Downward Spiral

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Downward Spiral

Post by Lindsss on Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:43 pm

IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:
Henry:

Avery:

Apollo:

Kit and Charles (NPC)

Keiran:

Christian:


Not given POV, but referenced: Declan (a sort of Oliver/Declan character)



The face of Quality Quidditch Supplies, once a clean storefront with proper window dressings and promotion signs taped to the glass of the first floor, had crumbled. If the second floor hadn't collapsed into the first, perhaps a passerby would have seen the inside of the Zabini twins' old summer flat and office. Their father hadn't let them stay on full time, as he still needed to exert whatever influence he could over the elder brother, but it had undoubtedly felt more like home to them than their manor house. It had to have been on par with their school, but that too was in ruins now.

At least the latter was still a plausible living place, though, Henry mused.

It wasn't necessarily wise to be out and about on one's own in times such as these, but Henry had never been one to care about the danger of being out without anyone to watch his back. After all, had the Wizarding World been through worse? He doubted it. Why would he sit back and hide, then, if Declan was off somewhere, getting involved in Merlin knew what? Declan was the one person he could never give up on, and he refused to believe that his best mate had met his end.

Perhaps Declan had found some poor damsel who needed his help and they were hiding out. Knowing Arryn, he would have managed to take on charges like that Slytherin Zabini had done. Granted, Apollo only had one. But Henry still thought the boy a fool for failing to find anyone to help him. Hayes would have done, surely. But then, Hayes was the last one he expected to watch turn into a broken man, and even that had happened. There was no end to the damage, it seemed.

Something crashed, shaking the ground beneath his feet. Cursing under his breath, Henry reached up to push his shaggy hair out of his eyes before turning and pounding down the street. His shoes slapped against the ragged cobblestones as he turned a corner, the world tilting like a camera angle in a Muggle film. Ducking behind an outcropping left over from whatever exploded that building in particular, he held his breath and clutched his wand tighter. Much good it would do him, of course, in the end. But it would likely do him a bit better than the knife he had stashed in his boot as long as he kept distance on his side.

That wasn't really an option for him, though, because when he saw someone come skidding around his corner, Henry's jaw fell open before he shot an arm out to hook the woman running past. A shriek met his ears, so he lifted a hand to cover her mouth, and had to shake his head to get her blonde hair out of his eyes.

"Avery," he breathed. "Never make that sound again."

Her shoulders relaxed and she sank back against him, trying to join him in the shadows. Within moments, her breathing matched his, and their torsos moved together as they drew in slow, silent gulps of air. Not two seconds later, footsteps sounded and Henry watched three cloaked men charge past, apparently thinking she had continued on. Neither he nor Avery moved for a little while, though, unwilling to take the risk. Finally, she sank against his side with an audible sigh.

"Thank you," she offered, rolling her shoulders backwards in an attempt at forcing herself to relax. Henry's arm curled tighter around her waist and he leaned to the side to peer up and down the street as she continued. "Another false lead."

Henry looked at her, frowning, but didn't respond to her directly. "We can't stay here. C'mon."

It was a shame to have to realize it, but Henry almost immediately noticed that the woman at his side fit perfectly into her surroundings. Her hair was flat apart from the tangles that created frizz and puffy knotted sections. Her clothes, too, were in complete disarray. Tattered edges left threads that she pulled at with the thumb and forefinger of her right hand as they walked in silence. There was innate beauty there, behind everything, just as was true of Diagon Alley. The place had once been full of live and positively roaring with wonder, just as Avery had been bright and alive when her husband had been there. Not to mention when the world was not literally falling to bits, as it was now.

"You're staring at me."

Henry blinked, then frowned at her. It hadn't been intentional, he explained, glancing around to make sure they weren't being followed. "Who were those guys?" He asked after a few yards.

Avery abandoned the string on her sleeve and instead took to using her fingers to tug the knots out of her hair as she was clearly without a comb. Laying down her reasoning for meeting the cloaked figures - Robin was supposedly seen a week ago in Italy - she explained that they were only after money and information about where people were hiding out.

"Why people are after money in a time like this is beyond me," Henry said.

Avery squinted at him, her steps slowing as she tried to determine whether or not he was being serious. "What do you think will happen when people need to start rebuilding? What sort of currency do you expect us to use besides money?"

Henry shrugged, and decided he ought to change the topic before she gave him an even more disapproving look. How was he meant to know such things, anyway? It wasn't as though they had gone through an apocalypse before, really. Not in his lifetime, anyway. The first Wizarding War might have been something similar, but how was he to know?

"Have you heard anything about the boy's brother?"

"The boy has a name, Henry." Avery shot him another disappointed look. Henry couldn't manage anything today, could he? She huffed at him, and he copied the sound just to see if she bristled. She did. Somehow, that made him feel a bit less silly.

--

"For the love of-" Apollo hissed, shaking his hand as pain swept up it. "Charles! Can you at least warn me before you do that?"

Charles Emerson, charming bastard that he was, merely smiled at the younger man and shook his head. Leaning against the wall, he crossed his arms and looked down at his patient. Katherine Avery, the Zabini family's (or, really, just Apollo's - not that a fifteen-year-old was at all qualified) new ward, was laying back against her coat, using it as a makeshift pillow. Despite Charles' best efforts at convincing her, the girl refused to take his pillow. He, she had declared, needed to be well-rested in case anyone came in after them.

She had never - not even once - considered the fact that she would be assuredly doomed if anyone did come in after them. Or, so Apollo assumed. Otherwise, surely she would have taken the pillow off Charles during the day, when he had no use for it? The Slytherin couldn't tell, so he just continued to shake the hand that had been slapped away by the healer. It hadn't hurt that bad, really, but Apollo knew it might actually do him some good to play it up. Perhaps it would prevent the attack happening again.

Apollo rather doubted it. He had been reaching for the second half of his breakfast ration, which was foolish given Charles always reminded him to make everything last.

The two Ravenclaws - one recently graduated and the other a year behind where she ought to have been - didn't pay him much heed. Charles sank down to sit next to the blonde on her makeshift bed (the only thing she had allowed them to set up for her) and began asking after her health. It had been declining steadily, but Apollo knew it had to be something Charles had never come across before. It had been fairly cumbersome for her before, apparently, but now that magic was gone? She was deteriorating, and it hadn't been more than a month and a half before Apollo noticed Charles' reaction to it. While everyone else was off preparing and doing chores and what have you, Charles had created for himself a sort of hospital wing off to the side. Katherine was more or less trapped there, and if Apollo knew one thing about Charles Emerson, it was that he wasn't about to just let her fade away.

Whether or not she appreciated it, Apollo wasn't quite sure. Sometimes being forced to endure was far worse. He could definitely attest to that.

But it wasn't the time to think about such things. He needed to check in on the others and ensure that he did his - and Charles' - tasks for the day. He hardly minded, surprisingly, but that was undoubtedly due to the fact that it kept his mind busy from the frightening bits.

Crossing the room, Apollo found himself standing in front of the most singularly frustrated man he had ever seen. Six months ago, this man had been his professor. His head of house. His idol. Everyone needed someone to look up to, and Blaise Zabini certainly wasn't going to be that figure. But Keiran Hayes, who had somehow managed to get (nearly) everything he wanted before the fall, was now relegated to trying to transfigure things with what limited magic he had, and it was going spectacularly poorly.

"Not now, Zabini," Keiran growled, not even bothering to look up when Apollo approached.

He didn't need to look at certain people to recognize them now. Every day at the same time, Keiran woke. He remembered too soon that Melissa was gone, and never quite felt up for breakfast no matter who brought it over to him. Unless he ended up near Katherine and she asked if he wanted to eat with her. She reminded him of Melissa sometimes, and then he just couldn't tell her no. But after not having breakfast more often than not, his day was filled with chores, perhaps a wander about the bits of the castle that weren't proper ruined, and then he would set in again on trying to transfigure rocks and other small things into supplies. Into ammo and weapons. But it was infuriatingly difficult.

Magic refused to do what he wanted it to, after just a few attempts, and it was never enough to make up for the drained feeling he had afterwards. He didn't need Apollo's sympathy or judgment. He didn't need that from anybody. He knew full well that his system wasn't doing anybody any good, but what else was he going to accomplish? His skill set was narrow compared to those around him, and with the possibility of Fred commenting on it if he didn't keep trying, he wasn't giving up on the one thing he could manage in order to make a difference.

Or try to, at least.

I'm gonna give up on this someday, Lissa. I'm not getting any better at it. Keiran's eyes lifted to the ceiling and he picked up his wand again as Apollo squatted down beside him. There would be the same conversation as usual. Was he alright. Why didn't he just take a break. How was he dealing with-. Well, Apollo could never get it out. Could never actually form the words it would take to ask about Keiran's wife and how he was coping. If he was coping. As always, Keiran just gave him a look that demanded the younger man shut up. Then came the part where Apollo said he was sorry and stood up again, walking away.

Except he didn't, this time. So Keiran had to stop what he was doing and squint at the young man. This time, Apollo said something different.

"Just don't forget about her, professor. Don't let yourself."

Somewhere, light crashed through a canopy of leaves and fell until it hit the ground with a silent smack, spreading into little spots across the moss-smeared surface. At that same somewhere, a heavy, slow moving boot crunched through a pile of dead leaves. Really, it was more like dragging than stepping. The boot was covering a foot. That foot attached to a leg that belonged to a rough-jawed, exhausted figure. Dark eyes, dead though they seemed, lifted as the young man broke through the edge of the trees. Above him, at the top of a hill and the end of a mottled path, sat a positively ruined manor house. This teenager wasn't the owner of that house, but he was damn close at this point. It didn't look like much of anything, and he doubted the real owner would care if he dug around a bit. Especially now that it lacked a roof, not to mention its top floor.

He shouldn't have come at all. He had heard of a collection of people a few hours away, but he needed to check. He had to find her. Their father was less of a priority; he could admit that. But his mother? No, he was her youngest and he was desperate. So he didn't even let himself wonder what his brother was doing at that moment. He had turned off that instinct months ago. Instead, he took one difficult step forward after another, heading to the one place that might hold answers for him.

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Re: Downward Spiral

Post by Jackles on Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:37 pm




It was no surprise that Claire was doing marvelously at keeping busy. They had all learned the hard way that any sort of leisure time meant careful consideration of their circumstances, and as soon as that happened, desperation settled in. For some, it was worse. Some knew who had been lost, so leisure lent itself immediately to grief. Claire certainly was not a counselor, but her patented method of chore wheels and task forces seemed to be working rather well at least delaying the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.  

She was actually managing rather well. Not that she had time to think, but she had managed to get to safety with Elsie, the only person whose absence might have ruined her. The pair had received an owl from Elsie's brother, who seemed intent on making his way to them, but was trying to find safe passage. The other Bishops had not been heard from. Part of her worried. She could feel an ache in her stomach, a twisting in her gut when she realized, with a hint of anxiety, that she could potentially be the last of her family.

But that wasn't a productive thought process.

The day started just as many others had. Dawn broke and Claire's finely tuned internal clock caused her to stir. Claire had tried to remain in Classroom 11, the room that had initially been made up as a mass bedroom for everyone. As they made the castle homier, they had managed to move groups of people out, and Claire would have remained in Classroom 11 until the last of their refugees had been placed somewhere. Albus had convinced her she would have more energy, and therefore be more useful, if she had somewhere she could maintain a level of privacy. She had split the difference so she woke up in a classroom that had been converted into a four person bedroom using old curtains and wobbly furniture. Two little fourteen year old twin girls took up one 'bedroom', an older witch in one, and Elsie in the other.

Claire rose and used the water basin and a small bar of soap to give herself that ever-elusive feeling of freshness, before slipping on a snug pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a baggy cardigan. The slight smell of fire and grime lingered on everyone's clothes now, but she had worked hard to establish a cleaning crew for some of the younger students without the abilities to take on harder tasks, so the general smell of their population had increased dramatically.

She looked through her little desk drawer and found a small notebook and pen. She immediately began flipping through the pages, looking for the tasks she had set herself for the day.

A loud groan sounded from behind her makeshift wall. Claire didn't have to look up to know that Elsie was pushing through the curtain, looking like a mess. A few steps and the brunette had thrown herself on Claire's bed, yawning. Claire glanced up and watched as Elsie began wriggling to get under the covers. Elsie was not happy with this minimal way of life, a perpetual pout threatening to overtake her features. Elsie looked strange in oversized jackets and t-shirts, in plain old jeans. This was the girl who had been raised in Prada, pumps, and pearls. Her hair and makeup had always been manicured perfectly to make her look like a trophy wife at all times, and now the natural curl was overtaking her hair, her features looking more relaxed and human every day. Claire liked misery on Elsie, honestly.

"Are you sleeping in my bed again?" Claire asked.

"Mmmhmmm," Elsie murmured, without opening her eyes, rolling over.

"You could wake up and help me."

"Stoooooop."

"Okay."

Claire walked through the halls, checking in with those who had been scheduled to guard overnight, checking in that their replacements were wide awake. She met with Jack to ensure that the defensive lesson would still be taking place after lunch and then went to check in on preparations for breakfast. Moggy the house elf had not taken easily to commanding witches and wizards around, but she had grown into the role, seeing as she was the best suited for rationing and cooking on a large scale. The kitchens were still functioning, but without the magic to transfer the food to the floor above, the corridor outside of the kitchen often looked like a soup kitchen line. She checked in on the progress of breakfast - a half ration of oatmeal with raisins - and then went to check in on the laundry and potions.

An hour or so before lunch, she began working on re-placing people into bedrooms, and discovered that the sick Avery girl was still in the drafty classroom on the second floor. She had discovered a small, warm bedroom on the first floor that had easy access to the potionamkers in the dungeons and it had finally been cleared out. She stopped by the kitchens, grabbing lunch for the Avery girl, Charles, and the Zabini boy that often frequented the girls' temporary room and walked through the corridors.

A gentle knock on the door with her elbow and she slipped inside, balancing the small tray with lunches of venison and rice. She smiled around at everyone and set down the tray, crossing towards Katherine and Charles, crouching beside them. "I've found a better room for you, if you're up for a small journey. It's closer to the kitchens and the dungeons for food and potions, and it's better insulated. I think it might help."

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Re: Downward Spiral

Post by Lindsss on Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:40 am

Keiran looked up as Claire entered, believing for a moment that it was his long-time best friend. But it was the other Bishop, and although he had nothing against her, she just wasn't the same and it didn't feel like enough to have the other in place of Avery. That wasn't her fault, though, and he was fully aware of the fact. Still, his mood fell all the more and he lifted an eyebrow disapprovingly as he turned back to his work.

Apollo ducked out of the room, heading for his favorite window. It gave him enough of a view across what was left of the grounds that he could keep an eye on the literal nothing that was happening outside. But he liked to imagine he would one day see his brother coming towards the castle. No matter how unlikely that outcome was.

As for Kit and Charles, they both looked up in surprise when Claire approached. Katherine opened her mouth, already turning her head to the side in preparation for the rejection she was about to voice. But Charles was apparently having none of it, because he let his hand fall to his shoulder. It took her by surprise enough that she hesitated and he was able to jump in himself.

"So long as it doesn't mean moving anyone out," he replied quickly, suspecting what her objection would have been.

Katherine pouted at him but said nothing. It wasn't that she would mind a better room. But it would be work not only for her, but for Charles and others, potentially. Arguing with him wasn't something she had figured out how to do yet, however, so she bit her tongue as she always did. It might have been the illness, but something told her it was bigger than that. With everything happening around her and all of the questions as to what was really the matter with her, though, it hardly seemed like the thing that needed her attention.

"Just direct us to the right place and I'll make sure she gets there," Charles continued. His gaze darted across the room when the sound of a failed attempt at a spell caught his ears. Lowering his voice and shuffling things around on Katherine's lunch tray, he decided someone needed to say something. "He needs a distraction. It's been like this for days. Is there anything you need done? Perhaps it would be good to set him on the task."

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Re: Downward Spiral

Post by Jackles on Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:34 am

Keiran and Apollo quickly moved away from her on her entrance, a welcome she was becoming somewhat used to. People found her difficult to connect with, now that she was being seen as the executor on many of the decisions made by their fearless leaders. Her influence was too great in such a small, frightened community, that people mostly pretended she didn't exist, if they could manage it. Honestly, she didn't mind. She dealt with Albus and Jack, and unfortunately Fred on occasion, and then headed u her own projects. People keeping their distance kept them out of her way.

She was infinitely glad for Charles. Not only was he working hard to take care of Katherine, a task that would otherwise permanently tie up one of their few healers, but he also managed to keep this small faction of people working towards a common goal. He was a subleader of sorts, as many of the kind were beginning to pop up everywhere. Head of families, really. That's what they were. Communities died without that family feeling.

The pair were almost inhumanly sweet, quick to think of others and their discomfort. She smiled politely and said, "No, the room had some collapsed rubble and a few broken desk that needed to be cleared out. It just finished today, so you're not turning out anyone. In fact, it'll be more convenient for you all, I think." She smiled politely at them, beginning to jump into the preparations when Charles made note of the Hayes man. Claire blinked and glanced over at the tired-looking man, wondering what use she could be to him. She wasn't... good with people? Good with feelings.

But keeping busy was key.

She nodded slowly and stood, brushing herself off. "Um..." She could feel the cogs working. "Actually, we need to make you a litter or some sort. It'll help move you now, but it would be good for future use, in case we need to move you, or make a quick exit. Perhaps you could help me... Mr Hayes? Some transfiguration may help us in this."

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