encirclement

The After Party - Part 3

Hey Guys, here is the final part for this fiction. Thanks for the likes and reblogs, it is much appreciated. Now that this is finished I have a few requests to write for so look out for those. :) And thank you to the person who sent me a message for an insult for Jughead from Reggie.

Part One

Part Two


He put a hand on her shoulder wanting to comfort her and she collapsed onto him. Her face nuzzled into his shirt. “You smell nice.” She commented, feeling his body stiffen at the contact.

“Thanks?” he responded unsure. He was in a small enclosed space with Betty Cooper at a house party, it wasn’t exactly where he thought his night was going to end up. Her hands moved to encircle his waist and he went to put some distance between them, his back hitting the wall behind him. He needed to process what was happening. She moved towards him again her hand pressed against his chest. “Betts. Come on.” his tone was light, friendly, trying to break the tension that had suddenly engulfed the small room. But she was having none of it, her eyes had darkened and they carefully examined him in a way he had not seen a member of the opposite sex look at him before.

“Betts I don’t think this is a good idea.” He let out, as her hand moved to his shirt playing with the material. His hands were braced on the wall behind him, he was out of space to move and she was not backing away.

“What did I say about people telling me what to do?” She replied.

“Not telling, advising.”

“I always do what is best Jug. That’s my life’s mission. But sometimes I get sick of being the good girl.” He swallowed thickly, his throat feeling dry. She smiled noticing his reaction. Her hand moved from the opening of his shirt to his neck, playing with the curls of hair that escaped underneath his beanie.

“Betts.” He groaned in warning. She had fully invaded his personal space now. If she was anyone else he would have pushed them away by now.

“Don’t you want to make me feel better.” She pressed her body against his.

“I don’t want to be a rebound.” He choked out.

“This isn’t about that. This is two people who know each other very well, who at one time or another have imagined what it would be like to cross that line.” She said seductively as she trailed a finger down the side of his cheek to lightly ghost across his lips.

“You have thought about that?” He asked searching her eyes for honesty. She took a hold of his hand and placed it on her hip.

“Haven’t you?” She said avoiding the question. He glanced at his watch on the hand not currently attached to her hip holding her tight now without realizing.

“We have 3 minutes left.” He stated struggling to keep his tone even.

“Tick, Tock” She replied.

“Fuck it.” He groaned in defeat, his hand reaching for the back of her head, pulling her closer so that his lips could capture hers. Her lips were pliable under his, returning his kiss with equal enthusiasm. Her hands went to his hair dipping underneath the beanie on his head to feel his wavy locks he kept hidden. She had always wondered what his hair felt like, hidden always under that beanie.

Her tongue swept across his bottom lip, seeking entrance which he gladly gave all too easily. This feeling of being desired overwhelmed her, she wanted more, more of this feeling. Feeling bold she reached under his t-shirt, her fingertips touching bare skin and delighting in his sharp intake of breath at the contact. But he didn’t stop her, didn’t pull away as she had expected. She moved her hands to his bare back scratching lightly. She was reveling in the sounds that he was making, it made her feel powerful that she could create such a reaction in the usually stoic teen.

So far he had been along for the ride, letting her take the lead. But this feeling arising up in him had snowballed into something he couldn’t quite control. He wanted more, he wanted to feel more. Switching their positions he pushed her up against the wall, as his lips went to her neck, he took a testing nip the barest hint of teeth  and then soothed the area immediately with his tongue as she gasped and moaned her appreciation.

Her hands were in his hair again. She wanted that hat gone. She knew it was his security blanket. A barrier against the the world and she wanted him without those. She wanted him laid bare. Those moments when she had thought about what it might be like to kiss him, she had never imagined this. She had expected an awkwardness and hesitation on both sides. But this was nothing like that. This felt almost right. There was a push and pull between them, give and take. This was not the sweet first kiss she had expected to write in her diary, all sunshine and rainbows and Archie Andrews. This was raw and unhinged. Her fingers were now laced in his hair as she directed him to where she needed to feel his touch the most.

She felt his hand moving up her waist, up her ribcage, the underside of her breast just short of touching her where she needed him to. She keened into his touch.

“Please.” She let slip from her lips. She heard him take a deep breath before his hand caressed her breast and his mouth reclaimed hers.


“Right Betty times up.” Veronica said as she opened the closet door, Archie stood next to her and may have needed some help picking his jaw up of the floor. Within the closet were his two best friends tangled up in each other, hair mussed, the crown beanie on the floor left forgotten. It seemed Veronica too was lost for words.

“Whoa looks like Needlenose does know what to do with a girl after all.” Reggie shouted peering over the shoulder of Archie who was still having difficulty getting his mouth to form words. Betty and Jughead broke apart, Betty casually smoothing down her dress, while he picked up his beanie from the floor pulling it quickly onto his head. He looked over to Betty expecting to see embarrassment or a look of guilt at being caught in the act, but he couldn’t read anything from her face. The closest thing he could describe it as was determined.

“Oh looks like Betty Cooper isn’t so innocent after all. More like your sister than we thought. Must be a Cooper thing.” Cheryl commented smugly. Betty’s face didn’t change, didn’t crumble and break like it usually would. Instead she walked over to Cheryl never breaking eye contact. She was in Cheryl’s face now, eye to eye. Cheryl noted the look in her eye and her smile faltered.

“I am done being your little plaything. Cross me again. so much as say Polly’s name and you will regret it.” She stepped past her heading for the exit. She looked back over her shoulder at the devastation in her wake, to the boy still in the closet. “Are you coming?”

How could he say no?

March 26, 1917 - Palestine: First Battle of Gaza

Ottoman cavalry in Gaza, 1917.

The Imperial Egyptian Expeditionary Force had staved off several Ottoman attacks on the Suez Canal since the beginning of the war, and then by the beginning of 1917 conquered the Sinai Peninsula, opening up the possibility of an advance along the Mediterranean through Palestine.

In front of Sir Archibald Murray and the EEF, however, were a series of Ottoman defensive lines positioned on the ridges running east-west between Gaza and Beersheba, guarded by 18,000 troops commanded by German general Kress von Kressenstein. Kressenstein’s force included complements of German and Austro-Hungarian soldiers diverted to the Near East as well, but the British force facing them numbered twice as many, under the command of Murray’s subordinate Sir Charles Dobell.

Dobell’s men assembled 8km from Gaza on March 26 and approached under the protection of a morning deep fog. Dobell held the element of surprise, and the first sign the Turks had of the attack was British cavalry galloping around to encircle them. The Ottoman positions closest to the sea at Gaza were cut off. The Welshman of the 53rd Infantry Division thus charged in with a massive advantage over their enemies.

Unfortunately, the British immediately ripped defeat from the jaws of victory. The officer commanding the cavalry withdrew when he took the impression that the infantry assault had been a failure. Kressenstein, now fully alerted to the danger, rushed 4,000 more men to Gaza. Dobell was left with 4,000 casualties and empty-hands at the end of the day.

No Galaxy for Good Jedi XXI

Obi-Wan Kenobi was only a young padawan when he ran away with three-year old Anakin Skywalker. He had no choice after his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, fell to the Dark Side by Master Dooku’s manipulations. To protect the Chosen One, Obi-Wan did what he had to do and now he and Anakin live as outlaws of the Jedi Order and the Republic, being hunted by both Jedi and Obi-Wan’s former master and grandmaster. Now, it’s up to Obi-Wan to train Anakin in the ways of the Force while also staying one step ahead of Qui-Gon and Dooku.


The metal clasps encircled around his wrists kept O from ripping the mask off his head. The Dark Side hooked its tendrils into his skin, drilling into his mind until it aggravated him enough that he wanted to scream. It was hard to focus with the Dark energy pulsing in his mind and defiling his connection to the Force. Any attempt to draw on the Force received backlash. Needle-like pricks punctured every pore in his skin, shredding him that he almost thought he was cut opened. 

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He breathes my name and there is more magic in the dulcet tones of his salted caramel voice, than any fairytale could even begin to imagine. His mouth blows the forgotten embers of magic in my bones. They burn the stardust alive and it encircles my spine, it makes me glow. And the truth is, even the sight of his calloused hands have me biting my lower lip at the thought of what spells they could cast on my body.
—  Nikita Gill, Warlock
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This video covers various aspects of mail, field postal service, censorship and the morale in Stalingrad and beyond.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

With a couple posed in a loving embrace, encircled by large pink hearts, a reference to the frivolity that characterizes French Rococo painting, Kerry James Marshall’s Study for Vignette meditates on beauty, love, romance, and harmony in the black experience. Learn more about the work. 

[Kerry James Marshall. Study for Vignette. 2004. Crayon, gouache, and pencil on paper. The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift. © 2017 Kerry James Marshall]

Ooh.  This one’s going in the grimoire.

Caim Is a Celtic word. It means an invisible circle you put around yourself for immediate protection if you feel under threat. Draw an invisible circle around yourself with your right index finger by extending your arm towards the ground and turning clockwise. As you do this, become aware that you are safe and encompassed by the powers you believe in; that you are encircled, enfolded and protected.

The mythic snakes.

These three snakes are important to Norse mythology:
Jörmungandr, the Midgard snake, who encircles the world and will let his tail go at Ragnarök. Níðhöggr, who gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil. And the serpent who drips venom onto Loki’s face as his punishment.

Pyrography by Wood Fire Ink.
Please do not remove credit.

The Fixed Signs
Cosmic StillShot 


The Fixed Signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius are the most powerful of the modalities. Like entrenched vines tangled inside, the Fixed signs tumble into the middle of the earth and seek profound intimacy with everyone and everything. They are like tattoos. Engraved. Meaningful. Lifelong. Everlasting. Taurus are the flowers that always bloom new shoots, year after year, the ritual of creativity. Leo is the sun that sits in the grandiosity of what everything encircles. Scorpio’s mind is submerged in the bottom of the ocean, held beneath treasure chests and compulsion. Aquarius is a balloon hanging on a string between stars, exploring every breath of the mind in acute detail.

Taurus familiarizes themselves with the fragments of nature, events, creativity, and composure of the environment. The individual can find gold when the body is soaked into the warmth of the ground, relishing in the complete body consumption of water, wine, aroma, silk and lace. Taurus is the memory of cyclic rhythms and earth clockwork, the revered temple of packaged roses and all four seasons rolled into one. There is Fixed resistance in Taurus. Hesitation, contemplation, and deep thoughtfulness. Absolutely nothing can move the Taurus except themselves.

Leo wield themselves onto the sun and emits solar rays to humanity like a beam from heart, power and childlike joy. The individual vehemently defends their position in the world and the right of every human to express themselves with vitality, pride, and love. Like the king of the jungle protecting their baby cubs, they ensure that all feel safe, comfortable, and protected. Leo is Fixed artwork and music in motion, never swaying from their ideals or right as an individual. Like the Sun at the centre of the solar system, the Leo never moves from centre stage, though gleefully shining the spotlight and heat in every direction.

Scorpio is the celestial mermaid who holds the power of the ocean in their hands. The individual entwines in the most intimate soul conversation buried in the darkest depths. Routine escapism from sunlight to dance in the shadow becomes characteristic of life. The individual familiarize themselves with the most provocative, enriching and profound spectrum of divine power. Scorpios are as loyal as the sea that forever returns to the sand and the water, the sea that promises to hold you afloat of only you believe in and harness your own rays of inner potency. Scorpio is the master of the underworld, Fixed in their positions at the gates of the unconscious, ready to elevate or sink to places completely unknown.

The Aquarius is sewed into his idealistic, humanitarian ideals and sparkles with a vibrant colour wash of vision, utopian wonder and unique force of gravity. The individual is a model of solo activity and encircles into the centre of the mental process. The Aquarius is vortex minded. They suction ideas to the core and entrenches themselves in thought and contemplation, trapping the idea and letting it circulate like fan until every fragment has been processed. Finally, this thrusts with a burst of fresh air and revelation.


-Cherry


Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a town on the Romantic Road in Bayern (Bavaria), Southern Germany, about halfway in between Frankfurt and Munich. It’s known for its medieval center (Altstadt), seemingly untouched by the passage of time, encircled by the undamaged 14th century town wall. In the Middle Ages, it was a free imperial city, reaching its apex of prosperity under Bürgermeister Heinrich Toppler in the 15th century with a large population of 6,000 - much larger than Frankfurt and Munich at the time. Now it’s a small town and tourist attraction.

Time does not heal wounds for Taurus but rather embalms the memory
time moves quicker than Gemini realises
Pisces is the past, the present, and the future
Libra is the day expression of Venus, and Taurus the night
Capricorn is chronos - mortality, and Cancer is kairos - spirit’s time
Aquarius has lived a past life in the future
Sagittarius operates on spirit’s time, this is evident in their sense of prophecy
Your birthday is how many times you have encircled the sun since your first breath, everyday is Leo’s birthday
time is very loud in Virgo’s ear. Virgo is the night and nocturnal expression of Mercury.
Aries is the big bang replaying over and over, a billion years of creation expresses through their essence
Scorpio does not measure age by years but rather perished selves, reborn, renewed

flickr

Fall Blow Out by cg photography
To me this is fall, the vortex of fall foliage in full blown scale.

Venus Love Chain Encircle

Originally posted by ohmysailormoon

[Disclaimer: This is more of an outline, less of a recipe. If you are unable to use something for any reason please feel free to remove or substitute as you see fit. Scented candles and incense can be substituted with LED candles and oil diffusers or wax melts. Don’t feel like you can’t do this spell if you don’t have every ingredient! Also if you have something else you think would be good, feel free to add it in!]

Love Binding: A spell to bind people’s love together

Ingredients:
gemstone(s) [celestite, emerald, jade, malachite, peridot, rose quartz]
any of the following [apple, peach, raspberry]
any combination of the following [fresh ideally or pictures] [daffodil, daisy, lavender, rose]
candle [red or pink ideally, white, green, aqua or peach]
something smelly [candle, incense, oil, etc] [apple, daffodil, daisy, damiana, lavender, peach, raspberry, rose, spearmint, strawberry, vanilla, yarrow, ylang ylang]
something representing you and your partner(s) [picture, name on paper, lock of hair, etc.]
needle and thread [red or pink, white will also work]

Incantation:
Venus Love Chain Encircle!
I bind our love together forevermore
A lasting passion this spell will store
May we find happiness and trust in one another
A chance of breaking our love this chant will smother

Instructions:
Ideally you should have your partner(s) perform this spell with you. If that is not possible imagine them sitting beside you taking part in the ceremony. [Please also make sure you have their permission to do this spell!]
If you have the flowers arrange them in a vase on your work space. Let their presence fill you with love and positive energy
Light you candle or incense [or warm oil/wax melts]. If you like you may carve the sign of Venus ♀ into the candle
Take a bite of the fruit along with your partner(s) [if you do not like the fruit’s taste you may kiss it instead] and place on the work space
With the needle poke a hole through the representations of you and your partner(s) and thread the needle through them, tying a knot several times so it cannot be undone
Arrange the gemstone(s) around the fruit or hold in your hand
Hold the representation with your partner(s) and recite the incantation
Take a moment to visualize yourself and your partner(s) together in the future, happy and in love. Remind yourself that the knot that binds you together cannot be undone.
You may seal the spell with kissing your partner(s) or simply holding hands.
To clean up snuff/blow out the candle and eat the rest of the fruit. Put gemstone(s) away in storage. Put the representations in a place you will see them frequently to remind you of the binding spell you did.

Special thank you to @paganmovedex for the inspiration and @cosmic-witch for the compilation of resources.

Other spells I’ve done:
Moon Tiara Magic- psychic awareness enchant
Mars Celestial Fire Surround- protection spell
Shine Aqua Illusion- invisibility glamour
Sparkling Wide Pressure- favor charm

Other spells I plan on doing:
Silence Glaive Surprise- word binding
Uranus World Shaking- disruption hex
Neptune Deep Submerge- divination enchant
Pluto Deadly Scream- crisis hex

Confession rehearsal

A/n: in which Marinette lies to Adrien, daily


The sounds of the city have become a muted thing, all she can hear is the rushing of her heartbeat, a crazy lub dub that fills her sight with stars.

Or maybe that’s just because she’s forgetting to breathe again.

Even the buffeting wind that encircles them is oddly quiet, a blessedly cold caress against her flushed cheeks.

But he’s here. His eyes are wide and curious and the prettiest shade of green. Almost exactly the color of sunlight drifting through leaves.

And she’ll lose her focus if she thinks anymore, because in stark contrast to his eyes, his smile is comforting. It’s a soft, little thing of warmth and encouragement.

Her reality cements itself again when Chat Noir gives her the most earnest thumbs up, the material of his suit is so blatantly loud as he shifts awkwardly.

She gathers up all the courage settled into her dots, the thing that’s decidedly a part of Ladybug and not Marinette.

Her cheeks burn and the words fall out with a vague rush of relief. She shuts her eyes, lets her dry lips stretch and contort to shape what she needs to say.

“Sorry, I know it’s really sudden and all…but I…I really, really like you. For a long time…a-actually…oh god.”

Her eyes are still screwed shut, and this time the stars she sees are from that rather than lack of air. She wonders if she can make a wish on these ones, considering Paris is too bright to ever see real ones.

His soft laughter causes that same familiar pain to lance through her, she wrings her hands in agitation and irritation mixed with all her affection tinges her words.

“You promised you wouldn’t laugh.” She chides, closing the distance between them, and with a strangely Herculean effort, punches him casually on the shoulder.

He chuckles a bit more, rubbing at his arm.

“I’m not…not at you…not exactly, Ladybug. It’s just you always close your eyes. It looks really painful. But at least you didn’t call him ‘beautiful boy’ this time around.”

He seems to notice her underlying discomfort and thinks she’s genuinely still worried about this night’s rehearsal. He takes it in the way she wants him to.

(And in the way she really doesn’t.)

And like always, he makes her confidence a priority. His encouragement is the farthest thing from false.

(Even if it hurts…oh so much…that she’s practicing these confessions for some other person.)

He places his hands on her small shoulders, his smile is that a little more mellow, a whole lot more sweet as he looks down at her.

He thinks that she should really keep her eyes open during her confession. Because they’re such a starkly bluebell blue, that he thinks, no matter who she confesses to with those shining bright eyes, they’ll say yes.

He would in a heartbeat. Or less.

But her feelings aren’t for him. There for some mystery person. Someone who makes her stutter and devolve back into the adorable politeness that was his classmate…

“Marinette…you should really have more faith in yourself. Honestly, you’re ready. You’ve been ready to make that confession for a while now. I don’t think we need to practice every day now.”

She vehemently shakes her head, and her eyes are narrowed in dogged refusal to listen to him.

“I need more time. Maybe on…Christmas of next year.”

“You really…really need to see that you’re already there, Marinette…and that’s like,” He takes a moment to tally up the time, before humming in frustration. “That’s twenty months away. You can’t keep putting this off.”

But there’s this sick twisted part of him that wants her to feel just a little unsure. That wants her to keep fake confessing to him…just so he can pretend for a few more nights that the girl he loves, loves him too.

Still, her uncertainty runs deep. It seems to be a part of her own bones, lacing through her just as surely as her kindness does.

He can’t promise that the object of her affections will return her feelings…but he can promise her that she’ll be fine if they don’t. After all, he’s currently an expert on an unrequited love. Except she’s got a lot more gumption that he does and she’s been practicing.

She’s still shaking her head, although a bit dizzy by now and he sees the edge of mischief curling her lips.

He moves his hands to cradle her cheeks, thumbs laid just over the edge of her mask. It takes effort not to move his fingers, not to trace the planes of her precious face.

But he does it, and she’s still trying to shake her head in jest, straining gently against his careful hold.

“You’re the worst bobble head ever.” He snorts, and tries to catch her gaze with earnest joy. “But no matter what you want to do, you’ll be great. You can mess up. It’s totally fine. Whatever happens, it wasn’t you. That person just wasn’t…the right one at that time.”

She stops shaking her head long enough to catch the seriousness of his tone, and he has to look away before those pretty blues drown him in curiosity.

Because under no circumstances will he allow their friendship to be ruined because he couldn’t control his emotions.

His hands fall away quickly from her, fiddling with the trailing end of his tail as he finishes his point.

“You’ve…you got this, Marinette.” He says gently, and even beyond her Ladybug suit, he sees the way his encouragement helps. The way she stands a little bit taller. The way the energy of her hope seems to make even her ribbons perk up a bit.

“Thanks…Adrien. It really…it really means a lot. I’m so happy.” She answers back…and somehow she doesn’t sound entirely truthful.

She doesn’t sound happy, but Chat decides to attribute that to lingering uncertainty.

(And for once, she wishes her cat was more observant.)

But the night devolves into a gentle, easy conversation. Ending with him scribbling down the answers to the physics homework for her with a half hearted complaint.

“These only cover your butt for the homework. You’re actually going to have to learn the concepts for the test.”

She rolls her eyes good-naturedly.

“So what if I take the path of least resistance?” She remarks, picking her away from around the chimney stack and beginning to swing her yoyo to begin her journey home.

“Did you just make a joke about circuits? Ohm my god….” He deadpans, his grin turning into one that is absolutely shit-eating.

She laughs sweetly, and waves at him over her shoulder…eager to leave before he catches the harsh beating of her heart.

(And he watches her arc through the sky, a streak of red luck breaking through the winter haze with his heart in his throat. His fingers still tremble, regretting everything.)

She knows she’s being entirely selfish.

She knows she’s being entirely stupid.

But there was a culmination of circumstances that had lead to her current conundrum

And that word happened to start with a C too. Chat Noir..who was Adrien Agreste…who as Chat Noir..

The reveal is inconsequential. How it happened is anticlimactic at best and underwhelming at worst.

She had pieced it together before him. It had been an amalgamation of overly specific puns and a shared reference that only the two of them could have known.

He’d found her out after they’d both gone into the same broom closet to transform…the strangest of liminal spaces encasing two confused heroes and two giggling kwamis.

Another story for another time.

For now, what matters is that the reveals had lead to a better friendship. A relationship the spans both sides of their coins. A person with whom they could share everything.

Well, almost everything. She can’t very well tell Adrien that she’s loved him since day two. She can’t tell him that now her first love and her almost love have coalesced into one wonderfully flawed and dorky boy.

So she lies. Sort of.

She tells him that she likes someone in school.

He asks if he knows them.

She shrugs and says she thinks so.

He asks about their hobbies and what they look like.

She resorts to nauseating poetry to throw him off.

Eyes the color of la Seine in winter. Hair that is woven from ambrosia. A smile made of sunbeams.

He laughs it all off, in a way that’s too easy…to casual for her to even fathom that he feels anything other than amusement.

She’s noticed…a miniscule change…but after the reveal, he’s less flirtatious as Chat. A lot more laid back and maybe just the tiniest bit more sarcastic.

A mark of friendship…something blessed and cursed at the same time.

So when she confesses, she’s not lying. She tells him everyday in various iterations how much she loves him…and he still has no idea she’s confessing to him.

It’s painful, but it’s a hurt of her own making.

Except for now…today is the day. She won’t lie anymore, because unfortunately she’s noticed the growing numbers of Valentine’s he’d received last month.

Because she’s noticed how much more at ease he is with girls that fawn over him and how much more familiar he is with everyone in class.

Because one day they’ll graduate and one day Hawkmoth will be defeated and her pride is stubborn enough not to let her confession happen because a man with a butterfly obsession threatens to throw her life into chaos.

It’s the same scene. The same cloudy haze and the same bright city.

The same stars she sees in her sight because she’s not breathing right, but she’s got no more time.

She’s silent for a bit, and it’s enough to prompt the usual encouragement.

“Hey…I’m really cheering for you.” Tumbles from his mouth when she feels it break.

Despite her months of practice, she still screws her eyes shut and practically shoves out her confession.

“Sorry I know I lie all the time, but I’ve lo..liked you for a long time…and I don’t want to hide anymore. I know I’ve messed up everything…I know you might not like me back, but I really…I really needed to tell that to you, Adrien.”

It’s only now that the volume has returned. The loud rushing sounds of traffic float up from below, the wailing of a boat horn in the distance…the brief, choked laughing that comes from him.

Beyond her vulnerability, anger and hurt make her eyes fly open. Make her fingers curl into fists and make her open her mouth to tell him to please realize that she’s being serious, but…

He stands there with a giant smile, a boy made a little bit of laughter and a little bit of tears, as he says-

“I love you too.”

6

Today in Middle-Earth: The Company arrives at Caras Galadon in the evening (January 17th, 3019 T.A.)

Suddenly they came out into the open again and found themselves under a pale evening sky pricked by a few early stars. There was a wide treeless space before them, running in a great circle and bending away on either hand. Beyond it was a deep fosse lost in soft shadow, but the grass upon its brink was green, as if it glowed still in memory of the sun that had gone. Upon the further side there rose to a great height a green wall encircling a green hill thronged with mallorn-trees taller than any they had yet seen in all the land. Their height could not be guessed, but they stood up in the twilight like living towers. In their, many-tiered branches and amid their ever-moving leaves countless lights were gleaming, green and gold and silver. Haldir turned towards the Company.

     `Welcome to Caras Galadhon! ’ he said. ‘Here is the city of the Galadhrim where dwell the Lord Celeborn and Galadriel the Lady of Lórien. But we cannot enter here, for the gates do not look northward. We must go round to the southern side, and the way is not short, for the city is great.’

Pansy was sitting in her seat beside Potter. It was their makeup seventh year and the new Transfiguration teacher had given them assigned seats. Pansy far preferred McGonagall, but she had gone on to be Headmistress and they were stuck with Professor What’s His Name. She couldn’t be bothered to learn it. When the professor said he’d be seating them in interhouse pairs, she hoped she’d be lucky enough to sit next to Granger. She wasn’t. So instead she watched from afar.

Granger was copying notes from the board. Her body curled over the desk as if she were trying to encircle it. The position made her hair fall into her face. A curtain of dark frizz. Pansy wanted to brush it back for her–perhaps braid it or slick it into a ponytail–or at least offer her an elastic. Then the girl ran a flustered hand from her forehead to the nape of her neck, effectively flipping the bushy hair out of her way.

“Beautiful,” Pansy whispered under her breath.

“Huh?” Potter asked ever-so-eloquently, eyes flicking to Pansy from where they rested on Draco–Granger’s table partner. Draco was taking copious notes as well. Pansy could almost make out his calligraphic scrawl from her seat.

“The studious ones are always the easiest to fall for, aren’t they? And the hardest to get over,” Pansy said, cocking her head in the direction of the two attentive students.

Potter blinked. “I don’t have a crush on Hermione if that’s what you’re getting at.”

Pansy snorted. “That’s not at all what I’m getting at. And anyways, Granger’s gay.”

Potter went as red as his Gryffindor tie. “Don’t say that about her.”

“Cool it, Golden Boy. It wasn’t an insult. But maybe that internalized homophobia is why you can’t see you have a crush on Draco.”

“Malfoy? Are you bonkers? Just because you think he’s the greatest thing on Earth doesn’t mean I have to.”

Pansy laughed then. “Potter, if you were paying any attention you’d know it’s Granger I like. Draco has a sharp wit but the wrong equipment.”

Potter looked as if he’d been slapped. “What?”

“Oh, shut your mouth. Like it’s that shocking.” She knew, however, that it was shocking because every person she’d come out to had said, “you’re too pretty to be gay”. Bullshit. As if her looks had anything to do with her desire to fuck girls. Or cuddle with them. Or whisper sweet nothings into their ears. Or–

Pansy had found she turned into a Hufflepuff when she got too caught up in her fantasies, so she effectively shut them off. It wouldn’t do to have her reputation ruined–even internally.

Pansy brushed aside her ridiculous musings. “Potter, I have a proposition for you.”

His gaze darkened. “No thanks. I don’t take propositions from Slytherins.”

“And I thought we were getting on so well,” Pansy said sweetly before dropping the sugary expression. “Give it a rest, will you? The war’s over. And we weren’t all Death Eaters.”

“You tried to turn me in to Voldemort,” Potter pointed out.

Pansy swallowed down the bile that rose in her throat. “Details, details. Just hear me out. You’re good friends with Granger, and I’m good friends with Draco. What do you say we work together to woo our love interests?”

“I have no interest in dating Mal–”

“Potter, you haven’t taken your eyes off him since he sat down. Actually, you had your eyes on him as he sat down as well.”

“That’s because–”

“Because you were checking out his arse. And you’re blushing like crazy–”

“I am not!”

“–WHICH, may I note, you did not do when you thought I was talking about Granger.”

“Only because–”

“What if I told you he likes you, too?”

Potter shut his mouth. He ran a hand through his unruly hair. It wasn’t as cute as when Granger did it. He bit his lip. “Fine. We can work together. But you can’t tell anyone about this.”

“Potter, who in Merlin’s name would I want to tell? It’s not like I’m proud of allying with a bloody Gryffindor.”

“Whatever. Just…keep it quiet.”

“Same, Scarhead.” The bell rung and the two went their separate ways.

x*x*X*x*x

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