A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

Stories taking place in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
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 #37314  by Francis Friis
"Well, it is." Francis shrugged and sipped. All news was good news as far as his career and renown were worried. "The opinions of the masses are a separate concern from this one."

"WELP.." Francis stretched and cranked his neck back and forth, appearing as though he was preparing for a grand story that would require some great effort. Tamsin might know him just well enough to deduce that it was only a dramatic display, and the coming explanation would only be a tad underwhelming. "The bastard was asking for it. I mean, it was like he wanted it."

Underwhelming indeed. Hardly an answer at all.
 #37322  by Tamsin Villiers
"All news are good news except when they are not news," Tamsin quipped, offering Francis an expression that was mildly bored as she sipped on more framboise.

"And are you suggesting that my opinion carries more significance than that of the masses'?"
 #37328  by Francis Friis
"Of course! You're an esteemed doctor! And I actually do know you, you know? Like, you're not just some faceless fan. You're a fan with a face!"

Francis looked off at the gathering, appearing thoughtful for a moment. He was thinking back to the night at the pitch and the slimy look on that snake's face while it antagonized him. Mixed with the booze, it was enough to bring some heat to Frank's face.
 #37329  by Tamsin Villiers
Tamsin would not have been able to point out Francis Friis in a crowd of garden gnomes until the racer had came across her path on a stretcher she levitated him onto, though his confidence was worthy of credit all the same. Tilting her glass in the palm of her hand, she briefly leaned her cheek against the cool glass as she watched him drift off to chase whatever rabbit thought had slipped into his mind.

He was the last person she fancied spending the evening with, and yet here she still was.

How strange.

"Do you want my opinion?" the younger woman asked blithely after the momentary lull between them. Her lower lip jutted out just the slightest, her expression softer than it ever was before the blurring of liquor. Even without waiting for his answer, it was clear from her tone that she never meant to wait for it in the first place.

"That breaks you up a little, doesn't it? That she could be his lady? You don't like that, because she was, but isn't, your lady? You hate that just a little bit."
 #37340  by Francis Friis
A single brow popped up, though Francis did not concede a look back at the woman while she dissected what thoughts may have inspired his sudden mood. Of course what she was saying was entirely accurate. It was human nature, surely, and anyone in Francis's shoes would feel just the same.

"A healer and a therapist, too," he replied dully, still resisting a look. It was unclear weather he was agitated or if a soft spot had finally been discovered.

Finally, Francis pulled his shades down and offered a direct look back at Tamsin.

"Villiers, have you ever been in love?"
 #37347  by Tamsin Villiers
If asked to give an assessment as to the Slytherin alumna's temperament, anyone from Hogwarts' Class of 1997 might provide any variety of answers; but inevitably, there would be some synonym or the other equivalent of 'unconcerned'. The kinder ones may describe her as nonchalant, and open-minded, and curious. To some others, she was insouciant, irreverent, deliberate, provocative—grossly apathetic to how her forwardness can cause others to feel.

Tamsin usually minded this as much as she was apologetic about it, which was rarely at all. And which was to say—therefore—it was equably strange, as she watched Francis grapple internally with her observation, that the young woman felt, suddenly, a hint of unsettledness that bordered on disconcerting.

Almost as if she felt... bad. For him. And for asking.

Perhaps it was why, after a moment's thought following recovery from being caught off-guard by his unexpected response, that Tamsin lowered her glass a a little and something straightened out in her soft expression, even if only so subtly that one would have to be looking to understand its significance.

"Yes," she said—the first piece of true honesty that she had given him—as lashes shuttered her own lowered eyes, though perhaps more from a drifting mind than from intentional aversion. "Once."
 #37351  by Francis Friis
"And now they're gone," Francis replied, sliding his glasses back up his nose as if they were the guard to any depth he might be willing to reveal. He took another gulp of ale and looked back out at the gathering as he went on, "So you're opinion isn't really an opinion. You already know how it is. Sounds like you've got it figured out pretty well."
 #37354  by Tamsin Villiers
Tamsin opened her mouth to retort, but the words shrivelled up as an uncharacteristic hint of dubiousness, not unlike confusion, crept between her brows.

He was not wrong. She foolishly misstepped her priorities in declining Ciceron's proposal and choosing to disappear off to Indonesia for a year. When she saw him and his wife at the Rogan-York wedding her brother made her accompany him to, she had been upset, because it was the natural result, the expected emotion, because Francis was right—it was regrettable to see someone she loved move on with someone else, and she did love Ciceron, truly and genuinely. Except—

Except Tamsin did not envy Danica York. Except, just perhaps, instead of envy, there was relief... and guilt; guilt which she thought was unjustified, but was it unjustified?

If you truly care about someone, you do not dangle them on a chain like this; you do not hang the carrot just out of reach; you do not delay conversations because you are uncomfortable and expect them to concede.

Was Francis right or did she want him to be right? Because if he was wrong, then it was Ciceron who was right.

He was right all along.

"You don't know that." He had no idea how little she had figured any of it all out, but she was also not ready to admit that aloud to him. Tamsin was comfortable with how little she had given away of herself to him. Instead, she placed down her glass on the counter and reached, suddenly, across the space between them to remove the athlete's sunglasses from his face—again. Briefly, she examined them, as if genuinely interested in them, but it was clear from her expression that the motion was only perfunctory.

"Anyway, assuming you are right, are you upset because you were in love with her, Francis?" She tilted her head, drifting eyes meeting his momentarily.

"Or because you are in love with her, still?"
 #37355  by Francis Friis
On the edge of his vision, Francis could see something flowing, wheels turning and leaving tracks across Tamsin's expression as she wrangled her thoughts together. Regardless, the man's eyes kept forward, skipping through the crowd -- nonchalant, careless -- as if the young lady's input was the last thing he cared about hearing. But he was watching every wrinkle that waved across her nose and every creek and skew of her brows.

Francis felt quite smugly about his perceptiveness, until suddenly his walls had been breached in the blink of an eye and his vision was flooded with unfiltered reality. In other words, his damned glasses had been stolen.

He crooked his neck and gave Tamsin his full attention, and for a moment, he could feel the full pressure the past years swelling up. But even without his superficial defenses, he dare not let a drop of weakness gather in his dark eyes.

After a breath, a free hand reached out to Tamsin's, where it paused for the slightest of moments. Like a fly landing, you would be quite aware of its touch, but it was gone before you looked. Tamsin might argue that Francis was as much of a bugger as an invading insect, but there was a brighter energy there that could only be fleetingly recognized before the man slowly wrapped his fingers around the girl's smaller hand and then slid them away, reacquiring his stolen accessory.

In a more solemn tone than anyone in that room could have ever witnessed from Francis Friis, he answered, "I'm not really anything, anymore."
 #37356  by Tamsin Villiers
For a flash, she might have tried to recapture the sunglasses before he could remove it from her grasp. Instead, she was distracted—by his fleeting hand around her own, by his answer. Despite she had asked what she asked, his answer and the blunt, almost brutish honesty it conveyed threw the witch off kilter, just a little, but enough that it felt like missing a beat somewhere, somehow, and enough for some genuine hint of surprise slipped through her expression, if only for a moment.

By the time she recovered, the sunglasses were out of reach, and her gaze followed it for a moment. If he might try to put it back on his face, she would have reached out a hand to lilt haltingly against his. Tamsin looked up at him for a heartbeat and shook her head.

"Everyone is something, whether they know or like what shape that is."

Her gaze slid to the drink in his hand, then her own glass on the table. Tamsin produced her wand seemingly out from nowhere—the beauty of hidden pockets in charmed dress seams—and drew simply the motion for a levitation charm. His ale, and her framboise, drifted from their individual glasses. Each fluid shape of liquid glimmered midair in the lights, shifting shape, as they hovered between him and her.

Tamsin shrugged slightly, sending each to recollect in the other's glass with another move of her wand before tucking it away just as discreetly as she had produced it. She picked up her glass, bringing it to her nose to give the ale a sniff.

"Maybe you just need to change your glass."
 #37391  by Francis Friis
Francis's expression could only be called unimpressed.

"Wow, that was really touching," he said dryly, almost rolling his eyes. "Had no idea you were such a sap, Villiers."

Whatever moment of revelation was bubbling up between them had burst before it could be properly captured. Francis was happy to let it slide away. He'd already said more than he'd ever intended to.
 #37393  by Tamsin Villiers
If Francis' dismissive response injured Tamsin, she did not show it. Instead, the healer was straight-faced as she drained her glass of what had been his ale.

"I keep disappointing, I know," she nodded agreeingly, her words imparted in a manner just enough to cast a shadow of doubt as to how serious she truly meant the concurrence.

"I should just stick to telling you what a desperate fool you are."

It was clear, at least, which kind was his preferred form of positive reinforcement.
 #37395  by Francis Friis
Francis gulped at what was now framboise, realizing the effects sneaking in. It wasn't unfamiliar to be in a setting such as this with a belly full of booze, though it had been a while with his 'laying low' and it was hitting him a little harder than usual.

"You're the one who is eager to be swapping saliva," he remarked crudely, indicating his switched drink with a swirl of his glass.
 #37409  by Tamsin Villiers
"I have to give you some hope to cling onto," Tamsin shrugged with as much nonchalance as there was some facetious sense of consolation, placing down her glass and plucking another cheese from the platter to slip between her teeth.

"Even desperate fools deserve that much."

She refilled her glass practically only two inches away from the brim before picking her glass back up from the counter and straightening herself from it.

"It should give you something to hold onto for a while."
 #37920  by Francis Friis
"Don't be absurd." His eyes lingered suspiciously over the rim of his glass, a crack in his attempted dismissal.

"As if I am grasping for some great hope. Me? Desperate? Please," Francis scoffed dramatically. "Who're you out to impress with that tasty little number, huh?"

Francis gave the woman a good look over, emphasizing Tamsin's dress. Despite his accusations, a sense of approval flickered through his expression.