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It's time for a little rest and recuperation. After a tumultuous schoolyear culminating in coordinated attacks upon both Hogwarts and London, magical citizens could certainly use a break. Summer is upon us, and while the immediate danger has passed, not every creature is taking the summer off.
JUNE 19TH - JULY 13TH NOW OPEN
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Posted: Mar 11 2018, 02:48 PM
James had been having a good day, right up until the end of breakfast. A large number of eggs had contributed to this, as usual, but quite apart from that he’d finally started to come to terms with the extent of his failure in Defense Against the Dark Arts. True, he’d moped for a bit, but there was nothing to be done about it now and at least it hadn’t been the actual NEWT; there was a year yet before he had to deal with that particular nightmare. He didn’t even have to make any immediate decisions regarding dropping or replacing subjects, not when there was an entire summer in which to do just that. Besides, his Mum and Dad did tend to give good advice, much as he complained about them, and they’d probably get the entire family committee on board to offer opinions as to how James should handle his future. Normally he’d have found that irritating, but in this particular case he was fresh out of ideas himself, so why not?
And so breakfast had passed in a serene haze of eggs and pleasant conversation, which was promptly shattered when Cram marched up to him on her way out, demanded a meeting in the common room after dinner, and then stamped away without so much as a ‘hope you can make it!’. James rather suspected that trivialities such as ‘free will’ and ‘making other plans’ didn’t matter overmuch to Quidditch captains, which was probably why he hadn’t made a very good one himself. She could have at least waited until he was done with his eggs; he’d had one forkful of scramble left which he was forced to abandon, entirely bereft of an appetite in the wake of such a worrisome encounter.
Worrisome mostly because he always half-expected Cram to hex him into jelly on the spot and move on with her life, so conversations with her were a wild ride into terror, nausea and unbelievable tension, all the way through to earth-shattering relief. It was all too much for his constitution, really, particularly on one less bite of eggs than he would normally have had. Still, the Captain demanded and it fell to James to obey, which was why he more or less bolted his dinner that evening and headed off to the common room even before the House Elves had had a minute to send up dessert. A tragedy, really, but if he hadn’t managed all his eggs in the morning, dessert stood no chance.
It hadn’t quite occurred to him that if he was the first to leave the Gryffindor table, then his Quidditch Captain - who was logically also a Gryffindor - was still in the Great Hall, and they therefore could not have their encounter in the common room. With a huff of frustration, he sank into one of the puffier armchairs and stared into the eternally-crackling fire, expression sour. No wonder he’d failed Defense, and no wonder he’d made a shitty Captain. Both of those things required some degree of mental agility, and here he was skipping dessert to have a conversation with someone who was probably busy eating said dessert. Incredible.
Posted: Mar 27 2018, 10:23 PM
Kris is Offline
15 years old
5th Year Student
Titania had come into her fifth year at Hogwarts with quite a different impression of James Potter than the one she seemed destined to leave with, and nothing had solidified that more than the sight of him scrambling away from the Gryffindor table the evening of the fifteenth. She'd just been making her way through the last of her potatoes when she'd noticed him, looking over the library's copy of Quidditch Through the Ages where she'd propped it up against a still mostly full milk jug. It was probable that it had managed to remain so by virtue of the fact that anyone who'd tried to reach for it had been affixed with a side-eyed glare of no small proportion, her gaze darting away from the pages in front of her quickly enough to hurt, it seemed, from the way her targets flinched away, but there was plenty to drink without sacrificing her arrangement. How quickly her own Housemates seemed to forget about Quidditch now that the finals were over. Where was their respect for a Captain attempting to prepare for next term's season?
In fairness, there was probably little left to be gleaned from her reading. There were new creases in the already well-worn text that Titania could point to with pride; regardless of the years to come, she'd certainly left her mark on the future of Quidditch at Hogwarts for how she'd taken to studying it. Still, it was important to prepare. She'd arranged a meeting with Potter that evening, and she wanted to be fresh on her theory for their talk. It was important they be on the same page, after all, and he had a good deal more experience under his belt than she. It didn't always show, but she'd certainly learned to count on him. It seemed a little strange, therefore, the way he continued to flinch around her, as if she'd never stopped yelling at him after that afternoon she'd wrestled the title of Captain out of his...very willing hands.
Her first thought, as she'd glanced up to find him disappearing from the Great Hall as if a gaggle of banshees were hot on his heels, had been to wonder if he were running away from their arranged encounter altogether. The thought was strangely unsurprising, considering the way he'd been acting lately, and with a world-weary sigh, Titania pulled her book shut, brow furrowing into a sour expression at the nearby pair of hands that seized the opportunity to pull the now-unoccupied jug away from her. With a roll of her eyes, she slid her way off the bench, tucking the book under her arm to make her way after James. And here she'd thought she'd finished with chasing him.
It seemed a waste of energy to bother trying to catch up with him in the end, and so Titania allowed her chips to fall where they would as she climbed the stairs to Gryffindor Tower several minutes behind him. If he was going to hide from her, so be it; she had no doubt she could catch him at some point in the next four days, anyway. The boy loved to eat far too much to keep out of the Great Hall for long, and even if he made it off the Express, there was still next year to contend with. Fortunately, it appeared he'd decided to embrace the inevitable, and she found him slumped in a rather forlorn looking posture in front of the fire. Who died, she thought to herself, but immediately swallowed the thought. Lots of people, actually.
"Never seen you leave a meal so fast, Potter," she greeted him, crossing in front of the fire to throw herself down onto a sofa, book taking up the cushions beside her as she allowed her legs sprawl about as they would. The year had been long, and these days she felt a little bit less like she'd chosen to sit down and a little bit more like she'd draped herself after the fashion of a damp dishcloth over every surface she inhabited. "New training regimen you're thinking of instating? Give it the summer; see how it works and I suppose we'll talk in the fall...And here I bet you thought the work was done for the year, didn't you?" She sighed, head flopping back against the cushions.
"Anyway, I want to be sure we're on the same page for the coming year. I feel I've a lot of catching up to do over the summer. There's got to be better Quidditch strategy guides than this, for one thing," she indicated the text next to her with a thump of her fingers, "not to mention a few professional matches might be in order if I can arrange it with my dad. See how it's really done and all. I thought it would be good we keep in touch so we can work on things as we go rather than saving it up. You lose a lot of valuable material when you neglect to jot it down, and it's more than two months until we come back here to stare a these grey walls again and let a bunch of adults melt our brains out. Think you can handle a bit of letter writing, Potter, or are you going to run away from my owl, too?"
Posted: Mar 30 2018, 08:42 AM
As it turned out, he wasn’t to be left waiting very long; Titania marched into the Common Room just a few minutes later, and James was struck by how she never seemed to do anything calmly. She never simply walked, nor talked, nor even stared - it was all striding and barking orders and glaring. Or perhaps that was just with him; commands were somewhat expected in a Quidditch practice context, after all, and how often did he actually see her moving from place to place on the ground? Only when she was chasing after him to yell at him about something, and then she did stride, but perhaps that was because his legs were longer and he was usually beating a rather hasty retreat.
There was no time for such semantics just then, however. He straightened up a little as she entered, disliking the idea of being found half-digested by the couch cushions for what he presumed was to be a serious, captain-ish meeting. His stomach chose that very moment to growl rather inordinately loud, leading James to regret not having snatched a couple of slices of pie from the Great Hall as he was leaving. After all, a meeting was not a meeting without snacks. He did have a few emergency supplies stashed in his trunk upstairs, of course, but upon consideration it seemed unwise to abandon Titania on the cusp of their discussion just for the sake of a Cauldron Cake.
“Thought I was about to be late,” he returned mildly. “Don’t think I’ll keep it up. The lack of dessert isn’t working for me, I can already tell.” James had, in fact, imagined that his Quidditch-related work was done for the year, which was why he’d been so taken aback when she’d commandeered his evening for this...whatever it was. Passing the captaincy on to her had turned out to be an immense relief, particularly now that he’d failed Defense; he’d been settling in to the idea of having a whole summer to think that over and maybe turn it around...or maybe not, depending on how things went. Still, he knew he was going to miss training and strategising, so perhaps he could find a little time for whatever it was Cram was cooking up - besides, there was no way in hell he could tell her that he’d failed Defense, so he’d just have to bluff his way through and hope for the best.
Cram had this habit of speaking like Grindelwald himself was on the hunt for her words, which meant it took James a couple of seconds to catch up with everything she’d said. “Letter...writing…? Uh…oh. I mean...yeah, I can write letters. Sure. Wait, professional matches? You’re going to watch a couple?” He couldn’t quite keep the ring of envy from his voice - sure, Harry Potter was obsessed with Quidditch, but Harry Potter was also the busiest Head Auror on the planet and didn’t have much time to cart the family off to watch matches. And his Mum seemed almost to avoid them, which made sense when James considered that she’d abandoned her Quidditch career to have kids - it must have been painful to be so close to what she’d left behind. “I mean...okay, yeah, that sounds good.” After a moment’s hesitation, he ploughed on: “I was also...thinking about asking Dad if the team can come over to train for a bit this summer. You know, Dad knows a thing or two about Seeking and Mum was pro at one point so...maybe they could give us some pointers, too. He might not let me. But I think he will.” Whatever Harry felt about his son’s academic performance, James knew that it could not possibly overwhelm his love for Quidditch. That was the one form of leverage he’d always had.
Posted: Apr 15 2018, 09:37 AM
Kris is Offline
15 years old
5th Year Student
"Don't worry," Titania responded with a nonchalant air entirely counter to the blazing sarcasm poised at the tip of her tongue, as if she'd dipped it in vinegar before leaving the feast hall, "if I figure out how to apparate within school grounds--and before I've even come of age, at that--you'll be the first to know. In the meantime, you can I assume I have to climb all the way up the ruddy stairs just like everyone else." She wasn't even perturbed by James' overzealous punctuality, really, he just made it so damn easy to give him a hard time when he shrank away from her like that. It was enough to make her wonder if he even recalled the events of Halloween night...or if it had happened at all. It was further enough to leave Titania wondering if she even cared. What James Potter thought or felt in his day to day life seemed of little consequence to her anymore, at least beyond the context of his responsibility to the team.
"You should too, if you can swing it," she said with a shrug, noting the way James seemed to perk up at the mention of a professional match. "Not that I'm any expert on what makes a good leader or whatever, but when is research not important?" On second thought, James seemed unlikely to agree with that point. Still, Quidditch was Quidditch, and there was no way he wasn't just as eager for it as she was.
"Really?" Titania asked, feigning surprise as she flopped over onto her back, kicking a leg over one arm of the couch in a rather sloppy recline, "And here I thought your parents were Muggles." The sarcasm was good for him, really, like how iron made your bones strong or...whatever. "It's a good thought, honestly. I'd say we could do it at mine but uh. Not sure if that would constitute a breach of secrecy at this point or what." Her mother's self-imposed house arrest had never seemed so real before, and even with a new Minister, Titania was fairly sure it would still technically be considered illegal for the entire team to come over and meet her Muggle mum. Not that she wanted them to, regardless. The thought of all the questions the woman was bound to ask in that bright-eyed, naive way of hers was enough to make Titania's nose wrinkle. "Anyway, you can tell him it's part of your responsibility to the team, or something. As second in command. Parents love that responsibility shit, right?"
Posted: Apr 16 2018, 07:20 AM
Cram was as acerbic as always, and James just barely managed to keep from wincing, convinced she’d take him apart piece by piece if she sensed the slightest weakness. It hadn’t always been like this, or at least he didn’t think so; at some point he’d thought they were something close to friends - maybe she’d even admired him a little - but then sixth year had happened and he’d let Quidditch get away from him and now they were here. He couldn’t blame her for how things had turned out and he wished he’d acted differently, but even if he had to go back and do it over again there were no other options that he knew of. There were far better Chasers about than him and he refused to let his dad’s name get him a professional place, so Quidditch was not going to be a career whereas he needed his NEWTs.
Her jabs were dangerous to respond to and so he refrained in the interests of not getting his head bitten off. It was sort of pathetic, that he was so scared of a fifth-year, but Cram was hardly your average teenage girl and James’ self-preservation instincts were very strong. Conversation about games was safer, and he latched onto the topic with no small degree of relief. “Yeah...I’ll see if there’s a couple I could get to by myself. Dad won’t have time and Mum doesn’t like watching. Although maybe I could take Albus…” It was more for the sake of not being alone than anything, because Albus wasn’t really into the sport and would probably irritate the bejeezus out of him in five seconds flat. And the lecture he would get from Mum before leaving...anyone would think he was planning on offering his brother up as a Quaffle. No, it wasn’t worth the hassle. “Then again, maybe not.”
“Whatever you want is fine,” he shrugged, non-committal. “So long as there’s space for a game I don’t think it really matters.” He’d played in all kinds of places as a kid; you didn’t need a regulation pitch and full-sized hoops to get a good workout in, which was great because his house definitely did not have those things, although people always seemed to expect that it should. Cram was right though, his father would allow him anything if it had a Quidditchy sort of shine to it and if it sounded important and responsible, so he wasn’t too worried. “They do. Mine especially. Yeah, I can manage. I’ll owl you soon as I ask them and figure out a date. We should probably do more than one practice, though, so we could go to yours or someone else’s too...like maybe once a month? Just so we’re not too rusty in September.”
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