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Armin Zennadi

Hanging out with the stars, pull them down for a dance

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Armin Zennadi

Lyrics: Northern Lights, Cider Sky

 

The invitation was close to a midnight blue, a deep color that allowed the silver flowing text to pop against the background. It was weighted, the type of stock paper that let the reader know just how important the invitation was, not that her friends hadn't received plenty of these ridiculous invitations in the plast. However, when Armin decided to host a picnic, she hosted a picnic. Formal notices were delivered to her guests, of which there was only ever two, and only ever the same two. There was china to be picked, a menu to be planned, a location to decide upon and a dozen other preparations that needed her attention before everything was perfect.

 

Armin didn't settle for less than perfect.

 

Bubdhi had been written to, as she often was, when specific requirements needed to be met. The air had already turned, a frost lingering in the air this far north that let her know winter was swiftly approaching. Which meant the normal blankets weren't enough, but rather, the ones handmade by Bubdhi and the rest of the tribe, charmed to keep the user warm and toasty were required.

 

Once the blankets and a few other goodies were packed into the basket, Armin had made her way to the kitchens. She had passed her menu selections off to one of the house elves she had taken a liking to and watched as they hurried off to make everything the hostess needed. Once all of the food, of which there had been more made than necessary for just three people, the Ravenclaw set off to the grounds to find the spot she had claimed as theirs for the evening.

 

It was a lovely spot with a thick layer of grass that hadn't dried up and died yet, but was still clinging to hopeful life. The lake wasn't far off, which allowed what little light the night sky had to offer to be reflected off the ripples that moved about due to the slight breeze in the air. And most importantly, the spot had a perfect view of the snow capped mountains and hills in the distance where you could see the moon hover just above them, as if if one were to climb the tallest peak, all they'd need to do was outstretch their hand and their fingers were graze the moon.

 

As she laid out the blanket on the grass and started positioning her own personal mountain of pillows and cushions that surrounded a low table she had pulled out of her magical picnic basket, Armin waited for her two best friends to arrive.

Edited by Armin Zennadi

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Cassian McAvoy

 “… and though apparent sightings have been reported to aurors, it has been three years since Corianne Mayweather has been spotted. Law enforcement has run out of leads, and the case has gone cold.” Cassian shivered against the wireless radio that was pressed against his ear, waiting for the lines that always replayed in his dreams. “Her disappearance remains unsolved, but you, Mysteriously Missing listeners, are the road that will lead answers. So talk about this case with everyone you know, and let’s bring her home.” Familiar music played ominously in the background, and Cassian reached for the parchment and quill he left on his bedside table.

Dear Gramps,’ the letter began, ‘I just finished listening to Mysteriously Missing case this week, and I have multiple theories about what happened to Corianne.’ And just like he did every week, Cassian lost himself in his thoughts as he pictured Corianne as his own sister. Kelila was still a secret that he held close to his chest, but he was beginning to feel like this careful charade that he put on couldn’t last much longer if the summer had been any indication. The only reason he and Gramps had even begun listening to radio shows was to help drown out the echoing screams of his parents when they finally had some sort of emotional revolution. Their apathetic eyes no longer looked dead inside, but anger had festered within them – the spark catching on gasoline that had since consumed their souls.

Sooner or later, Cassian knew his entire life would blow up a fiery explosion, but he couldn’t let that happen.

Not yet.

His only solace were the friends who had become his everything at Hogwarts. One look at either of them, and he could blink away every bad thought for just a little while. The solution was temporary, like a medication manufactured solely for treating symptoms instead of the disease, but Honorine and Armin were his shining stars on the darkest of nights. 

Without them, he thought, life was bland and colorless, lackluster even during the very best of times. When the three of them were together, Cassian felt as though he was being thrust into a fourth dimension. He could see and feel and hear the beauty in the world, as small and arbitrary as it may seem. He could wax on poetic nonsense for ages – and he had, in multiple letters to his Gramps over the past year – but, honestly and truly, the only time he felt that things might be alright were around his best friends.

And it was for this reason that the elaborate gatherings that Armin put on were his brightest days. He put actual effort into not looking like a heathen before he jogged down the seven flights of stairs that separated him and the designated location. Even if he didn’t know the spot they were supposed to meet, Armin’s handiwork was hard to miss.

A smile took over his face as he neared, plopping on the cushion to her right. They’d been at this long enough, Cass knew the sitting arrangement better than he knew his own name. Leaning over, he planted a feather-light kiss on her cheek. “What’s the theme today?” he asked, a laugh on the tip of his tongue as he reached for the first edible thing he saw and shoved it in his mouth.

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Honorine Nott

Honorine looked every inch the heathen. Which was as it should be, when she was so attached to two literal angels.

 

The bruise on her face had cleared up weeks ago, thankfully, but life had managed to feel like a repeated punch to the face ever since regardless. Today was no different; she'd charged from class to class, finding a short span of time to yell at Zach about the criminal P he received on his most recent Transfiguration quiz before cornering Damaris to try and figure out how to be an authority figure when you're only thirteen. The whole mess meant she'd gone all day without showering, her eyeliner slightlight smudged, practically swimming in her fraying Slytherin sweater as she charged out of detention for breaking dress code. Again.

 

It was a lot.

 

Which was why Hen felt nothing short of relief every time her fingers brushed against the elegant invitation in her bag, the first of its kind for the year. It wasn't as though she didn't see her best friends nearly every day—she practically lived in the Ravenclaw common room at this point—but there was something wholly satisfying of having a set plan like this. Of knowing there was somewhere to be and something to do where the world would not demand anything more of her than her presence.

 

A deep sigh escaped her as she approached the two on the lawn, taking her rightful place to Armin's left and unceremoniously plopping her head into the girl's lap, awaiting like royalty to have one of the magically blankets draped over her. "I have news," she said, reaching behind her and stealing the half-eaten biscuit from Cassian's grip.

 

She hadn't told them yet. Hadn't wanted to make a big fuss out of everything when they were already so worried about her to begin with after she'd gotten into that fist fight earlier in the year. Her anxieties over Gull, and the vitriol that the Montague brothers brought out of her with their presence, all of it had demanded more funny looks than she cared to count. They'd known about tryouts, of course, but this…

 

"I made the team." She let them get excited about it for beat. The sun and the moon, always feeling every emotion she'd never quite gotten a grasp on. When they calmed down, she hit them again. "And I'm one of the captains, too."

 

At that, she couldn't help herself: she smiled.

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Vesper Frey

She sniffed as she ran, spooked off of her initial prey but more than ravenous for another set of healthy human bodies. They were crawling at this place and seemingly delicious and Vesper wanted to have her feast and eat it too. A group of kids formed in the corner of her eyes and Vesper veered towards them still ravenous and on the prowl for some fresh bits of meat. 

 

The young boys had only been the start but she wanted more.

 

As was her custom, Vesper only stared at them, watching as she waited for the right moment to catch her new set of prey.

 

She went after the boy first lunging at him with everything that she had knocking him over and then she dug her paw into his hand and twisted it. Then she leapt on top of him, pinning him down and snarled at the two girls that were there, showing all of her teeth.

 

She wanted more and she was going to get it.

 

-------------

Hi crispy kiddos. Your thread has been invaded by the one and only Vesper Frey. She has leapt on top of @Cassian McAvoy and then scratched at his hand and twisted it, breaking the bones in it. Whoops. Perhaps you should all watch when and where you picnic in the future.

 

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Armin Zennadi

Cassian's kiss was still warm on her cheek by the time Hen joined them. The food presented itself, lifting out of the picnic basket and swirling around them before settling on the small, short table before their cushions. Weight settled onto her lap as Hen spread out in front of her, head resting on Armin's legs as her hair fanned out beneath her. It was moments like this, with the stars and lights Armin had dangling above them that seemed to dance across her best friend's features, that the Ravenclaw realized how beautiful the girl was, how beautiful they both were. Her hands slipped into Honorine's hair, tracing lines through the strands, twisting them between her fingers like she always did. One day, she promised herself, she would braid Hen's hair so that they could strut around the castle with their scarves tied to their waist and smiles plastered to their faces.

 

For Cassian, however, she thought as she looked over at him, there would be no braiding his hair, though she grinned at the mental image of him with them nevertheless.

 

"Of course you made the team," Armin replied, cheerful and excited for her friend. While she had known there was no way Hen would be denied a spot on the team, she had been anxiously awaiting the results. Though, she hadn't expected the second tidbit. "Captain?!" Had the Ravenclaw girl known what secrets Hen had been keeping to herself, she would have decorated far differently tonight. "We must celebrate." There was nothing that Hen couldn't do and a proper celebration was in order. "I'm so proud--"

 

Her words were cut short, lodged in her throat as her breath caught on a gasp of air that shuddered through her. Plates went flying. Finger sandwiches and cubed cheese scattered across the lawn. Glasses of sparkling juice toppled over, drenching Armin's slippers and ballet socks that instantly made her foot uncomfortable.

 

Fur.
 

There was fur in the air. Fur suspended in the air around them. And a great big, massive creature of fur settled on top of Cassian. The crack happened in the blink of an eye. A shattering of bones that Armin knew in the back of her mind wasn't the worst possible outcome, but rather the teeth that were sharp and hovering just above her best friend's face. The weight in her lap was suddenly a hindrance when just moment's prior it had been one of the most important things in the world. In her haste to move while Hen threw herself into action, Armin was sure that she had shoved Hen harder than she meant to, but that could be addressed later.

 

What was important now was this: what had been a beautiful night that had taken careful planning and had been so peaceful and calm and wonderful just seconds ago, had now turned into something horrifying.

 

Once she was on her feet, wand in hand and outstretched towards the fur that seemed to take up far too much space (though she hadn't remembered reaching for her wand), Armin could focus on one thing and one thing only. "You ruined our picnic," she uttered with a growl full of an endless pit of rage she hadn't known she could possess.

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Cassian McAvoy

When they asked him about it after he woke up, the last thing he remembered was his best friends’ smiles.

It was a moment of brief happiness, of joy and laughter and congratulations. This was the spot that always felt like home, even on his darkest days when the world felt heavy and wrong. There was something to be said about sitting next to the two people who he loved most in the world, to feel their energies radiating in sync with his own. When Cassian thought about it later, he considered the fact that that image, the image of the three of them sitting around a table and laughing, might have been the best memory he had ever had -  if only the darkness hadn’t smothered out his spark just seconds later.

The words ‘I’m so proud of you’ barely had a chance to leave his lips before a distinctly not-human body crashed into his own. His terrified expression sought out his friends, eyes pleading as the wolf rushed towards him and attacked. Cassian's arm twisted in ways that were inhumane, an audible snap vibrating through the air as the bone shattered in his hand. The first thing he thought of was the irony that he would die without ever knowing if his sister survived. Her memory would die with him, lost to the world like every other Jane Doe without a family to fight for them. His second thought – and the most tragic of them all – left Cassian wishing he could articulate the words he longed to say.

Not I love you, though he did, more than anything he loved Armin and Honorine with the entirety of his heart. No, he wished his last words were these: You have both changed me in ways that seem unimaginable. Without you, I am lost. If there is one thing in this life that I’m grateful for, it’s both of you in this moment right now.

He wished to say thank you for loving me when I did not deserve it. Thank you for being my family when I did not deserve you. 

If he had just one more moment to breathe the words most heavy on his heart, he would tell them that they were the two best gifts he ever received. He’d beg for them to forgive him. But if he could grant them just one last request, he would hope they forgot about him and lived their happily ever afters without the burden of a ghost of their long-dead friend. 

More than anything, he wished for this - if only fairytales had any semblance of truth to them. 

Instead, his very last action was a delirious smile as he drove his elbow up towards the wolf’s throat, channeling all the strength and adrenaline in his body as he prayed to a god that he didn’t believe in. As long as his friends could live, Cassian knew he would not be afraid of what came next.



 

Cassian attempts to elbow @Vesper Frey in the throat.

Edited by Cassian McAvoy

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Honorine Nott

The smile froze hell over.

 

She was sure of it, only just having gotten comfortable when suddenly there it was. The growling, the mass of fur and ferocity that sent fish and chips and snickerdoodles flying everywhere. Honorine never presumed to be lady like, letting out an audible curse as she tried to scramble to her feet, stumbling as Armin's knee fell into the small of her back. Hen rolled across the grass, springing to her feet and pulling her wand out in one fluid motion, using the reflexes that had led to her good news.

 

Sod the bloody good news, she thought. She'd give anything to take it back if it meant she didn't have to hear the crunch of her best friend's hand, or the sound of his scream. Only part of her brain vaguely registered the words slipping from Armin's mouth.

 

Yes, the beast had ruined the picnic. But it was also ruining so much more.

 

"STOP," she yelled at the beast, trying to move its attention away from Cass and towards her. It was the stupidest thing she had ever done, the most despicably Gryffindor thing she had ever attempted, but she did it anyway, scooping a plate up off the grass and throwing it at the wolf, watching the ceramic shatter across its back.

 

Meanwhile the inside of her brain incessantly screamed DANGER and RUN, WITCH, things she tried to ignore as she pointed her wand at the dark creature. Something inside her called to it, called to the darkness within the beast, relating to it somehow and propelling her stupidly towards it. But the rational part of her knew she needed to do something. "Taetra!" She stepped forward again unwittingly and sent a second hex, knowing that her tiny little first year's spell would be nothing more than an annoyance to something this big.

 

When the wolf's eyes flashed toward her, she felt curiosity mingle with fear. She wanted to know what was going on in that beast's head. She wanted to know why them, why now. She heard howls in the distance, and knew that the creature wasn't alone, that there would be more coming, and they needed to drag Cassian away and save themselves before it was too late.

 

And yet the voice in her head kept her rooted to the spot.

 

---

Honorine throws a plate and two shocking hexes. Then she tries to be your friend. Stupid girl.

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Vesper Frey

The boy thought he had moves did he? Vesper snarled, her teeth showing near his neck as he attempted to elbow her in the throat. But Vesper was not the Night WolfTM for nothing. She avoided the move and then flipped the boy over so that he was now on his back instead. Then she took a huge swipe at his right shoulder and back creating a five-fold gash in both places. She wanted to bite down on him right now, but she had two others to deal with first, including the one who had thrown something at her.  

 

Snarling, Vesper moved off of him and towards the two girls who were holding up pathetic sticks. Those things had always been an annoyance to her and she hated them. She knew they were the enemy, the bane of her existence. They had caused her much pain over the years.  For Vesper, those with sticks had to be destroyed. She leapt on one of them first, pushing her wand hand with her forepaw with such force that her wand arm got completely twisted around and was now hanging unnaturally at her side. As she did so she might have gotten a piece of skin or two. The wolf couldn’t tell with the clothing the humans were wearing. All she cared about was getting what she wanted.  

 

The sticks and then her feast for this place was swarming with bodies and Vesper wanted them all. The wand dropped and Vesper pawed at it to knock it a few feet away from the picnic. Two more to go. She dug her paws into the ground ready to leap forward, but then howled as she realized that something had hit her skin. The magic that had been used caused the wolf to snarl even more as it twisted in anger at the humans that thought that they could get her down with a pathetic display of magic.

 

But then her eyes locked with the girl. Those eyes. Vesper had seen those eyes before. There was something in them that caused the wolf to not want to react in the same way. Vesper growled at her as she stared and then turned, but not before putting a distinctive gash against the girl’s left leg as if to mark her as one of hers.

 

Then Vesper ran, moving away from them all in the blink of an eye back into the ominous shadows of the night.

-------------------

Hello delicious children. Thank you for letting me play with you. Your fate has been determined as follows:

@Cassian McAvoy In addition to the broken bones in your hand you now have five large gashes across your shoulder and back. 

@Armin Zennadi Vesper twisted your wand arm causing it to become twisted and likely broken. It's hanging in a completely abnormal position.

@Honorine Nott You have gotten into a lucky staring contest with Vesper. She has also marked you with a very distinct scar. Vesper has now run away. Good luck kiddos.

 

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Cassian McAvoy

He missed.

An aching sense of failure resonated deep within most delicate parts of his soul. This moment was his only chance to help his friends, and he wasted it by missing his mark. Cassian’s last hope was that he somehow managed to provoke the wolf enough that it focused on killing him while his friends could save themselves. It would be a worthy cause, he thought, to die so the people he loved most could live. He had never been one to throw himself into danger, but here, right in this moment, he thought it might have been the best, most unselfish, thing he had ever managed to do. 

The wolf flipped him over and ripped five sharp claws through his skin, shredding the tissue from the top of his right shoulder to the middle of his back. The wolf repeated the motion across the lower part of his back, marking his body with five more deep gashes that spritzed out blood in time with the rhythm of his heart. Cassian’s screams could only be described as something distinctly not human as the pain receptors ignited in every part of his body. He writhed around, wishing the movement could alleviate the sensation for just a moment when the werewolf hopped off of him and headed towards his friends.

No. Gods, no. He wanted to scream at Honorine and Armin to get their arses in gear, that they needed to live more than any other person in this universe. If they wanted to give him one last thing before death, it would be the knowledge of knowing they were safe.

But instead, they stood there – the bravest girls he had ever known, the two other pieces of his soul – and they fought with all the strength they possessed.

He had never loved them more.

Still, it did not prepare him for what came next. As the wolf sailed towards Armin, his screams intensified, turning in a screech of pain and sorrow that he didn’t think he could ever articulate. Cassian reached forward, clawing his fingers into the ground as he crawled towards them. His wand had been lost somewhere beneath the piles of blankets and food that had once been a such a source of happiness. “I’m coming,” he whispered, hardly louder than an exhale as he moved as fast as his arms would allow him. Though his hand was broken and his shoulder gashed, the adrenaline was the only thing that was pushing in through.

He had to get to his friends. He couldn’t watch them die too.  

The wolf twisted Armin’s arm in a way that gnarly and wrong, and Cassian continued to scream, his eyes dashing towards Hen in hopes that she could still get Armin to safety before this animal decided that they would be a suitable dinner. For just the briefest moment, his brain contorted the image around him, making it seem as though his sister were here instead of his friends. Cassian briefly wondered if this was what her last few moments were like, – was she afraid? Oh god, she was alone and afraid, and he wasn’t there – but the singular gash that sprouted on Honorine’s leg was enough to send terror through him.

And then, as if something better caught its attention, the wolf went running in another direction. The few moments of silence before reality hit were the most haunting moments of Cassian’s life, the rapid rhythm of his heart growing fainter as his blood continued to gush out him from the deep gashes that lined his back. Though he knew it was wrong, Cassian didn’t care who fell victim to those horrid creatures (who died from those horrid creatures) as long as his friends were alive and breathing.

It took all the strength he had to crawl to them. “You need to go to the hospital wing,” he said immediately, sorrowful eyes staring at them both as the pain began to overwhelm him. The numbness he felt during the whole encounter was fleeting, and now the pain was all he could focus on. The Ravenclaw clenched his teeth, gripping the grass with his unbroken hand as he tried not to scream. “Please go, run, before they go back. Go get help,“ he shuddered as watched the wolf head in a new direction, his eyes never leaving the matted fur that was clumped with Cassian’s own blood. “Quickly. Go.”

The rest of his words died on his lips as his vision faded to black.

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Jessica Sheffield

By the time Jess found the kids at the lake, the worst of the attack was over. 

 

It was obvious even from a distance that something terrible had happened to them. They were all on the ground, moving and alive but seriously injured. They looked as if they'd just been having a picnic together and then ended up being the main meal. Whatever wolf had done this to them was long gone, disappeared into the night. Captured, maybe. Escaped, likely. Dead, possibly. 

 

Jess was still wrestling with the command that had come from higher up in the ministry, the permission they had all been granted to use the unforgiveable curses. She hadn't seen any of the other aurors whilst she had been rescuing kids on the grounds so she didn't know if any had used them - hoped that none of them had - or what had prompted the call to be made. 

 

She was relieved, then, to find the kids by themselves. "Hey," she said, as she arrived. "Sorry I'm late." They had probably been sitting out here in the darkness, afraid, for some time. Away from the quidditch pitch and the castle itself, they would have been overlooked by the first of the auror patrols. Jess's dry sense of humour could go down like a lead balloon in this moment, but she'd never claimed to be any good at dealing with victims, especially kids. "Busy night. What happened?"

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