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Joe Umland, Teppenpaw
It's a trap.
Thu Dec 21, 2017 22:42

There were a lot of things about Joe’s house which belonged to everyone and no-one in particular, but wands were not among these. He tended to think of his family as a pretty unified bunch – well, as long as one didn’t consider William part of the family, and Julian wasn’t having one of those moods she sometimes had since she’d started wearing skirts outside Mass, and John wasn’t committing a spot of treason with the neighbor or running off to America to play Lone Ranger or whatever, and Paul wasn’t in one of those moods where he forgot that he was not in fact John or Joe’s parent, but…well, those were all aberrations, not the rules – but their wands were not even particularly similar-looking, so there was little chance of anyone accidentally picking up the wrong ones even when wands were left out – an occurrence which was in and of itself rare. They had all learned to be careful about that kind of thing, after all – well, except John, but he didn’t count, and that wasn’t the point.

Instead, the point was that as Joe read over the list of wand woods, he was put in the uncomfortable position of trying to psychoanalyze his relatives based on brief notes. His own wand – cedar – appeared first on the list. He didn’t know if he was a frightening adversary or not, the only people he’d ever had adversarial interactions with were Lenore Crowley (who he’d jinxed in the back – he’d been thirteen at the time, so chivalry had not been a practical option for him in that situation) and John (who he had utterly failed at beating up), but…he didn’t know what perspicacity was, so there was that, but he didn’t know what to think about the ‘perceptive’ bit. Ebony sounded like pretty much a dead match for John, but neither his old wand nor his newer one were made of it – instead, he’d started out with sycamore (which admittedly also sounded like a decent match) and ended up with yew, which did not have a set of associations Joe particularly wished to see crop up in his family. Julian’s hazel wand was described so vaguely, to his mind, that he had no idea how it would relate to his sister – it depended, he supposed, on what one meant by the word ‘manage’ in the context of managing one’s feelings. Black walnut – well, Stephen was good at Charms, and Mom’s elm wand also made a bit more sense – elegant (at least if one ignored the religious clutter) and possessed of a certain native dignity, fair enough, he supposed – and Dad wasn’t arrogant, anyway….

In short, he thought he could conclude that for some reason, the youngest three members of his family also happened to be the ones who were screwed up, because it was himself, Julian, and John he was confused by. The Three Js, united in…confusing him at the moment. And two of them in apparently being capable of being far more interesting than he thought would really be good for their health. Joe did not want to be a frightening adversary, and he did not want his brother to be notorious. He wanted them to both become completely mediocre. Mediocre people didn’t have many fabulous things happen to them, but they also usually didn’t have much bad in their lives, either – they just floated along, barely making a ripple when they were born or when they died. They just…existed.

He decided to look on the bright side. Right now, in class, he was hardly likely to have any reason to be anyone’s adversary. Writing about his wand, about other woods he thought might match his personality, and then experimentally picking up a few other wands was not the kind of thing likely to make someone thoughtlessly challenge him, not unless that person had overdosed on Freud and/or some kind of drug in the recent past. It was all good, no potential for problems whatsoever. The future could take care of itself.

“This should be fun, huh?” he remarked to a neighbor. “Though I kind of wonder if it’s some kind of ink blot test – all these descriptions are too flattering, it’s like they want to see what we think we’re good at.” Joe was trying to figure out if it would be wise to associate himself with alder wood; he liked to think he was helpful, considerate, and generally likable, but he couldn’t claim to lack all traces of stubbornness and obstinacy. Applewood…nice thought, but he was half-afraid one of those, if available, would backfire, as Joe didn’t think of himself as at all suited to high ideals. Ash was a little better, if having once decided it was practical to hex a girl in the back didn’t firmly rule him out of the ‘courageous’ category.

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