Holland Keene
It’s not over yet
Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:16

It was a talent show year, and Holland was thinking about participating, because apparently with seven classes, Animagus work, Quidditch, and a baby, they didn’t have enough to do. Holland wanted to do something like Charms dressage—a series of spells with cool visual effects set to music—so technically, preparing and practicing their act fell under the umbrella of Spellwork homework.

They hadn’t participated in the last talent show as a performer, although they had volunteered to do enough other students’ makeup for it that they had joked they should have earned an honorary gallery submission. At least a talent show wasn’t the same amount of work as a musical. Especially for Holland, whose role was basically to work on the show from day one (finding and altering everyone’s costumes) to performance (doing everyone’s makeup). And they wouldn’t have the baby after midterm, so that would help.

Holland was not enjoying parenthood so far. If Holland was taking Potions, or knew more about them, they would have resorted to using sleeping potions to get the doll to sleep through the night. It was nice having “playdates” with Emmett and Danny’s babies, but Holland didn’t really enjoy being around the doll. Also, Camilla was fairly uncommitted as far as partners went, although to her credit she was following the schedule. The doll was cute when she (Holland felt weird using the pronoun “it,” even for the doll) smiled and Holland was having fun making little outfits for her to wear, but they felt more parental towards their friends’ younger siblings (even Anssi, who they didn’t know very well) than toward the doll. Things would be different if this was a real baby, where you knew you were forming a bond and raising an actual person.

The baby was lifelike enough that Holland could sometimes forget it wasn’t real, but that just made them think about the magical equivalent of Artificial Intelligence. They were fairly familiar with the Principle of Artificianimate Quasi-Dominance, which outlined the potential logistical problems with conjured creatures, and they had also cast animating spells, like the kind that were on wizarding chess pieces. Chess piece spells seemed equivalent to running a simple computer program (the pieces would, generally, execute a series of predetermined actions when they received the proper input), whereas conjured creatures had more free will. Holland was fairly certain the magic on the baby doll fell somewhere between those two branches of magic, although the sixth-year had opted not to mess with the charms on the doll to find out. Holland was concerned with the ethics of temporary animation and conjuring. If wizards could animate baby dolls to behave like baby humans, what was preventing them from animating mannequins and giving them human intelligence? And if that happened, would those entities have rights? And if not, well, why not, and wouldn’t that lead to problems? Someday, wizards were going to start the robot apocalypse without even knowing what robots were.

Anyway, the baby was being quiet and Holland had some free time, so they decided to go to the theater and start planning their act for the talent show. Unsurprisingly it was occupied, but instead of the regular suspects (Marissa dancing, Ethan Addams fiddling with the lights and power tools just because he could, or Alice Lemont singing from that one spot on the stage that made the sound fill the theater) it was, surprisingly, Armaan. He had his eyes shut and Holland didn’t want to interrupt, so they made their way to the front row and sat down, transfiguring the doll’s stroller into a bouncer so they could put her down. She seemed close to falling asleep, thank the stars. And she stayed asleep when Armaan stopped playing and started talking.

“I liked it,” Holland answered. “Especially the salad part. Plus it got my insomniac doll to fall asleep so I’m going to need a recording.” Seriously, if all she needed to sleep was an acoustic ballad, Holland would start disliking the project a lot less. “Are you going to do it for the talent show?”

  • Nostalgic already - Armaan Bansal, Sat Aug 19 00:21
    In all honesty, the ceiling of RMI’s theater was one of Armaan’s favorite things to look at. There wasn’t anything all that special about it, but he’d spent countless hours staring at it over the... more
    • It’s not over yet - Holland Keene, Sun Aug 20 12:16
      • But the clock is ticking - Armaan, Sun Sep 10 01:38
        An easy grin lifted onto Armaan’s face as Holland said they liked the song and turned into a chuckle at the mention of salad. As he leaned closer to get a better look at Holland’s baby, he suddenly... more
        • Then hurry up - Holland, Sat Sep 16 14:23
          Forgetting that he had his fake baby with him was honestly the sort of thing Holland expected from Armaan. He seemed to be enjoying the Cultural Studies project more than most of their classmates,... more
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