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About Varied / Hobbyist MartinaFemale/Italy Group :iconfantastic--beasts: Fantastic--Beasts
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Literature
A Home in the Stars
The crew of the USS Woolworth is not exactly the pride of the fleet.
In fact, it’s more like a ragtag band of misfits that seems to have an inexplicable knack for picking up strays from the vastness of space like you would pick up an underfed cat from the street, but somehow, by some law that scientists haven’t discovered yet, they work together.
On some days, Captain Seraphina Picquery looks around the bridge, the heart of her domain, and wonders how it is, exactly, that she ended up here, on this little ship, with these people, but then she remembers that she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Oh, she is a qualified woman, no doubt about that, and she cuts a striking figure both in uniform and in the more extravagant style she favors when she’s off duty, if she does say so herself—in fact, she’s pretty sure some of the lower-ranking officers are straight up afraid of her, and she doesn’t mind one bit. Whatever keeps them in
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Literature
Fan Art Mashup Challenge: Daydream Gone Wrong
Harry felt the stares on the back of his neck as he sorted through his belongings before going to bed. Neville, Dean and Seamus had not insisted on knowing how he had ended up late to the start-of-year feast, with a bloody nose, a detention, and hopelessly wrong rumours about the incident already spreading through the school like wildfire, but their curiosity was obvious and he was in no mood to satisfy it. Any story that ended with Draco Malfoy gloating was not a story he was glad to share.
The bright packaging of the generous load of pranking material that the twins had insisted he leave with stood out among the muted colours of the rest of his things much in the same way as their shop window made itself known in the sorry shadow of itself that Diagon Alley had become, and Harry smiled despite himself. Given the chance, he’d go back and give them his Triwizard winnings ten times over: he might not be a financial genius, but he still counted that as the best investment of his li
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Birthday Hugs by SweetOphelia4231616 Birthday Hugs :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 1 18
Literature
Magic of Her Own, Chapter 17: Missing Out
“You should have told her,” said Tamako for what must have been the fourth time that day. “Even she is not that unfair.”
“She’s right, you know,” Hiroki chimed in. “That message was all the proof you needed. You would have gotten out of detention!”
“You could have been coming to the tryouts with us!” Ryo sounded like he thought missing Quidditch was the absolute worst part.
The only one who seemed to support her decision to keep her mouth shut was Shinji, who added in a soft voice, as if he didn’t quite dare contradict the majority: “She would have found a way to blame her anyway. She was too convinced already.”
“At least show it to my sister, if not to the staff. That would be a start,” pleaded Ryo.
That would have been an excellent idea, if Mitsuko deigned to talk to her.
What hurt Mei the most was not that most of her friends thought she’d made the wrong move, or having to spend an
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Literature
Magic of Her Own, Ch. 16: Framed
“Missing?” Konoe-sensei blinked at her, and Mei was struck by the passing thought that she’d never seen her confused—but that didn’t last long. Her eyes narrowed, and she suddenly looked like a cat that had just cornered a mouse. “Or perhaps you mean to say you discarded it so you wouldn’t be found out?”
Mei’s stomach clenched. She was vaguely aware of her friends loudly protesting against that claim all around her, but that didn’t stop the tears from welling up in her eyes.
“No, please, I just… I lost it! I thought it was in my pocket!” Hot, salty tears finally spilled over, each pair of eyes piercing through her as the whole school pounced on her with hushed comments—disapproval, pity, and the kind of horrified fascination that keeps you watching even when you’re seeing something terrible.
“Let’s not jump to conclusions now, Chiyo,” said Shizuma-sensei in his best placating voi
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Literature
Magic of Her Own, Ch. 15: Stepping Up the Game
Mei felt rather like she was walking on her personal, fluffy pink cloud of happiness the next day, still grinning for no apparent reason as she thought of her sister’s tears of joy falling into Totoro’s fur, and her mood must have been showing.
“Hello? Mei? Have you been listening to a word I said?”
“Huh? Sorry, Ryo, can you say that again?”
“I said, look at your schedule. Something’s wrong.”
Mei frowned and fished for her weekly timetable, immediately noticing the difference. The hour ahead of them had been marked as a free period, when they were clearly supposed to have History of Magic at that time on Thursdays.
“The lesson’s been canceled? But why?”
“Search me,” said Tamako. “It’s an excuse to get a head start on homework, will you come to the lounge with me?”
Mei followed her with a shrug, but it kept niggling at the back of her mind. To be perfectly honest, skipping a History of
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Literature
What Could Have Been (Original Song)
VERSE 1 (NEWT)
I was a stranger in a strange land
A chance encounter and everything changed
They told me not to stare at the sun
Now it's too late 'cause I caught sight of you
CHORUS (BOTH)
And now that it's over, I can't help but wonder
What could have been
What could have been
VERSE 2 (TINA)
You had a secret world of your own
You let me in when I was at my worst
And even if you wouldn't quite meet my eye
I couldn't look away from your spot by my side
(REPEAT CHORUS)
VERSE 3 (NEWT)
You know the rulebook inside and out
But you gave it up just to fight for what's right
You've got a wall built all 'round your heart
But you let me see all the softness inside
(REPEAT CHORUS)
VERSE 4 (TINA)
You've got the biggest heart that I know
You take care of everything except yourself
And even if your past's still weighing it down
I hope I've got a place somewhere in there too
FINALE (BOTH)
And now that it's over, I can't help but wonder
What could have been
What could have been
What could have bee
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Literature
Magic of Her Own, Ch. 14: The Plan
Mom and Dad had been more outraged than worried when they’d seen the state of her foot, and wanted to give the school a piece of their mind, but they weren’t sure their complaint would even get there without an owl; what warmed her heart the most, though, was Satsuki’s reaction.
Teasing each other and getting into fights that involved a lot more screaming and hair-pulling than was good for them was part of being sisters, but it was clear that she wasn’t going to sit by and let anyone else hurt her, wizard or no wizard. They spent a very satisfying afternoon reading ahead on the nastiest ways in the book that Mei could hex the culprit back, but the best part was when Satsuki offered to ride to school along with her and punch them in the face, no magic involved. Of course they knew it was against a million rules, but they had a good laugh about it, and the world seemed a little friendlier after that.
Her foot was still a little tender when she went back, bu
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Literature
Lessons Learned
As a young girl, Queenie much prefers to stay home, where her sister’s familiar inner voice soothes her with a never-ending background of inane, harmless little thoughts, than to brave the streets and be assaulted by hundreds upon hundreds of worries and fears and angers invading her head until she can’t tell them from her own.
Even a trip to the grocery store becomes a nightmare.
The first lesson she learns is that it’s wrong. She learns that, in other people’s heads, she’s that strange Goldstein girl and the pretty one, what a pity she’s so shy.
Well, at least they think she’s pretty. She said thank you to a compliment that hadn’t actually been said out loud, once, and the resulting awkwardness taught her – lesson number two – that perhaps it’s best not to talk at all, unless she really needs to.
Except to Tina. Tina doesn’t mind if she gets her head and her mouth mixed up sometimes, so she doesn
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Literature
Penny For Your Thoughts
I see you.
When 1926 comes and goes, your first thought as the clock strikes midnight is for him.
I see you.
When you spot a flash of blue in the crowd, your step falters, and it’s no use pretending otherwise.
I see you.
When an owl taps the window, your heart beats faster, only to plummet beneath your feet the moment you see it isn’t him.
I see you.
When spring cleaning unearths your old school things, the word ‘Thunderbird’ brings flashes of majestic golden feathers and promises not yet kept.
I see you.
When the letters stop coming altogether and Leta’s smiling face from the photograph turns cruel and mocking in your dreams, leaving a trail of insecurities lingering in the morning, I know it’s time to take matters into my own hands.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
A quiet snort of humorless laughter is your only response, and your mind screams at me in confused, angry snatches of as if you didn’t k
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Gellert Grindelwald Moodboard by SweetOphelia4231616 Gellert Grindelwald Moodboard :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 2 7 Percival Graves Moodboard by SweetOphelia4231616 Percival Graves Moodboard :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 0 13 Seraphina Picquery Moodboard by SweetOphelia4231616 Seraphina Picquery Moodboard :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 0 5 Credence Barebone Moodboard by SweetOphelia4231616 Credence Barebone Moodboard :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 6 4 Mary Lou Barebone Moodboard by SweetOphelia4231616 Mary Lou Barebone Moodboard :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 1 2 Jacob Kowalski Moodboard by SweetOphelia4231616 Jacob Kowalski Moodboard :iconsweetophelia4231616:SweetOphelia4231616 3 3

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Activity


The crew of the USS Woolworth is not exactly the pride of the fleet.

In fact, it’s more like a ragtag band of misfits that seems to have an inexplicable knack for picking up strays from the vastness of space like you would pick up an underfed cat from the street, but somehow, by some law that scientists haven’t discovered yet, they work together.

On some days, Captain Seraphina Picquery looks around the bridge, the heart of her domain, and wonders how it is, exactly, that she ended up here, on this little ship, with these people, but then she remembers that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh, she is a qualified woman, no doubt about that, and she cuts a striking figure both in uniform and in the more extravagant style she favors when she’s off duty, if she does say so herself—in fact, she’s pretty sure some of the lower-ranking officers are straight up afraid of her, and she doesn’t mind one bit. Whatever keeps them in line. Well, to be fair, Abernathy could be a touch more competent if he weren’t so damn nervous all the time, but you can’t have everything in life.

Seraphina has everything the upper echelons could wish for in a captain—top of her class ever since she was a fresh-faced cadet, a cool head in the face of danger, a commanding presence, and plenty of grace and poise to go around. She could be well on her way to captaining the flagship by now, if only she’d buttered up the right admirals, but she prefers it this way.

The Woolworth may not amount to much, but she is her pride and joy, and she wouldn’t trade it for one of those sleek new ships for all the riches in the galaxy. And besides, it’s more fun out here.

Sure, there are mornings (artificial mornings dictated by the ship’s lighting, but mornings all the same) when she wakes up and asks herself why, but the answer is always the same—because out here is where she’s meant to be.

There’s an inevitable downside to being a good officer: eventually, you get promoted, and at some point in your stellar career, without so much as a by-your-leave, you find yourself behind a desk in a dreary office on the hundredth floor, making decisions that will be carried out by a new generation of daring young explorers, the thrill of the unknown a distant memory.

She’s managed to avoid that so far, and sometimes, when she gives the order for her ship to streak off into the stars at speeds that outstrip light itself, she distinctly feels like she’s running from it.

It’s not all fun and games, but it’s her life, and she wouldn’t change one iota of it.

Well, except for the Woolworth’s uncanny ability to run into trouble.

Everyone knew about the dangers of outer space when they signed up for this, but Seraphina is fairly certain that her ship’s record defies the fleet’s statistics. Of course, there will be blessed lulls in activity every now and then, but it’s a simple fact of life by now that as soon as someone starts complaining about being bored, trouble will start again, as if they’d summoned it.

And not just any trouble—the weird kind of trouble.

There was that time when a spatial anomaly whisked them back in time all the way to Earth’s Roaring Twenties, where memories of a war they’d only studied in history books were fresh and fashion was an endless whirl of feathers, pearls and sequins that made the girls go gaga for about five minutes, before they realized that finding a way back home would be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Or that time her trusted first officer, Percival Graves, was replaced by an impostor who had used some sort of alien technology to make himself look exactly like him, but they do not talk about that. Her report is classified, and the less she discusses it with Percival, the better it is for both of them. It still hurts them both that even she was fooled, and she is deeply unsettled at the thought that the intruder must have observed the Woolworth for a long time before striking, because the similarity was not just superficial—that thing acted like Percival, or rather, like Percival used to be. Whatever was done to him when his double spirited him away from the ship gave them back a changed man, one who is still on a long and rocky road to recovery.

He even suggested he should step down from his position, that perhaps she would be better served with a first officer who didn’t wake up in the middle of the night in a tangle of sheets, fighting the remains of nightmares that threatened to drag him back down to his own personal hell, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Trust, she reminded him in her best captain’s voice, is an essential component of a good command team, and there is no one on the Woolworth she trusts more than Percival.

What she has with him is special, but they will both vehemently deny its romantic nature when confronted about it. It would interfere with their duties, and they’re both too in love with their jobs to even look at each other that way, not to mention that she has long suspected that her right-hand man’s interest may not be in the fairer sex.

They are a well-oiled team, and everyone knows that to come between them would be like trying to stop a supernova from exploding with your bare hands, but without their crew, they would be nothing.

Out here, with nothing between them and the stars, a crew is a family—and there is no other word she would use to describe this colorful, crazy bunch.

There’s Tina Goldstein, her chief of security, who has grand ideas of right and wrong and is fueled by a will to make the galaxy a better place single-handedly (and Seraphina has to hand it to her, she’s certainly stubborn enough to do so). She looks too young for her role and is dwarfed by most of the men she commands, but she has a wicked aim and enough combat training to take down an alien twice her size and with a few extra limbs sticking out of strange places, so if anyone makes the unfortunate mistake of not showing her due respect, she earns it. The hard way.

And since one doesn’t go far without the other, there’s also her sister. She’s adopted, to be exact, but the way they act around each other, they might as well have come from the same woman’s womb. She is as different from Tina as she can possibly be – fair where the other is dark, all smiles where Tina always has some security concern or other clouding her face –, but nobody can deny that they are sisters by every definition of the term except their blood. No one can pronounce her name without butchering it, so they just call her Queenie, because she carries herself like a queen, waltzing down the corridors like a vision and turning every male head (and quite a few female ones) in the vicinity as she passes. She looks human, and what a fine specimen of human, at a cursory glance, but you can tell she isn’t the minute you realize she knows what you’re thinking. They don’t know quite how she does it despite repeated scans of the conundrum that is her brain, but she’s earned her rightful place on the bridge because of it. As far as her training goes, she would not be fit for any but the humblest of duties, but her ESP abilities have defused many a potential conflict. Queenie can often save the day just by standing there, smiling brightly (or not, in case the locals consider the baring of teeth a threatening gesture) and gently nudging the captain in the right direction. They let Percival do the talking when she senses they wouldn’t trust a woman in charge, they replicate last-minute gifts when she tells them they are expected, and Seraphina is convinced they would have been blown out of the sky several times over without her invaluable counsel.

Then there’s the new science officer, the one with too many middle names for his own good (seriously, who names their kid Newton Artemis Fido Scamander in this day and age?). They’ve told him time and time again that Newton is a fine name for a scientist, that it instantly puts them in mind of Isaac Newton, but he keeps insisting, never quite looking them straight in the eye, that it’s Newt, just Newt. Beneath his awkward, freckled exterior lies a wickedly brilliant mind that, Seraphina is sure of it, hasn’t yet shown its full potential, which is really saying something. Life on a distant colony has left him with a strange, rich accent that makes his voice immediately distinctive over the communication system, and an unquenchable thirst to see what lies beyond the confines of his little faraway world: she suspects he’s seen more of the galaxy than the rest of them combined before ending up on the Woolworth by a strange twist of fate. His brother is still back there, lauded far and wide for helping avert an attack on the colony by a hostile neighboring species; how such a family managed to breed a pacifist is beyond Seraphina’s comprehension, but he has a code of conduct all of his own.

Newt is primarily a biologist, with a healthy respect and an endless fascination for anything that breathes (or whatever it is that some of the things he’s studying do to survive, anyway). Although decently skilled with a weapon, he only ever uses non-lethal settings and shoots as an absolute last resort, flinching as if in pain whenever anyone dares to take aim at a living creature, even if it’s showing more rows of sharp fangs than it has any business having. Seraphina believes he would kill if given a direct order from a superior, but she hasn’t had the occasion or, indeed, the heart to test that theory—she thinks it would break him, and she doesn’t want that on her conscience.

However, he clearly also knows something about physics that the books aren’t saying, because there is no way in hell his lab can hold that many curious specimens in just three dimensions. Ever since he came aboard, the room has turned into a veritable menagerie. He never keeps the creatures very long for fear of messing with the ecosystems they’re from, just long enough to nurse them back to health if necessary, learn as much as possible about them, and more often than not, give them a cutesy little name that has absolutely nothing to do with what they look like. (She told him it looked unprofessional in his reports, but she gave it up as a bad job when he came up with Frank. Really?) Every time they revisit a planet, he requests some time to release one of his subjects back to the wild with a tearful goodbye, but their places never stay empty.

Some of the residents seem to have captured the crew’s heart more than others: among them, a tiny critter that is sentient despite looking more like a plant than an animal and much prefers riding somewhere on Newt’s person than staying cooped up in the lab, and a furry little thing that doesn’t seem to respond to any name, but that they’re secretly calling Houdini, because it is his mission in life to escape from wherever he’s kept and send one of Tina’s security details on a wild goose chase all over the ship on a regular basis. Newt says it’s because he likes hoarding anything shiny that isn’t pinned down (which, on a starship that is made primarily of metal surfaces polished to gleaming perfection, is a lot), but it’s frankly ridiculous. They put him behind bars, and they found him wreaking havoc in a cargo bay the next day. They put him behind a damn force field, and they found him hiding away behind a panel on deck three, responsible for an unexplained power outage because he was so fascinated by all the pretty blinking lights. There’s just no stopping him, and they love him for it.

Seraphina could not ask for a better science officer; she just wishes he and Tina would stop dancing around each other. The old rules and regulations that said no to romantic relationships between crewmembers are a thing of the past now that deep space missions last long enough to drive anyone crazy without company and modern ships are even equipped to raise children, and it’s obvious what’s going on here. Well, obvious to everyone except those two oblivious idiots who haven’t yet worked up the guts to go on a perfect holographic date and be done with it. She looks at him, he looks at her, and yet, somehow, they can’t be caught dead looking at one another at the same time. It’s maddening. Someday, she’s sworn to herself, she’ll send them on some bogus mission together, just the two of them in the most cramped shuttle they have, and see if they can get a move on. There’s an actual betting pool going on in the lower decks on when they’ll get together, and Seraphina pretends not to notice the illicit activity. (She wants in on it, actually, but a captain does not stoop so low.)

Another staple of the ship is one Jacob Kowalski. He’s only a civilian, and some are complaining that keeping him aboard is a liability, but they’re the same people who can’t go two days without his scrumptious meals and his jovial smiles. Sure, there are replicators if you need food and you need it quick, but Jacob doesn’t trust them, because he says the taste isn’t quite the same, and what if they break? His main occupations are being in charge of the mess hall, bringing some much-needed joy to the crew when cabin fever starts to get to them, and making goo-goo eyes at Queenie, who, incredibly, seems to enjoy the attention, even if everyone thought she was way out of his league and would never give him the time of day. He found himself aboard on the spur of the moment, when the Woolworth was back on Earth for maintenance, wanting nothing more than to run away from the bitter disappointment of a bad breakup and the failure of his lifelong dream to open his own bakery and yearning for a fresh start, and now the ship wouldn’t be the same without his jolly presence serving breakfast.

And then there’s the latest stray they’ve picked up. He’s a fragile slip of a boy who looks younger than his years and seems to have been through hell and back. They found him adrift in a miserable, battered little shuttle with barely enough power left to give him life support, in need of immediate medical attention, and they haven’t been able to track down any living family, so for the time being, he’s staying. They haven’t pieced together his full story yet, but it’s bad enough that when he and Queenie found themselves in the same room together for the first time, she ran away in tears. He introduced himself as Credence Barebone, but there’s no way that’s his real name, because it sounds human, if a few centuries out of date, and no human causes virtually every piece of technology two decks above and below him to go on the fritz when he’s upset.

The first time it happened, he dissolved into a tearful litany of apologies and seemed to expect to be stranded on the first planet with a barely breathable atmosphere they passed for his infraction, but Jacob was positively thrilled at the loss of the replicators, dived into the nearest cargo bay like a kid in a candy store, muttering all the while about unreliable pieces of junk and how a hunk of metal would never beat his Grandma’s touch, and whipped them all up some criminally delicious pastries in the shape of Newt’s most interesting specimens, and that didn’t exactly make things all right, but it got the first weak smile out of him they’d ever seen, and that was progress.

Newt seems oddly torn between wanting to bond with Credence over their shared inability to be in the thick of the ship’s social life and trying to study him as if he were some alien creature he picked up for his lab. He’s making an honest effort to treat him like a person rather than a test subject, but his scientific curiosity is showing through. He swears up and down he’s already seen something like him in some remote corner of the galaxy, before joining the crew of the Woolworth, and he’s determined to crack the mystery of what he is and where he came from.

Credence doesn’t dislike Newt, exactly – Seraphina doesn’t think it’s physically possible to dislike his childlike enthusiasm towards all living things and his bashful, stammering reaction whenever someone praises his scientific achievements –, but he’s definitely uncomfortable at the attention. All he wants is to carve his own little place in the crew, and what he lacks in training, he makes up in willingness to work impossibly long hours, silently, relentlessly, learning along the way and without a single peep of complaint. He’s a bit of a factotum now, with no formal rank to speak of, but he doesn’t mind taking orders even from the lowest of the low.

And Percival… Percival stares, but he hasn’t made his move yet. For someone who knows him as well as Seraphina does and can see through the perfect first officer mask he puts on every morning, it’s clear as day that he looks at Credence as though he’d never seen anything more beautiful on any far-flung planet they’ve encountered, but he hesitates to do anything about it—which is wildly out of character, because Percival Graves does not hesitate, that is one of the constants of the universe right along with the speed of light in a vacuum.

They’re a little broken, both of them, but Seraphina rather thinks they might pick up the pieces faster together.

It’s not perfect, life on the USS Woolworth, out here at the edge of known space—it’s not the fastest, or the most luxurious, and they’re all carrying burdens from their past that feel a lot heavier than their cargo.

But it’s home.

A Home in the Stars
Oh, yes, I did that.
I have no idea why I didn't do it before, actually.
This is the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them space opera AU I didn't know I needed (and no one asked for).

And yes, it has timid hints of Graves/Credence slash, which is why I hesitated to cross-post it here as well as on AO3, the natural habitat of my (very few) other similar pieces.
Yes, I do ship them on occasion, in AUs where they both survive and heal together, but it's a guilty pleasure more than anything, not because I think it's inherently wrong to ship two men, but because I happen to think that, although Credence deserves a happy ending more than anyone, romance is not necessarily the solution to all his problems. Give him a decent parental figure first, then some friends, then maybe a partner later, you know what I mean?
Although I'm definitely a Gradence shipper under the right conditions, I also crave a version of the story with no ships at all, in which Credence picks up the pieces of his life through other forms of love that don't involve going at it like bunnies.

That said, it's technically a non-magical AU--I only explained away the powers that really define some of the characters because aliens, that's why, and that was that.
I might write more of this or not, it all depends on my fickle muse.
I hope you enjoyed!
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Harry felt the stares on the back of his neck as he sorted through his belongings before going to bed. Neville, Dean and Seamus had not insisted on knowing how he had ended up late to the start-of-year feast, with a bloody nose, a detention, and hopelessly wrong rumours about the incident already spreading through the school like wildfire, but their curiosity was obvious and he was in no mood to satisfy it. Any story that ended with Draco Malfoy gloating was not a story he was glad to share.

The bright packaging of the generous load of pranking material that the twins had insisted he leave with stood out among the muted colours of the rest of his things much in the same way as their shop window made itself known in the sorry shadow of itself that Diagon Alley had become, and Harry smiled despite himself. Given the chance, he’d go back and give them his Triwizard winnings ten times over: he might not be a financial genius, but he still counted that as the best investment of his life, especially now that they’d started to look beyond practical jokes—they were right in saying that the wizarding world needed a good laugh, but things were getting far too serious for them to survive on laughs alone. Those Decoy Detonators sure made a strange contrast next to the Skiving Snackboxes and…

“Hold on, I don’t remember taking this,” Harry muttered to himself, frowning. Perhaps he was growing paranoid, but after such an eventful start of year, finding something in his trunk that he had no memory of putting there did not bode well.

For a Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes product, it was a fairly unassuming little box that didn’t seem to threaten to explode any minute; instead, it had a picture of a boy and a girl, both rather too beautiful to be true, standing on what appeared to be the deck of a pirate ship. He vaguely remembered Hermione being impressed with those.

And sure enough, as he picked it up and turned it over in his hand (not without a little voice in the back of his mind that sounded surprisingly like Mad-Eye Moody: “What do you think you’re doing, boy? CONSTANT VIGILANCE!”), he saw that there was a note attached, in familiar, neat handwriting that assuaged his fears:

For when you need a break.

- Hermione

PS: don’t you dare tell me I shouldn’t have, the twins made good on their promise to give it to me for free and you know I don’t approve of daydreaming in class.

Harry felt a rush of gratitude for having someone in his life who knew him so well—well enough, in fact, to know exactly how he would react to a gift given without reason outside of occasions such as Christmas or his birthday. That even she, the girl who made pulling all-nighters into an art, thought he’d need a break sooner rather than later spoke volumes about how stressful she believed sixth year would be, but he’d worry about that later. For now, it was just nice to have a good friend.

~*~

Harry dropped heavily onto his bed and hoped fervently that he wouldn’t have to move a muscle until the next day. Between the ever-increasing workload and the sheer exhaustion of having to plan his routes through the castle so as to avoid most of the gaping at ‘the Chosen One’, he felt well and thoroughly drained. He would not be taking part in the upcoming Gryffindor-Ravenclaw match, but even without last-minute practice, he had exercised quite enough: his trek back to Gryffindor Tower had involved at least three secret passages, a trick staircase and a couple of tapestries just to stay out of the clutches of the incredibly persistent gaggles of giggling girls that seemed to haunt the corridors with more determination than the ghosts with the sole purpose of catching a glimpse of him and squealing in high-pitched voices that would make the envy of a Banshee. Oh, and there was still that Transfiguration assignment that seemed to be staring at him in disapproval through his bag with the same stern eyes as Professor McGonagall, urging him not to put it off too long. Well, bugger her and that pesky hairball problem she wouldn’t admit to, he only had so much energy and he’d more than filled his quota for the day, so it would have to wait.

“That’s it,” he said to the empty room, all too aware that talking to himself was the first sign that he was probably losing his marbles for good. “If my body can’t get away from all this, then at least my mind will. Thanks, Hermione.”

He dragged himself to his trunk with a groan and rummaged through it until he retrieved the still-untouched box containing the Patented Daydream Charm that promised half an hour with no homework, no training, and for Merlin’s sake, no giggling, and hid behind the curtains of his four-poster bed for privacy, not too keen on being seen drooling stupidly by a dorm mate who might barge in any minute.

Knowing that the twins might have been a little too optimistic in their description of the possible side effects, and without a single clue of what the content of the daydream might make him do in the half-sleeping state induced by the charm, he decided he’d lie flat on his back for the duration. That seemed safe.

He pried open the box, and out came something that looked remarkably like a crystal ball small enough to fit in his pocket, except that perhaps, if he squinted, he could actually see something in it, which was more than he could say of his endless fiascos in Divination class—a ship like the one on the box, if he was not mistaken, but he could barely catch a glimpse of it before it was gone. Puzzled, he upended the box to see if there was anything more, and indeed, a slip of parchment fluttered out, with instructions in loopy cursive handwriting to make sure he had a full half hour ahead of him, because there was no going back once it had started, and an unfamiliar incantation that must be the twins’ invention.

“Mad-Eye would definitely have my hide for this, but here goes… Somnium Insopitum!

What followed felt a lot like being whisked away by a Portkey, and with hindsight, Harry should have known that wasn’t a good sign. His fingers slackened, but remained strangely glued to the little ball as he was pitched forward (which way was forward, anyway?) in a rush of colour and sound and landed, miraculously standing, on what felt like a hard wooden surface that wouldn’t quite stay still.

As he adjusted his eyes – the sun was shining bright upon him and every colour around him had a way of looking just slightly too vivid for comfort –, Harry was struck by the thought that he didn’t exactly have any experience with sea travel (the Dursleys would have asked for nothing better than to be able to afford a luxurious cruise and brag about it to the entire neighbourhood, but they wouldn’t have taken him along anyway), and therefore had no idea if the motion would make him sick in the long run. Oh, great. Well, if he could pull off his Quidditch manoeuvres without throwing up, he was fairly confident he could take this.

What occurred to him next was that this wasn’t just any ship, but a pirate ship. What did he know about pirates, again? Not much. Some of Dudley’s video games had pirates in them—as long as there was stuff to blow up, he didn’t much care if the objects of his virtual wrath were aliens, sailing ships, or anything else the latest fad dictated. Other than that, Harry’s idea of a pirate was limited to a vaguely intimidating figure that looked curiously like Mad-Eye, but without the brilliant blue magical eye—an old man with a few vital pieces missing and a love for strong alcohol and any riches he could find. Right?

Well, that left only one question. Why in the world would the twins come up with such a setting? Being skewered on a pirate’s sword was not his idea of the pleasant half-hour the product promised to deliver. Was there even a point to his being here, some kind of story that had to play out in the limited time given by the spell? And what was his role in it?

Suddenly, Harry was shaken out of his musings by the very last sound he wanted to hear—a long, cruel laugh that sent a chill down his spine until he realised it sounded different from what he’d feared, too high-pitched, too… feminine?

He ducked behind some barrels that he guessed contained enough gunpowder to sink anyone who dared approach and chanced a look in the direction the sound had come from.

Forget sinking ships, what sank was his heart.

Tied to the mast and struggling uselessly against so many thick ropes you could hardly see her was none other than Ginny Weasley. There was no mistaking her flaming red hair, even from a distance.

That took sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Harry knew the Weasleys were often exasperated with each other, but to cast their little sister as the pirates’ hostage was something he didn’t expect even Fred and George to do—unless they hadn’t. This was all happening inside Harry’s head, after all, so maybe he was the one giving Ginny’s face to the one to be rescued (and that was what he was meant to do, he was sure of it, and it had very little to do with his ‘saving people thing’—that was just how these stories went, wasn’t it?).

Well, that was just stupid, he chided himself. Ginny was no damsel in distress, and in any other situation, she was more than capable of saving her own skin, thank you very much. So why had his mind given her the pathetic part of the delicate little princess? Ginny was a lot of things, but frail and helpless she was not. She was no longer eleven, a crying mess after having escaped Riddle’s clutches by the skin of her teeth. Unless… well, he was the hero of the story, and the pretty models on the box looked an awful lot like they were about to kiss, and—and she’s also your best friend’s little sister, so don’t even go there.

Well, whatever the reasons for his stupid brain to put Ginny in the story, precious seconds were ticking by, so it was time to make a hero’s entrance, whatever that was supposed to mean.

Harry’s hand went to his pocket, and his heart skipped another beat when he didn’t find his wand there. Right. Magic probably had no business even existing in a pirate story, so he’d just have to wing it.

Without putting much thought into it, he vaulted over the closest barrel, landed catlike on the deck and sprinted towards the crew assembled around the mast and taunting Ginny.

“Leave her alone! What’s she done to you?”

“Well…” began one of the pirates in a falsely pensive tone.

She was the one who had been laughing, and she was most definitely a girl underneath the massive tricorn hat and baggy man’s clothes that looked like they hadn’t been washed in far too long. The others appeared to be giving her a wide berth, and Harry guessed she was the captain—did real pirates even have girl captains, or was his mind playing tricks again? She turned around to finish the sentence with a wicked grin on her face, and Harry concluded breathlessly that yes, it was his mind, because nothing else could have come up with those exact words.

“It’s more the fact that she exists, if you know what I mean…”

Harry felt vaguely sick to the stomach. Pasting Ginny’s face onto the female lead of his pocket daydream was no longer enough: now the villain was acting like his father at the age of fifteen, which meant that—hold on, had he just cast himself as his own mother and Ginny as Snape? Well, that was confusing. Way to go, brain. And if that weren’t enough, the captain’s face was also familiar…

“Wait… Romilda Vane?”

That, apparently, had been the wrong thing to say. The captain clutched her heart as if overwhelmed by emotion and dissolved into a high-pitched squeal that had Harry covering his ears in discomfort.

“Did you hear that, my faithful crew? He knows my name! We’re destined to be together!”

Wait, what?

“Not if I get to him first,” growled another pirate, turning to face him. The eyepatch threw him off a little, but he was pretty sure that was either Parvati Patil or her twin sister Padma.

“Not on your life, sis, we’re a package deal. You promised to share!” The other twin, whichever she was – the only difference was that the eyepatch was on the other eye – was running towards them in fury, and nobody seemed to care that she had completely deserted the ship’s wheel to do so.

“Ooh, ooh, however it goes, can I take pictures of it? Please, please, please?”

Harry’s stomach twisted with dread as another small figure twirled to reveal himself and started jumping up and down in excitement. It was a curious sight with a generous side of disgusting—Colin Creevey appeared to have lost his hand, and his trusty camera was permanently attached to his arm in lieu of a pirate’s hook.

“Pathetic,” said an older woman’s voice, and for maybe half a second, Harry thought that she, at least, had some sense left in her, but what came next dashed his hopes. “At least I can still shake his hand!”

That, if he was not mistaken, was Doris Crockford, the witch who kept coming back to shake his hand again and again when he first found out he was famous all those years ago at the Leaky Cauldron, except this time there was no Hagrid to fend off the eager crowd and usher him away to the Alley. This just kept getting better and better.

“No!” screamed Romilda. “No! No! This is mutiny! I am the captain, and he is mine!”

She took off at a run as if to tackle him, and Harry did the only thing he knew how where his fame was concerned—run for his life.

Several sets of feet behind him told him that the rest of the crew had joined the chase, and however big this ship was, he only had so much room to escape them.

Blessing the years spent dodging Dudley and his gang, he put as much space as he could between them and himself and skidded to a halt where a large, rusty ring set in the wooden floor alerted him to the presence of a trapdoor. He pulled it open with a creak of hinges, groaning with the effort, and tore down the ladder that led to the bowels of the ship, probably to the cargo hold, where they kept all the goods they’d stolen from who knew where. There would be plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in there.

He could hear the pirates’ voices above him fighting over the right to go down first – there, that ought to slow them down – as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, the only shaft of light coming from the square opening of the trapdoor overhead. He blinked once or twice, and the spectacle before him threw him for a loop. He’d expected food reserves for the journey, maybe a treasure chest overflowing with gold if the pirates had been lucky, but not this. His mind had seen fit to add another little twist to the daydream, and the cargo hold now looked exactly like the Room of Requirement when it was stacked with endless piles of hidden junk, never mind that the ship definitely should not have had this much space within.

No matter, more room to hide from the crazed fans who were now beginning to descend, Romilda in the lead. He dived under a fancy bed with clawed feet (seriously? Who would ever need to hide a bed?) and waited, in the sole company of a few dust bunnies and a lone beetle crawling around in the darkness.

Wait. Beetle. Oh, no.

The bug scuttled away, and before he could scramble out and run, Harry hit his head on the underside of his hiding place as a too-familiar hand with long, lacquered nails pulled him out against his will.

Hey, no fair, if she has magic, I should have it too.

“Would you be available for an interview, Mr Potter? We can sit on this nice bed,” Rita Skeeter patted the bedspread beside her invitingly, Quick-Quotes Quill already poised to write, “and you can tell me everything!”

“Now is really not the time,” he bit back, pulling away from her grasp and scampering as far as possible from Rita and the thundering steps of the rest of the pirate crew still running after him.

Safe behind a bookshelf that no doubt contained questionable titles that someone didn’t want teachers to know about, he heard Romilda confront Rita: “A stowaway!?”

“No, wait! I’m one of you! I just want the same thing you do!”

“As if we needed any more competition,” said a hulking girl who’d been trailing behind the rest, her wooden leg clunking with every step.

She truly looked the part of the pirate with her threatening demeanour, and Harry had no clue where his mind had got her from: he didn’t know her name and certainly hadn’t seen her recently, though her voice and her towering figure were vaguely familiar—wait a second. Not that girl who’d asked him to the Yule Ball and was still a foot taller than him!

“But you look smart. Join us!”

Oh, great, one more person who wanted a piece of him. This was not what he’d planned at all. He dashed back to the ladder without caring what he toppled over (wait, that could actually be a good idea—he sent a stack of chairs crashing down on purpose, hoping to give his mob of fans some extra trouble), chased by the collective scream they let out the moment they saw him, and climbed up into the bright light of the ship’s deck, closing the trapdoor behind him with a satisfying thud.

Phew! At least there had been no hysterical giggling yet… but he’d been too optimistic about that.

Just as he was considering pushing something heavy onto the trapdoor to block the pirates’ way, the dreaded sound seemed to come from nowhere as if his mind had summoned it (and given the way things were going, he couldn’t say for sure it hadn’t), and a pearly figure emerged from it as if it weren’t there at all.

Wait a minute—Moaning Myrtle!? And not only that, but if she, the queen of dramatic wailing, was actually giggling, then things were bad. Very bad.

“Shouldn’t you be in your bathroom?”

“Oh, but there are so many more interesting places to haunt, Harry. Places where you are!”

She flew right at him and went through him before he could get out of the way, giving him the unpleasant sensation of a cold shower he hadn’t asked for.

“That was amazing, Harry! Let’s do it again!”

“Uh, perhaps another time!”

And he ran like he had a dragon on his heels, praying fervently that he hadn’t hurt her extremely delicate feelings, but no such luck: her desperate cries joined the creaking of the trapdoor as the crew caught up and began emerging from the cargo hold. “I knew it! You hate me! Why don’t you just say so, Harry? Why must you play with my heart this way? You’re so cruel!”

Harry dashed in the general direction of the ship’s stern, climbed a few steps and all but crashed through a small door without the slightest clue where it led—he could only hope it was not the captain’s cabin, although Romilda might actually have a heart attack if she found he’d trapped himself in there of his own free will.

A strong smell of food of questionable quality, almost drowned by an even more powerful whiff of alcohol, told him he’d happened upon the ship’s kitchen. Well, that seemed safe enough.

“Such an honour for you to come visit, Harry Potter, sir!” squeaked a little voice several inches below his eye level. Oh, not now. He owed the little elf a lot, but he was liable to take the lead of the army of fangirls, his low rank on the ship be damned.

“Uh, this isn’t really a social call, Dobby.”

“Anything Dobby can get you, sir?” he insisted, proffering what smelled like a bottle of rum.

“No, but, uh… I think I’ll take this!”

There was a large knife embedded in a cutting board that looked more like a weapon than a cooking utensil, and Harry wrenched it out and made for the door before the crazy mob outside decided to break it clean off its hinges.

“Thanks, Dobby! See you!”

He ran back to the deck only to find himself making a beeline for the very people he was trying to avoid, so he dashed away, feeling more and more like a rabbit being hunted down by rabid foxes, and Romilda yelled: “There! Hard to starboard!”

Harry neither knew nor cared whether that was the actual direction he was going or the unlikely captain his mind had conjured was just throwing around nautical terms at random, but one thing was certain: it was time to end this.

He made a mad dash to the mast where Ginny was still waiting for him, struggling against the ropes and a gag that kept her from crying out, and with one slash of the knife he didn’t even think himself capable of, the restraints came loose far more easily than he’d expected—but perhaps the daydream was just rigged for the hero to have an easy time saving the damsel. He freed her from the gag and tugged her urgently by the hand.

“They’re coming! Let’s get out of here!”

“How?”

“I don’t know, they must have lifeboats or something!”

But there was nothing below them but the open ocean. Now what?

“There’s only one thing for it—we’re going to have to swim.” Ginny pointed somewhere in the distance and Harry’s eyes widened. Yes, that was without the shadow of a doubt the faraway shape of an island, and yes, it might be their only hope, but that was still more swimming than he’d done even for the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament, and with no Gillyweed to help. It was insane.

“Are you sure?”

“Between them and the ocean, I’ll take the ocean.”

“Good choice.”

Unexpected tears welled up in Ginny’s eyes, and she said dramatically, sounding more like the damsel in distress she was meant to be in the story than herself: “Harry, if… if we die, there’s something I have to tell you.”

“What is it?”

But she said nothing. Instead, for the briefest of instants, hungry lips crashed into his, and he’d barely had time to process that they were kissing and that the flowery smell of his Amortentia was, in fact, coming from her, when the artificial world around them dissolved once again in a whirl of colour in which the bright ginger of her hair was oddly prominent.

And a similar shock of ginger was the first thing he saw when he came to, safely sprawled on his bed and mercifully away from pirate fangirls.

“Harry? Oi, Harry! You gave me a heart attack! Are you all right, mate? You were just lying there, kind of staring off into space… I had half a mind to call Madam Pomfrey. What do you think you’re doing?”

“Nothing important, Ron, just… just tell the twins that their Patented Daydream Charms need some more work, okay?”

Fan Art Mashup Challenge: Daydream Gone Wrong
            My randomly generated mashup was:            Harry Potter, on a pirate ship, trying to avoid a mob of fangirls             Generate yours!

I'm officially taking the Fan Art Mashup Challenge! What won't you do for a badge...
Please don't look for logic in this story, because it has next to none.
For reference, the first section is set between Chapters 8 and 9 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the second in Chapter 24, in the few days between the bathroom incident and the match that marks the beginning of Harry and Ginny's relationship.
Harry and Romilda's first exchange is indeed copied verbatim from Chapter 28 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, only with "she" instead of "he".
All characters belong to J.K. Rowling; I only expanded on the concept of the Patented Daydream Charm by actually giving the incantation to activate it, which was never mentioned in the books and I put together thanks to this Latin dictionary, and adding the little twist of the user subconsciously casting people they know in the various roles in the story.
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Birthday Hugs
Yay!
Animated birthday card for :iconcuddlesaurus21:, please don't cringe TOO much at my foray into visual arts.
birthday cake  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! birthday cake
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All hail this tutorial on how to draw our furry friend, I don't know what I would have done without it.

Totoro lineart: Paint
Coloring & animation: RealWorld Paint
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“You should have told her,” said Tamako for what must have been the fourth time that day. “Even she is not that unfair.”

“She’s right, you know,” Hiroki chimed in. “That message was all the proof you needed. You would have gotten out of detention!”

“You could have been coming to the tryouts with us!” Ryo sounded like he thought missing Quidditch was the absolute worst part.

The only one who seemed to support her decision to keep her mouth shut was Shinji, who added in a soft voice, as if he didn’t quite dare contradict the majority: “She would have found a way to blame her anyway. She was too convinced already.”

“At least show it to my sister, if not to the staff. That would be a start,” pleaded Ryo.

That would have been an excellent idea, if Mitsuko deigned to talk to her.

What hurt Mei the most was not that most of her friends thought she’d made the wrong move, or having to spend an extra hour in the Potions classroom when she could have been out on the pitch with the boys, or even the prospect of scrubbing cauldrons until her arms fell off from here to the holidays: it was Ryo’s sister’s attitude.

The older girl had been in shock when the ‘evidence’ had burst out of Mei’s wand, but with nothing to prove it wrong, she had no choice but to believe it, and was now giving her the cold shoulder for supposedly hurting her best friend, despite Ryo’s best efforts to convince her otherwise.

“All Kaori ever wanted was to come out of her shell and make Naito-senpai notice she existed,” she blurted out at lunch on Monday. “And she ruined it for her.” She was pointedly acting like Mei wasn’t even there.

“Sis, are you even listening to yourself? Honestly, give me one good reason why Mei would want Ueda to get a Bludger to the face! She’s Muggleborn, and a fine thing it would be if she attacked one of her own!”

“I know what I saw, Ryo.”

And that had been the end of it: Mitsuko had simply dug into her lunch with a vengeance and refused to say another word.

At least not everyone was against her, and now that the fated Tuesday had rolled around, she had something important to do before dashing off to the Potions classroom for her first detention. The others looked at her strangely as she hung back at the end of Ebisawa-sensei’s latest lecture and they made for the pitch, but she had to get it off her chest.

“Uh, excuse me?”

“Yes? Do you have a question?”

“Not really, just…” She breathed in, gave her very best bow, and said it all very fast: “Thanks for supporting me at the inspection, Ebisawa-sensei. I would have been expelled if you hadn’t convinced them.”

She straightened up and was met with the softest smile she’d seen on the teacher’s face in quite some time.

“You’re welcome, Kusakabe, but you’re really just thanking me for using simple logic. I’ve had my share of unfairness, and I can’t stand to see others suffering for it, that’s all. I felt that Konoe-sensei wasn’t considering all the facts, and I had to intervene.”

“But do you have any idea who did trip you?”

Ebisawa-sensei sighed. “Unfortunately, no, and the list of possible names is rather longer than I would like, for reasons I’m sure you understand better than most.”

The spark of understanding that followed took Mei by surprise, but they really were in the same boat, even with the divide between student and teacher gaping wide between them. They had more in common than she’d realized.

“Run along, now, Hiranuma-sensei doesn’t appreciate lateness.”

Mei had long been convinced that the Potions classroom somewhat resembled a blend between a kitchen and a scientist’s lab painted by an artist who had a very strange and confused idea of what either of them should look like. It had an almost homely feel once you got used to it, no doubt helped by the fact that Hiranuma-sensei was nice if you studied hard and watched out for all of her known pet peeves (arriving late and disregarding lab safety chief among them), but the rows of workbenches bore the permanent marks of incidents that Mei didn’t even want to begin thinking about, the kind of stains that wouldn’t go away with elbow grease nor with magic, and the sizeable storage room, she now knew from countless frantic trips, held a motley collection ranging from items as tame as sweet-smelling bunches of herbs to suspicious bits of things that must have once been alive, whose names Mei still had some trouble memorizing, and that she honestly preferred not to know unless it was for a test.

She came to a skidding halt in front of it and made her presence known, but there was no answer from inside, so she stood there as long as she dared, trying to calculate in her head how late was too late, and then slid the door open without waiting to be let in.

Not two seconds later, a harried-looking Hiranuma-sensei emerged from the storage room carrying as many of those rather ominous-looking jars as it was physically possible for a witch: she was holding a generous armful with the hand that didn’t have her wand, and several more were being directed to follow her, hovering gently in midair behind her in the strangest procession Mei had ever seen. She bowed in greeting, but the professor didn’t even appear to notice.

“Ah, there you are, Kusakabe. Just in time.” She unloaded some of her burden on the nearest workbench and gestured vaguely at it. “Sit.”

Mei hurried to comply as the rest of the ingredients took their place in front of her, the space looking more cluttered than it had ever been in class. She hoped there was no potion with this many things in it anywhere on the curriculum, because no one could possibly keep track. Well, maybe Hiroki, and even he would sweat. She gulped. What kind of task had she come up with for her first detention? They hadn’t even started, and it already looked daunting. She noted vaguely that the table had been set up as though Hiranuma-sensei expected her to do a lot of writing and, for some reason she couldn’t fathom, there was a pair of scissors off to one side, but she thought it wiser to wait until the teacher had at least caught her breath before asking the question that was on the tip of her tongue.

“Good afternoon, Hiranuma-sensei,” she began. Politeness was always the best policy. “What do I have to do today?”

“See the labels on these?” she said, pointing at the closest jar, which was about three-quarters full of what looked like tiny seeds she had not studied in Herbology yet. “They’re getting completely discolored with age, so someone inexperienced or in a hurry might confuse them, and we do not want that happening. So for the time being, and until my storage room is back to a decent state, you will be writing and cutting out the new ones, and peeling off the old ones while you’re at it. Their Sticking Charms are barely holding on, you should be able to do that by hand, but do tell me if any refuse to come off.” Then she seemed to size her up and remember all of a sudden that she was only a first year. “If you don’t know what the ingredients are, just ask me, and if you haven’t mastered the Sticking Charm yet, I’ll attach them myself later.”

Mei couldn’t help it: she breathed a sigh of relief. Her imagination had been coming up with much worse. Granted, her hand was probably going to feel like it was going to fall off, but Konoe-sensei’s threats of ‘healthy scrubbing’ had her picturing increasingly disgusting scenarios of scraping off nameless, foul-smelling gunk from cauldrons until the holidays rolled around, and preparing new labels was getting off easy compared to that.

“Have the good sense not to look too happy, Kusakabe. I might change my mind if you enjoy it too much. This is supposed to be a punishment, after all.”

Mei set to work, thinking she would probably look like she knew what she was doing if she started from the few she was sure she could identify, but the first drop of ink had barely touched the paper when Hiranuma-sensei spoke up again.

“Wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years, but then, I suppose it’s a good example of what Akio says – that’d be Shizuma-sensei to you –, it’s always the ones you underestimate who turn out the worst…”

That stung, and Mei was sorely tempted to protest she hadn’t done anything, but what good would that do her?

“I’m confident it’s not too late for you, Kusakabe. One spell doesn’t mean you’ve gone Dark forever, or you’d be out of here already. I understand what you’re going through.” Yeah, right, thought Mei bitterly. What could she possibly understand when she had it all wrong in the first place? “You haven’t been learning magic very long, and it must be all so very new to you, what with coming from a Muggle family and all. It could go to anyone’s head, having so much power you never knew about, and to tell you the honest truth, I think we’ve all… experimented, even the ones who will swear up and down they’ve never so much as charmed their friend’s hair purple for the fun of it. I understand wanting to seek the thrill of doing something just because you can. But the thing is, Kusakabe, you have choices, and we’re all here to help you make the right ones, even if it’s simply by showing you that there are certain… consequences for your actions.”

Mei privately thought it would have been a good lecture, if only she’d deserved a word of it. Some of it rang true: yes, it had been an endless whirl of novelty and excitement that was only now starting to settle into something that felt normal, if going to a school of magic could possibly ever be anything close to normal. But the rest of it? Mei had often been put in the position of having to point her wand at someone, especially in Defense Against the Dark Arts: that was just how classes went. But frankly, she only did it because refusing would mean failing, and the feeling it gave her was nowhere close to the ‘thrill’ Hiranuma-sensei supposed she must have felt, and far more similar to an uncomfortable squirm in the region of her stomach.

“I understand, Hiranuma-sensei,” she said, but it rang hollow. She could tell the teacher was trying very hard to appear sweet and encouraging rather than angry at what Mei had supposedly done, and if she really had, perhaps it would have comforted her. But Hiranuma-sensei had constructed her own perfect little story about what had happened and why, one that was a million miles away from the truth, and that Mei didn’t dare shake. She didn’t think she would have believed her anyway, her heart was too set on it.

“Good, good. Get to work.”

Mei reached for a jar and pried off the label. If you squinted, you could see that the old, faded writing confirmed that the slimy things in it were Murtlap tentacles, which were supposed to give you resistance to jinxes if you had the guts to swallow them—Mei didn’t think she ever would, and she wasn’t even the squeamish one of her friends. She wrote out a clearer, better version in her very best handwriting and moved on, but before she could pick another jar whose contents were familiar, Hiranuma-sensei spoke again. This was beginning to get rather awkward for Mei, who wasn’t sure if she was supposed to keep working and give the appearance of not caring, or listen attentively and look like she was slacking off.

“I suppose this will teach you better penmanship, if not Potions,” she said in a winning tone that seemed to mean she thought she was being very funny. “Yes, yes, better this than mindless scrubbing, in my opinion, at least you’re learning something… They say I’m too soft in my choice of detentions, but this is quite enough for today, considering what you’re missing to be here.”

Mei paused in the middle of her new label for horned slugs and shifted in her seat. Were Ryo and Hiroki up in the air yet? What kind of tests had Iwamoto-sensei come up with? Were they doing well?

“You were at the tryouts the first time around, weren’t you? As a candidate or just for support, if I may ask?” As if she didn’t know.

“I wanted to try for Chaser, Hiranuma-sensei,” said Mei, trying to make it sound like she didn’t care much and failing miserably.

“And that,” said the teacher with an air of finality, “is why you’re starting off with lighter work today. You've already lost enough without being treated like my personal house-elf. Consequences, Kusakabe. The true purpose of detention is not for me to get free labor, but for you to think about the consequences of what you’ve done. You could be well on your way to earning that position if it weren’t for that. The way I see it, that’s punishment enough.”

Mei could do nothing but sigh her supposed agreement and start labeling the minuscule beetle eyes staring at her from their half-empty jar.

She worked in silence after that, or at least, she did until she ran out of containers full of ingredients she’d used or studied before, and had to work up the courage to ask the first of many: “Excuse me, Hiranuma-sensei, what are these?”

“Snargaluff pods,” she said after one look at those mysterious green things that Mei could swear were moving as if they wanted to burst open. “Fresh off the tree. Not surprised you’d never seen them, no sane wizard would let a child your age near it, the vines could hurt you badly.”

That, Mei noticed, started a pattern. When she asked about an unfamiliar ingredient, Hiranuma-sensei was not the type to bark out a name and move on; instead, she always added a little something about what it was for, or how to harvest it, or something interesting that had happened to her in her youth while looking for it. Mei kept her mouth well shut about it in case she stopped, but she liked it, and listening to those tidbits made missing the tryouts hurt a little less.

She’d almost stopped thinking about her friends when a loud rumbling noise almost like thunder made her jump and ruin her label for lacewing flies. It grew closer and closer until she had to cover her ears to protect them from the worst of it, and then faded away in the distance. Hiranuma-sensei hardly seemed to have heard it.

“Huh. Looks like today wasn’t the best day for Quidditch after all,” she commented as calmly as if she’d been talking about the weather.

“What was that?”

“Just a plane. There’s a Muggle airbase not too far from here, didn’t you know? Sometimes, a flight will interfere with Quidditch, and everybody has to get down until the coast is clear. I suppose there’s been a break in the tryouts just now.”

Mei had a weird mental image of Ryo waving hello to some frightened passengers from outside their window and snorted.

“It’s no laughing matter, you know. Most broomstick users will fly much lower than a plane’s cruising altitude, but here, Muggle aircraft are closer to the ground than usual, and someone might spot us.”

Mei blinked at her casual use of words like ‘cruising altitude’ and ‘aircraft’. Ryo had trouble saying ‘telephone’, since when did a witch throw around terms from aeronautics without batting an eye?

“Do you… like planes, Hiranuma-sensei?”

“I can’t say, I’ve never been on one, but I was no slouch at Muggle Studies in my day. Now get back to work, we’re not here to chat.”

And so she did, but not before making a mental note that Hiranuma-sensei did not consider Muggles so beneath her that she didn’t bother learning their words. Figuring out why was a question for another day; for now, Mei was content with knowing for certain that she didn’t look at her like something unpleasant stuck at the bottom of her cauldron just for being her parents’ daughter.

Mei lost count of the labels she wrote, cut out, and left on the table for the teacher to stick in place while she waited for Tamura-sensei to get as far as the Sticking Charm in his curriculum, but eventually, she was let out of the classroom with one last stern lecture about consequences and cramps creeping into her hand, just in time to follow a group of older junior girls who had stopped by the shed to put their broomsticks back and were discussing the tryouts loud enough for her to catch a few snippets of the conversation.

One of their number was being thumped on the back with enough force to stagger on her feet as her friends all agreed that whatever she’d done was insane; completely worth it, but insane. It made the missed opportunity sting more than ever: it must have been a sight to see, and she hadn’t been there.

She spotted Ryo and Hiroki in the antechamber as the junior boys came out of their locker rooms, and when they finally caught up with each other on the grounds, the former abandoned his trunk and tackled her. It was a miracle they didn’t both roll onto the grass and came to a stop at a very disgruntled bird’s feet.

“I made it!” he all but screeched, spinning her in place until she was dizzy. “I made it, I made it, I made it!”

“Ryo, slow down!”

He took a step back and bent into an exaggerated bow. “Asuhara Ryo, junior reserve Seeker, at your service,” he said smugly. “Mom always said I looked good in green.”

“Yeah, rub it in, why don’t you?” said Hiroki, who had apparently not made the cut.

“You’re just grumpy because you missed that last shot, but you weren’t half bad. Try asking around if any unofficial team wants you, I’m sure plenty of captains had their eyes on you.”

“Unofficial teams?” Mei had been barely aware there were such things: sure, she’d seen people on the pitch who didn’t appear to be in full uniform, but she thought they were just practicing or having pick-up games with friends in a lull between classes, and unofficial teams sounded more serious than that.

“Yeah, that’s the only way we can have a decent number of full games throughout the year,” Ryo explained in his best expert voice as they secured their trunks, like he’d been let in on some unspeakable secret now that he was an official player. “School teams will sometimes play against each other, but can you imagine the reserve juniors going up against the starting seniors who are practically twice their size? Nah, some of the best Quidditch you’ll ever see is an official team versus an unofficial one about the same age. The playing field is more even that way.”

He clambered onto his bird’s back and grinned. “C’mon, I’ll tell you all about it, it was incredible. I was the smallest one there, I was terrified, I had to keep reminding myself that being tiny is actually a good thing when you’re trying for Seeker.”

“And he’s not just bragging, for once,” Hiroki agreed as he and Mei hurried to climb onto their rides home too. “Honestly, Ryo, I thought you were going to crash straight into the goalpost, what were you thinking?”

“What happened?” asked Mei eagerly as the storm petrels soared as one, sorrier than ever to have missed it all.

“Oh, I wish I could show you the memory of it, he had to make a catch so close to a goalpost he almost hit it face-first, I thought he was done for.”

“What do you mean, show me the memory?” Whenever she thought the wizarding world had run out of surprises, a new one came out of nowhere.

“Never heard of a Pensieve before?” asked Ryo.

When Mei shook her head, he proceeded to give her a somewhat garbled explanation that didn’t do much to help her picture what a Pensieve looked like or how it worked, except that his wildly gesturing hands had formed the shape of a bowl and then he’d touched his temple as if pulling something out, but she got the gist of what it was used for—to replay memories.

“Do they use it a lot for Quidditch?” she asked. “You know, to make sure there really was a foul or something.”

Ryo and Hiroki both snorted with laughter. “No way,” said the latter. “A Pensieve is crazy expensive, no one in their right mind would take it out to the pitch just to make sure the referee’s doing a good job, you keep it locked up in a room where it can’t break. It’s used for much more important things than Quidditch.”

“Like there’s anything more important than Quidditch,” Ryo joked. “Seriously, though, I don’t even know if there is one at the school at all. If anyone has it, it’s got to be a teacher, or maybe the Headmaster himself.”

But a tiny inkling of a plan had started forming in the back of Mei’s mind, and all thoughts of Pensieves were soon forgotten as she said slowly, testing out the idea to see exactly how insane it sounded: “Say… what does it take to start a team? Do you take it up to Iwamoto-sensei?”
Magic of Her Own, Chapter 17: Missing Out
This is officially getting out of hand. These characters are coming to life and doing whatever they please! There are at least two things in this chapter alone that I hadn't originally planned, what the heck is going on?
Anyway, I'm still mostly on track, I'll be able to write a few scenes I'd been waiting for all along very soon, so yay for progress.
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“Missing?” Konoe-sensei blinked at her, and Mei was struck by the passing thought that she’d never seen her confused—but that didn’t last long. Her eyes narrowed, and she suddenly looked like a cat that had just cornered a mouse. “Or perhaps you mean to say you discarded it so you wouldn’t be found out?”

Mei’s stomach clenched. She was vaguely aware of her friends loudly protesting against that claim all around her, but that didn’t stop the tears from welling up in her eyes.

“No, please, I just… I lost it! I thought it was in my pocket!” Hot, salty tears finally spilled over, each pair of eyes piercing through her as the whole school pounced on her with hushed comments—disapproval, pity, and the kind of horrified fascination that keeps you watching even when you’re seeing something terrible.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions now, Chiyo,” said Shizuma-sensei in his best placating voice. It took Mei a long moment to realize that Chiyo must be Konoe-sensei’s given name. “It may be that she simply misplaced it, and this has nothing to do with the attacks at all.”

“Hmm,” she conceded grudgingly, with a noise that wasn’t quite a ‘yes’. “Still, you have to agree this is highly suspicious. The one time she conveniently misplaces it is when it has to be inspected.”

When she put it like that, even Mei had to admit it looked terrible. It wasn’t the proof they’d been looking for, but after that endless procession, it was the next best thing. How had things gone so wrong so fast? She wanted to protest once more that she had no clue where her wand was and hadn’t used it since her last class, but words failed her, as though Konoe-sensei’s hard stare were tying her tongue.

“I don’t like this any more than you do.” His tone of disappointment somehow hurt more than her suspicion. “Can you retrace your steps, Kusakabe? I know for a fact you were with me last thing before lunch break. Was that the last time you remember using your wand today?”

“Yes, Shizuma-sensei,” she said. Relief flooded her. At least someone was willing to hear her out.

“Is it possible you dropped it at the end of the lesson?”

“I don’t th-think so.” She thought she remembered pocketing it, as always, but the fact remained that her wand should have been there and wasn’t, so something must have happened between now and the last time she was sure she’d held it, and she couldn’t say for sure it hadn’t fallen out without her noticing.

“So you think you had it with you during lunch,” he said as if asking for confirmation. She nodded, her tears subsiding to a quiet sniffle. “And then?”

“Then I went to the girls’ shed to get a broomstick for the tryouts.”

“It’s worth checking,” said Shizuma-sensei. “I understand the race for a good broomstick isn’t precisely quiet.” He gave a small, tense sort of smile. “Someone might have jostled you there, and perhaps it fell out.”

That stirred something in Mei’s memory. “No, sir, not in the shed. But W—someone bumped into me on the way to the pitch.” She was, all of a sudden, acutely aware that involving Washio in this whole mess was a bad idea, even if it was just to say he’d been rude.

“See, that could be it. We’ll search the grounds, and if we can’t find it there, we’ll check the locker room as well. Perhaps you simply put it back there when you went to get your shoes.”

“I’ll escort Kusakabe to the locker room. If nothing turns up, you can conduct the rest of your search.” Konoe-sensei sounded for all the world like she’d picked the cleanest place to check and just wanted to avoid getting her hands dirty. “Do try to take better care of your belongings, child. Don’t you understand you’re holding up some very important proceedings for nothing?”

Mei felt herself blushing to the roots of her hair in shame. “I’m sorry, Konoe-sensei.”

The walk to the locker room was short, but even though Mei almost had to run to keep up with the teacher’s long strides, it felt much longer than usual, and it ended in the worst of ways.

Without thinking twice about it, Konoe-sensei pulled her locker open with such force that the door slammed into its neighbor, and Mei’s stomach dropped. She shouldn’t have been able to do that. Someone had broken Izumi’s spell again. Her heart hammered in her chest, but she couldn’t find it in her to say anything. If that wasn’t proof that something was very wrong, she didn’t know what was.

“Well?” Apparently, she drew the line at rifling through her things without permission, so Mei opened her trunk herself, not really expecting anything. Shizuma-sensei’s possibilities all made a lot of sense, but she was fairly sure this one was wrong: yes, she had stopped by for her shoes before going out to the pitch, but her trunk had been closed the whole time and she had absolutely no memory of storing her wand back. Some days, she didn’t even do that when it was time to go home, preferring to carry it in her pocket the whole way.

It was all she could do not to cry out in shock when she opened the long, thin box and found it resting there, as neatly as if she’d put it back herself—and that was not all.

Shielding the box from view, her hands trembling, she pulled out the slip of parchment Nagaki-sama had enclosed, and her stomach dropped even further. On the other side, someone had scrawled in unfamiliar handwriting: Good luck getting out of this, Mudblood.

Given the hostile climate, Ryo had explained that word so she and Shinji would be ready the second it started flying, and had in fact proclaimed himself quite surprised Ichijo didn’t use it every other day, as she really seemed the type—and it had taken some convincing just to get him to say it out loud to their faces, that was how disgusting it was. Mei, however, felt only a distant twinge of hurt: it was one thing to be told she should be insulted, and quite another to actually feel it. She hadn’t grown up with adults trying to clamp their hands over her ears hoping to stop her from hearing it or anything like that, it was just a word that made Ryo and Hiroki pull faces. Still, she supposed it was a bit of a record—she was the first of her circle of friends to have been called that by someone who meant it. That was somehow scarier than the word itself.

“I… I found it, Konoe-sensei,” she said in a small voice. The teacher gave an exasperated sigh.

“Keep track of your things, you stupid girl! Do you realize how much time you’ve wasted?”

“I’m sorry, Konoe-sensei.” For maybe half a second, Mei considered showing her the message, but a little voice in the back of her mind that sounded surprisingly like Izumi told her otherwise. Rule number three, know who to trust. When it comes to these things, she’ll never take you seriously. She was probably so set in her conviction that Mei wanted to escape the inspection that she’d say the writing had been planted on purpose or some such nonsense. Mei wouldn’t have put it past her.

So she just closed the box and marched back to the dining hall behind her, knowing full well what the spell would find, and unable to do anything about it. What was she supposed to say, ‘It’s not what it looks like’? Please. She was lucky they didn’t kick her out on the spot. Whoever had sent those words was right, there was no getting out of this.

Walking back up to the staff table was worse than Mei had thought. The hall had never felt so long, or perhaps it was just the fact that everybody was staring, and none more so than the rest of the first years, who were still standing there, frozen, waiting for them.

Konoe-sensei took her seat, seeming to know all too well that Mei would feel in even deeper trouble with the table between them, snatched her wand without bothering to ask for it, and intoned: “Prior Incantato.”

There was an explosion of anger and disbelief as the smoky, damning evidence bloomed from the tip in the form of an unmistakable Beater’s bat that stood upright in the air for a fraction of a second before bending pathetically, its consistency less than rubber.

Deletrius.” The image vanished as quickly as it had come.

“That doesn’t make any sense, Konoe-sensei!” Ryo blurted out. “I was sitting right next to her and I didn’t see her do it!”

“The spell seems to be proving you wrong, Asuhara. After all, it would be nothing short of a miracle for you to pay attention to the tryouts and to your surroundings at the same time, wouldn’t it? Perhaps you simply missed it.”

“Ask my sister, she was there too!”

“Enough, Asuhara. You don’t want to be punished as her accomplice, do you?”

“But… but she wouldn’t! Why would Mei start attacking Muggleborns left and right when she is one herself?” On any other day, Mei would have been flattered by Ryo’s stubborn defense, but there seemed to be room for nothing but sick dread.

Shizuma-sensei inclined his head. “There is that,” he agreed pensively. “And I wouldn’t expect your average first year to hit a moving target from the stands…”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” said Ichijo, sweetly as you please. “That’s her signature move. The whole class knows it. Kusakabe is very good at Softening Charms, she once bested me in a duel with it.”

Konoe-sensei raised a single, disbelieving eyebrow at the thought of Mei winning a duel against her precious pet, but a confirming nod from the Defense teacher convinced her that the miracle must have indeed happened.

“Well, I’d say that settles it. Ample witness accounts that you are capable of the spell, and proof of it coming from your own wand… your future at this school is in question, Kusakabe.”

“Wait a minute!”

Mei blinked. The sudden eruption had come from Ebisawa-sensei herself.

“What is it? Do you have a more fitting punishment to suggest? Surely you understand that if Kusakabe was implicated in one attack, it’s highly likely she was responsible for the other, and you, of all people, should be glad to see justice done. Assaulting a teacher is grounds for immediate expulsion.”

“But that’s just the thing, Chiyo.” Mei couldn’t help but notice that Konoe-sensei looked considerably less pleased at being called by her given name this time. “This is hardly justice. First of all, you didn’t let the spell go far enough back to see any evidence of a Tripping Jinx, so there’s no proof that she did both. And second, Kusakabe can’t have tripped me.”

“A Tripping Jinx is hardly outside the realm of possibility for a first year, if she puts her mind to it.”

“That’s not what I meant at all. You see, the attack happened too early in the morning for her or any day student to be here. They were probably still on the way here when I was tripped. Didn’t you consider that?”

Konoe-sensei looked positively livid. “But all boarding students have been inspected, and no wand produced evidence of a Tripping Jinx.”

“That is troubling,” Ebisawa-sensei agreed. “It means even an inspection like this can be fooled. But still, all things considered, surely you can’t punish Kusakabe for an offense she wasn’t here to commit.”

“Is it possible,” Shizuma-sensei put in, “that she was simply tripped without a wand? We don’t typically teach wandless magic to any but the most advanced students, but you all know full well it’s possible. I could tell you of boys and girls no older than our youngest seniors doing more complex magic than a Tripping Jinx with just their hands in Africa.”

Mei just stared, almost laughing with relief and with the slight absurdity of the situation. In all their speculation, the professors seemed to have forgotten that the entire junior first year was still standing there, waiting for a verdict.

“This theory seems sound,” said the Headmaster, and that gave it all a feeling of finality. “It still means the culprit of one of the attacks hasn’t been caught, but at least we have confirmed that there must be more than one person at work here, which is more than we knew before, and we have cleared this girl of one of the charges. As for the other one…” He was talking directly to Mei now, and she had to resist the urge to shrink in on herself. “There seem to be quite a few people who are convinced this is wildly uncharacteristic for you, but our hands are tied. As a Quidditch injury is hardly a matter of life and death, I believe your continued attendance is no longer in question.”

Mei’s knees almost gave way. She was staying! An odd sort of hiss from behind her told her that Tamako was trying to cheer in a whisper and failing spectacularly, and she had to fight back tears once again, but for an entirely different reason.

“However,” Headmaster Gojo continued gravely, “for lack of any evidence to the contrary, we must assume the spell is correct, and tampering with Quidditch equipment in a way that results in a player getting hurt cannot be ignored.”

The teachers huddled closer, appearing to trade ideas, and finally, Konoe-sensei emerged from the consultation looking grim, though whether it was just to impress on Mei the gravity of what she had supposedly done, or because she would have been happier to see the back of her, she couldn’t tell.

“Starting next week and until the holidays, except on your cleaning duty days, you will stay back and assist Hiranuma-sensei with whatever task she sees fit to assign you in the cleaning, preparation and storage of Potions equipment.”

Mei’s jaw dropped. She’d already done the math: her cleaning turn was on Mondays, so that meant her first day of detention was next Tuesday—exactly on the day Iwamoto-sensei had set for the new tryouts.

“And no arguing! Some healthy scrubbing will teach you to think twice about it next time.”
Magic of Her Own, Ch. 16: Framed
A bit shorter than some, but this was the natural breaking point.
I swear I did not consciously intend to put Mei in a situation that closely parallels Harry and the whole Dark Mark at the campsite fiasco, I only noticed the similarity waaaaaay after I'd planned this section.
We'll be back to a more light-hearted and cute mood sooner or later, but it has to get worse before it gets better.
Also, yay for getting out of yet more Quidditch. I didn't originally plan for Mei to miss the junior tryouts entirely, but it naturally evolved that way.
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Just a quick entry because I can't resist sharing!
As an early birthday present to myself, I just got my ears pierced for the first time!
Ow. I suppose it wasn't terribly painful, but still. Ow.
Now I'm stuck wearing the same little earrings non-stop for the next six weeks and I have to be crazy careful with anything that goes anywhere near my ears lest my lobes get infected, but that's the price of beauty...

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SweetOphelia4231616
Martina
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
Italy
Current Residence: Italy
Favourite genre of music: Celtic/folk all the way, but hey, I watch MTV too.
Favourite cartoon character: I noticed that Shinichi Chiaki from Nodame Cantabile reminds me of a friend of mine.
Personal Quote: I am weird and proud of it!
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:iconlavlix:
LavLix Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2016
Hey I wanted to thank you for your input and advice my story. :hug:

I... guess I was still kinda curious if you might be interested in collaborating a little? I mean, I know you said you haven't really done it before, but I think it could work. I really liked your style in one of your stories, and how well you wrote for Sarek and Amanda.

I could discuss more of what's going on and what I have in mind, if you're interested.
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:iconsweetophelia4231616:
SweetOphelia4231616 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I certainly wouldn't be opposed to a proper collaboration, but I have no clue where to start. I haven't written for Star Trek in some time due to life and other fandom obsessions getting in the way, so I'm glad you liked my previous efforts, but right now, I feel I can't contribute much of anything in the way of writing ideas. Getting around to reading your work is one of my early resolutions for 2017, of that I'm sure.
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:iconlavlix:
LavLix Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2016
I understand :hug:

If you'd like a more organized way to read "Far From Home", I also have it here on my fanfiction.net acount www.fanfiction.net/s/12234446/…

My other fics are over there too. It's up to you if you want to read anything or not, no hard feelings either way :)

I hope you have a good New Year. :hug:
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:iconlavlix:
LavLix Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016
Hello there. I noticed you write fanfiction, and I happen to be a huge fan of Spock, Amanda and Sarek. I was wondering if you might be interested in a collaboration, or at least some idea discussions involving Star Trek? ^^; Sometimes just talking about it can help me get motivated to write, and... I don't have many Star Trek fans to talk to. :)
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:iconsweetophelia4231616:
SweetOphelia4231616 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd be glad, but I have to confess that my experience with collaborations is exactly zero. How would we coordinate our efforts?
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:iconlavlix:
LavLix Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016
Well... I'm not exactly sure yet. I think the first thing we'd need to do is determine if this would work for us. ^^;

We don't even have to write together, we could just discuss ideas. Sometimes, I just need someone to talk to because I have trouble fleshing out ideas. And for me, talking helps because it helps me get motivated and get my brain in order enough to actually write something.

Maybe... if you want to, you could read at least one of my stories to see what's going on? Or if you'd rather not, I can just note you a brief summary of what is happening in my first story, and I can tell you where I'm stuck in my second story and why I need help. ^^;
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:iconsweetophelia4231616:
SweetOphelia4231616 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I noticed you have quite a bit of material. Is there a recommended reading order to get to know your OC(s) properly?
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:iconcuddlesaurus21:
cuddlesaurus21 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist

I'm not sure if this is something you'd be interested or not, but just in case...: s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/o… It's how to make your very own bowtruckle. :)

And if I'm remembering my time zones correctly, it will probably already be Christmas day when you see this, so... very merry Christmas, my friend! :aww: Buon Natale! :holly:

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:iconsweetophelia4231616:
SweetOphelia4231616 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
OH GOSH IT'S ADORABLE. Not that I'll ever have the manual dexterity to make it turn out decent, but thanks for finding it. :hug:

It's still Christmas Eve, actually, but I appreciate the sentiment, and Merry christmas everybody  to you and your family as well!
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:iconcuddlesaurus21:
cuddlesaurus21 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww, well merry Christmas early then! :D You and your parents and everyone else please have a very happy day tomorrow (and today) too. :aww:

And you're very welcome. I hope it gave you a smile anyway. I ran across it on Pinterest and immediately thought of you. :hug:
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