Floo Network

Autumn 69
[Mayfair] Destiny is calling me [open]

Started by Rose Pemberton, April 03, 2021, 10:31:33 pm

Rose Pemberton

Rose felt embarrassed. Now, that she'd been given a moment to reflect, she didn't like that that just the slightest mention of Marlowe sent her flying. To be fair, it wasn't entirely unexpected. After that had happened it was hard to forgive and even harder to forget. The best she could do was figure out a way to live with her past and even that proved difficult tonight. She picked up another drink and for a moment she felt lightly worried about too. What if she ended up being tipsy after this one?

It took her a moment to remember that she was a witch. There were spells and potions to deal with this kind of problem. She could probably just ask Verity if she needed anything. Deciding it was best to clear her head for a little bit, Rose stepped into the garden and smiling at the beautiful flower beds of foxglove, lupine and larkspur, surrounded by white roses, jacaranda and wisteria. It was heartbreakingly beautiful, and Rose wondered if she would ever be able to own a house with a little garden. It would be nice to have a place of her own and plant her own little plot even if it wouldn't be quite as grand at this one.

She was admiring the varieties of clematis flowers climbing up an intricate wooden latticework arch when she saw something that rather gave her pause. It couldn't be! No, it just couldn't.

Elsewhere at the Bannatyne estate, Gayle Mordaunt was conversing easily with Professor Prendergast. Though there didn't seem to be too much these two people agreed on, the chat was amiable. She talked about travel, reading and for a while, then fancy places to eat out in London.

"Anyway, this just happens to be the way I feel about it," she said ending her diatribe.

"If you'll humour my curiosity, how is it that you know Miss Pemberton? I'll have you know we all had such high hopes for her at the ministry! Such high hopes! And then one day she just disappeared to never be heard from again. Until today that is. I imagine poor Marlowe must be all out of sorts. He was very sad to see her go, that he was indeed."

The more Mordaunt talked, the higher pitched and more excited her tone became.

"Shall we take a turn about the room, Professor? Have you met Mr Laurent de Lancie, yet? I daresay you two would have a lot to talk about. He used to teach at Beauxbatons I believe before joining the diplomatic service at the ministry..."

Another little diatribe it was.

Harold Prendergast

Harold found it rather difficult to get a word in, edge-wise or otherwise - Miss Mordaunt could natter on for England. It seemed as though the only breaks she took in between her diatribes were to inhale - either oxygen or alcohol - and then immediately press on.

Harold learned a great deal on a variety of subjects, not least what Miss Mordaunt thought on the finer details of Austrian composers and their finer creations, places to see on a very large budget of someone else's expenses, some of the finer literature that was published in the wizarding world in the last year - and of course none of that filthy Muggle nonsense - and a curious taste in romantic novels of a brow lower than Harold would have assumed Miss Mordaunt would have stooped to, at least if he followed what she was saying correctly. They got through a relatively short monologue on places to eat in London - which Harold did even manage to get a sentence in about a particularly fine restaurant he had been to over in Soho, but it was 'dull in decor, dull in flavour, duller than dishwater' or something like that. He had tried to protest that it was one of the finest meals he had had but that was clearly how she felt about the matter.

Then a question that he was expected to answer was thrust at him, rather awkwardly and unexpectedly, and he wasn't entirely sure if it was meant to be rhetorical or not.

"Well, ah, you see, Miss Pemberton is currently the head librarian at Hogwarts School of Wizards and Witchcraft - where I am teaching this year." Even as he said it, he felt somehow ashamed as though this simple matter of honestly would doom them both, but Miss Mordaunt was already back in high gear fretting over someone called Marlowe. Harold wondered if that could be Grace's father. Given Rose's previous disinclination on the subject, he assumed it must be and that the subject was off limits between the two of them.

But this Gayle seemed the sort to open her, ah, yap, it might be politely put, so he thought it might be braved here, better that he should give... Gayle... the opportunity to gossip as she so dearly seemed to love. "Marlowe? A former...?"

But the question went ignored in favour of being invited for a turn about the room.

This was not something he was entirely prepared for - but of course he had thought too soon and Miss Mordaunt's mouth had already overtaken her mind again, mentioning another name which with he was not familiar, before settling into another of those lamentable diatribes of which he had already become so inured against.

At least if he were introduced to this Mr de Lancie, he might rid himself of this vexatious woman, since she clearly hadn't had wine enough yet to be suitably candid for his purposes.

"I can't say I know the fellow but--" Whatever he might have said, the diatribe overtook it.

Harold sipped his wine, hoping Rose was having a more productive - or at least more pleasant, if not more productive - evening.

Rose Pemberton

April 18, 2021, 01:03:32 pm #17 Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 01:09:27 pm by Royal_Poet
Rose stood by the clematis flowers and watched in horror. She'd just caught a glimpse of a witch who was wearing the same dress as herself. How embarrassing! She was absolutely positive though. She'd spent hours embroidering the floral detailing on her gown, believing she was creating something quite unusual. Therefore she knew it well. It was identical, not just similar. The design of her gown was based on a dress she had seen in a muggle movie. Maybe, somebody else had taken the same source material as inspiration? It was possible, though Rose had to admit that it seemed fairly unlikely.

It was just her luck that this entire evening was going wrong. She was here with a gentleman she rather liked but couldn't be honest with, surrounded by people who looked down on her, with Marlowe Winterbourne in attendance and now another woman had her dress. That was some dark magic to make the sanest witch go mad. If she didn't know better she'd think that somebody had cursed her with an unfulfilling life and bad fortune. Was it really that much to ask to have one wonderful night at a ball before forgetting about her dreams and aspirations for a while? Rose knew her place in the world, but what was wrong with one evening of escapism?

For a moment she wasn't sure if he could stop tears from welling up given how overwhelmed she felt by everything. Hopefully, Harold was getting what he needed from Gayle and friends so that they could leave as soon as possible. She resolved to keep it together for a little bit longer. She could cry later once she got home and let it all out. For now, she just had to deal with it.

Figuring she could do with a place to be on her own until she had wrangled her emotions back under control, Rose stepped into the hedge maze. It was so easy a maze there was no possibility of getting lost, but it did afford some private spots away from the crowd. She purposefully found a dead end, feeling immediately better surrounded by three solid walls of greenery.

Rose took a deep breath. Then, suddenly, she heard something nearby.

"Hal, wait up... I can't keep up with you in those heels."

The voice sounded exactly like her own.

"Well, uh, actually, I'm sorry..."

And that sounded just like her Harold. Shit. What in the name of Merlin was going on? Rose turned her head in the direction of the voices only to be faced by a hedge wall. She pressed her face into the twigs managing to peak through and sure enough there she saw herself with Harold walking through the hedge maze. Harold looked confused from what she could make out and other Rose seemed to be fairly angry.

Well, this certainly explained how another woman had her dress, but it raised a whole lot of different questions. She pressed her face into the hedge some more to get a clearer view. A bit of twig was getting shoved inside her nostril and Rose winced in pain before having to take a step backwards. She nearly lost her balance doing so, her fall being prevented by a wall of hedge behind her making a bit of a ruckus.

"Hal!" Other-Rose cried out. "Let's take this turn here and try this way."

Rose panicked. They were coming towards her and she was in a dead end. Nooooo. What now? If only she could spontaneously disappear! Then Rose remembered that this was literally an option and she disapparated before having and encounter with herself.

Until now, she'd been happy to let Harold get on with Gayle and whomever else he was talking to without interruption, but now she was livid. There were a few possible explanations for what she had just witnessed but given Harold's skills and interests one was a standout candidate and it chilled her to the bone. Clearly, he'd been using that damnable Turnverein again. And he'd not even given her any notice. A little bit of a heads up would have been nice. And then, clearly he'd dragged her into it.

Maybe, she thought angrily, it was a good thing after all that he was married and in love with another woman. She could find someone who didn't violate the natural order of things to ask out on a date. Surely, that wasn't a particularly high bar to clear.

Noticing that her little adventure in the hedge maze had messed up her hairdo, Rose took a detour to the bathroom before finding Harold in the ballroom easily conversing with Gayle and gentleman Rose did not recognise. He did however, have a slight French accent that she found rather char in and pleasant on the ear.

"Excuse me," Rose interrupted in a syrupy sweet tone, "Would you forgive me for taking Professor Prendergast way for you for a moment. I simply must have this dance. The Polonaise is always my favourite." She knew it was bad form for the lady to ask a gentleman to dance, but she was sure that asking for a private word would be even more frowned upon and draw unwanted attention.

Farren Abercrombie

Farren gladly took the glass of champagne offered her. As they passed through the hall in front of the ballroom she spotted a table with pretty little placards laid out. "Oh, here's the dance cards, just a moment," she smiled over at him breaking away for a moment to pick up her dance card. The little placard was suspended on a golden string with a mini quill hanging from the string so she could write her dances in. 

Card in hand she returned to Declan's side and turned the program over to the list of dances. "Hmm do you have any favorites? I think we must dance the four and the seven and the twelve. Others I have less strong opinions about." Without waiting for his response she took the little quill and wrong 'D' on the lines she'd mentioned and a few others. 
"I am a little sad Pyxis isn't here. I know he'd be glad to see you. Perhaps we can all have dinner sometime soon at the house." She liked being at the dance with Declan, but Pyxis had been her rock for the last two years in public. There was no reason to doubt that Declan would be just as capable but all the questions from the photographers about this being her first outing without Pyxis had somehow made her feel like she was leaving home without her security blanket. 

Glancing at the door of the ballroom she nodded, "We should face the wolves," she took a long sip of her champagne, it wouldn't bolster her but the fizz might trick her into feeling like it was already working. Smiling over at him she took his arm again, dance card hanging from her free wrist, champagne in hand and the moved into the busy ballroom. 

Couples were already dancing in the center of the floor though most people were milling around the perimeter making greetings, drinking, and eating. "Alright, and now....it begins," she said softly to him a smirk pulling at the edge of her lips. If he had any doubt what she meant it was about to become apparent. 
People were looking at them, around the room, even a few of the people dancing turned their heads to notice them. She suspected that this would make Declan uncomfortable, the onslaught of attention she garnered at such things, but there was only one way to find out. 

There was almost immediately someone heading straight towards them. It was perhaps the last person Farren wanted to see heading towards them the second they walked in. An elderly woman in a long deep purple gown of Victorian styling. The old woman approached them with her nose held high, almost looking down at them even though she was elderly and slight. 

"Mrs. Rosier...." the elderly woman greeted her cooly, "I am told by my peers on the other side of the room that this is Mr. O'Dwyer -- the offspring of Fintan O'Dwyer." 
"Yes. This is Declan O'Dwyer," Farren said obviously unbothered by this woman's coolness. "Declan, this is Mrs. Phillipa Malfoy-Rosier, the beloved grandmother of my late husband."

For a split second she glanced at Declan in a way that seemed to signal she was both deeply sorry and amused. 
"That's right," the older woman said as she extended her hand for Declan to shake, "Mrs. Rosier you are creating quite the stir showing up here with Mr. O'Dwyer instead of Mr. Abercrombie," the old woman was clearly eyeing them both up with skepticism. 

"I can't imagine why. I am allowed to have friends aren't I?" Farren quipped. 

"Don't play coy with me Farren," the old woman quipped right back. 

"Mr. O'Dwyer. You know everyone is talking don't you? Of course he does, they say he's the smart one and his baby brother is the pretty one. Is that so Mr. O'Dwyer? Are you the clever one? The old witches of London are dying for intel. We all had Mrs. Rosier pinned to finally re-marry a cousin. She took Clive's money and she'll take her family's as well so she doesn't need your money. Though Mrs. Malfoy tells me it is significant. So what is going on here?  I am your elder and your grandmother by law. You must tell me." 

Farren pursed her lips smirking, glancing up at Declan. It was clear the old woman had no filter and as Farren's relation by marriage had been sent on a reconnaissance mission by the Old Guard of wizarding society. 

"I did warn you," Farren was barely holding back a laugh now. The old woman moved close enough to them to bat at Farren's snickering with her fan. "Honestly girl, at this rate they're going to be burying you in a coffin of solid gold and diamonds. You're just mocking everyone now. O'Dwyer.....you know she's an uppity little minx? She won't listen now that she has all her money and a job, she's a modern woman, whatever that non-sense means." the old woman snorted at the word job like it was a swear word. "Don't laugh!" she snapped at Farren who was now openly laughing and shaking her head. 

"By all means, you can be honest with my Grandmother In-Law. She will just tell everyone what she wants them to hear anyways." 

Declan O'Dwyer

April 19, 2021, 07:44:28 pm #19 Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 10:55:00 pm by Royal_Poet
Wow, this was something else. Normally, when he entered a ballroom, nobody noticed but with Farren at his side heads turned and he could feel many pairs of eyes on them. What a strange sensation. It was a bad feeling per se, but he certainly felt a little self-conscious given the attention they were receiving. No wonder Farren was such a tough girl if she had to put up with this all the time.

Declan subtly raised his eyebrow as an older lady approached them. He was unused to being titled 'offspring' and wasn't sure if he should take offense at the statement or take it in stride. Rather than betraying any reaction he gave a polite nod, before taking the offered hand and shaking it. The cool tone the older witch had employed made it pretty evident what she was thinking, even without taking into the account the meaning of her words.

Farren was quick to introduce the witch in front of them, for which he was rather grateful. He'd have struggled to put a name to her face. Mrs Malfoy-Rosier was certainly not an acquaintance he had planned on making, but he could handle the situation. She seemed no scarier than the average witch in society.

 "My pleasure to make your acquaintance," he said in a well-rehearsed manner and gave a slight bow.

Oh my, Mrs Malfoy-Rosier certainly was rather forward with her granddaughter by law. Declan was surprised that she would talk in such a manner in public. He couldn't imagine anyone in his family acting in such an ill-advised manner, but he supposed that given she had a sizable investment to protect in Farren her actions made some manner of sense.

"I don't know about the smart one," Declan said jovially, "but my brother is eleven years my junior and is yet to finish his education. For all I know, he will turn out just as smart." Privately, he rather agreed with Mrs Philipa's assessment, he wouldn't let such a statement stand in public. It wouldn't do for society to talk about Lorcan as a simpleton. It was bad enough his father attracted such comments from time to time.

"And if me attending a ball with a friend I have known since childhood is causing such a stir, I am rather afraid we will have a long and dull evening ahead of us."

It seemed Mrs Malfoy-Rosier wasn't intent on mincing words and got straight to the point. Barely a couple of sentences spoken the conversation boiled down to the two most pressing concerns of pure-blood society: marriage and money. He cringed at how frankly she discussed the matter, finding her manners to be rather crass.

Thankfully, Farren was amused rather than upset by all of this. He felt relieved, as in his estimation things could have easily gone differently. Her comment really said everything. Mrs Malfoy-Rosier was going to say whatever she wanted to say no matter how they behaved in front of her. This didn't bode well, he presumed. Nobody needed a chatty old lady wandering about the room putting strange ideas into people's heads.

"I am perfectly aware of Farren's character. In fact, I believe she shares many admirable qualities with my mother," he told her coolly.  "As for Mrs Abercrombie-Rosier's marriage prospects, I am afraid I am yet to be consulted on the matter so I couldn't tell you one way or another. I am afraid we will have to leave it up to this modern and independent woman to let you know when she has made up her mind."

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

April 19, 2021, 10:48:19 pm #20 Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 10:50:06 pm by Royal_Poet
Rather surprisingly, Odhrán found himself getting ready for this year's Bannatyne Ball. He wasn't usually fond of such occasions, but now that his sister Aoibheann was recovering from her long illness, she had been determined attend. At thirty-two years old, she was quite old for a debutante, but stranger things had happened in society, he was sure. His paternal instincts had kicked in none the less; letting Aoibheann go by herself was out of question. She hadn't had much exposure to society and having her older brother along just in case was probably wise. 

At first, Odhrán had tried to talk his sister out of wanting to go, but the more attempted to do so, the more he realised how desperately Aoibheann needed this. He supposed that her body had aged, but mentally she was still like a child. Years spent in an unresponsive state meant that her development hadn't progressed the way he ought to have. How could he be mad at a young woman dreaming about attending her first ball? Her time at school had been cut short, she had few friends; perhaps, this opportunity to socialise would change her life for the better.

Grudgingly, he'd agreed to make an occasion of it. They'd been to London together with their mother to pick out a pale lavender empire gown for Aoibheann and, after a near-argument, a set of brand-new dress robes for Odhrán himself. He'd opted for a blue that was near enough black, though the fabric had been enchanted to give a subtle shimmer once in a while. It reminded him of the night sky, and after his mother insisted that it looked flattering on him it was difficult to say no.

By the time he was ready to leave, Aoibheann was still applying make-up while one the house elves was trying to wrestle her long, straight hair into an elegant updo. They'd be late. Odhrán supposed that was good thing. They could slip in quietly, without drawing much attention. He wanted to think that they weren't important enough people to generate any gossip, but it was hard to tell such things in advance. Their family had made the news a little over a decade ago and the rumours about his father had been notoriously hard to quell. He supposed showing up with his sister healthy and eager to dance could help with putting some of it to rest. He was certainly tired of hearing the story of the Unspeakable - his father - who had somehow managed to curse his own daughter and had gone to Azkaban for it.

When they apparated in eventually, the dancing was already underway. A cousin twice removed, Eamonn Daly, was in attendance as well. The man was probably waxing lyrical about the latest ministry policies again if he could find anyone willing to listen. Odhrán was set on giving him as wide a berth as possible. Once Aoibheann had been set up with a dance card he had a plan of spending the evening in the Bannatyne's garden with a nice glass of red wine. Nearby if his sister needed him, but not quite close enough to make her feel awkward if she wanted to flirt with one of the gentlemen in attendance. Never had the two years that divided them felt like more of an abyss. He had to remind himself that he was only in his early thirties himself and that he should probably be dancing rather than acting like a concerned father. Alas, that bird had flown.

"I'll be right here if you need me," he reassured Aoibheann in a soothing tone. "Going to gab myself a drink and you have fun. And you know, if anything is amiss, just..." He didn't finish the sentence. He figured it was too strange a thing to say out loud in public. But his sister knew what he meant anyway. Think of me loudly and I will hear you. The many hours he had spent looking through her mind with legillimency had created a strange bond between them. Slipping into her mind was unlike anything he'd experienced with anyone else. It was easy and felt natural. He was certain he'd hear her if she called out to him. And with that thought in mind, he left her to it when he saw that Mr Vainwright was approaching them, presumably to ask Aoibheann for the next dance.

Glass in hand he settled on an elegant garden chair near some larkspur and hydrangea bushes. He had to admit that the scenery was beautiful. Bradford and Verity had clearly outdone themselves with the garden, or far more likely their gardener had. Hopefully the paid him well. Now what? He supposed he had a long, boring evening ahead of him.

Odhrán decided to light a smoke, entertaining himself with puffing out the smoke in the shape of a little dragon. A party trick he had learned at school, but there wasn't anybody around he could perform it for.

Nerva Sangréal

April 20, 2021, 04:26:25 pm #21 Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 10:59:07 pm by Nerva Sangréal
The Bannatyne Ball; the place to be and be seen by those of influence.

A woman with dark red hair apparated infront of the building. Her hair was parted to the side with her curls coiffed to perfection. She wore a haute couture dress that was specially made for her in Paris. The black off the shoulder gown fit snugly around her curves, her waist cinched in by a golden belt. From her belt hung her black polished wand that was attached to a golden chain, gold filigree swirling around the handle. Her skirt flowed gracefully to the ground, the layers under the top layer consisting out of gold and dark red satin.Among the gemstone embellishments decorating her neckline and hems were fragments of dragon scales, shimmering between gold and red.Dragon materials were hard to come by as they were heavily regulated by the Ministries but the materials were provided through the courtesy of a family member that worked at that department in France. The ends of her long draped skirt were enchanted with a spell to avoid getting stepped on, the fabric ebbing and flowing as she walked gracefully towards the hustle and bustle.

There was only one woman that could pull such a lavish gown off and make heads turn by her oozing confidence; Nerva Sangréal.

The succesfull businesswoman from the well-known Sangréal family that broke traditional roles with charm and beauty. Despite being unmarried and a pureblood, she avoided becoming a social pariah due to her wealth, name and personality. Next to running the bar SANCTUARY, she was also a known philanthropist that recently donated funds and materials to an orphanage. This success and freedom was envied but also admired by the glorified breeding hens in the upper class. She'd still receive offers of suitors but since she is from an elitist family and has her own business - it was hard to offer anything to entice her or her family.

With her arrival came the onslaught of pictures and attempts to gain her attention. Nerva parted her red stained lips to greet the curious journalists with a smile. As always she gave short but humble answers to their questions, complimenting the Bannatyne for their annual ball before entering the ballroom. Her walk was confident, gliding with ease as she greeted old and new acquaintances. Nerva was a regular at balls and events, often financing them to elevate the quality of the festivity. It made her the go to person for advice. Now the Bannatyne's were perfectly capable of throwing a ball so she only offered minimal advice on their decoration choices. To her, it was the typical boring ball with witches and wizards that barely amused her. Of course there were family members at the ball but she kept her interaction with them to a minimum. Beside the social hierarchy , they had their own strict family hierarchy which was enforced in public surroundings.But this night might be different as tensions were building up again with the disappearances.

After the standard greetings and promises to dance , she greeted the tonight's hosts, Bradford and Verity Bannatyne.  Introducing herself to the couple next to them Blythe Bannatyne and her fiancé Ardan O'Dwyer. Nerva had a few of the O'Dwyer family creations in her jewelry collection so it was only natural for her to compliment them on their latest release. Pleasantries were also exchanged with Lavinia Lockwood, the famous fashion designer that had designed dresses for her in previous balls. While the fashion designers were discussing next years release, she took Verity on a turn around the room. Nerva, acting like an elder sister had a short chat with her about how lovely the ball was looking and about her recent role as a wife. As they walked around the room, she listened to Verity while observing the guests. She saw a young woman who looked almost lost in the crowd. Bless her, was this her first ball? It crossed her mind to take the redhead under her wing but then she saw a stuffy gentleman rescue her. How..sweet. Verity let out an excited gasp mid-conversation as another guest arrived. Ah the Abercrombie widow,loving her freedom so it would seem. Nerva didn't engage much with that family since they weren't interesting and she didn't want to get involved in dull gossip, though she did like her dress. Her companion of choice was Declan O'dwyver? My, my. The papers would be filled with drivel tomorrow.

After getting back to the group, she excused herself to greet her old colleagues. Especially James Waterhouse, a former colleague at the I.W.P who had worked under Nerva when she was Chief Inspector a few years back. They kept their conversations casual with the now and then vague word play about work. Their conversations always kept him on his toes as he knew how she was able to wiggle information out of people without them knowing.Despite Nerva being a social buttery at events, she was a typical Sangréal- secretive. Nobody really knew her intricately, creating this mystery that piqued peoples interests.Though unbeknownst to them, she would know more about them than they would like. Information she'd strategically use when they would try to insult her. Nerva was a kind woman but when questioned about her status and occupation, her tongue was as sharp as a blade.That's why she enjoyed such festivities as they were perfect to collect new information and to establish new connections, also to preserve her own place in high society. And if the moment asked for it, to play games. Her games. With her mind safely locked away with her occlumency, she listened to their conversation while her light eyes scanned the room like a hawk.

Her eyes caught a small light coming from the gardens, upon further inspection it was a man she had never seen before. Nerva had seen a glimpse of him with a young girl in passing. She was curious but she didn't inform after them - that would be improper and might send the wrong message. An accidental meeting would be much better. She took a glass from a passing tray and excused herself.

Calmly the redhead walked over to him, watching how he created a little dragon out of smoke. As the smoke dissipated, she stepped forward through the smoke. Her light eyes looking down on him while giving him a kind smile. "Is this seat taken?" She said while giving a small nod to the garden chair next to him.

Harold Prendergast

As Rose lead him away from Gayle, he sighed a breath of relief, and muttered more to himself than to her "I'm rather glad you came, I'm not sure which of us, that is to say myself and my newly made gentleman friend, were more ill-at-ease with Ms Mordaunt's interminable monologues."

Harold frowned as Rose's words came back to him. "The Polonaise? I'm rather not sure about that one." But seeing the look on her face, he realised something else was up.

"Has something happened? Or someone?" His brow furrowed. "Did... something happen that we need to do something about perhaps?"

Harold was vaguely aware that while they had moved out of the crowd, they were not entirely headed for the dancing area of the floor.

"Would you mind please telling me what it is that has ruffled you?"

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

April 20, 2021, 10:41:40 pm #23 Last Edit: April 20, 2021, 10:57:04 pm by Royal_Poet
While there was not much else to do, Odhrán was quite content to watch people from a distance. As far as he was concerned, there was no big loss in missing out on the conversations. These events never changed, and people had the same conversations year in, year out. They seemed harmless at forst, but from spending time inside his patients' heads he knew that they were anything but. A subtle implication here or there and people could feel seriously hurt and damaged in their sense of self-worth. He sometimes wondered if there was any other group of people as sensitive as the rich and famous. With no material worries in their lives, everything resolved around imaginary problems.

Soon, he found his thoughts more pleasantly engaged as he watched Blythe Bannatyne dance with Ardan O'Dwyer. He had to admit that Blythe was a rather handsome witch. He liked her gorgeous chestnut brown her and vivid eyes. Part of him wished he had his sketchbook at hand to make a quick study of her features. It would be an interesting challenge to capture her cheerful spirit and the way her eyes shone whenever she looked at her newly announced fiancé. Alas, he couldn't imagine that it would be well received for him to sit in the garden with a sketchpad on his lap.

From the corner of his eyes, he could see another lady make a grand entrance. Something about her looked vaguely familiar, though Odhrán couldn't place where he might have seen her before. Perhaps, it was just his memory playing tricks on him. Thinking about it a little harder he convinced himself that the familiarity of her features was probably because he'd seen her in someone's memories. That happened to him surprisingly frequently of late and he didn't like it one bit. At least this time there was nothing specific he recalled about the lady, so he was free to form his own first impression.

He observed for a couple more moments, noting the experience jewelled gown and dragon scale detailing. Extravagant for sure, and rather unusual he thought for a lady of her age. Normally, the married ladies in the room just socialised around the perimeter, giving the debutantes the opportunity to commandeer all the attention in the room. An oddity then; he liked that. Maybe it would provide him with some entertainment as the evening progressed. He was hedging his bets that there would be a lot of whispered conversations about this one.

Odhrán's attention was briefly drawn to another couple, redhead with over-the-top gown and her underwhelmingly boring partner. What was it with these two popping in and out of the hedge maze? He was sure he'd seen them go inside a couple of times by now, but they had yet to come out. Were they cheating with apparition? There were people whose intellectual capacity was taxed by solving a hedge-maze? He supposed that was pureblood witches and wizards really.

Turning his attention back to the dance floor he searched for Aoibheann only to see that she was still dancing with the young gentleman from earlier. Did she not know that dancing multiple dances with the same gentleman more or less indicated that there was some sort of understanding between herself and the gentleman? He was sure that they had talked about this before the ball. Not that he begrudged Aoibheann a bit of fun, but he knew their mother wouldn't be thrilled if his sister came back having made a fool of herself in society.

Well, there was no harm in her finishing the dance as long as she didn't agree to another. He was about to get up to be within easy distance to intervene when suddenly the unconventional dragon scale lady was standing before him, asking if the empty seat next to him was taken.

Odhrán looked up in surprise. A quick glance around told him that there were other unoccupied seats nearby, which begged the question why she was here talking to him. The less cynical part of his brain tried to convince him that the redhead in front of him was probably just trying to be friendly. People talked to each other at balls. In fact, some would have said that was the entire point of attending: to meet people.

He figured there was no harm in giving in a shot.

"No, the seat is all yours if you want it," he responded neutrally. "So, you're welcome to join me. With whom do I have the pleasure?"

He couldn't resist a little humour though. "Though I dare say shouldn't you be dazzling society in the ballroom with this gorgeous gown, rather than sitting down with an Irish wizard from a lesser known family?"

Rose Pemberton

"The Polonaise is my favourite," she offered up sweetly, hoping that Harold would get the gist to not argue with her on this. She needed to talk, and the dancefloor was potentially the only safe place where they could talk without another person listening in on them. She didn't trust the people here and she didn't want any trouble, so diligence was the order of the day.

Having captured his attention of sorts, she took his hand and walked around the far end of the ballroom where couples were starting to queue up for the next dance. It wasn't a Polonaise, but an English Country dance, but, honestly, the type of dance didn't matter to her. She was looking for the opportunity to talk freely, while minimizing Harold's options of walking away from what she had to say. She didn't even care that she wasn't entirely sure about the steps. Maybe, by the time it was their turn to perform the figures they'd be done with their little chat.

As they were walking, Harold asked her what was wrong. The nerve, the gall, the ...

Rose felt exasperated and rolled her eyes. "You!" shed hissed at him. "You ruffle me, Hal." Rose found it difficult to keep her voice down, but she was managing for now. "Just what in the name of Merlin were you thinking? Do you have a death wish? Please explain it to me!" Her face was flushed red, and it was evident that she was struggling to control her temper.

"You brought it here, didn't you?" she accused. "Well, give it here, then. I won't have any more of that tonight if it is all the same to you."

Rose, of course, assumed that Harold would know what she was talking about. After all, he had to be the architect of what it happened. All she really wanted to know was why he would do such a thing to her and without any warning on top of that. She'd thought he'd be busy trying to find out about Sylvia. Wasn't that his top priority this evening?

Harold Prendergast

"Rose! I'm perfectly sure I have no idea what you're talking about! More of what?" Harold kept his voice quite calm, despite the obvious urgency in his reaction and tone. "I've been here talking with Miss Mordaunt and a perfectly charming gentleman by the name of de Lancie about teaching! I have a couple of draughts in my pocket for invigoration and to curtail inebriation, and..."

Harold stared, then put his palm to his face, fingertips on eyelids before letting it gently fall away. "You're talking about my pocket watch, aren't you? What have you seen? Did you see... us? If you have seen us, it is vitally important you tell me everything that has transpired - because if you have seen us, well... uh... we must use the pocket watch."

Then, uncharacteristically, Harold smiled. "This dance, my dear lady, is the perfect opportunity; we shall be able to move about the place, observe the hall, to be seen - our future selves will undoubtedly know we are there, and will do whatever it is they need to do when eyes are upon us."

While they queued, Harold put his hands in his pockets and tried to act as bored-wallflower as he could to try to allay suspicion, as he saw others in the line ahead of them doing. "You were in the gardens when you... saw us, well, we must go into the garden after the dance to investigate something. But I can't for the life of me work out what. Perhaps we shall see something at the dance."

Half to himself to steady his nerves, half in the hopes Rose would hear - and no small part hoping she wouldn't hear it and get the wrong impression anwyay, Harold muttered, "The English country dance is one of the few I did learn well from my father and I would be most honoured to dance it with you."

Rose Pemberton

How could he be so calm? The fact that Harold wasn't freaking out bothered her. How could he possibly accept what was happening in such a placid manner? Did he mean to imply that this sort of thing happened to him regularly? Rose wanted to explode. How could he not realise how dangerous all of this was?

"Yes, I've seen us. But no, I am not going anywhere, and I am not using anything!" She was livid. "I am starting to understand why your wife hasn't left you a message. I wouldn't either.  You're..., you're... impossible." Rose struggled to find words to describe how she felt about the situation. 

While Harold tried to look bored, Rose resolved to ignore his questions regarding the details of what she had seen. The moment he said that they could use the dance as a distraction to enable their future selves to time-travel she didn't want to be on the dancefloor anymore. It was just getting too much. The notion of being up close with him and looking into those green eyes while simultaneously wanting the strangle him for being downright irritating was too strange. Somehow, she was getting everything she'd wanted, but all of it felt deeply wrong. A few days ago the opportunity to dance with Harold would have made her happy, now it just felt uncomfortable.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment. Rose could hardly stand him up now, so she supposed that she would complete the dance and then feign a headache before heading home. She'd leave Harold to handle his weird time-travelling shenanigans and problems on his own. What good could possibly come of her being along for any of this?

"I saw us in the hedge maze," she told him finally, somehow being unable to stop herself from saying that. She felt that she shouldn't have. Why was she going along with this? Enabling his dysfunction was going to end poorly for Harold and everybody around him. Now she was getting angry at herself as well. Why did she always behave in such a spineless manner when it came to him?

Harold Prendergast

"I am... most definitely... not impossible." Harold was perturbed, even agitated at this suggestion. "I will admit that, comparatively, I may seem rather blasé about the nature of time turners - but I have spent a considerable amount of time, if you would pardon the pun, around them and understand what the risks are. I am concerned that you saw yourself - I can fully appreciate that this is a rather unnerving reaction for anyone not used to it." Well, he could point out that it still unnerved him to actively see himself, but that seemed like it would only inflame the situation.

He frowned, sensing her frustration. "Perhaps we should just go and dance and try to enjoy it. We have plenty of opportunity to resolve whatever else is going on here tonight."

He wondered how much of her belligerence was the drink talking - she'd clearly had a couple even before he arrived - and whether he should offer her a draught for dealing with the effects of alcohol, but in her present state, the odds were high that she'd not just refuse it but get more angry about it.

"I daresay someone at this event could find you an analgesic if your head hurts."

The conversation and the aggressive, versus passive aggressive, staring had taken their toll.

"It's almost our turn to dance. I would, if you would permit me, like this dance with you - no time turners, no covert complexity, just the two of us taking a turn about the room and trying to enjoy it. We can resume this argument afterwards."

If his suspicions were correct, that was exactly what his self had already done - and that after the dance they would perhaps both need some fresh air by the hedge maze and some time to metabolise their alcohol consumption.

Nerva Sangréal

"Thank you" She said while walking over to the chair, keeping her smile on her lips. Nerva slightly lifted her skirt up with her free hand as she settled down in the chair, crossing her legs she  carefully placing her wand on her lap. It could be her pride as a witch to use her wand as an accessory but it was in fact a habit from working at the I.W.P.

Before she could introduce herself, she let out a small chuckle at his comment. Dazzling? Well well, he could flatter a hippogriff with those words, though it was true that she was dazzling- much to the envy and admiration of those uptight hens. But considering his own chosen words regarding his family status , she decided to tone down her domineering attitude that upper class people often received. In a quick glance, her light eyes studied him for a few seconds. Taking note of his features, his posture and clothing, even remembering the smell of the cigarette he was smoking.

So he was an Irish wizard from a lesser family? Nerva heard of an independent Healer recently setting up a practice in Knockturn Alley. She heard it was an Irish man but the name reminded her of an interesting incident that happened a few years ago. Could it be him? She didn't know if his name was common in Ireland so she'd have to investigate a bit further. Nerva was already planning on visiting him out of curiosity since he was a memory and spell damage specialist. Not for herself, but to gauge if he was someone she could use or avoid in the future. Oh my, she found herself a curious puzzle to take apart. Before properly introducing herself, she decided to join him in his banter.

"I'm sure they can survive my absense for a few moments" Leaning in a bit she whispered "and between you and me, After seeing the same people at these balls for a years, I much rather converse with an unfamiliar face" Quite a cheeky statement but considering she was already bold in her fashion sense so were her words, plus if he would tell others of her comment, she'd doubt they'll believe him seeing he is new to these circles.

Nerva extended her hand to properly introduce herself "Nerva Sangréal. The dazzling sheep from the Sangréal family!' she said playfully, chuckling at her own description of her status in the family "and from which family do you hail from?"

Omitting the word lesser as to her, all families were lesser in her eyes. Not because this generic thought process that ran rampant among purebloods, but a conclusion she made from her own arrogance and interactions. She loved the perks that came with high society but found the attitude of lazy purebloods quite jarring. Their sense of superiority based purely on birth did not scream power or strength to her, hard work and intelligence did.

Rose Pemberton

"Professor Prendergast, dont't make me promises you can't keep," Rose scoffed. Just a dance, no complexity; how was that even possible? Everything between them was tricky and difficult. The only saving grace was that Harold was apparently too oblivious to see any of it. Rose supposed that was a good thing. He'd probably be shocked and outraged to discover that she liked him, almost despite herself. No good could possibly come of her stupid infatuation with him. It was turning her into a weird idiot whenever he was near and she didn't like it. She'd just gotten her life back together and here he was making her feel vulnerable. And on top of all of that he was married, and maybe not even a good person. And he time travelled!

In a moment of weakness Rose questioned if she'd been told the truth about Sylvia. Maybe, he had caused her to get stuck in time on purpose and this whole search was just a farce? It sounded ridiculous even as she thought it, but how could she be sure? Well, not going on a time travel adventure with him was probably a good way of keeping safe. She'd chosen her last abuser, she resolved not to choose another.

"I'll dance with you because I don't want to make a scene. Then I'll say goodbye to Verity and Bradford, thank them for inviting us both and head home. I'm just telling you now, so you know exactly what to expect."

As she said the words she was mad at herself for being so harsh. She had it wrong, didn't she? Harold was just a sweet English gentleman. She was probably safe with him. But between the alcohol and Marlowe's presence it was hard to think straight. The truth of the matter was that she wanted to trust him, but her reason and experience told her not to. Rose was so conflicted she really didn't know what to think anymore.

Their turn came and she stepped through the dance distantly, while her mind was trying to work out a way forward. She kept drawing blanks. Thankfully, the steps weren't t complicated and she managed to navigate them mostly successfully even in the massive gown she was wearing. After completing the first set of figures they were about to begin their gallop through the aisle and Rose was so nervous she could her heartbeat very loudly as she felt Harold's hand on the small of her back. A bit of blush was flushing her cheeks as they made their way to the other end of the line.

"Why must we use the watch?" she asked just as they returned to their respective positions in the line of dancers.