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Thread: But For A Stone (A Matou Shinji Series AU)

  1. #301
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [x]write-in: Ask about The Matou family's past.

    [x] Ask if she mind teach him the basic elements of this project.

    That is all for now.
    Last edited by skulkidcachi90; January 9th, 2018 at 06:29 AM.

  2. #302
    I am amused that Natsumi seems slightly annoyed that we decided to include Ernie in on the Jedi fun. Yet, she still managed to find a way into Shinji's arms in the end so everything worked out for her in the end. Yep Shinji is still a semi-clueless womanizer. It like he became a protagonist and must react accordingly. All in a day's work in the life of a main character.

    I suspect that if we pursue Miyuki romantically that we are heading towards an romantic comedy love triangle situation.

    [X] Ask about his mother


    So I want to go down this rabbit hole of Shinji actually investigating his mother's past and/or find his mother's family. Plus I am hoping that by questioning Zouken now about his mother that her wand might make its way back to Shinji sooner rather than later. It at least gets that ball rolling. Also has the small side note of being a slight reminder to Zouken that Shinji's mother trued out not to be a waste as she did give Shinji a form of magic. And a new form that he can take, one that leads quite the impression. Right Hermione?

    [x] Ask if she mind teach him the basic elements of this project.

    Teach me Sempai! Your fellow Ravenian Huffpuff wants to know. Teaching about Boggarts is also fine by me.
    Last edited by Skull Leader; January 9th, 2018 at 09:50 PM.

  3. #303
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skull Leader View Post
    I am amused that Natsumi seems slightly annoyed that we decided to include Ernie in on the Jedi fun.
    More that they were partners on the project/she's gotten to know him better, as opposed to Ernie, who was mostly working with Shinji. It isn't necessarily that she felt like he was third wheeling, or that this was a date. Don't get the wrong idea.
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; January 9th, 2018 at 10:33 PM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  4. #304
    [x] Mention that he is doing well in classes and is recognized as one of the best.

    [x] Ask if she mind teach him the basic elements of this project.

  5. #305
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    What should Shinji write in his letter to Zouken, aside from asking his grandfather about any tips on binding ghosts? [x] Mention that he is doing well in classes and is recognized as one of the best.

    What would Shinji like to talk about in the greenhouse with Miyuki?[x] Ask if she mind teach him the basic elements of this project.




    The Greenhouse

    For Matou Shinji, a boy used to jungles wrought of concrete and steel, shaped by human hands, stepping into Greenhouse #7 - the building set aside for personal projects - was one of the strangest experiences he'd ever had in his life. Certainly, it wasn't as splendid or grand as seeing Mahoutokoro for the first time, nor did any of its plants give off the impression of being quite as magically potent as what grew in the City Under Earth. And yet, the rich scent of life was unmistakable, with the dappled light coming through the lattice of vines clinging to the glass seeming like it came from entirely different world.

    "...wow," was all he could say, his eyes wide as he looked around at all the colors, all the many living things about - though there was one thing that was decidely not alive, and that was the small desk he saw leaning against one corner of the greenhouse, with a shaft of morning sun illuminating it, and an ornate chair growing up out of the ground near it. 'Huh. Odd..'

    "I take it the view meets with your approval?" Tsuji Miyuki inquired, as she walked into view, wearing a simple shirt and shorts ensemble, with her long, raven-colored hair bound up in a long ponytail.

    "Its...amazing," Shinji admitted, once he finally found his voice. "This is...this is where you work? When you're not in the common room?"

    "Yes," the older Hufflepuff said with a nod. "It is." She paused for a moment, as she glanced about and smiled ever so slightly. "A place that is mine, and mine alone, away from prying eyes."

    "I wish I had a place like that," Shinji admitted, shaking his head. And then a thought came to his mind. "I see its well lit at daytime, but what about at night?"

    Tsuji Miyuki pointed upwards, and looking more closely, Shinji could see pale crescent-shaped blossoms emerging from the leaves of the vines. "Moonseed," she said simply. "It stores up light by day, and releases it when it is dark. It is, however, quite poisonous, so I would advise you not to touch. After all, is it not said that even the most beautiful rose has thorns?"

    "But you don't, senpai," the boy replied frankly, to which the older girl laughed, gently.

    "You only say that because you haven't been pricked, Matou," Miyuki rebuked, shaking her head. "Perhaps you never will be, but who can say?" The girl sighed then, as she moved past him to pick up a few tools leaning against the wall. "In any case, you wanted to talk? Sit, and we may speak as I work."

    "Sit where...?"

    "On the chair, Matou Shinji," the older girl directed. "There's no need for more than one of us to get dirty today."

    Shinji moved to do so, gingerly testing the seat to see if it could hold his weight, as it seemed so...delicate, and, when it did not give at all under the force of a finger, eased himself into it, finding that it conformed to his shape, and really quite comfortable.

    Miyuki, on the other hand, got to work, crouching on the ground besides some variety or other of plant and inspecting the area around it.

    "Tell me what troubles you," she asked of him, and he did, laying out the basics of his complicated family situation - or at least as much as he felt comfortable telling anyone.

    "When I was born, it was thought..." he began, before trailing off. "I was...I was supposed to be..." His words failed him again, and he shook his head. "I was born into a long line of magi."

    "Go on."

    "I was the heir..." he whispered, though his body shook as he said that, as if to reject his statement. "Well, I thought I was." He looked down, swallowing, as he found it difficult to speak. "But...but..."

    His body tensed, and his throat clammed up, almost choking him, with him squeezing his eyes tightly shut, trying to stop his heart from racing in terror of...

    "Tell me," a voice said to him, as a comfortable warmth settled on his shoulder, and gave him a reassuring squeeze. 'Senpai's hand...' He opened his eyes to find her looking at him, concerned.

    "They adopted...her," the boy managed, with more heat in his voice than he wanted to show in front of the perfect girl in front of him.

    "Her?"

    "My...sister,"he growled, as shudders ripped through him. The boy went silent for a minute - which turned into two, then three, then five. "My replacement," he whispered, looking down, his hands clenching into fists despite himself.

    "If it's any consolation, you seem as capable as any first-year," Miyuki offered, but Shinji trembled as she said that, brushing her hand away.

    "...so what?" he asked, his voice almost hollow. "I didn't...it wasn't enough. It was never enough. Nothing that I did. No matter how hard I worked. No matter what I tried. No matter...no matter..."

    He swallowed, his breathing ragged, as Miyuki stood there, bidding him to go on with her eyes.

    "They looked at me. They looked at me. Eyes full of...full of..." The boy laughed, his face and tone almost manic as he let out the high pitched, disturbing sound in ragged, hitching intervals. "...full of pity. Pity! Laughing, laughing, laughing behind my back! Grandfather, Father, her...they threw me away. They threw me away!"

    The last bit was almost snarled, with the boy suddenly on his feet, his posture like that of a caged animal, as his eyes darted to and fro, his teeth bared, his eyes narrowed as a thin haze of black and red threatened to overtake his vision.

    "And your mother?" the older Hufflepuff asked gently.

    The boy whirled towards her, only to hesitate as her words sank in and her figure filled his vision, her voice cutting through the creeping madness.

    "My...what?" Shinji murmured, looking utterly lost for the first time.

    "Your mother," Miyuki repeated, with the boy shaking his head, shaking his head, shaking his head.

    "I...she, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead dead!" the words spilled out, uncontrollably, bursting out from within him. "Dead," he echoed. "Dead," he said again, his voice a desolate tone full of heartbreak and loneliness. "I don't...I don't remember her. But I know she died. And left me alone."

    "Matou..."

    "I didn't have the talent to be heir," he continued after some time, his posture looking almost human again. "And so everyone threw me away, after lying to me for years, and years and years." He laughed, a twisted, broken sound with no mirth in it. "It must have been quite a game. To let a useless lump of flesh delude himself into thinking he could be more than what he was. Thinking I could be more than what fate made me. A nobody. A waste of space. A failure who would be better off dead."

    The boy smiled then, as he looked away, off into the distance.

    "I was overjoyed the day I learned I could be...the day I received my letter," he said quietly. "Thinking maybe, maybe this was my chance. That after all these years..." He sighed, turning back to Miyuki. "But you know, in my first challenge here - I failed. I saw..." Something dark came over his features, as he shivered violently. "Never mind what I saw. I failed, proving to everyone that Matou Shinji is...that Matou Shinji is..."

    The world went dark.




    Sometime later, the boy stirred, his body oddly tired but comfortable as his head was cradled on something soft and warm.

    "
    Are you finally awake, Matou?" a gentle voice called from...right above him, with the boy opening his eyes to find himself looking up at Miyuki-senpai's beautiful features, her face framed by the ebon curtain of her hair, and the dappled light of the sun.

    "Senpai..." he murmured, too exhausted to move from where he was.

    "I was worried," came the reply, with the boy shivering again for an entirely different reason as he felt delicate fingers running through his hair.

    "Sorry...for worrying you..." he managed, his cheeks feeling like they were on fire. "What happened...?"

    The fingers stopped...

    "You don't remember?"

    "I remember mentioning my...my sister," Shinji admitted, though his mind was very, very fuzzy. "But after that...nothing."

    "Nothing, you say?" Miyuki echoed, her expression full of concern. "That's the second time in a week you've had trouble remembering what happened."

    "...the second?" Shinji repeated, puzzled. "I don't...I don't understand."

    "You saw something in Quirrell's challenge. Do you remember what it was?"

    "I..." the boy stiffened. "Yes..." he admitted in a very small voice.

    "And do you remember what happened afterwards?"

    "...I remember waking up in the hospital wing, with you next to me," Shinji said. "You told me I attacked him, but I don't..." The significance of that statement hit him then. "I don't remember."

    "Have you ever had memory loss before, Matou?"

    "...no. No, I haven't..." the boy whispered. "Did I..." he swallowed, almost afraid to ask. "I didn't...attack you, did I?"

    But Miyuki didn't reply immediately.

    "...senpai?" the boy whispered, feeling terrified that he might have...that unbeknownst to him, he might have.... "I..."

    "You didn't hurt me, Matou," her gentle voice said at last, with all of Shinji's strength draining away as she answered him at last.

    "...thank goodness. I...I was afraid..." Afraid that he'd done something...unforgivable to one of the few people who actually gave a damn about him. "I showed you something unsightly."

    "I'm honored that you trust me this much," Miyuki murmured, her fingers running through his hair once more. "You are a strange person, Matou, to trust a stranger so."

    "Am I so...strange?" he asked, his voice almost breaking.

    "Everyone is strange in this world," the older Hufflepuff said quietly. "We are born alone. We die alone. And yet in between, all of us seek some sort of connection. Some seek peers to walk with. Some seek lovers to hold. Some seek rivals to recognize, or mentors to learn from."

    "And you, senpai?"

    "Who can say?"

    The girl laughed powerlessly, a quiet, lonely sound that, for a moment, Shinji swore was the most painful - but most beautiful - thing he'd ever heard.




    What will Shinji do for the rest of the day?

    [ ] Rest in the Greenhouse while Miyuki works
    [ ] Study in the Library
    [ ] Spend time with Natsumi
    [ ] Go to the Hospital Wing
    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; January 11th, 2018 at 03:39 AM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  6. #306
    堪忍は一生の宝 Daiki's Avatar
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    It's a missed opportunity for study but;

    [x] Go to the Hospital Wing
    .

    There are two good reasons to go; memory blanks and potion for dreamless sleep.

    I'm fine with staying with Senpai if you don't want her to feel lonely (or wish to study plants of interest).
    Last edited by Daiki; January 11th, 2018 at 02:53 AM.

  7. #307
    Potion of dreamless sleep is a short term solution to one of his issues. It has some rather bad side effects if taken too long. Best not get addicted to it and try to learn to cope at the moment.

    [X] Work on Occlumency in the Greenhouse while Miyuki works

    At this point for me its not about the learning bonus anymore but about developing a mental resilience and willpower that Shinji is in desperate need of. This latest write up made me realize that Shinji is going to need an iron will to be able to control/accept his inter-demons. Occlumency is not going to solve the issue on its own but with the help of his friends and learning this skill we can develop the needed willpower to get the issue more under control. Its going to have to be a long term project, in the same regards of how long it took us to get Shinji's Yin under control in the other fic.

    Not to mention I like the idea of Shinji Matou: The Iron Willed Wizard. Would he use that iron will of his to become the dark tyrant that crushes all obstacles in his path or would he become the unstoppable guard dog protector?

  8. #308
    死徒 Dead Apostle
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    [x] Go to the Hospital Wing

  9. #309
    堪忍は一生の宝 Daiki's Avatar
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    We all know it will take a while to get rid of the issue.

    But Shinji really needs a (sleeping) break. Occlumency will remain difficult to work on as long as he is not properly rested.

    You can have him going back to it progressively as he recovers his stamina and rebuild focus.
    Last edited by Daiki; January 11th, 2018 at 04:00 AM.

  10. #310
    He has already been to the hospital once for this issue. There was nothing physically wrong with him making it hard to really treat anything. Hogwarts is not equipped to treat this issue.

    And he had a break, it was called Jedi Fun Time with Natsumi.

  11. #311
    堪忍は一生の宝 Daiki's Avatar
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    My point is that he needs resting sleep and Pomfrey has the potion for it. I suggest that he takes a dose, rest a few hours so he can try not to fall asleep during an important class next time.

    I'm willing to swap my vote for sticking with Miyuki if you want that, as gardening is relaxing.

    Occlumency, I suspect will not accomplish much after that episode.

    I wish we could focus on strengthening the mind, or work on curses really (which we have kind of forgotten). But you need to be in proper shape for that.
    Last edited by Daiki; January 11th, 2018 at 04:20 AM.

  12. #312
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    [x] Hospital Wing




    Chapter 6
    . Entangled

    For Matou Shinji, a boy used to jungles wrought of concrete and steel, shaped by human hands, stepping into Greenhouse #7 - the building set aside for personal projects - was one of the strangest experiences he'd ever had in his life. Certainly, it wasn't as splendid or grand as seeing Mahoutokoro for the first time, nor did any of its plants give off the impression of being quite as magically potent as what grew in the City Under Earth. And yet, the rich scent of life was unmistakable, with the dappled light coming through the lattice of vines clinging to the glass seeming like it came from entirely different world.

    "...wow," was all he could say, his eyes wide as he looked around at all the colors, all the many living things about - though there was one thing that was decidedly not alive, and that was the small desk he saw leaning against one corner of the greenhouse, with a shaft of morning sun illuminating it, and an ornate chair growing up out of the ground near it. 'Huh. Odd..'

    "I take it the view meets with your approval?" Tsuji Miyuki inquired, as the elegant older Hufflepuff walked into view, wearing a simple shirt and shorts ensemble, with her long, raven-colored hair bound up in a long ponytail.

    "It’s...amazing," Shinji admitted, once he finally found his voice. "This is...this is where you work? When you're not in the common room?"

    "Yes," the older Hufflepuff said with a nod. "It is." She paused for a moment, as she glanced about and smiled ever so slightly. "A place that is mine, and mine alone, away from prying eyes."

    "I wish I had a place like that," Shinji admitted, shaking his head. And then a thought came to his mind. "I see its well-lit at daytime, but what about at night?"

    Tsuji Miyuki pointed upwards, and looking more closely, Shinji could see pale crescent-shaped blossoms emerging from the leaves of the vines.

    "Moonseed," she said simply. "It stores up light by day, and releases it when it is dark. It is, however, quite poisonous, so I would advise you not to touch. After all, is it not said that even the most beautiful rose has thorns?"

    "But you don't, senpai," the boy replied earnestly, to which the older girl laughed.

    "You only say that because you haven't been pricked yet, Matou," Miyuki rebuked, shaking her head gently. "Perhaps you never will be, but who can say?" The girl sighed at that, and brushed past the younger boy to pick up some tools she’d left in one of the drawers. "In any case, you wanted to talk, right? Away from listening ears? Sit, then, and we may speak as I work."

    "Sit where...?" Shinji wondered, looking about.

    Did she mean for him to sit on the ground?

    "On the chair, Matou Shinji," the older girl directed patiently. "There's no need for more than one of us to get dirty today. After all, you haven’t done any gardening in Herbology yet, have you?"

    “No,” Shinji admitted, before moving to do as she asked.

    The chair, made of something like woven reeds, looked rather fragile, so before he sat, he tested it with his finger to make sure it wouldn’t break under a bit of pressure, but when it did not, he allowed himself to ease into it, finding to his surprise that it conformed to his shape, and was really quite comfortable.

    While he did this, Miyuki got to work, crouching on the ground besides what looked like a row of plants.

    “Tea, if you were curious,” the Hufflepuff girl volunteered, answering the boy’s unspoken question. “Now…tell me what troubles you so.”

    Matou Shinji took a deep breath, even as he watched the older girl work, examining her plants with evident care, trimming away any wilted leaves, smoothing petals here and there, with one plant not resembling tea at all.

    “Mopsus plant,” she explained. “The result of one of my personal projects.”

    “Mm,” Shinji noted, thinking about how he could lay out the basics of his complicated family situation – or at least as much as he felt comfortable telling anyone. "When I was born, it was thought..." he began, before trailing off. "No, that’s not…” He sighed, shaking his head. “I was...I was supposed to be..." But his words failed him again, and he sighed with frustration. "I was born into a long line of magi," he managed at last.

    "Go on," the girl encouraged.

    "I was the heir..." he whispered, though his body shook as he said that, as if to reject his statement for the lie that it was. "Well, I should have been. Thought I was." He looked down, swallowing, as he found it difficult to speak. "But...” He took a deep breath. “But..."

    His body tensed, his throat clamming up, almost choking him, as if unwilling to let him speak another word, every muscle in his body clenching down tightly, from his heart to his limbs to his eyes, as his head throbbed.

    He could hear it, the rhythm of his heart growing unsteady as it raced onwards, out of control, as though it sought to rip itself out of his chest and flee screaming into the abyss.

    He…he…

    "Tell me," a voice murmured, close to his ear, as a comfortable warmth settled on his shoulder, and gave him a reassuring squeeze. 'Senpai's hand...' he realized, finding in her warmth the strength to at least open his eyes, only to find her standing before him, looking at him with an expression of raw concern.

    "They adopted...her," the boy managed, with more heat in his voice than he wanted to show in front of the perfect girl in front of him.

    "Her?" she echoed, wiping a stray hair from her eyes.

    "My...sister," he growled, as a shudder ripped through him, unbidden. The boy went silent for a minute – which turned into two, then three, then five. "My replacement," he whispered, when he finally spoke again, his hands clenching into fists despite himself.

    "If it's any consolation, you seem as capable as any first-year," Miyuki offered, but Shinji trembled as she said that, brushing away her hand.

    "...so what?" he asked, his voice almost hollow. "I didn't...it wasn't enough.” He swallowed. “It was never enough. Nothing that I did. Nothing. No matter how hard I worked. No matter what I tried. No matter...no matter..."

    He swallowed again as his breathing went ragged, his chest heaving up and down as Miyuki stood there, bidding him to go on with her eyes.

    "They looked at me,” he said, his eyes going unfocused as he thought back into the past. “They looked at me. They looked at me with eyes full of...full of..." A sound escaped the boy’s lips, a high-pitched thing that came in uneven, hitching intervals – almost a laugh, save that there was nothing joyful in it, or in his face, pale and gleaming like moon. "...full of pity! Pity! Pity! Laughing, laughing, laughing laughing laughing behind my back! Grandfather, Father, her...they threw me away. They threw me away!"

    His last few words were snarled, as the boy found himself on his feet, his posture like that of a caged and wounded animal, as his eyes darted to and fro, his teeth bared, his pupils narrowed as a thin haze of black and red threatened to overtake his vision.

    A low, dangerous growl escaped his throat unbidden as…

    "And your mother?" the older Hufflepuff asked gently.

    The boy whirled towards her, every muscle tensed as if to spring, only to hesitate as her figure filled his vision, and her words seemed to register.

    "My...what?" Shinji murmured distantly, looking utterly lost for the first time, as he swayed back and forth on his heels.

    "Your mother," Miyuki repeated, with the boy shaking his head, shaking his head, shaking his head.

    "I...” the boy began, but stopped. “She…” he tried again, but couldn’t find the words. “Dead,” a voice said, both his own and not, all at once. “Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead dead!" he repeated, the words spilling out uncontrollably, bursting out from within him like a dam had broken and nothing could be held back. "Dead," he echoed. "Dead," he said again, his voice a desolate tone full of heartbreak and loneliness. "I don't...I don't remember her. But I know she died. I know she left me alone."

    "Matou..."

    "I didn't have the talent to be heir," he continued after some time, his posture looking almost human again, though his voice was hollow. "And so, everyone threw me away. Threw me away, after lying to me for years, and years and years." He laughed, a twisted, broken sound almost like two jagged metal edges rubbing against each other. "It must have been quite a game. To let a useless lump of flesh delude itself into thinking it could be more than what it was. That I could be more than what fate made me. A nobody. A waste of space. A failure who would be better off dead. No…a failure who should never have been born."

    The boy smiled then, as he looked away, off into the distance.

    "I was overjoyed the day I learned I could be...the day I received my letter," he said quietly. "Thinking maybe, maybe, maybe this could be my chance. That after all these years..." He sighed, turning back to Miyuki. "But you know, in my first challenge here – I failed. I…saw…I saw..." Something dark and twisted came over his features, as he convulsed, falling to his knees. "Never…mind what I saw,” he gasped. “I… failed. I failed. And Matou Shinji…Matou Shinji…!”

    The world went dark.




    Sometime later, the boy stirred, though he didn’t feel like moving at all, as he was utterly exhausted, worse than he’d ever been in his life. Yet he knew he wasn’t in his bed, as his head was cradled on something soft and warm, and he could smell a sweet fragrance coming from all around him.

    "Are you finally awake, Matou?" a gentle voice called from...right above him, with the boy mustering the effort to lift eyelids heavy as stone, only to inhale sharply as he found himself looking up at Miyuki-senpai's warm eyes.

    Her lovely features were framed by the ebon curtain of her hair, and in the dappled light of the sun, she looked…magical.

    "Senpai..." he murmured, too exhausted to move from where he was.

    "I was worried," came the soft reply, with the boy shivering again for an entirely different reason as he felt delicate fingers running through his hair, brushing against his scalp.

    "Sorry...for worrying you..." he managed, trying to look away and hide cheeks which felt like they were on fire. "What happened...?"

    The fingers stopped then, with the girl saying nothing for a long moment.

    "You don't remember?" she asked, her expression almost troubled. “Or rather, what’s the last thing you remember?”

    "I remember mentioning my...my sister," Shinji admitted, his voice taking on a dark twinge, before he shook his head. Even that was very, very fuzzy, and beyond that... "But after that...nothing."

    "Nothing, you say?" Miyuki was quite concerned by this. "That's the second time in a week you've had trouble remembering what happened."

    "...the second?" Shinji repeated, puzzled by this. If this was the second, then what had been the first? "I don't...I don't understand."

    "You saw something in Quirrell's challenge,” she said, instead of answering. “Do you remember what it was?"

    "I..." the boy stiffened, seeing in his mind the mass of worms, seeing the terrifying visage of his grandfather, hearing the accusation of how he was a failure, an utter—. "Yes..." he gasped out, his body trembling. “Yes,” he repeated, in a very small voice.

    "And do you remember what happened afterwards?" Miyuki pressed.

    "...I remember waking up in the hospital wing, with you next to me," Shinji said. "You told me I attacked him, but I don't..." The significance of that statement hit him then. "I don't remember. I…I haven’t been able to concentrate either. Or sleep. Or practice my Occlumency, really."

    "Well, for one of those, I’d tell you to go see Madam Pomfrey. For others…have you often suffered from memory loss before, Matou?" the older Hufflepuff asked gently, wincing just a bit.

    "...no. No, I haven't..." the boy whispered. If the last time…if the last time, he’d attacked Quirrell, did that mean that this time…? "Did I..." he swallowed, almost afraid to ask. "I didn't...attack you, did I?"

    But Miyuki didn't reply immediately.

    "...senpai?" the boy asked, a creeping horror rising in his gut at the thought that he might have…that he might have…that unbeknownst to him, with his own two hands, he.... "I..."

    "You didn't hurt me, Matou," the raven-haired girl said at last, her voice, gentle and fearless, causing all of Shinji’s strength to drain away as she answered him at last.

    "...thank goodness,” Shinji murmured, tears rising to the corner of his eyes. “Thank goodness,” he repeated, his breath hitching as he nearly broke down in relief. “I...I was so afraid..." Afraid that he'd done something...unforgivable to one of the few people who had actually bothered to give a damn about someone like him. “I…” He laughed, a bitter sound that was barely audible. "I’m sorry. I showed you something unsightly."

    "Don’t be worry, Matou. I'm honored that you trust me this much," Miyuki murmured, her fingers running through his hair once more. "Though you are a strange person, Matou, to trust a near-stranger so."

    "Am I really so...strange?" he asked, his voice almost breaking. Did this senpai he admired really find him so odd?

    "Everyone is strange in this world," the older Hufflepuff mused aloud, looking up at the sky. "After all, as humans, we are born alone. We die alone. And yet in between, all of us seek some sort of connection. Some seek peers to walk with. Some seek lovers to hold. Some seek enemies to fight, rivals to challenge, mentors to learn from, or students to teach. We know that no matter what, these connections are temporary, that in the end, nothing at all will remain, and yet…"

    She trailed off, her tone almost wistful.

    "…are you strange too, then, senpai?” Shinji found the courage to ask.

    "Who can say?" the girl asked, a powerless, haunting laugh escaping her lips, a sound whose beauty which none could deny, yet seemed unbearably lonely.

    To Matou Shinji, it was both the most terrible thing he’d ever heard and the most bewitching.




    The rest of the weekend passed in a blur, with Shinji managing to finally get some rest at last with the help of a few doses of Dreamless Sleep. As for the beginning of the week, perhaps the most curious thing that happened was that all of the first-year students finished Quirrell’s challenges, with the man posting a public list of those who had passed.

    From Hufflepuff, these were Matou Shinji, as well as Natsumi Suzuki and Ernest Macmillan (of which the latter two had used the Mopsus potion to their advantage, reasoning that a challenge that was difficult for a muggle would probably be trivial enough for a Jedi).

    From Ravenclaw, these were Sialim Sokaris and Nigel Wroxton, with some wondering how Nigel – a student who had gone on leave for a year, thanks to a severe case of Dragon Pox (and complications due to being allergic to the treatment), and who was still not fully recovered, had managed to beat it when so many others had failed.

    From Gryffindor, there were the muggleborn twins, Amber Noel and Phelan Noel, the second and third children of the Earl of Gainsborough.

    And from Slytherin, there was the muggleborn, Selina Moore, who was said to have cold-bloodly sacrificed her partner to distract the Death Eaters and earn her escape.

    When they read this, those in Hufflepuff let out a resounding cheer for their representatives, given that they – with the most people passing, and thus the most points earned in the challenged, would earn a one-time waiver for any single assignment.

    Their applause and adulation made Shinji smile, even if he knew he didn’t really deserve to be on the list, that Quirrell had just put him there for some odd reason.

    ‘Well, I won’t spoil their excitement. That wouldn’t be right. Not for someone like me.’

    His smile that day, was a brittle one.




    Quirrell's Club

    As it so happens, all of the people who passed were invited to Quirrell's little get-together, which features dinner, and an informal discussion on whatever topics they're interested in, especially those related to defense.

    What would Shinji like to know from him?

    [ ] (write-in)

    And which of the guests would he like to spend time getting to know?

    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; January 11th, 2018 at 04:35 AM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  13. #313
    堪忍は一生の宝 Daiki's Avatar
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    [x] The scenario mentioned obscurials. Ask about them and why the "Lord" was seeking some.

    [x] Selina
    .

    As it is one of the rare triggers. Shinji will want to learn more about his "partner", right?

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    [x] The scenario mentioned obscurials. Ask about them and why the "Lord" was seeking some

    [x]Nigel.

  15. #315
    [x] The scenario mentioned obscurials. Ask about them and why the "Lord" was seeking some.

    I am fairly neutral on this write in, its an ok question but seems so minor and random to ask about it. But anything else I can think to ask is not something I want to ask him around others or would expect a straight honest answer. So sure lets go with this.

    [X] Amber
    Selina is a close second for me, but honestly I am more curious on the quiet refined noble here.

  16. #316
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skull Leader View Post
    I am fairly neutral on this write in, its an ok question but seems so minor and random to ask about it. But anything else I can think to ask is not something I want to ask him around others or would expect a straight honest answer. So sure lets go with this.
    Feel free to discuss questions in the thread or on IRC.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  17. #317
    堪忍は一生の宝 Daiki's Avatar
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    Amber, you can still interact with during Herbology, as she pairs up with Natsumi. (They are acquaintances from before Hogwarts)

    Selina isn't in any shared class though, so there's little room for first contact. Only extra activities, maybe the Slug Club.

  18. #318
    リビングデッド Living Dead Desann's Avatar
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    [x] The scenario mentioned obscurials. Ask about them and why the "Lord" was seeking some.

    [x] Selina.

    I really liked her description from one of the previous posts, and Shinji doesn't have many opportunities to spend time with Slytherins.

  19. #319
    The Dread Nekomancer alfheimwanderer's Avatar
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    What would Shinji like to know from him? [x] The scenario mentioned obscurials. Ask about them and why the "Lord" was seeking some.

    And which of the guests would he like to spend time getting to know? [x] Selina




    On Obscurials

    "An obscurial, Mister Matou?" Quirrell confirms, raising an eyebrow. "How interesting that you should ask. It is not commonly known, but obscurials are young wizards or witches who, due to psychological or physical abuse - or some sort of trauma, end up suppressing their magic. This force builds within them, and is twisted by their torment and their belief in their own powerlessness until it is almost a separate living thing. Individuals who are obscurials may not even know it themselves, as in most cases, it is only revealed once the young wizard is pushed beyond his mental and emotional limits, upon which, their self falls away, and only the Obscurus remains."

    "...how common are Obscurials?" Nigel inquired, as he hadn't come across any mention of them before in his books.

    "Rare," was the Defense Professor's answer. "It is said that there has not been a single case in Britain in two hundred years, though personally I find myself skeptical of this. In any case, most obscurials in history die by the time they reach the age of ten. So the odds that one is among you at Hogwarts..." The man chuckled. "Slim to none, but not, as they say, impossible."

    "And why might this Dark Lord have been seeking them, in the scenario?" Shinji asked.

    "Ah, did I not say one question per person?" Quirrell said mildly. "No? Ah, that must have been to my last group. Do keep that in mind for next time - one question apiece per session. For the moment, I will simply say that he sought them for much the same reason as the revolutionary, Gellert Grindelwald."

    "Weapons," the girl named Sokaris uttered.

    "Indeed. 10 points to Ravenclaw. Now, if I may ask a question of my own?" he inquired, looking at the members of the group individually. "What do you want? By this, I mean, what is your goal for when you finish Hogwarts? Shall we begin with you, Mister Matou?"

    How does Shinji answer?

    [ ] He doesn't know yet
    [ ] He wants power
    [ ] He wants knowledge
    [ ] He would like true companions
    [ ] (write-in)

    Selina Moore

    "So you are the Hufflepuff who managed a victory on his own," the petite blonde whispered to him. "That's very impressive."

    "Oh?" Shinji asked. "Are you just saying that because you were my partner? At least, that's what the rumors tell me."

    Selina chuckled.

    "Be careful what you hear from rumors, Mister Matou," she cautioned cheekily. "After all, some of them might be true."

    "And what a mad world that would be," Shinji murmured.

    "Exactly, I'm glad you understand," Selina commented with a wicked smile. "Sadly, I wasn't your partner, though I don't really mind if people think I am."

    "Oh?"

    "I won using a perhaps underhanded method after being inspired by a band of three people playing about near the lake," the girl explained, glancing over at Shinji, and over to Natsumi and Ernie. "You, I hear...did not."

    "And what did you hear?"

    "Oh, this and that," she said glibly. "I do well on my perception rolls."

    "...your what?"

    The girl chuckled.

    "Never mind. Going to tell me?"

    Shinji didn't want to admit that he couldn't remember so.

    "I think more fun to keep a secret, don't you?" He asked with a smirk.

    "Why, Mister Matou," she said, bringing her hand to her chest. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

    "I bet that's what you say to all the boys," Shinji snarked.

    "Oh, just the ones who don't try to tell me what I can and can't do."

    "And the ones that do?"

    "I'm sure you'll hear from the rumors," she answered, with a mischievous smile. "Lady Gainsborough certainly did."

    "Are you whispering about me, Lady Selina?" the brunette commented, looking over at the sound of her name. "Partner or not, that's somewhat rude."

    "Now, I was hardly whispering if you heard it."

    "I suppose that's true," Amber allowed, glancing first at Selina and then to Shinji. "Is he interesting?"

    "More so than my manservant."

    "More than Malfoy?" the brunette inquired. "Not exactly a difficult challenge."

    "What can I say? I keep my expectations low. That way I'm rarely disappointed."

    Anything in particular you want to ask her?

    [ ] (write-in)
    Last edited by alfheimwanderer; January 13th, 2018 at 12:13 PM.
    "The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." - Thomas Paine

  20. #320
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    [x] He want knowledge and power to be recognized by his family.
    [x] Ask her about the house of Slytherin.

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