immediately with another disaster, but at least this one wasn't one he had to deal with. Making his way toward the front of the church, his step a bit jaunty to make up for the nerves settling in his stomach, the wizard turned a corner to find a frazzled looking James Callum. Harry didn't think he'd seen the younger man look anything but frazzled since he'd become a father. To be fair, little Porter Callum was the sort of toddler who probably learned to crawl expressly for the purpose of getting himself into messes faster. Harry would know. He'd babysat once. Only once.
At the moment, said mess-fiend was being held by his long-suffering father at arms' length at the moment as his small grinning face was covered in something black and gooey. The former Ravenclaw paused as he came alongside the two, almost afraid to ask. "What happened?"
"I have no idea. Have you seen my wife?"
"Sorry." The two started walking again, this time in the same direction as James searched fruitlessly for his wife and Harry mostly watched on in politely contained amusement. And then, finally, like a tiny guardian angel, Fiona appeared from seemingly nowhere. Harry thought he'd never seen a man so pleased to see his mother-in-law. Then she was doing that disappointed tutting thing that the former Ravenclaw had never been able to teach himself to do properly, and was pulling out her handkerchief from the depths of her purse and somehow simultaneously holding her cheek out for Harry to peck dutifully. And then she was sending him off again because he had more important things to do then attend to besides messy children. At least for today.
Off he went, across the church, deftly dodging well-wishing friends and relatives, pretending he didn't notice his aunt trying to get his attention, before finally, somehow, making it to the room where the ladies were doing whatever it was ladies did before weddings. Hair? Make-up? Pillow fights? Maybe that was sleepovers. Pausing at the door, the retired eagle took a moment to straighten his jacket and his tie, and to run his hand needlessly through his greying hair. Then he raised his hand to knock.
Timeline: AU WURR
Notes: So, I've tried using James Callum on other sites before, and put his birthday as June 22 for... no particular reason. It's probably not going to be his birthday on wurr, buuuut... for the purposes of this one-shot, I made it so. Hence why I labeled it AU. Also wrote this for a writing challenge on ATF that was about birthdays.
James Callum. Age 26.
June had always been James' favorite time of year. When he was a kid, it was the time when he'd get to be home from school, when he got that much needed reprieve from studying and got to spend time at home. The really nice thing about going away to school, he'd always thought, was that he was always away just long enough to really enjoy it. And then he'd be at home for just long enough to enjoy that. Especially as a teenager, there had been something to really appreciate about being with his parents for only so long. Not that he didn't love them. Of course he did. It was just that James thought sometimes that they had a much easier time of getting along when they weren't in each other's way constantly. Now that he was older and had moved on--with his own family and his own house--it felt like they just got on so much better. Though that might have been because he was older. In hindsight, the twenty-six year old thought his parents just had a hard time relating to children in general, which would explain why they'd only had one.
Most of the reason the young man loved June so much, though, had little to do with any of that, at least if he was being completely honest. Oh, that was the reason he'd tell people if they asked. It sounded nice, didn't it? No, but honestly, James really loved June mostly because his birthday fell near the end. He was twenty-six years old and he still loved cake and presents. Just try and tell him he should be ashamed of that.
This year, though, was a bit different. Or it felt different, anyway. James was twenty-six this year. It felt like a milestone age. Nothing important happened at twenty-six--he could already vote and drink and he could legally learn to drive, even if so far he hadn't felt like bothering with it. He was already married, already had a couple kids. To the outside world, there was nothing really significant that he could do that he hadn't done yet. Except buy a house, he supposed, since they were technically renting from his mother. Technically. But he'd own that someday, so James didn't really think it counted.
But twenty-six was the age the man's uncle--the man he was named for--had died. And for some reason that was making James feel... he didn't know how to describe it. Pensive, maybe. Nostalgic. Maybe it was all the early deaths in his family, but for the last week James had been feeling like any minute some catastrophe was going to spring up and ruin the picture perfect little life he'd been trying so hard to build for himself. Two weeks ago, he would have said everything was fine. Everything was perfect, he was happy. Because he was.
James filled an old thermos--a blue and yellow one with cartoon characters on it that his son had decided wasn't cool enough for him anymore. For Merlin's sake, he wasn't even five yet--grabbed a couple chocolate chip cookies from the jar on the counter, kissed his wife and kids, and said he'd be back in an hour. Then he escaped into the late morning to the sound of his son saying to his daughter, "Oh, gross, Janie." Hopefully whatever that was wasn't something that he'd get in trouble for missing.
When James reached the cemetery, he found himself mostly alone. Just a groundskeeper wandering back toward the main building as James entered. It was still early, he supposed, and it was the middle of the week, anyway. The young man didn't expect to see his parents or his aunt there, though he supposed it wasn't impossible. They usually came in September, though, for the anniversary. It wasn't like this was a big deal birthday, or anything. His uncle would've only been fifty-four. He should probably owl anyway. Later, though.
Making his way to the familiar plot, James lowered himself to the ground, setting the thermos down on the stone next to his uncle's name and then set one of the cookies on top. His aunt usually brought chocolate frogs, but the twenty-six year old made do with what he had on hand. Anyway, who hated chocolate chip cookies? Nobody. Settling himself back on the grass, James munched thoughtfully on his own cookie for a bit before leaning over and giving the headstone an awkward but fond pat. "Well. Happy birthday, then."
Jinx is perfection.
Notes: So. I got random!muse for some wurr!baby sortings. I have no excuse for the order these come in. I kept trying to think of one. I got nothing.
Lily Williams had the unfortunate trait of looking precisely like both her mother and her father.
Oh, not that either of the girl's parents were ugly or malformed, or anything like that. They were two fine, reasonably attractive people, and even if their only shared offspring hadn't quite grown out of the awkward stage of adolescence, she at least seemed to have inherited their potential. She had her mother's thick, dark brown hair, currently done up in a French braid. She had her father's long nose and dimpled chin. Her grandfather's blue eyes. Her grandmother's long fingers--a pianist's fingers, Lily had been told once, though the statement had been retracted after a single, doomed piano lesson.
There were more examples, of course, and all of it seemed very fine, except for one small exception. One very small exception. One very tiny, easy to lose in a crowd, too easy to step on, exception.
Lily Williams was short.
Not just short. Loads of people were short. But Lily wasn't just short, she was small. Fine boned, with features that seemed far more delicate than seemed right for the eleven year old. She supposed she looked close enough to her age, which was something, at least. It was just that sometimes the girl thought she looked like she was going to break in two. It seemed inevitable, though, when you got right down to it. Her mother was short--Amara Williams could pass five feet only if she wore heels, and only just barely then. And though her father was above average in height, it seemed to be the plight of Berkwoods everywhere to suffer without a growth spurt for what felt like a very long time.
You got sort of used to that sort of thing when it was your life, though. You didn't notice it as much when you were going through your day to day routine, when everything was familiar and everything was the same as it had always been.
Just then, Lily found herself standing in an unfamiliar room, in a line of unfamiliar people, staring at a sea of unfamiliar faces. Her stomach felt like it was tied up in knots. Those long fingers kept scratching at phantom itches on her hip, her knee, the side of her nose, the crook of her elbow--every time her fingertips touched a spot, it seemed to jump.
Out of place. The girl felt incredibly out of place. The other students around her might have been just as nervous, but to Lily they all looked incredibly self-assured as they each took their turn waltzing up to the stool that sat centered in front of them with an old, singing and talking hat. She'd expected the hat. Her uncle had told her exactly what to expect--though with Uncle Harry, it was hard to tell when he was exaggerating--but that didn't make it any less bizarre when a rip appeared in the hat's seam, and a voice emerged. What else talked that shouldn't? There were moving pictures out in the corridor, but Lily thought that maybe if she just pretended they were weirdly shaped movie screens, it wouldn't be so weird. But what about everything else? Was the floor under her feet going to start griping if she stood still too long?
The line of first years dwindled slowly. There were moments when it seemed to be going so quickly--three students in a row spent no more than five seconds apiece under the hat before it shouted out the name of a house. Then someone else would sit down and the time seemed to drag while everyone stared. One girl must have sat there under the hat for a good two minutes before it declared her a Hufflepuff. And then, finally, there were just two girls standing up in front of the head table. Lily turned her head to glance at the other girl, but she didn't really see her. Her eyes didn't focus on a face, anyway.
Lily jolted slightly at the sound of her name. Then, blushing slightly, she stumbled her way to the stool, picked up the hat, and plopped herself down before dropping the impossible, talking garment on her head.
There might have been a whisper in her ear. There might have been a moment where a judgment was passed. Maybe. Probably. Afterwards Lily wouldn't be able to recall. All she remembered was that the hat had barely settled fully on her head before it called out its verdict.
Piper Lemminkainen couldn't remember the last time she'd seen her mother cry.
Oh, she was sure the woman had done it at some point. The week before, the girl had walked into their kitchen to find her mother sniffling over some mushy story in the Daily Prophet. Maybe not full on water works, but close enough. But there Arabella had been, holding her daughter in a bone crushing hug and crying like Piper was going off to war instead of off to her first year at Hogwarts. The eleven year old sort of got it. Sort of. Her mother had always been kind of funny about magic. She was a witch, married to a wizard, and had spent the last decade plus around magical children, but Piper's only real experience with her mother's magic was when the woman developed pictures. So, the girl supposed that her mother had been worried. Fine. Understandable.
But for Merlin's sake, they were in the middle of King's Cross. And she wasn't the only kid they were seeing off. They were a small crowd of orphans and Lemminkainens standing on Platform 9 3/4 while Piper submitted herself to her mother's sudden fit of over-protectiveness. The girl was sure people were starting to stare, but before she could complain, she was released. And then it was a lot of quick goodbyes and "be goods" and the train whistle was blowing and then there was a rush onto the train.
Almost immediately after entering the train, Piper was unceremoniously abandoned. Well. All right, that might have been exaggerating. The older kids dispersed to find their friends, and the two she was left with were boys and they probably wanted to talk about dumb boy things, so Piper set off down the train to leave them to it. The rest of the trip was mostly uneventful. The girl did run--almost literally--into a seventh year who apparently remembered her, but she didn't remember him. But that interaction was short lived and she spent the majority of the train ride in a compartment next to a snoring wizard who turned out to be a Potions supply teacher. Piper hoped the Potions professor didn't get sick often, because when the man did wake up, he started rattling on about coconuts or some such thing until he put himself to sleep again.
By the time they reached Hogwarts, Piper had spent enough time basically to herself that the nerves had started. They were the frustrating, directionless kind, because when the girl really thought about it, she couldn't pinpoint what she was nervous about. She didn't feel like she didn't belong. She'd been assured that everyone got sorted, no matter how long it took. Apparently a boy had spent a solid five minutes under the hat a couple years ago. If someone like that got sorted, anyone could. There was nothing to worry about. And yet, standing in the room where the first years waited and then marching up to stand in front of the whole school, Piper felt like she'd had a whole bowl full of butterflies for breakfast that morning. She wondered if she'd get detention if she puked all over the stage.
As the sorting proceeded, Piper decided that the very worst place to be in the alphabet was dead in the center. If you were towards the beginning, it was over with quickly. If you were towards the end, you didn't have to worry about paying too much attention. When you were in the middle, though, you had to listen, because you never know when your name was going to be called. The eleven year old stood with her hands clasped tightly behind her back, her arms vibrating slightly from the force she was exerting to keep from fidgeting. If she fidgeted it would take longer. That was what she told herself, anyway. It seemed to help, at least the tiniest bit.
The girl let out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. Then, on shaky legs, she walked over to the stool, picked up the hat, and sat down. Almost the moment the hat touched her head, there was a voice in her ear. Piper felt herself go perfectly still.
"Hmm," the voice--the hat--murmured. "Not a bad creative mind. Fairly loyal, too." Piper was holding her breath again as it kept going. She wasn't under there for very long. It couldn't have been more than half a minute, probably less, but it felt like an eternity. And then, finally...
Peter Bolstridge hated crowds.
They were, hands down, the worst thing to be caught in. Once, when the boy was five or six, he'd gotten lost in the holiday shopping crowd in Diagon Alley. One minute he'd been holding tight to his dad's hand while they navigated the crush of people to find the boy's mother and siblings, and the next his hand had slipped free and it only seemed to take a second for his father to disappear into the crowd. The resulting panic hadn't been so much that the thought of being forgotten or abandoned, but at being stuck alone in the mass of people--seeming so much larger and more frightening to the mind of small child, when it was like being lost in a forest of legs and feet.
Now, as a gangly and awkwardly proportioned eleven year old, the crowd of first years he stood in still made him uncomfortable. There was so much nervous energy in the room that Peter thought he was going to vibrate out of his skin. Lewis seemed fine. Or at least he did compared to his twin. That whole "psychic twins" thing was either a myth or Peter was just the world's worst twin, because just then he was too caught up in his own churning discomfort to do more than stare sightlessly over his brother's shoulder while they waited.
They couldn't have spent more than a few minutes in the room, but those minutes seemed to drag on and on. Peter kept looking around, not really focusing on anything, but not knowing what to do besides just stand there like an idiot. He could hear people whispering, their murmured voices sounding both loud and yet indistinct in the otherwise still room. Then, finally, finally they started filing out into the Great Hall. Leaving the cramped room didn't do much for the boy's discomfort, though. If anything it made it all worse. The only thing that kept the boy from turning around and running back into the room they'd come from was the fact that there were more people waiting behind him.
At least the wait was short. Peter thought that maybe he could get away with leaving the feast after he was sorted and just go hide in the loo until it was time for bed. It was a rotten idea--he'd just have to deal with the Great Hall again in the morning for breakfast--but his mind wasn't really behaving rationally just then. Too many nerves. Too many people. He couldn't even concentrate as the professor with the scroll of names started talking. She called a name he didn't hear. A girl stepped forward and was sorted but he wasn't paying attention. Peter just kept staring straight ahead, a little bead of sweat appearing on his forehead. Then suddenly he heard his name and he jolted forward before he realized they weren't calling for him at all.
Peter forced himself out of his daze, watching as his brother approached the stool. He wasn't there for very long. A few seconds later the hat was shouting "GRYFFINDOR!" and Peter was stumbling his way over to take his twin's place on the stool. The boy knew before he even set the hat on his head that he wouldn't be joining his brother at the Gryffindor table. He didn't feel remotely brave just then.
There was a moment of silence as the hat touched the boy's head. Then, "Hmm. Interesting, interesting. Thirst for knowledge. Rather ambitious thirst, too. And some darkness there..."
There is not. Were you supposed to argue with the sorting hat? Did it get annoyed and give up on you if you gave it a hard time?
It didn't seem to matter, though. At least, the hat didn't seem to be paying attention to him. It just kept fiddling around in his mind, digging out whatever was apparently useful until Peter just wanted to rip the thing off and tell them to send him home, or to stick him in whatever house had a spare bed, or something. Anything. He might have been sitting there for a minute, maybe a little more. And then, at last...
set by coco <3
James Callum was trying very hard not to stare.
She wasn't looking at him at all. The professor was saying something and it was probably important and a thing that James needed to know about, but he wasn't listening. He was just staring at this girl and wondering if it would be rude to ask the kid standing between them to move. It wasn't imperative or anything. At least the boy didn't think so. He'd only learned what imperative meant a couple days earlier, so he might have had the definition wrong. But anyway, James just wanted to talk to the girl. He didn't want to ask her to marry him or anything. That would be stupid.
The boy was about to take a step forward when there was a sudden call for everyone to line up and file into the Great Hall. Never mind, then. It was a silly thought, anyway.
James wasn't really bothered by standing up in front of the whole school. He might have worried if he'd had to give some kind of speech, but as the first years made their way to the front of the room where the sorting stool sat, he was far more concerned with staring at everything around him, soaking it all in. The enchanted ceiling was a dark, dark grey to match the cloud-covered sky outside. The candles in the hall were sending flickering shadows across the tables, the walls, the curious faces of the older students. Some weren't paying any attention to the first years at all. Some were craning their necks to see. James tried to stare back at some of them, but then he nearly toppled into the boy walking along in front of him. "Sorry."
The line of students came to a stop and, after a short word of introduction from the professor, the sorting began. The name "Bolstridge, Emma" was called, and James stood a little taller when he realized this was the girl he'd been staring at, totally non-creepily, earlier. The hat quickly declared her a Ravenclaw, and the boy thought that was good. He liked Ravenclaws. All of his family were Ravenclaws. All the living, magical ones, anyway. Except Gramps, but he didn't count.
The boy strode over to the stool, a slightly goofy smile plastered on his face as he sat down. It'd be done in a moment. He didn't understand why people got so nervous about something like this.
There was a moment's pause before the hat said anything. Sometimes people got sorted in that amount of time. For a brief second, James thought that maybe he hadn't put the thing on right. Maybe it had gone on crooked. Would he look like a huge idiot if he reached up and adjusted it? Probably look like a bigger one if he sat there long enough--
"Hmm," the hat finally said. "Interesting. A good deal of bravery and loyalty. Mind's not bad. And all that desire for adventure. Hmm?" Silently, in his head, James was chanting Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw. He didn't know if that helped, but he figured it couldn't hurt at all. Was it his imagination, or did the hat sound amused? "Ravenclaw, eh? Hmm. I'm not sure."
What? Why not? And so it began. They went back and forth for so long that the boy's body was starting to get sore from sitting on that uncomfortable stool for so long. It didn't matter. He didn't want Gryffindor. There wasn't really anything wrong with it, he guessed. It just felt like the bad luck house. Bad luck for someone like him, anyway. There had been two other James Hughs in the boy's family, and they'd both been in Gryffindor, and they'd both met awful ends. That seemed like a good enough reason to avoid it. Besides, if he was in Ravenclaw, no one would think he was stupid.
The voice in his ear was too loud for the boy to hear anything else, but the people in the Great Hall had started whispering. The minutes had started to drag. They'd just started and already someone was hatstalling. What was even going on under there? Then, finally, after what must have been at least five minutes, the sorting hat announced...
Notes: It's a James-centric week because anniversary. <.< And I've expanded that to include his family in general. So. Tuesday - James post. Wednesday - Ara fic that was Ara/James-cousinness. Friday - James Callum fic. Somehow this turned into James Callum mooning over Emma. My own fault for placing it right after they get married. XP
James Callum. Age 21.
The twenty-one year old wasn't going off to war or anything, he wasn't going somewhere that he couldn't technically take his wife along to. It was just that this was going to be the first of what would probably be many, many trips, and frankly James thought he could take Emma somewhere fancier than Devonshire. It wasn't even the nice, by-the-sea part of Devonshire. Maybe he'd make a point of going somewhere nicer next time. He'd only left this morning and already he wanted to rush back home and... well. Do all those newlywed things. That was at least a point in his favor. He didn't want to be a terrible husband. He just sort of had to for a little bit.
Armed with the family history and one of those yellow legal pads filled with notes on muggle transportation, James was on a train headed for some town in eastern Devonshire. It was the first stop on this tour to fill in all holes in the family history, to weed out whatever good there must be. It was kind of a random stop, actually. Margaret Callum's book started in Scotland--shouldn't he be going to Scotland? That would make perfect sense except that the only relatives the man could locate in Scotland were at Hogwarts. That didn't mean there weren't any still there otherwise--it just probably meant they had a different last name. A side of the family descended from somebody's daughter, probably. He'd figure it out. At any rate, the first Callums to respond to his owls were this pair of sisters living out in Devonshire. They were something like sixth cousins to James' grandfather. He wasn't even sure what that made them to him. He was also fairly sure they'd only responded because they didn't know who he was. At least, that was what it had sounded like from their letter. The man had discovered quickly that if he pitched himself as "Claudius Callum's great-grandson" he got a lot further. He just didn't specify which of Claudius' kids he was descended from.
James had opted to take the train for a couple of reasons. First, he rather liked trains. Not obsessively or anything. He just enjoyed watching the scenery go past. Also it was a lot less jarring than any form of magical transportation. It was slower, but that was sort of the point. The man wasn't really interested in hurrying toward what was probably going to be an uncomfortable visit with people he didn't know. And then on the way back he might want some time to himself to think about things. Or he'd just skip the train all together and apparate home, because he already missed Emma so much he'd started doodling a picture of her in the corner of his notepad. Except James was not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, so she kind of looked like a cartoon character would if they'd been drawn by Picasso. He quickly scratched out the doodle.
Turning his head to stare out the window, James let out a long sigh. He might as well get used to this. This was only trip one of many.
Notes: So, of my wurr!babies, Lily is... second oldest, I guess, both in actual age and in amount of time I've been writing her. She's second only to Krystal, that daughter James never knows about. (Technically on wurr Lily is older than Krystal, but on ATT Krystal's a month and a bit older. So... Also if they aged in real time from when I created them, Krystal would be 14 in October and Lily would be 9 in December. Jeez.) Anyway. Lily is basically the sole reason for Harry's existence. And I never got to play her on ATT. And I felt like writing her profile. Therefore this exists. And yes, this comes with footnotes because I do what I want.
Age: 17 – 7th Year – D.O.B.: December 51
Blood Status: Muggleborn
- Biology is a cruel and heartless mistress. Lily is pretty sure that it is only through sheer, dumb luck that she looks anything resembling a normal person. It wasn't that her parents were particularly grotesque or malformed--though, if she didn't know better, Lily would think there was a house elf somewhere in her ancestry. As it is, the girl's development can only be described as exceedingly slow. For much of her time at Hogwarts, Lily has trailed behind, always a step or two behind her peers. This isn't so strange considering all of her father's side seem to be late bloomers, and considering her mother is almost comically petite2, but still, it's never made Lily feel particularly secure. Even now, when she's finally sprouted up to a much more respectable five-foot-three--and is ostensibly still growing--she is still very aware of herself and how she appears to others. In some people this might lead to vanity or a compulsion to make everything perfect. In Lily, it mostly manifests itself as shyness.
Lily's appearance, on the whole, in one of delicacy. Fine boned, relatively thin, and possessing the sort of pale complexion that causes every blush to stand out in obvious detail, Lily has the look of someone who could easily break in half or blow away in a strong breeze. She hates this. She is not fragile, she will not break. One of the few things that will make the girl truly mad is if someone mistakes her usually gentle demeanor for weakness. The nice thing about being a witch, Lily has long thought, is that size makes little difference when it comes to magical ability. That at least made her feel a little less inadequate.
The girl has long, thick brown hair that appears almost black. A fair amount of Lily’s energy is spent trying to tame her hair into something manageable and presentable. Left unattended, her hair mostly just hangs from her scalp like a heavy blanket—limp and shapeless. She is always trying to do something to it to add some life, looking for new hairstyles or using new products or Charms. The effects seem to be short lived, though.
That useless mass of hair frames the girl’s round, pale face. Her eyes are a light shade of blue, framed by long black lashes. Her nose is long and pointed, poking out above thin pink lips and a dimpled chin. Down past her long neck and narrow shoulders, the girl still possesses a thin frame, looking like she hasn’t quite had time to get used to her new height yet.
- Lily is the sort of person who enjoys peace and serenity. Although she can very easily become quite chatty when amongst friends and people in general who she knows well, most people’s first impression of the girl is that she’s very quiet. That isn’t to really say that she is shy. Lily doesn’t like that term. To her it sounds like the sort of thing you’d use to describe someone who was afraid of social interaction, someone who got nervous in large groups. There is marked difference, she thinks, between shyness and simply preferring the quiet of one’s own company. Sometimes. Other times boredom drives the girl to seek out the company of others.
Simly put, Lily is a master at keeping herself entertained. She is quite happy lounging around the common room with a book or wandering the grounds when the weather permits. She isn’t really the sort who actively seeks out adventure, even if she’s quite content to sit by and listen to someone else’s tales. There isn’t much point to exploring and possibly getting yourseslf into trouble, at least as far as Lily is concerned. It makes for a nice story, but Lily doesn’t really think the outcome is worth the trouble of whatever one has to do to get there.3
For the most part, Lily tries to be kind to people. In her experience, kindness goes a long way to making people like you, and even if it isn’t vitally important to her that every moment be filled with social interaction, it still matters to her that people have a good opinion of her. You never know when you’ll need someone else, when having a friend on your side will make all the difference in a bad situation.
Not being very strong physically, the girl has learned over the last six years of her Hogwarts education the value of being adept with a wand. She isn’t particularly interested in dueling, but she doesn’t think that’s the most important thing in the world. Being self-sufficient, knowing how to take care of herself—that’s what’s really important. If there was one lesson that Lily learned growing up, it was that self-sufficiency was one of the most important skills a person could have. It didn’t matter if you had a rich uncle ready to swoop in and save the day if you got yourself in an awful mess—you just had to pretend that wasn’t an option unless there was really no other choice. Not that it wasn’t a good idea to ask for help sometimes. Just that asking for help should never be used to avoid taking responsibility.
- Growing up, Lily has heard the story of how she came into this world many, many times. More times than she can count. Sometimes from her mother. Sometimes from her uncle Harry. Once from her father. They all have their different ways of telling the story, different details they pull out. Her mother’s tales always carry the quirk that she never refers to the girl’s father by his first name, or even as “your father.” She just calls him “Berkwood,” even though Lily can remember her grandfather well enough to know that wasn’t his title in the beginning.4
When Amara Williams met Daniel Berkwood, she was working in the office of a local politician.5 She was twenty-one years old, fresh out of university and trying desperately to make some sort of name for herself. At the time, she’d gotten as far as being the personal assistant to a not very important person in government. It was a start, anyway. She’d worked in the office for a few months when she met the Earl Berkwood, a local peer with gobs of money to throw around at projects and, most importantly, a twenty-four year old son who was, Amara’s boss hoped, easily influenced by a pretty face.
A flirtation turned into something resembling a relationship. Time has caused both Amara and Berkwood to have a difficult time acknowledging what fond feelings must have existed at the time. Only Harry makes any attempt to make it all sound more romantic, but he usually follows it up by admitting that, in the little over a year that the pair were together, he only saw them together once, two months before they split up, and he wasn’t exactly concerned with what they were doing at the time.
One year. A little more. Then it was over. It wasn’t that surprising, really. They argued with increasing regularity, usually about Berkwood’s apparent disdain for taking the relationship too far. And then it was over. This is where the stories usually diverge. Amara is usually vague about her reasons for leaving. Berkwood said they simply wanted different things from life. Harry flat out admits that he doesn’t know what happened, but that he just assumes that what Berkwood says is true.7 That was late March. By late April, Amara realized she was pregnant, and discovered very quickly afterwards that she was going to be on her own. Her parents and uncle have always been very careful about this part, but Lily gets the point easily enough—her father didn’t want her. She wasn’t an idiot. She knew that her father was absent for most of her early childhood, and the few times she saw him he’d been guilted into it. Lily understood and appreciated the effort to spare her feelings, and she understood that their early relationship had been too fragile a thing to truly mess with. Still, you could only sugar coat things for so long.
Over the course of the next six months, things steadily fell apart. Amara lost her job—not because of any real fault of her own, but because her employer lost an election—and it became increasingly difficult to find a new employer who was willing to hire someone who would soon be going on maternity leave. Twenty-three, jobless and pregnant, Amara watched what little savings she had quickly dwindle. Her parents weren’t really in a position to help either, though they offered. Tempting as it was to run home, Amara didn’t want to be an added burden. So she was alone. Completely alone.
And then appeared the most unlikely of guardian angels.
Before their incredibly chance encounter, Amara had met Harry Berkwood exactly one time. The last and only time she had seen him, she’d accompanied Berkwood to the funeral of his aunt and uncle—Harry’s parents. Not exactly the best circumstances to meet anyone, and Amara would have thought that he’d have forgotten all about her. Hell, she’d almost forgotten about him. The only reason she’d paid him the slightest attention on the street that day was because, from the back, he looked an awful lot like his cousin. So she’d stopped, staring at the back of his head, wondering if she should say something or just move along, until Harry had turned around, revealing himself to be someone else entirely. She barely recognized him, but apparently he knew precisely who she was immediately, and before Amara knew it, this eighteen year old boy was hugging her like she was some sort of long lost friend and she thinks he must have said something about her pregnant belly—which, at six months, was already comically large on her small frame—and then before Amara knew what she was doing she was crying all over the poor, unsuspecting boy. Harry, for his part, let her do it, patting her back awkwardly and saying the sort of nonsense words you say when random women start sobbing into your chest for no apparent reason. Because he didn’t know. Clearly he could tell that Amara was pregnant, but no one had told him what happened. When he met the woman in the street, his first thought wasn’t that the baby was his cousin’s—surely Daniel would have said something about his impending fatherhood. That wasn’t the sort of thing you left out—but that she must have found some other bloke, and they were probably quite happy. That was what Harry assumed. Instead he had this tiny woman sobbing in his arms, telling him all her woes like she was a broken faucet, spewing water and uncomfortable truths all over his shirt.
When she stopped, Amara barely had time to realize what she’d just done before Harry was giving her shoulder a comforting pat and saying something like “Right. Well. Not to worry. We’re going to set this right” as though this was the most obvious thing in the world for him to be saying. And then he did what he said. Well, all right, not exactly. Harry couldn’t make his cousin act like a decent human being if Berkwood didn’t want to, but now there were people on Amara’s side. Not just Harry, but the whole clan. There were people who wanted to help, and although the woman’s pride made her bulk at the thought of taking anything from her ex’s family, she also realized that she needed help, and quickly came to realize that with the exception of their one bad egg, Berkwoods tended to take care of their own.
Although Lily spent her early years seeing her father only very seldomly—her uncle’s wedding, the occasional family visit, and one rather disasterous Christmas when Amara finally gave in to the Dowager’s8 invitations—she was never really without a father. Not that she’d ever called Harry “Dad.” She thinks she might have once or twice when she was little, but it has never really been an official thing. Still, in practice, Harry Berkwood is as good as her real father, at least in Lily’s opinion. When her mother would work late, he would be the one who picked her up from school and made sure she did her homework. Lily spent enough evenings with her uncles and her ever growing mob of cousins that their house felt as much like home as the apartment she shared with her mother. It was through this that she learned about being a witch, which at least served to make the whole idea of leaving home for Hogwarts to be less scary—it was just more of the same old thing at home. How many muggleborn students could say that?
Life gradually changed, though certainly in good ways. When Lily was ten, her father married—finally seemed to be everyone’s thought—and their relationship started to change. Partially--mostly--because Berkwood and his new wife, Kate, were having trouble conceiving, but gradually, tentatively, Lily’s father seemed to want to spend more time with her. In retrospect, the girl thinks she might have too hastily forgiven him, but she’d wanted to. So badly. She almost hadn’t realized how much she wanted his attention until she had it. Around this time, too, Amara started seeing a man named Alan Samuels,9 and eventually married him during the summer before Lily started her second year at Hogwarts. Twins followed soon after that, and not long after Kate gave birth to a boy, Henry. In the space of a year Lily went from being an only child to being the oldest of four. Except it wasn’t really that weird, since she’d spent most of her childhood with enough cousins to keep anyone busy, and she’s been at school for most of her young siblings’ lives.
1 Actual character birth: December 5, 2004.
2 I think Amara's original height was something like 4'10". She might be more like 4'8" or 4'9" in the wurrniverse.
3 Fun Fact: Other!Universe Lily was once basically blackmailed into attempting to overthrow a government. It was complicated. Also thwarted because her partner in crime was an idiot. But I think her dislike of adventure carried over.
4 In an overly complicated plot point back in the day, Amara didn’t know what Berkwood’s first name was for year’s. Despite the fact that she bore his child. Despite the fact that she was in regular communication with both of his sisters and his cousin. For some bizarre reason that only made sense to my brain at age 16, Berkwood didn’t want to tell her and for some reason everyone just respected that. I don’t think I actually named him until college. I just can’t imagine Amara calling him “Daniel.” If you’ve heard me talk about Harry’s family before, I very, very rarely call him anything besides “Berkwood” unless I’m writing about him from Harry’s perspective. Which is just freakin’ weird.
5 There is a universe where Amara is a queen. First of all: It’s a very weird universe that is supposed to exist in someone else’s imagination. Second of all: this universe is where most of my characters from. For instance, Amara gets her last name on wurr from Robert Williams, one of the characters who inspired James. Because they were married and TQL!verse Amara didn’t have a last name of her own. Anyway, this was as close as I could imagine getting to that in wurr’s universe.6
6 Random Facts: The characters/NPCs who exist on wurr because of Amara: The Berkwoods, The Callums, The McKinleys, the whole Masters clan, Lily. It seems like not very many when I group them like that, but that is a lot of people. Also, in the most random pairing ever, the inspiration for Arthur and Amara had the very briefest of flings. But it ended well for everyone all around, because he introduced her to his brother, and she helped him reconnect with his old lady love. Thus, we got James and Ellie. Let’s just take a moment to bask in the WTFery of the fact that James only exists because his brother got lucky. Also that most of my wurr stuff hinges on the existence of one background NPC.
7 Actual answer: he cheated on her. I don’t think Berkwood realized Amara knew about it for a long time. What he tells Lily is probably the reason Amara gave him at the time.
8 Dowager: The widow of a peer (Duke, Marquess, Earl, etc.) In this case, Berkwood and Harry’s grandmother, the Dowager Countess Berkwood. Technically Berkwood’s mother is also a Dowager, but for the sake of distinguishing the two Ladies Berkwood, it’s just easier to call one the Dowager and the other Lady Berkwood. Because I don’t know what to do when there are three, we’re just going to assume the Dowager dies before Berkwood gets married. Also somewhere in the middle of this I realized I went to all that trouble of memorizing this sort of thing in high school just so I could write these footnotes. Huh. Also as a random side note: The Berkwood title is one of the weird times when the title is also the last name. It wasn’t originally. Berkwood was originally Daniel ____, Earl of Berkwood, but I’ve long since forgotten his original last name. I’m still getting used to leaving out the “of.”
9 Obligatory Animorphs reference here. Alan is named after Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul from Animorphs. Alan Fangor was his human name. “Samuels” sounds kind of close to “Shamtul.” Hence, Alan Samuels. Elfangor is my favorite Animorphs character, and his namesake is pretty awesome. See next footnote.10
10 Okay, this is my favorite AU thing. So. In their original universe, Amara and Alan were childhood sweethearts who got married super super young, popped out twins, and then split because… well, reasons. Still. Loved each other to the end. Alan never remarried. Amara did, but… well, it just all ended badly. At any rate, I liked the idea that this is a universe where they make it work. Just had to age them almost twenty years first and switch the birth order around for the kids.
11 Annnd this is where Steph just has no idea how to end it.
Notes: I had random inspiration to write about Peter at Jamma's wedding. <.< ...Peter does not do well in crowds.
Peter Bolstridge. Age 20.
He was pretty sure he was well on his way to earning some kind of Brother of the Year award. Not to mock Lewis' contributions, but Peter doubted his brother was withstanding half the torture he was right now. The former Slytherin felt, for lack of a better word, claustrophobic. He was having trouble breathing. People kept coming up to him and saying congratulations and wanting to talk and all Peter wanted to do was hide somewhere.
It wasn't that the young man wasn't happy for his sister. He was. Even if he thought they were far too young, and even if he thought his new brother-in-law was a bit weird. Even after knowing him for a good five years, Peter still had a hard time thinking of James Callum as anything but that weird Gryffindor with a habit of hanging out of trees and whatever other weird things he did. But he also seemed to worship the ground Emma walked on, so Peter supposed he couldn't say too much against him.
Still. The retired snake had stood dutifully through the ceremony which, in reality, couldn't have been that long, but to him it felt like years. He was pretty sure his mother cried through the whole thing. Or at least sniffled. And it wasn't like everyone else in the room wasn't in some state. It was awful. And it wasn't much better now that they were at the reception. Peter couldn't just find a quiet spot to himself. He was the brother of the bride--people expected him to be there, they wanted to talk to him. He didn't know where Lewis was--probably being bombarded somewhere else in the room. Already, the twenty year old had had to withstand such conversations as his great aunt poking him in the ribs and saying, "You're next!" Despite the fact that the man was barely out of his teens. And despite the fact that he was only "next" by a margin of three minutes. He was chalking it up to senility. Peter wasn't sure how old the woman was, only that she was older than his grandmother, who was well into her seventies by now, surely. That wasn't too early to be senile, was it?
Peter had just freed himself from one tiresome wedding guest when he nearly ran into Mrs. Callum. Or he thought he nearly ran into her, anyway. Apparently she'd been coming over purposefully to talk to him. But he didn't want to talk to her. It was nothing against the woman personally--she seemed very nice and not at all scary like her grandmother, with whom Peter had already spent far too much time--but that heavy feeling in Peter's chest only got worse with her standing even a couple feet away. He barely even heard what she was saying. Too much. Too much. Over the older witch's head, the former Slytherin at last spotted his savior. "Have you met my uncle?" he said loudly, gesturing with a bit more than his usual enthusiasm at the man in question. The look Peter received wasn't too happy, but at least he wasn't left there waving like an idiot at someone who wasn't coming over. Peter stuck his arm out to indicate the older man as he stepped forward. "My father's good friend, Harry Berkwood." To Harry, Peter said, "This is James' mother."
Mrs. Callum was looking at Harry with interest now. "The Cambridge professor?"
"The very one," Peter confirmed. He took a step back from the pair, keeping his best approximation of a smile plastered on his face. "I'm sure you two have just... lots to talk about. I'll leave you to it. Excuse me." With that, the twenty year old turned and, much faster than he intended, made his way through the crowd of well-wishers, out the doors of the reception hall, through the lobby and out the door into the fresh air outside. He found himself hunched over a railing overlooking the parking lot, panting like he'd just run a mile. Or like he'd been holding his breath for ages.
It was settled. Everyone else's feelings be damned, if Peter ever got married he was eloping. Better yet, he'd just forget the whole thing. It was the twenty-first century--he didn't have to have a proper wedding at all if he didn't want to. It was just the ceremony and the party afterwards that he disliked. The whole marriage concept was fine. All he had to do was find a guy or girl who were willing to skip to that bit and ignore the rest.
In the meantime, Peter was just going to stand out there in the fading light until someone noticed he was gone.
set by coco <3
Notes: It's just a Jamma feels kind of day. Don't judge me. Also this is feeling like a mix of scenes of him at certain points and his reflections on them later.
James Callum. Various Ages.
James did not believe in love at first sight. He thought it was a nice enough concept, that idea that two people's fates could be so linked that they would know it instantly upon meeting. It was a nice thought, but he didn't really think it could happen. More to the point, it hadn't happened to him.
That wasn't to say that he hadn't always been in some way interested. James remembered very distinctly that first day, when all the first years had been crowded into that room off the Great Hall, waiting for the sorting ceremony to begin. He'd seen her and had just stared at her until they'd had to move. It was sort of creepy now that he thought about it. Well, it was only creepy because he hadn't said anything to her. He was going to. He was just mustering up the courage and trying to think of something smart and interesting to say so he wouldn't look like a total idiot. And then just as he figured he'd make a go of it, they were all heading out into the Great Hall. Moment wasted. It wasn't much consolation that she'd have a chance to notice him when he went up and got sorted, since if she did, she probably wondered what was so wrong with this boy that the sorting hat couldn't make up its mind.
That's what James would have thought, anyway. He'd never actually asked her.
For about a week during his third year, James was convinced that he was in love. It was stupid. Really stupid. He wasn't even sure what exactly had caused him to think that in the first place. Maybe she said something nice to him. Maybe someone had snuck a love potion into his breakfast one morning and seven days was just how long it took for the thing to wear off. Or maybe he just really found it attractive that she was doing better than him in a class. James liked smart girls. Or he thought he did, anyway. He'd only ever really liked one girl, so maybe it was too hard to really come up with his "type." At any rate, he didn't "fall out of love" so much as go home for the summer and not really think about it again for awhile.
James didn't know if this was usual or not. Did people often feel compelled to profess their feelings on the first date? Or, to be perfectly honest, for quite some time before a date a had even been agreed upon? That... that probably wasn't normal, was it? He had no idea. He'd never done this before.
He'd tried once. Not overtly. He didn't go ask a random girl on a date or anything. But once while speaking to a girl who had traits he thought he liked--smart, reasonably attractive, decent sense of humor--and had tried envisioning a scenario where he was interested in her in a way besides just being friends. It hadn't worked. It was just kind of weird. Also he'd learned that apparently he looked constipated when he was trying to imagine impossible things. Good to know.
He didn't actually profess his feelings on the first date. The boy did have some kind of self-restraint. Don't scare her off. That was his mantra for the night. Don't announce that you were in love with her. Don't stare too much. Don't talk too much. Make her laugh, but don't tell her that joke--he'd yet to meet a girl who thought it was funny.
Still. He let himself hold her hand. He liked the feel of their hands together. His big, calloused hand clasped to her smaller, smoother hand. They just fit nicely together. And then when he walked her back to Ravenclaw Tower, he nearly kissed her. He really, really wanted to. But he chickened out at the last second. Instead, he gave her a peck on the cheek, said what a wonderful time he'd had, and then got out of there before he could say something really stupid and ruin the whole thing.
There were moments in every serious relationship that could test even the bravest of souls. Few moments thus far in James' life had been as nerve-racking as that pivotal moment of meeting the parents. What if her parents didn't like him? What if they thought he wasn't good enough for her? Mrs. Bolstridge was an empath--what if she sensed all the weird things that went on inside the former Gryffindor sometimes and told Emma to just stay away from that particular train wreck waiting to happen? What if he didn't like them? Then every visit would be excruciatingly painful. James had all sorts of similar thoughts when Emma met his parents.
James liked to think that part of things had gone all right. Emma's parents seemed to like him, he thought. Or he was choosing to interpret it that way, anyway. And his parents... well, his mum thought she was lovely and seemed relieved that Emma wasn't some kind of weirdo. James wasn't sure what she'd been expecting. As for his father, James could at least say with some certainty that the man at least didn't dislike Emma. He was pretty sure it would be obvious otherwise. He could live with an evolving thing. Still, he was pretty sure his parents thought he was at least a little crazy. His mother kept going on about how young they were, which was baffling coming from a woman who'd been happily married since she was twenty-one. And this was infinitely less dramatic than that had been. And anyway, he hadn't asked yet.
First, there was perhaps the most terrifying of introductions. After four-plus years, one would think that he'd have introduced his girlfriend to his great-grandmother. It wasn't like he didn't see her frequently. It wasn't like Strensall was too much of a hike for people who could appear and disappear at will. But, when James had offered to bring Emma by to meet her, Gran had said in no uncertain terms that she didn't want to meet any girl he might bring unless he was planning to marry her. Something about there being no use getting attached to someone if it wasn't going anywhere.
And so there they were. In his great-grandmother's living room, sitting on those couches that had probably been in the house since the stone age, being stared at from all directions by pictures of his grandparents, and drinking tea. Jane McKinley treated tea like it was some kind of civic duty. She was always insisting that people didn't drink enough of it anymore, and on more than one occasion she'd flat out refused to acknowledge "tea" as a way to say "dinner." Unless the beverage was actually being served. It was probably a good thing she didn't work for immigration. James could only imagine how many people would be turned down for visas otherwise, just because they didn't drink the stuff.
At any rate, James' mother had a theory that the best way to ensure that Gran would give a person a chance was to make sure they accepted her first offer of tea. It was very silly, and no one dared to actually ask if this were true, but it seemed safer not to risk it. Not that it worked all the time. The young man's father had surely had gallons of the stuff by now, and Gran still didn't like him very much. It was probably safe to assume at this point that it was just never going to happen.
When Emma went to use the toilet, James waited for her to be out of ear shot before asking, "Well?"
Gran reached for the tea pot--it was one of those old fashioned-looking things made of china with painted on flower petals and the like. "Another cup?"
"Er, yeah, thanks." James watched to make sure she added the right amount of sugar--three spoonfuls. A fair enough compromise, he thought, considering he'd originally said five and she'd originally said zero. "Fair" here meant slightly more on his side. Obviously. "But well? What do you think?"
Mrs. McKinley handed back his cup before saying, "She seems all right." She eyed him carefully for a moment. "Is she one of those... you know..."
"The word's 'witch,' Gran. It's okay to say it. And yeah."
The old woman sighed, then began pouring herself more tea. "Well. Nobody's perfect. I suppose she'll do."
Well. That was good enough.
It was probably a bad idea to buy the ring before asking permission. What if he said no? James supposed he didn't have to have Mr. Bolstridge's blessing, but you know, maybe he'd say no because he knew something the younger man didn't. Maybe he'd say no because he knew Emma would say no, and figured it was much kinder to just nip this in the bud before James got a nasty surprise.
But he'd gone down to the jewelry store, just to get a feel for what his options were, and there'd been this ring that was perfect and he couldn't just leave it there. What if he came back and it was gone?
It was a cold Sunday afternoon that found James on the Bolstridges' doorstep. It was grey and bleak, and not at all the sort of backdrop the twenty year old had envisioned for this, but what did he really expect in late February? Taking in a deep breath, he raised his fist and knocked on the door.
She must have been sitting in the front room, because not half a minute later James could hear the locks turning, and then the door opened to reveal the tiny Mrs. Bolstridge. "James, hello. We weren't expecting you." She held open the door for him to enter, her brow furrowing as he passed her into the foyer. "Isn't Emma with you?"
"No, just me today."
A beat. "I see," the woman said, drawing out the last word.
James cleared his throat, bouncing slightly on his heels. "Is Mr. Bolstridge home?"
James wasn't sure how to interpret the look on the woman's face. What she said was, "Oh boy." Then she turned and called toward the kitchen, "Al!"
He should have bought a back up present.
James had spent the last hour pacing around his room, waiting for the right time to go. And then, as he was finally leaving, it dawned on him--what happened if she said no? Or, because that was too painful to think about, what if she said yes, but she hated the ring? At least if he had a back up, not all would be lost. If she didn't like the ring now, he was going to look like an ass who hadn't bothered to get his girlfriend a birthday present. Merlin, he'd say no, too.
He should have brought flowers.
This realization arrived as James lifted his fist to knock on Emma's door. He looked like an idiot. A well-dressed idiot, but still. He was standing there with no visible gift, no flowers, nothing. Just a ring burning a hole in his pocket. But he'd thought, flowers aren't special. He'd brought Emma loads of bouquets. It wasn't like their relationship was lacking in flowering plant life. And anyway, James wasn't sure he wanted to be shackled to a specific flower for the rest of his days. You know, because the minute he'd decide on a flower for this particular occasion, he'd feel like he had to pick the same one for all future events. At the very least, he'd have to buy them for every anniversary. That was too restrictive. What if he brought daisies and then down the line one of them developed an allergy? What then?
He should have--
The man's knock was a little extra loud, just to drown out the last of the doubts.
A/N: While writing IV I came across THIS. Seriously, the timing.
Timeline: AATT/WURR time travel plot
Notes: The alternate point of view for I am not the ghost you want of me. This is also the very first time I've written anything from Krystal's perspective. Let's see how she comes out. o.o
Krystal Blake. Age 18.
But. Still. She was curious. The girl's mother had told her about this man for her entire life in bits and pieces, revealing more as Krystal matured and was able to handle it. Sometimes he felt like two different people to her. Her mother's words for him seemed to get kinder with age, probably lending credence to the adage "time heals all wounds." Sometimes in the eighteen year old's imagination he was charming and funny; sometimes he was a grumpy drunk who got himself killed by his own vices.
Krystal didn't want another dad. It didn't really matter if she did, anyway, because that wasn't possible. But she was curious. She was only human. Who wouldn't be at least a little curious? It wasn't even like she hated him. She didn't know him, and that wasn't his fault. Well, it sort of was. But not in a willful kind of way.
The seventh year didn't usually pay too much attention to the rumors and whispering that went around the castle. Unless it sounded like it was about someone she knew, she didn't see a reason to bother with it. But that day it had all started early and then steadily but surely it had gotten harder and harder to avoid. At first she didn't believe it. Right, she thought, time traveling students. That was obviously not a thing. Except that the castle seemed unusually crowded, and that afternoon she'd had to eat her lunch in the corridor because it seemed like all the spots in the Great Hall were full. That had never happened before. Ever.
But with all that going on, Krystal had wondered. If he was hanging around somewhere, she could maybe find him. She'd seen pictures. Granted, he'd been in his twenties in the ones her mum had, but there couldn't be that big a difference. So she'd looked. And looked. She'd probably seen more of the castle that day than she'd ever wanted to. If he was there, she couldn't find him. The eighteen year old couldn't decide if she was disappointed or not.
She hadn't really meant to go down to the Great Hall. It wasn't dinner time, and there were probably loads of people hanging around there, anyway that it'd be too crowded. But she found herself headed that way anyway, probably for lack of anything really better to do.
And then, almost immediately, there he was. He was obviously younger, but it was definitely him. Krystal stood frozen for a moment, not sure what to do. Then, rather abruptly because if she thought about it too long she'd just turn tail and leave, the witch marched forward and asked "Do you mind if I sit here?"
There was some shuffling. He said something. She said something back. They both said something else. And then there was just silence. Not uncomfortable silence, exactly, though the girl spent it trying to think of what to say. She had questions. Things her mother couldn't tell her about. Things that she wondered about sometimes. Hell, Krystal almost wanted to make him write down his entire health history for her--just something. She only knew what her mother knew, or what she could dig up in school records that they'd let her have access to, which, frankly, wasn't much. But those didn't tell everything about a person.
Still. What could she really say? The person she wanted to talk to didn't really exist yet. He was right there next to her, sure, but he hadn't been through the things that had shaped her life. It was all still waiting for him. All the things she wanted to say wouldn't mean anything to him anyway.
Mum forgives you.
Maybe if she thought those things hard enough some past-future version of James Monroe would feel it. Probably not, though. That sort of thing didn't really happen. So, instead, the witch stood up and said she should probably go. Except then, as she turned away, she was struck by the sudden need for him to know her name. It wouldn't mean anything to him. Not the right thing, anyway. But it was something. And that was all she was really looking for.
Jinx is perfection.
Notes: The Callums get a puppy. I feel like this is really just revenge for James' childhood. Also I have no idea if what Porter says about names is true because I don't remember where I heard it so who knows how good a source it was. XP CHARACTERS DON'T HAVE TO BE ALWAYS BE RIGHT.
James Callum. Age 30.
Strensall, Yorkshire. August 2052.
James straightened up, glancing at his oldest son, who was currently perched precariously on the garden wall. He was only up there because his mother wasn't watching and his father had done worse things in his presence before. Like the time last fall when the man had stepped on a rake, careened backwards, tripped over the garden hose, and slammed his head into the wall. It would've been kind of funny if he hadn't gotten a concussion, frightened his children, and woken up to his mother-in-law looking like she might smack him.
At any rate, it would be awhile before he was allowed near lawn equipment unsupervised.
At the moment, however, the man had far more pressing matters to attend to than raking leaves or watering the garden. Granted, it had rained the day before so that might have been superfluous anyway. Still, this was quite possibly the most important task James had undergone all summer. Even more important than that time he'd helped his brother-in-law move. More important than getting a whole bunch of notes for his book written. More important even than turning thirty, because that made him somehow feel even older than the eight year old sitting ten feet away who was unmistakably his child. That was saying a lot.
On this day, though, standing before the wizard with its big brown eyes, mouth hanging open like it was grinning goofily at him, and its little tail waving back and forth in a blur, was the most difficult charge ever put into his care. James wasn't really sure why it was his care specifically, since his children had been the ones to beg for a dog. And yet, the only person there with him now was Porter, and he seemed less intent on helping, and far more interested in watching his father fail completely.
Because of course James was going to fail. He didn't know the first thing about puppy training. The only pet he'd ever had in his life was an owl, and those were pretty much self-sufficient. He'd never even had to feed them--he just left the window open so they could go hunting for mice and such.
Dogs were a totally different matter. Not that the wizard didn't fully appreciate their appeal. The newest addition to the Callum household had only been with them a week and he'd already wiggled his way firmly into their lives. He'd also ruined James' nicest pair of shoes, but still. They were committed now. There was no turning back. Therefore, some measures had to be taken.
"Of course it'll work," the wizard said, sounding more confident than he felt. "How hard can training a dog be?" Did that sound as dumb as he thought it did? It must.
Porter frowned. "Katie says you're supposed to give 'em names with 'e' sounds at the end. They listen better or something."
James waved his hand dismissively. "Rubbish. Bertrand's a great name. It's a stupendous name. He loves it. Look. Don't you, boy?" He could only take the unceasing tail wagging as agreement. "See?"
Leaning slightly at the waist, James made a gesture like he'd read in a book on dog training. Or he thought it was the right gesture anyway. Pictures in muggle books were hard to follow. "Bertrand," he said firmly, "sit."
The dog didn't move.
James leaned in closer. He heard Porter hop down from his perch, but he didn't look up. "Sit!" He wasn't doing this right. Of course he wasn't doing this right. How did people do this? He'd seen well-behaved dogs before. They listened to commands. Or seemed to. Maybe their owners were just all psychic and knew when their dogs wanted to sit or roll over so they said it out loud to make passerby think they knew what they were doing. That seemed like a legitimate thing.
Maybe he needed a little encouragement? Some direction? Puppy-to-English probably didn't translate well. Squatting down, the wizard set a hand on the pup's back, giving it a gentle push downwards as he said, "Bertrand, sit."
The effect wasn't quite what James was going for. Instead of sitting, the either very dim or very stubborn ball of fur launched itself at the man. He only had a moment to try to grab the thing, which was now scrabbling excitedly at his chest with its paws, before he lost his balance and toppled backwards. And then, just like that, he was abandoned. His dog had walked right over him and hopped off to Merlin knew where. Man's best friend, his arse. Who knew where Porter had gotten to. So much for family solidarity. James closed his eyes, flinging one arm to cover his face and letting out a little groan.
He wasn't sure how long he lay there. A minute, probably. But at some point, the wizard became aware of someone right next to him. Then, "Daddy? Did you hurt yourself again."
James lifted his arm, prying open his eyes to see his five year old looking at him with concern. "No, kiddo. Daddy's just resting."
"Oh." This only seemed to confuse her. Her brow furrowed. "That's not what the grass is for."
The retired lion pushed himself up to sitting position, grunting softly. "Nope, you're right. Daddy's very silly." He raised a hand to rub at his eyes, only to realize his daughter was still looking concerned about something. "What's the matter, Jane?"
The little girl held out her hand to reveal her doll. Her very expensive doll that she'd managed to weasel out of her grandparents for her birthday. The very expensive doll whose very expensive arm was now barely attached to her body. Jane's only attempt at explanation was to give the poor doll a shake in her father's direction and say, "Abby broke."
Dutifully, the wizard patted his pocket for his wand--because the idea of him fixing anything by hand was laughable--only to remember he'd left it in the house. "I can't right now. Why don't you ask Mummy?"
Jane frowned at him like she thought he might be dense. "I already asked Mummy, she's busy." As if to punctuate her point, she thrust her doll practically into James' face.
Leaning back slightly, he said, "Listen, I'll fix her right up in a bit. I've got to train the dog, okay?"
The little girl peered around her father, then started giggling. "I think he's busy, too."
"What?" James turned to follow his daughter's gaze, spying Bertrand furiously digging. In the vegetable patch. "Aww, no! No!" He struggled to launch himself to his feet without stumbling into his daughter, racing off after the muddy pooch.
Notes: Every Callum patriarch (or matriarch) ends up as a portrait in the family gallery when they die. So, you figure, at some point, they'd have to sit for said portrait to be painted... It's short and random.
James Callum. Age 38.
Callum House, London. October 2060.
James glanced at his mother, who was just visible in the doorway. "What do you mean?" He was very careful not to move too much when he spoke. He'd tried to scratch his nose a minute ago and had received a death glare from the girl sitting behind the easel in front of him. To be fair to her, the wizard was pretty sure the look had been involuntary. And was probably less than he deserved after he'd shut done all of her perfectly acceptable staging suggestions.
"I don't know. I'd think they usually did this sort of thing, you know, after the current owner died. Not before." James wasn't sure, because he couldn't quite see his mother's face, but he thought she probably had a rather sour expression at the moment. "Honestly, your father isn't even sick." This last bit was said in a tone that maybe implied the thirty-eight year old was being a terrible son and wishing for such a thing. That or it was just part of the woman's general disdain for any reminder of normal family practices.
"I know, but think about it. Dad's hopefully going to be around for a long time yet. By the time it's actually my turn, I'll be like ninety." James made a face, like the thought of being that old left a sour taste in his mouth. "And then you know what'll happen. I'll end up looking like Lennor."
"I don't know who you're talking about."
"Sure you do." The man turned his gaze to the portraitist, who had paused in her work, wearing an expression that said she really wasn't being paid enough for this. Or possibly that she was wondering why old people were so mad. That was what James assumed most of his children's friends were thinking most of the time. Though technically Angela, the friend in question, was the sister of one of Porter's friends, but never mind. She still looked like she was fifteen, even if she swore she was twenty-two. "By the time this bloke got around to doing his portrait, he'd lost all his hair except for this bit right here." James pulled at a little clump of hair just above his own forehead. "And he looks like he was getting over a nasty case of small pox or something. And if that weren't enough, he's got this wart that takes up half his cheek." He motioned at his own face to show her just how huge the thing actually was. "If I wait, who knows what I'm going to look like."
"Well," Angela said in what was probably her best "speaking to patrons with an awful lot of money" voice, "I think you look very distinguished, Mr. Callum."
"Now, please sit still."
The man humphed, but he resumed his pose, only narrowing his eyes slightly at the sound of his mother snickering while she retreated from the room. Probably thinking that being forced to sit still was its own punishment. It wouldn't be so annoying if she wasn't right.
Notes: So. I promised that I wouldn't kill another character. But. You know. It doesn't count if it happens when they're old. And happens "off-screen."And I wanted to write this bit. It is also referenced HERE. Also I felt like test driving a Jamma!baby. Let's see how this goes. <.<
Porter Callum. Age 58.
His father, though. While Porter thought his father had been a fine enough man, and that he'd been reasonably lucky in the parental department--honestly the horror stories some people had to tell. Hell, the horror stories lurking in their family tree--there were certain things one just couldn't get around.
For starters, the man's father had always been horribly absent-minded. He could always be trusted to remember everyone's birthday, sure, but Porter was pretty sure that there hadn't been a single instance where it had been the day of and his father was hurriedly trying to find someone a present because he'd forgotten that detail. It only got worse as he'd gotten older. Porter hadn't even received a present for his last birthday. He hadn't said anything--it was okay. It didn't matter. He honestly hadn't wanted one, anyway.
Memory was selective., though. Porter never got that. Towards the end there, his father had days where he couldn't remember that he'd eaten an hour before, but if you asked him he could still name every family patriarch, in order, complete with most of their dates. It was weird the things a person's mind grasped on to. Maybe it was a reward for all the years spent studying with such singular purpose--the satisfaction of being able to call it all back, even when everything else was fading away.
Speaking of which. Porter's eyes fell, reluctantly, on the boxes he knew he should go through. He should probably find a place for all the papers and notes his father had accumulated through his research. The lawyer had said these boxes were a particular concern. Porter supposed that made sense. Everything else was fairly straightforward. Callum House and everything that went with it was his. The house in Yorkshire was Jane's to do with as she wanted--though it had now been in the family so long it was hard to imagine doing anything besides live in it. There were little things here and there, too, but those were the big things. The man supposed that the boxes counted as the extras that went along with the house. Callum history should probably stay in the Callum house, and all that.
He just didn't want to sort through it.
With a sigh, he pushed himself out of his spot behind the desk and walked around to where the boxes sat waiting. They were numbered, though there were only two, and they were drastically different sizes, so it wasn't really hard to differentiate. Porter chose the first box, since it was much smaller. He picked it up, and hefted it onto the desk before removing the lid. The first thing he saw was a black spiral notebook with a label on the cover. There was some notation written on it in his father's short hand, but Porter couldn't understand it. Just notes, probably. He didn't need to read those--he'd already read the book, anyway. He was about to set the box aside when he noticed it. There, attached to the lid, was an envelope with his name on it. It was slightly yellowed, like it had been waiting for him for a long time. The wizard hesitated a moment, and then pulled envelope free. When he split it open, a single sheet of paper fluttered out.
This box contains all of the notes I made while researching the family history. Burn all of it. Do not read.
Or read and still burn it. Leave the other box.
Too harsh? Probably too harsh. Though if it was important, why hadn't he burned it himself?
He'd worry about it later. Pushing away from the desk, leaving the box open for him to come back to it, Porter turned and headed for the door. That was enough sorting for one day. Hardly anything had been touched, but there ought to be some sort of rule that it was time to stop when your head started to hurt.
Jinx is perfection.
Notes: So a thing happened.
Blood Status: Half-Blood
- Porter has always thought he was a bit mismatched, like the collective genes of his parents had looked at eclectic fashion and design and said "yeah, we can to do that," and turned him into their template. He doesn't really favor one side of the family over the other, but he can still look at his reflection and pinpoint where most of his features his come from. His grey eyes are almost certainly the product of his maternal grandmother. His wavy hair brings to mind that of his uncles'. He thinks he might have his mother's chin, though it's marred now by a long white scar gained from the time he fell off a ladder and landed face first on his parents' garden wall--rather ironically, as he'd been far more careful than any of the times he'd played on that dangerous ledge as a child without ever being harmed. His nose is long and straight, flaring out slightly at the end, and Porter isn't sure but he thinks it might be what his father's would look like if James Callum hadn't broken his on three separate occasions and attempted--poorly--to repair the injury himself at least twice.
At six foot five inches tall, Porter is certainly the tallest member of his family, but he doesn't really find that so odd. Plenty of people in his family top six feet easily. His body seems to be built in proper proportion to his height--he isn't particularly thin, or particularly fat, nor is he especially muscular. As he gets older, his preferred method of staying in shape is taking long walks. He mostly takes familiar paths, being more interested in pleasant scenery and the opportunity to see his neighbors than he is in exploring new avenues. So long as he gets enough exercise, he doesn't think it's too important where he goes or what he does.
The one feature that Porter has always been a bit self-conscious about is his hair. For most of his early childhood--practically right up until he started at Hogwarts--Porter's hair was an inexplicable shade of ash blonde. No one's quite sure where it came from. Although there is hardly an abscence of fair-haired people in his family, they tend to have hair that can be called positive adjectives like golden, not ashy or the especially unfortunate dishwater. He got into the habit of cropping his hair short to make the offending color less noticeable. As he's aged, it's steadily darkened, settling into an acceptable enough medium brown by the time adulthood rolled around, but he still keeps it short, though probably more out of habit now than anything.
- Porter is a very practical person. He doesn't think he's stuffy--though he's been called that occasionally. He is more than capable of having fun and being silly. He can out-silly the best of them, thank you very much. He doesn't think that the two things are mutually exclusive. He doesn't rush head long into anything without considering the consequences first, though it's probably true that Porter is willing to put up with more severe consequences than the average person. If something is worth doing, he reasons, than you have to see it through. The trick is to think things out ahead of time. As much as is possible in any given situation, anyway.
As with most people, Porter's demeanor depends largely on who he's with. In school or at work, he has been known as "the quiet guy"--the one who's usually sitting in the back, taking notes or listening intently. It's a bit of a misnomer, though. On the whole, Porter isn't really quieter than the average person--at least, he doesn't think so--it's mostly that there are times when he thinks it's probably more important for him to sit back and let someone else talk than it is for him to run his mouth. As a student, it was at least partially born of a desire to not find himself in trouble with his professors. As an adult. he's found it useful on occasions when paying close attention could make all the difference for a situation's outcome. Barring that, he's found that being a good listener is an easy way to make friends.
That said, Porter has never been the overly social type. He finds that, while he likes people just fine and gets great enjoyment out of activities done with a small group of friends, he doesn't really require that sort of thing in large doses. His favorite pastimes are either solitary by nature or at least don't really need to be done with someone else. Reading a book in the garden on a clear day. Taking a walk--preferably somewhere scenic but familiar. Having a companion with him is sometimes a bonus, but it's not really necessary for his overall happiness. If anyone were to comment on it, Porter would probably say that he gets quite enough social interaction at work, even if it's not usually the good kind. And even if that's not enough, he has no shortage of family members he can drop in on at any given moment.
That all said, Porter is still a person of strong opinions. He has a fairly straightforward view of right and wrong that he likes to stick to, and he likes it when things align so that those two things are easily distinguishable. The grayer the situation, the more frustrating it is for him. While he tries to be fair, Porter isn't easily swayed once he has an opinion on something, or someone. a fact which probably makes his life unnecessarily difficult sometimes. Still, there have been enough occasions where his first instinct has turned out to be correct that he feels like it validates this part of himself.
- No decent parent would ever admit to having a favorite child, to loving one more than the rest. Even if it's true, no one would say so out loud. Alternatively, Porter supposes that no one would ever admit to loving a particular child less. But, though he'll admit he doesn't have any solid proof, he is fairly sure that the latter at least holds true in his family.
In a family of six children, there are bound to be certain types. Each has to find a way to stand out as an individual amongst the group. This one is always serious. That one is always telling jokes. Sometimes their type connected to their place in the family. Max would always be the baby, no matter how old he was. Jane was always the princess who could probably get away with murder if she really wanted to--she'd been the only one to get away with pulling a D on her History of Magic OWL, which was as good as in their house.
Porter has never been one hundred percent sure of his particular role. He's not really fond of the ones that spring immediately to mind. There's The Heir--not so much a role as an accident of birth order. Though it did spur him at a relatively young age to learn all he could about keeping a budget and investments, and that couldn't be a bad thing in the long run. Then there's the decidedly less fortunate but probably just as accurate Practice Child.
Porter was older than his siblings by enough years to have observed a difference. It's subtle for the most part, but it seems to him that as time has gone on and they've gotten more sure of their parenting abilities there's just been a shift. He's not entirely sure what to call it. He is, however, fairly sure that Audrey and Max are able to get away with less than he or Jane could, and that Bentley and Darcy fall somewhere in the middle of that range. If he had to chalk it up to anything, Porter supposes he'd have to point to presence.
Being the eldest, and having been born when his parents were still only twenty-two--he wasn't quite a honeymoon baby, but he was certainly more than close enough--Porter's childhood is largely marred by the memory of his father's absences. That makes it sound as though James Callum was hardly ever in the boy's life, but that isn't quite true. Porter's father was never gone for very long--a week might have been the longest--but the absences were numerous enough that, after awhile, they started to add up. And when he wasn't gone, he was usually holed up in his office for hours on end, writing or going over his notes.
Porter was fifteen when his father finished the family history. By that point, he'd started thinking of the book--usually referred to as "that damn book"--as the Callum's seventh child. It never really went away. Porter did read it. Grudgingly. Partially he was curious about what his father had been doing all those times when he was away. Mostly, though, it felt more akin to spying on someone's new love, to find out what they did so right that you apparently did so wrong.
And that's the crux of it really--Porter grew up with the feeling that, though he was certainly loved and told as much on enough occasions to not really doubt it, but that he was loved least. Certainly he had the least individual attention paid to him, though he logically understands that that is no one's fault. Except maybe his parents' for either wanting children too badly or being too inept with birth control--possibly both. But, though he's three years older than his next youngest sibling, the time before his family's home was filled to the brim with people is lost to the fog that shrouds his earliest childhood memories.
He tells himself that it's no one's fault, that the fact that he's more than a decade older than his youngest sibling is the only reason Max has more pleasant, father-son memories than him. That his younger siblings only got more attention from their parents because there wasn't a steady parade of diaper-clad usurpers waiting behind them, and that the older children were becoming more and more independent. That doesn't really help, though. Mostly, if he thinks about it too long, he becomes frustrated by the fact that, all of that still being true, it doesn't make a difference. It still feels all wrong.
Unfair though this perception admittedly is, Porter is still at least sure that he's treated differently. At least by his father, anyway. Where Jane could get away with murder, Porter is pretty sure he could get away with anything that fell short of throwing himself off a bridge. Childhood was spent willfully doing things that would have gotten most of his friends into trouble--and sometimes did if he convinced them to come along. But while his friends would get grounded for sneaking into half-built construction sites or exploring the woods after dark, Porter would be sent home where his father would usually grimace at the tales, ask if he was all right, and tell him it had probably been a dumb idea. If asked, James would have said it was because he trusted his son, that he knew he was made out of sturdier stuff and had enough common sense to come running home if things got rough. That might have been true. Porter isn't sure, though, since he seemed to do a lot less of that sort of thing when he went off to school.
Jinx is perfection.
Notes: Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin was on the radio this morning. I couldn't stop myself. Also language warning.
James Callum: 22 | Porter Callum: 0 | St. Mungo's, London
But he only cried for the first two. He cried when Jane was born and they gave her Gran's name, knowing the old woman wouldn't be around long enough to know her great-great granddaughter. Porter, though. James cried because here was this tiny, perfect person. Somehow they'd made this. And he was scared beecause he had no idea what he was doing. And excited. Mostly scared.
James Callum: 29 | Porter Callum: 7 | Strensall, Yorkshire
Porter had complained. And sulked. And kicked the box of bin bags that they had with them until they spilled out onto the grass and his father told him to go keep busy on the other side of the garden.
So now he was standing at the other end of the garden, digging a hole in the dirt with a stick he found in the grass, his back turned to his father and sister. So he didn't see what happened. He just heard his father yell, and then a second later a crash and a loud, sickening crack! And his sister's voice, "Daddy? Daddy!" And when Porter turned around, his father way lying on the ground next to the garden wall, not moving.
And then Jane started screaming.
Porter sat in the corridor with his knees pulled tightly to his chest. Everything from the past half hour was a blur--everything from Jane screaming bloody murder to their mother coming outside, to him being sent to get the neighbor because Mum was too pregnant and he was too small to lift his father, to them somehow getting back inside and getting his dad into bed and an owl being sent off to his grandmother... It all went by in a confused flash, and now Porter was sitting outside his parents' bedroom, trying not to think about how pale his father had looked. Or how much blood there was. He didn't know until then that head wounds bled like crazy. He really wished he didn't know now.
The sound of hurried footsteps drew Porter out of his daze. He looked up in time to see his grandmother hurrying past him. She went through the bedroom door and it closed behind her. The boy held his breath, waiting. Grandma'd fix it. She had to. Grandma fixed everything. This was a lot worse than the cuts and scrapes Porter got when he visited his mother's parents, but still.
When his grandmother started yelling, Porter lurched up, almost getting to his feet before he realized that she was yelling at someone, and that must have meant that his father was awake. His relief was abated somewhat, though, the more he listened to what she said. The boy slunk back down against the wall, deciding it was better to wait out there. He was willing to bet that no one--not even Grandpa--had ever heard Fiona Bolstridge curse before, and there was absolutely no way he was going in there when she was mad enough to do it so vehemently.
James Callum: 37 | Porter Callum: 15 | Hogsmeade, Scotland
Instead, he was spending his Saturday afternoon in Hogsmeade, inside the bookshop in a back corner where they kept books by old blowhard purebloods about how great their ancestry was and how it was better than anything with muggle blood in it. All very ironic, but Porter could easily imagine some shop employee picking up the book, taking one look at it and throwing it back here thinking it was much of the same.
He didn't care about the stupid book. Really. It was just his father's dumb pet project. Porter didn't even like history that much, let alone whatever was lurking in his own background. The portrait gallery at his grandparents' house was the creepiest place he'd ever been. He didn't expect the book to be much better.
And he wasn't jealous. He wasn't jealous of a stupid book. Yeah, it had robbed him of his father for most of his childhood. And yeah, it seemed like it was more important than he was most of the time. But he wasn't jealous.
James Callum: 37 | Porter Callum: 15 | Strensall, Yorkshire
For the moment, James was distracting himself with the age old dilemma--what did he do with his notes? There was quite a lot in the box that held all of the notebooks he'd used over the last nearly two decades. Quite a lot of it was in the book. Quite a lot of it didn't seem strictly necessary to include but was still interesting to him, at least from the standpoint of understanding as much as possible about the people who made up his family tree. And then there were the things that didn't make it into the book because they were closely guarded family secrets.
How many people had known? James highly doubted any of his living relatives knew that they were descended from a muggleborn French witch and not ancient Picts or whatever the story was. That story, to James anyway, was very interesting, especially the layers of deceit that had been put in place just to hide that fact. He was pretty sure that close to seven hundred years was more than enough time to count the Callums as mostly pureblood by this point, so it shouldn't matter. But still it did somehow.
James was sure that his predecessor as the family historian, Margaret Callum, knew. Crazy, senile Margaret Callum, whose portrait had been the family joke for ages because she believed everything anyone told her and spouted it off like it was real history. But her version of events was word-for-word lifted from other accounts that James found, in a way that nothing else was. It just seemed a bit too precise, that was all.
And then there was Antony Callum, the ancestor who'd built the original family house. He'd gone to so much trouble to create a burglar alarm that protected the heirs of the family that was so precise there were only a handful of people who could apparate into the house. The more James had looked into it, the more complicated it proved to be until he was fairly sure Antony had either invented the thing or altered another spell until it might as well have been a new one. There were half a dozen criteria for who could enter the house via apparition, but somehow blood status was missing from that. James hadn't been surprised by that--his mother had been apparating in and out of the house for close to four decades--but still, its absence from a list that was meant to exclude as many as possible was rather telling.
For his part, James didn't really care about his family's origins. It didn't make much difference. No one outside the family cared, anyway. But. But there was something about this particular tradition that appealed to him. The mystery of it had been what drew the man in the first place. Which was why he was sitting there now, staring at the box of his notes, seriously contemplating burning the whole thing.
Except. Except there was a part of him that wanted to share it with someone. It was this secret that he'd been hiding for a few years now, and he was taken suddenly by the urge to tell someone. He could get up right now, go find Emma, and tell her all about it. Except he didn't want to share this with his wife.
James was a terrible father. No one had to tell him this. He was very, very aware of the fact that he hadn't done his job as well as he'd have liked. Yeah, okay, he had time to make up for it, and he intended to, but that didn't mean that the last seventeen years hadn't been hard. He'd entered into this knowing it would be. He just hadn't known it would take so long, or that he'd be taking quite so many people along for the ride with him. And even if Porter--who had definitely gotten the worst of this by far, by virtue of being the eldest if nothing else--didn't say that he hated him, James still assumed that he did at least a little bit. Maybe "a little bit" was him being overly optimistic.
It was roundabout reasoning at best. But James wanted both things--to share this part of his research with his son, and for it to be destroyed. He wanted to explain. To justify things. To say "isn't this interesting?" James wasn't an idiot--he was very aware of how Porter actually felt about his work. It wasn't exactly a well-kept secret. But he also wouldn't think it was a bad idea to burn seventeen years of research. So there was that.
James Callum: 80 | Porter Callum: 58 | London
It didn't matter so much that his father didn't remember it was his birthday. Porter was well past the point where he needed something for that. It was just another day, another way to mark the passing of time. But he'd sit there and watch his father--a man who could have always been counted on to remember things like this because it was important to him--stare listlessly and barely notice that his son was there at all. Well, mostly. But then sometimes someone would say something that would get his attention and his face would light up and for a minute it would be like old times. It hurt more when it was over, though. And even if Porter didn't want to admit it to anyone, it hurt most that he could coax that reaction out of his father by talking about his research. It was still more important than Porter was. But it made his father happy. He wasn't such an asshole that he wanted to deny his father that.
When it was time to go home, Porter stood up, only to be stopped when his dad looked at him, confused. "I've got to get home, Dad." His father nodded. Or it looked like he did. "I'll see you next weekend, okay?" This got less of a response. Porter gave his father's shoulder a pat. "Love you." The response was a bit more of a mumble, but it was something.
"Love you, too."
Jinx is perfection.
Timeline: ...Complicated, man. WURR, I guess.
Notes: I might be causing a paradox with this. If WURR collapses in on itself, I'm so sorry. Also, take note kids, if you need info on your ancestors, James Callum is your man.
Harry Berkwood. Age 52.
James Callum. Age 27.
I hear you're writing a book. I was wondering if you'd be willing to take on a small side project for me.
You mean the book you've heard about?
Several dozen times?
The one you asked me about last week when we had lunch together? I distinctly remember you asking how it was coming along.
Yes, that's the one! So are you busy, then?
You're hilarious. No, of course not. What do you need?
Fantastic. I need you to look some people up for me. I want to know if there were any Berkwoods that attended Hogwarts before me. How many, what their names were, that sort of thing. Wondering where the magical line stops before it picks up again with me, that sort of thing.
I found one. Anyone else had a different surname. There's probably easier ways for you to figure out who they'd be, but here's who I found:
Henry Edward Berkwood (not very creative, is your family?). Second son of the 1st Earl Berkwood. Attended Hogwarts between 1879 and 1886. Ravenclaw. Post-Hogwarts he either fell off the map for a few years or lived abroad, I don't know, I didn't have time to scour the globe. Bought a house in Hogsmeade sometime in the 1890s. Died in 1949. There aren't any records in Hogsmeade of him marrying, or in Hampshire, and that's as many places as I'm looking. At any rate, he either had no children, or his children didn't attend Hogwarts. Or they attended Hogwarts but had different surname(s) for some reason.
You worked out all that that quickly? I'm impressed. Thank you. This has actually been very helpful.
also you have no room to talk on names
Incidentally, how is that book coming along?
I needed to hunt through those records, anyway.
And I wish I was adopted.
Best of luck with that. Thanks again. And Happy Christmas!
Notes: My favorite AU is "AU where James doesn't die at 26" because I like pain.
James Monroe. Various Ages.
James Callum. Various Ages.
When Arthur had told James that he was getting married, James had been understandably surprised. In his defense, he wouldn't have taken his brother for the type to take such a short trip to the altar. See, that's a lot nicer than wondering if the poor woman had brain damage, which is what he would have said a few months ago. He was getting better. Though James did secretly think that she might, since Ellie had felt compelled to introduce herself to him, even though they'd met before.
When Miranda told him that Ellie was pregnant, James had laughed so hard he cried. Real, honest-to-God tears. He'd laughed so much that Miranda, who was adamant about how not funny this was, even cracked a smile. Because, come on. It was a little funny. Between the three of them, someone had to be the responsible sibling, and James had always nominated Arthur, because it sure as hell wasn't going to be him. And he seemed to enjoy lording his responsibleness over everyone else so much, who would take that away from him?
James was a mature adult. though, and he'd done the mature adult thing. He'd sent Arthur an owl asking if he was going to combine his bachelor party with the baby shower.
"Which side do we sit on?"
Miranda looked at him like he was speaking Latin. "Which side of what?"
"For the wedding," James clarified. He thought this was a reasonable question. His brother was marrying his first cousin--a fact which he'd been very good about, thank you, even though it was freaking weird--and that made some things about tradition more complicated.
"I'm not sitting anywhere," Miranda said. "I'm the maid of honor. You can sit wherever you want. Sit on Arthur's side, you can keep Ara company."
"Is she not bringing her husband?"
"Fine, sit on Ellie's, I don't think it matters." Miranda made an exasperated noise. "Are you going to be this difficult whenever I get married?"
"Nah, I've run out of relatives who aren't related to you, too."
James would freely admit that, since he'd quit drinking, annoying his family had become his favorite pastime. In his defense, they could all use a little lightening up, himself included. Was it any wonder, then, that he seemed to get on so well with his nephew? You'd think it'd be the opposite--James was half-expecting him to turn into a mini-Arthur any day now and was mostly enjoying what was for now blatant hero worship because one day he was going to grow out of that. James suspected it would happen sometime after his nephew got his hands on every last book he owned. So, you know. By next month, probably, at the rate they were going.
All that said, he hadn't been actively trying to drive anyone crazy this time, honest. So when his sister-in-law arrived at his front door, James had let her in, not thinking anything of it.
Until she'd very politely handed him the book he'd last loaned his nephew, saying thank you, but she didn't think the younger James was ready for it.
"Are you sure? Kid reads enough his level's probably off the charts." James had given up regulating what the kid read right around the time he'd noticed his books were disappearing. It wasn't like he could stop him if he wanted to, anyway.
Ellie just looked at him. "James. He's ten."
Ellie held the book out to him, a little more forcefully now. "And is there anything in here, do you think, that maybe a ten year old shouldn't read?"
James took the book from her, saying, "No I--Oh." And then he remembered. "Oh. No, you're right. Very sorry. Won't happen again."
James sometimes marvelled at the fact that they couldn't get a telephone to work in his brother's house, but they could get a refridgerator in there. Also, every time he was there, he remembered how annoying it was to have the kitchen in the basement. He supposed it made sense in the days when people had servants--or house elves, in this case--but now it was just a pain.
Useful, though, when you wanted to have a private conversation, since everyone else was at least a floor above them. Which also meant no one could complain if James raided the fridge while his nephew talked.
"You want ice cream?" he asked, pulling a pint from the freezer. He wondered vaguely if the "don't let him eat too much sugar" rule still applied. It had been a few years since his nephew was young enough for that sort of thing to have come up. Oh well. In the retired lion's opinion, if the kid was tall enough to see over the top of the fridge, he was old enough to eat what he wanted sometimes. Also when the hell had he gotten to be so tall?
The younger James nodded and so they came to sit together at the hardly used kitchen table. "Right," James said, handing his nephew a spoon. "First thing's first. Don't come on too strong."
His nephew might have shared his name, and might have looked an awful lot like him, but James thought he'd instead inherited all of Arthur's suaveness--or lack thereof. Though Arthur was the one with a wife and a kid while James had neither, so maybe there was something to it. Maybe,
There was too long a pause, and his nephew looked far too guilty. "Dear Merlin, what did you do?" James set his own spoon down, prepared for the worst.
"I, uh, kissed her." Okay, that wasn't a bad thing. "And I might have said I love her. Hey!" The boy crossed his arms defensively as James groaned and let his head drop to the table. "That's allowed! We're friends. Friends are allowed to say that sort of thing."
"Yeah, but you're dating now," James said. He was being punished, wasn't he? This was obviously punishment for something he'd done in life. It didn't even matter what, James knew for certain that he deserved it. But still. Good God. "You don't just say that on the--what date was this?"
Yep. He was definitely being punished. At least he could teach the kid not to do anything so stupid with the next girl. Later, when it was obvious there would only be the one girl, James would reason that he couldn't have known they were both crazy.
James thought he was a pretty supportive uncle. When his nephew said he wanted to go to Cambridge, he'd said sure, that made sense. When his nephew said he wanted to get married at twenty-one, James had said you're a nutter, but all right I'll get my tux cleaned. When his nephew had said he wanted to write a book about the family, James had just said Dear God, why?
But that didn't mean he wasn't trying to be supportive, regardless. And so, when he met his nephew for lunch, he asked, innocently enough, "How's your research going?" and he just got a blank stare, he'd laughed and said, "That good, huh?"
The younger James replied, "Oh you know. Hit some dead ends, but I'm still working on it." And then, deadpan, "So, Jack Callum the Giant Slayer, huh?"
James almost choked. Oh, right. He'd almost forgotten about that. Recovering quickly, he said, with as straight a face as he could manage, "Yeah, I heard he was pretty great at negotiating livestock prices, too."
"I hate you so much."
His lips twitched. "Hey, you should know better than to ask Margaret, anyway. She's always been out of her mind."
"True," the boy conceded. "Still better than Gramps, though."
"I'll drink to that." James raised his water glass, as though in a toast.
That last one is referring to this. And this has been "if James had lived he would have spent the rest of his days trolling his family."
Jinx is perfection.
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