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 Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)

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PostSubject: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:35 pm

Yao entered the staff room looking grey and glum. It was his most loathed day of the year. An unbearable, annual reminder of the futility of existence. His birthday. He knew it had been coming, as much as he'd tried to avoid thinking about it, but each year it seemed to come at an ever more frightening speed and bring increasingly worrying symptoms. Birthday presents from a very cruel and mocking mother nature, he thought. This morning he had found a grey hair. Not a subtle one, barely noticable buried in the sleek, black mass of hair. No, It was a bright silver one in his fringe, taunting him in the mirror until he roughly yanked it out. And then, during his daily routine of Tai Chi his hip had audibly clicked while doing a high kick, and left him with a dull pain in his side for the rest of the day. What was more, everything had been coming in fours that day- four crows outside his bedroom window when he woke up, four letters in the post, four sneezes heard in the corridor...

The whole morning his body had felt sluggish and weak, and his spirit was so low he could barely bring himself to reprimand a student for doodling during his lesson.
'What does it matter, anyway? What does it matter if all that awaited them was death? Today is just another grain through the hourglass.' He mused to himself morbidly, slumping down in a large, red armchair with a pile of marking on his knee. He looked down at the test on the top of the pile. He just realised he'd given it a '48'. '4-8'. 'Si-Ba'. 'Go die'. He leaned back with a groan, dragging a tired hand down his face. Fate had it in for him today, he was sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:56 pm

Guinevere was in an unusually good mood. That morning she'd had a seventh year class and they were all so excellent that she couldn't help but be proud and well, chipper. It also helped that it was her colleague's birthday and she loved birthdays. Cakes were so fun to make and to decorate so she would make him one later, if he didn't already have one. But she had gotten him a present, because she felt like she should. It was Yao, who she didn't know too well but she did know that he loved cuddly toys and things like that, so she;d bought him a small toy panda.

She wondered where the teacher was. He could have been in the arithmancy classrooms, but she'd already checked there. She'd also checked his quarters and the great hall and he wasn't there either, almost as if he was purposefully avoiding her or something. Well, there was one place that she hadn't checked; the staff room. She opened the door and sure enough, he was there. She stared at the petit man sitting, hunched over a stack of marking. Strangely, even though it was his birthday he had an air of sadness about him; the way he was hunched over the marking and the whole aura of sadness that seemed to radiate from his person. Well, that was certainly odd, since it was his birthday.
"Yao?"She asked, going over, "How are you?"

She smiled cheerily, holding the toy behind her back with which to surprise her colleague with in a moment, "I heard it was your birthday. I hope you don't mind but I got you a present." She held up the gift wrapped toy and wiggled it about a little bit to entice the man, "I wasn't sure what you wanted so I just got you this, I hope you like it." She smiled, a little nervously; what if he hated it after all? He wasn't exactly in a good mood so perhaps he wouldn't like the cheerfulness of the toy. Then again, maybe it would improve his mood.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:49 pm

Yao was so wrapped up in his own self-pity and despair, that he didn't even notice his colleague as she entered the staff room. He jumped as he heard his name called, and looked up to find the source of the voice. He put on a smile for Guin. "Oh, I'm very well, thank you!" he lied. The smile faltered a little when she mentioned his birthday. He didn't remember bringing it up with anyone recently, but he supposed Guin was just one of those people who made it their business to know this kind of thing. He blinked at the package suddenly thrust in front of him. He was silent for a moment, looking from the package to Guin. "Wh... you got me a present?" He asked uncertainly. He couldn't recall the last time anybody had got him a present for his birthday, or celebrated it in any way- most who knew him well enough to do that were equally aware of his feelings on the subject.

If it had been anyone else, he would have felt these gestures were meant to tease and test him, but Guin just seemed far too earnest and upbeat to have any ulterior motives in this. As reluctant as he was to think any more about this day, this cruel milestone, he felt compelled to act graciously about it. "Y-you really didn't need to do that! I'd almost forgotten about the whole thing." He lied again.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:14 am

Yes, there was definitely something off about Yao, though she couldn't put her finger on it exactly. Perhaps something to do with his birthday? She knew people who had dreaded it before, who had taken the opportunity to get blind drunk, but she didn't know anyone who seemed to have such a feeling of dread. It was such a pity, really. It was total coincidence how she'd found out, nobody had told her as such but rather she'd been in the headmasters office, looking for her staff file in order to find a date for something when Yao's folder had fallen out. She had put it back on to the shelf immediately but she noticed before hand that it was his birthday in a few days and endeavoured to buy him a present, annoyed that nobody had told her before. Well... she hoped she could cheer him up a little bit, just a little bit. "Of course it's a present, Yao. I'm not trying to show off my spectacular wrapping skills." She was British, sarcasm was far too much second nature for her.

She placed it on his lap, ready to practically force it on him if she had to. She had gone out of her way to get him a little something - it wasn't hard to get toys when you lived in a castle in the middle of nowhere, but she'd still managed to.
"Yes, but I wanted to." She insisted, sitting beside him. "You know, I think that we're getting older anyway. Not having a birthday isn't going to change that so I suppose, why not look on it as an excuse for presents, eh?" She joked, trying to cheer him up. If all else failed she would take him down to the Hogshead and get hammered with him. She remembered turning 30 and crying to the world as if it was the worst thing ever. Now though, at 35, it seemed stupid, though she knew she would probably do the same thing for her 40th and 50th. Hopefully by the time she was 60 she would be wise enough to merely accept fate. "It's also time for free drinks, so if you want to go out later, it's on me.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:29 pm

"Oh... well, thank you." Yao smiled, ignoring her sarcastic comment. If there was one thing he'd learned about the British in his many years on this island, it was that they were far too fond of sarcasm. Everyone here seemed to think they were hilarious.

What she said about birthdays made sense, he knew that. It was a thought he'd often tried comforting himself with, but it didn't stop birthdays reminding him of exactly how old he was- he had to be the oldest member of staff at Hogwarts (thought thankfully he didn't look it yet), and every year that passed he was reminded of how much closer he was coming to his demise, to his old age. He couldn't stand the thought of being old and alone, with nobody to look after him. He'd always assumed he'd have a family around him to support him when he got too old, but the plan had broken down quite a long time ago. So what did he have left to look forward to? A few more decades at this school maybe, wrinkles and grey hair and senility, then death. He sort of blanked out, depressing thoughts filling his head again, not really hearing what Guin was saying. "Shi-a..." he nodded feebly, pretending to have been listening. He appreciated her attempting to comfort him, and he knew his behaviour was silly and immature, but his fear of growing old wasn't something a bit of jovial encouragement could get him over.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:29 am

Guinevere was a little surprised at how quickly Yao had agreed to go out drinking, but she also had the distinct impression that he hadn't been listening but instead, wallowing in his internal despair. Still, getting the chance to go out drinking, particularily with a colleague who she didn't know very well, was not a chance to pass up. "Great," She smiled cheerfully, "I'll see you at... 8, then?" Hopefully he would cheer up after he had more alcohol in his blood then actual blood. "I'll whip up a couple of headache potions for us," She joked. Was it wrong to take advantage of the fact that he was probably too polite to refuse her? Maybe, but she didn't care.

She didn't know the arithmancy teacher well at all, since it was only the beginning of October and she had only begun work in September, so no more than a month. She supposed that they would get to know each other very well though, eventually, since arithmancy and potions fit rather well together. That and the fact that there were so few teachers in this school; so few adults, that she was likely to become good friends with most of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:15 pm

"Eh?!" He started. Yao really wished he'd been listening more attentively. It seemed he'd been invited out to celebrate his birthday without his knowledge. "Eight? To d... where?" He stopped himself asking what they would be doing, as he didn't want her to know he hadn't been listening, but the joke about the head ache potions gave her intentions away. Getting drunk did seem to be the normal way to celebrate things here and, well, maybe a drink would help get his mind off the whole thing- sitting on his own certainly wasn't helping at all. It couldn't hurt, could it? Just one night of drinking. After all, Guin seemed like a very kind young woman; he was sure she would make good company for the evening, whether he wanted to be there or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:38 am

She smiled brightly. She had known that he wasn't paying attention, and his confusion just confirmed it. Still, he wasn't going to apologize or back down, she liked having an excuse to go out drinking. She wondered how old he actually was, he doubted Yao was 30 as he said he claimed. That would mean he was working at Hogwarts when he was what? Nineteen, twenty? That seemed a bit young for a teacher and none of her family or friends could remember it him in Hogwarts in their last years. What was so bad about growing older? He didn't even look his age. She put the thought out of her head and turned to him. "Well then, I'll see you at eight at the entrance hall." She jumped up, not wanting to give him a change to cancel on drinks.

She waved at him.
"Bye!" And she left to go do work, back down in the potions class room. At about 7, she drew herself away from her precious potions, to prepare. She didn't usually go out or get gussied up, so it was nice to do so every once in a while. She combed and curled her hair and put on her best dress, a nice black number - not too revealing (she was much too old for that sort of thing now) but flattering. A little make up - just a touch, she couldn't stand anything more. It was amazing how quickly she went from being the messy and hard working potions professor to an actual woman. She even had a pair of high heels - well, two inches, but that was taller than what she normally wore. Besides, she was only going out for a drink with a friend, not on a date. She chose her best velvet cloak, closing the clasp, and went up to the entrance hall, noting, by he pocket watch, that she was only a few minutes early.
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:29 pm

Yao just sat there staring after her in a bewildered state. "A-alright..." he replied, still questioning the soundness of his judgement in agreeing to this, but she was gone too quickly for him to back down. She came and went like a cheerful hurricane. He sighed in defeat, collecting his papers together and moving onto his next class. Lessons were almost like relaxation for Yao- there were so few students in his classes, and only the well behaved, quiet ones seemed to take arithmancy, so he didn't usually have much trouble in keeping them in line, focussing on the subject itself rather than crowd control.

It was only when he arrived at his classroom that he realised he still had the unopened parcel that Guin had presented to him. There was still ten minutes until class started, so he decided he might as well open it before the students came in. Tearing back the neatly wrapped paper, he couldn't help the broad smile on his face. "真可爱! 太可爱了!" He said to himself enthusiastically, holding up the soft, stuffed panda-bear. He knew he was far too old to like this kind of thing, but he really was a sucker for cuddly toys, and he'd always had a soft spot for pandas in particular. He was so engrossed by it, stroking the fur and gushing over how sweet it was, that he jumped a little when he heard a nervous knock on the classroom door, as students were waiting to get in and start their lesson. He flushed in embarrassment, quickly hiding his new toy into on of the drawers of his desk, and opening the door to let the class in. He'd really have to thank Guin later.

He spent the rest of the day occupying himself with marking and lesson preparation and tests, trying to keep himself busy enough to forget the date and forget his age. It didn't work all that well, as his meeting with Guin was nagging him. At around half past seven, he gave up on getting anymore work done and decided to get ready for the evening, swapping the dull blue traditional jacket he normally wore for work for a dark red one he was particularly fond of, that he usually saved for the end of term, and donning his thick winter coat and han boots to bear the bitter Scottish autumn night. His quarters were on the other side of the castle to the main entrance, so the walk took him a while, and by the time he'd arrived he found Guin was already there waiting for him. "Good evening!" he greeted her with a smile, noticing how elegant she looked in her eveningwear. "Have you been waiting long?"


Last edited by Yao Wang on Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:07 pm

"Good evening to you too." She smiled, happy to see him smile. he looked far more cute when he smiled, and it suited him far more than the depressed looks he'd had that morning. "No, not at all." She assured him, "I got here just a few moments ago." She opened the doors leading to the frost night air. Scottish winters were quite nippy, she recalled that well, and it hadn't changed one bit. "You look smart," She said out of courtesy. He looked most the same, though much better with a smile on his face, and the red coat he was wearing suited him well, and besides, he always looked smart.

"So, how did you like your present?" She hoped Yao had opened it, they had forgotten about it and she had worked hard to get it for him. Well, not too hard, but it hadn't been easy, since it was a muggle toy. She shivered lightly in the cold breeze, walking briskly to try and keep warm. "Not too cold are you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Don't mention the 'B' word (Open to Guin~)   Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:46 pm

"Ah, good." He knew her compliment was just out of courtesy, but he appreciated it anyway. "No, no." he protested, upbringing forbidding him from accepting compliments of any kind. "You look very elegant, though." He told her truthfully. She looked unexpectedly beautiful, really.

He tucked his hands into his sleeves to protect them from the cold as Guin opened the door, smiling brightly when she mentioned the present. "Oh! Yes, thank you very much! Such a thoughtful gift, I'm very grateful." He thought fondly of the toy sitting in his room. In China Town, such cute things were easy to come by, but up in the middle of nowhere in Scotland, it must have been a hassle to acquire something like a stuffed toy. "May I ask where you got it?" He kept his pace the same as hers, which was easier said than done seeing as his legs were quite a bit shorter than hers. "Ha! Cold? I've lived through ten winters here already, this is nothing." He boasted jokily. Besides, it got far colder than this in Beijing.
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