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 for what it's worth, tag - malik
MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 18 2016, 11:19 PM
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for MALIK ASAD / 590 words
For a teacher, Maison hated the actual preparation work that went into the job. He like teaching, he liked having students in his carefully constructed classroom. He liked reading the work they turned in and having conversations with them. He liked the little gems he found in some of them, the spark of sight that needed to be coaxed, needed some breath. There weren't many, and even fewer still would ever develop past that slight spark, but he had never been so happy in his life to look at one of his students and just know that she had a gift.

He lessons hadn’t changed much from the year before, there was a scope and sequence to what he taught divided through the grade levels. His upper level classes were nearly empty, which he didn’t mind, it gave him more time with the students that he really wanted to work with. It gave him time with the students that needed him and less time to sift through the students who were filling up a time slot with his class.

He didn’t honestly have that much left to do, his lessons were planned and plotted, he just had a few things left to move up to the classroom that he had collected over the summer, a few boxes, a few chairs and lamps. It honestly wouldn’t have been such a hassle if his classroom wasn’t so inaccessible.

(That was a complete lie, he wasn’t even fooling himself. Part of the charm of his job, was amping up his airy personality, and having a classroom that you had to climb a rope ladder to enter made him laugh and his eyes sparkle. he loved having a classroom that was a hideaway from the rest of the very different magic in the castle. It felt different, it felt like his mother’s sitting room, like old magic. It smelled like the incense he had owled in from china. There wasn’t anywhere else he’d rather be in the castle if he was being honest with himself.)

He was taking a break, though. Term didn’t start for a few weeks, but he was hardly the first teacher to arrive at the castle to unload things into their classrooms and offices before returning home for a few more days. His box of belongings was resting under his feet, and a cup of tea was to his left. He had picked up a set of tarot cards on a whim the other day, he had almost felt as if they had called to him, but they weren’t being particularly cooperative with him. He shuffled the deck and laid them across the table in a pattern, flipping them over in sequence and frowning to himself. Vague he thought.

He had done a simple seven card progression, wanting to break the deck in with the easy questions. The first three had been fine, nothing enlightening, but he had turned over the fourth card, present circumstances, and was surprised that The Hermit card was reversed. It had been a long time since that had shown up in one of his readings. Problems created by his own attitude, obstinacy, refusal. The cards must have been bound to a previous owner, he could feel nothing of the hermit when he looked inside himself, but he knew better than to assume too much. Either the cards were lying, which they so rarely had for him, they were too bound to respond to anyone else, or things were about to change.

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 19 2016, 12:47 AM
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For his part, Malik had spent most of his summer in the castle, sleeping on a pallet in his office piled high with pillows. Stacks upon stacks of books littered the room, rolls of parchment piled and tucked into every nook and crevice, candles melted down to the nub standing in clusters on his desk and tables with dry ink pots and dull-nibbed quills; workaholic often came to mind on the rare occasion he had visitors, but Malik's particular brand of neurosis was far less simplistic.

In truth, the only home available that he could quite call home was the two-story house on Flickwicker Road back in London, where he had grown up as a boy, and was, perhaps, the very last place Malik wanted to be. A very western attitude, independence, and yet, the idea of being stuck under the same roof as the dreadfully overprotective and invasive Sameera Asad, sleeping in a bedroom now all but enshrined to his own accomplishments . . . Malik would rather spend his summer scrounging by in a nearly deserted castle. His pallet was exceptionally comfortable.

The unfortunate result of this self-imposed exile, however, was the inexplicable need to be productive, and therefore much of his vacation had been spent gathering material for the year's lesson plans -- now outlined and bound in a thick notebook on his desk. Malik himself, now seemingly as prepared as he could possibly be for the return of classes, had stretched out on his pillows for a nap, one leg hanging on the floor while he snored lightly with a book splayed over his face. On a short pile of books beside him (his own makeshift nightstand), sat a candle, drowned in its own molten wax, and a gold pocket watch, which quietly began to whistle and shake, gears rattling steadily louder until the man finally stirred.

Yawning widely, Malik blindly reached over and fumbled for the device, knocking the candle to the floor and tossing the book aside with a thud as he finally gave in and sat up, removing his skewed glasses. Malik rubbed his face, blinking back into focus and finally snapping the watch shut under his hand, effectively silencing the shrill sound. Naptime over.

Hauling himself to his feet, the man pocketed his watch and shuffled barefoot out into the corridor, trying to smooth back his ruffled hair as he wandered aimlessly, trying to decide if he needed a bathroom or a longer nap, until --

"FUCK ME!"

Malik stumbled, biting his lip sharply as pain shot up his leg with a nasty crunch of his little toe and he had to steady himself against a wall while a stream of obscenities slithered out between his teeth. Someone was apparently stocking their classroom for the year, as a pile of crap had been left just below the ladder to the divination tower.

He grabbed a silk-wrapped crystal ball (the one he had stubbed his toe on) and dragged it up the ladder with him.

"Oy," Malik barks, rolling the thing across the floor toward his colleague as he rises from the trapdoor entryway, pausing on the ladder, "you left a mess downstairs."

flighty and full of faults
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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 19 2016, 01:18 AM
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for MALIK ASAD / 527 words
Seven of pentacles, Maison glanced back at the first card he had flipped. Not a bad omen for the beginning of the school year, hard work paying off, a commitment to work. He drew that card quite frequently, maybe the deck was working just fine, the hermit simply required some more reflection and awareness. Four of wands, the first card in the draw, upright again. It went well with the second draw, creative achievements, putting down roots, enjoying company.

Maison took a drink of his tea and flipped the fourth card over in his hands. The six of cups. The presence of so many minor cards in a row was not unsurprising, he tended to draw the minor arcana more often, and all in all it was a positive reading so far. The flow of the past to the present, accepting personal history. He could run with that, he was good at that. Reminiscing with old friends was always implied in that one, a lower interpretation that he didn’t often put much stock in, especially during the school year.

The fool card came next, a card that made many nervous or giggle, but an all together positive card, if one was mindful enough to be aware of the past and the future as they moved forward into unexpected beginnings and spontaneity. The cards seemed to all suggest company and conversation, enjoyment and beginnings. The school year he thought and put his hand absently over the deck, tapping his fingers on top of them a few times. It had been a good buy, he hadn’t been wrong in picking them up. He would put them under his pillow that night, put some of himself into them.

He paused with his cup of tea halfway to his mouth and his hand poised to flip the sixth card in the deck when he heard a loud yell from below the open trap door. Ah. Somebody had obviously been lurking in the castle and found his abandoned boxes below. Honestly he could have just levitated them up, and he would, just maybe after this cup of tea was finished. He turned his head as a crystal ball came rolling across the classroom and he bent to pick it up carefully. “This was a gift, ass.” he retorted, smiling when he saw the face that poked through his trapdoor. Malik. There was the company and likely the conversation the cards had suggested.

He sighed, setting the crystal down on a pillow on the floor and walked towards the door. “I got distracted. Float those up to me. Want a cup of tea I just made some.” Maison gestured towards the box remaining on the floor and towards the tea pot next to the chair he had been sitting in and walked back towards his seat, sitting down and kicking his feet up. “I have two of these left. I’ll give you a three card reading, free of charge when i’m done.” He winked at Malik over his shoulder, putting on his best showman’s voice, knowing that his colleague was not the biggest fan of divination.

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 19 2016, 02:33 AM
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Malik didn't hate divination, exactly, but it wasn't what he would call a preferred pastime. He had failed most miserably at it in school, but the subject itself he found rather impractical and relying on one too many inconsistencies like chance or a mere feeling. Feelings, too, were unreliable and irrational by nature, and by association, any magical art based upon them held very little weight in his mind. Fortune telling was for muggles.

It didn't help that Maison had to be one of the oddest people Malik had ever met.

In the dim lighting from the high tower windows, the man looked like something eerie out of a fairy tale, gliding across the floor until Malik found himself craning up from the top of the ladder, like a creature awaiting judgment or salvation. He folded his arms across the floorboards, a smile cultivated and restrained before it could further rampage his angry expression, but in the end he found himself staring dumbly up at Maison with his jaw unhinged and a question at the back of his mind. Had this really been a good idea?

Probably not. "Why am I not surprised?" Malik huffed, reaching out, uninvited, to take one of Maison's hands and help himself out of the floor. Ink-stained and rough, his fingers wrapped around the man's forearm as he rose with a quiet grunt, still favoring his bruised foot and frowning deeply. "You seem to get distracted far too often."

Taking a moment to catch his balance with a lingering grip on Maison's arm, Malik glanced around the small auditorium, its stacked desks coated in a fine layer of dust from the summer's neglect, and then he edged away gracefully, side-stepping the door. The room had a different feel from the rest of the castle, dreamy and inviting and yet untouchable -- like a nest perched so safely up high and out of reach. Malik yawned again, covering his mouth and wondering if he wasn't still asleep.

"You're always trying to tell my fortune," he mused, inspecting a glass case with a few interesting artifacts, "why would I trade manual labor for something you want?" Malik glanced over his shoulder, brow raised.

The corner of his mouth curled ever so slightly upward, then tightened straight again.

flighty and full of faults
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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 19 2016, 03:09 AM
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for MALIK ASAD / 670 words
Malik may have thought that Maison was one of the oddest individuals he had ever met, and honestly Maison could say the same thing about the other professor. They had overlapped at Hogwarts a few years, hardly sharing any classes, and interacting rarely. Malik had been a prefect, Malik’s grades were high in very focused areas rather than across the board as Malik’s had been, and as soon as he had finished his OWL’s their courses had absolutely no overlap. He knew that the other man had pursued a career as an Auror after graduating, and that was the last he had heard of him until he signed on as the Divination professor and was surprised to see his face in the Defense against the dark arts classroom. It was a fitting position for him, Malik was very knowledgeable, and obviously had practical experience in the subject.

He watched as Malik looked up to him, smiled, and returned to a neutral expression. He would never understand why somebody wouldn’t simply let themselves experience emotions they were feeling. What was the point of putting on another face, a facade for the rest of the world? Maison didn’t understand not wanting to project your real self to the world. Well. For the most part, at least.

Maison extended his arm as Malik reached up and planted his feet as the other man climbed into the room. He kept his grip, almost raising his eyebrows as Malik held on a few seconds too long, and noticed the ink stains on his fingers. He liked that. Malik had obviously been working too much and too distractedly to pay attention to the mess on his fingers.

He continued to watch as he sat in his chair, watching as the older man walked through the room. Maison had vague plans to get rid of the desks that had been crammed into the room for years. He would transfigure them into small tables and cover them in cloth instead, using cushions instead of chairs. It would only add to the atmosphere in the room. It was slightly hazy almost, he had been burning sage up there all day, renewing the space before the students came. The heavy sage smoke combined with the candles that he had used to light the room were only toned down by the circulating air between the window he had cracked open and the trapdoor Malik had entered through moments before.

Maison glanced at the case his guest was looking at and rose to his feet, bringing his tea with him. “Those are Cowrie-shells.” He said, coming up behind him slowly. He had moved quietly, and he was worried he would startle the other man with his sudden comment. “They’re from Brazil. They call it merindinlogun.” The word was foreign on his tongue, but he had said it enough on his trip hat he was positive he was pronouncing it correctly now. “You cast them, like runes I suppose. There’s 16. You count how many that land with the opening face up and it’s associated with one of their deities. Fascinating, really.” Maison had kept them on a placemat that had been given to him on the trip, and had left them as a display to show some of his more advanced students.

He took a drink of his tea and walked back towards his seat, remembering what Malik had said to him about telling his fortune. “Ah.” He said carefully, waving his wand towards the tea kettle and a tea cup for Malik. “I said free of charge. I won’t make you lift a finger to wave your wand at my boxes. Surely you’re interested. You’re the only one here who hasn’t let me do any readings on them. Aren’t you a bit curious?” Maison frowned as he watched Malik school his face back into a neutral expression and he sighed again, running a hand through his hair.

“Tea. Sit.”

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 19 2016, 10:36 PM
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Malik jumped at Maison's sudden appearance behind him, clearing his throat to cover a strangled squawk of surprise and fidgeting slightly as he quickly stepped out of the way, smoothing his hair. It occurred to him very suddenly that he was quite out of place in Maison's classroom, a stranger in his carefully crafted space, so different from his own classroom. Malik kept his desks lined up in such a way that the floor could be cleared easily for practical defensive lessons, and so that he could see every face in the room. His books were confined to shelves, example specimens of dark creatures locked behind glass, everything in a place clearly visible, with nowhere to hide. Where people like Maison couldn't sneak up on him. Yet he liked the scent of sage and cloves, and the way the atmosphere hung heavy on him. It suited Maison, really. Mysterious.

Hazy. Still circling the room like a vulture on its lazy descent, Malik trailed his fingers through the silk hangings dividing Maison's office from the classroom, catching a bit of sheer lazuli cloth with gilt edging between his fingers as his wand slid out of his pocket. If he'd had to explain himself, Malik could not have; around close friends and family he was different, for the most part, much more comfortable and safe in the knowledge that he could trust, in part, his own company. Personality, actions, words, secrets -- all of them could be used against you under the right circumstances, and he had always been a cautious man. More so, since the career change. At least as an auror, you knew no one could be trusted, and acting accordingly came as second nature. Out of the game for so long, Malik often had trouble applying that practice appropriately, even with long-time acquaintances like Maison.

"Why would I be curious about that?" Malik wondered aloud, as if arguing the point to himself. Curiosity, unfortunately, was something of a weak spot to him, and it had gotten him into more trouble than he would like to admit. Augustus had figured that out too. Aren't you curious?

Well, now I am.

"I can't change it right?" he continued, finally turning back to the trapdoor and flicking his wand at the boxes down below, which immediately flew one by one up the ladder and began to arrange themselves in an organized pile off to one side. "Even if I know my future? So what difference would it make whether I know it or not, except to drive me insane?"

But he sat down, bare feet creaking on the wood floor as Malik crossed the room and pulled up a chair. A cup of tea would wake him up, at least. "That is, if it isn't all just a parlor trick."

flighty and full of faults
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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 19 2016, 11:06 PM
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for MALIK ASAD / 666 words
Maison smiled guiltily as Malik jumped in surprise as he walked up behind him. “Sorry.” He said lightly, touching a hand to Malik’s lower back in apology before he moved away awkwardly. Malik was. Hm. He was a different type of person than Maison was used to interacting with one on one. He knew how to act in a large group of teachers during meetings and conversations and meals. He knew how to act with his small group of friends he stayed in touch with, he knew how to interact with students in his classroom and in the hallways - both those that were wonderful pupils and those that scoffed at the subject of study. He had even learned, begrudgingly, how to deal with unruly students in the hallways although it was rare for him to take points or give detentions.

It was interesting, though, watching the way the man was so on guard at every moment, a relic he assumed from his career as an Auror. There was something about it that made him want to knock the walls down and figure him out. It would be cheating, he knew, to try to use a crystal ball or read his palm. It would even be almost cheating to do certain card spreads or read his tea leaves if he was being honest with himself. He wanted to know, though. And with a sudden crashing realization Maison remembered the six of cups, the four of wands, and the fool appearing in succession. New opportunity, the company of others and pursuits, accepting personal history.

Malik was asking him questions and Maison was vaguely aware that he was levitating the boxes into the room, and instead of answering him right away Maison sat up straight and turned over the next card in the deck. The two of cups, reversed, showed itself and he frowned instantly, rubbing his fingers absently over the small enchanted tattoo of the minor arcana symbols as the cup sparkled vaguely on his arm as he looked at the card. That. Actually. Huh.

Made a lot of sense.

Reversed the card meant a testing time for love and happiness. Still ignoring Malik for the moment he flipped over his last card, to reveal the two of swords and he glanced down again as the swords flashed on his inner arm again. He generally kept his tattoos covered up at the school, only rarely showing the ones on his forearm and unable to hide the symbols adorning his fingers. He was positive few people knew of the other ink, enchanted and muggle, that stained his skin.

He looked up at Malik, his mouth slack and his eyes searching for a minute. Oh.

He liked him.

Wonderful.

It was true, he realized. The way Malik made him curious and intrigued, and often crazy during the school year. And the way his heart slightly sped up during any interaction. The cards suggested accepting personal history, and while Maison had long accepted the fact that he was gay, it wasn’t something that he projected to the world, and certainly not at work.

He sighed heavily, rubbing a hand over his face and turning back to the cards, collecting them and shuffling them in turn before placing them back over the velvet bag they resided in.

“They don’t tell the future.” Maison said quietly, his voice only sounding slightly resigned. “They simply point out ways to guide yourself and be aware of yourself in the past, the present, and moving into the future. If you draw a negative card it’s simply a warning to look inside of yourself and understand the pattern and how to move forward in a positive way.” It was an old rehearsed explanation, one he gave to worried parents, students, and other staff members.

He watched Malik sit down and pushed the deck across the table towards him. “Cut the deck?”

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 12:27 AM
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Despite his insistence on the subject, Maison seemed distracted. Malik poured himself a cup of tea, buying time as he blew gently across the steaming surface while the leaves steeped, ripples cascading across the glassy liquid as it darkened and tinged pink. He inhaled deeply, eyes closing for a moment as he sat back and crossed his legs, enjoying the light floral scent of his cup. On the one hand, he could give Maison what he apparently wanted and sate his own minor curiosity, allow the man to do his reading and simply enjoy a laborless cup of tea. On the other hand, he put little to no stock in this kind of thing.

Actually, all the more reason to let it happen. And why not? If there was nothing in it for him, then what harm could come from something small. A silenced coworker, a clarified conscience, no loss on his end to be seen.

But what if he sees something?

There is nothing to see.

Balancing the teacup on his knee, Malik leveled Maison with an estimating look, studying his face with rapt attention and faltering on the edge of the deep, dark pools of his eyes. It took a moment -- trepidation and discomfort hanging over the ledge, reminding him that there was no bottom, only black uncertainty -- but he fell for it. Shame coloring his face, Malik dropped his wide-eyed gaze to the table and tilted forward just long enough to cut the deck, the stiffness in his posture willfully relaxing when he returned. His shoulders fell, a finger tracing along the fluted rim of his cup while he waited for something to happen, as if the cards might explode into ash and flame right then and there on the tabletop. What if he did see something?

There were too many things to see.

Too many things Malik had no desire to discuss over tea in the heat of the tower, like mundanities the equivalent of weather or quidditch season. Maison spoke of the past that Malik had no heart for, and a future that did not exist. He knew his fortune, a life's work measured in children who would survive dark times and the weight of duty and family and faith. A life with a woman he could not love, and children with his name, because the name was all that mattered. A tightness in his chest of unanswered questions, cascading through buried wreckage overflowing from his hiding place. Who have you loved? Who have you killed?

Who have you loved?

If nothing else, Malik loved his guilt. That was the future reflected back in the cards, meaningless and cold. He sipped his tea, focused now on Maison's hands, the ease in his fingers. They had been soft, he thought, when he had touched him before. "Now what?"

flighty and full of faults

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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 01:09 AM
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for MALIK ASAD / 801 words
Maison had never felt nervous to read somebody’s cards before, not even his parents, not even when he pulled cards for Grace and Bilius, two of his closest friends, that he worried about with their inverted pentacle cards. He worried about the way Bilius’ hands shook when he went too long without a drink and the way Grace pursed her lips. He felt conflicted, questioning whether he should explain the real meaning behind the cards or not. It wasn’t his place to decide, he knew. If somebody else pulled the cards, it was just his job to recite their names.

But he felt nervous now, with the spread he had just seen and the way Malik looked back at him across the table. The look in his eyes was searching, the slightest side of intense. His eyes were dark, darker than Maison thought his own were, but he could see so much there. Maison opened his mouth, not sure what he was about to say but positive that he should say something, when Malik dropped his gaze, his eyes wide. What had he seen there? It was odd, the way the other man looked at him and averted his eyes.

A three card draw was the most simple, but Maison always learned so much about a person in the way they reacted to the explanation of the past present and future. It was always easy to tell, after years and years of watching people respond to his words, which was the most painful, the most feared, the most anticipated. Malik did not look particularly interested in any of them, and while Maison knew it was likely due to his companion not putting any stock in a tarot reading, he seemed resigned to all three words.

Maison always looked forward to the future, to connecting the dots between the past and the future, the present and the future, deciding how he could move forward, thinking long and hard on how the cards spoke to him.

He cleared his throat and pulled the cards towards himself, picking them up and shuffling them quickly together. He was careful to close his eyes and clear his mind as he shuffled, letting go of all of his own questions, his own desire to understand Malik. He wouldn’t influence the deck with the shuffle. “It’s a three card spread. Past, Present, Future.” Maison laid three cards down on the table in front of Malik as he spoke the words. “You can ask yourself a question. Some people wonder about finances, about jobs, upcoming events, love and relationships.” He was careful to not look up as he spoke any of the words, not putting any emphasis on any example. “Or, you can look at it as an over view. Things that the universe wants you to be mindful of.” Maison took a drink of his tea and rolled his sleeves up. The rolled sleeves went high enough to expose the small tattoos inside his left forearm, and the slight purple, gray, black, and red tendrils from the buddha tattoo that adorned his right shoulder.

Maison reached across the table and flipped up the first card, representing the past, the cup inside of his wrist shining and sparkling as he did so. The six of cups, reversed. Maison’s eyes went wide. He had drawn that card, moments ago, only correctly oriented. His eyebrows furrowed and he reached towards the middle card, turning over the two of swords upright, and his eyes went wider. He chanced a glance at Malik before clearing his throat and reaching towards the last card. A reversed two of cups showed it’s face and Maison let out a surprised laugh.

He had shuffled. He had shuffled the deck three times, and Malik had cut the deck with his own hands. He had never seen three cards reappear so quickly and in such the same manner for two separate readings. He had never seen his own reading reflected in the reading of another. The cup and the sword were still sparkling on his wrist, and that was unusual too, the ink usually fading back to black within a few seconds of flipping over the cards.

Maison shifted restlessly in his chair, his eyes wide as he looked at the cards in front of him and towards the spot where he had read his own only moments before. Finally, he looked up at Malik, a half smile on his face, his eyes still wide. He felt like he was beaming, and he didn’t understand where the sudden influx of emotions was coming from. He had been staring at Malik’s face for what could possibly be considered as too long, but he found himself unable to look away.

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 02:55 AM
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The cards, one by one as they turned over, meant very little to Malik, in truth. He remembered the basics -- suits, major and minor arcana, the fact that reversed cards meant something different from their right-side counterparts -- and might once have been able to fudge through a reading for a passing grade, but for the moment, the cards stared up at him and he stared blankly back, expecting some kind of explanation. When none came, he chanced a glance upward, the glimmer of Maison's tattoo catching his eye.

Malik had tried very hard not to stare when Maison raised his sleeves, attention immediately captured by the tattoos. There had always been something of a fascination with them, be it on people he knew or strangers on the street, muggle and enchanted inks alike, and he leaned forward ever so slightly when they began to glisten on his skin, now more interested in that than the cards themselves. Malik's attention was only broken when Maison laughed.

The sound startled him instantly, the man cupping both hands around his tea to keep from spilling as his head jerked up straight to find his colleague staring openly at him with a row of perfect white teeth split into the wildest grin. For a moment, Malik simply looked startled, then confused, and then, like some deathly contagion, he return the smile with an uncomfortable one of his own, shifting awkwardly in his seat. He cleared his throat and looked away, but kept smiling, wanting to laugh and dispel some of the tension as it dragged on, though his eyes wandered back to Maison's face.

"Are you alright?" he asked, chuckling dryly as he figured he was supposed to, because what other response could the man be waiting for? "Aren't you supposed to interpret for me, or something? Have I got something in my teeth?"

Much to his surprise, it felt good to smile at someone -- not out of fondness for a student or a sarcastic grin for a friend, but a genuine, innocent smile. He took in a deep breath and let it out in a whoosh, blowing a rogue hair out of his eyes as he leaned forward on the table, setting aside his drained cup and folding his arms on the cloth draping. Maison really was something to behold. Intent one moment, bored the next, and now . . . entertained, perhaps? The smile had taken Malik's mind off the more frightening possibilities, and now pure curiosity had taken over. What could he possibly be laughing at?

"Don't tell me, I'm going to lose all my hair, get fat, and die alone with eighty cats," he drawled teasingly. How silly it had been to feel such dread for something simple and stupid like cards. Maison would just make up something dramatic and be done with it. "Are the cats going to eat me? You can tell me, I can handle it."

flighty and full of faults
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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 07:15 PM
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for MALIK ASAD / 629 words
Watching Malik smile back at him only served to brighten Maison’s smile, and his eyes softened from surprise to fondness. Malik’s face looked better when it was smiling and not forming itself into schooled expressions. He liked it, and he knew that he would have to keep working on ways to get the other man to smile, find some sort of common ground or space that would allow him to let his guard down.

And yes. Interpreting them. That would probably be a good idea. After all, Malik hadn’t seen nor would he have understood the reading that Maison had just done for himself. And besides, at least one of the cards seemed to be significant to Malik because Maison kept finding it the first card he looked at, his eyes being drawn to it over and over again, and it wasn’t necessarily a great card to have that much focus on. That thought made something jump lightly in his throat as he looked back down at the card. It explained many things, but it didn’t necessarily show a great outcome for the present or the future.

He laughed again, as Malik joked with him, and he leaned forward frowning at the first card again. “Ah, alas I’m afraid death by cats is not in the cards for you, my friend. If only they could be so specific.” Maison grabbed his cup of tea and took a lingering drink, struggling in his mind with how to phrase the results of the first card to Malik. The smile on his colleague’s face was far too pleasant, as was the light cadence of his voice as he joked with him. He would have to approach this carefully.

Maison cleared his throat and leaned forward to tap his finger on the first card, causing the cup on his wrist to glow softly with the contact. “The past card. Six of cups, reversed.” Maison pursed his lips together. He would have to explain, after he interpreted the cards, why he had been laughing, because there was no way Malik would understand laughing after hearing the explanations of his own cards. He fixed Malik with a look that he hoped conveyed “i’m sorry” before opening his mouth to speak. “An inability to let go of the past. Seeing this card reversed in this position is likely suggesting a need to let go and welcome in new opportunities and people into someone’s life.” He was careful to not assign blame, to not say “you need to do this”. That was not his place, and Malik would take whatever meaning from it he wanted to.

He reached out for the middle card, the swords glowing on his wrist and he tried not to let the smile come back on his face. “The present card. Two of swords. Ah.” He tried to gather his thoughts, his hand waving slightly as he thought for a moment. “A balancing act. Considering new options. Frequently this relates to a business partner or a new intimate relationship. It suggests a positive outcome.” He quickly moved his hand to the last card, the cup remaining lit on his wrist.

“Your future card. Two of cups reversed. It suggests a difficult time in love.” He went with the simple interpretation rather than a long explanation, realizing that the short statement may be enough to convey significance. Again, Maison picked up his tea and leaned back in his chair. “It’s a good reading. Negatives seem balanced by the second card. Although it’s odd.” Maison knew he had to say something, but he paused, not entirely sure how to proceed. “Those three cards came up in my reading a few minutes ago.”

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 09:17 PM
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Niki is Offline

DADA Professor
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Maison wasn't all that bad, Malik supposed. While he had never really sat down with the man as he was now, Malik never had a real reason to dislike him, though his persona could be offputting. Their interactions were limited to feasts and celebrations, and he could count the number of conversations shared on his fingers; more often than not, Malik simply avoided the man.

Young, handsome, charismatic -- all traits Malik lacked and yet found himself attracted to time and time again, though his own subdued nature prevented success by any means except friendship. He should be grateful, he supposed, instead of bitter, but he considered his lesson learned. Maison Mun might be an excellent companion to have, but when Malik looked at his hands, the last thing he wanted was to shake them.

"That seems a little generic, though, doesn't it?" he said, resting his chin in his hand as Maison concluded his interpretation. Though he had been reluctant in the beginning, the explanation of his cards did not seem to faze him much, even with Maison's grave warning at the start. "I mean most people have a past that they should let go of, even if it's something small," he continued, tapping the cloth near the first card, "everyone's done something or had something done to them, lost a loved one, had their heart broken -- it's non-specific because my personal experience gives it meaning, so could anyone else's. As far as lovers go--" he gestured to the other two cards with a wave of his hand, "--your prediction is highly unlikely, as I'm practically a monk."

He laughed, shaking his head at Maison's comment on his earlier spread. Surely a ploy to give his reading some legitimate mystery. "I suppose you and I are destined, then. We can be monks together."

Pouring himself another half a cup, Malik laid a hand, palm up on the table, beckoning to him. "Forget the cards. I bet I can tell your fortune without even knowing what the hell I'm doing. Your hand. Give it."

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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 10:39 PM
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Elise is Offline

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for MALIK ASAD / 457 words
Malik was not the type of person that Maison usually found himself attracted to, aside from looks at least. Malik had always been a fan of the dark and handsome type, despite his scant experience with dating. He generally wound up with people too much like himself for the relationship to work. It was never a good sign when what you didn’t like about yourself was reflected in your partner. It had been easier the few months he lived in America, at least, tagging around with a group of people who had lived on a commune. Like minded, magical, but American magic felt different to him. The people he had lived with had a more natural magic, it felt like an extension of the land and forest they had been leaving on, while he knew that his felt more cosmic than anything else. There had been a great deal of talk surrounding peace and love and freedom of expression at that point in time, and being with other men had never been an issue in the group he lived with. It was different in London then, and even still, and was still something that he preferred to keep close to his chest.

Maison raised his eyebrows vaguely as Malik wrote off the reading; Maison wasn’t surprised with the reaction. He had hoped to read more expressions on the other mans face as the cards were turned, but Malik was obviously very skilled at keeping a neutral expression. Well. Except for the smiling, which he was feeling very proud of at the moment.

He snorted at the comment about monks, however, letting himself laugh again, light and airy. “You can have fun with that. I’m not about to commit myself to being a monk for the rest of my life. Too much fun to have in this world.” He had a comment on the back of his tongue about the reading, about how generic didn’t mean much because it was all about what you personally took from the cards, it was a way of simply guiding your thinking and discovering what you needed to be aware of, when Malik laid his hand on the table.

“Fine.” Maison said, smiling wide and laying his palm down on top of Malik’s. “You get a cheat sheet even.” Maison wiggled his fingers and raised his eyebrows. The inside of his left palm was covered in the symbols of palmistry, muggle ink that had just been enchanted to shine a little more than usual. Each symbol represented the different lines to be read, the zodiac symbols covering the inside of his fingers. It had been a particularly painful one he’d had done not too long ago.

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MALIK ASAD
 Posted: Aug 20 2016, 11:31 PM
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Niki is Offline

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"Imagine that," Malik declared cheerily, pulling Maison's hand toward him as he bent over the table, "what an excellent teacher you must be." He had no idea, of course, what any of the symbols meant in such context, as what little he had learned in Divination had been long-since forgotten. That didn't mean he couldn't give Maison a hard time.

Malik cleared his throat and his brow furrowed in deep focus, taking the man's hand gently in both of his own, stretching the fingers out with care and grazing his thumb across them like cell bars. They were soft, as he'd thought, and cooler to the touch than his own, with longer digits that Malik covered with his palm, cupping Maison's hand between his as if to warm it. Then he began.

"You get a new tattoo every time visit a new place, as a way to decorate yourself with your experiences, the way memories decorate your personality," he mused, voice low, still fully intent on Maison's limb. Malik's thumb traced the wrist while his fingers grazed along the tendons at the back. "You have an adventurous spirit, but you're extremely careful with yourself, and you cultivate your image to support who you think you want to be: an existentialist in tune with the cosmos. But your image and your identity are occasionally in conflict, because, while you often see the truth, you're also burdened with the knowledge of its consequences. As a result, you aren't always honest with the people around you."

Lifting his head, Malik pressed lightly into the pads of Maison's hands, allowing himself a moment to savor the contact before he continued. "You often feel cold, a little lonely, even though a number of teenage girls are quite smitten with you," he smiled, an almost comforting expression that coincided with the soft tracing of his index finger along Maison's life line. "But as for love, you have little reason to worry. There is plenty in you to love, even if you don't recognize it. I see a dark, beautiful stranger in your future. Very soon," he added with an amused huff.

Generic. With a few details thrown in from observation -- from simply the feel and look of Maison's hand, and some basic knowledge of his background. "Also," he concluded, "you're going to be eaten by cats."

He didn't immediately release Maison's hand, instead letting it lay cradled in his fingers for the time being. "How'd I do, Professor? Do I get a passing mark, or detention?"

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MAISON CHOI
 Posted: Aug 21 2016, 12:04 AM
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Elise is Offline

Divination Professor
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Single
Neutral - Admin
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for MALIK ASAD / 593 words
Honestly at this point, with the few tattoos that he couldn’t hide under his clothes, Hogwarts was likely the only place that he’d find employment outside of working for himself. He had more, of course, than the ones adorning his fingers and palms and wrist. His upper arm sported a colorful Buddha and lotus flower. His back was covered in Korean script and buddhist imagery, given to him by a thoughtful monk in a temple in South Korea, the old fashioned way with a needle and a hammer. He had vague plans for more, but first he was going to finish the intricate design that covered his thighs, hips and lower back in swirling black and red ink. He didn’t know yet how far down he wanted the design to go down his thighs and legs, but he’d be covered soon, he knew. The tarot cards and the ones covering his palm were as meaningful as the more religious ones, connecting him with the work he did even further.

Maison let his fingers go limp as Malik ran his fingers over his palm and traced his wrists and fingers in turn. He shivered, unable to help himself, and shifted forward to kneel on the floor instead of hunching over the table. His eyes reflected the smile on his face as he listened to Malik list off aspects of his personality. He wasn’t too far off the mark with most of his summary, and Maison was willing to skirt over the rest of the comments. However, this was nothing resembling palmistry.

He laughed out loud at the mention of his female students, his eyes closing briefly. It was true, and a constant joke among the staff. His enrollment was up, largely due to a large group of girls making fluttery eyes at him all day. He entertained them with winks once in awhile and laughed about it with his friends when he saw them. Honestly, he would take it if it meant having better attended classes.

“I’d give you a passing grade for effort. And for warning me about the cats, I’ll have to watch out for that.” Maison raised an eyebrow, completely ignoring the way his body still felt slightly shivery from all the contact, and to be honest the amused comment about a dark beautiful stranger.

Maison turned his hand around, lacing his fingers together briefly with Malik’s and stood up, moving to sit on the table in front of him before letting go and looking down at Malik’s palm. “You’re a little off, though. On which lines are which. Here.”

Maison held Malik’s palm in his own, staring down at the lines briefly. He drug his finger slowly around his hand. “This is the life lone, and this is the love line. Although I prefer heart. You confused them. Head, sun, intuition. Fate.” He paused on the fate line, tracing it down over Malik’s wrists to crass over the Rascette lines directly under his palm. “There’s more.” He said, tapping lightly over the various other lines that criss crossed the palm before moving up to his fingers.

This was risky, he knew. His touch was heavy to match the look in his eyes, and he added more pressure as he drug his fingers back down to Malik’s palm. “I could tell you what they all mean and interpret yours for you, if you’d like. But honestly I’m more interested in that dark handsome stranger you somehow foresaw on my palm.”

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