Back meeting the wall unceremoniously, a sharp intake of breath left her lips as a mixture of annoyance and slight surprise washed over her. The sound of the nickname made her roll her eyes, but at the same time a small smile crossed her features. “Grotesque as ever, your slang is. And what did I say about that nickname?” Nodding slowly, she let herself slip away from the close distance between them with ease, though the smirk remained. “I’ve been handled rougher, so no need to apologise.” she replied as their gazes interlocked, her eyes meeting his entirely familiar ones. “Stating the obvious, are we? Well, I might as well oblige. Yes, Kaspar, it’s been fantastic.” she muttered with a sly smile, eyebrows arching as she looked at him from head to toe, his top hat catching most of her amusement. “I thought I’d be avoiding you, too.” she countered, shrugging. “But plans change. - but that doesn’t mean I missed you, don’t flatter yourself.” she allowed a chuckle to escape her, just as the boy moved in closer with the coy expression on his face. Allowing herself a flick of his top hat and of his cheek, she smirked at him again, opening her mouth to say something else until she was caught interrupted. “King!” the familiar beckon made the young girl cringe as she watched the coach stride towards her, a far too broad smile on his face for Cece’s liking. The annoyance that laced Kaspar’s tone made Cece stop in her tracks for she knew this wasn’t going to end well. Shaking her head in a slight manner, “Kaspar, don’t.” she whispered lowly before Keith had snorted a laugh at the boy. “Not like you can do anything about it, now can you?” he asked, hands making their way to Cece’s waist quickly.
“Let’s go elsewhere, hm? I don’t find this as…entertaining, as what I have planned.” he whispered into her ear, one hand already interlocked with hers and ready to drag her away. Cece gulped, torn and uncertain of what she should do, something remarkably uncharacteristic. Every time Keith had said the very same thing, Cece obliged. It was, after all, the price she had to pay if she wanted to stay on the team. It wasn’t as if she enjoyed it, in fact, it was far from that; she hated it, she hated him. He was everything she loathed in the world, his pigheadedness, his utter idiocy. But she obeyed him, nonetheless. She needed this team more than she realised, and if that were the price she needed to pay, she willingly accommodated it. Yet her eyes drifted off to Kaspar’s again, and her thoughts stemmed in uncertainty. “I…” she started weakly, though the tone faltered, seemingly carried away by the suddenly chilled air. “I said, let’s g-“ Ya know that be rude when a man such as yerself be doin’ it. Cutting through the thick atmosphere, Cece’s eyes widened as Kaspar pushed the two apart, yet her fingers seemed to delicately grasp onto the boy’s coat, unable to let go. Realising her actions, she let go, taking a step back uncomfortably. “And its rude to be butting into other people’s business.” the snarl was cold and the threat of danger was evident, yet Cece held her ground. The twinkle in Kaspar’s eyes was something Cece, though admired, found incredibly stupid, and she knew nothing she said nor did was going to stop him from being his impulsive, immature self.
Stupefy. The spell hit him square in the chest and a loud resounding shout of shock escaped Cece involuntarily. “Kas-” his name lodged in her throat, the young girl had half a mind to run to him and check if he was alright, but the thought left him as quickly as it had entered, and instead she pulled out her wand, the glare she had been holding back for so long now directed towards the man who represented everything she despised in the world. “Leave—fucking leave him alone.” she ordered shakily, frustrated that her voice wasn’t even rock solid. A loud bellow slid off the man’s tongue, though his wand was still directed at the boy with his back against the wall. “Or what, Cecelia?” his voice lowered, enough for her to hear, “Have you forgotten that I own you?” with a laugh laced with malice, the man brushed past the girl, interest in her wavering no longer; this time, it was permanently lost. Eyes narrowing dangerously, the young girl’s grip on the wand she brandished grew instinctively, involuntarily tighter, and without a moment’s hesitation, her wand was aimed at the coach. Bolts of light of hues of blue and gold lisped from her wand undeviating towards the coach, who dodged them almost mechanically, as he himself threw different jinxes at Kaspar who avoided them better. Although she found it incredulous that he challenged Keith without a wand, Cece couldn’t help but laugh at the words that left Kaspar’s mouth. It sounded as if he were enjoying it, Cece mused over it with an amused smile though it faded quickly. The boy jumped near her, and for a moment Cece broke concentration - just enough time to look at him - when the next spell was cast.
Realising who the spell was directed at a time tad too late, the next thing Cece felt was warmth. The strong scent of sandalwood overwhelmed her as the circus boy’s frame moved against hers, enveloping her as the shot targeted towards her hit another. Eyes widening with shock, she realised he had saved her. He had tried to save me. she thought incredulously, making up her mind to thank him personally once this were all over. Yet as she glanced at him, she saw his eyes shut, his body growing limper and limper by the minute. “Kaspar?” shaking him gently at first, then vigorously, “Kaspar.” her voice repeated the name over and over, each time more frantic than the last. What was the spell he had used on him? she thought, glancing at the coach, too absorbed in his victory. With a swooping glare of hatred, Cece got her wand out once more, muttering “Petrificus Totalus.” under her breath. The spell sent Keith flying into the walls, sinking back onto the ground completely paralysed as passersby watched. Paying mind to the scene no longer, concern overtook the girl as she looked over the boy who held her in his arms. Another spell had hit, but no Kaspar this time - her. But she paid no mind, merely focused on the boy. Feeling herself grow fainter and fainter, ”Kaspar,” she tried to say, yet she could not do anything but mouth the boy’s name, her voice stuck as she watched all the colors, the sounds, the sights of the atmosphere turn to white. The white turned to grey, the grey turned to obsidian, the obsidian, to black. Sending another deadly glare towards Keith, it was the last thing Cece could do before she closed her eyes and met black.
It was dark, and it was cold. Her eyes opened dazedly, scouring for sunlight in the smallest place, though finding none. “Lumos Maxima.” the spell left her lips weakly, and light stemmed, erupting from her wand in a quiet manner. The environment she was in was small, tight. Walls surrounded her, and as she looked up, she was met with nothing but more dimness. Where was she? Had she been hit? She remembered the last light that had flashed before she closed her eyes for what seemed like days. She couldn’t recall if it had hit her or not, though it evidently seemed as if it did. Running a hand through her hair absently, Cece kept the wand’s light ever present in her hand as she walked around the dark space, looking for a way out. “Alohomora.” she tried, holding the wand in a general motion and hoping, praying silently that she would hear the brisk sound of an unlocked lock, yet she found there was no similar noise that came of it. Frustration starting to get the best of her, she began to pace, back and forth, wondering what she would do. What she could do. Though at this point, it did not seem like much. Out of her mouth left a cold snarl at the thought of her coach, the man whose fault it was that she was trapped in this plight in the first place. Immensely angered by what the coach had done, the ball of the girl’s foot immediately hit the stone cold wall. “Fucking hell.” she growled, cringing at the slight pain she felt. “This is unbelievable.”
Then, turning around, Cece remembered she was not alone. Kaspar. a spark of hopefulness lit up in Cece and using her light, she found her companion in the dark, and she let her wand point downward in order to let out a small smile that she had been hiding. He looked…okay. she thought to herself thankfully, grateful that he wasn’t hurt. Though the more she stared at him, the more another feeling washed over Cece, replacing gratitude - anger. The smile she had had on her face morphed into a frown, and then a scowl, and without another thought she shoved him against the wall, obviously frustrated with him. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!” she screamed, half a mind decided on slapping him in the face, yet something held her back. Most probably the common decency she had left in her. Turning her back to the boy, she scoured the premises for any exits she could find, trying to use all the spells that came to mind to no avail. Another hand went through her hair in frustration as she continued to search, though words left her lips quicker than usual, all directed towards the same person. “I was perfectly fine without your help, I can handle things on my own! I’ve always handled things on my own! But no, you just had to be rash and impulsive and just so stupid, getting yourself in the middle of it.” the blonde started, trying the best she could to keep her tone at an even steadiness, though unsuccessful as she could tell her voice was escalating as echoes started resounding around her. “It wasn’t your job to…protect me, if that was what you were doing.” she barked at him, gratitude for saving her completely thrown out the window.
Drawing a sharp intake of breath, Cece blinked, trying to gain control of the situation. “I’m capable of protecting myself.” she said, locking gazes with Kaspar determinedly though she wasn’t sure if she were trying to convince him or herself. Brushing past him indifferently, “So just help me find an exit to this stupid…whatever this is.” Considering Apparition, the young girl shut her eyes, placing her thoughts on her set destination - their place of origin, where the circus troupe was about to perform. Doing this for quite a long time, yet with nothing happening, Cece clenched her teeth in frustration again, worn out, determined, and obviously cross. “This is all your fault! You just had to go and protect me from m-” from my coach. was the end of the sentence. He tried to protect you from your coach, who was going to use you for sex and make you beg him to stay on the team, beg so much, in fact, that you’d do anything to still be on it. Bottom lip quivering, Cece slunk down to the ground, unsure of what to utter out for the second time that day. Realising the unfinished sentence had left the tip of her tongue and was not lost in their atmosphere, “From my coach.” she finished the sentence on a hollow note, tone changing considerably, more noticeably than she had planned or liked. Sighing, she took a step towards Kaspar now, unsure of what to say, cause of anger swapping from Keith to him, back to Keith, back to the boy she was stuck with. Groaning and obviously exasperated by the whole thing, she desperately continued looking for a way out of what seemed like a dark, black coffin.
“Men.” the word was let loose as her lips parted with a scoff. “Always the cause of trouble, and never the one who gets the worse end of it.” she muttered. And of all the people to be caught in the same situation with, it was Kaspar, the boy she could hardly stand. Rambunctious, obnoxious, absolutely no help at all when it came to problems in the real world; these were basically all Kaspar was, and perhaps even he knew it. After all, everyone did. With his peculiar fondness of gambling and the distinct annoying jargon, what good was he, in such a situation? “Honestly.” she huffed involuntarily, walking away and giving up wholly. “I’ve looked everywhere. And there’s…no exit.” her voice faltered, the horror of her own words sinking in. “I-I’m stuck here. With you.” grimacing, Cece looked up at the boy across her with a trying, fierce expression, yet fear, nerves started to return, starting to come and seize the girl permanently. Already, she could feel the already cramped area getting smaller and smaller by the second, her heart racing and ticking like a bomb. “Lumos Maxima.” she whispered, keeping the light steady though her heartbeat was not. Unbeknownst to most, her claustrophobia had always been a problem for her. She recalled, with an expression of grimness, when she had been locked into the basement by accident when she was younger. The stupid servants had forgotten their master’s child, his child inside a basement, and from down below she could hear their panic.
Yet no one was as panicked as the young Cece was. Finding herself unable to breathe at points, she struggled to maintain her composure, though the walls were closing in more and more, and she found no way out. Her breaths became less paced and more frantic as she began merely gasping for air at any given time, silently praying to find a way out. Nessarose had found a way to let her out and keep her safe, yet the vision in her mind was as vivid as day, and vicarious it was, as she could easily live it out just by thinking of it. Terrified at the mere thought of ever having that experience again, Cece kept her calm, breathing evenly. Everything is going to be fine, you’re going to be alright. Nessa’s calming words to her crept into her mind once more, and a smile flitted across her face before disappearing, realising she was still in the predicament. Almost decisive on giving up and waiting it out, her whole body screamed in protest. She wasn’t one to give up, she never had been one to give up, and she had been in worse situations. And what if nobody were to come? She would be left alone with…her eyes trailed over Kaspar’s form, at least, what was visible with the light that she had. The top hat caught her attention for a brief moment yet again, but she locked gazes with him without saying a word, though still deeply vexed with him. She had run out of words to say, she had no clue as to what she was doing. And that frustrated her more than anything.
Cece always knew what to do. She prided herself on the fact that she was ready for anything, and that anything rarely came as a challenge to her. Problems for everyone weren’t problems for her because she had faced them, she had overcome them already, and that was, in her opinion, what made her stronger than everyone. But not knowing what to do left her confused. Her father had always told her knowledge was everything, and Cece had to know everything. Without knowing something she felt weak, out of the picture. She felt vulnerable, breakable, words she hated and despised; she couldn’t feel that way, she wasn’t allowed to feel that way as the words led to failure, something which wasn’t an option for her. When she didn’t know things, she felt tossed aside and left, and above all she felt alone. And being alone in triumph, in victory, was much much better than being alone in defeat and in loss. Standing up again and breaking eye contact with the boy from the circus, she continued searching, though half-heartedly as she knew there was no way out. On the verge of tears, she blinked furiously, refusing to let them escape. She rarely let tears go, and when she did, they were hard to manage. And she couldn’t show tears, especially not in such a moment. With a sigh, she continued on, though a certain thought stopped her in her tracks, and she turned to Kaspar in utter bewilderment. How had she only noticed that now…?
“How are you so calm?” she wondered aloud, her initial feeling of irritation coming back to seize her as she walked towards Kaspar. Though she shouldn’t have expected any less. The boy was reckless, he walked around like there wasn’t a care in the world and he was smug about it too, something that infuriated Cece to no end. Feeling the need to give him a lecture, she reached for his top hat and pulled it off his head of unkempt, messy hair, smacking his chest with the accessory. “One day,” she swore, flicking his arm with the hat again, “You’re going to care.” with a nod of affirmation, Cece carried on, encircling Kaspar slowly whilst placing the top hat on her head like he did. “You’re going to experience something life-changing. You’re going to win something irreplaceable. Hell, you’re going to meet a girl you really like, though I don’t know why that’s always been necessary for people, to meet a special girl or a special boy, it doesn’t really matter, does it? They’re all going to be lost, anyway, and you’ll just end up alone, but—” shaking her head firmly, “But that’s not the point.” she said fiercely, eyes trailing the boy as she continued to make small circles around him. “The point is,” she started, eyes squinting for good measure as she thought of how long the lecture was going to be, “The point is, something’s going to happen in your life. It’s going to be something big, or something small. It might have happened already and you don’t know it, but you’ll look back on it and you’ll change, or something that’s just about to happen. But either way, something’s going to happen.”
“And it’s going to make you care. You might not like it at first, but you don’t have to like it, it’s not voluntary. You’re just suddenly, out of the blue…you’re going to give a fuck. A fuck about things that matter, a fuck about things that don’t. But you will start to care about things, about people, instead of sliding through life like you oh so ceremoniously do. I don’t necessarily know why I care if you slide by or not, honestly, but…but…” spluttering uncertainly after a while, Cece held her ground, coming back to her stand firmly, “But you should care. Because despite what everyone thinks, there’s always that one thing, or possibly even more things they should care about. People give shits, Kaspar, it’s human nature. Whether they’re welcomed or not, we can’t help but give a damn, and we’re supposed to. You’re supposed to care.” a sigh left her, the sudden outburst done, and she sat down, uncertain as to why she had let such a sermon out, and how much supposed indignation she had exuded over the short period of time she had been trapped inside. Exhausted and worn-out, Cece sighed, taking a seat across Kaspar and leaning against the dark wall. “Lumos Maxima,” the spell left her, without the determination the tone of her voice once had. It was now dull, wearisome, and she felt done. The silence was unnerving, and she felt the walls starting to close in little by little, but not too much as she was yet to be affected, much to her gratitude.
She sat in silence, the noise or rather the lack of it familiar to the girl’s ears. Silence, at most times, was what the girl looked for. Though the cheering stands in the various pitches were now more of a necessity to Cece than a desire, silence was often a daily ritual for her. There were times she needed to gather her thoughts, to think properly. Being lost in crowds of people screaming, chanting, hollering their names…it was amusing to watch. But more than often the crowds were defeaning, clamouring. Being pushed around and shoved amongst the people, often she felt like more of a circus attraction rather than a person, a Quidditch player, especially. And she felt in her mind it was true. After games, she was no longer a player - she was a prize, the prize Keith had claimed night after night. A familiar sense of hands roaming around her, exploring her made her quaver and tremble with fear. She hated him. She was easily replaceable, she and he knew that, and it scared her to know that one day he would grow tired of her. The knowledge that with a quick shake of his head, all she had would be taken away from her, scared her. Despite despising him, she had to obey, she needed to. And she had just been about to, had Kaspar not…tried to saved her. A part of her could not believe why he did just that. He was not obligated to, nor was it his job. Perhaps it was common decency for him, not to just stand as a passerby to watch Keith hold her in a way he deemed inappropriate. Yet she wondered quietly, the boy in front of her filling her psyche, the smell of sandalwood being the only thing that consumed her.
“Kaspar.” she held the par tartly and shortly, cutting across the name like it was a burden to say it. Already, she was tired of being stuck inside, and it had probably already been minutes. The wand in her hand still alight because of the spell, she let her gaze interlock with his, the light that reflected in his eyes interesting her more than she thought. Breaking eye contact absently, she glanced around what much of the prison she saw, though it obviously was not much. Directing her attention back to him, Cece’s lips parted, about to speak. “Why did you do it?” the quietness of her tone was unusual, it was different. “It’s not like I’m not thankful, though I do suppose my tone might’ve stated otherwise quite a while back…” realising she still had his top hat, she tilted it slightly towards him in an almost apologetic manner. “But why?” the wonder had not left her tone as she persisted on, “You weren’t obligated to, I didn’t ask for your help, I—I warned you against it. I could handle it by myself, I could do things by myself.” she glared at him, though not as seriously as usual, almost as if she were just trying, and failing. “Why?” the question repeated itself on her lips without her intention, and it hung in the atmosphere, silence meeting her once again as she awaited his answer.
His fingers flinched first. Strained nerves awakened in a dull haze and a soft groan escaped from his parted lips. Dark lashes struggled to stay away from the lashes that decorated the bottom edges of his irises but the obsidian drapes seemed to determine to keep the light away from him. Relenting, his eyes remained clothed with the darkness and his eyebrows furrowed as his conscience stirred. Where am I? A blurry voice seemed to say a spell that he vaguely remembered and his shoulders clenched, trying to find strength to stand up however his sore body forced him down. Unwilling to let it bother him, he remained on the ground and allowed for his body to recuperate, it wouldn’t take long. His body had always proven its resilience. The Puppeteer had never been a merciful man and notorious for his short temper. However, the man had never raised a hand on him and it frustrated Kaspar. Many knew better than to provoke the beast except Kaspar. Despite Mela’s constant warnings, Kaspar stayed true to his nature and refused to listen to Mela’s words of wisdom. Purposely setting traps that would cause the Puppeteer to unleash his fury, Kaspar wondered how far he could push the boundaries. For two weeks during Winter break, he experimented His experimentations lead to bruises that would scar his skin and spells that would put him in a state of paralysis. Every time Mela came into his tent with a pile of bandages, the tear stained irises filled with disappointment would pierce through his supposedly non existent soul. Wordlessly, he would watch her as she tended to his wounds and flinch whenever his body deemed it too painful. The small mannerism in which she bit her lips, sniffled, never failed to confuse him. Why should she care? It was his body that was battered. His actions and the consequences were his and his to bear.
He disliked it. The way that the woman seemed to care when he clearly didn’t. As she silently left, he would stare at the ground, waiting for his body to rejuvenate. Within those lapses of silence, his mind wandered to the next trick, the next gamble, the next punishment. The uncertainty of the events that could transpire fueled his inevitable mischief and his subsequent punishment. Needless to say, the licks of scars that adorned his bare body worsened and while the others looked on with what Kaspar thought and labeled as concern, he would wait with dying anticipation to see what would make the old man snap. It didn’t take long for the Puppeteer to notice Kaspar’s incessant behavior and the old man proved to be quicker than Kaspar had anticipated. The wounds heightened in intensity until one night Kaspar felt completely numb. He never felt happier. Ever since he could bounce around the circus with ease, Kaspar always wanted to be a ghost. What did it feel like to feel nothing when someone tried to attack you? What did it feel like to be stuck in the in between, the uncertain state of life? It enthralled him. Mela pulled him off the ground and cradled him like a child. Her soft waning voice sang a simple melody and scalding tears that made his wounds flinch in searing pain fell from her weary eyes, “You’ll be the death of me,” were the words that she whispered as she left him on the ground with a simple blanket. It was the first time that she had done nothing to heal his wounds. And it was the first time, he felt hollowed by her disappearance. He healed within a couple days, his skin callous as ever and he entered the Puppeteer’s tent as expected.
But what he did even surprised himself, he bowed before the Puppeteer and left. As he departed there was a lightness in his steps and he bore his scars like medals. To his annoyance, the Puppeteer gave him a consolation prize and told Kaspar to tell him anything he wanted, and he would get it. Kaspar mockingly said he wanted the circus to himself and lead it. The answer he spouted out seemed to rattle the elder man and though it shocked him too, he challenged the man. It only took that one moment to alter the dynamic the Puppeteer had managed to keep up with him. There was a visible tension and Kaspar enjoyed it more and more as he saw the growing discomfort. The news of his wish spread across the circus rapidly and upon hearing it, others came to support him. It surprised him. He was never a leader. In Hogwarts, he was in charge of one thing, the bets. Bets that were worth his time, however, the circus? Mela scolded him with a fury and her motherly actions made him want to take the circus as his own. Immature and foolish, he knew it too. But after he went back to Hogwarts, the thought of claiming the circus consumed his thoughts almost as much as his gambles did. He tried to stop himself from liking the idea more but it came at him with such a force he couldn’t shake it. When he returned after graduation, he gained his wish but weaknesses as well. He kept Mela and his mother close by, keeping an eye on them in case the old man decided to pull a stunt. He kept the circus members close, he couldn’t loose them. He hated it. He hated it more than he hated anything before. These things that others knew as warm emotions. Sympathy, care, familial love. He hated it.
Slowly, a numbness crawled away from him and the throbbing pain found itself dulling. Finding the strength to open his eyes, to his amusement, it didn’t seem to make much a difference. It was dark. He scoffed at himself for such an obvious observation. An irrepressible groan of pain coughed its way through his lips as he rolled onto his back. Uncurling his fingers from the fist they made, his hands shifted through his surroundings while his irises swirled to adjust to the small measurable amount of light that seemed to come closer to him. Squinting, he pushed against the seemingly metallic ground and raised his left hand lazily to get a better view of the approaching figure. Soft blond curls glimmered against the light and as she stopped before him, he was caught off guard by the expression that graced her. His eyebrows perked and his lips slightly agape as the small smile that ornamented her features made shivers run down his spine. Her normal visage of annoyance and smirk were countenances he was used to. It was expected from the beater and welcomed by him though others cowered underneath the weight of her intimidating presence. From the years he knew her, he knew she had the capacity to smile. She wasn’t unfeeling or devoid of emotions. But he never imagined that such a small and genuine smile would be directed at him. Why was she smiling at him? He tried to recollect the events that occurred before he blacked out. Quidditch. The bets and dinari he won. The victory of Puddlemere. The start of the show. Then that disgusting coach.
An involuntarily scowl appeared for a trite moment as it vanished quickly and a spark of realization formed in his eyes. He had been hit by some spell. One that he couldn’t quite remember and his fingers roamed through the tangled mess as he kept his attention focused on the event rather than her smile. It rattled him to catch such a serene and perhaps even a grateful expression. Staring at the wall next to him, he could already make out the confinements of the room they were in. No windows, no light, only four walls and the one straight ahead had an outline of a door. An almost undetectable light sourced from an almost non existent crack on the wall and he took a step closer to get a good look at what the hole could reveal. But before his feet carried him far, his body slammed onto the iron wall behind him and a wordless sound of surprised pain escaped him. He breathed a sigh of relief when the aggravated irises looked at him and the ephemeral sensation that gripped him when she had smiled left him. A comfortable smile crossed his own lips this time as he grinned like the Cheshire Cat, pleased that their dynamic had returned. His toothy grin glistened against the light her wand emitted and her question was met with his cheeky smile, “Didn’ know ya wanted ta get so close,” he mocked, “Coulda asked me if ya wanted ta,” he joked before she roughly released him. He half waited for her fingers to leave a print against his cheeks due to his comment but she didn’t leave such a mark. It left him slightly shocked though his lips remained stoically locked as a smile. As she turned her back on him, an involuntarily scowl appeared as her frustration seeped out of her. Deciding it best not to provoke her at the moment, he leaned against the wall and looked towards the ceiling.
Cupping his ears on the wall, he quietly listened for signs of life to hit against wherever they were confined in. Her demanding voice as she conducted spell after spell slowly started to get on his nerves as it was impossible to hear anything but her voice. His coarse hands ran through the scruff that littered across his jawline and the angered words thrown at him caused him to look up. Taking care of herself? He had to stop himself from laughing. No, she was right in her own way. She had always been one of the more capable students in Hogwarts both in the classroom and in the field. Arguably one of the most capable, if he had to admit it. She carried herself with dignity and with confidence. Even if she always had a stick up her arse. But the girl who stood before him when the Puddlemere coach appeared didn’t seem as strong. Perhaps she was, why did he care about the little details? However, it didn’t escape his notice. The lecherous way the coach groped her and her obvious discomfort and distaste. Why didn’t she push him away? He couldn’t help but ask even if the answer was glaringly staring at him. Even a child could figure out the nature of their relationship after all, the Puddlemere coach hadn’t tried to hide his obvious groping. It was wrong. Sure, he slept with a million girls from the circus, but they gladly offered themselves to him. He never forced himself on a woman before. It was disgusting to and it went against his almost non existent moral code. His teeth unconsciously grounded against each other at the thought and his fist clenched. He didn’t like how she was so easily torn down by this man.
His heated gaze locked with hers as her words passed through her frustrated lips. The determination that filled her eyes made his dim in intensity as a rush of sympathy passed by him. Who was she trying to convince? Even with her insistence that she didn’t need protection, he couldn’t quite believe her. There was a weakness that consumed her a few moments ago. He immediately shook his head as the distasteful emotion of concern left a sour taste on the tip of his tongue. It left him a little shell shocked that he had taken the time to even notice it, the discomfort on her facial features. He never cared to pay attention to such detail before and though naturally impulsive, he wouldn’t have defied the older man on normal circumstances. He wasn’t a hero. He never wanted to be a hero nor did he want that title. Before he could retort, she gruffly brushed by him and his words laid lodged in his throat. Closing his eyes shut, he sucked in the air to keep himself from acting rashly since she seemed to be a fragile state. Again, why did he care about keeping her sane? Normally, he would push the boundaries, see how far he could push but this time, he bit his tongue. He had half the mind to grab her by the shoulders and he wasn’t sure why he wanted to do that either. It wasn’t a confusion that he enjoyed, it was an uncertainty that he would much rather not be stuck in. As she quieted, he took a moment to scan the premises closely.
The environment wasn’t as dark as he first thought it was. It seemed like a box and the walls seemed definite, unwilling to bend. As he raised a hand and pressed against it, the coldness laughed at him for trying but every stone had a weak spot. He simply needed to find it and crush it with his cane that was hidden within the confinements of his hat. He had charmed it long ago to be able to hold anything he desired, at the bottom of the hat was a small zipper that kept him from falling into the contents of the impossible top hat. Lightly tapping against the wall, he listened for the echoes but before he could further investigate her voice cut him off. His curled hand stayed raised in the air and he turned his attention to the girl that had yet to face him. A sudden pause peaked his interest and he couldn’t help but ask, “From?”
Crossing his arms together, he leaned against the wall waiting for her to finish the rest of her statement. He tilted his head as if to gain a better angle of her countenance but stopped when her trembling words lifted into the dense atmosphere. It struck a cord in him, the hollowness of her tone, an emptiness that seemed to wash around her. A hesitant hand raised and he took a step closer to her. Hovering over her shoulders, he snapped out of whatever trance he was caught in and backed away. Staring at his hand with utter confusion, he comically started to scold it by slapping it. The fuck are ya doin’? He thought as he incredulously glared at the treacherous body part. Breathing steadily, he escorted any thoughts of consoling the distraught beater out of his head. Fanciful thoughts that shouldn’t exist in him, she seemed to bring it out of him naturally and it displeased him. Rather than being the one annoying her, he found himself being the one annoyed and he had to admit, it was an unpleasant feeling. As she took a step toward him, he kept his composure as he tilted his head, unleashing the cheekiest grin he could muster. A bit of retaliation on his part. Childish, comfortable, true to his nature, and the small act of immaturity only seemed to calm him down. Once she spat out the word that described about half of the world’s population, it further soothed his agitation and he welcomed the front she put on.
His shoulder hit against the cold surface of the wall and a steady smirk remained on his features. He bemusedly watched her as she paced back and forth. Her frustration was clear and he supposed his presence was simply making it worse. When she turned around, he raised his eyebrow to notice that it seemed as though the well put together blond in front of him was giving up. To him, it was an interesting turn of events. He hadn’t thought she would have given up so easily and his eyes carefully watched to see what she would do next. Absentmindedly, he rapped against the wall behind him and his ears twitched as there was a hollowness in the area he had just touched. His eyes widened slightly and he reached for his top hat until the disdain in her words registered in his ears. Slightly peeved, though he wasn’t sure why, he put the hat back onto his head with a smirk. His lips parted as a pert comment was ready for use until his irises filled with her diminishing presence. Unconsciously, his eyebrows knit in concern as her own fierce expression failed to emit the same type of intensity it usually could. He found himself lowering onto the ground involuntarily going down to the level she was in. His fingers touched the floor before he reached it and he slowly tilted his head involuntarily. He wasn’t sure why and he didn’t question it for the time being. He simply let it be. It was the first time he had ever seen her lower her defenses in such a way. And in a strange way, he was entranced by it. He wondered if anyone else had seen her in this vulnerable state before and he found himself wishing they hadn’t. Increasingly, he wanted this to be a side that others never got to see except for him in this moment.
The fuck? He wondered and almost whispered aloud as he diverted his eyes while running his hand through his scruff. Staring at the floor, he shook off the feeling, he shouldn’t be feeling. He never felt things, he didn’t. But the more he tried to convince himself, he found himself lying. He wasn’t a robot after all, or a ghost. Why wasn’t he? He wanted to be since they truly had not a care in a world. A sensation he once possessed but ever since he gained the circus, he begrudgingly cared about people, he cared about helping them, diminishing their pain. It had only applied to the people in the circus, namely his mother and Mela. How had it transmitted to a girl that he annoyed during his times in Hogwarts? Someone who he thought he’d probably never see again. Frustrated but refusing to surrender to such frustrations, he simply tapped his toe against the ground and his gaze lifted to face her. The light beaming from her wand lit the dark room and he didn’t see the use for such light. Before he could ask her to undo the spell, a soft smile seemed to form on her lips as she seemed to be lost within her own thoughts and the small gesture of her comfort only caused a smile to grow on his own features. It made him forget the question that rested on his tongue and he looked at her with intrigue. Her expression dropped and he immediately occupied his attention with something else. The particles that littered the ground shifted softly and he lifted his head to discover the source of the draft that moved through the room.
Instead of drawing attention to it, he refrained but it wasn’t to punish her as he first intended. He wanted to prolong their interaction even if it was for a bit longer. He wasn’t sure why, then again, he wasn’t sure with a lot of things especially when it came to the witch in front of him but he knew he didn’t want to leave quite yet. Her eyes rested on him and he felt her stare. Naturally gravitating towards her gaze, he stared into the dark irises and a silence settled around them. And for the first time, he didn’t want to break it. In most cases, he hated silence. He did everything he could to avoid the lack of sound but in the moment, he didn’t want distractions. She seemed to have calmed down considerably, or was that a front as well? Her vexation was prevalent but the helplessness he wasn’t accustomed to, seemed to have dissipated. He liked her silent, he realized. Listening to her steadied breaths, that quickened and steadied once more, it was strange to pick up such detail but he found them intriguing. The distraught manner in which her curls rested on her shoulders and the frustration that existed in her irises. Despite himself, he found that he liked it when she spoke as well. It gave him someone to banter with and perhaps that’s what always drew him to her. Perhaps that was the reason why he took time to write her an owl and he realized that though it should have been a bother, it hadn’t. At least not for him. Rather it had been amusing and he waited for her retort with slight anticipation.
As she stood up, his eyes followed her and he found himself rising as well. Dusting off the particles that glittered over his suit, he pretended to be preoccupied by it and lazily resumed his previous position of leaning against the wall. Staring down at the ground once more, her voice took him by surprise though he showed no signs of shock. Lifting his lethargically, he greeted her with a smile as she questioned his calmness. Did she expect him to be frantic? “What kind of question is that, chava? Did ya think I’d be like a chicken without my head?” he mocked but he bit his tone back when he saw the salt droplets decorated the outer rim of her irises. He almost felt. Remorse. Naw, impossible, he thought but it edged around him. Suddenly, his top hat left the premises of his mussed, unkempt hair and he stared at the blond warily. He jumped slightly at the attack, not from pain but merely from shock. Shaking his head with slight laughter lacing his action, it remained until she flicked his arm. She started to speak again and the word he dreaded left her well shaped lips. His eyebrow lifted in a quizzical manner, almost as if he was afraid he got caught. Got caught for what, he wasn’t entirely sure but he felt like a thief on the brink of being captured for a crime. Her nod of affirmation almost made him smile and he covered his lips, not wanting the smile to be known. At least not by her.
With his top hat on her head, he couldn’t help but notice how nicely it fit her but kept the comment to himself. Shuffling as she encircled him, a slightly peeved smirk emerged from him as he had to stop himself from bursting in laughter. He had to admire her for her confidence even though she knew nothing. She knew not of the events that transpired during the year for him. She didn’t know that he already gained that experience. She didn’t know that he developed somewhat of a heart during the time they didn’t see each other. She didn’t know that he had his own weaknesses now. Weaknesses that he didn’t have before. He almost wanted to tell her then to stop her from scolding him like a child but he simply bit the inside of his mouth and kept his lips shut. Nodding at her words, it came off in a mocking manner and he simply smiled at her words. But a confused expression grew when she mentioned about a special girl or boy. Thankfully, her negative rambling caught her off course and his easily placed smile remained, “Sure, chava, sure,” he said as she continued on and he rocked on the balls of his feet until she mentioned something about her caring. He stopped in his movements as he listened intently, did she, could she possibly care about him? The question hovered at the tip of his tongue and her within her sputtering it formed. In his gruff voice, “Yeah, chava, why do ya care if I care?” he posed softly, unsure if she heard his question.
At the end of her spiel, he watched her sit as a sense of defeat overwhelmed her and his expression softened. The light burst forth again and he remained stoically standing. His gaze rested on her and he shifted slightly close to her. Hearing his name, he couldn’t keep the laugh in this time and a chuckle left him as she tersely spat out his name, “That’s my name, chava. Good ta know ya still know,” he said as he sat down on the ground across from her, “What can I be of servicin’ of fer ya?” he asked with a coy smile. Locking gazes, she pulled away first and it peaked his interest. Unconsciously leaning closer to her, he sat mere inches away from her and her whisper of a question registered in his ears. It seemed to be a theme, she continually caught him off guard. She was always one with many words and he let her continue to repeat the question as he thoughtfully pondered on it himself. Why had he jumped in? He was wandless and it was a stupid, impulsive decision on his part but he had done it anyway. His fingers wrapped around hers as he touched the brim of his top hat. He kept his gaze locked on hers and there was tense silence that wavered above them. A more serious expression that rarely graced his features fell on him, “Ya don’ know me as well as ya think, chava,” he offered before taking the top hat from her.
He debated whether or not he should tell her then, to get away from the uncomfortable atmosphere but something kept him from telling her how they could leave the confinements of their “prison”. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a dice, “Ya see this, dice, chava?” he asked and he waited for her annoyed response. With a smirk, “Let’ us be playin’ a game, eh? It’ll keep yer mind off and I promise it won’ be borin’ ya. Only thing ya gotta promise is that ya’ll be honest,” he started to lay out the rules for her, “Ya roll the dice, if its an even numba, ya tell me secret ya never told anyone else before. Ya roll an odd numba, ya gotta tell me something ya always wanted ta do like what flatties call a bucketlist, or summat,” he explained, “I’ll be goin’ first ta be fair,” he assured her as he rolled the dice before she could protest. The dice hit her knees and stopped, resting on an even number, “Fer yer information. I care,” he simply put it before picking the dice up. Not sure what else he wanted to reveal to her, he lifted the dice into the air and presented it in front of her, “I’m head of a circus, Princess, I hafta care. I’ve got my chavs to take care of,” he simply put it before dropping the dice in her hands. His lips parted as if he wanted to say more but he closed it, unable to bring himself to say he cared about his mother, Mela, and even possibly her.
Pale faces glistened with anticipation, eyes open wide as they focused on the quick motion within the arena. Although the crowd’s focus resembled those of a tennis match, unlike the Muggle game, the noise that resounded from the stadium was loud and unruly. Chanting on for their favorite teams, the crowd screamed, yelled; the cacophony was hard and, seemingly. impossible to ignore. It was unnerving, and most people would hardly be able to focus on the game. But the players of both teams had now gotten used to the screaming of fans, even those that were directed towards their opponent. Bat armed at the ready, she held her gaze on the incoming black ball swivelling towards her, no thanks to the Beater on the opposing side. Fucking Magpies, she thought irritably, pushing back multiple strands of blonde hair with a single blow. One hand on her broom, she waited for the exact moment when the Bludger was close enough and she swung it, eyeing the Chaser in black and white with a bird etched onto his back and managing a Quaffle, almost sending it through the goal but not for long. The Bludger managed to hit the back of the Chaser’s broom, sending her almost off it, and the Quaffle was back again in the arms of a Puddlemere player. The crowd gasped - some cheered while others booed her, but the girl didn’t care. She was helping her team gain their rightful victory. A small smirk crossed her face, but she continued to move around the arena, for she knew the Bludger would come back to her soon enough. Shouts of triumph resounded across the Quidditch field, and Cece knew what happened even before the commentator’s booming voice sounded above the rest, “And it’s 140-110, Puddlemere!” The small smirk once plastered on her face was replaced with a grin of triumph, but the girl knew not to lose her focus. After all, anything could happen.
She had been the Beater for Puddlemere United for about a year, more or less. Relishing in the thought of the victories she had helped achieve, Cece thought back to why she had been let on the team in the first place, and her mood considerably darkened. A day after her father had received her acceptance letter into the team, she had gone to their training grounds to practice with the other players, and to get acquainted, as she would be playing with them over an extensive period of time. Keith had been there as well; supervising all of his players, making sure they did the very best they could do. She remembered, so vividly, how their gazes interlocked when the girl arrived at the facility. Smirking at her, he threw a parcel at her; Cece caught it with no trouble. “Your uniform,” he said as she looked at him with a curious glance and smirked, “Cecelia.” Stepping towards her, it was all she could do not to take a step away from him. Outstretching his hand and placing another on her shoulder, “We’re very glad to have you on our team.” he said in a low tone, and as she outstretched her own hand to meet his, the hand on her shoulder had started slipping to the small of her back. Shakily, Cece stepped away from his knowing smirk, yet keeping eye contact with the coach she had slept with only two days ago. “I’m glad to be here, you know I’d do anything to be on this team.” she said, trying to keep her composure though inside, she was numb. “Oh, I know.” the coach had returned casually, hand sliding up from her sides to the same level as her chest. “Trust me, I know.” Ever since she was let on the team, Cece had played in four matches, with their team winning each round and advancing, getting closer and closer to winning the League Cup. Cece was proud of her navy blue and golden robes; they proved that she was one of the best there was in her field. Yet whenever her thoughts raced back to that rainy evening, she couldn’t do anything but doubt herself.
“King, incoming.” Mathers, one of the three Chasers of her team, had flown in beside her, speaking in a hushed tone. Glancing up at the field and noticing the ball plummeting towards her at a daunting speed, “On it.” Cece replied just as quietly, then flew towards it at the angle she needed just so she could - wham. The bat had hit the fast-paced object before she could complete her sentence mid-thought, and with self-satisfaction, Cece watched as it hit another player of the Montrose Magpies; this time, the team’s Seeker, a girl almost her age. She had supposedly spotted the Golden Snitch, the commentator had remarked only a few minutes ago, and was speeding towards it, but the Bludger she had sent hurdling towards her nearly spun around, moving erratically, dangerously close to throwing the girl off. Once the girl - Clayton? Connell? - had recovered, her eyes focused on Cece, and she glared. “You almost knocked me off my broom, you bitch!” she screamed. Flying towards the girl, “Oh, sweetheart.” Cece rolled her eyes, now flying circles around her, “It’s Quidditch, did you expect us to go easy on you and bake a fucking cake for you? Don’t be fucking stupid. Suck. It. Up.” she snarled at the girl coldly, flying away before the appalled Seeker had time to react. What a poor excuse for a player. she thought to herself disappointedly. Barder could do her job ten times better. the thought of her old Quidditch captain was unsettling in her mind; after she had graduated from Hogwarts, she was, still, unsure of what she thought of the boy. But one thing was certain, getting into Puddlemere proved that she was better than him. Not that it needed proving; Barder knew he was better, he had even told her so herself. The more her thoughts lingered on her old Quidditch captain, the more she thought of the Quidditch team she had once been a part of, and though she was so dearly fond of her new navy and gold uniform, she often caught herself longing for a Quidditch robe of emerald yet again. And her fellow Beater had been considerably better than the fool she had been partnered with at Puddlemere. Olivia was skilled; not as skilled as Cece was, but she was incredibly fast and definitely the furthest thing from stupid.
“What’s this? - it seems as if Puddlemere’s Seeker, Langley, has spotted the Golden Snitch!” the commentator’s latest observation snapped Cece away from her thoughts, and now she only had one job - to keep the other team away from their Seeker. Bat at the ready, she flew again at the quickest pace she could manage, searching for the Bludger against the crowd that was up in the air. Hues of navy and golden, black and white flew past her as quickly as they did appear as everyone started to panic, though no sight of Langley from her point of view. Once spotting the Bludger zoom around the stadium, Cece’s mind was closed off to anything else, one goal in mind. Gliding towards it, bat ready, Cece had hit the black object right in the back of the Magpies’ Seeker, who was quickly on Langley’s tail. The Seeker’s distance from the ground lessened dramatically for a few moments, yet she was able to move right back up again, though she followed the navy-clothed Seeker at a lessened distance. Smirking, Cece flew upwards, then meeting her partner on the field. “Distract the Chasers. Keep them from getting any more points.” she ordered him, then was returned with a sneer. “What makes you think I’ll take orders from you?” he questioned her, to which she responded with a growl. “I’m sorry, do you want to win or not? - then get them so fucking distracted they wouldn’t even notice if they themselves were being buried alive.” without waiting for another word, Cece spiralled downwards, once again searching for a Bludger. From a distance, she could hear the commentator’s booming voice, “140-120, Montrose!” and she cringed, wondering why on Earth such an incompetent buffoon such as her teammate was allowed on the team. Spotting him and glaring from afar, Cece continued on with her search before finally spotting it. Chasing it rapidly, she glanced at Langley above her, then the Magpies’ Seeker quickly behind him. Eyes narrowing, Won’t she ever quit? Cece thought indignantly, before trying to send another Bludger from below. She was unsuccessful; the angle had not been exact and the black ball simply flew up from beside the Seeker, who was obviously very smug about not being targeted successfully for the first time in the game. Looking down at Cece with a haughty smile, “Suck on that, K—”
“And Langley has the Snitch! Puddlemere wins, 290-120!” the commentator’s voice made the girl freeze mid-sentence, though this time it was overpowered by the wild shrieks of the crowd. A relieved sigh escaped Cece, and clutching her bat, she flew up to Connelly - she finally remembered her name - and smirked triumphantly. The stunned look on her face was a victory in itself. “You’re lucky I’m feeling merciful, otherwise I’d take this bat and beat the fuck out of that little pug face.” she said, smiling slightly. “Good game, though. - that was a lie.” sneering at her as she flew down to the ground, leaving her as she joined the rest of her team on the ground, celebrating their victory. “Marvelous display today, you lot.” Keith was in the middle of the elated crowd, a victorious grin on his face. “We showed those bloody Magpies, didn’t we?” the rest of the team nodded in eagerness, as did Cece, albeit half-heartedly. Trying to shy away but to no avail, Cece was noticed by Puddlemere’s coach, and his lips curled upward into a sickening smile. “Good job out there, King. Your aim was exceptional.” he announced grandly, much to the ‘ditto’s and ‘hear hear’s of those around her. Suddenly being pushed into the center of the circle of people, Cece shrugged her shoulders in a sort of grateful way. “I do try.” gaze meeting the coach’s for a moment before looking away and clearing her throat, “After all, what more did you expect?” a few chuckles ensued before the whole team turned to greet the adoring crowd around them, above them, chanting their names and screaming wildly. Waving up at them, they were greeted with loud applause and wild chants of “Puddlemere! Puddlemere!” Cece took in the sounds of victory with pride, obviously proud with her performance and most of the team’s. Shouts of triumph then came from the team themselves as they exited the field and entered the locker room, the same shouts bouncing around the walls. Another long sigh escaped Cece as she took off the navy cape, though the shirt she had under was one of dark blue as well. Storing the cape, her gloves and her bat inside one of the lockers, she closed it, reminding herself to retrieve her things later before she left. “Now, this scenario looks familiar, doesn’t it?” a voice startled her and she turned around swiftly, meeting Keith’s eyes and returning his gaze with hatred. For a moment, Cece was going to ask what he meant by that, but she finally noticed; the two were alone in a locker room, at the back of a Quidditch stadium. Images of that night started returning to her brain and she shivered, taking several steps back.
“Merlin, don’t startle me like that!” she snapped at him, feeling livid and numb at the same time. He chortled, holding up his hands in surrender. “Just asking an innocent question, no need to get snippy with me.” he said, though taking considerably close steps towards her. “The team’s waiting outside. I arranged for some circus troupe to provide entertainment.” he concluded, nodding towards the exit of the room. Tugging the end of her t-shirt lower, Cece moved quickly out of the coach’s way and out of the locker room, slamming the door as she left. Leaning against it, another sigh left her, glad to be out of the situation she was almost placed in. The coach had always said the same thing after each and every game, when everyone was out of the locker room and she had been left behind. She had had enough of it, and she was getting tired of having the burden of what had happened placed upon her. But she had no choice. If you tell him off, you’ll lose your position. she reminded herself. And you know how badly you wanted this. Even she was disgusted with herself, and she had every right to be. Shaking her head furiously, her mind pushed out all the thoughts of that day, and focused on the matters at hand. Looking up at the sky and realising it was still too early, she remembered what Keith had said about inviting a circus troupe. Circus. The word had always reminded her of Kaspar, and the reasons were obvious; the boy’s argot had always managed to annoy her. The boy had been irritating, to say the least, during their years at Hogwarts, always finding a way to converse with her and frustrate her even more than she already was. Despite that, at times he could be a source of amusement to her, and if she were to be completely honest, she was surprisingly pleased when he’d sent her a few owls after Hogwarts. Maybe I’ll get ta irritate ya sooner than I thought. Her eyebrows knit together in confusion as she remembered what the message had said in his sprawly, unkempt cursive. What exactly did he mean?
Then, she saw it.
A head of familiar dark hair looked all too familiar, and Cece’s eyes narrowed. Her mouth opened as she mouthed “Ah.”, now understanding what her old schoolmate had meant. Speak of the devil, and he shall appear. she thought, lips curling up into a small smile she couldn’t resist letting escape. Crossing her arms over her chest, she walked towards the boy, behind him. His circus troupe, of all the troupes Keith could’ve gotten. ”Fucking ridiculous.” she murmured crossly, yet the small smile never wavered as she inched closer and closer towards him. Against the noise of people, Cece lowered her voice so only the boy in front of her could hear her. “Well,” she started, her smile transforming into a little smirk, “look who decided to show up.”
A gentle touch traced little circles across his exposed skin and sprinkles of light tickled his nose. Disgruntled by the sudden activity around him, his hands lazily spread apart and his eyes grumbled as they parted. Reacting quickly to the penetrating force of the unwelcome sunlight, his eyes narrowed and his fingers rubbed furiously around the contours of his dark irises. Morning sleepy head. A feminine voice purred before a soft nip around his ears made a smirk cross his devious lips. As wandering fingers pressed against the exposed parts of his chest, his tongue lightly licked the bottom parched lip and his dazed eyes proceeded to stare at the blond sprawled over his half dressed body. Arching his back to lift himself off from the unkempt lump of pillows, his elbows hit the cold wooden floors that glistened in mischief and a small whimper left from the source of warmth that laid on top of him. Running his finger through his mussed hair, he nonchalantly brushed the woman off of him without so much as a warning. The incredulous waves of shock that came forth from her eyes hit against his backside and it only stirred a satisfied smirk appear on his lazy features, “What be troublin’ ya, chava?” he mocked as he reached for the strewn material of clothing that sloppily hung around the corner of his wooden chair. Slipping into the sleeves, he cuffed the collars before worsening the condition of his slovenly kept hair.
Smoothing out the wrinkles that persistently littered across the material, he didn’t wait long until a loud stomp answered his question. Turning with ease, he spread his arms out as if stuck in a grand gesture of a bow. Their gazes clashed and a tiny knowing smile perked, “Leavin’ so soon. Can’ be havin’ that, now can we?” he said before he strode towards the blond, whose name he couldn’t quite remember, and he cupped her face within his calloused fingers. An easily won smile occupied her features and he dipped in for a moment, encasing her lips with his. Leaving the soft tenderness of the chaste kiss as quickly as he gave it, he twirled her swiftly, “Now ya can go, have a fun one, eh, chava?” he remarked before pushing her out with a sharp slap to her exquisitely shaped arse. His vulgar action made her shriek in shock and he couldn’t help but allow the cackle rise out of his throat. Peeping through the curtains like a child, he gazed up at her, “See ya, chava,” he dismissed her with a wink and slipped through the comforts of his poorly built tent. Shaking his head, he made his way over to the battered desk that barely stood on four legs. Piles of papers looked at him and as he riffled through the stacks, he watched as the loose leaflets fall to the ground without hesitation. Barely giving them another second of his attention, he pulled out the sheet he was searching for.
The name Puddlemere stared at him with anticipation and the smirk increased as a nostalgic twinkle of playfulness entered in his dark eyes, “Seems like I’ be seein’ ya sooner than I thought, Princess,” he murmured underneath his breath, echoing the former words he had written down onto the parchment to none other than Cecelia King about a year or so ago. Flinging the sheet of paper into the air, he raised his hands in mock surrender as he laughed. His moment alone ceased when a different presence intruded. Pausing, he choked back another laugh that had thought it would exist, “What do ya want?” he callously asked without giving the presence a glance. Immature as always. A deep voice rumbled its authority through the flimsy walls of his tent, “What do ya want?” he repeated as he turned to glare at the man previously known as the Puppeteer. The disheveled shadow of the man he used to be stared at him while leaning against the infamous obsidian cane. Staring down at the crippled man, a glowering smile of dominance forced its way onto his as he couldn’t help but enjoy the power that he had over his “father.” Tilting his head, “Do I got ta repeat myself fer ya?” he belittling questioned the former owner of the Puppet circus. A malicious cackle shot into the air and though a suffocating feeling of discomfort filled him, Kaspar kept his features in check.
Amusing you think so, little ghost. Do you think it’s wise to be wasting your time like this? You’ll regret it if this circus falls because of your insolence. His eyes involuntarily narrowed at the haggard man and he bent down to stoop to the other man’s eye level, “Listen ta me, I be runnin’ this show the way I want ta. This place gotta more business since I opened up the market. Ya hear?” he snarled but only received a chortle despite the intimidation oozing out of his normally carefree nature. You keep telling yourself that, little ghost. The man hissed while unleashing his sinister smirk. Before Kaspar could utter another word, the frail older ringmaster languidly left the premises. His fingers curled furiously into a trembling fist and his lips curdled into a sneer as he lifted his chin slightly, “Fuckin’ ol’ geezer,” he grumbled as he fell onto his mattress with an expected thud. Digging underneath the pile of grass stained sheets, he pulled out his wand and stared at the instrument that channeled his magic. It stared back expectantly and he turned it over in his hand. He hadn’t used this particular wand in a while, not since the duel that passed between him and the Puppeteer. A tiny smile appeared as the memories of Hogwarts came rushing forth into his mind. Sighing, he let them consume as he leaned against the mattress.
The times when he was still oblivious and he didn’t have to worry about his mother or the circus. When he felt free and hadn’t a care in the world. Though only a year passed, troubling events plagued him and wouldn’t let him loose from its disgusting grip. For once in his life, he was forced to stress, worry, care about the things that were happening. Only Mela and her particular band from the circus appeared to congratulate him on his surprising graduation. Not that he minded, he hadn’t expected even them to show up. Mela joked as she fondly told him that she had no idea that he had the capability to graduate from such a prestigious school. The surrogate mother never failed to make him laugh and to his amusement, he realized he cared for Mela like a mother. Her aged body and tiredness involuntarily worried him and it caught him off guard. He didn’t know he had the ability to care and till this day, he finds it his greatest weakness. It was after their return to the circus that trouble encircled him. The ringmaster showed a certain interest in him and though Kaspar didn’t care, he couldn’t shake off the feeling that something horrid was going to occur. His hunch wouldn’t leave him and when the Puppeteer called for him, he knew he wasn’t going completely insane. Though he didn’t quite expect what was waiting for him.
Chava, the woman who had often taken care of him when he was forced to spend hours within his cage, was his mother, according to the Puppeteer. He couldn’t quite believe it and when the man brought the woman out, Kaspar felt something clench within him when the woman fell to the ground. The same unfamiliar emotion that slithered around him when he saw Mela fall due to fatigue, consumed him. Instinctively, he reached, almost ran towards the woman but he stopped himself when the ghastly smile ghosted over the features of the Puppeteer. Not your mother? The words still haunted him as the man tortured the woman and he was forced to watch, unable to do anything. Every lash that scarred her body made him want to scream and for the first time his immature, nonchalant nature disappeared, replaced by a trembling broken boy. He never felt so weak before. And he never fought back before. An anger erupted out of him and he attacked the man before he could control himself. Even now, he couldn’t recall most of the actions that occurred but it came clear that neither won and both suffered repercussions. However, Kaspar liked to think the older man suffered more from their fight. He prided himself in crippling the man and taking over the circus after their skirmish. The passing of power was a battle he fought for Chava, to ensure that she remained safe. He wasn’t sure if he regretted it or if it ended up being his greatest decision and victory.
He had to care now about the circus even though he tried to make it appear as though he didn’t. Most nights, he slept with one of the members of the circus or someone they picked up for him. It became a ritual, a prize for his hard work but frivolous actions that used to ease his mind only agitated him though he still thoroughly enjoyed himself during it. Clearing his throat, he let the wand fall from his fingertips and a loud whistling sound signaled to him that it was time. A smirk crawled onto his features and he placed on the maroon tie with ease. Slipping on the ringmaster suit on, he looked at the unworn boots that waited to be used however he simply saluted to it before picking up his own cane. With mussed hair and an impish smirk, he came out of his tent to be met with his troupe staring at him expectantly. Moving down the line, he flicked his finger at some people while nodding at others, signaling to them who would be coming to entertain the quidditch players this time around. As the line showed gaps, he made his way to the end of the line and a knowing smile peaked. Hands clasped behind his back, he twirled to face the smirking performers. Walking up to one of the more curvaceous women that he had yet to sleep with and flicked her chin affectionately, marking her as his source of pleasure after the end of the show.
A clutter of giggles erupted around her and he smirked, “Puddlemere is the Quidditch team fer the night. Ya little chafes be takin’ out their pocket dinari and I’ be startin’ the gamblin’ matches durin’ the show. When ya go into meet the team, ya gotta be showing all yer pizazz. Make sure ta dazzle ‘em. Their coach be a pig but a pig with a lot of dinari so he be one I want ta be keepin’ in our books, ya got that?” he said his little spiel and the rest simply nodded before the animals pushed past him, finding their ways into their cages that would transport them into their destined locations. The rest of the circus members held onto the port key he created and as he watched them vanish, he pulled out his meager broom, “Kaspar, be safe,” a frail voiced called out to him and he turned to see both his mother and Mela staring after him. Giving them a wave of recognition he mumbled, “Don’ be worryin’.”
Finding himself within the midst of the excitement of the crowd as they rushed towards the Quidditch stands, his eyes dilated with adrenaline. Rubbing his hands together, he couldn’t help but think of how much dinari he would be able to scrap from the people that were hurrying about. Catching eyes with one of the children that tagged along, he nodded, giving his consent to pick pocket to their content and the child scurried away in glee, Show time, he thought before lifting his top hat into the air, “Step one, step all, ya gotta make this game be a lil’ more interestin’ don’ ya think?” he declared over the chaos of the screams, receiving the attention of the group situated close to him. As he enraptured them, he spread out his arms and reached for the nearest lady, “How ‘bout ya, chava? Ya think ya got the guts ta risk yer dinari?” he asked while rubbing his thumb and index finger together. The woman gave him a sultry smile and she pulled out her money, “50 galleons for Puddlemere,” she offered and he snatched the money from her hands after her little wager, the others chimed their way towards him. It only takes one. He said as he smirked fighting through the crowds to collect the money that called out to him, “May the fates be in yer favor,” he yelled across as more people came flooding towards him, waiting to be part of the game of chance. And all their dinari will be mine. He smirked at the thought but was interrupted when suddenly shots and cheers erupted throughout the entire stadium.
“Well, well, there ya go, Princess,” he whispered as he watched the familiar mess of blond hair fight against the wind. His eyes locked onto her form and he pushed aside a person from their chair as he found himself actively watching the game of Quidditch for the first time. Cecelia King. One of the very few people that stayed within his memory though a pain in the arse most of the time, he found her incredibly amusing. She had all the buttons laid out for him to play with and even if she seemed like she hated him, he would bet that she found it equally as amusing as he did. Though she’d probably never admit to such a terrible truth. Her arm swing was impeccable and he found himself involuntarily cheering whenever the bludger went to its intended direction. Most likely because his money rested on the Puddlemere’s winning. The game heightened as the seekers both went to for the snitch and he started to unconsciously lean in closer to gain a better view of the stadium as the bludger missed the other team’s seeker. People around him loudly vocalized their disapproval but an involuntary smirk appeared as he noticed the other seeker yelling something to King. One wrong move, chava. He thought as the crowd broke into a loud cheer that sounded like the winning team’s name. Brushing off his coat, he stood up tilting his top hat towards the blond haired Quidditch player, though she couldn’t see him as millions of other fans flocked around him as they chanted the Puddlemere name.
As the team disappeared, the adrenaline still pumped through the crowd and he threw his hat into the air, catching their attention once more. His side of the stadium seemed enraptured as he pulled out their money, “Made yer bets did ya?” he started as he jumped onto the edge of the stands, “As a man of fairness, those of ya that betted on Puddlemere, here,” he threw wads of cash into the crowd as people rushed towards it, “The rest of it though, I’ be keepin’,” with a slight wave he fell down and the crowds screamed in shock until one of his fellow circus troupe members picked him up in a broom, carrying him swiftly away from the shouting audience. Laughing devilishly, he started to count the money that he kept in his pockets, “We be hittin’ the jackpot tonight,” he cackled as the member of his troupe started to laugh alongside him, “Everything is set up,” the member informed him and Kaspar nodded in acknowledgment as a sense of anticipation filled his lungs. It hadn’t been the first time he entertained a group of Quidditch Players. His tendency to gamble and bet was the reason he opened his circus up to this particular group. But it would be the first time he’d meet an old classmate, especially one he wouldn’t mind keeping in touch with just to see her annoyance.
Landing safely on the ground, he could already hear the members of his troupe charmingly starting the beginning of their little performance. He had made it so that the ringmaster hardly needed to be presented due to his own laziness. Sweeping the locks of hair from off his eyes, he pushed past the curtains and the spotlight swiftly graced itself upon him. Everything else paused as he dramatically took a bow, “Welcome ya flatties. I be hopin’ my members entertain ya but lets be puttin’ things ta the test, eh? If ya aren’ entertained by this, ya can win as many galleons as you’d like. But if ya be pleased by what’s been happenin’ in front of yer eyes, ya will be givin’ us a lil’ something something of yers,” he said and left before anyone could protest. Smirking, he made his way around the other entrance, nearer to the Quidditch locker rooms. Replacing his clothes with ones less noticeable, he blended in with the rest of the crowd. Leaning against the backside of his chair, his eyes searched for King while keeping his attention on the performance. As soon as applause and cheering erupted, he was caught off guard as warm air tickled his ears. Shocked, he acted instinctively and grabbed the person by the arm and pulled them away from the noise and chaos. Slamming the body onto the wall, he stared straight into the eyes of the intruder, his nerves loosened and he immediately pulled out smirk that easily rested.
“Chava, been a while,” he said while realizing the proximity between them. His smirk only grew wider and he pulled away, raising his hands in surrender knowing that he had acted rashly, “Sorry fer that, Princess. Hope I didn’ bruise yer fair skin. Might I say, the year off has been good fer ya,” he said as his eyes glazed over her form but naturally resting upon her eyes. He’d always enjoyed noticing the spark enter into King’s eyes and this time proved to be no different, “Thought ya woulda be avoidin’ me,” he confessed in a coy tone as he started to walk around her in circles, a sense of playfulness entering into the atmosphere. He towered over her and he leaned in with a boyish smile, “Don’ gotta say ya missed me, ‘cause I already be knowin’,” he smirked but it slowly faded away when he suddenly noticed an intruder. Keith or something, that had to be the man’s name. He knew it was the coach since the two had met to make the deal. However, the way the man was staring Cece made his blood curdle, “Oi, flatty. Ya mind givin’ us some privacy?” he asked a bit peeved that his time with Cece was being cut so short. The man only gave a snort of derision and Kaspar suddenly felt his annoyance peak. Keith came over to Cece and Kaspar’s eyebrows arched as he saw a wandering hand cup around her hips. The man whispered something into the girl’s ears and Kaspar instinctively pushed him aside, “Ya know that be rude when a man such as yerself be doin’ it,” he said with a chortle.
“And its rude to be butting into other people’s business,” the other man growled at him and Kaspar’s eyes twinkled as he threateningly approached the man, “Is it? Ya wantta make something of it?” he challenged. The other man smirked and before Kaspar could react quickly, the man screamed, “Stupefy.” His body went flying into one of the walls and his back soar with the sudden pain, “Fuck,” he gritted as he landed on the ground. Remembering that his wand wasn’t anywhere near him, he started to panic as he dodged the spells that were flying about him. He couldn’t hear from the chaos what the hexes or the jinxes were but he couldn’t help but laugh whenever the man missed him, “Ya missed me, flatty. Ya gotta have better aim than that if ya gonna beat me. How ya got ta be a Quidditch Coach?” he mocked as he moved swiftly through the air. The anger swelled in the other man and his cackles became louder and he miscalculated a step as he jumped near King. A stream of light started towards them and noticing the direction of the spell, Kaspar immediately jumped in front of Cece, protecting her from the brunt of the spell. Wrapping her in his arms, he felt a penetrating pain sourcing from his back and he clenched his eye shut thinking the worst as he kept Cece’s body from hitting the ground. A sharp pounding pain sourced from his head and he struggled to maintain his consciousness before closing his eyes, allowing the darkness to exist.
Well, with Valentines coming up, I’m sure some of us are just trying to find other wasys to spend their money on…
Borin’ ta be goin’ ta that thing that ‘ey be blabberin’ on ‘bout. And watta ya got planned ‘ere, chava? Goin’ ta the ball yerself?
Started off good and all then ya just gotta pussy out. Sad, sad, sad.
Sounds like a smashin’ idea. - the latter more than the first, though. I do, however like how my ass looks.
You look like a beaut s’well, mate. And seems as if now’s the only time I’ve spoken to ya ever since term started, ‘sides from the Christmas card you sent me. - thanks for that, by the way. How’ve you been?
Doesn’ it? Ah, ight. But I’ve gotta say, never thought tits could be so fuckin’ fun. Sure we could swindle couple of blokes to give us free pints. Did it yesterday and damn, raklos will be doin’ anythin’ fer a couple of beers. Yer ass does look good and nice mug too.
‘Course I do, look at me. Ain’ that a shame? Crime I’d have to say, haven’ seen Mangiare as of late either. Hope nothin’ has happened. Ya, I did send ya that Christmas card, didn’ I? Ya betta have something fer me. Fuckin’ great except gotta think of other things to bet on. Life woulda be a sleepy town without something ta bet on. What about ya? Anything new or exciting ya want to clue me in on?
This must be bloody confusing for the professors. Teaching their classes must be hell. But I like keeping expectations- they bring order and I know exactly where I stand in the world. Yes you are. I never thought that I’d have abs- I best enjoy them while they last, I suppose. Thank you. How are you doing tonight, beautiful?
Must be but nothin’ that we can do ‘bout it. Bet ‘ey’re enjoyin’ it as much as we are. Haven’ seen their faces around but bet their under the spell, curse, whazzat thing too. I don’ usually attend classes unless I be feelin’ it, why I don’ know a thing but maybe I’ll pop in fer a spell. ight? Almost had a couple of raklos come after me, makes me laugh. Great as can be, ah, that lil’ addition. Beautiful, eh? Hittin’ on me so soon, rava?