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Posted: Jun 13 2018, 08:31 PM
Alea is Offline
39 years old
Journalist and Actor
Joseph Elliot Collinger
39 years old. Research Journalist. Dublin. Wizarding World. Andy Samberg.
Alea. 22. GMT-5. PM/Discord
Little Joey Collinger was the second of three kids born to April and Dexter Collinger in their small family home near Rye, England. Though the three children were all born within five years of each other, Joey was set apart from them at a very early age. Unlike his brother, Matthew, and his sister, Elizabeth, Joey was special. You see, April’s grandmother had been a metamorphmagus and had delighted in changing her appearance in whatever way suited her and Joseph was the first child in the family to inherit that ability. April, who had always envied her grandmother’s ability, saw a sort of victory in giving birth to a metamorphmagus son of her own and treated him like a treasure. Dexter was a bit more fair in his treatment of the children, but was passive and unwilling to speak up against his wife.
From an early age, Joey was taught that the ability to change his appearance at will was his greatest gift. He was able to make himself appear more charming, he was able to be someone else in public. He was given nearly the entirety of his mother’s attention which forced them into their own little bubble within the family as Dexter was rarely allowed to intercede and his siblings were shunted to the side. More than anything, Joey just wanted to go play with them and get to laugh and have fun with them but he was rarely given the chance. April would drill him on quickly altering his appearance and she would test him on his ability to maintain his “costumes;” that was the word she used. Every now and then, she’d even take him into the muggle town to see if he could protect himself if the situation called for it; she’d instruct him to get caught stealing from a shop and to run, find a place to hide, and change his face to throw off those who’d be searching for the little thief. These were fun games to play and he loved spending time with his mother, but he would have much preferred to just run and play pretend with his siblings.
Unsurprisingly, Joey received his invitation to attend Hogwarts just after his eleventh birthday. He and his mother went on their own to purchase his books, his robes, his tools and his wand. Unlike when Matty had started at Hogwarts two years previously, April allowed Joey to pick out a pet. When September 1st finally rolled around and the family made their way to Platform 9 3/4s, April pulled Joey aside and gave him one last lecture. “Be whoever you need to be,” she told him, “to get what you want. No one knows you at school, you can be whatever or whoever suits your fancy and gets you farthest.” She made it clear, though, that she expected him to be in Slytherin, just as she had.
Joey took his mother’s lesson to heart, putting on a strangers face to hide his own. He could be whoever he wanted to be and it was less scary to play a character than to be himself and be rejected. He hoped that he would be placed in Hufflepuff with his brother, but the sorting hat put him in Ravenclaw instead after a quick moment of debaitng back and forth. This would prove to be one of the most fortuitous disappointments of Joey’s young life as being placed in Ravenclaw put him in the same house as someone who would become one of his favorite humans and one of the most important people in his life. Lindsey Garrison was also placed in Ravenclaw that night and they happened to sit next to each other during the feast. Joey introduced himself to Lindsey as JC, a better version of himself and the two were instant friends. She was funny and smart, outgoing and witty. More importantly, she was the first friend he’d ever had his own age.
For almost the first week of school, he managed to maintain his costume during waking hours, effectively convincing his peers that he was someone other than the boy he was. It was exhausting though, and by the end of that first week he barely had the energy to get out of bed. When he did finally venture into the common room, it was with his own face; a cause of much confusion for his peers. Lindsey was angry about the deception, but more intrigued than anything. She came from a muggle home and the ability to change one’s appearance at will tested her perception of reality, just as her acceptance into Hogwarts had. She was full of questions in the coming days and JC - as he would forever be known to her - proved to be an open book, answering all those questions to the best of his ability. Her friendship and trust was immensely important to the little boy and he promised then that he would never “put on faces” to fool her ever again.
JC had spent most of his life up until starting school doing his best to prove himself worthy of his mother’s lessons, trying to soak in all that she had to teach him. This thirst to do well and learn as much as possible carried on into his academics. He did at least passably well in most of his classes but none quite so much as Transfiguration. The subject fascinated him; doing to objects what he could so easily do to himself and, eventually, learning just how difficult it was for others to achieve the same sort of self-transformations that came so easily to him. He adored Professor McGonagall, despite her stern nature, she was by far his favorite professor and her class was both the one he most enjoyed and the one her performed best in.
JC was in second year when the Triwizard Tournament returned to Hogwarts. He, like many of his peers, dreamed of getting to join the competition and earning glory for himself. For him, though, it was just a fanciful day dream - he’d never be bold enough to enter himself, he knew. However, when Cedric Diggory’s name erupted from the Goblet of Fire, he cheered with the rest and when Harry Potter’s name soon followed he was just as bewildered and indignant. Potter was too young, Potter already had plenty of glory. Most importantly, Diggory was in Matty’s house and him and JC wanted to win his brother’s approval and affection.
Harry Potter managed to gain a lot of respect from JC for his flying skills, but Diggory was the one that really shone bright with his ingenious use of transfiguration. The hero worship that JC and Matty shared for their champion was the first time JC truly remembered really bonding with his brother and it paved the way for a new sort of relationship. For the first time, they reached a place where they could spend time together like friends and actually talk about their upbringing. JC, who had become increasingly uncomfortable with the things his mother had had him do as a child, confided in Matty about the stealing and the pressure. Matty, who had always been under the impression that his mother and brother were out doing fun things, was horrified and assured JC that none of that was fair and it certainly hadn’t been his fault. That was an the most reassuring thing a confused thirteen year old boy could have heard.
Diggory’s shocking death at the end of the final task was devastating for JC and Matty. Their mother firmly believed that Potter had killed their hero and invented a ridiculous lie to spare himself justice, but she hadn’t been there that night. She hadn’t heard Dumbledore address the student body with such confidence the next morning. He didn’t know what to believe; all he knew was that he and his brother were heartbroken and Lindsey, his very best friend, was terrified about what Potter’s truth might mean for people of muggle birth. He wrote to her often that summer and saw her as often as his now-strained relationship with his mother would allow, but most of his days were spent with his brother and sister, finally getting to be part of the greater part of his family.
JC’s third year saw the appointment of Dolores Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and the continued deterioration of Britain’s political climate. It was hard not to get absorbed into the Daily Prophet’s tales about Harry Potter’s madness, but JC still wasn’t sure what to believe either way. He and Lindsey and their small group of friends kept mostly to themselves, quietly watching and listening, not calling attention to themselves one way or another. Defense Against the Dark Arts had become a chore, though, were previously it was a fascinating subject. Umbridge’s classes were nearly unbearable to sit through and her quick advancement in power and control was unsettling.
The release of Potter’s interview in the Quibbler was enough to finally allow JC to settle his mind. As much as he didn’t want to believe it, he-who-must-not-be-named had returned. He and Lindsey withdrew from many of their classes and he spent days convincing her that things were going to be okay, that they were going to be okay. They took it amongst themselves to learn what they could, what the ministry wasn’t allowing them to be taught. In secret, they made what progress they could but neither felt like it was enough.
The day Dumbledore was removed from Hogwarts brought a new sense of dread; it was no secret that the headmaster’s presence was a large part of what made Hogwarts safe now that you-know-who had returned. JC took back to his costumes to detract attention to help keep from the eyes of the new Headmistress and her Inquisitorial squad as he sought more opportunities for learning. Matty was a big help, teaching him what he had learned in previous years so that he could, in turn, pass the knowledge on to Lindsey and Elizabeth. They were careful though and never met in groups of more than three and each time they did meet up, JC was careful to look different.
After the show down at the ministry of magic between Dumbledore’s follower’s and You-Know-Who’s Death Eaters, the Ministry was forced to publicly acknowledge their missteps of the last year. Things were getting worse all around; students were getting cursed in Hogsmeade, battles were taking place in the streets and people were dying left and right. One of Matty’s housemates even lost their mother and left school for a while.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Word of JC’s abilities had apparently gotten back to the new potions professor and that earned him an invite to the famous “Slug Club.” At fifteen, this was wonderful fun. He got to make some really cool connections and he got to know some of his fellow students better. One particular girl, Vanessa, caught his eye. She was a 4th year, like him, but in Gryffindor. Vanessa was fearless and fill of big plans, big talk. Her laughter was what really drew JC in, though; it was loud and free, undimmed by the climate of fear and uncertainty. She loved to request specific changes from him, to see him imitate familiar faces or take on strange, odd features.
Lindsey was never invited to these meetings, though, and it caused a divide between her and JC. He never understood it then, why she couldn’t be happy for him. When he brought her news of his first ever kiss, though, she smiled and assured him that that was wonderful but that she missed him. She was scared and he didn’t seem to be there to reassure her like he had been before. Finding a way to balance his new romance with his most important friend was difficult, but it taught him to prioritize, to be patient with both girls as they struggled, and it gave him a distraction from his own fear and uncertainty.
The night that fighting broke out at Hogwarts, JC was woken by the thunderous sounds of fighting. Under the instructions of his house prefects he stayed in the common room waiting for more information. He and Lindsey sat together, huddled under a single blanket with the rest of Ravenclaw house gathered around. Morning came with the news that Professor Dumbledore was dead. By all accounts, it was a major victory for the Death Eaters. Nothing felt real. Nothing felt safe.
The students were allowed to stay at the school until the Headmaster’s funeral. When the ceremony concluded though, JC found himself with Lindsey and his siblings at the shore of the lake. The talked, tears were shed and in the end a conclusion was reached; there was no safety at Hogwarts anymore. Lindsey came home with the Collinger children that summer with plans to leave. There was some resistance from Dexter and April - April did not understand or approve and Dexter was too soft to oppose her, whether he agreed or not - but more disturbing news came within the month in the form of the Muggle-Born Registration Commision. Now, more than ever, the children were determined to have their way. The only question was about Elizabeth. At thirteen, she was too young to be much help while they ran and, as the child of two magical parents, she wasn’t at as much risk if she did return to school. Eventually, it was decided that she would do just that, but her brothers begged her to please keep her head down and to stay out of trouble as much as possible.
Matty had turned seventeen during the last school year. He was of age and no longer subject to the trace. As they ran, it was primarily him them kept them safe. He built up camps for them, warded off potential threats, helped them hide. It was JC, though, who kept them fed. It had been years since he’d used the tricks April had taught him, but now they came in handy. It wasn’t as difficult as one might expect to swipe enough food to feed three people if it was rationed well. His face changed almost as easily as his clothes and besides they never stayed in one place too long.
In the downtime between places, Matty taught JC and Lindsey as much as he could. He had always been a talented wizard and had done well on his OWLs, so he quizzed them on what he remembered from his exams, not wanting them to be too far behind if they ever got to settle back into a normal life. Matty’s talents lay heavily on Defense Against the Dark Arts and he worked with them particularly carefully on spells that might help them defend themselves if necessary. Though they were unable to practice for fear of being found, at least they would have the technical knowledge in their arsenal.
The three of them managed to go mostly without incident...right up until they didn’t. A long winter had given way to spring and the three teenagers had reached a false sense of calm as they fell into a routine. It was mid-april the day the snatchers stumbled upon their little camp. Matty argued with the snatchers for several minutes, each feeling like hours, but the snatchers wouldn’t believe that they were purebloods. They attacked and Matty did what he could to ward them off, telling JC and Lindsey to run. Lindsey dragged JC away from his brother; the last thing they saw as they escaped was Matty fall, hit by several hexes at once.
It was the last time JC ever saw his brother. Months later, after the war ended, JC returned to that spot to see if he could find anything to lay to rest but either the spot they had camped in was too well hidden or all traces of their time there had been erased by the snatchers.
Time went on. The war ended. Life slowly went back to something that resembled normalcy; Lindsey and JC returned to Hogwarts the following September, both choosing to repeat the 5th year that they’d missed while they were in hiding. It was strange being back. So many familiar faces were missing or changed, the laughter and levity that had existed before was slow to return to the scarred hallways. JC threw himself into his schoolwork, focusing on learning everything he could so that he could keep the people he loved safe should any evil ever rise to power again. When career counseling was held in the spring, Auror was the obvious choice. Due to his natural abilities he was already at a significant advantage for certain parts of the training and his experiences over the last year made it seem like the only choice.
During those last few years at school, Lindsey and Elizabeth were never far from his side. None among their peers had gotten to graduation without seeing horrors and their own were not too different from the rest. They were bonded though, best friends. Inseparable. Through all the ups and downs, romances and heartbreaks, exam stress, petty struggles, The three of them had each other’s back. Lindsey, especially, was a pillar for JC. Though they never dated, were never officially involved, they had learned to take comfort in each other, to go to each other.
They finished their time at Hogwarts in June of 2001, at nineteen years of age. Their daughter, unplanned and unexpected, arrived the following January. They were not a couple and had no intention of becoming one, but still they loved each other and they loved their daughter. Through much of the pregnancy they struggled to figure out exactly how the whole thing was going to work for them and by the time the baby came they had settled on a partnership. That beautiful baby would be raised by both of them together, but they still were free to live their lives and pursue their own romances. In the spirit of partnership, their daughter was named Sarah Garringer, her surname a combination of Lindsey’s “Garrison” and JC’s “Collinger”.
Lindsey and JC got neighboring apartments in London so they could raise their daughter together and JC entered Auror training. It was exhausting and time consuming, but JC was motivated by little Sarah. If anything ever happened again, he wanted to be able to protect his little girl and the life of safety and happiness that she deserved to have. He completed the year of auror training and entered the force. The entire time, though, he was miserable. While he was proud of the work he was doing, proud of the knowledge and skills he’d gained, he didn’t like fights and battles, he didn’t like pursuing criminals and, most significantly, he woke every day terrified that something would happen to him and he would leave little Sarah fatherless. In the fall of 2005, after about a year of working with the Aurors, he left the ministry.
JC spent a lot of time talking with Elizabeth and Lindsey about what direction he should take with his life. One day Elizabeth just asked him flat out what he wanted to be when he was a kid. The thing was, though, that because of the way he’d been raised by their mother he had never thought much about what he’d do when he grew up. All he knew was that he’d end up doing something that made use of his natural talents for costumes and disguise. One day, Lindsey brought home a pamphlet for the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts. It made sense; it was exactly the sort of thing that he’d always done, just without the criminal element. He could act, he could put on costumes, he could be someone else just for the fun of it.
By spring term he was enrolled. Being on stage, using his metamorphic abilities to entertain people and give people reasons to smile was everything he dreamed it would be and he loved it. Reasons to smile still sometimes felt few and far between so anything he could do to ease the burden of painful memories for the magical people of Britain was a treasure. School was expensive though and so, when he wasn’t on stage, he made extra money submitting occasional pieces to Transfiguration Today and by offering lessons to adults who struggled with their transfiguration. Through everything, that was still the one branch of magic that came completely naturally too him. It was a very happy time for JC.
One night, about six months after he started at WADA, JC and Lindsey attended the cast party for a show one of his friends was in. Elizabeth was babysitting Sarah, so they had the whole night to themselves for the first time in a long time. It was a crazy party, filled with good music, good laughs, good people. They made a new friend that night; Lincoln Beaufont. Lincoln, or Link as he was more commonly called, was a professional dancer and choreographer. He was a few years younger than JC and Lindsey, but they all fit together so well that it was as though they’d been friends all their lives.
Like many things in JC’s life, what developed out of that night was unexpected, but beautiful. The friendship that grew between them began to give way to something different. JC didn’t recognize it at first, he didn’t understand. Not until Lindsey came to him and confided that she could feel herself falling in love with Link, did he realize that he, too, had somehow ended up in love with their friend. It was awkward and strange the night they finally sat down with Link, both uncomfortable with what they had to say. He was receptive though, and understanding. He was kind.
Link was compassionate, insightful. In the months they’d spent developing their friendship, he’d seen what they’d blinded themselves all these years. He very gently explained to them that they might have some romantic interest in him and that was okay, but they loved each other. There was no other way that they could have lived so closely, have their lives so deeply intertwined all those years. It was why every other relationship they’d ever had had ultimately failed. It was why their so-called platonic parenting partnership had succeeded so well. They loved each other.
The night of that talk was an emotional one. That conversation went on for hours and none of them knew exactly where it would end up. Yet, as the moon gave way to the sun, the conversation drew to a close as they all drifted to sleep on the floor of Lindsey’s apartment. Somehow they’d reached a conclusion; quite by accident, they all had feelings for each other. As strange and unexpected as it was, they were going to try this thing. They were all going to be together
It was slow going at first and it took constant communication and trust, but they made it work. The weeks turned to months and they were building a life together. Elizabeth had known from the beginning, but when JC’s parents came to visit, it was the first they were hearing of their son’s polyamorous relationship. The relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Collinger and their children was already strained, but this news effectively put an end to whatever attempts JC and Elizabeth were willing to make. To say that they reacted badly would be a horrendous understatement. April, especially, said a lot of very awful things about their ability to parent, about what a disappointment JC was, and about Elizabeth’s willingness to support such a disgraceful relationship. When she threatened to take Sarah away, for the child’s own good, Link very calmly spoke up and suggested that perhaps it was time to put an end to the visit. JC and Lindsey agreed and that was the last time that JC saw either of his parents or allowed them to interact with his daughter.
Early in 2007, about six months into the relationship, Lindsey found out she was pregnant again. After some discussion, the three adults all agreed that they didn’t care whether Link or JC was the biological father of the baby; they were all a family and they would raise the baby together as a family. Similar to how Sarah was given a surname that was a combination of JC and Lindsey’s names, the new baby would given a surname that was a combination of all three of its parents. They welcomed sweet little Stephanie Gallifont in August of that year.
By the time JC finished at WADA finances were fairly tight. None of the three adults were making an awful lot of money and a lot of their income went to keeping a roof over their heads and making sure that Sarah and Steph were clothed, fed and happy. JC had built up a fairly solid reputation for himself as a teacher, however, and spoke to some friends he knew who offered similar help in different magical subjects. Together, they opened a small business in Diagon Alley where they offered remedial help for adult witches and wizards who had skills that weren’t quite up to par. A large portion of their clientele came from individuals close to their age whose education had been disrupted by the war, but they had clients of all ages seeking to refresh or improve their skills.
The business soon became JC’s primary source of income contribution for his family, and over the years he was able to hire more staff members so that he could spend less time there. As time permitted, he continued to write for Transfiguration Today and participate in stage shows but both became more of a hobby than something ne needed to do to make ends meet. This was important because about three years after Stephanie, one more beautiful daughter entered the lives of the Garrison/Collinger/Beaufont family and JC needed the extra time to make sure that all three girls were taken care of and that he was able to spend time with each of them so that the burden of parenthood didn’t fall unevenly on either of his partner’s shoulders. Just as with Stephanie, the three parents decided they had no interest in finding out who little Stella’s biological father was. However, it quickly became apparent. One day, when she was still just a tiny thing, she was having a very rough evening night. He parents were exhausted, her sisters were angry. It was JC’s turn for the baby shift and he was doing anything he could to calm her while he heated a bottle. As he’d done with his other daughters, he resorted to putting on faces to distract her. When the tiny infant changed her face back, he was so surprised that he nearly dropped her. He started yelling for his partners and, in their sleep deprived state, one of them even asked who the baby was and where their baby had gone. Stella, like her father, was a metamorphmagus.
Because of their shared ability, JC has always been very close to his youngest daughter, but he’s tried very hard to make sure that all three of his girls receive equal attention. One of his favorite things, as the girls have gotten older, is to find time to take just one of them out for a day with Dad - for he is Dad or Daddy while Link is Liddy - rotating between the three. When the girls were younger, they often stayed at the school while JC worked; he’d specifically set up a playroom for his own girls and the children of his clients. His children, his partners, they have always been his number one priority.
Which is why, in 2016, he chose to sell the business that he’d built. Again, it wasn’t something that he’d planned on, it wasn’t something he’d even seen coming. One day he was covering the front desk - not something he did often, but his receptionist had suffered a loss within the family - when a very posh looking older man came in. His introduced himself as Russell Barringer, a businessman from the states, and explained that he ran a very similar business back home and was looking to expand internationally. To do so, though, he wanted to purchase JC’s facility as it already had a client base, resources, location. Everything he would need to open up his first location.
Mr. Barringer’s offer was rather generous. Enough so that, with intelligent budgeting, the family would never have reason to stress over finances again. From the very beginning, JC was inclined to take it, but he told the businessman that he needed time to talk it over with his family and decide the best way to go about things. Link was hesitant, concerned that the offer had some unseen catch or loophole. Lindsey, though, was more concerned about what JC wanted. The business was as much his baby as their little girls were and would he be happy if he sold it? Not running his own business would give him more time to do things he enjoyed, but only if he was comfortable with that. She was less concerned about offering her own opinion than helping him figure out exactly what it was he really wanted.
He wanted time to spend with his youngest daughters before they left for school. He wanted time to learn more about contemporary transfiguration and he wanted time to be on stage. He wanted time that being a small business owner didn’t necessarily afford him. So he sold the business. For the first year or so, he dove headfirst into the world of the stage, even getting to star in a musical choreographed by Link, and into writing for Transfiguration Today, the publication he’d been submitting to on and off for the better part of the last decade. He went from getting one or two pieces published a year to getting one published almost every issue.
’ One morning in the spring of 2017, JC came home from a morning rehearsal to find an OWL from Susan Porter the Editor-In-Chief of the publication. She asked if he’d like a position as staff writer, an opportunity for regular small assignments. The research he did and papers he composed for the trade magazine had always been fun for him and as much as he was enjoying his extra time he was feeling a little bit like he was wasting his life away. So he accepted. For the first couple of months, the assignments he was given were pretty small, amusing pieces. He dealt mostly with experimental mishaps and odd things people found a way to transfigure into even odder things.
After a couple of months, however, he received a visit from Susan herself. It was an interesting visit; she explained that there was something of a club that had formed in Dublin. It was based around experimental transfiguration and, from what her sources could tell, they didn’t always adhere to the ministry’s rules on experimental magic. They weren’t dangerous so far as she knew, but the publication was interested in what they were learning and they thought that, given JC’s history and abilities, he might be just the right person to find out what they were studying and if they had made any interesting breakthroughs in the field. Again, JC asked for time to talk things over with his family.
This was a much more intense discussion than the one about Mr. Barringer’s offer had been. Just because Porter and her sources didn’t know the club was dangerous didn’t mean it wasn’t and he had a family to consider. Eventually, though, they agreed that if JC wanted to give it a shot, then they would - but only if he promised to get out at the first sign of danger. Those were agreeable terms, as far as he was concerned, so the family started packing and within a few months they had moved to Dublin.
It took weeks to even figure out how to get in touch with the club and, after that, months and months of experimenting with different characters, different faces to earn their trust. Eventually he succeeded though and, surprisingly, it was when he was most honest that it worked. He’s now been writing about the club’s findings - but only what they agree to let him write about - for a few years now. His work for the publication has been impressive enough that when he approached Susan with an idea for his own project, she was receptive. In the coming months, he plans to seek out other metamorphmagi around the world and interview them about how their abilities are perceived, how they’ve influenced their lives and how they’re applied. JC has lived a life that, in many ways, has been other. He was different from his siblings, he’s built a family that was different from the norm. By talking more with others who have the same ability and discussing how those abilities have played into their life, he hopes to help make the world a little but less callous about those who are “other” and a little bit more understanding.
Posted: Jun 15 2018, 03:56 PM
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