Charming is a Victorian Era Harry Potter roleplay set primarily in the village of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the non-canon village of Irvingly. Characters of all classes, both magical and muggle — and even non-human! — are welcome.

With a member driven story line, monthly games and events, and a friendly and drama-free community focused on quality over quantity, the only thing you can be sure of is fun!
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    You have found our archive! Charming lives on here!
    02.05 One last puzzle before we depart!
    02.01 AC? What AC?
    01.26 Impending URL changes!
    01.11 I've got a bit of a reputation...
    01.06 AC underway, and a puzzle to solve!
    01.01 Happy new year! Have some announcements of varying importance.
    12.31 Enter the Winter Labyrinth if you dare!
    12.23 Professional Quidditch things...
    12.21 New stamp!
    12.20 Concerning immortality
    12.16 A heads up that the Secret Swap deadline is fast approaching!
    12.14 Introducing our new Minister of Magic!
    12.13 On the first day of Charming, Kayte gave to me...
    12.11 Some quick reminders!
    12.08 Another peek at what's to come...
    Changing of the Seasons
    Private Thread 
    So it's over? I didn't realize
    It's so much colder
    But it was no surprise

    Did you ever
    Get to know me?
    'Cause it has never been so plain to see

    Right, the Forbidden Forest could piss right off because Zelda was not about this. She was supposed to give this teenager from Pennyworth a warning about illegal magic use and he had run in here, and - stupidly - she had followed. Now she was here in her bright purple Ministry robes, lost and a tiny bit scared.

    More than any of that she was irritated. "Oh just cover this case for me Fisk, you said," Zelda muttered under her breath, "It'll be so easy, I'll go on the next run with the aurors with you, you won't even know. Damn." She kicked at a rock, sending it flying into a tree.

    It was after this little fit that Zelda heard a gentle rustle in the bushes. Her chest hurt with a sudden rush of fear and she peered out from behind a large tree only to see a very large dog. A smile blossomed on her face and she stepped out from behind the tree with the intention of petting the dog, only to see the person behind it. Her eyes widened.

    Without really thinking about it, without really thinking of anything at all, Zelda plucked a loose branch off of the forest floor and hurled it at Lou Jameshill. 
    [Image: uUQiz4B.jpg]
    Daniel had stopped admonishing him to get out of the house. He seemed resigned, now, to letting Lou wade through his depression at his own pace, instead of trying to spur him back to activity in a get back on the horse sort of mentality. If he'd gotten any momentum towards his life as an actual human being, the beginning of September had broken it. If past heartache was any indication, the pair of them had several more months of laconic inactivity ahead of them, and possibly longer. There were certainly similarities in the two situations, at least from his perspective. When he'd first gotten to the cabin several years ago his entire life as he'd planned it was gone, inaccessible to him forever. There wasn't any future that he could see that was worth thinking about. There wasn't anything left to do with himself, and no reason to try and do it, besides. He hadn't started in with the casual, careless references to potential suicide attempts, but he wasn't sure that was really as much of a difference as it might have seemed to someone else. Daniel didn't know, after all, that he'd spent an entire afternoon sitting on the edge of a rooftop in London. Telling him would have worried him, and it wasn't anything to worry about. Lou didn't think it was worth worrying about, anyway. Only time would tell.

    The last time that things had been this bad, it had all revolved around Xena. The loss of Xena, the continued ache of not being able to see her. They had spent so much time together during their courtship and their engagement that not being able to talk to her was a more or less continual ache. Even when they hadn't been able to see each other, they'd exchanged so many letters. He was used to being able to say everything to her, no matter what it was or when it occurred to him. When that wasn't an option anymore, it was worse than just losing someone he cared about; the oppressive loneliness he felt surrounding each and every one of his thoughts made it seem as though suddenly the entire universe, once bustling with life and activity, was cut off from him. It was different this time - in the intervening years he had learned, slowly and painfully, how to life without her.

    Maybe that was why Daniel thought this time would be different, why he'd tried to get Lou out of the house and back on the horse. It wasn't much different in the end, though, because for one month - such a brief time, but long enough, it seemed - he'd had Xena again. It was hard to describe the difference to someone outside of himself; even when he wasn't with her, even when he wasn't writing to her, the entire world seemed better. It was as though the world was suddenly complete, suddenly real, when all of his endeavors prior to that moment had just been conducted in a sort of shadow of what life was supposed to be like. And now... well, Lou didn't know what he felt now.

    Maybe it would have been better not to write Xena at all. That would mean losing her, but she would, he thought, have loved him just the same. Maybe knowing that she was out there, somewhere, loving him, would have made this easier.

    Maybe nothing would make this easier.

    The only reason he'd forced himself out of the cabin this afternoon was because of Gabriel; the dog needed to go out and was whining to indicate as much. Daniel had been taking care of that - because Lou certainly hadn't possessed enough awareness of the world outside of himself, during the month of September, to reliably care for an animal - but at the moment Daniel was out of the house on an errand. The task fell to him, then, and Lou pulled some very worn, wrinkled clothes on as he headed for the door. He looked like shit, with three or four or five (who could remember) days of stubble on his chin and clothes he'd just pulled up off the floor, but he was just taking the dog out, not going to tea with the Queen. What did it matter, anyway? What did anything matter?

    He took the dog for a long walk, partly because he deserved it (it was hardly Gabriel's fault that Lou's life was a wreck) and partly because he was surprised by how good it felt to stretch his legs after having been inside for days on end. He knew the forest very well, after living in it for so long, and he knew how to go on very long walks without getting himself any nearer to the edges of town or the notorious caverns to the north of it.

    (Suicide by vampire cavern would be the least ideal way to die, he thought; too intimate, potentially painful, and with the potential to fuck everything up even more should it fail).

    After reaching a little clearing he determined ought to be the turn-around point of their walk, Lou stopped for a break. He sat down with his back against a tree and rubbed his eyes until they no longer ached for simply being open. Gabriel lay down at his side--well trained, Lou supposed, because this was the position they normally started out in on full moons. He scratched the dog's head pensively, trying and failing to keep his thoughts on lighter matters than Xena.

    He didn't hear the noise, but Gabriel did, and bounded up to see what it was. Lou followed with his eyes, somewhat lazily--probably a bird, he imagined, or some small, harmless creature. For all that the citizens of Hogsmeade might have feared the things that went bump in the night in the Forbidden Forest, Lou had been here too long to be frightened of anything one could find in these parts--at least, in the daylight.

    A spectral vision, a person who couldn't possibly be there: Xena, with her eyes wide.

    Not Xena, he realized, just as she threw the stick at him.

    "Merlin," he swore, putting an arm up vaguely to defend himself and starting to push his way to his feet. The stick bounced off his forearm and his skin stung. He got to his feet, but then lingered awkwardly by the tree he'd been using as a backrest, not sure what to do next. What was Zelda Fisk doing in the middle of the Forbidden Forest, anyway?
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    The stick bounced off of his arm and Zelda felt no satisfaction. Perhaps she should have scooped up more refuse to hurtle at him, but then there was the possibility that she would still be here, looking at him and feeling suddenly morose. But underneath the morose feeling was that familiar kickstart to her heart when she looked at him.

    Zelda squinted. Even though he was still - frustratingly - quite good looking, Mr. Williams (Lou Jameshill, damnit) looked rumpled and scruffy and sad. And awkward. And Zelda stood frozen in place and tilted her head at him. At this point it was probably too late to throw another stick, and she had been standing there for a long enough beat that she was starting to feel awkward.

    "You look terrible," Zelda said.
    [-] The following 1 user Likes Zelda Fisk's post:
       Lupus Jameshill
    [Image: uUQiz4B.jpg]
    Based on the violence of how she'd greeted him (via stick), he'd expected her to do something else as he was climbing to his feet, though he wasn't sure what. Yell, scream, throw something else? What she actually did was nothing, which was unexpected. The momentary silence before she spoke made him feel even more awkward, because he thought maybe she wouldn't say anything, and he'd have to think up something to say, and -- well, he didn't have anything to say. There wasn't anything he could say to her that he hadn't already written to her, and it wasn't as though she would care about his poor attempts at apologies, anyway. Xena hadn't.

    Zelda Fisk said he looked terrible, and Lou couldn't argue with that. He felt terrible, but didn't think he ought to say as much - it might come across as a bid for sympathy, and he didn't deserve that. Not from anyone, particularly, but certainly not from Xena's younger sister.

    "Thanks," he said lamely, with a shrug of resignation. There wasn't anything else to say about it. After a brief pause, he added, "You don't. All things considered."
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    She shrugged. "It could have been worse, I guess," she said, although she could not really imagine a worse outcome than Brannon knowing the details of their previous engagements.

    "Brannon thought I was pregnant when I found out," Zelda said, "So." That would have been distinctly worse, and she was still, secretly, quite insulted about it. 
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    It was entirely possible that Lou had lost his ability to read people entirely at that Zelda was really as disconnected from this entire ordeal as she apparently wanted him to think, but it didn't seem likely. He may have been a social outcast and hermit who lived in the woods, but some of her body language bore a striking resemblance to her sister's. There were plenty of differences, too—and he'd noticed all of them during the time he'd spent with her—but the similarities were numerous enough that even when he'd first met her, Lou felt as though he knew Zelda Fisk better than he really did. Of course, he was also working with the benefit of everything that he'd heard about her from Xena or the other, older Fisks; she, on the other hand, had not even known his real name.

    Lou was pulled out of this mopey, downward-spiraling train of thought by the mention of her father. He ought to have known, of course, that Brannon Fisk hearing about this entire ordeal was a possibility, but back when he had been planning on spending what remained of his rather short life in Azkaban it had hardly seemed to matter. In the wake of everything else that had happened, he'd entirely forgotten about the man who would have been his father-in-law, had things gone down a different route. The mention of him now made what little color was in Lou's face drain out.

    "You told your father?" he asked, his voice sounding just a touch higher than it normally was and almost disconnected from the rest of him. He hadn't thought of how Brannon Fisk would react to the news that he was alive, because he knew that Xena wouldn't have told him. Merlin, that complicated things.

    As if Xena refusing to speak to him hadn't complicated things enough.
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind

    Zelda's eyes narrowed; she couldn't help but frown at him, at his tone, and so she kicked her foot at the forest detritus. "He didn't really give me any other options," she said, still unable to shake off her frown. She had been distraught, really truly distraught, and still that had been better than talking to Xena through her pillow later. 

    "You've met him. I'm not really sure what you expected," Zelda said, looking away from her feet and back at him, mouth still twisted in a frown.
    [Image: uUQiz4B.jpg]
    Zelda said you've met him as though this ought to explain everything, but nothing in Lou's past interactions with Brannon Fisk would have given him the impression that he was the sort to burst in and read his children's mail without giving them any choice in the matter. Of course, how a father interacted with his children and how he interacted with their potential suitors was likely very different, but even Xena hadn't really ever implied anything about Brannon that would have suggested he was the intrusive parenting sort (that honor, Lou thought, had always gone to their mother). He could not picture any situation where Zelda telling Brannon about this entire ordeal would have been something she considered necessary, or unavoidable. He wondered, rather frantically, how much she had told him, but he knew there wasn't any good way to ask without dredging back through everything that had happened, which neither of them probably wanted to do.

    Maybe this explained, in part, why Xena was still angry with him. This had, apparently, gotten rather out of hand without his knowing it.

    "I don't know," Lou said, shaking his head. "He always liked me. Well. I mean. Before." That was an important clarification. Lou had been, for many years, under the impression that Xena hated him and had probably persuaded all of the Fisks to feel the same way. Even after he'd discovered, in August, that Xena didn't hate him, he still regarded the rest of the family as probably not very keen on him. Katia Meadowes certainly hadn't been thrilled to learn he was alive, though mercifully she hadn't told anyone about him.

    "He thought you were pregnant?" Lou asked, horrified.
    Who alone suffers, Suffers most in the mind
    Leaving free things and happy shows behind