(1939-01-16) Cousins and Curse Breaking
Details for Cousins and Curse Breaking
Summary: Dora spends some time in the gardens, where her brother and their cousin show up along with Variel Weasley and the conversation turns to a future of adventure…in curse-breaking.
Date: 1939-01-16
Location: Gardens, Hogwarts

Sculpted box woods and grafted flowering trees border fountains and statuary, benches of a wide variety of shapes and sizes affording a person the opportunity to stop and appreciate the beauty here or a quiet moment from the courtyard. A riot of salvia and geraniums are visible from one angle, maroon begonias alongide tall and bright scarlet bee balm blaze from the southern corner. Black eyes susans, contrast with rising sunflowers, tightly-clustered heads of sunny marigold and goldenrod bob lazily in the breezes that blow from the west. Across from the sunflowers, a profusion of green in the form of hostas and ferns coupled with Canterbury bells and even a few pitcher plants twist in a wilder jungle of more loosely-controlled foliage. Deep blue foxgloves, creeping lobelia and Siberian iris serenely fill the northern corner. Seventh Year Herbology students tend the garden of their own House's colors, those who truly care for their duties obviously taking visible pride in the health of their flowers.

Some things could be measured like clockwork. Such as Adorabella's schedule when at school. Pending strays and heartaches, near daily the girl could be found in the gardens, wandering about the flowers, some of which actually grew taller than she was, with her camera and some honey water and the breaded remains of whatever type of it was offered for lunch that day. Why? Because she fed the birds and the flowers and if you asked her, she'd swear that some of the flowers bloomed brighter for the occasional sweet treat.
Of course, it was easy to mark her progress too, even if she did happen to be sitting down amidst a patch of flowers, carefully, so no stems were broken, with her camera sitting on a tri-pod in front of her. A short one, aimed upwards, whilst she hummed very softly beneath her breath.

Tarquin does stick to a bit of a schedule himself. Discipline and busy with classwork, the young man goes to great lengths to ensure he is successful. Having a bit of downtime actually falls under that. Usually, he can be found at the courtyard, reading one of his adventure novels. Today, he decided on a different venue, and remembering Dora mentioning she enjoyed coming to this place, he decided to give it a shot.
So he enters the gardens, with his novel under his arm, and his clear hazel eyes scan the surroundings, looking for the girl. "Adorabella," he says as he finds her and her camera. He offers her a faint smile. "Working on your photography skills, I see."

For Ulysses, it's the capture of the occasional free moment that has brought him down here. Classes were done, homework settled, at least as far as he was willing to do it… and frankly he'd not had time in the last few days to check up on someone. At least she was somewhat predictable. As such, he enters the gardens with a smile on his face, passing through the rows until he can see Dora at a distance. And a young man.
He pauses, but the smile returns quickly as he recognizes his cousin, and he walks silently toward the two, not interrupting yet.

Variel has found his way to the gardens with an herbology reference book. He's freshening up on some identification of plants, likely for his potions N.E.W.T.- every little bit helps, after all. He's a bit absorbed in his plantgazing that he's almost on top og the cousins before he has any idea that he's approaching stationary gardendwellers.

"Hrm? Skills? No. No it's not a skill, Tartar, I just press a button." The girl blinks up owlishly at her cousin from her position in the dirt, with the kind of happy smile that suggested she forgave him for scaring away the birds. "Did you come to see the flowers?" Boys don't, but sheer gender, generally prefer flowers, she knows but as with all things, she's hopeful.
"If you're hungry, I have a thermos full of cider over there and some pumpkin bread left over from lunch. I think there might even be a chocolate scone left." The girl offered, but at least her adventure into pink seems to be just that. Though…it may have been impossible not to notice that the girl had walked around with a pink head almost all of yesterday. Sitting in the plants as she is, with Tarquin in front of her, Dora doesn't spot Uly and Variel just yet.

"I'd dare to say that is much more than pressing a button," Tarquin notes, as the novel he's reading disappears somewhere within his robes. He walks over to Dora, smiling and looks in the direction the camera is pointing. "You're creating art. The moment you choose, where you will take your picture, you, are making a creative decision," he explains.
He tilts his head and is about to say something else, when he notices Ulysses approaching. "Cousin," he offers to the other boy, his tone friendly. Then there's the other boy, and Tarquin arches a brow. "Weasley." He greets, with a polite nod. He finally answers Dora's question, when he looks back at her.
"I wanted to see something pretty, I suppose, while I read."

There's a chuckle that escapes Ulysses as he listens to the two talk, although he does hesitate as he sees Variel nearly walk into the two others. "Cousin," is offered to Tarquin, a knowing grin following, and then, "Weasley," to Variel.
Then of course there's Dora, whom he walks behind and, in the way of greeting, ruffles her hair lightly.

Being greeted pulls Variel from his focus, and he glances between Ulysses and Tarquin rapidly, in the manner of a surprised fellow taking in the situation. "Well, hello! Selwyns, Bulstrode- the day seems to be finding everyoe right enough?" The boy's accent is muted from so much time around English students, but his Scottish brogue isn't entirely vanished- he's too at ease at the moment. He marks his page in the book and shuts it, tucking it into a billowy pocket of his robes.

"Oh no," Dora agues, "Honest. There's just this little button here and I give it a bit of a press and the camera does all the work. I just, take pictures of the things I like." And since he was standing above her, Dora leans back, all but toppling over into the dirt, with every intention of taking a picture only it wasn't the dirt that she found. It was her brother.
"Uly!" The girl squealed her delight and that little smile of hers only grew. "Uly and Tartar. Heads together. Don't move." Since, she was on the ground and both of them were still standing. "I think the last time anyone had a picture of you two together it was when you were both in the bathtub at Aunt Phemonia's house. I remember Aunt Beatryce telling me about it you two fighting in the mud." She just couldn't remember over what.
Nor did she move when she heard Variel's voice. Still with the wings of her shoulders half propped on Ulysses calves, her head craned back as far as her neck could go, camera over her eye. "Heads together!"

"Right enough," Tarquin confirms to Variel as the other boys joins them. "Debating with my cousin, the artistic value of choosing subjects to take pictures of. After a moment of thought, he glances at Ulysses wnad with a bit of a shrug, complies with Dora's request, moving closer to the other boy.
"I had completely forgotten about that one," he lies, and does a poor job of it. There's a deep breath. "I don't even remember what we were fighting about," he looks at the other boy for help. Heads together. Deep breath and he does as much, or offers to, all distinguished like, or as distinguished as he can be in this situation.

"If memory serves," Lys returns after obliging by leaning over Dora's form below him. He knows her well enough that it doesn't even seem to phase him, despite the slight wrinkling around his eyes when the subject of certain childhood photos comes up, "it was over who was better, the Arrows or the Bangers. I clearly was in the right, as always." Period emphasized with a grunt, "Get over here, Weasley… we're going to give Dora a three-fer."

"Aye, Cap'n Selwyn, as yeh say!" Variel takes a moment to peer at the other two and get his hair settled in a rough approximation of their neatness, then moves over to lean over Dora. "Now don't anyone talk about Quidditch clubs until we're not leaning over the wee one. I don't much think she'd like a camera for a face."

CLICK. It happens, fast, before Uly can make his invite, though she's polite, it's Dora. To keep the position until Variel has joined them as her brother suggested and then, she takes another before straightening up and returning the camera to the top of its little tri-pod.
The sad boy has invaded the safe vaccum of her family time. "What…," no mention of quidditch is bothered because again, this is Dora. "Is he talking about?" The question's given with curious eyes, upturned in the direction of her protectors. Because Dora had no clue.

"Sounds about right. Except for the part about you being right," Tarquin says, the later with a tone of playful banter in his voice. Still, he continues to pose for the picture, even as Ulysses calls Variel over. At Dora's question, he looks between her and Variel.
"I think Weasley was cracking a joke about us breaking into a fight right over you, while you're holding a camera over your face?" He looks at Variel for confirmation. This he says as he moves over to help Dora straighten up, if she needs such help.

Once the pictures are taken, Lys straightens up, but doesn't move so long as Dora is leaning against him. So while Tarquin offers to help the girl up, he also offers a hand to her, force of habit. A look goes to Tarquin, "Seems my having a clearer memory of the event would suggest I was the one who was in the right, although I don't know if I would agree with my past self anymore, anyhow." He, too, seems to be offering a bit of banter as well. Granted, considering he had known Tarquin since almost literally the day of the other boy's birth, some amount of familiarity was to be expected.
A look goes back to Variel as Tarquin tries to explain the joke, and Lys tilts his head, awaiting the response.

Variel grins at Tarquin as he nails it in one. "Precisely. Won't pretend I ACTUALLY expected you to start brawling overtop of the petite photographer, but it seemed it might get a grin- seems "cracking" was exactly what I did to the joke. Remind me to apologize to it later, poor thing never meant to hurt anyone." Rather than offer her a hand up- she had plenty- Variel crouches and holds both hands out, presumably for the camera, which will probably make the getting up all the easier. "Is Mister Bubbles the Third about today, Miss Selwyn?"

It's a good thing Dora isn't clostrophobic. Or afraid of hands. There's an awful lot of hands here right now. Too many and she can't take one, for fear of insulting the owner of the other and she's not entirely sure why the Weasley is reaching for her camera either.
So…Dora stays where she'd been sitting to begin with. On the ground. In the flower bed. With the camera on a knee high tripod n front of her and thus, level with her face. "Uhm…," her voice is small, whilst she chews on her hair where it dangles near her lips, stolen in by her tongue. "…am I in trouble? Did someone die? Nobody's hurt, are they? There's not about to be horrible bad news?" So many hands. So many people wanting to help all at one single solitary time. Something horrible just had to be looming on the horizon.

"To be fair, neither do I," Tarquin notes of agreeing with past selves. He smiles at his cousin before he looks over at Variel and chuckles. "I think the joke will survive," he tries to reassure Weasley, before he turns to face Dora. Good old chivalrous Tarquin. Realizing Dora's predicament, he pulls his hand back and with a little shrug, dusts his robes before he sits down, on the ground, right next to her.
"You're not in a trouble that I know of. I think we were all trying to be helpful," he seems amused by this. "Perhaps too helpful." He puts a reassuring hand on her arm briefly, squeezing before he lets go.

Dora squirmed there, just a little, and as the others retreat a little, Lys doesn't. It's not his way. So, when his hand isn't taken to get up, and she remains on the ground, he simply shrugs, and flops down on the ground behind her.
Tarquin's reassurances come before his can, so instead, Lys just chuckles, adding, "Why would you be in trouble anyhow, Dora?"

"Well, last I knew, neither of you were off to St. Humor's to be joke Healers, were you?" Variel harrumphs a bit in good nature, rocking back off his heels onto his bum when the others sit. "I'll allow that MAYBE with bed rest it might survive the night, but no promises past there, I'll not foster false hope." He doesn't add to the questions peppering Dora about why she thought she was in trouble, keeping his thoughts to himself as he peers at her wonderingly.

"It's good to be helpful. There's lots of poeple who could use some help. I have a list uhm…," she seemed to be reaching for her bag, only to realize it wasn't beside her and blinked. "Somewhere. I can give you names?" Offered, before the seemed to sink, one by one.
Tucking her legs in beneath her, indian style, Dora smiled; at the lot of them. "I don't know," Uly was answered, the girl offering a little pat to her cousin's knee in turn, though her expression was still thoughtful. "Are there joke healers?" Unfortuatenly, she's serious and then, she's simply reaching one hand, just as straight as it can go up in the air.

"Such a thing is unlikely," Tar offers in regards to joke healers. "But, who knows. Perhaps. I think Weasley here is on his way to become one," he smiles at the other boy. "At least, he seems to know a thing or two about jokes and their wellbeing."
Tarquin can't help but look at that reaching hand with curiosity. He glances at Ulysses in case he has an answer.

With a bit of a laugh at the upraised arm, Lys does what any respectful and kind brother would do in that situation. He first distracts Dora with a response, "If they don't exist, Dora, I am not almost certain that you are going to be the one to create the profession. Wouldn't you agree, Weasley?" And then, once she's distracted, the vulnerable armpit is attacked with tickling fingers. After all, one cannot possibly pass up that sort of opportunity.

"Yes, there are, of course, but I'm afraid they're in short supply. You see, it's so hard to leave the house- there's so many bad knock knock jokes that it take them days to get past a door." Variel grins, and bursts into laughter when Uly goes in for the kill. "I might take up the profession, Bulstrode, provided I survive Curse Breaking!"

"I don't think I'm very funny," Dora replied to Uly, before seeming to consider Tarquin's words and then, Variel. Dora still hadn't quite gotten the nature of the joke to begin with nor realized the second was a joke at all, "But if Tartar thinks you'd make a good one, them I'm sure you wo—-," that was as far as Dora got, because Uly had caught her off guard and a fit of giggles errupted, her knees jerking up to her chest, skirt bunched and caught between them and her stomach while she squealed and tried to keep her left arm scrunched in against her body, flailing with her right.
"Uly!" Breath. Giggle. Pant. Giggle. "Tartar!" Giggle. Flail. Topple; sideways, curling in on herself while she laughed. "Stop it! Tartar make him stop!"

Tarquin watches the whole exchange with amusement. "But you look so cute, giggling aloud like that," he retorts, but glances over at Ulysses. "I think if you keep it up, she's never going to stop twitching," he says to the other boy, the amusement still there.
The mention of curse breaking catches his attention. Something else also catches his attention, but Tar is a gentleman enough to look away when Dora bunches her skirt up during her giggling fit. "So, a curse-breaker?" He asks of Weasley.

With Dora so indisposed, Lys attacks with fervor, but even he knows her limits, "I doubt it would go that far, but I would hate to see her do a Bubbles impression." And so he stops with the tickles, instead moving it into something of a bear hug, pulling her back closer to him should she not struggle too hard. A familiar end to that sort of game.
"It's a viable, and commendable profession," he offers to Tarquin, although an actual appreciative look is given to Variel. "I didn't know we were on the same courseload, Weasley."

Variel doesn't really realize what he's looking at for a split second or two. The moment he consciously realizes his eyes are pointed in the general direction of a hiked-up skirt, he turns and devotes himself to conversation with whoever will tolerate his red-tinged face. "That would be the one, gentlemen- I'm studying under a talented Charms adept to shore up the last subject I was concerned about. At this point, I'm simply studying to arm myself and keep everything fresh and ready in my mind for the tests themselves. I'm confident they'll all go well." He grins and offers a hand to Uly. "That makes two of us. I believe Black's on our courseload as well, ambitious as he is."

"Uly!" Dora cried, twitching helpless and unable to contribute to the conversation on any level for her giggling and the occasional little snort when she tried to suck in a breath. The more he pressed, the smaller she shrank, arms flailing, thighs rubbing together with every tight kick that was never a kick at all. Merely the result of her thighs moving and her heels bouncing off the back of them because she couldn't quite tell the muscles to -extend-.
"Sto—-op-op-op-opit!" The girl half weezed, face red and reder still, for Uly's joke at her expense! Once. It had happened /once/ and she had wanted to die aftwards. Though, Tarquin had called it too, because even when it stopped, it felt like it was taking ages for her to catch her breath and she was -still- twitching and curling protectively for all that Uly hauled her about like a puppet. There were tears on her cheeks, she'd been laughing so hard.

"Three of us," Tarquin corrects Variel, glancing over at Ulysses. His father, was after all a curse-breaker and Tarquin intended to become one. "It is more than a commendable profession," and with that, he produces the novel he's been reading everywhere he goes, from somewhere within his robes.
The Adventures of Jebediah Thorne, Curse-Breaker Extraordinaire. Volume Twenty-One.
He glances over at Dora, concern briefly flashing over his face. "You alright over there, cousin?"

"Breathe, Doe…Breathe," he whispers now, rocking the girl back and forth in his arms while she recovers. No more playing now. Now it's protector again, an even gentleness to it.
He looks over to Tarquin, and grins, "So I don't worship Thorne quite as much as you, and am only on volume fifteen. Commendable is a fine word for it. Especially when you wash all the romance from it and realize how much is spent in dusty rooms researching counter-curses." A wink, and then he turns back to Variel, "Your charms tutor wouldn't be a recently-famous blonde, would she? And of course Black is… short of his insane desire to also do Potions, we're in all the same classes."

"It would be. Has been since before-" His voice cuts out on him. It takes him a moment to swallow, regather his thoughts. "- since before. She's a remarkable tutor. I have no illusions that I'd have been able to maintain a protective charm over someone else moments after a curse of that magnitude without her tutelage." He sits back a touch more, his expression much more subdued than the chipper, joke-slinging presentation it'd been a few moments ago.

Variel says, "And I'm still in Potions myself, you know. I stopped taking Arithmancy after my O.W.L.""

It took her several tries, truth be told and even when the tickling had stopped, even when the little pokes and scritches that made her squirm where gone, Dora'd still giggle. Still have a little twitch run through her as a result. "Uly doesn't have as much time to read," she ventures, sobering a little. "But I borrow his books sometimes when he's done. But..the romance can stay in them. Though, I like Diderot too. Even if he is a little darker. I like a book that you can close your eyes and see play out."
Of course they were talking about girls now, too. And Dora wrinkled her nose, plucking at the debris on her skirt. "Actually, sort of herbology, you've the same classes that I do, too." Though she was still trying to figure out where her shoe had gone and how long it had been missing, Dora stretched a slim leg out and poked Tarquin playfully in the thigh. "I'm fine. I promise. Uly was just being mean. But that's okay. Because when he goes to bed it'll be with pink hair."

"You're missing out," Tarquin replies to Ulysses regarding Thorne. "I have the other volumes, if you want to borrow them," he offers. A faint smile dismisses the comment about the romance. "True, but I don't think I'll ever stop being fascinated by it all."
The question presented by Ulysses to Variel causes Tarquin to arch his brow in curiosity. But he's a smart guy, he puts it all together fairly quickly.
As the other two continue conversing, his attention returns to Dora and he smiles at her assurances. His eyes follow hers, noting the missing shoe and he looks around trying to find it, just as he reaches to playfully poke at Dora's leg back. Aha. Shoe. There he is. He leans forward, reaching to grab it and then gestures at Dora, to her foot, so he can put it on her. He even pushes to his knee, kneeling in front of her and smiling as he imitates the gesture in one of the stories he read to her, sometime back, during a school break.

Lys chuckles, "The romanticizing of the profession is what drew me to it in the first place. Even if I never get a chance to stumble across a forgotten portkey to the Lost Vale of Boggarts or the like, there's nothing I'd rather do."
With a look back to Variel, "I'm glad you were, then. It's something you should be proud of." And noting the boy's sudden quiet, he doesn't press beyond that, "Again? Do you really want to go down that path again? Remember the jinx war your third year?" Arms squeeze Dora a little tighter, before finally loosening his bearhug.

Variel offers Dora a subdued smile at her point. "You're right, of course. I suppose, officially, I didn't need to take my Potions N.E.W.T. but as far as I'd gone in my studies already, it seemed a waste not to put a feather in the cap, don't you think?" He catches a familiar name. "Dillorous Diderot? I've met him, you know. He's a very clever and sociable fellow, in person. Quite personable." He listens to Ulysses talk about the profession of choice for the three men, but doesn't comment. He has his own reasons for seeking it out.

"You know," Dora glances sidelong at Uly, and then Tarquin and then, at Variel. "I'm not so sure that there are as many women near those old tombs as the books would lead you to believe. I sort of…," she ventured, tone one of apology, "Think that they just add things like that in too, because well…you know..people like to read them. I'm not sure that many people…find spiderwebs and dust and the kind of creepy crawlies you can't see and that will sting you but still don't need to be squished all that…romantic."
"But it works. You can all go off for adventures and I will run a bed and breakfast to take in strays and that way there'll always be something to eat when you come home." She teased, before laughing at Tarquin, offering the boy a sweet smile as she gave him her foot, hugging Uly in the process.
Toes wiggled in Tartar's direction, before Dora blinked at Variel. "Really? Oh I've always wanted to get his autograph!"

Tarquin has been very busy getting Dora's shoe back on. There, he finally does it, and he gives her leg a little pat to indicate he's done. Listening to the girl, though he frowns in thought. "Well, that's not what they mean, when they talk about the romance in the profession," he tries to find a way to explain it. "But it doesn't quite matter, I suppose. What matters is, we're going to be dragging you all over the world, so you can heal us when we inevitably end up hurting ourselves." He smiles at her.

Lys nods as Tarquin explains it, and at the explanation, "Absolutely. There's no way we'd be going out in the wide world without the best healer out there in the field," he quips back, giving Dora a little squeeze as he does so.
Then he looks back at the still pensive Variel, and nods to him as well, "You realize you've done yourself in now. She's going to want an autograph, a living picture, and at least one personal interview. Last Wednesday, at the earliest."

Variel smiles wryly. "Well. I can get the first two, at least. I have an older copy of one of his books that he signed for me, and it's got a living picture on the jacket. If you're a fan, Dora, I could give it to you- I'm really not much for reading outside of my study time. Which is most times, these days." He turns his lips up at one corner. "The interview, you're on your own."

"But… but what if I don't want to go?" Dora implored, those large dark eyes turning up first in Tarquin's direction and then in Uly's. "I don't want to travel. What will Penseverus do? Or Mister Sniffles? Or Tootsie? They'll get lost and Penseverus gets seasick and you know I don't like brooms." A little shiver at that, while the treat of falling drifted through her head.
"Thank you, Tartar," wiggling her foot in his direction, the words explination for his kindness. "Oh but, Varvar, I couldn't possibly take your book. That wouldn't…it was done for you. How could I do that? That's your gift! It'd be like taking someone else's Christmas present. It's mean." Sadface. "But I am so very very touched that you thought of me. That's so sweet of you."

"Then you don't have to go," Tarquin assures her. "Although you should know, that you will be dearly missed if such is the case," he adds, serious, but ending with a gentle smile for the girl. The words of thanks cause him to dip his head forward a bit.
Slowly, Tarquin comes to his feet, he looks at the group and offers a small nod. "I should get back to finish my work on one of the reports due," he announces. "I'll see you all later, cousins, Weasley."

"I think I'd best excuse myself as well, all told," Variel says, hauling himself to his feet. He smiles to Dora, shaking his head. "I bought the book because he was there and willing to scribble on it. That's about all. If you want to borrow it for a while, let me know, okay?" He gives Tarquin and Uly nods of farewell. "Later, indeed. We'll have to discuss our Curse Breaker Consortium further, later."

Lys chuckles at both as they get set to go, himself content to stay on the ground with Dora a bit longer. "You both be well, and I think we truly will need to revisit that idea." Nothing wrong with knowing potential partners in that field.
And then he looks at Dora, as the two leave, and echos Tarquin's sentiment, "He's right, Doe. You don't have to go with us… but it's fun to pretend sometimes. Family together always, and all that."

"I…I could go." Dora agrees, offering brother and cousin both a smile. "I'll go." Even if her dreams were simpler. Smaller. Didn't involve trotting around the world. "I'll go," she repeats and offers Tarquin a promising smile. Ulsses a reassuring squeeze.
"I should be very happy to borrow your book, Ari. Very happy indeed. Thank you." And she means that, too.
"I hope the both of you have a wonderful afternoon." For all that she doesn't move; content to remain where she is for a little while, cast to the protection of her brother's shadow.
"Thank you, Uly. Thank you for not being sad. Everyone gets so so sad and it just, it hurts." Because not everything can be fixed and it bothers her. So she stays and she hides and for a little while, she pretends.

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