A Winter’s See You Soon

Author’s Note: Back in April, I visited Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time. As my companion and I were heading down the walkway to catch the Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley from Hogsmeade, I had the distinct feeling and vision of two students, arm in arm, making their way from Hogwarts Castle to Hogsmeade to catch the train home for the holidays. I even wrote it up but I do not think I ever posted it. Perhaps I am wrong but, either way, this is a good thing. I had originally envisioned and written this as a summer holiday leave-taking, BUT in honor of the Christmas holidays of which we are in the midst, I changed it slightly. I hope you enjoy, dear Readers. 

Also, standard disclaimers: All things Harry Potter, Hogwarts, etc., belong to Ms. J.K. Rowling. They are her creative babies and I thank her for lending us all the use of them to enjoy. The image belongs to Pottermore.com

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Arm in arm, they walked down the path to Hogsmeade, much slower than the gaggles of fellow students streaming out of Hogwarts and into the gently-swirling snow. The Christmas excitement was palpable, but, for those two students, it was bittersweet.

“So I can still come down to London for New Year’s Eve?” she asked hopefully.

“Definitely, and don’t forget: I’m taking you to see Celestina on Twelfth Night, right before we come back,” he reminded her tenderly.

She beamed at that. “I still canna believe you wrangled tickets to it! It’ll be the best!” she gushed, at which her Slytherin companion tapped the cold-pinked tip of her nose, causing her cheeks to flush an even deeper shade of the rosy color.

The gold of her cozy scarf lent a softer glow to the emerald and silver sheen of his, and he found himself drawing her closer. She responded in kind, her grip a bit tighter on him.

“We will have the whole train ride, don’t worry,” he reassured her, to which she smiled, completely ignoring the looks some of Slytherin girls gave as they passed them.

“I hate leaving,” she then murmured softly, “Even if only for a little bit.”

“Me, too,” he agreed, gazing at her with those piercing blue eyes, once again marveling at the warmth of the Hufflepuff’s brown ones.

The peaked, snow-capped roofs of Hogsmeade appeared in the closing distance and they could see the hot steam of the Hogwarts Express frothing up in the cold December air, waiting to take the students back to Kings Cross and their families. Professor—excuse me, Headmistress—McGonagall had waved those heading home off from the gates of the castle, warmly wishing them a Happy Christmas and good winter holiday. Now these two drew closer and closer to goodbye, for now, at least.

She drew physically closer to him, her arm around his waist and his over her shoulders, a kiss dropped sweetly on her temple beneath her grey knit hat. Friends rushed by the sedately-strolling pair, calling out teasings and happy Christmases and see-you-soons, to which they replied with smiles and waves. They would be there in plenty of time, and she knew a friend would save a compartment for them; sixth years had a code, after all.

The train ride from Hogsmeade to Kings Cross felt all too short, filled with soft moments, laughter and reminisces and plans made with friends for the new year, last hours of togetherness shared. When they reached snowy Kings Cross and all were about to part ways—him staying in London and her for the platform back up north—he reached out and drew her to him before leaving their compartment. This kiss was deep but gentle, almost chaste and yet still blistering.

“To tide us over,” he murmured, squeezing his lovely Hufflegirl close.

“Just a week,” she agreed, sniffling back tears and clinging to the back of the hoodie he’d changed into.

Donning their coats, they left the train hand in hand. Their families waited in opposite directions and so fingertips lingered and parted, and he watched the lovely coral of her flutter beneath the warm, plummy coat as she moved to greet her parents, a look over her shoulder given just for him.

All around were shouts and greetings and well-mets and holiday greetings; one couldn’t help but smile, for whatever reason. Christmas was here.



[Wizarding World] Ruby-Slippered Magical

The stars twinkle and wink, flirting with the hazel-eyed woman who watches them ever so closely from below. She used to imagine the constellations wheeling and spinning to make themselves shine all the brighter, each trying to arrest her attention away from others. She peers through her telescope, noting placement and brightness for her charts, color and orientation, before mobiliscopium’ing the telescope carefully back into its cupboard. She hates leaving it out to the elements and human clumsiness, however shielded the castle may be. Once the beautiful instrument is tucked away, she makes her way from the observatory, her apple-shiny crimson stilettos sounding along the slat boards of the floor before hollow echoes give way to solid clicks as wood concedes its place to stone when she enters the castle proper again. Seating herself on the bannister of the winding stair, she outdoes the storied nanny-witch Mary Poppins as she slides all the way down to the base of the tower. Why walk when one can glide?

“Professor Penuryst is magical!” a first-year, a flash of muted yellow at her skirt, whispers to her companion as they flatten themselves back against the staircase wall at the woman’s jolly “On your right, mamselles!”

“Well, of course she is, you git! She is a professor.” The second-year, badge emblazoned in emerald, rolls her eyes.

“No. I mean, she’s, like, ruby-slippers magical!” the awed Muggle-born sighs.

Of course, her pureblood classmate had not the foggiest notion of what she was talking about, Dorothy and her yellow brick road not being overly common bedtime fare for witchy children.

“And those shoes…!”

The woman hits the floor moving, never breaking stride as she manoeuvres through the night-shadowed corridors. A few students scurry about from the library and study groups, off to their common rooms and dorms before curfew chimes throughout the castle and she hurries them along their way. Making her way to a wing off-limits to students, the female professor draws out her rich cherry-wood wand, waving it succinctly at an unremarkable door in the hallway. It swings open and admits her to a comfortable parlor, the fire in the grate leaping up into life and causing the handsome barn owl perched before it to ruffle his speckled feathers and preen.

“Gawain, you’re supposed to be in the Owlery, or, better yet, out hunting,” she chides, to which the owl only clicks his formidable beak and settles once again on his now-warm perch.

How on earth did the witch expect him to be out hunting when he knew he would be delivering missives near and far for her once she completed her charts? Even an owl needs his sleep.

Delorah Penuryst merely chuckles and proceeds into her study from the parlor, setting down her scrolls and wand. Twisting up her abundantly unruly hair into a bun, which she then secures with said wand, she settles down with journal, fresh stationary, and fountain pen (yes, she was a fan of a few more modern epistolary devices than just quill and inkwell and parchment). She then goes on to compose several different letters, one of which to be delivered just over the hill. But, in that particular case, letters were far safer than face-to-face conversations, as she didn’t wish to get Firenze into trouble with his herd after all.

The night deepens as Delorah writes, first the letters and then in her journal, taking in the sweet silence of the night, with only the crackling fire in the next room for company. She writes not only to Firenze but old friends, colleagues, and mentors. She writes to the head of the Magical Creature Rehabilitation Conservatory in Wales, the mother of her best childhood mate. She writes in German to her grandmother, currently serving on the Board of Governors of Beauxbatons Academie of Magic. Delorah writes until the paper bullets in her brain run out. Letters enveloped, sealed, and addressed, they wait in their parcel stack for when Gawain awakes in the pre-dawn, ready for work.

Delorah, meanwhile, rises from her desk and makes her way to bed, weary of mind and body but utterly content. There is nowhere she would rather be than where she is right now, at home in Hogwarts, teaching the art and science of Charms and Astrology to rising young witches and wizards. No, nowhere else in the world. Freeing her abundant curls, she settles beneath the covers of her bed, a threadbare and oft-kissed rag doll at her side. Tomorrow will be here soon enough for this “ruby-slippered magical” woman. Giving the wand one more flick, Delorah bids the world sweet dreams and good night.



“Yes, another post about roleplaying”

So the other night, in an online/live action X-men game that I play, my character set about comforting another PC who had been to emotional and mental hell and back during a live game session a few days before. And I have to admit that dear little Delilah did a pretty good job at comforting her distraught classmate without a single set of dice being thrown for skills or anything. *is rather proud of this fact* The scene was incredibly fun to run and was with someone with whom I do not get to play very often, which is always fun. 🙂 The player also gave me noms (nominations) for the scene: “Noms to Cheshire. It is almost insane how good a mom you’ll make someday.”

Delilah Croft, codename: “Cheshire” – illusionist

That made me feel nice. I do try to transfer my own mothering instincts into the character of Delilah/Cheshire,  as not many of my characters actually end up embodying that trait. She has walls, she can have a very prickly, cold nature if you’ve crossed her, but for those who manage to get through (over) the walls, if she has come to care for you, woe betide anyone who falls afoul of you and therefore afoul of her. Delilah is also one of those characters who embodies her fair share of bitterness. Almost all of my characters have a bitterness seed somewhere; something happened or been done to them that they will be working for years to overcome. Some of my characters have a seed of fear because of what they have done in the past or because of what they have lost. I almost cannot bear to have a character for whom all is perfect and hunky-dory, because then the character feel flat and false to me. Incomplete, as it were. I want my characters to be round and dynamic.

Now, my Hogwarts character, my little Ravenclaw, has had a better life than most of my characters and why not? Her generation hasn’t had to deal with the evils and terrors of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. They have become nightmare tales for her, told to her by her uncle Kingsley when he trips across the pond to visit her and her parents. That doesn’t meant that I’m going to leave my little Dulcet so porcelain perfect. Oh, no. She’s a teenager; things are bound to happen, as we all know.

The hubby and I were having a conversation the other day about roleplay characters and how people create them. I was getting fed up with something and he commented to me, “You know, I think we all create the same characters over and over again, just with different quirks to them.” That we all have essentially one idea that we are in love with and, no matter how many times we create characters and try to make them different and unique (thought they are), they will carry a bit of that beloved idea with them. Because that beloved idea is a part of us or perhaps something we wish was a part of us or that we could be.

Some people denegrate roleplaying as merely escapism and, yes, it can be a method of escapism, of getting away from the real world into one where you can do impossible things from time to time. But that is not all it is, I can assure you of that. For me, roleplaying games are a blessed opportunity to create a beautiful story with other people. And I have done just that. I have created beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting stories with friends, my husband, and even new acquaintances that make me cherish characters and hold them to me long after their stories have ended. For me, much as for Jo March, it is the story that is the thing. I will put my characters through the worst I can think of, if it serves to create a wonderful story. Ask just about anyone that I have rp’ed with in the past and they can confirm my claim. If I can create a beautiful story, whether happy ending for my character or no, then I have served my purpose and my joy in roleplay.

And, what can I say? I’ve got a few more years of this left in me, at least. ^_~