Selina had meant to make the summer staff parties an annual thing. She thought everyone had enjoyed the first one (someone, she thought, had enjoyed it rather a lot, and then also got something nice and long term out of it, but as those were two entirely distinct experiences with two different people, she was trying to fuzzy those memories up and not really think about them). Last year, however, she had not much felt like throwing a party. By the end of the year, things had been in a better place, and she’d had plenty to celebrate with her family, but she hadn’t wanted to dwell on the year at school, even though she probably owed her staff some form of thanks or compensation for what she’d put them through.
She was trying to make up for it this year with a Christmas party, on the final evening of term after the students had been sent home. She thought her California home might not feel particularly festive to people, so had opted to keep it at school, though families were welcome to join (so long as they weren’t existing students, as that blurred lines rather uncomfortably). She thought that MARS would do a good job of catering to the fact that everyone had a different definition of ‘festive.’
She had arranged for the foyer area to be thoroughly redecorated, almost beyond the point of recognition, so that it looked proper for a grown-up party. She’d left the boardgames on the shelves, because that did feel somewhat festive, and could be a good ice breaker (she was also contemplating how a suggestion of charades would go down…) but there were tables with jaunty red and gold runners, and proper centrepieces with winter greens and candles, not to mention the cauldron of hot spiced wine, spiced non-alcoholic cider, and festive foods. There was also tinsel hanging from the ceiling, gently cycling through different festive colours, and a huge tree in the corner, with poinsettias which cycled through from buds to blooms, and bells which jingled themselves at regular intervals.
The main pull of using the MARS rooms was that water room could do snow—cold, unpleasant stuff, if you asked her, but something everyone else insisted on finding festive. She had stuck a ginormous glittering snowflake to the door and relabelled it ‘snow room’ to give people the right idea, and the room could also provide extra warm layers and boots if people hadn’t come dressed for the weather. People could also go and enjoy their choice of winter landscapes in the art room, or their preferred festive music in the music room. She had some gentle background tunes playing from a wireless in the foyer, but if they wanted something more specific, or just to break off into smaller groups, there were options to suit everyone.
May was at home with Krissalyn, but she’d had Araminta dropped with her, seeing as she was a similar age to Zeus and Dora. She was very excited about the snow.
“Thank you all for coming,” she smiled, once the staff and their families were assembled. “I’m deeply appreciative of everything you bring to working here at Sonora, and I thought we all deserved some fun to finish off the term. So, eat, drink, throw snowballs at your colleagues, and be merry,” she suggested.
This is... nice? by Giselle Duell with Tarquin Fox-Reynolds
Girlfriend hat? Daughter hat? SNOW HAT! by Ema Skies with Killian Row, Dora Xavier, Nathan Xavier
Let's spell it out. by Katey Willow with Grayson Wright
A staff Christmas party? Giselle was not sure at all how that was supposed to work. To the best of her knowledge, Delphi hadn't done Christmas parties. Before last year, she hadn't even really celebrated Christmas, or anything else, since... since she'd been twelve? As such, Christmas last year had been an... experience. It had at least been with her rediscovered family, and was reminiscent of those earlier years. Even if it had made her think of all of those years she had missed out.
This was a staff party though. It would be filled with the staff of the school. People that she, in theory, spent a bunch of time with.... and yet she still barely felt like she knew them well. She couldn't fault them for it though, logically this is what happens when you don't interact with them any more than strictly necessary, against your therapist's suggestions/orders. For some reason, opening up and trusting people was difficult. She'd been trying her best focusing on doing so with Val, and Marissa some. Maybe Andrew, just a bit. She had talked to Selina a little more than normal... but it was hard. She should go, she really, really should. Pull yourself together woman, her inner monologue chided her. Get out there, find one person to talk to. It'll be fine. Giselle sighed and got ready for the party.
The sounds and smells of the MARS rooms were naturally the first things to wash over her. There was some soft music playing, and the jingling of bells. Scents of pine, and the aroma of some spiced food or drink wafted through her as well. There was also the murmuring of conversation since she certainly had not wanted to be the first person to arrive. Giselle had also not wanted to be the last one to arrive, thankfully it had been easy enough to divine the optimal time to arrive. If only everything could be as simple. That Dark Power prophesy still hung over her. She had not been able to discern anything new. Perhaps Professor Skies had thought of something else that may help by now, or perhaps someone else here might have an idea?
She waved her wand to get an image of the room, and much of it lined up with what her other senses had already perceived. It was odd though, it looked like the tree was decorated with flowers that were still buds? It must be some cultural thing. Oh well. Giselle made her way into the room as unobtrusively as she could. Doing her best to make it seem like she knew what she was doing, and went to social gatherings all of the time, she decided to examine the refreshments. Her stomach wasn't in the mood for food, so she simply took some of the spiced beverage from the cauldron to at least have something to hold.
After that, she had to make a decision. Most of her just wanted to quietly hide in a corner of the room where she would be out of the way. That had been where she had been trained to reside when she wasn't needed after all. The voice in her head defied such actions, she should go talk to someone. Fortunately it was around that time when Selina made her welcoming speech. It was short, but she very distinctly heard a small child being quite happy at the suggestion of throwing snowballs. She wasn't sure how to handle that, she wasn't sure she'd fair well in a snowball fight. Nervous reflexes caused her to gulp down her drink. It tasted weird, she coughed for a moment before recovering. What was that stuff?
OOC: Childish happiness approved by the appropriate author.
Girlfriend hat? Daughter hat? SNOW HAT!
by Ema Skies
OOC: God-modding of Killian approved by his author BIC:
Ema hadn't thought she would be nervous about the Christmas party. It wasn't like she had never mingled with Sonora staff before. It wasn't like she'd never had to have her boyfriend and her parents in the same room before. But those two things happening at once, and being around Sonora staff with her 'Killian's girlfriend' hat on (she had been tempted to get a literal had but hadn't had time) were both new. She still wasn't sure that would have been enough to make her nervous except for the fact that it was obviously making him nervous. It was something, she thought, that other people would have said was 'unusual' for Killian, but Ema knew that he was, at most times, an over-analysing worrywort wrapped up in a bluster of fake confidence, wrapped in a shirt.
They had pretty clear boundaries on what kinds of PDA were acceptable in front of her parents already, and Ema was pretty sure there was nothing about being around his colleagues that was going to up that. It was more the question of Ema's multiple hats. She wasn't sure how many of the staff would remember and recognise her from the barbecue, though if they did, they might assume that she had been there in her capacity as Killian's girlfriend, unless her mother had specifically interacted and pointed her out. Katey knew, Mary knew. She was pretty sure her mother had not advertised the fact, but nor was she likely to have disguised it if it came up... And that was what they were going to do too. Just answer honestly, but without shoving the information in anyone's faces if it wasn't relevant. Ema was sort of almost looking forward to being on a sneaky spy mission, and seeing how long she could pass undetected for, except she didn't want anyone to end up feeling embarrassed or awkward, and Killian was potentially already feeling those things. Hopefully it would just be this one time that felt awkward. She didn't like the thought that she might be more trouble than she was worth.
She zipped herself into a party dress with a tight, long-sleeved velvet top and a flowing green a-line skirt. She pulled her hair forward into a side ponytail, twisting a strand back over the elastic so it looked like her hair was holding itself in place. Both of these acts had the effect of making the pink and purple underlayers more visible, along with the fact she had charmed some glitter into them for the occasion. She slid her feet into Doc Martens, which had stars on the side and festive green sparkly laces, and which were most likely to be the cause of everyone working out Selina was her mother. Even if it was a combination Ema had worn eleventy billion times, her mother didn't seem to have given up pointing out that she thought great big clumpy boots like that spoilt the look of a dress. Ema was pretty sure that the two of them could not interact without serious mother-daughter tones to the conversation - or, if people didn't twig, without it seeming like Selina was awfully rude and direct to poor Killian's girlfriend.
Her first stop was Killian's office, the floo having been opened up for the evening. She took a moment to pull him away from straightening some already perfectly straight stacks of paper, and to say hello, and to feel just how feelable her dress was. Once that was done, they made their way to the party, hand in hand.
Her parents both waved to her in greeting, but being preoccupied with other tasks didn't do any more, leaving her cover in tact for now. She looked around, her free hand lighting on Killian's arm and then pointing at the door that said 'snow room.' She bounced on her tiptoes throughout her mother's very short speech, her eyes flitting between Killian and the door, and all around the room because it was all so Christmassy and exciting, though they came to rest most often on those two most enchanting things.
"Snow!" she squeaked, once the party officially started. Her wand was already twirling, conjuring herself a purple beanie and matching gloves.
"Do you want to come play in the snow?" she asked whoever had ended up next to them. This was a social event and they were meant to be social after all. "Or are we meant to let the kids have first go?" she added, equally to Killian and his colleague, but sounding distinctly disappointed by that prospect.
Hats off to you. [tag a colleague or colleague's family member.]
by Killian Row
Killian was trying to be normal about this but he couldn't help feeling some level of anxiety. Staff parties were normally all the way up his alley because socializing was by far one of his favorite things to do, but bringing his girlfriend - the first significant other who'd really ever been significant to him or he to them - who happened to also be his boss' daughter to his work party, where someone who had asked him on a date and was possibly not over that rejection and someone he had thought of asking on a date both worked . . . well, it was going to be stressful. He wasn't under any impressions that he was any good at blocking out how other people felt and if anyone felt weird, he'd probably notice. He didn't want Ema to have to deal with that, and he didn't want her to have to deal with the scrutiny of both being his girlfriend and the collective staff's boss' daughter. He supposed it wasn't the first time she'd mingled with this crowd, but it felt different somehow.
And this stack of papers just would NOT be straight enough. He'd been trying to get it to be a little more perfect ever since he'd given up on his tie and dress robes looking anything better than decent (okay, so they actually looked super great and very fancy and he thought he looked rockin' in the celestial grey he'd chosen, but the wearer of the robes was always a bit disheveled looking and anxiety only fueled that look) all to no avail. He was grateful when his gorgeous, smart, amazing girlfriend interrupted him with words and kisses and hands and he got to enjoy a moment feeling other things than he'd been feeling since his work day had ended.
With a compliment, a kiss, and a quick but sincere 'I love you,' he took her hand as they made their way to the MARS rooms. Ema's bounciness did a lot to alleviate some of Killian's stress and he felt his soppy, love-struck grin taking place as he listened to Selina's speech and looked around the room. Ema quickly took to being social, one of the things he honestly loved about her because he was definitely not the sort of person to avoid socializing at social events, and Killian added a more polite smile to the person Ema had invited while they decided if they wanted to join.
"So long as we don't hit a kid with a snowball too hard, I think we can go in when we want to," he promised Ema after a moment's thought. Then he put a hand on her new beanie with a laugh. "You warm-weather people," he said with a playful eyeroll. "Do you want to join?" he reiterated, bringing the conversation back to their third (but not like that).
22Killian RowHats off to you. [tag a colleague or colleague's family member.] 145005
Dora walked into the MARS room with her family. She liked the MARS room but right now she liked it even better. It was so pretty! Daddy said hi to some people and Dora waved big at Zeus, but Daddy was holding her hand so she couldn't go hug him yet. Provezer Sky talked loud and everyone looked at her and she said there was SNOW!
"Snow, Daddy?" she asked excitedly. "There's snow?"
"In a minute, hon," he promised. He wasn't even doing anything. He was just standing next to people. Then the lady person asked Daddy if he wanted to play in the snow! Dora pulled on his arm and nodded a lot to tell him what his answer was supposed to be, and the man person who was standing there, too, promised it wasn't just for kids, as long as Dora didn't get hit hard with a snowball, which she appreciated.
"Yes!" she told them both, "You can play, too!" And she grabbed the lady's hand with the one that wasn't holding Daddy's hand, and dragged them both to the snow room! "We can make a snowman! No! A snowgirl! No! A snow family! Yes! We all make one!"
She found that with the grownup hands, she had no hands free and couldn't open the door. She gave it a hard look. "Open Sesame Street!" she shouted, and it magically opened. (Daddy opened it.) She smiled happily, let go of all of the hands and ran inside, laughing and shrieking in the cold.
She ran back to the grown-ups after she tripped and landed on her hands and knees in the frozen water and she realized she was missing something important. She'd seen the lady person make some for herself, so she could make some for Dora. "Provezor!" All the grown-ups here seemed to answer to this name, so even though she didn't recognize Lady Person, it seemed like a safe form of address. "I want mittens, too!" She held out her cold wet hands to show her the problem.
"Dora, ask nice," Daddy prompted.
She thought she had? She hadn't cried or whined. Oh! Right! The magic word that wasn't Open Sesame Street. "I want mittens, too, please!"
Daddy sighed like she hadn't gotten it right, but she said please. That was how you asked nice. He didn't correct her again, though, so she guessed he was just being weird.
Ah, Ema had managed to pick someone with a kid, which sort of fuzzied up the before/after question. It did, however, mean that she wasn't the only one hyped about the snow, and the grin she offered Dora Xavier (she pretty much knew who was who even without introductions) easily matched the little girl's.
"Snow is cold. That's just a fact," Ema replied when Killian teased about her hat. Okay, she had consistently worn about three times the layers he had when they'd been in Ireland, but it wasn't like he just strolled outside in his house clothes.
Dora grabbed her hand (aw) and pulled her along talking about snow families (also aw, and yes - gender liberation of snowfolk!). Ema hoped it wasn't getting under Killian's skin too much. He was around her and her nieces enough that she knew the sight of her and small children wasn't immediately triggering for him or an absolute nope, but she wasn't sure it was his preferred option either. Hopefully the head of Teppenpaw knew that it was not diplomatic or any of his business to start up a friendly chat about whether she and Killian were going to have kids. If would put a real damper on the party if she had to hex any of Killian's colleagues.
They got to the MARS room, and the only things that stopped Ema immediately charging after Dora and diving in just as fast were more layers, and some semblance of adult manners.
"I'm Ema, by the way. Nice to meet you," she offered, whilst pulling a coat and a scarf from the selection which seemed to have been provided by the room. Dora found the problem with just diving in, as she came running back with soggy hands.
"Uh-oh," Ema acknlowdged the problem. She took no offence whatsoever to 'I want mittens too' - perhaps because she was used to Araminta being bossy, or because it seemed reasonable to be over-excited. Either way, she didn't think Dora was being rude, though the please her dad prompted out of her was sweet. "I'm not a professor. I'm Ema. Or Ms. Ema, if you prefer," she added, including Nathan in that remark, because some adults had very strong feelings about their kids not calling adults by just their names. Ema definitely did not, and suspected that was clear from the way she shrugged the second option into existence. If Dora couldn't get her head round it, she also wasn't going to correct her or ignore her if she got called 'Professor' again. It just seemed polite to let her know.
"Sure thing," she nodded, waving her wand once to dry Dora's hands. "What colour?" she checked, before conjuring up some mittens. "Also, if you close your eyes and wish real hard, the room can make extra things to keep you warm." She wasn't sure all those steps were totally necessary but there didn't seem to be any harm in imbueing things with a little extra magic.
"What first?" she asked, once everyone was as wrapped up as they wanted to be. She was sort of addressing everyone, but she suspected one person's say counted more than others...
It had been a long time now since Katey had last seen snow, but she was a hearty Midwestern girl, and she knew how to balance on the delicate line between looking cute and staying warm. As always, she wore a lot of pastel colors, this time taking form in a lavender beanie, vest, and boots, paired with a pale yellow long-sleeve top and light-wash jeans. She was one for skirts when it could be helped, but winter holidays demanded alternate apparel.
She tried to do a little better this year, although she still didn’t really like the Christmas holiday season very much. It brought around sharp memories of holidays when she was less alone, and reminded her in contrast how very alone she was now. The difference sparked comparisons, and sometimes she couldn’t decide which was better. She was woefully extroverted and needed people, but historically, the people she had were not great for her.
And she knew she wasn’t really alone anymore. Honestly, Sonora’s staff did a great job to make her feel welcome and included and appreciated in their company. But it wasn’t the same as having some kind of family unit.
She glanced at the Xaviers and at Killian and Ema, and she tried not to be too jealous, but her body language was slightly stiff, and from more than just the cool breeze emanating from the open door to the wintery water room as someone entered it.
Today, she resolved, was going to be fun despite it all. Katey was at the very least not going to be responsible for bringing down Selina’s lovely party. So she grabbed a random board game off the shelf and approached someone who was also otherwise unoccupied. “How do you feel about-” she paused, glancing down at the game in her hands. “Scrabble?”
"Yellow!" Dora exclaimed in a voice that probably wasn't an indoor one, but they were in the snow, so it was probably okay. She stole a look at Daddy, and he was looking happy like he always did when Dora shared the same favorite color he did. It was why it was her favorite. Daddy loved yellow. And she loved Daddy, so she loved yellow, too, because it made her think of him. And it was pretty, too, but all the colors were pretty.
Ms. Ema (who was apparently one of the few grown-ups in the world who were not named Provezor; maybe that was why she liked Mr. Row? They could be not Provezors together?) made her yellow mittens, and Dora squeed happily over them. Then she stared at Ms. Ema in shocked disbelief when she said Dora could do magic here. Like, real magic. On purpose. No. Way.
"Coat." Daddy ordered, but Dora was barely aware of him forcing her arms into puffy warm sleeves as she stared up at Ms. Ema. Was she for real?
Dora squeezed her eyes shut and wished really really really super duper hard, and when she opened them, she had a penguin sled, just like the one at Grandma and Grandpa's house! "EEEEEEEEE!" she screeched, "I DID MAGIIIIIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Then she grabbed the sled and ran for the hill, forgetting completely about her plan to make a snow family. She was going sledding! With her sled that she made! USING MAGIC!
Nathan had been making his rounds and had just said hello to Killian when Selina drew their attention for a short welcoming explanation about the party, which of course set off Dora, because the word 'snow' had been said. And she was five and just starting to learn to read, so the word and the involuntary look several people (including Nathan) made toward the water room was enough for her to squint at it and figure out that was where the snow was. And she wanted to go right now, naturally. "One minute," he promised, figuring he should extract himself politely from the conversation he had only barely begun before leaving them, but Killian and his girlfriend (he assumed, based on the hand-holding) (and wasn't she Selina's daughter? He was pretty sure she was one of the daughters he'd seen photographs of in Selina's quarters.) (were Killian and Selina's daughter dating?) were talking between themselves and he didn't want to interrupt.
Dora huffed with impatience, but she didn't start whining, which he counted for a win.
He must have gained a reprieve because Killian's companion/Selina's daughter also seemed keen on the snow.
They invited him along with them, which Dora took the opportunity to answer for him, though he at least managed a "It looks like I'll be joining you," as Dora dragged both him and Selina's daughter and, by extension, Killian as well with her to the water room, and talked about her plans to make snow families.
"OPEN SESAME STREET!" Dora shouted when she reached her destination, and Nathan knew his cue when he heard it. He opened the door, imagining a winter wonderland with snowy hills and wide expanses of snow good for building snow families in, as well as a coat rack with winter gear because neither him nor Dora were dressed for it.
Dora predicatably ignored the coat rack and ran right for the snow. It was deeper than her legs could easily handle, and she soon fell over, getting snowy and wet and cold. She came running back, demanding mittens from Selina's daughter.
"Dora, ask nice," he gently reminded his daughter and gave the young woman an apologetic look for having a kid with no manners.
She tagged on a please, which was better, but not how he'd been trying to teach her to say 'May I please have...' instead of 'I want...' but he didn't want to make a battle of it in front of other people, so he just sighed and let it go.
Ema introduced herself to Dora - that was definitely the name of one of Selina's daughters, and he took this introduction as confirmation that, yes, she was definitely Selina's youngest - and made her some yellow mittens, and Nathan just smiled fondly down at his own daughter because he was pretty sure she only liked yellow because he did, and it was still flattering every time she said so. Made him feel like a good dad.
Another part of being a good dad was making sure his kid was wearing a coat while playing in the snow, so he grabbed one Dora sized off the rack behind them and put it on her while she was still distracted by what Ema had told her about what MARS could do. He plopped a hat on her head for good measure, too.
Then the MARS room produced a penguin sled on her command and she was absolutely delighted by it. He rubbed his ear to clear the ringing left by the high pitched shriek, and chuckled, shaking his head in amusement as she ran off with it toward one of the hills, leaving the grown-ups to converse or do whatever snow thing Ema seemed keen on doing. First though, he found a coat for himself as well, and shrugged it on. He checked the pockets, and either through chance or more MARS magic providing what he needed and expected, he pulled out a set of warm gloves that were a perfect fit for his hands.
"Did either of you have anything in mind? I need to keep an eye on her so she doesn't get hurt, but I can be a social grown up with you while she's entertaining herself."
1Nathan XavierShould we have gone for ear muffs?2805
Killian mostly just smiled, happy to be dragged along from one adventure to the next. He was generally more than a little adventurous himself, but when he was with people he cared about, he'd rather go on their adventures than come up with his own. Plus he was still reeling a bit from his anxiety at tonight, so his adventure muscles were a bit stiff.
Nathan greeted him, Killian wondered whether he'd make the connection between Selina and Ema, and then they were off, just like that. It was the good sort of adventure that made you feel a little bit less stuck in your own head. Of course, this was also the sort of adventure that probably required you to cover your own head as well and even though Killian was mostly pretty comfortable with the cold and the snow, he thought it best to dress at least warm enough to keep his ears from turning pink, if not warm enough to get sweaty when they inevitably played.
He followed Nathan's suit and collected a coat (luckily the room had some thinner ones here too and it was more of a waterproof layer than anything particularly fluffy), with gloves and a hat available in its pockets. He donned them as Dora zipped off with her new sled and Killian couldn't help grinning as he watched the girl. She'd grown up a lot in the time he'd known her and it was exciting to see her gaining independence so fiercely, not unlike a few other people he knew.
"Not getting hurt sounds good," Killian agreed, not wanting any parent to ever feel bad for having to . . . well, be a parent. That was simply not a thing Killian would ever be bothered by. "We haven't quite dressed for sledding," he said to Ema, smiling almost like a challenge. "But that wouldn't stop you I think. What did you have in mind?"
22Killian RowMight not have been the worst idea. 145005
He was fairly sure he’d never mention it to her, at least not in more than the very vaguest of complimentary ways, but Gray approved of Selina’s winter decorating taste. His one note would be about the poinsettias – as amusing as it was to see a plant seemingly go from immaturity to maturity and back again in acceleration, poinsettias just looked peculiar when their bracts were still green, at least to him – but he supposed he really had no room to talk, considering the state of the one he’d had in his office for the past eight years. Some of the bracts did turn red each year, it was true, but for some reason they did not want to appear in petal-like formations around the flower the way they did when properly prodded along by a trained magiflorist (also, as far as he knew after eight years with his office plant, the only way one got them to have ‘flowers’ at Christmastime; their natural reactions to sunlight and shade had to be forced in greenhouses and through skilled use of charms and magically-infused plant foods and fertilizers to produce the classic Christmas poinsettia).
Other than the point about poinsettias, though, which was a point only Nathan might possibly concur with anyway, he had few criticisms. He rather wanted to go throw snowballs at nothing in particular, but a combination of not wanting to look completely undignified in front of his coworkers and the presence of people who were the right age for that kind of thing deterred him from that one. Instead, then, he wandered through the winter art gallery for a bit, admiring the landscapes and at one point cheering on some probably long-dead Aladrens in a snowball fight they had been painted having with some Pecaris.
Eventually, he made his way back to the foyer, and was vaguely considering seeing what the music room would whip up (would it just be music playing from walls, or an illusory orchestra, or seemingly playerless instruments, or….?) while he helped himself to the non-alcoholic cider (an appreciated gesture, though surely his boss didn’t actually notice that particular quirk of his) when the medic approached with a board game.
“I’ve used it to help with writer’s block,” he said when asked his opinion of Scrabble. “Care for a game?”
Dora was super cute. Ema smiled at her retreating form, deciding it was up to her parents to choose when to explain that the room was giving her a helping hand with the magic. Nathan seemed pretty easy-going, and had already let her use magic words to open the door, so Ema was pretty sure they were still in the ‘letting reality be flexible for the sake of fun’ phase. She wasn’t necessarily sure there should be a required point at which that ended…
“Sledding in a party dress or temporarily transfiguring it into pants are both totally valid options,” Ema confirmed when Killian said that he didn’t think that not being dressed for sledding would stop her. “American English sense of pants,” she added to him. She didn’t think he’d make jokes about seeing her in her underwear in front of his colleagues but she could hear him thinking it. She pulled her wand out. She probably would have preferred sledding in her dress just to prove a point, but accidentally flashing her Irish-sense-of-the-word pants at Nathan seemed like it would be awkward. She gave a quick wave of her wand, mostly just pinning the skirt down its centre so that it made a loosely fitting and rather odd looking garment, but one that definitely meant she wasn’t going to commit indecent exposure.
“I’ve only seen snow like… twice ever before,” she added to Nathan, to explain why she was being quite so hyper about this. He seemed to have divided the possible activities into ‘snow’ or ‘being sociable adults’ and when you put it like that, she knew which she was meant to choose, but she just wanted to have fun. They could talk whilst they warmed up later.
She glanced around her, but getting ready for sledding had not produced one. Maybe the room only responded to people from the school. She squeezed her eyes tight shut, concentrating on what she wanted to happen.
“Sled please?” she requested of the ether, or whoever was in charge here. “For two.”
OOC: Permission to assume that once provided with a sled, Ema would enthusiastically drag it and Killian to the hill and start using it.
In spite of being someone with a reputation for hiding from his colleagues, Tarquin thought the staff party was rather a nice idea. Firstly, he was sentimental enough to be fond of Christmas and thus of honouring it with appropriate degrees of sparkle. Secondly, as one who didn't socialise that easily with his colleagues, having an excuse to do so helped break the ice a little. He could talk to them, make sure they knew he existed, and then in the new year, slink quietly back to his office, having checked off 'socialise once in a while' as if it was a single, completable box that might appear on his performance review.
He made his way over the the refreshments, figuring that was a good place to start. Of course, other people thought so too. That meant he ended up at the wine at about the same time as the Divination teacher. She was not high on his list of people to spend the evening talking to. He considered whether it would be rude to just get drinks and slink back to his husband (probably). Still, he had the advantage of pouring and demonstrably holding two cups, so he had an excuse to leave after making a quick round of small talk.
He couldn't help gaping slightly when she downed her wine and promptly choked.
"I take it the wine is quite strong then? Or still fairly hot." Was that a normal thing to say? Probably not. It had sounded funnier in his head. "Are you okay?" he asked.
Giselle was still reeling a bit from the drink, and the voice nearby startled her. She hadn't realized someone had been so close. It was a man's voice that she'd heard before, but not one that she readily recognized. Reflexively she tried to consult her last mental image of the room that she had captured, but it was gone. Something of a chill swept through her, that couldn't be right, she could hold images far longer than this. Something was wrong. Instinctively her hand went to her wand, who was this man? What did he do? What did he want from her?
His words finally penetrated her brain as her hand made contact with her wand. Wine? She froze for a moment as her usually fairly quick mind churned its way slowly through the given scenario. The after effects of the drink caused her another minor coughing fit, which did serve to break her from her reverie. At the same time, she found a wave of relief washing over her and she couldn't help from transitioning from coughing to laughing. "I'm... I'm alright." She found herself replying between the weird fit of giggles that seem to have overtaken her. "I... I just thought... it was cider and... the thought.. of a snowball fight..." This was ridiculous, some part of her brain pointed out to her. Pull yourself together!
She tried. Giselle took a deep breath and tried to push it all back down. "I'm sorry," she apologized regaining some level of composure, her head felt weird. Time to figure out who she was actually talking to. She drew her wand to get a new image since she lost her previous one for some reason. Something was wrong with her fingers as well, they lost their grip on the wand and she tried to grab for it... not that she had much of an idea where it was. The world spun as she lurched forward, her feet and/or legs weren't doing their job either! She stumbled and fell towards this strange man, letting out a minor, slightly slurred, curse in Greek.
2Giselle DuellWe can't complain about... nice, I suppose.151705
Why did he always get the drunk ones? Perhaps that wasn't fair, as after all, his experience of looking after an inebriated Sophie hadn't exactly been bad, and was probably a large part of why they had ended up being friends. It also wasn't as if it was outside his area of expertise. He had been young, once. More to the point, so had Danny. However, Danny was (or at least, had become, over the course of things) a very familiar person. Drunk people weren't all the same, and knowing how they would respond to offers of help, or any other thing, was impossible to tell, which made this situation still feel slightly precarious.
He flinched slightly when Giselle drew her wand. He was familiar with the fact she used it to get information about her surroundings, and had even seen her do it at staff meetings and so on. He had never had it done directly to him, and thought it might have been a little disconcerting under any circumstances,as he wasn't the biggest fan of having a wand pointed at him. It certainly was alarming given her current state. Then she fumbled and dropped it anyway. Which rather proved his point.
Judging by her words, and just how badly one glass of wine was affecting her, she was not used to drinking. And possibly had not intended to drink.
"No problem," he assured her, even though he could, in fact, see several problems very easily. He gently tilted her back to her feet, pretty sure she should be able to stand, and had just overshot when fumbling for her wand. "Let me find that for you," he added, retrieving her dropped wand from the floor. He only hesitated internally before giving it back, the pause not even noticeable on the surface. That an adult had a right to their wand was so very ingrained, it was hard to imagine taking it away from someone, however much of a good idea that might be. "Might be a good idea to let your head stop spinning before you try to use it though," he suggested.
"I'm Tarquin, by the way. The librarian." He assumed she had been going to do her information spell, rather than hex his nose off. He didn't think he'd been that irritating. And it seemed entirely reasonable for someone to not know who he was.
"Anything else I can do for you? Maybe get you a glass of water, or a place to sit down?"
13Tarquin Fox-ReynoldsIndeed. Well then, '....yay for the.... nice things'146405
The brief sense of vertigo passed as the man helped steady her. "I'm sorry," she apologized again as she wavered a bit on her feet. She did not entirely trust them after such a betrayal. So much betrayal in her life... Andrew and Jhonice, Andrew and Marissa, Lia, her feet. What was next? Her countenance clearly showed swirling emotions of anger, fear, and sadness as she accepted her wand back from.. Tarquin, the librarian. Yes, now she recognized his voice.
"Thank-you," She replied, trying her hardest to suppress the upwelling of emotions that normally were kept safely sealed away. Still the words came out heavier than she would have liked. He was being nice... they were all nice at first. Even her feet. Was he to turn against her as well? She hadn't realized it, but there was another emotion swirling around with the others. It was a new one... the way he had caught her, the touch of his hand when he had returned her wand. She hadn't actually touched a man before. Well, not one that wasn't her brother anyway. Lia had always insisted that she keep her distance from them... and alcohol. At the thought, her expression shifted to one of just fear.
"Yes... a seat would be good I think. I'm sorry." She knew she was being a burden to the librarian, but he was right, she couldn't function like this... and on the off chance Lia hadn't been lying about the effects of alcohol, she didn't want to kill anyone. Well, anyone here. "I'm not sure I trust my feet entirely anymore." She knew that she could manage to at least walk if she had to. She had accomplished harder things in her life, but that new emotion suggested that it might be nice if he helped her to a seat.
No, you're being a silly girl again. You know he is married, to another man as well. She had learned what she could of the staff last year, just to ease her paranoia a bit. Her more recent investigations into the up coming 'Dark Power' had her looking into the staff again as well. Naturally with no good results. She was still just a failure. Without realizing it though, one of the things she had learned about Tarquin voiced itself. "Do you think you are ready to give away your chicken?"
2Giselle DuellThere are so many... nice things.151705