Dorian Montoir
Count On Me
Thu Jun 13, 2019 08:35

"Nox," Dorian whispered, and the light in the moon went out. The remainder of the stage lights which had gradually illuminated the chorus of Teppenpaws stayed on, as they had decided a black out at the end of each song wasn't necessary. In fact, he now pushed them up to full. The group had been gathered in a spot light, with semi-darkness all around them for the first song, but the second was a brighter, cheerier number and they were more spread out, which required the whole stage to be illuminated. This lighting change had also helped them conceal the ukuleles which were lined up at the the front of the stage. He had read in one of his books about using concealment to his advantage - if things had to appear suddenly, or if there were quick costume changes, it was better to have those things placed and conceal them by magic rather than try to create them live - it was always a lot easier and more reliable to end a spell than to cast a new one. However, even simpler than that was just putting them in the dark, and the point at which he’d realised he didn’t need an extra charm between songs had been a welcome one.

That just left Jozua to levitate the moon out of the way whilst Dorian got things working with the slideshow. He had had to have a bit of help from Professor Wright in setting this up. Dorian himself had done the leg work, digging through the books until he found the spells that he wanted, but had had to ask the Professor for some help in executing it. It was a variation on a Protean charm whereby whatever the caster's wand was pointed at would be displayed on a corresponding chosen object. Again, they had laid the foundations well in advance rather than trust live casting on the night. Dorian's wand was linked with a large white backcloth that had been hung for their act. He just had to mutter an incantation and the charm would be activated, whereupon he would point it at the pictures being used. This had necessitated several further spells and fixes to make it all run smoothly. It was hard to hold one’s wand rock steady for three and a half minutes, and so he had made a little stand to rest it in. He was also still limited to having only two hands (though he had seriously considered whether looking up how to transfigure himself third and fourth ones was a valid use of his research time, as it would have really solved a lot of his problems), and by needing to ensure the photos passed at a steady rate, ending when the song did. He had therefore put all the photos that the Teppenpaws had given him into a book and enchanted it so that, once opened, it would stand on its end and turn it own pages at a steady rate.

Plenty of Teppenpaws had submitted pictures, as was only to be expected for the friendly house. It had been a lot of fun looking through them all. Most were recognisable, even if their subjects were a lot younger in some of them than he knew them to be in real life, or were accompanied by people he didn’t know, as family shots had been a popular choice. The Brockerts had all gone for this, as had someone who was apparently tiny Eden, looking about four years old and on a park bench with someone he presumed to be her father. There was a composition he recognised as a Vorontsov(a) Christmas grouping, in which they were all decked out very finely and looking properly serious. Nathaniel had also gone down the family route, giving one of all four of the cousin-siblings grouped around a tinsel-draped fireplace, along with one of him and Sylvia which was easily recognisable as a 'first day of school' photo - both were wearing their robes and standing by packed trunks, proudly waving a wand apiece - you could practically see the words 'swish and flick' being mouthed happily. Lyssa’s photo too was family oriented. The photo itself showed a large, low house. It was strange looking to Dorian's eye but the pretty mountains in the background suggested it was a nice place to live. Small Parker and Smaller Lyssa posed in front of the house - it had been taken long enough ago that Parker looked like a kid, still displaying a goofy mix of baby teeth and a few adult ones that looked too big for his small face when he grinned, but recently enough that he was recognisably Parker. Dorian had been somewhat worried by Lyssa's photo at first, or rather about how to tell her that it had somehow got broken on the way to him. However, when he had anxiously pointed out to her that it was no longer moving, she had sighed, and explained that non-magical photos stayed still. He was perplexed by this, because Parker had told him that television was a box full of moving pictures, and he wasn't sure why if those moved then photographs could not, but he didn't doubt that both of things were true and that he would just sound like an idiot for asking. On top of that, Lyssa had not seemed like she was as keen as Parker to answer his questions, so he had not mentioned it to her but had added it to his growing list of things to ask her brother about.

Friendship, of course, was equally popular, and there were plenty of groupings that showed exclusively Sonora residents. The first years' photos were mostly posed, seeing as they'd had less time to acquire naturalistic photos of them and their friends - there was one of Zara and Felipe standing in the gardens both grinning (him a little shyly, and her enthusiastically), Johana-Leonie with Hilda, and all the first year girls in their room together. At the other end of the age spectrum, Finn Scott had sent photos of him and his friends, and there was a great one of Jozua and Lily in their Quidditch robes on the back of a dragon statue and looking like they were having a great adventure.

Dorian’s own contributions had been hard to pick. He had so many people who meant a lot to him, and, guilty as he felt about putting in more photos of himself than anyone else, he felt more guilty at the thought of leaving any of them out. He had assuaged some of his guilt by reasoning that the Head Girl featured in just as many of the photos as he was planning to put in of himself, and she wasn't even a Teppenpaw. There was one of Kir and Zevalyn in their vividly contrasting outfits at the ball, standing in front of the floral archway where portraits had been taken, him effortlessly twirling her, and her having to stretch and him having to duck to return the favour. She got another look in too, also in her ball finery, this time in a more casual snap of her and Georgia, and again in another photo submitted by Kir, where they were with a whole group of people in the library - Jehan's roommate was at the head of the table and Parker was rolling dice. For some reason, this warranted cheering. Dorian wasn't sure what that was about. Possibly the hobby Parker had mentioned to him, but as that had been whilst under the effects of a confusing concoction, it hadn't done a lot to really help explain it. This would have balanced out his own appearances, as contributed by himself, except he had been submitted by two other Teppenpaws. Ruby had put in one of him teaching her to skate, and he had - rather to his surprise - been asked by Johana-Leonie to pose for a photograph with her, which they had done both holding their dictionaries, a symbol of what had brought them together.

Dorian only featured in three of the four photos he had selected. There was one of the Club of Tongues, one of the many group shots Tatya had orchestrated when they had been stuck at school over Christmas. There wasn't much movement to it, and he didn't think it did much to show what they meant to each other as friends, so he had added little speech bubbles saying 'hello' in each of their languages, which moved around stopping by different people's mouths. Given the proliferation of family shots, he thought he ought to include one with Émilie - he had considered not doing so only because she was not at Sonora, but he knew she wouldn't see it that way, especially as other extended families had been shown. He had written to his mother asking whether she had any photos of him being good and brotherly, stating that it was for a school project but not what, specifically. She had sent him a selection, of which he had chosen one which featured him, Mama and Émilie. His sister was about a year old, meaning he had to be about three. He wasn't sure whether he would have been recognisable to his classmates in this picture, but Mama being there made it somewhat obvious who it was. She was holding tiny Émilie up by the hands and Dorian was standing a couple of paces away, holding out his arms encouragingly. When Mama let go of Émilie's hands, she staggered the couple of wobbly, determined steps required to be gathered in her brother's arm, he and Mama both turning to grin proudly at the camera. He had worried, seeing as he featured in individual shots with Ruby and a first year, that Tatya would be offended not to be included in a paired shot with him, and he did feel rather bad about this because she really did mean a lot to him, and was becoming someone he could confide a surprising amount to. But if he put in one of just the two of them, then it felt like he was leaving Vlad out, and if he then put in one of just them as well, it not only made it a truly ridiculous number of pictures but also made him feel like there there was little point in having the group shot, but he liked that because it represented the Club of Tongues, which really mattered to him. He had started to see why his mother complained that juggling their social calenders and hosting parties sometimes felt like more trouble than it was worth and found himself glad that, however many uncertainties his future held, the chances were very slim indeed that he was going to be required to be a society housewife.

The photo of his that did not feature him was a headshot of Professor Brooding from the yearbook. He had several, of course, of them together, but they were all distinctly wedding photos. Even the ones of them before the ceremony, with them drinking tea or him helping her get ready, were clearly taken outside of school. As far as he knew, she did not mind who he told about her wedding or his presence at it, but she herself had not exactly been broadcasting the fact that she was married, and he had taken this to mean that she trusted his judgement, rather than that he was free to announce it to a whole room. The headshot was maybe oddly formal, and he hoped it didn’t project the suggestion that she was Teppenpaw Head of House. He would have put one of Professor Xavier in for balance but he himself had submitted one, posed in front of all the planters made by his students for his wedding day. Professors Carter and Skies were also in this shot, which meant a large number of the staff were then featured, and he hoped the ones who weren’t wouldn’t take it as a slight against their teaching. Professor Wright was thanked specifically in the program that the Teppenpaws had produced, and that actually pretty much only left Professor Marsh (who was new), Professor Hawthorne (who was likely to know who had included Professor Brooding and unlikely to begrudge her wife) and Headmaster Brockert (which was just… unsurprising, really). It also helped that Professor Brooding had been a Teppenpaw, which he thought made a case for why she was included (although he hoped she would realise who had submitted it and why) and the other choice was Professor Xavier’s.

There was, of course, one of Dorian and Jehan. It was another from Tatya's Christmas shoot. She had been trying to get them to sit looking sombre but he and Jehan had not been co-operative subjects. They had kept catching each other's eyes and smiling instead, and their photographic selves were similarly disinclined to adopt Tatya's formal style, instead twining their arms affectionately around each other, smiling together and at the camera. Photographic Dorian occasionally leant his head on Jehan's shoulder and just relaxed, losing most of the self-conscious tension he usually carried. It had always been one of Dorian’s favourite photographs of them, and it simultaneously captured how innocent and easy everything had been and, to him, showed where those feelings were going to take him. He suspected that was just because he knew to look for it. People would see what they expected to see. And on the one hand, it showed two friends, perfectly happy and at ease. But knowing what he knew now, it was easy to see that everything he was going to feel for Jehan was already there. ‘Adoring’ was a good description of his own expression when he looked at Jehan, and when he turned to the camera, he kept smiling a little shyly, as if he couldn't quite believe his luck (which, in some ways, he never had been able to). It was easy to read more into it once you knew he felt more for Jehan, but plenty of people had seen it before and seen it as perfectly innocent. It still felt personal, to a degree, to show it. There were other photos he could have used. But he liked this one. The biggest difference, he supposed, was not whether people realised that Dorian was in love with the boy next to him or not, or would be one day, but that this was a photo of him with all his guards down, being who he was with his friends. He wasn’t exactly hesitant with affection in public, and nor could he help beaming like the sun had just come out when Jehan walked into the room. All of those things had been observable before but now he was broadcasting them. He was being himself, even if just in photographic form, in public. And he felt happy about that. In spite of all his fears, it had been an easy choice. This picture was the strongest proof to him that what he felt wasn’t something to fight, because it was right here, at least to his eye, even before he’d known or understood it himself. And he thought that if you tried to pick at that thread, and trace it back, you might be able to follow it forever. All the way back to the beginning of him and Jehan, or maybe further, because after all he’d been the person who Jehan had liked so much already when he had arrived here. And if you started to try to pull apart the part of him that Jehan liked, and the part that was in love with him, he wasn’t really sure what was left. Nothing much. And definitely not the person who was in this photograph. He liked the person that was in this photograph, and he would be happier if he could be him all of the time.

He had been unsure how to organise the photos. If he did them in order of submission then those who had submitted more than one had them bunched together. If he did them by age order, the same thing occurred, plus he wasn't sure where to put those of mixed age groups. In the end, he had decided that the fairest thing was just to shuffle them.

The staging for this was pretty simple. The Teppenpaws were all sitting on the front of the stage, doing some simple swaying as they sang and made a passably pleasant sound with the ukuleles, giving a good view to the screen behind them, and the photos which were the main event in this song.

OOC - god-modding of Lyssa and Professor Wright approved by their authors. Photo contributions all approved or suggested by subjects’ authors.

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