Out of Time

A place to develop your character(s) in a story that does not involve other players.
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Nigel Dextera
Transfiguration
Transfiguration
Player: Jae

Out of Time

Post by Nigel Dextera »

This is the first of a series of vignettes about Nigel. He has quite a bit going on – his previous job as an Unspeakable, the werewolf attack during the Second Wizarding War, his sudden resignation from the Ministry, and him joining Hogwarts as a professor – so this is a way for me to explore his backstory, and also delve into the lore behind time magic and Unspeakables. As a result the vignettes might seem a bit raw and unpolished at times. Feedback is very welcome and appreciated, so please feel free to contact me on Discord :)

━━━━━━༻❖༺━━━━━━
Faith or Folly
2nd June, 2000

“Look, Nigel, you know I’ll gladly follow you to hell and back, but this, THIS, is where I draw the line.”

The young man stared incredulously at his best mate, one eyebrow arched questioningly as he scrutinised his friend’s expression, hoping to find a crack or a point of weakness at which to press his attack. But there was none. Jamie was dead serious.

Tauntingly, Nigel waggled the offending object at Jamie. “Come on—“

“Get it out of my face!” Jamie howled as he recoiled in mock horror. “It’s rank!”

“It’s not! It’s a shining symbol of Scotland!”

“Then why don’t they erect a monument for it?” Jamie countered. “Oh wait, they already did!” With a grand flourish, he gestured towards their surroundings. “It’s called…”—he dragged out the sentence, milking the moment for as long as he could before finishing it dramatically—“Scotland’s Folly.”

The two childhood friends were at the top of Carlton Hill in the heart of Edinburgh, sitting under what would have been a most stately, Parthenon-like structure that was meant to honour the brave Scottish soldiers and sailors who had lost their lives during the Napoleonic Wars. But the construction works were halted when the funds (that had been inadequate to begin with) ran out. Since then, the monument, which by that time had comprised nought more than an incomplete stylobate with a measly twelve columns and the architrave between them, had been left in its current and incomplete state for close to two hundred years.

Nigel rolled his eyes. “Let me get this straight: you’re equating this”—he indicated the monument with his free hand, before pointing to the object in his other hand—“with a fucking deep-fried Mars bar.”

“Damn right I am,” Jamie replied without missing a beat. “Both were borne out of Scottish stupidity, and have stuck around because we couldn’t be bothered to change anything.” He took another look at the deep-fried Mars bar in Nigel’s hand and shook his head disapprovingly. “That abomination represents everything that’s wrong with the Scottish diet: too much fat and sugar and calories. And I don’t want to die young.”

“And yet you still don’t eat enough fruit.”

“Tomato’s a fruit.”

“Right,” Nigel sneered, his voice dripped with sarcasm. “And tatties are veggies.”

“Touché.” Jamie conceded. And a moment later, he added, “Y’know what, gimme half of that.”

“Figured as much.” Barely suppressing his grin, Nigel pulled the artery-clogging confection into two half-as-unhealthy pieces and passed one to Jamie, and they each took a bite. It was… exactly what Nigel thought it would be like. “I was hoping that it’ll be greater than the sum of its parts,” he said, somewhat disappointed.

“Batter and a Mars bar, nothing more, nothing less,” Jamie commented matter-of-factly as he polished off what was left of his piece. “Where’d you get it from?”

“Bene’s.”

“Ah, good old Bene’s. Haven’t been there since forever.”

“Aye.” Nigel nodded. After they graduated from Hogwarts eight years ago, Nigel became an Unspeakable at the Ministry, while Jamie found employment with the Daily Prophet. As such, they had chosen to move to London where they shared a flat with Jamie’s colleague, Dean, and rarely returned to Edinburgh.

And then the Second Wizarding War broke out.

To say that it was a life-changing moment for the two of them was a gross understatement. After the war ended and peace returned, they had given much thought to the way they had been living all this while, chasing after what they had thought was important and never quite able to find what they were looking for – if they even knew what it was in the first place. And this was the first time that they had taken an extended break from work to step away from their lives and figure out the way ahead.

Jamie’s question broke Nigel’s train of thought. “Are you really leaving the Ministry?”

“It’s no longer a matter of if, but when,” Nigel replied. “I’m sorry I can’t go into the specifics, but I hope I’m making the right choice.” Subconsciously he slipped off the ring he was wearing on his left hand and began to play with it. At first glance it seemed like an plain silver ring that was a wee bit thicker and wider than usual, but as Nigel fiddled with the ring, it split apart into three concentric rings, and he rearranged them to form a miniature armillary sphere.

The sight of the ring reminded Jamie of a previous conversation they had. “Are you still serious about that, Nigel?” he asked, indicating the ring in his friend’s hand.

The Unspeakable didn’t say a word, but the answer was obvious.

“Does Dean ken? Or Faye?”

“Nae.”

“Merlin’s beard…” Jamie couldn’t believe his ears. He looked away for a moment to wrap his mind around how ridiculous the whole matter was. Dean was the smartest in their little merry gang, and Faye their moral compass. If Nigel hadn’t discussed that matter with either of them… “You weren’t looking for advice,” Jamie concluded.

“Aye.”

“You only wanted my support.”

“Aye.”

“And so you made me Secret Keeper.”

“Aye.”

With a groan, Jamie buried his head in his hands. “What have you gotten me into…”

“I’m sorry,” Nigel edged closer to his best mate, putting an arm around him and pulling him into a side hug. “You know you’re the person I trust the most.”

There was a pregnant silence, and for a moment Nigel feared that he had crossed a line. But Jamie finally looked up, sighed, and returned the hug. “Sucks to be me, I guess. But do what you have to, Nigel. I’m sorry I can’t be of much help, but if there’s anything I can do, tell me, alright?”

“Thanks Jamie,” Nigel replied. “This really, really means a lot to me.”
running back to where we once were like the circling hands of a clock, but the sands of time have since slipped through our fingers
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