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Of Child-age and Music Boxes

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Of Child-age and Music Boxes

Post by Roz Turner on Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:07 pm

“Okay, so swish your wand this way and poof!”

Roz giggled as sparks flew around her, enjoying the way they sparkled and shone; she had gotten the Glitter Charm down long ago, that wasn't what she was trying to cast. She was casting a Glamour Charm now, a charm that would fool everyone who wasn't explicitly in on the charm into thinking she looked different than she did. She tilted her head, stretching. “How does it look, Ace?”

Casey turned to look at her, examining. “Almost perfect – there's still a lock of your hair that's pink, the rest looks all blue as if you've dyed it.”

“Dang. I thought I got it all this time.” She recanted the charm, sighing a little. “How's that Potion going?”

“Not as well as I wanted it to.” Casey sighed, sitting back and twirling his wand idly to stir the potion. “It keeps coming out darker than it should, and I can't get it to lighten up.” He sighed a little. “Maybe we can try this....” The two kids were studying for NEWTs, even though they were only sixth years. They figured it was best to practice while they had the whole castle to themselves – she knew Casey had swiped ingredients for a potion they'd never made, and her uncle hated her practicing Glamour charms for some reason; she suspected he hated her hiding her hair instead of actually controlling it, but it was harder than he could understand. She watched Casey curious as he made the potion, it wasn't something they'd practiced, but they were being careful.

“Naughty, naughty~” came the nasty laugh.

Roz startled as something fell into the pot; it rumbled as Casey flailed, trying to get the mystery item out of the pot. “Peeves!!” She cried, going to chase after the cackling spectre. She was halted, though, by the explosion behind her. She froze as she was enveloped in smoke; it took a strong Clearing Spell to free her of the smog, and she had to clean her glasses.... “...augh, Casey! Casey, are you okay?”

“Roz?!” His voice sounded strange...too high. “Roz, where are you, wh-what happened...?”

As the smoke cleared, she turned to his voice, coughing. “Ah, Peeves was being a pest, I'll get him l-later...I'm okay, are you---oh, dear.”

Casey was there, perfectly intact. But he was tiny, face too round and body too small. He was a -child-, she realized, dressed in his too-big robes and clothing, but those big eyes were Casey's, and that voice, though too high, was still Casey's voice.....

“...Roz, why are you so big?”

“I'm not the one who's big,” she breathed softly, kneeling down in front of him. “Casey, I'm still me, but....you're little.”

“What are you talking about? You're silly.” He giggled, then paused. He had not made that sound in years. “I don't giggle.” He slowly looked at himself. “My hands....my arms....my feet! Why doesn't anything fit?! Roz, Roz, why am I so little?!” He panicked, looking about himself, flailing.

“Casey,” she tried to soothe him, but he just kept working himself up, panicking. She racked her brains, then remembered – Henry, she calmed him down by -

She snatched him up, cradling him close, pressing his hear to her heart. “Shhh....Little child, be not afraid. The rain pounds harsh against the glass like an unwanted stranger, there is no danger. I am here tonight. Little child...” She sang warmly, gently rocking Casey back and forth. She would continue to sing, to just hold the boy, rock him slowly as if he were a child – he was a child, so hopefully it would work. Just like it had with Henry. And it did. Slowly he would calm, quiet against her as his breathing eased.

“Whatever happened, Uncle Danny can fix it when he gets back.”  She soothed, petting his hair. “Him and Caius will be back tonight.”

“I don't know...what'll we do until then...? That's so loooong!” He pouted petulantly, then covered his mouth. “That was so childish I'm so sorry--”

“Casey, it'll be okay.” She paused, then grinned lopsidely as the idea came to her. A whole day to wait....needed to keep him out of the potions so he wouldn't try to make it better and inadvertantly make it worse.. “And if we have to wait....there's a whole world I promised to show you.”



“These clothes are weiiiird, Roz.”

She giggled as he adjusted the overalls, making a face at her. “We don't wear robes, Casey. We wear clothes.”

“Those look like your normal clothes though. You wear those under your robes.” He complained, tugging at the bright red straps and silver chains on her jeans.

“I bought my normal clothes here. And they fit me. For today, the overalls. They suit you,” she added, smiling brightly as she took the child's hand. “Do you want to keep looking around?”

The two were wandering the Muggle mall, different shops and stalls beconing to the wizard and witch. Casey was walking alongside Roz, clutching her hand tightly as if he really were a child; she'd come to figure out he was still on a sixteen year old's mental level, but his emotions had changed with his body; he had a five year old's crazy whirling emotions. It combined quite interestingly when she was dressing him in Henry's old clothes; she'd had to deal with a five year old's tantrum about wanting to go work on more potions. Interestingly, he calmed at more singing and a lolly, so hopefully she could keep him calm. He was also now quite embarrassed about it.

She took him into the next store that caught her eye; old style toys and collectables lined the walls. She smiled as he grinned happily, bouncing to look at different toys, stuffed animals....she loved this store. She remembered coming here often, always looking at the toys and wishing she could get the stuffed bear with a heart for a nose...but with just her Papa, money was tight....she had never told her father about the stuffed bear. And there he sat in the back corner too, still, unloved and unneeded.

“Roz, look!” He was carrying a stuffed cat. “It looks like Era, but with green eyes!”

She smiled. “Yes, it does.”

“Do you think Caius would like it?”

“Caius has the real Era.” She smiled, then paused. “Why do you want to get him something?”

Casey's grin slipped a little and he flushed. “Uhm. It's okay, Roz. You're right, why would he need another Era?”

“Casey....”

“It's fine.” The sixteen year old shone through his five year old eyes. “Don't worry, okay? It's okay.” He held her gaze for a moment, then grinned and bounced off to put the stuffed cat down.

“....” She'd remember to check on Caius later. She noticed something and picked it up. A music box, two of them identical. She gently wound one as Casey wandered back, looking up at her. “What's that, Roz?”

She set it down as the tune began to play. “It's a music box. It's a box that play special tunes. These two play the same notes.” As it played, she swayed a little; she grabbed his hands gently, dancing with him to the sound of the chiptune beat. It was such a beautiful song, and soon Casey was giggling, dancing awkwardly with her; trying to lead but only able to follow.

It was fun, and for a moment she imagined his arms tight around her, dancing with swirling skirts and her hair done beautifully, behaving for once....she snapped out of that quickly, sighing. It was all right, she wasn't sure if that was even a possible ending for her. And that was okay. She'd just enjoy what little she got, and help him enjoy this day too. Casey being happy was important over most else. And his happy giggles as they danced and twirled were all that mattered.



“Roz?”

Casey looked up at his friend worriedly, ice cream dripping down his hand. After the dance party in the toy store, Roz had marched them off to what she called  a “trendy” clothing store for Muggles. She bought him a couple outfits for his grown up self - “in case you want to come to a place like this again” - and then tried on a few herself. She playfully got a newsboy cap; the black hat looked good on her somehow.

Now they were at an ice cream store, one with only the plainest flavors he knew but a whole host of flavors he didn't. Roz was eating French Vanilla – the French had a different kind of vanilla? - but hers was dripping, mouth frozen above the cone. He blinked at her, his own cookie-dough filled scoop starting to melt onto his hand, confused enough to stop his whine.

Her eyes were so...sad suddenly, something that deeply startled him. Her expression was neutral, but those eyes....she looked so forlorn. Ready to cry. Casey couldn't help but follow her gaze.

There was a woman, two women, where she was staring. One was probably seventy or so, white hair in a prim bun that reminded him of someone his grandmother had once been friends with, but her gray eyes were warm and merry. The younger woman carried a jewel tone sweater in her hands, vibrant against her pale skin. She wore her long blonde hair in a ponytail tied at the nape of her neck. She was tall and beautiful, talking softly: “....mother, she's a teen now. That is not in style.”

“But it's warm. You know, if you'd let me see her...”

Casey didn't like that look on her face, didn't like the melting ice cream starting to coat his hand. The five year old body overtook any and all rational thought. “Roooooz! It's all melty and gross!”

There was a pregnant pause as Roz froze, and the women turned to face the whining child. Roz stood up quickly as their eyes focused, taking Casey's hands with a smile. “Well then, let's go get cleaned up, okay?” She picked him up, shifting to stride off already, pace quick – she wanted out.

That look on her face was no longer sad, but fearful and panicked; Casey mentally kicked himself. Stupid! You made her even more upset! He swore he heard “Rosie!” Called after them by the older woman, but they were already in the crowd, going away. Roz didn't hear, was panicked and upset.

Rosie? Where had he heard that before?

“Roz, can we go dancing again? That was real fun.” She'd smiled and loved it too, maybe it would make her feel better. “I don't think they'll follow....”

“Who will follow?” She asked innocently, but he caught the look again in her eyes. Then she smiled a little. “Yeah. Let's go dancing again.”

At least now she could smile. He'd ask again later, maybe grown again, about the forlorn look....for now, he just wanted to see her smile some more.



By the time they returned, Aidan and Caius were back. The two children were scolded for going off, and for practicing unpracticed magic while they were away; Roz was stoic through it but left quietly afterwards. Only Casey would see the tears in her eyes. Caius and Aidan would work together, but it would still be a few hours later, late at night when they finished and his body returned to normal. He'd get his own scolding then and be sent to bed.

Pulling on the sleeve of the sweater Roz had bought him, he heard Aidan sighing and worrying about helping Emmett with something for Henry's birthday. He thought for the first time of how much this day must have caught. Roz's family was tight on money; how much of her personal savings had she drained? But seeing that music box...for some reason, it didn't occur to him to be mad. He sighed, exhausted as he slipped into his room.

He'd find one of the music boxes from earlier on his pillow, delicate and beautiful. He picked up and twisted the key, the beautiful song clinking out of the pretty little box. There was also something else on his pillow, a note in Roz's script. It was only one line:

“I have the twin.”
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