Hogwarts, A Future

Sixteen Years After the War has Ended, Two Wizarding Schools Exist. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Salem Academy
 
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 Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)

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PostSubject: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:09 pm


The Murray Gallery

It had been over two months since Azalea had promised to go with him in to Hogsmeade. Two months of silent patience from Josh Murray, that meant even with his Azalea time was waning. After yet another night of no information from the professor, Josh took matters in to his own hands, a note was sent to the designers employed by the Murray household. Azalea's measurements had been memorised years ago, so the dress in the Murray house colours along with the matching accessories was not something difficult to attain.

The next evening the package from the household had returned, thankfully without any of his mother's interference. Taking out a piece of parchment, Josh sat down at his desk, thinking carefully over the words.

Dearest Azalea,

I have booked us a reservation at one of the many galleries my family hold artwork in this Friday at six o'clock. You will find with this letter everything you will require for the evening.

Dinner will be served at the venue.

I will meet you at your greenhouse at the time above.

Yours,

Josh Murray.

As discussed, Josh was down at the greenhouse precisely the time he'd stated in the note. Dressed up in a tuxedo with a matching purple handkerchief in his top pocket that matched the dress he'd given Azalea. With a bouquet in his house colours, Josh knocked softly on the door to the greenhouse. He made no attempts to enter in case the witch was still changing, instead taking in the last of the sun on the early February evening.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:26 am

It had been a usual Friday, tinted with grey despite the sunlight that filtered through the first skies of february. But It wasn't' the climate's fault really, everything seemed tinged with grey lately. Even teaching, even Salem, but mostly Azalea herself. It had gotten to the point where the witch no longer fought with shadows, merely looked defeated as they took over more and more of her life with each passing day.

The package that arrived via a handsome hawk owl didn't register at first until the Herbalist saw the sender's address. The memory emerged from another lifetime, back when all the grey hadn't started crawling at the edge of vision. Something about a birthday and a slice of cake with a few Slytherins. Such things had seemed important then though for the life of her Azalea couldn't figure out why.

Which was just as well, her life wasn't worth much. Something important might make her think more on the subject but certainly not the matter of her existence.

Opening The note, the brunette realized that Josh had made way too big a deal of what was supposed o be a slice of cake, but she supposed she owed the kid one for forgetting his birthday for, how many months had it been, three? Maybe four? Time had become less important after the news, all that really set it apart was the monotony and the grey that now stood out everywhere.

So at five, Azalea dismissed her class for the day and set about getting ready. There was nothing much she could do with her looks which had likely wanned over the months she'd spent avoiding the mirror. Not bothering to note that the dress fit far too well for it to have been a guess, the witch reached for the matching jewellery in dark purple stones layered with what Azalea knew platinum. Apparently whoever had helped Jsoh choose the dress was well acquainted with fashion and had a good sense of taste. Briefly her mind wondered to Tess Holmes who always dressed nicely.

Deciding not to do anything special with her hair, the American witch left most of it hanging loose, clipping the corners with a jeweled pin to keep them off her face but otherwise hanging lose over her shoulders and reaching down to her waist. The witch hadn't had a haircut in a while and perhaps if the grey receded, she might even think more on it.

But the grey was everywhere nowadays.

Applying a final coat of lip gloss as the only make up and adding in her home brewed perfume, Azalea was ready a few minutes before six, or she would have been had she bothered looking into a mirror. But that was no longer an option. Besides, she didn't have to look perfect, she was just a teacher beneath the fancy dress and jewels.

Nobody special.

The witch waited patiently as the minutes to six grew nearer and promptly at six, the knock sounded rapt and sturdy against the door.

"Come on in," she called out, reaching for her purse, the most ordinary looking thing of her ensemble because it was the only thing that was really hers. "Door's open."

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:40 am

"Come on in,"

The Murray heir did not need telling twice as he opened the door. Ducking in to the Herbology greenhouse, Josh allowed a moment to take in the witch before him, not leering, but noting how she looked beyond beautiful dressed in his house colours. Though, Josh added in his mind, his Azalea would look good in anything because she was a beauty above the world.

"Good evening, A-Azalea." Josh replied, scolding himself for the stutter that only came with her name. Only with her name in her presence, because such an amazing woman could not really be referred to in such a simple manner. Even if Josh sat contemplating for ours, no words would ever be enough to describe the witch before him. "You won't be needing your purse." The boy added softly, noting how the purse in her hand was taking away all affect of the dress. "Everything has been paid for."

With that, Josh held out the bouquet of flowers he'd cultivated from the grounds. Many things could be brought with his wealth, but his Azalea deserved much more than that. And if that meant picking flowers himself, Josh would do that too. "I got these for you, too." Josh added, waiting for the professor to say something more.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:01 am

"Good evening, A-Azalea."

"Hello Josh," the witch managed, extracting a brief smile from somewhere and letting it drop the moment it wasn't required. Smiles came like that these days, small and fleeting, and never real. "You needn't have gone to so much trouble, I honestly would have been fine with cake at Hogsmeade," she added, taking in his own similarly formal attire.

Once upon a time, going to art galleries, fine dining and sophisticated conversation would have been something she would have looked forwards to. Azalea may have grown up with Kit Harrington and a pre booking to pretty much every art exhibit in the world but those things weren't really Jake's style, and the witch had molded herself to her boyfriend's way of living years ago. An opportunity to do something like that would have been exciting except now, nothing excited her.

"You won't be needing your purse." The boy added softly, noting how the purse in her hand was taking away all affect of the dress. "Everything has been paid for."

"I thought this was supposed to be my treat," she joked, nevertheless returning the small black bag to her desk drawer. There wasn't much of value in it, just some bank cards and her keys, everything easily replaceable in the event the bag was misplaced.

Just like its owner.

"I got these for you, too."

"Thank you, they're lovely, though of course unnecessary," she replied politely, taking in the bouquet of uniquely coloured, mismatched flowers. The arrangement was perhaps the most real thing about the whole situation, making the witch think that it was the one thing Josh had not had any help in. Placing the flowers on her desk, Azalea resolved to get a vase for them later so they would not dry out.

Maybe a splash of colour would help with the grey.

"Are we going to be joined by any of your friends? I'm sure you don't want to spend the entire evening with a boring teacher like me," she joked, attempting to make light of what was starting to feel like a very formal event. "And wouldn't you rather go somewhere more exciting than an art gallery?"

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:18 am

"You needn't have gone to so much trouble, I honestly would have been fine with cake at Hogsmeade,"

"It wasn't any trouble." Josh assured the witch before him, and even if for a second it might have been difficult to attain something, for Azalea the effort would have been worth it. The Slytherin couldn't help but notice her smile slipped away too quickly though, never quite reaching her eyes, and for a moment he was slightly confused. But conversation ensued and Josh left that topic alone, tucking the information away but not thinking on it.

"I thought this was supposed to be my treat,"

"I don't think that between the two of us a small meeting is much to argue over." Josh replied easily, they were both purebloods after all, cost was trivial and Josh hadn't even began to look at what was being credited to his account. As always, nothing could make a dent in his funds, his Azalea's would likely be the same.

At the mention of friends, Josh shook his head, smirking slightly at the idea. "I think present company will be enough, thank you, A-Azalea." Josh replied, holding out his hand for the witch. "And this art gallery is... a little different." He explained, trying not to give away the surprise too much. "My family own an art gallery in Wales, one I'd like to show you." Yes, that was enough information for the time being.

Leading the witch down to the gate, which was thankfully not too far from the greenhouse with the cold weather, Josh turned to the witch beside him. "Ready?" He asked, giving her a moment to ready herself before the crack of apparation sounded through the grounds. The next moment they stood in front of a grand castle, lights illuminating the grounds for Azalea's arrival. The Slytherin used his free hand to steady the witch beside him before he motioned towards the grand doors.

"All of this is yours for the evening. After you." Josh told the witch, motioning for her to walk through the door before him. There would be wine as a reception, Josh had ordered the finest of each colour, uncertain as to Azalea's favourite. Everything would be neatly set, Josh was sure of that, and if he was proved wrong, hell would be left for every member within the castle to pay.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:46 am

"It wasn't any trouble."

He was probably right, the witch concluded, dredging up the memory of his file from the time before the grey. Purebloods, there had been a ball, these people lacked for nothing and had some strange values. And it reminded Azalea why she looked at the boy in such a favourable light. He had everything a boy his age could ask for and still did the normal every day things like coming to class. He must have been good with other students too, she supposed judging by his prefect badge his uniform usually sported. And he was a Quidditch player, she knew from the fiasco that had been the last inter school match. Thought the witch couldn't remember which position he played.

"I don't think that between the two of us a small meeting is much to argue over."

Fair enough," the brunette agreed, taking his proffered hand. Besides, if the gallery belonged to his family, likely there wouldn't be much cost involved. As the two made their way out of the greenhouse and towards the apparition point, Azalea couldn't help but marvel at how much taller Josh had grown in what seemed like a very short time to her. He towered over her easily now even if she sometimes saw the same twelve year old she had first been introduced to in the greenhouse.

As he readied them for apparition, Azalea secured her hold on his arm, expecting the familiar jolt of transportation that had never steadied her in the first place. But that didn't stop the Slytherin from being ready on the other end, making the witch smile softly. Josh was raised to be polite, she concluded, even if his upbringing had been unusual from what she could decipher.

The sight that awaited them was nothing short of spectacular, the castle looming up aheed and the grounds lit perfectly to show it off in all its glory. Azalea had frequented art galleries housed in such structures before as a child and had always marvelled at the size of them, and for a moment, she was that child again, gazing in wonder at the huge building decorated with what looked like all the stars from the sky.

"All of this is yours for the evening. After you."

"This is so beautiful," she breathed. "If I owned this place, I would never leave," she laughed, her hand still neatly tucked into the blond's. "I used to visit art galleries with my father as a child, and as a teen. I haven't been to one in years now though," she added, her voice soft as they made their way to the entrance.

Where they were greeted by a man in tails who bowed deeply before drawing their attention to a selection of one of the finest wine collections Azalea had seen in a long time. the labels boasted dates and names the witch had long since memorised by sheer virtue of growing up with Kit Harrington who liked a well stocked cellar, finally choosing a Romanee-Conti, 1960 flute. The witch discretely saw their host making a note of her choice before Josh reached for his own favoured brand.

"My compliments to whoever chose the wine, last time I had this was at a birthday lunch with my father," she admitted with a small laugh as they moved towards the main gallery area.

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:26 am

"This is so beautiful," she breathed. "If I owned this place, I would never leave,"

Josh's lips twitched in to something resembling a smile at that comment. It hadn't taken much to find her fathers residence, and quite honestly, it was less than Josh had imagined. Too American, too modern. But if his Azalea found this to be beautiful, there was a small sign of hope that she would fit right in to his family without a single worry being left to Josh.

The knowledge that his Azalea had been visiting such places from a young age was useful too. "You'll know everything about critique then." Josh offered, watching the professor take a glass of red. A sweeping gaze to the host told him to make sure that the bottle his Azalea had chosen was to be kept on hand. Josh, however, picked up a 2000 Wehlener Sonnenuhr. White had always been more preferable with the Slytherin, avoiding the overly sweet tastes of red.

"My compliments to whoever chose the wine, last time I had this was at a birthday lunch with my father,"

"I ordered a selection." Josh explained, though he wasn't looking for praise. "A couple from each colour as I wasn't sure on your preference." The boy wasn't particularly impressed with the new bottle of wine, but it seemed someone had taken the rest of the finer years. His mother, likely, she always seemed to want to try and get under his skin with such antics.

As they moved in to the main gallery area, Josh showed Azalea around to the left first. The artwork of his younger years, as his mother would say. Perfect duplications, Josh would amend. "My family displays all it's work here, my ancestors work are in the various areas of the castle, but the main area holds the most recent." With that, Josh hushed, allowing the witch to take in the works from the time he was three to around ten in this area. Sipping his wine intermittently, Josh looked from the portraits to Azalea, capturing her expressions in his memory.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:03 am

"You'll know everything about critique then."

"Oh absolutely," the witch responded, pinching her face so that her eyes sunk in and her nose looked larger, her lips pressed in a thin, unimpressed line in perfect imitation of run of the mill art critics before she broke out into a much warmer smile. "I used to mimic the impressions of art critics as a child," she revealed with little guilt. "Mostly because I was bored and there were only so many words anyone could use to describe perspective. It was fun watching these people evaluate my father's work and try to guess what he had been thinking," she confessed, her tone more cheery now that they were in familiar settings. "They usually guessed wrong, to hilarious effect."

As Josh choose his own vine, the witch sipped her own, relishing in the sweetness. Why hadn't she insisted they keep wine at the flat beside the many ready cans of Muggle beer Jake preferred. Once the drinks were taken care of, Azalea was led past the main hallways and towards a separate wing as Josh explained the layout. She wondered if he came from a line of artists to have the gallery represent his family's work but as they entered the more recent section, Azalea forget all about his alleged lineage of arts.

Because whether his ancestors knew it well or not, Joshua Murray knew how to capture things in ink.

The replica hung on a tapestry was labelled in the nineties, josh could have been five, and yet the charcoal strokes were perfect as they carved out a grand dining table complete with twelve chairs. The table was set for what looked like the perfect meal and judging by the urkey, it was Thanksgiving or Christmas.

But there were no people to enjoy the beautifully laid dinner.

"This is amazing, how old were you when you managed this great feat?" Azalea asked curiously, all her own assumptions of art forgotten in the moment. "And is it incomplete? Were there supposed to be people around the table?"

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:43 am

"I used to mimic the impressions of art critics as a child,"

The face that Azalea had pulled had brought a small, but genuine smile to Josh's lips, and as explained that she used to be amused by the ideas of critiques, Josh could only nod in agreement. "At least your father's works had entertainment, if not only for the pictures he created." Josh summarised kindly, though the photographer's work held no interest for the Murray heir.

"This is amazing, how old were you when you managed this great feat?"

"Four years one month." Josh replied without moving to the plaque that joined the piece. He remembered each piece well, but then that wasn't exactly difficult for Josh. Memorising things was easy when your head space was clear. "December nineteen-ninety-nine." He supplied, furthering the information for the witch to get a feel for the story the picture told.

"And is it incomplete? Were there supposed to be people around the table?"

The answer to that was one that Josh wasn't sure how to answer. There were books that showed how Christmas was supposed to be, but the one in the picture was the only manner in which he'd ever experienced it. "That depends on your prospective on the idea of Christmas, A-Azalea. This is how I spend Christmas." Josh explained, motioning towards the picture. It wasn't a sad tone, because honestly Josh didn't care for his family. "It's possibly the quietest the house is all year round, and I like it." The boy confessed, he didn't want the witch to think otherwise.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:04 am

"At least your father's works had entertainment, if not only for the pictures he created."

Azalea made no remark on her father's work, letting it slide just a she did all other comments related to his art. Photography was Kit's passion and old oils, he claimed, his secret mistress. In all that jargon, Azalea often found herself lost as to what any of it meant and the pieces she liked seemed to make him happy enough. Growing up around art, Azalea had learned of the
technicality of it, styles, brushstrokes, colour, the limitations of impressionism, post modern, baroque, renaissance, the craft of sculpting, architectural designs, all the types and forms that art took. And yet the witch had failed to understand art as a whole, or at least never to the degree her father did.

Kit her assured her it was okay though, that plants could be art too, and that her made her feel a lot better as a child.

"Four years one month."

As soon as the Slytherin supplied the age, Azalea couldn't help but imagine a younger, four year one month old version of Josh sitting with a canvas and charcoals, sketching out the Christmas dinner instead of eating it. Azalea wished she could reach for the child to comfort him. It sounded lonely.

"It's possibly the quietest the house is all year round, and I like it."

Azalea nodded, remembering something about a divorce in his file. Though why his parents divorcing relieved them from the responsibility of being parents, Azalea could never imagine. But then again, who was she to make judgement, she neither had parents nor would ever be one.

"Me too," she admitted softly, averting her eyes from the sketch. "I used to have quiet Christmases with my dad, it was the best because there was no fancy meal to prepare and no one to impress, just the two of us and my god mother if she wanted to join us."

Moving from that piece, the duo wandered over to the next, a castle made of modelling clay that apparently resembled one of the current Murray holdings. This was labelled to around six years old, then more sophisticated material, what looked like castle angles and architecture, the portrait of a cat in great anatomical detail and proportion. Except The eyes, Josh seemed to have forgotten to sketch in the tiny dots for eyeballs. But he had been eight, it could be forgiven.

Around the corner hung another lavish portrait, this one done not by the young Slytherin but him being the subject of it. Josh looked eight or nine sitting astride a pure white pony holding some sort of prize. No smile adorned the boy's features, no pride at having won. The portrait gave off the impression that Josh was too used to winning, that victory no longer merited a smile.

"When was that?' she asked curiously, eyes scanning the small blonde child who seemed to know just how to sit his horse, as if he'd been born on horseback.

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:27 am

"I used to have quiet Christmases with my dad, it was the best because there was no fancy meal to prepare and no one to impress, just the two of us and my god mother if she wanted to join us."

"Christmas is overrated." Josh replied in agreement. What was the point in a holiday that gave out presents when you were supplied with everything you needed at the drop of a hat? No, Josh had learnt from a very young age that holidays were unimportant, the house staff would get him exactly as he wanted, or bad things would happen. Though why she used the past tense, Josh didn't enquire, family were trivial at the best of times, and seeing as his Azalea hadn't asked for the reasons behind his own quiet Christmas, he wouldn't probe hers.

They passed a few pieces without much comment, Josh's eyes merely watched Azalea as she took it in. The interest on some of the intricate details, and the confusion in the cat. Josh supplied nothing where she didn't ask, not wanting to bring the fact he was watching her intently in to play. But the one thing Josh had noticed, whether it was the wine or the pictures, Azalea had seemed to relax since being here. Something that made him feel...

"When was that?"

Averting his eyes from the witch before she looked to him, Josh looked up at the portrait of himself. It was just a trophy shot, nothing important. "Polo club, two-thousand and four, youngest member to ever the vote of all players for Best Player." Josh replied, returning his gaze to the witch. "I was playing in the youth team, which went up to the ages of thirteen." The boy explained, not bothering to explain how the boy who should rightfully have won the trophy had found himself accidently in a hospital ward, nor how the rest of the team had quickly changed their mind from the more amicable boy to Josh.

Brushing away the rest of the thoughts in regards to that moment, Josh motioned for his Azalea to continue around the gallery. "The next section is... yours." The words came out slightly hesitantly from Josh, before he opened the door to the next section, holding it open for the witch. The big moment he'd been waiting for. The work he'd shown her so far was nothing in comparison to what she was about to see, but Josh didn't tell her that, she could make the decision for herself.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:55 am

Azalea sipped her wine politely as Josh explain the portrait. Polo, she was as familiar with the sport as she was with any besides Quidditch, and even that too because of Jake. The witch called to mind an image of people riding horses and possibly using golf clubs. Deciding not to give away her poor knowledge of the game, she merely nodded as Josh explained how he had won as the youngest something ever. It didn't surprise her, he looked very comfortable on his horse.

With the last piece done, the Slytherin ushered her towards a dark wood paneled door, pushing it noiselessly open and waiting for her to enter.

"The next section is... yours."

"Mine?" the Brunette asked, an inquisitive eyebrow raised as she entered, only to take in a huge frame, holding a simply sketched cavas obviously enlarged for the benefit of the frame. The sketch was simple enough, of a young girl knelt over some potted plants. The girl's face as obscured, her hair falling over her shoulder in great cascading details a she lavished attention to the potted shrubs she knelt beside. The plaque beneath simply read September 2007. Joshua's second year at Hogwarts.

And though the girl's face was not in sight, a small feeling of unease crept inside the Herbologist. Many things from that sketch stood out. And though anyone could have worn those simple jeans and the tight fitted black top that showed a mere hint of the girl's navel, not everyone had access to the exact kind of plants this girl was tending to, in the south corner of the Hogwarts greenhouse as the light filtered in, slightly odd through the uneven glassed titles on the roof because the caretaker hand't cleared them all properly that day...

A few steps further there was another piece depicting an all too familiar figure, this time in watercolours, the paint capturing her smile better than perfectly as she helped a group of first years dry off after a stint in the tank with Gillyweed. The water droplets glistened as though they were real, sprinkled on the canvas the moment before they walked in to give the painting a realistic quality. So much so that unconsciously, Azalea extended her hand to touch the painting before realizing where she was and withdrawing.

A series of azaleas, the flowers, drawn in perfect detail, some to scale, some not, some coloured, some plain, some burning and some mid bloom dominated the next section, making the witch marvel at the botanical correctness with which Josh had managed to duplicate the otherwise useless flowers.

"This is... unbelievable," the witch breathed, not quiet in compliment as an edge of hesitance entered her voice. What was it Miss Kira had said about the drawings she'd seen? Here was proof of what the young woman had said. Josh... had drawn her in very intimate detail. And Azalea wasn't sure if this trip was appropriate any more.

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:18 am

"Mine?"

A nod was the only manner in which Josh conveyed she had understood him correctly. Very carefully, the Slytherin closed the door behind them, following behind his Azalea, watching the way she moved so elegantly, gracefully to the first picture. And for the first time that evening, Josh took in the intricate detail of her shoulders, poised perfectly in a manner all too familiar in his society. Her bone structure, how each carved it's own pattern in to her skin. Skin that he'd been working so carefully to match in each and every picture.

Though even Josh wasn't sure he'd found the beauty in each picture that was on display before him.

Within touching distance...

But to touch such astounding beauty would be foolishness. Josh would not succumb to such frailties of men, even if his Azalea was the temptation of another world.

"This is... unbelievable,"

"It is." Josh replied in a soft tone, captivated by the unique composition of the witch before him. Until her tone struck through him, the hesitance in her voice. "You don't like them?" Josh asked, looking up at the picture she'd reached and trying to find the part his Azalea didn't like. They were perfect replicas of the tenderness of the witch beside him. Showing the manner in which she treated every one of her students. The emotions he'd never seen until Azalea Harrington had walked through the Herbology door over four years ago.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:51 am

"You don't like them?"

The witch shook her head, letting him know it wasn't the quality of these works she had a problem with. It still seemed bizarre that Josh would have made them from memory because she certainly hadn't posed for any of them.

"I just... do you paint other people too?" she asked, trying to steer the conversation into less murky waters.

Apparently not as she moved to the next exhibit, this time done entirely in shades of green. The monochrome shot showed Azalea reclining in her chair, probably between two classes, a half eaten apple on her desk as the witch leaned her chair back with her eyes closed, oblivious to the world around her.

This was not an image Josh would have gotten from class. This was... Azalea resisted the urge to ask if this was his conception or a real moment captured on paper. Because the answer might be more than she could handle.

"I don't understand why I... feature so heavily in your artwork." the witch confessed, moving to the huge portrait that stole center of attention in this section of the gallery. At first glance it looked like a break from the norm. Greenhouse ceiling, glass walls, the usual mess and then, protruding from under a raised flowerbed, all covered in muck and with only one glove on...

It was the most beautiful depiction she had ever seen of herself, emerging from the cluster of earth, her hair nonetheless maintained a kind of raggedy perfection that could only be of the artist's creation. The subtle curve of her chest, the way her blouse rode up her waist as she looked on at something her real life counterpart could only imagine. The Azalea in the painting managed to give off the impression of incredible beauty, radiating the picture with warmth and light as she smiled at, what Azalea now realized, was josh holding out a hand to her, helping her get out from under the rotten roots.

He had captured and memorized her the way she looked an instant before giving him her hand and captured it perfectly in oils.

"Josh... " no words could describe the incredible portrait before her. And no words could explain the thread of fear that accompanied the realization. "You are... very talented."

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:17 am

"I just... do you paint other people too?"

"Duplicate, not paint." The reply came, much like it did with his mother. Josh never painted, he never sketched, he duplicated real life. He didn't have to see an image for long and could recreate it perfectly. "You're my only muse though, yes." Josh added, though it only took a quick sweeping gaze of the vast room to show that everything was focused on the witch in the room. Nothing else was allowed in here, on Josh's insistence, and the Slytherin had filled every space possible.

"I don't understand why I... feature so heavily in your artwork."

The reasons were endless, but Azalea's words were not a question. So that meant Josh would not supply her with an answer as she continued to look on at the pictures. The emotions on her face flickering quickly as she took in the work before her.

"You are... very talented."

"Oh no, A-Azalea. The talent lies in you." Josh replied, shaking his head at her words. Pointing back to the picture of the children emerging from the tank soaking, the look in Azalea's eyes showed the caring nature Josh had found so alluring from day one. "I've never... seen anyone look like that before. Or..." Pointing to another picture of Azalea bent over a flower bed tending to the plants as if they were able to understand the human touch. "How you tend to plants and people in the same manner. The caring nature... creates a perfection I've never seen before."

With that said, Josh lowered his arm to his side, looking back to the witch to see if that had sunk in. Hoping it made some sense to her, because for five years, he'd been struggling to understand the feelings Azalea Harrington had introduced to him.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:54 am

"Oh no, A-Azalea. The talent lies in you."

It was all but impossible to tear her eyes away from the painting, the degree of reverence conveyed through art but Azalea did, listening to his explanation of what he found so inspiring. Her eyes flickered to different parts of the huge space, taking in the works he mentioned, insuring that it was her caring nature that drew him.

And despite the sweet words coming from him, they were starting to make the witch realize how much of a mistake it had been to agree to come here.

Miss Kira had been right to warn Azalea. Josh Murray... his attachment to how he viewed eher was... beyond the point of normal. All those portraits, sketched, watercolors, fitted monochromatic outlines, they were proof that the boy had nursed a soft spot for her for a long time now and this... This, Azalea realized with dismay, could be seen as encouraging him.

"How you tend to plants and people in the same manner. The caring nature... creates a perfection I've never seen before."

"I'm not that perfect, Josh," the witch corrected kindly, trying her best to shatter his illusions as gently as she could. Because beneath all the fear he was inducing in her, there was a lonely four year old who had sketched an empty table at christmas. There was a boy who had never seen someone care for another. And he did not deserve more hurt.

"I mean, your talent is amazing, I don't look nowhere near as pretty in actuality as I do in all your works. All the talent is in you, nothing is mine," she reasoned, keeping an unsteady smile up as she spoke, suddenly very afraid and keenly aware that no one knew where she was, who she was with.

The Herbologist found herself wishing Jake was here, even if she was fully capable of protecting herself.

Not that Josh would ever hurt her. No, the thought of the Slytherin harming her was inconceivable.

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:11 am

"I'm not that perfect, Josh,"

Josh opened his mouth to argue, but his brain couldn't fathom a reply. How could the witch before him not see what he always had? See that everything about her was perfect down to the final eyelash? Nothing was ever out of place, everything worked, her mannerism, her looks, her words. The Slytherin looked at the professor with as much uncertainty as he'd ever found in the world, trying to work out her logic.

"I mean, your talent is amazing, I don't look nowhere near as pretty in actuality as I do in all your works. All the talent is in you, nothing is mine,"

The statement made Josh pause for a moment, looking at the witch before him with confusion written clearly in his features. Then the reality of the situation set in, she believed the artwork to be better than the muse. Taking out his wand, Josh turned his back on the witch and pointing his wand to each painting in turn, the paintings came alive with the dance of orange embers. Licking delicately at the different compositions and slowly consuming them in all the hate Josh held of them. There was no effort made to control the fire, especially those closer to the door.

Carefully, purposefully, Josh moved himself between the door and his Azalea, focusing his attention on the witch. "No duplication can ever match your beauty, A-Azalea. No piece of artwork shall ever outshine you again, I promise." Josh told her, sincerity in his eyes as he looked back to her. Sincerity that would be lost from the reflection of the fire in his eyes. He'd take everything from the world if he had to.

Everything, if it meant she'd see herself the way he saw her.

Perfect.
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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:32 am

With a growing feeling of dread in her stomach, Azalea watched the confusion marr his features, trying to digest whatever it was she had said because if there was one thing Azalea had begun to realize, it was that Josh Murray saw and heard only what he wanted to. What he appeared to know of her, no matter how rich in detail, was as two dimensional as the art that adorned the gallery. Art that seemed to linger for just a moment, needed before the Slytherin drew his wand.

Azalea wanted to flinch, to run, to call for help but the young woman was frozen in place as she watched the fire consume Josh's duplications, rendering them to ash, the fire not particularly careful about collateral damage it left in its wake.

And no one intervened. No security system came to life, no siren, no sprinklers or fire extinguishers even though it was impossible to fathom that a castle housing this much art would not take precautions against something as easily compatible as fire. Azalea stood amazed and terrified as she witnessed a glimpse of Murray power, the absence of guards or firemen proving what she must already have subconsciously figured out a while ago.

Joshua Murray could commit murder in here and no one would bat an eye.

"No duplication can ever match your beauty, A-Azalea. No piece of artwork shall ever outshine you again, I promise."

The promise made Azalea shudder, taking a step back from the blonde and the reverent look on his face.

"I... have to go," the witch managed, trying not to take in the burning room. "I..." and with that, she closed her eyes, Shifting for the first time in over six month, letting reality swallow her whole only to deposit her safely on her bed in Canada.

Where the witch curled up, still dressed from the gallery, trying to forget the nightmare she'd just witnessed.

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PostSubject: Re: Edge of Insanity (Azalea & Josh)   Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:07 am

"I... have to go,"

"But we haven't finished..." Josh replied, looking as if someone had stolen his favourite toy. Which, in the Murray household was a recipe for disaster. But before the Slytherin could even begin to make the witch understand, she had left. Glaring at the space the witch had once occupied, Josh's hands curled in to fists, watching the various paintings burn until they fell to the floor.

The whole place could burn down for all he cared.

Turning on his heel, Josh left the room, slamming the door against its hinges. The sound of footsteps before him alerted him to an overly nosey servant. As the man rounded the corner the red flash of light knocked him back the way he'd come and the blood-curdling screams of the man filled the air.

Screams and begging, writhing and clawing. Josh paid no attention to the sounds or sights as he glided past the man. Nobody else moved as the sounds filled the castle. Nobody moved as the glass that had already broken in his hand slipped to the floor and shattered in to many and more pieces. The servants knew when they were needed and when they were not. Even in the knowledge their master was bleeding, they made no move towards him as the screams continued.

Joshua Murray was not to be disturbed when in a tantrum.

And only when he moved outside the front door of the castle, did the boy apparate back to the gates of Hogwarts, pushing through them. The witch had stood him up. Made him seem a fool. He would not tolerate it. Not for a moment.

The glass from the wine glass was not the only glass that imbedded in Josh's skin that evening. Each greenhouse had been shattered in Josh's wake. Each plant in that house would slowly wither and die. His Azalea's work would come to nothing, and slowly she would have to rebuild her collection. Slowly rebuild a collection, just as he was going to have to now. It was only fair they had to put the same effort in.

So he left her plants to die.
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