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 greed that eats me day and night with hungry gnaw, arnold
William Wagstaff
Posted: Oct 18 2011, 01:41 AM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



Half past noon found Willy sidling shiftily by the castle entrance, striking up what he perceived to be a casual pose: leaned back against the wall, hands in his pockets, and eyes half-closed. In reality, his reputation cast this stance in a less than innocent light, especially when combined with his suspicious habit of sneaking sideway glances at all the passers-by.

In his bag he carried two tickets, and with them, his motive. Having accepted the tickets gratefully from Yaxley, he was now obliged to find some clueless schmuck to reap the profits - that was his end of the bargain, after all. And so, not only did he have immediate financial advancement as incentive, but also the preservation of a business partnership as well. Not that the pressure was getting to him. As he had sold off items of a far more dubious nature before, he speculated that the task at hand was entirely reasonable; the tickets were even real, which was certainly a distinction from most of his products.

The overcast skies shed a cold, balmy feel over the grounds. Willy considered retreating back indoors, where it would be much warmer, but decided he needed a smoke more than he needed shelter. Just as he was about to find some patch of outdoor woods, however, he spied a curly-haired boy exit the castle. It was - Arnold Peasegood, wasn't it? He hadn't had much contact with the fifth year, but he did have a knack for putting names to faces. And he seemed to remember that Arnold was something of a quidditch enthusiast, if his behavior during Gryffindor matches was anything to go by.

"Eyyy, 'scuse me," called out Willy, as he eased closer. "You wouldn't happen to like quidditch, wouldya?"

He affected a friendly - if enterprising - grin.


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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Oct 19 2011, 02:43 PM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



Half past noon found Arnold awfully late for Herbology. Really, he ought to have been there fifteen minutes ago, and he had promised Alastor that he would be on time, but he'd gotten distracted in the hallway by... something, he could hardly remember what it had been originally, but it had spiraled and grown until he'd almost completely forgotten that he'd had Herbology until he glanced at his watch and the note he'd written on the back of his hand in ballpoint pen (because sometimes writing with a quill made his handwriting absolutely wretched): Herbology, 12:15.

It had already been twenty past the hour, and Arnold hadn't been anywhere near the greenhouses.

But there was something to be said about how quickly he could move when he was in a rush and his robes were properly hemmed so that he wasn't constantly tripping over the edges of them. He'd gotten all the way down from the fifth floor - where he'd followed his train of thought without a single glimmer of remembrance regarding Herbology - in ten minutes, skipping over trick steps, jumping onto swinging staircases with remarkable accuracy for someone so commonly found flat on his face, and finally bursting through the front doors into the cold, surprisingly humid afternoon.

"Sorry," he started to say breathlessly when someone called for his attention, but then he caught a snatch of the word "Quidditch" and came to a very ungraceful halt next to the Slytherin. It wasn't one that he recognized, not that he knew many of them beyond Aggie's friend Alphard and a few of Alastor's roommates that his best friend had grudgingly pointed out (with strict warnings to avoid them at all costs). "Gosh!" He peered at the tickets, trying to see what game they were for, how many of them there were, whether or not he could actually make it. Of course, not a single thought of whether or not he had enough money with him (or in his life at all, of course) to purchase them crossed his mind. He wanted them.

No, he needed them. Arnold had never had the opportunity to go to a professional Quidditch game before, and this looked like it might be his chance!

Schmuck, indeed.


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William Wagstaff
Posted: Dec 22 2011, 12:25 PM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



It fell into place perfectly. Willy didn't even need his keen observation skills to see how immediately eager Peasegood became at the prospect of quidditch tickets. And why, he hadn't even made his spiel yet, nor readied his pitch; most of his potential customers were reluctant at best, and others hurried away before he even began talking - he supposed his reputation sometimes preceded him. But this was obviously not the case here, and already, Willy was thinking satisfyingly about his own good fortune at running into this Peasegood chap.

His grin automatically stretched wider a little, before he quickly banished it from his expression and adopted a more earnest look. "Yeah, real good tickets, front row seats, ya know?" he said, affecting the same kind of enthusiasm to mirror that of his possible buyer. "Caerphilly versus the arrows. Everyone's already sayin' how it's gonna be the match of the year. Ain't nothin' you wanna miss, I'm tellin' ya."

As usual, Willy was of course exaggerating the quality of his goods. The tickets were by no means mediocre, especially since they were real and given to him by Yaxley. Neither would the game be poor. But to say that they were front row seats to the best game of the year was something of a stretch, if one that was less shameless than usual (though only because he couldn't exaggerate much more beyond that). Nonetheless, as par for the course, Willy felt not one shred of guilt nor shame for his deception. It wasn't as though the tickets were fakes this time, which they could easily have been.

He splayed out the tickets in his hands, exposing the pair of gleaming and radiant pieces of paper to sight. "It's an experience of a lifetime, ya know? It's only too bad, I ain't able to make it myself. But if ya're free, why not buy 'em off me? Shame for it to go to waste, ya know?"


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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Dec 27 2011, 01:13 AM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



If he was going to be honest with himself, Arnold had hardly the slightest idea what Caerphilly versus the Arrows even meant, where they were located, and what he would do with himself if he had any information on either of those two things. Probably bounce around in excitement until he remembered exactly how threadbare the inner linings of his pockets were; it wasn't as if Sickles grew from trees, really, and... gosh, if those tickets were so good, they were probably expensive, far more expensive than just about anything he'd owned in his life except maybe his wand and (collectively, of course; he bought the individuals second-hand) his textbooks.

"Well, I dunno," he said, deflating slightly as some of his enthusiasm slipped away - and the memory of Alastor frowning even as Arnold promised to be on time for Herbology, as if he doubted his friend's ability to keep that promise. "Front row seats as the best match of the year sounds like it would be really expensive." And because he had absolutely zero sense of suspicion, the only thing that caught when the Slytherin fanned out the shining tickets in his hands was his breath, rather than his thoughts on questions that someone less enamoured with the sport might have thought of to ask: where did you get the tickets? Why can't you make it if it's so fantastic? How much are you overcharging me? Why should I trust you, Willy Wagstaff?

Simple questions, really, but none that would ever occur to Arnold, who tended to take the word of everyone he met as nothing less than God's own truth.

He tilted his head to peer at the date, pushing his glasses further up his nose as he did so. "Did you say how much they were?" he asked, trying to think if he knew if there was any reason he couldn't be in Caerphilly on 10 July. (There were many of them, but Arnold in his eagerness to perhaps just hold the tickets for just a moment was more than happy to conveniently forget all of them.) "I dunno if I have the money with me right now."


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William Wagstaff
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 04:19 AM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



Willy maintained his pleasant smile and eager friendliness as he left off his speech, and eyed the way Peasegood reacted. Really, if he hadn't known better, he would have felt rather guilty about swindling the other boy, if only for the complete lack of skepticism that accompanied the Gryffindor's response. Even for the most gullible subjects, he expected some hesitation - although it may simply have been his own inclinations tinting his perspective. And in this case, Peasegood's only reluctance came from his potential incapacity to pay, rather than suspicion of Willy's less-than-true description of his wares.

He pushed aside his feelings of unsettling unease (which were very unusual for him), and instead embarked on the next step. The hook had been bitten, so now all he needed to do was to milk the deal for all that it was worth. Though he had to admit, judging by the depth of Peasegood's hesitation, that it might not be worth much - which was a shame, from such a willing consumer.

"Well," he said, bringing up one finger to stroke his chin, before he made a decision. It would be the sob story for today - Peasegood looked like just the type to soak it all up. "It was pretty expensive, I'll admit. Ten galleons, actually, for the pair," he said. The price was exorbitant, and he knew it, so hasted to continue. "I know, I know - that's a lotta money. But see, my brother's sufferin' from this heavy disease, and his greatest wish was those seats - the Arrows were his favorite, see? So my family and I, we saved up just enough to get'em."

He paused significantly, as though it was difficult to go on. Of course, Peasegood had not inquired into any of this tangent, but he pretended not to realize this as he became caught up in the story. "But now, he's got this expensive test we need to pay for, so I gotta sell these tickets back off in hope of scraping up some loose change. We can't really afford the care otherwise, ya know?"

Willy pushed through a heavy, belabored sigh. "I'm sorry," he offered, after a pause, pretending to recollect himself. He arranged his features into one of apology, as if he really did regret recounting the tale, at the expense of wasting Peasegood's time. "A lot on my mind, ya know? But anyway, the price. I said ten, but hey, you look like a nice fellow, and I need anything I can get. How about we call it five instead? It'd mean a lot to me."



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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 08:18 AM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



Arnold gaped openly at the tale of woe laid out before him (and the unbelievable price of ten Galleons; he didn't think he'd ever held that much money, much less been able to spend it on Quidditch tickets!), rather quite amazed that Willy was able to keep up his smile and cheeriness in the face of something so horrible as that mysterious and unnamed disease sounded. The story made his heart sink just about as far it was able to sink (which, in Arnold, was not terribly far, although it certainly felt like it in comparison to his usual way of looking at things) and he frowned, pushing his glasses up his nose. He'd never been very good at expressing sympathy beyond "I'm sorry!" since he never really seemed to know what to say. For all that the very early part of his life - the part that he didn't remember - had been ripped straight from the pages of a tragic novel, Arnold didn't handle it all very well.

"I'm sorry about your brother," he said, still hesitant and so instead focusing on the story itself. "Is that why he's not at Hogwarts, then, because he's sick? That's awful, Willy, that's the saddest story. You should start up a collection!" He really wanted the tickets, really wanted to go, even if he wasn't sure how he was even planning to get there. Five Galleons was what he'd been saving up for a while now to buy some books at next Hogsmeade weekend, and he'd already had to have Aggie buy the scones and tea the last time they'd gone together. He wasn't normally terribly sensitive about his financial straits, but the mere fact that he was aware of them made him empathise strongly with Willy's plight.

He wasn't usually the sort of give into temptation, but then again temptation rarely presented itself so strongly to him.

"If it means a lot," he added slowly, sticking his hand into his pockets and feeling the spare Sickles that he kept in there just in case he needed emergency pocket money. "I mean, I can try. I don't know that I actually have five Galleons is the thing, Willy. I loaned Otis some Sickles the other day and I think he's forgotten to pay me back."


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William Wagstaff
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 10:22 AM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



"Oh - yeah, that's why," said Willy quickly, seizing onto this tragic twist that Peasegood had provided himself (he really was a resourceful chap, Willy thought). "He's too ill to attend, which is a damn shame. I always thought he'd make a more decent wizard than me, ya know?"

He made to look extremely forlorn and regretful as he gave voice to this idea. The truth was, of course, far from these facts. While his half-brother back at home did tend to be of the sickly disposition, his disease was far milder than Willy described now. Furthermore, there wasn't a drop of magical blood in him.

"And y'know, that's not a bad idea, startin' up a collection," he said thoughtfully. He had considered it himself, as a kind of hoax to earn more money. The morality of such an idea did not give him much pause; he was, as far as he could see, creating a situation beneficial to everyone. People felt good when they gave to charity, right? He was just offering a quick, simple method to boost their self-esteem, and in return for his efforts, he'd get a bit of compensation. Sounded fair to him. No, it wasn't so much as moral reserve that had stopped him from putting the scheme to work, but the idea of logistics. Unfortunately, he had a shady reputation, and he thought that if he took up collecting for private charity, there would be at least some people who would call him out for it. He simply could not pull it off. But - as inspiration suddenly hit him - that did not necessarily mean others could not. The shining paragon of innocence, Arnold Peasegood - who would question his motives?

"But you see," he explained earnestly, deciding impulsively to act on the idea, "I'm awful busy with schoolwork and the like. I'm not a very good with classes at all, so I'm always studyin' or gettin' tutored or something like that. This is one of the only free hours I got. It's really too bad, otherwise, I'd definitely try to see if any generous people would help out a poor, sick boy."

He pretended to think for a bit, and then allowed his eyebrows to rise slowly, as though he had just been hit with a marvelous solution. "Say, Peasegood - if you don't got five galleons, maybe you could help me raise that much? I'm sure you'd be great at it."


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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 02:20 PM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



His expression saddened alongside Willy's. Imagine, not being able to go to Hogwarts! (The fact that he would never have realised the school even existed if he hadn't gotten the invitation didn't cross his mind; Arnold could hardly imagine life without Hogwarts any more, all the excitement and magic that was part of his life now.) It really was terribly sad, especially since Willy probably wrote home all sorts of fantastic letters about everything he did at school and his poor brother had to read them and know he wasn't at Hogwarts, and gosh. For a moment, Arnold considered going to Professor Dumbledore and asking if people who were too ill to come to Hogwarts took their courses by correspondence and got to, in some way, at least sort of experience Hogwarts.

Gosh, it was kind of depressing to think about. He would have to ask Alastor about it later, whether or not everyone actually came to Hogwarts or if there were other sorts of education and wow what an interesting line of questioning this would lead to and--

Oh, Willy was talking.

If there was anything Arnold liked, it was being able to help people. So when Willy suggested the idea of him helping out with a collection for his brother, the Gryffindor brightened immediately, his customary excited smile springing back into its usual place on his face. Again he pushed his glasses up his nose and beamed, pleased as punch to be able to helpful and pleasant and useful and do good works!

"I'd love to!" he said excitedly, twisting the bottom of his jumper with both hands, unconsciously stretching the poor garment until he'd probably have to send it to the house elves to get laundered before he could wear it again. (They were likely to patch it, too, while they had it, since he'd taken a tumble down the stairs earlier in the day and had torn a great big hole in the elbow, even if he'd hardly realised it.) "Willy, that's a fantastic idea! I can tell everyone that your brother is sick and can't even make it to Hogwarts and maybe you can even keep the tickets and he can see the Arrows! Wouldn't that be brilliant, everyone would be happy, don't you think?" He grinned, rising up and down on his tiptoes in excitement at the idea of doing something so nice for someone else. Wow, what an opportunity. His mum would be so proud.


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William Wagstaff
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 04:27 PM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



For all that Willy had read Arnold to be the noble and compassionate type (or basically, a schmuck), he had not anticipated this level of generosity. The other boy's excitement and willingness to help was so sincere that he found himself gaping for a few moments in actual shock. For someone of much less selfless instincts, such motives were beyond Willy's comprehension, and he would have taken it for a joke - had Arnold not had such an enthusiastic expression written all over his face.

"Oh, ah, that's kind of you, it really is," he said, trying to summon back his smile, and likewise earnest demeanor. "Though - if you wouldn't mind, could you keep my name anonymous? It's only - the rest of my family, y'see, is the real proud sort. They don't believe in askin' money from anyone, prefer to work for it. But I thought, this was such an important cause, gettin' some charity ain't such a deal, you know? But still, I don't want them to know that people are just giving it to us, cause that'd make them feel real ashamed. Better to say I sold the tickets and was able to fund it fair and square."

Of course, his real motive behind the absence of his name was simple: many people would think twice about giving their money to help the charitable enterprise associated with Willy Wagstaff. He did think, however, that Arnold would be able to spin a cause for his "anonymous friend's brother" which, while seeming suspicious from any other source, would be completely convincing from Arnold Peasegood.

As the other boy went on, however, his former surprise deepened further, and he caught himself again staring at the other boy. He was going to help him - and not even ask for the tickets in return? Usually he'd laugh at such gullibility, but then, such laughter was merited when the consumer fell for his ruse out of selfishness or greed. In this case, however, Arnold seemed actually, genuinely concerned for Willy, to the extent that he would actively go collect money for him - and despite himself, Willy felt a twinge of guilt.

"That's - that's real proper nice of you," he said yet again, trying to buy time. "Er, ya sure you don't want the tickets in exchange?"

Logically, he knew he should have seized the opportunity, and even now, the most selfish part of Willy was telling him that this was the best deal a con-artist could hope her - get the dough while keeping the hook for someone else.


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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Jan 18 2012, 08:08 PM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



"I understand," he said solemnly at Willy's confession. His own mother wasn't terribly shy about accepting charity, since it was just the two of them and even though Mrs Peasegood had a job in a factory in Leeds, times could still be a little hard on occasion. "But you don't have to be ashamed of charity, Willy, mum and I take it all the time from the church, although we haven't had to recently because I'm at school and there's scholarships and stuff and there's always work for her making parachutes for the soldiers over on Front, so there's plenty of money at home." He paused for a moment and considered the small jar of pocket change that he and his mother filled for afford small pleasures. "Well, maybe not plenty, but more than there usually is, but I know what it's like and it's not really that terrible. You can always ask your church!"

It hadn't even crossed Arnold's mind to accept the tickets in exchange for helping Willy out, especially when he'd so vividly described how much his brother loved the Arrows. Wouldn't that be a really mean thing to do, to take those tickets away? It would be really mean, especially since he was collecting for charity. Imagine if he could get Willy more than five Galleons. What if he got ten Galleons, all in a nice jar or something, or a nice thick parchment envelope from Hogsmeade, and presented them very nicely and politely and told Willy that he could keep the tickets, no problem.

Why, Arnold would be so nice, it would almost be like helping the collections that went around for the Resistance, but it would be for someone he knew.

"Oh, that's okay!" he said brightly. "I think you should give them to your brother along with the Galleons and you can go to the match with him." Then a thought occurred to him and his smile changed to something rather embarrassed. "But Willy, if you do go to the match, do you think you could bring back photos? I've never been to a professional match, see, and I'd love to see one, I just can't afford the tickets."

Being unable to afford the tickets, however, didn't even put a dent in his pleasure at the thought of being able to help someone out when it was usually him being helped by everyone else. The thought of sending a poor sick boy - Willy's brother! It was almost like Arnold knew him! - who couldn't even come to Hogwarts to a proper Quidditch match made him feel all warm inside, and very accomplished. Gosh, he almost wished he had more pocket money so he could give it away.


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William Wagstaff
Posted: Jan 19 2012, 03:42 PM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



"Oh, I know - I'm not the one who's ashamed. I think charity's all well and good, y'know? Nothing wrong by me. The problem, Arnold," he said, adding a heavy air to his words, "the problem is with my family. They are just very proud kinda people, got this serious ethic of 'earning your keep.' And I mean, even though I don't agree, I respect that, y'see? And I don't want them to feel ashamed of how they got this money, so if it's at possible, it's best to avoid mentioning the Wagstaff name. For their sake, not mine."

Willy was on autopilot as he constructed this narrative, not particularly moved to much creative elaboration. The old "proud family" routine was a familiar one, and he scarcely needed to think as the words came pouring out of his mouth as though singing a habitual tune. He wasn't even uttering complete lies, at this point. His family was hard-working, unlike him, and they were steeped in poverty while pushing away charity. However, of course, they also weren't moved to desperation to fund a treatment for his brother's illness.

In any case, it was good that he was able to be on autopilot for this, because Arnold Peasegood was not making this easy. Willy would've enjoyed it much more (and suffered less alien prickles toward his conscience) had Peasegood been reluctant or seized on the offer of the ticket - in that case, it'd have been easy to convince himself that the chap deserved it. But instead, Arnold was telling him, Willy, to go to the match in his place, while still offering (with extreme enthusiasm) to collect money for him. The line about taking photos for him was almost too much.

"Er - yeah, of course," he forced himself to say. Get a hold of yourself, Wagstaff, he thought to himself. This is the best deal you could hope for, don't you ruin it now.. "Gee, Arnold, that's real nice of you. I mean, you collecting, and not even wanting the tickets. I mean, it means the world to me. Really."


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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Jan 19 2012, 06:54 PM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



Arnold nodded in understanding and empathy and all those nice words that meant he knew exactly how Willy's situation was. There were other families in the building where he and his mum lived who refused to accept any sort of charity, even something so simple as Arnold taking their rubbish down to the general bins when he was already taking the cans from his own flat. He didn't really understand their reasons, but he understood that they existed, and so he did not even for a moment doubt Willy's story. It all sounded very reasonable to him, honestly, reasonable and very sad.

"Okay," he said. "I won't. But how're you going to tell them that you got the money?"

It was only natural curiosity that drove him to ask, not any sense of trying to undermine Willy's plan of anonymous charity. It hadn't even dawned on him that Willy might not be telling the truth, since he was both superstitious enough to believe that lying about an illness was enough to bring it on you and honest enough that lying about something like this wouldn't even cross his mind, not even to sell Quidditch tickets. (In fact, that only reason that he might lie about something like this was to get the tickets for himself, although Arnold liked to think he was better than that, of course!)

"It's nothing," he said earnestly, smiling as brightly as he ever did. Oh, gosh, real photos from a real professional Quidditch game! And here he thought the games played at Hogwarts were the best things ever - he could only imagine how absolutely fantastic real live professional games were. "I'm more than happy to help, really. But the pictures'll move, right?"

Even in the face of doing good and helping the less fortunate (not that there were very many less fortunate than Arnold), he still wanted to make sure that he would at least get magical moving pictures to take home.


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William Wagstaff
Posted: Jan 20 2012, 08:00 PM


played by lacy -------------------- 6th year
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Group: Slytherin
Posts: 818
Member No.: 40
Joined: 24-January 11



It wasn't at all difficult for Willy to formulate an adequate answer. He was exceptionally proficient at lying, if nothing else, and capable of generating a detailed story from thin air upon request. His capacity to make up these fables had, in fact, earned him a genuine enjoyment of divinations, a class in which such skills seemed to flourish.

Arnold's unsuspecting face was, additionally, much less intimidating than some of his other audiences before. Usually, such questions were asked with skepticism and a distrustful eye, but here, Peasegood was seemingly inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt before he even answered. There was therefore very little pressure, and Willy came up with an easy solution.

"I was thinkin' of, well, sayin' that I had picked up some extra money doing some odd jobs for people in Hogsmeade," he told Peasegood. "That'd be right fine by them, since they'd think it was well-earned and all that."

Willy paused and then, thinking this might strike Arnold as dishonest, inserted an addendum. "I know, it ain't good to lie to them and all that. I don't like it either. But I figure, it's for the best cause I can think of. And if it results in my brother being able to afford a cure, I figure, a white lie will do no one too much harm. I know there ain't any other way they'd accept the money. What do you think?"

He posed the last question earnestly, as though he had been genuinely wrestling with the conundrum of such lying, and desired Arnold's advice about it.

"And oh yeah, I'll definitely make sure to get some moving pictures," he continued shamelessly, forcing himself to stow away the tickets for now. They were no longer necessary as props. "Least I can do for ya, right?"

His earlier hesitation had struck him as incredibly uncharacteristic and just foolish. Here was the best opportunity for money in some time, and he was going to let something as frivolous as a conscience get in the way of it? That he had even been reluctant struck him as alarming; he could by no means lose his edge. Accordingly, he went ahead full steam with the idea now, as though to convince himself that it had never happened.


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Arnold Peasegood
Posted: Jan 30 2012, 02:11 AM


played by pip -------------------- 5th year
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Group: Gryffindor
Posts: 303
Member No.: 306
Joined: 20-July 11



Lying had never sat well with Arnold, and when he'd come back to Leeds for his first Christmas holiday home from Hogwarts and all the neighbours had brought cake and what little presents they could for the boy who was the pet of the whole building and asked how he'd liked school, he struggled in coming up with answers that wouldn't break the Statute of Secrecy. He had gotten better at it, of course, and by now could tell coherent stories about how his schooling was going, the scholarship he was on, the fantastic things he was learning, and more. So, he supposed that he could manage to understand and accept the need for Willy to lie about this particular source of income.

And at least Willy realised that lying was a bad thing to do! The Slytherin's explanation set him at ease. "Oh, that's a fantastic idea, Willy," he said approvingly, nodding. Arnold was always glad to help people, especially with these sort of sticky moral conundrums that he tended to see in black and white (although Alastor was slowly colouring his world in with shades of grey). "I guess it's not too bad since you're doing it for such a good reason."

The prospect of pictures, though, was positively delightful, and was almost enough to make Arnold forget where he'd been going before he'd bumped into Willy. But as he lifted his hands to move them about in his excitement, the reminder of Herbology written onto his palm gave him a start, especially when he went to check his watch and noticed with a sinking heart that it was already half past. And he'd promised Alastor that he'd be on time to class today, since they were doing group projects and his best friend had griped for ages about the chances of being paired with someone right terrible. He pushed his glasses up his nose and bounced up and down on his toes a little, suddenly looking a little sheepish.

"That's great!" he said, trying to figure out how to excuse himself politely when he'd volunteered to help but still wasn't quite certain how. "I don't have many moving pictures, apparently there's some potion but I don't know what it is. But Willy," he added, giving up on trying to segue gracefully into saying his goodbyes, "I was supposed to be at Herbology fifteen minutes ago and I've still got to get down to the Greenhouses." Arnold looked down at his shoes, feeling bad for running out on the Slytherin in the middle of such a nice conversation, but his mother had always told him that academics came first. "Maybe I'll see if I can start the collection if Professor Beery gives us a break in class?"


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