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[Knockturn Alley] Half-Gone Birds

Nola Fitzralph, Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts

Magical ★ Student • Costume Design
Location: Outside a Residential Flat, Knockturn Alley β€’ Date: Saturday, 30 August 2003

It was a derelict, tumbledown hulk that looked to have been built in the Tudor-era and which survived by simple virtue of that Knockturn Alley was never at shortage of empty-pocketed castaways with little want from life beyond a roof over their heads. Nola wondered if it leaked when London rained. Though, it had not rained very much recently. Even the bleakest of Londoners had came out in droves to bask in the hottest August that graced Europe in years. She had only been here just under half an hour and already the young woman lost count of how many times she raised her hand to swipe away a thin sheen of perspiration from her forehead.

She was beginning to lose count, too, of how many times the graffitied and visibly abused front door swung open to reveal a stranger. Was this the eighth? The ninth? An eclectic assortment of characters shuffling in and out. Men, women, a bald goblin with only half of his right ear, an espresso-skinned girl who couldn't be older than Nola's half-brother but wore a weary expression of one who'd seen too much that they'd rather forget. No morose half-Asian wizard, with blue veins blossoming underneath pale skin and a tattooed neck and listless abyss in his eyes, but if she needed some reassurance that this was where he lived, Nola need only point to the varying degrees of scowls that everyone wore whether entering or departing the building. Birds of the same feather flocked together.

Still, she didn't need clues the way pigeons scrabbled for scraps of breadcrumbs. She knew who she saw, even if it was only the back of a raven-haired head disappearing behind a door and swallowed by the jaws of a dim-lit passageway behind a cobwebbed windowpane. He lived here. She knew it. Call it sixth sense, as her father would say. A fool's name for wishful thinking, Lisbeth Falstolfe-formerly-Fitzralph would correct dismissively. Nola didn't care. So long as he eventually turned up, so long as she was eventually correct, it didn't matter what name anyone gave this madness of crouching listlessly against the brick wall of some unnamed flat for the third day in a row waiting for someone who may not even be in the country.

May not even be alive, though she stampeded down the thought as her bored fingers ravaged a strand of weed that had been determinedly sprouting its way between two grooved bricks. She would have heard something on the vine if he had went and got himself killed.

It might still be a good joke to begin with: I thought at least half your face would have rotten through by now, just like your soul.

Except that when the scuffed and worn tips of a pair of shoes intruded in her vision a mere inch away from her own feet, prompting the caterpillar that had been crawling across the toe of her espadrilles to hasten its escape, Nola found herself blanking on the joke. Mouth dry and wordless, breath captured in her chest whilst her head froze somehow at its lowered, bowed angle. A droplet careened off her face to blossom in a darkened blot on the brown leather.

Played By: Everevna

Sen Watanabe, Watchdogs Security

Magical ★ Accountant
Paper-thin walls and mould-infested tiles did not discourage him. Stale odours and flickering yellowed bulbs for lights hardly fazed him. The rent was cheap, the location was convenient. It was excruciatingly cold in the winter but there wasn't a warming spell in a wizards lexicon that did not counter the icy tides. Natural light was sparse in the overcast apartment but Sen was a creature of habit and for the longest time he had been accustomed to late nights and murky days. The interior was scantily decorated: at threadbare couch in an unappetising mustard shade, stacks of books for a coffee table, a blanched Persian rug. The contents of the place was dismal if not alarming: empty whiskey bottles, ash-trays full to the brim, soiled coffee mugs, poorly-kept books and journals of assorted genres. In one corner of the cramped living space was an expensive-looking record player perched on a black iron-wrought cabinet which was home to a collection of muggle Jazz vinyls. The most decorated part of Sen's place was a dark mahogany bookcase that was a miniature library in itself. By the window lay an elderly single-bed mattress and a well-used study table. Sen's home was in its purest form a bachelors pad- some place for the lonely to retire day in and day out. It was an ill-fitted and depressing home, but it was still home.

The young accountant stood facing the open fridge, frowning. His hair was dishevelled and chin shadowy and unshaven. The light of the refrigerator shone aggressively back at the man. He studied its contents sullenly. The egg tray was empty as was the vegetable drawer (not that Sen ever ate that many vegetables) and the fridge door held nothing that could be considered nutritionally substantial; a bottle of chilli, some brown sauce, a suspicious jar of mayonnaise. Nothing appetising to a very hungry and very hungover Sen Watanabe.

The door of the refrigerator slammed with a deafening thud as he moved to the miniscule pantry. No bread, no crackers, no spaghetti, no cans of tuna, no jars of tomato pasta sauce. He tried to remember the last time he had gone grocery shopping. A few weeks ago? Or had it been months? Who knew, it wasn't important now. All Sen knew was that he needed to get something to eat and quickly.

Shrugging on his navy peacoat jacket and lurching his feet into a weary pear of brown Oxford shoes, Sen left his apartment lightheaded. He slouched down the corridor in a daze, unlit cigarette in hand. The main entrance looked as it always did from the inside. What he wasn't expecting was the person on the outside.

As soon as Sen nudged open the main door he noticed her immediately. It was the strawberry-blonde hair and the perfume she always wore. It was the bangs of her haircut that framed her face with a loving carelessness that he could remember since but forever ago. How long had it been? Sen found that this too was something he could not remember. The days and nights were always woven together for him. He saw but the blur of the universe pass by and often felt nothing.

"What are you doing here?" Was the first thing he could think of saying. His throat was dry, but it was probably the alcohol from the night before, and the hangover.

Played By: melmaid