This could be death;
Alice Notley, from Certain Magical Acts
This could be death;
Alice Notley, from Certain Magical Acts
Chapter 15: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback
The walls were painted sky blue, the carpet a faded warm brown hinting at many years passing along leaving a permanent tread. The walls were covered in several posters that James didn't recognize of bands, but also several hand done, and extremely accurate, drawings of dragons that someone had magicked to life for this kid, flying around through each others edges.
It was crowded, the sparse bit of walking space nonexistent with the eight of them all in here at once, hardly much bigger than Harry's cupboard; but the love and care that went into this room was evident.
Lily came forward towards a desk crammed into the back corner and brushed her hand against a greyling snoozing, little blue plums of smoke escaping from its pointed head, the back end of which wasn't quite done. It was clear details were still being added of feathers to the long extended tail.
"Well I officially have no clue where we are," Peter muttered. He'd been the lucky one to land on the bed, but he had automatically moved to the edge and crossed his ankles, swinging his feet uncomfortably like he expected the occupant to appear and tell him to take his shoes off.
"Hey, wasn't one of Ron's brothers a dragon trainer or something?" Alice asked, leaning against the door with the book already in her hands.
"Dragon keeper," the older Black corrected with a look of disgust, clearly unable to grasp the concept of why anyone would want such a thing.
"I'm getting the feeling Harry's going to have some interactions with him then," she returned pleasantly, then read out the chapter title.
Black groaned in disgust and shook his shoulders like he was trying to shake off a nat before slouching over to the window and prodding along the edge like he was going to try and jump out.
"He has a thing against dragons," Potter pleasantly informed all of them needlessly.
Regulus frowned in sympathy, but knowing his brother would only snap his head off if he tried to say anything, he instead went back to investigating the picture. He was sure no one else had even noticed it, but he'd landed right in front of what must be the Weasley family.
It sat proudly against the wall, coupled in with so many other pictures of things it probably went unnoticed despite the red haired family. Regulus couldn't take his eyes off of it. He could easily identify the twins, chasing each other around every inch of available grass and weaving in between their fathers legs who was juggling the infant, whatever that little girls name had been, and who must be Ron hanging off his dad's arm to get his attention. The mother had her arms around the last three all at once, and looked exasperated, but the adoring smile on her face showed she wouldn't be anywhere else.
There was no other context, no telling what was going on before or after it was taken, why the kids were all so rambunctious or who had even taken the photo. It simply captured the moment of the one clear thing Charlie enjoyed in his life, the chaos of his family. It was baffling! All Regulus had ever known was the structure of his family tree, the rules and consequences through watching Sirius break those.
The story wasn't progressing with much interest to anyone even when Hagrid arrived. None knew him that well, so maybe he was always shifty when asked a direct question, though the oddity of him being in the school library when he'd never been known there before was keeping their attention. Ron's discovery just made it all click in a despicable way.
"A dragon! That mad gamekeeper has a dragon in his cabin! A Norwegian Ridgeback on top of everything!"
Remus covered his ears for the volume, but still looked more sympathetic than anything for Sirius' screeching.
"If I ever catch that man doing anything of the sort now I'll add him to my list right after I-"
"Alright Padfoot," James easily roped his arm around him to cut off what three just saw as a tantrum. Those who did know could only wince in sympathy with no real words of comfort for this. James kept trying anyways, "there's no dragons here-"
Then he cut off with a wince at his own stupidity as Sirius snorted in disgust and had to fight back the temptation to burn the walls into real fire.
"What's his problem?" Frank muttered to Alice.
"As if I know," she reminded. She was tempted to ask Regulus who clearly knew, but even though she could see his face he hadn't looked away from the wall this whole time, was still making no attempts to reach out and communicate with any of them, and she wasn't going to force her hand.
Lily, honestly felt a bit of pity for this. She'd never stopped to consider any of them with actual fears, human moments like Black was now showing. All she'd ever seen was their likes, one like to be exact, of their horrid ways against her friend. Now she was watching Potter, all three of them try to comfort their friend in by far the kindest thing she'd ever seen.
His mood only worsened when the kids went to Hagrid's, Hagrid only confirmed what none of them were surprised about. It made sense all of the teachers and not just Quirrell would put up some protection for this thing Dumbledore was protecting. No, it just kept going downhill that there was indeed an egg roasting away in Hagrid's fireplace.
"I actually kind of liked the three headed dog, that was cool once it wasn't trying to eat him anymore! The troll was a menace, but at least manageable! Your kid just couldn't stop there Prongs! A dragon, and it's all Hagrid's fault," Sirius kept up his insistent mutter, trying to push the arm away and get the dang window open that no force of magic or willpower was accomplishing. He was boiling up in here, he could swear those little flickers coming from the end of the dragon's nostrils were coming to life and fixing to leap right off the page towards him-
"Breath Pads," Moony was trying to soothe by instead changing the subject. Which actually made Malfoy feel useful for the first time. "Let's focus instead on plotting ways of getting Malfoy expelled."
"Why do you think he didn't just run off and tell on them?" Peter did ask curiously. "What does he have to gain by sitting on this information?"
"Don't know," James begrudgingly said, "but it's the first actual intelligent thing he's done. Looking for an advantage rather than just jumping around to get them in trouble."
Regulus looked up and around at them in surprise, it was the first kind thing he'd ever heard them say about a Slytherin. Then he just assumed they were saying it to throw Sirius off, which wasn't really working. He frowned in a bit of concern now as his brother just got more silent and still when the dragon had hatched. His brother had never actually told them what had happened when he'd been left down in the Gringotts vault, but his parents hadn't paid it much concern since he couldn't have gotten inside to any of the importance, like the gold or heirlooms. Regulus had tried to ask, just out of curiosity, but Sirius had completely ignored him.
Now he was more irked than anything he'd clearly told his mates something, the obvious sympathy for him made that clear. He and Sirius may not have been getting on in recent years, but when had that amounted to he couldn't be told anything?
Alice had no liking for the beasts in particular, but the idea of a baby one was more charming than fearsome like Black seemed to find it, so she read on with cute little spirits about Hagrid's handling of this, up until it bit Ron.
"Okay, now we have a problem," Frank winced and took an extra step back from one particular orange faced lizard that had its fangs exposed. He overbalanced and fell on the bed next to Pettigrew, who raised a brow at him but otherwise ignored that.
"Norwegian Ridgebacks are poisonous," Lupin agreed in a still rather forced conversational tone, while his back was to everyone. He had poked his head under the desk curiously, and came back with a tiny little spindle chair which he nudge against Black, who seemed resistant to sitting down anymore than getting away from the window. "Hope he went to Madam Pomfrey, she never asks too many questions."
"I like to think even she'd demand where he got a dragon bite," Alice disagreed.
Lily flushed a bit but chose not to say anything, having personal experience with the matron not asking one to many questions from a few experimental potions accidents, so actually agreeing with one of the Marauders for once.
The decision to contact Charlie and his quick response was the best thing Sirius had heard this whole chapter, they were getting rid of that beast toot sweet! His small moment of happiness didn't last long.
Things only got worse for the kids dealing with this mess when Malfoy still managed to make everything worse. Thankfully the kids didn't derail their plan for this, Sirius had never heard of a better use of their cloak than riding that monster from their grounds! He just couldn't stop his imagination going haywire, that thing growing larger by the moment and getting loose on the grounds and then roaring so loud his ears started bleeding all while trying to shoot fire that just missed him from the tiny alcove he'd managed to squeeze himself into by the grace of Padfoot. That cart trundling away without him in it, his Uncle Cygnus, and Aunt Druella apparently deaf to his calls to come back. He could still swear he saw Bellatrix laughing as she slipped the goblin something when they turned the corner-
He'd been sat down in the chair without his noticing, Remus' hand firmly on his shoulder and smiling kindly down at him. He wasn't sure what he'd been saying, but it suddenly occurred to him that the weeks he'd been having his blowout with Moony had actually been the longest stretch of time he hadn't had to think about that. Even the weekly potions classes with its kindling cauldrons or some scaly beast Professor Kettleburn had brought to class had managed to remind him of the incident all year.
So lost in his mind, he'd completely missed the part where Malfoy had been caught by McGonagall, and he forced a laugh as Moony quietly explained it to him until Charlie's friends arrived. He'd kiss them both for taking this thing away, though just as likely never go within arms reach of anyone mad enough to handle these beasts for a living. "That whole incident was entirely pointless!" Sirius kept up his furious mutterings he'd been carrying this whole time. Alice was honestly impressed he hadn't run out of breath. "What was the point of that I ask you? It certainly could have been left out and saved me-"
So invested was he in his own rantings, he nearly missed the ending horror of Filch discovering them without their cloak. They got not a single second to live in their shock before they were once again torn away.
tagged by Alice @roronoazooro thank u sweetie, i had a lot a fun doing these!! ❤️❤️
TAG GAME #1
Rules: create a magical you with this picrew
TAG GAME #2
Which type of love interest would you be in a dating simulator?
The sarcastic fuckboy who secretely has a heart of gold
Upon first meeting you might seem insufferable, but it's only because you don't have time for what others might think of you. You're independent, confident, and you know what you want. That intimidates people, and you know it. But deep down you know it's all a show. You desire to be loved as much as any other person, but you don't want to get hurt and thus it's difficult for you to appear vulnerable to others. You'll try to mask your feelings with humor and aggressiveness when you feel someone might be getting too close to home. But those who have the patience to endure your cold exterior will be rewarded with the most caring and loyal person in their lives. You're the ride or die kind of type, and once you fall in love, you do it deeply and unconditionally.
TAG GAME #3
hot shower or cold shower // texting or calling // earphones or headphones // paperback or hardcover // matte or gel // twelve hour clock or twenty-four hour clock // blue or green // sunsets or sunrises // tulips or orchids // candlelight or moonlight // sci-fi or horror // pen or pencil // pandas or koalas // gold or silver // sneakers or boots // denim-jacket or leather-jacket // pink or purple // chocolate or sour-candy // deodorant or perfume // drive-in movie-theater or cinema // pastel colors or neutral/earth tones // lemonade or fruit-juice // past or future // constellations or aurora borealis
tagging: @ruff-rabbit @keisukesbaji @noyass @katsukiyuuri @porco-galliard @tsukasa-shishio @itadorii-yuuji @ackernen @tevinterspirit @kanao @misakarose @pomkiri @ikizais and everyone else who whats to do these!!
Karube looks like he'd give the greatest shoulder rides ever. Arisu could verify, definitely.
risa mehmet’s art style <3
From Daredevil Vol. 6 #032,“Lockdown - Part 2”
Art by Mike Hawthorne, Adriano Di Benedetto and Marcio Menyz
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Saint Bumby help me with this art block 🙏
journey in satchidananda ... shiva-loka ... stopover bombay ... something about john coltrane - alice coltrane (journey in satchidananda)
time is running out - steve winwood (steve winwood)
la cathedral de strasbourg ... birth - focus (50 years anthology 1970-1976: hamburger concerto)
🤍✨🌳 Mrigasira 🌳✨🤍
Lucky color: Silver/gray
Hindu deity: Soma, the moon god
Symbol: Deer’s head
Ruling planet: Mars
Nature: Deva (divine, god-like)
Quality: Mridu (gentle)
Yoni animal: Female serpent
🌬 Soft, heavenly, seductive, allusive, curious, daring, pleasure seeking, quick witted, sensitive . . . 🍃
I FORGOT HER
[ Ranks are something else, man ]
They also told me to off myself afterwards as well and threw the match. Lucky enough I did not go as Aesop that round or else I likely would have lost points again (: ]
“Even tho I said their address plz don’t visit them” ??
@cheshiya @tenseoyong @szallejhscorner @something-more-original-please @ofsunsetsandpoetries @nek0dzuken @allozaur @hiqhkey @serenzippity
I have to say, some of you gave me a good laugh with the period jokes from the last chapter. I hadn't even thought of it that way :’)
While that would deffo make for a very embarrassed MC/Reader and Chishiya, I'm hoping this will make her feel even more awkward. Or scared, I suppose.
AO3 Link is -> here
The blood swirled through the bucket like watercolour. I could’ve sworn it wasn’t there before. The most I had was a head injury, but it had stopped bleeding by now. I drew my hand closer to the bucket, and a fresh drop fell from above, sending red ripples across the surface.
Don’t do it…
I didn’t want to do it.
I slowly raised my eyes to the ceiling.
I saw their feet first, dangling from all four rigid bodies. They were strung up with nooses like fresh meat in a butchers, their arms limp and stiff, faces contorted in fear. A singed red hole was still smoking beneath the jaws of the first man and Green Shirt. Beside them, the Queen of Diamonds was staring directly at me, her bloodshot eyes gaping from her sockets and her swollen cheeks blotched blue and purple. Directly above me, a new drop of blood fell from the chest of the teenage girl, her T-shirt soaked with damp crimson.
A shrill scream tore through the bathroom, echoing across the tiles and overwhelming my head with its sheer intensity before I realised it was coming from me. I was powerless to stop it, unable to turn away from the twisted figures hanging above me.
At that moment, the bathroom door thudded, straining against the lock as someone tried to force it open. I shrank into the corner near the drain and pushed my face into the cover of my knees where nobody could find me.
The door finally burst free, followed by silence. The screaming had stopped, having been replaced by hoarse sobs. I pressed my palms flat against my ears. I couldn’t look at them. I couldn’t bear to listen to that crying.
Someone said my name, but it was lost. Fingers pried my hands away until I could hear his voice. Chishiya. He was repeating my name flatly, as if it were nothing but a word.
‘Lift your head up.’
He was holding my wrists up and away from my face, but I kept my head down in the darkness.
‘Look at me.’
‘Look at me.’
No. Those bloodshot eyes would be waiting for me. I couldn’t face them.
He released my wrists and began to lift my head. I resisted at first, but soon gave up, and squeezed my eyes shut while he forced my face away from my knees, away from that comforting dark.
He made a noise of vague irritation. ‘All this screaming for nothing.’
Nothing? How can he say—
I opened my eyes to see the bathroom just as it had always been. No bodies, no blood. Just clean, cold rainwater and a kicked-in door with a broken lock. And, of course, a very unamused Chishiya crouching on the wet floor in front of me.
‘No…’ I couldn’t find the words. ‘No. No. They were there. I saw them.’
He raised a brow. ‘Who?’
‘The Queen. And the teenage girl I shot. The two men from my first game, too. They were hanging up there.’
The ceiling was nothing more than whitewashed plaster, and I felt stupid telling him all this. However, Chishiya was lacking his usual bemusement. While his tone was as mocking as ever, he was looking at me with something more detached. A clinical edge. He didn’t have to say anything; his presence alone and the touch of his fingers soothed the fear.
That was, until I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was naked. Shivering all over, I scrambled to cover as much as I could.
Oh god… this is so embarrassing!
Chishiya had never… we’d never. He’d only ever seen me fully dressed before. I curled up further, using my knees to block my chest and wrapping my arms around my legs. His mouth curled when he realised what I was doing.
‘Forget it,’ he said. ‘I’m a medical student, I’ve seen it all before.’
He stood up and made to leave the bathroom.
‘Where are you going?’
‘To get you some clothes.’ He gestured to the pile of clothes I’d left on a counter. ‘It seems you got so excited about the water, you forgot to get yourself something to change into.’
Oh… he’s right.
He disappeared, leaving me alone. I didn’t really want to be left here listening to the trickle of water down the drain. I kept my eyes on the ceiling, wary of blinking in case they came back. Several minutes later, he reappeared carrying a small stack of clothes. On top of the pile, I spied some of my undergarments and grimaced at the thought of him going through that drawer.
‘Do you need any help or should I—’
‘I can do it, it’s fine.’
He half-smiled, like my embarrassment was nothing but one big joke to him. ‘Are you sure about that?’
‘I’m fine, really. It was just a scare.’
He put the clothes down beside the sink and left me to it. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Chishiya’s indifference. Did he not believe me? I had seen them. I know it. Even when I blinked, I could still see them dangling there. Yet he hadn’t even acknowledged it.
And that wasn’t the only thing he was indifferent to.
It took me longer than it should have to get up and dressed. The clothes Chishiya had picked out - a sweatshirt and jeans - were soft and warm, and they felt like a blanket shielding me. I paused to wash the tears from my face, though it didn’t make too much difference; they still fell, and my hands still shook. When I left the bathroom the store was quiet, and after roaming around for several minutes I found Chishiya upstairs. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, staring out of the window where the King of Diamonds blimp loomed in the distance. I sat down beside him.
‘I’m sorry I screamed.’
He turned away from the window. ‘Why?’
‘Because you probably think I’m insane.’
‘No,’ he said. ‘I’m only surprised it took this long.’
‘What do you mean?’
Chishiya’s remark took me off guard, as if he’d been expecting something like this all along. His eye slid over to mine, and I knew I wouldn’t like what he was about to say.
‘Because you and I aren’t the same. In this place, it’s either you or someone else, and if stepping on everyone around you is what it takes to survive, then so be it.’
His words were uncomfortable even to hear. This was the part of Chishiya I could never agree with, the side of him that didn’t even spare a thought towards others. He was truly ruthless, and his lack of regret was both mystifying and terrible at the same time.
‘I can’t live that way,’ I admitted. ‘I can’t do that.’
‘But you did.’
I would’ve protested, except what he said didn’t feel wrong. There had been a couple of times before, feeling the drip of the teenage girl’s blood on my cheeks at night, and even right after the Four of Clubs, when I’d blinked and seen a pink scrunchie bobbing in the water as it swirled down the shower drain. It felt humiliating, shameful even, that a small trick of the mind had such a grip on me. He must’ve thought I was an idiot, sitting on a bathroom floor shrieking over something that wasn’t even there.
‘Do you really mean everyone?’
His mouth twisted into something that was neither a smile nor a frown. ‘There are a few exceptions.’
By that, you mean just two.
‘I wonder if we’ll be able to fix the lock.’
Chishiya’s reply was instant. ‘Since you made me kick down the door, it’s up to you to fix it.’
‘Hey.’ I shifted on the bed, grabbing the back of his shirt to keep him from standing up just yet. ‘That’s not fair, I didn’t make you do anything.’
He looked mildly perplexed by my words, and the memories of his hand pulling me back from the lasers on the hotel patio… him walking towards Niragi and I on the rooftop… his arms dragging me away from the King’s line of fire, all came to mind.
Maybe, back then, he wasn’t lying.
Chishiya had told me that he didn’t know what he would do if I were in danger, but in retrospect, everything he’d done so far was instinctive.
‘How come you never end up in these situations?’ I grumbled as he detached himself from my grip. ‘It’s always you helping me.’
‘Because I’m not an idiot,’ he countered, ‘whereas you need all the help you can get.’
That word. At one time it had bothered me, only now I understood that there was no weight to it.
Rubbing away some leftover tears, I said, ‘Well then, will you come with this idiot to the hardware store? If I’m going to fix the door, I’ll need a new lock and some tools.’
‘Do I even have a choice?’ He slid hid hands into his pockets and moved towards the stairs. ‘You have a habit for running into problems every time you step outside.’
Grinning, I leapt up and followed him. The sky was still clear when we left the store, although there were still deep grey clouds looming in the far distance over the skyline, signalling the storm had yet to hit us in full. Chishiya walked slightly ahead of me, and I had a feeling he was still cautious about the fact that we were…
It still sounded strange thinking about it.
We walked out into the city centre, and a nervousness flickered within me. The last time we ventured out together, we’d been cornered by the King of Spades, and it felt like history could repeat itself, like Niragi could appear at any moment. With every glint of sunlight against a window, I tensed, even though the King of Spades’s blimp was nowhere to be seen.
We came to a different hardware store this time, one that was larger and filled head to toe with pretty much every supply imaginable. Not two steps into the first aisle, something on a high shelf at the back of the store caught my eye and I called Chishiya over.
He looked up at the box dispassionately. ‘A water dispenser.’
‘It’s what I was trying to get earlier when, you know.’
I shuddered at the thought of Niragi, and the memory of his room, the Beach. Seeing him had brought back some of those old fears, but I had to remind myself that I was here, I was alive, and I was with Chishiya. In a way, this water dispenser - and even my amateur DIY job replacing the lock - would be a welcome distraction.
I searched the store for a ladder of some kind, only to no avail. And so, my attention drifted towards the next tallest thing in the room. With one look, Chishiya read my mind and instantly shut down the idea.
I peered up at the top shelf. The box was on the bigger side, and there was no way I could get up there without climbing something. ‘How am I supposed to get it down then?’
‘It’s your water dispenser. You figure it out.’
‘I think you’ll find it’s ours,’ I reminded him, but he didn’t budge. He instead leaned back against the wall, waiting patiently for me to make a move.
Irritated by his unhelpfulness, I took a closer look at the shelves, realising I had only one option. I put a foot on one of the lower shelves, testing its weight. It was made of thick metal to hold heavy hardware supplies, but would it be enough to hold a woman’s body weight?
I guess it’ll have to be.
I couldn’t back out now. There was a point to prove.
Clutching a middle shelf with my hands and elbows, I placed my foot on a lower one, hearing the metal groan dangerously. Behind me, Chishiya stirred. I took a step up, and there was a weightlessness as I was entirely off the ground. A dizzying nervousness swept over me when I glanced down, though if I stopped now it would be even more embarrassing.
I readied myself to climb up another shelf when a hand slid around my leg, keeping me stable.
‘Stop moving or I’ll drop you.’
He busied himself positioning my leg so that it didn’t tug on the neck wound he’d sustained from our run-in with the King. If it weren’t for the fact that I was clinging to a set of shelves, with Chishiya carefully sliding my weight onto his back and shoulders, I would’ve laughed at how easily he admitted defeat.
Now sitting squarely on top of him, I reached up to inch the water dispenser box off the shelf. It was light, yet bulky, and once I managed to grasp it with both hands, a bigger problem revealed itself.
I guess I should’ve thought about how I get down.
Chishiya slowly tried to lower me to the ground, but he struggled to find his balance. Just as he started to bend his knees, we heard a snicker behind us.
He turned a little too quickly, causing my back to crash into the shelves. But I forgot all about the ache in my spine, as my eyes took everything in; a blue bikini top, jeans, braids, and a smile that was both tired and struggling to hold back laughter all at once.
‘Need some help?’
not me thinking up a new oc for my modern baby helena because i miss her SO much